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Light displays at Hawaii live venues call for COVID-19 awareness

  • GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                The Blaisdell Arena was lit in red tonight.

    GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The Blaisdell Arena was lit in red tonight.

  • GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                The Blaisdell Concert Hall was lit in red tonight.

    GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The Blaisdell Concert Hall was lit in red tonight.

  • GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                The Blaisdell Exhibition Center was lit in red tonight.

    GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The Blaisdell Exhibition Center was lit in red tonight.

  • COURTESY EGGSHELL LIGHT CO.
                                The Waikiki Shell is illuminated with red light Monday evening in preparation for tonight’s Red Alert Restart project, a nationwide effort to raise awareness for the plight of the entertainment industry.

    COURTESY EGGSHELL LIGHT CO.

    The Waikiki Shell is illuminated with red light Monday evening in preparation for tonight’s Red Alert Restart project, a nationwide effort to raise awareness for the plight of the entertainment industry.

Hawaii’s performance venues have been mostly dark since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but at least for tonight, they might be worth a drive-by visit.

Theaters, stadiums, museums and other entertainment venues around the nation will be illuminated in red lights this evening as part of an effort called Red Alert Restart to raise awareness of the plight of workers in the live-entertainment industry, from performers to administrators, staff, stagehands and public relations workers.

About 20 performance or entertainment venues around the islands will take part, including the Blaisdell Center, Waikiki Shell, the Kapolei Events Center, Bishop Museum, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and the Waikoloa Bowl on Hawaii island. Some will be extensively lit up; smaller venues such as Diamond Head Theatre and Manoa Valley Theatre are showing solidarity with the effort by burning a single red light inside the house as a symbol of the loneliness of an empty stage.

“These are all places that are dear to our hearts,” said Bob Harmon of Eggshell Light Co. in Honolulu. Harmon coordinated the local effort after a request from the national organization #WeMakeEvents. The event started today and can be viewed at facebook.com/WeMakeEventsNorthAmerica, which based its project on a similar effort in the U.K. that has led to thousands of buildings being illuminated in red.

Harmon worked on the illumination of the Waikiki Shell, which included musicians from the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra standing frozen onstage to signify the halt in artistic activity, but asked several local companies to join in the effort.

“I picked up the phone, and the first couple of people, I had to convince them what this was we were doing,” he said. “I called my competitors, I called my friends. It started among two or three of us … but there are so many more than that.”

The aim of the program is to gain support for the Restart Act, which would extend hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for businesses that have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and extend the $600 addition to unemployment benefits that ended in July. Congressmen Ed Case is a co-sponsor of the bill and called on people to support the bill.

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