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Indiana_Jones_search_Tetraplasandra_LydgateiWhen is the life of a field botanist akin to that of a certain silver-screen archeologist, who’s famous for getting into potentially dangerous situations in remote locales?

Hawaii’s field botanists dangle from helicopters. They work in the pelting downpours of mountain rainforests. They navigate down sheer 3,000 foot oceanside cliffs. They battle wild pigs. All in the name of science.

These mild-mannered botanists are working diligently to save plant life in Hawaii’s fragile ecosystems.

In the March/April print edition of HAWAII Magazine, Kauai-based science writer Jan Tenbruggencate’s terrific feature “Into the Wild” rappels you into their world of remote mountain valleys and rare plants.

What exactly is Tetraplasandra lydgatei and what do our field botanists have to do with it? Pick up a copy of HAWAII Magazine at Borders Books and Music and Barnes & Noble stores nationwide and find out.
 
Photo of Hawaii botanist Ane Bakutis at work by Hina Kneubuhl
 

Slack-key guitar legend Raymond Kane dies


slack_key_guitar_legend_Raymond_Kane_diesThe art of slack-key guitar has lost one of its greats.

Raymond Kane died yesterday in Honolulu. He was 82.

Long a renowned performer and teacher of the open-tuning Hawaiian guitar style, Kane was one of the first artists signed to George Winston’s Dancing Cat record label in 1994.

Like his cousin Aunty Genoa Keawe—who passed away on Monday— Kane was honored by his peers in the Hawaii music industry with a Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1987, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Folk Heritage Fellowship, one of the most prestigious honors for folk artists.

Kane seemed to get a particular kick out of introducing slack key to an audience of newcomers. One of the best memories of my years attending the University of Hawaii-Manoa was Kane’s visit to my Music in Modern America class one morning in 1993. Guitar at his side, the slyly humorous, always-grinning Kane shared stories of his life, his deep knowledge of the art form and, best of all, his sweet nahenahe (that’s relaxing in Hawaiian) ki hoalu skills with our tiny class.

For that hour, there was no cooler place in the world to be.

Rest in peace, Uncle Ray. We’ll miss you down here.

Photo courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts
  

Is Mauna Kea's summit baby-safe?


is_Mauna_Keas_summit_baby-safeYou ask. We answer.

Reader Sharon Nehring-Willson from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, wrote with a question about traveling to the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island.

An avid hiker, she’s planning a trip to Hawaii with her family in March, and wanted to know if her 16-month-old daughter would be comfortable on the drive to the top of Mauna Kea.

No, says the staff of the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station on Mauna Kea.

Mauna Kea’s summit is one of the few places in the world where folks can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in two hours. Altitude sickness is common because air at the summit contains 40 percent less oxygen than air at sea level.

Staff at the visitor station—located at the 9,200 foot level—recommends that no one under the age of 16 travel past the center. The altitude change is too tough on developing bodies.

Other folks that should avoid the summit: pregnant women, anyone planning to scuba dive within 24 hours, and anyone in poor health or with a heart or respiratory problem.

One other note: The steep, graded gravel road beyond the visitor center is recommended for four-wheel-drive vehicles only. Most rental car agreements prohibit use of their vehicles on the road.

More information from the visitor information station is here. You'll find a great guide to the mountain, produced by the Onizuka Center, Mauna Kea: A Guide To Hawaii's Sacred Mountain, here.

For anyone who can manage a trip on a clear day or night, however, rest assured that the view from Mauna Kea's summit of the star-filled sky above and Earth below is worth it.

Photo courtesy of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy
 
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The Dragon's Gift


The_Dragons_giftIt’s the opening week of the Honolulu Academy of Arts' three-month “The Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan” exhibit.

What else is in it for you—besides a glimpse of Bhutanese art works dating from the 8th to 20th centuries—if you visit through Friday?

Monks dancing.

They are Buddhist monks, from Bhutan, one of the most isolated and hidden countries on the planet. They’ll be performing the Cham—the colorful, meditative Buddhist dance of Bhutan—in the Academy’s central court at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. through Friday. 

The monks wear brightly-colored robes, ornate headdresses and masks, and are accompanied by drum-filled traditional beats.

In Bhutan, the Cham is performed during Tsechu, annual religious festivals held throughout the country that draw remote villages together for communal celebration and socializing.

The monks will also perform at ARTafterDARK—the Academy’s monthly after-work mixer for young adults—on Friday at 6 p.m. In honor of the exhibit, this month’s AafterD theme is “Dragon Thunder.”

The bonus of checking out the Academy’s Bhutan exhibit at AafterD? For $10, you get admission to the event, the Academy, the Dragon’s Gift exhibit (it’ll cost you $20 extra during daylight hours), food and cocktails for sale from E&O Trading Co. inspired by Bhutanese cuisine, AND monks dancing.

More information on the Honolulu Academy of Arts “Dragon’s Gift” exhibit here, ARTafterDARK here, and a terrific article from The New York Times on how the exhibit got to the Academy here.

"The Dragon's Gift" exhibit will be at the Academy through May 23.

Photo courtesy of the Honolulu Academy of Arts
  

Battleship Missouri celebrates a decade at Pearl Harbor


Battleship_Missouri_celebrates_decade_Pearl_HarborPlanning a visit to Pearl Harbor this summer?

The Battleship Missouri Memorial has scheduled a series of special tours and ceremonies in June, commemorating the 67-year-old battleship’s 10th anniversary in Pearl Harbor.

