Wildly successful actor, comedian, producer and screenwriter Adam Sandler was spotted on Maui last week shooting hoops at Kalama Park in Kihei with kids and enjoying a leisurely lunch with his children oceanfront at Ferraro’s Bar e Ristorante at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea. A steady stream of youngsters approached his table to say they admired his work.
Sandler co-produced and starred with Jenifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman in the 2011 rom-com “Just Go With It,” which was largely filmed on-island. His latest movie, “Uncut Gems,” now available on Netflix, is generating Oscar buzz for his against-type performance as the owner of a New York jewelry showroom who has a gambling addiction.
A JAZZY TRIBUTE
Jazz aficionados might fondly remember famed percussionist Emil Richards dazzling audiences here over many decades.
“He snapped his fingers on the theme song of ‘The Addams Family,’ played the bongos for ‘Mission: Impossible’ and worked with everyone from Judy Garland to Linda Ronstadt,” said the Hollywood Reporter in its obituary for the acclaimed studio musician, who died Dec. 13 at age 87.
Richards called Hawaii and L.A. home for the past 45 years, between touring with George Harrison, backing up Frank Sinatra in Vegas and contributing sounds to notable films such as “Planet of the Apes” and “Spider Man 2.”
Fans can attend the “Maui Tribute to Jazz Legend Emil Richards,” presented by Maui Jazz, from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Kihei Charter School.
“The first set will be the students who benefited from the workshops that Emil gave at an Upcountry high school,” says best friend and restaurateur Mark Ellman of Frida’s Mexican Beach House and Honu Seafood & Pizza. Sara Gadarian of the former Blackie’s Bar in Lahaina, where Richards loved to play, will offer a memorial tribute. Radio personality Kathy Collins will emcee.
“Some of the students are back from mainland schools for the holidays. One is Jake Thomas on trumpet, who is outstanding and already professional,” Ellman said. Also providing music will be a band comprising musicians who played with Richards at the old Blackie’s Bar: Paul Marchetti, Danny M, Brian Cuomo, John Zangrando, Gene Argel, Marcus Johnson and Sal Godinez on keyboard and vocals, plus Estaire Godinez on vocals and Latin percussion. And members of Jazz Maui will perform, with Shea Derrick on vocals.
“It will be a respectful event. His widow, Celeste Richards, has already given her blessing,” said Ellman, who is putting together a slide show and video clips of the music great playing on Maui.
Tickets to the tribute are $15 per person at jazzmaui.org or call 283-3576.
The audience at Bill Maher’s comedy show at Maui Arts & Cultural Center last week got more than just great laughs and political satire. Maher introduced rock legend Joe Walsh of the Eagles at the start of the show.
“Who wouldn’t want to fly on a private jet and spend time in Hawaii?” Walsh joked before entertaining with “Life’s Been Good” and other fun tunes. At the end of the show, Maui’s beloved part-time residents Willie Nelson and actor Woody Harrelson joined in with Walsh and the comedians to sing “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin.
FEELING WARM ALL OVER
Hawaii’s “best-selling female vocalist of all time,” Amy Hanaiali‘i, will be heading to the Grammys soon, hopeful her sixth nomination will turn into a win, this time for best regional roots music album for “Kalawai‘anui.” Should she take home the Grammy, it would be back-to-back wins for Maui. Hometown singer-songwriter Kalani Pe‘a won the prestigious award last year and in 2017.
The 62nd annual Grammy Awards will air Jan. 26 live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and many Mauians will be watching — and sipping.
“Hanging out with Amy for any period of time, I find that the topic quickly switches to wine. Her enthusiasm for wine is palpable!” said Alan Jahns of Paradise Beverages distributing company. “She’s a great salesperson and definitely loves selling her wines, almost as much as she enjoys making (and drinking) her wines.”
A few years ago the singer developed a relationship with Napa’s family-owned Smith Devereux Winery, and it has been making all of her Hanaiali‘i wines since. She’s got a new red blend along with her 90-point 2016 Napa Merlot, two tasty vintages of chardonnays and the Tiny Bubbles sparkling wine.
“The Tiny Bubbles is special because I was given aloha from Uncle Don’s camp to go ahead and call it that. He was one of my idols,” said Amy about the late, great Don Ho, who performed the famous song of the same name, whose lyrics included “feeling warm all over.”
The new red blend is a 2017 limited-edition blend with hints of blackberries, dark chocolate, black pepper, licorice and vanilla.
“Hawaii is in my heart every day. When I’m on tour, a glass of this smoky and ripe blend brings me right back home,” said the Maui girl.
Kim Robello and his team at Hawaii’s MinitStop stores purchased two-thirds of the first shipment and have been featuring her new cuvee for $24.99 bottle in almost all of the Maui and Big Island locations. Tamura’s, Safeway and Foodland stores also carry the Hanaiali‘i wine label varietals; prices vary.
THE OTHER NEW YEAR’S
We just got over the 2020 New Year’s Eve bashes, and now the island is gearing up for Chinese New Year celebrations. Leading up to the Year of the Rat on Jan. 25 will be the return of the New Shanghai Circus with five shows Jan. 17 to 19. Always a sellout, it’s happening only on Maui at Castle Theater at the MACC in Kahului.
Fearless performers with boundless energy and yoga- pretzel-stretching skills include acrobats, jugglers, knife-throwers, plate-spinners and contortionists. The family-friendly performances are at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18 and 2 and 5 p.m. Jan. 19.
Food and beverages will be available for two hours prior to each show. Tickets are $12, $25 and $35, with Gold Circle seats at $55. It’s half-price for children 3 to 12 years of age in all categories except for the cheapest seats. For more details, visit mauiarts.org, call 242-7469 or head to the box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.