Showing posts from March, 2008

Hey, Who Put Jesus Into Easter?

Last Saturday, the day before Easter, we got up and went over to the school gymnasium for the much advertised Community Easter Egg Hunt.
When we got there, the place was pretty packed-- parents in the bleachers, and an impressive table of prizes: tall pink plastic wrapped easter egg baskets, heaps of pastel chocolates, and even a pair of new bikes. We registered at the front-- filling out a form that asked for our phone, our address, our full names, birthdays, and which church we go to, and how often. I was suddenly dubious that this really is a nondenominational community event.
In exchange for all of our personal information, baby got a little green wrist band that let her into the 0-3 egg hunt at 9:00. It was still 8:30 and the place was filling up.
A woman stood up in the front by the prizes and shouted into a wireless karaoke mic, "Hey everybody, ready to celebrate Easter??? Come on kids, come up to the front! Let's celebrate Jesus!" All the kids shuffled out to the fl…

Lotus Cafe

Costco hulks in a vast squat industrial park in a lava field outside of Kona. It is sentried by furniture outlets, T-shirt printers, and, curiously, The Most Delicious South East Asisan Food I Have Ever Ever Had.
The other day after a grueling trip to Costco, baby and I were tired and hungry and I saw a "Now Open" sign flapping in an industrial strip right above the Big Box Behemoth. I pulled up into the driveway and wedged into a parking spot between cement mixers and asphalt pounders, stacks of broken down crates, and dusty pieces of furniture, and made my way to the entrance of Lotus Cafe.
Inside all the chaos disappears: you are first greeted by a man-sized stone slab running melodiously with water, then you enter a cozy breezy cafe, constructed ingeniously in a cavernous warehouse with draped tents and whirring fans.
The laminated menus introduce the philosophy of the place: "Hawaii's only Asian Style Natural Foods Cafe: Serving organic food and beverages, prepare…

The Hawaiian Nation

Upside-down Hawaiian flags, imposing painted signs, flapping tents. A couple of weekends a month we drive by an intimidating encampment on the church row lawn: The Hawaiian Nation Reinstated.

Up to this morning, my impression of the Hawaiian Sovereignty and National movements came from reading Haunani-Kay Trask's From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii. The book is a sometimes diamond-clear description of the disparity in Hawaiian colonialism, but is studded with off-putting gems like this: “without doubt, Euro-Americans and the Japanese see Islanders as racially and culturally inferior. To these predators, the Pacific is vast and far away from the centers of 'civilization,' rendering it most suitable for dangerous projects” like nuclear experimentation (Trask 55). I guessed that I would be unwelcome at best, and met with hostility at worst.

Luckily I was wrong. It's a family event-- adult sisters and sister-in-law sit with their mom, near the kids …

Sad losses for Hawaiian Music

It was a sad week for Hawaiian music. Auntie Genoa Leilani Adolpho Keawe-Aikodied on February 25th. Her voice epitomized the high flexible Hawaiian soprano falsetto-- lyrical, easily, light. Then a few days later, Uncle Raymond Kaleoalohapoinaoleohelemanu Kane, the master slack key guitarist, died at 82 on February 27th. I loved his gravelly voice, and his boisterous but controlled slack key. His signature song is "Wai O Ke Ani Ani." He was a mentor to many young slack key artists. It is so sad to see the passing of the older generation of Hawaiian musicians. Luckily they are honored and remembered, and younger musicians like Keoki Kahumoku are carrying on their traditions. In honor of these kupunas, we went to the 7th annual Ukulele festival in Waikoloa-- a mixed crowd of local people and tourists, kids with ukuleles and grandma's in low chairs on the lawn. Parents cheered for the jangly middle-school ukulele band playing "The Entertainer." Gabby Pahinui's…

Kahilu Theater Daytime Concerts

Almost every day I walk or drive past the Kahilu Theater marquee, next to the bank. The programs are diverse, and tend towards the stuffy: jazz dance troupes, a capella singers, classical trios-- the only unifying element is the extraordinary cost of the shows. Although there have been shows that I would have like to see (Slack Key Masters and The Brothers Kazimero) I could never consider paying the ticket prices.
Last week I discovered that the theater has "school" shows during the day, and the nice ticket lady said I could get tickets as a "homeschooler." I am a little uncomfortable claiming to be "homeschooling" my 11 month old baby, but not uncomfortable enough to say no to these great shows for 3 to 6 dollars!
So far I've been to two of these raucous daytime cultural events with my homeschooled child. The first was Huun Huur Tu-- a group of Tuvan throat singers. I was nervous: an hour of didgeridoo-like chanting didn't sound too promisin…