Special guided tours of the historic vessel will be offered throughout June:

Tour guides will share stories of crewmember experiences on the “Mighty Mo”—from World War II through Operation Desert Storm—on the Generations Tour—offered at 2 p.m. daily, beginning June 1. Among other facts, you’ll hear how the once rusting battleship was saved from the scrap heap and turned into a memorial, and see the on-board site where Japan formally surrendered World War II.

The Weapons Tour—offered at 1:30 p.m. daily, beginning June 1—is pretty much just that: A detailed look at the array of weaponry the battleship utilized in its five decades of active service. Ask nice and they may even show you the exact spot beneath the anti-aircraft guns where Cher shimmied in her semi-infamous “If I Could Turn Back Time” video.

Both tours will be an hour long, and require a separate admission fee.

On June 21—a full decade since the Missouri docked permanently at Pearl Harbor—the “A Mighty Mahalo” celebration will offer a day-long slate of pierside events.

For admission prices and more information on Battleship Missouri Memorial 10th anniversary events, call the memorial at (877) 644-4896.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial’s Web site is here.
 
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A Big Island dining recommendation


Big_Island_dining_recommendationOur friend Hawaii food writer Joan Namkoong e-mailed today with a new restaurant to add to our Big Island eats round-up. Since she’s a Big Island resident and the kind of person who always knows where to find great food, we snapped to attention.

Wrote Joan:

There's a yummy new place to eat on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island: Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar at the Queens' Marketplace at Waikoloa Village Resort.

Known for its fresh fish and expert sushi makers, Sansei (with locations on Oahu and Maui) has been a favorite of residents and visitors for years.

Eric Rouelle is the executive chef at the Queens' Marketplace location where traditional and "new wave" sushi and steaks—a favorite of chef D.K. Kodama—will be served … with excellent wine pairings by master sommelier Chuck Furuya. Sansei's "local flavors" will no doubt stand out on the Kohala Coast restaurant scene.

Sansei is open nightly 5:30 to 10 p.m. with early bird and late night specials. Call (808) 886-6286.


Sansei, we’re guessing, will be a great addition to Queens' Marketplace, which is still adding tenants. The marketplace—a 135,000 square foot collection of retailers, restaurants and services—opened last October in the Waikoloa Village Resort area.

Photo courtesy of Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar
 

Hawaii music legend Aunty Genoa Keawe dies


Hawaii_music_legend_Aunty_Genoa_Keawe_diesMuch beloved Hawaiian music legend Aunty Genoa Keawe has died at age 89.

Aunty Genoa passed away this morning in her sleep at her home on Oahu. A renowned Hawaiian falsetto vocalist, she was a “living treasure” of Hawaiian music. Her more than 70 years of performances and recorded works were influential for many Island musicians. 

A statement from her son and manager Eric Keawe can be found at Aunty Genoa’s Web site here. The site is also a wonderful resource and tribute to the life and music of Aunty Genoa.

Born Genoa Leilani Adolpho on Oct. 31, 1918, Keawe began her professional career in 1939, singing at bandstand shows and for military personnel. Since her first recordings for 49th State Hawaii Records in 1946, she had recorded over 20 albums and more than 150 singles.

In 2004, Keawe’s 1963 album Party Hulas was ranked No. 11 on Honolulu Magazine’s list of the 50 greatest Hawaii albums of all time. She won a Na Hoku Hanohano Award—the Hawaii music industry’s most prestigious peer-voted award—for female vocalist of the year for her Hula Hou album in 2005. In 2001, Aunty Genoa became only the second musician ever inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame while still alive.

Always fond of an audience, Aunty Genoa had until recently performed every Thursday at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. The show was famous for attracting surprise guests—both young and veteran admirers of her work.

In an interview with Honolulu Magazine in 2004 at age 85, Aunty Genoa recounted why she had no plans to retire from the stage anytime soon.

“Everybody says, ‘Gee Aunty Genoa, looks like Hawaiian music is leaving us. People are not singing it too much.’ I say, well, as long as I’m alive, there will always be.”

Teach them to hula in heaven, Aunty Genoa.
 
Photo by Olivier Koning
 

We want your Hawaii photos


we_want_your_Hawaii_photosDo you have an awesome shot of Hawaii?

If you’ve been to our islands before, we know you took some pictures. Maybe even some great pictures. E-mail one or two of those to us and it could be selected as our HawaiiMagazine.com Photo of the Week.

Check out the right-hand corner of our home page. See the pic? It could be yours if we think it’s the coolest of the week.

We’re looking for any shot that, with one glance, says “Hawaii.” Our sunsets, scenery and beaches are always nice. But we’d love it if you got creative, too, with our food, our people, our architecture, our way of life.

Send along you name, where you live and a little background on the photo. Please send it all to photo@hawaiimagazine.com.

Winners get their photo posted on our home page for a week, and posted large-size (along with their story) in our Photo of the Week archive forever. (Just click on the home page Photo of the Week to check out the archive).

And in case you are wondering, you can still enter those photos in our annual Photo Contest. Details on this year's contest will be in the May/June issue of HAWAII Magazine.

Photo by HAWAII Magazine reader Mark Hutson
 

Found! Pineapple sunglasses


pineapple_sunglassesYou ask. We answer.

HAWAII Magazine reader Lori Dziadon of Ohio, sent us an e-mail asking if we knew where to get some pineapple-frame glasses.

When it comes to pineapple, we couldn’t think of anyone else except for Tracy Johnson, Maui Pineapple Co.’s public relations manager.

She recommended a pair of cute pineapple-frame glasses, but says, “Personally, I like these!”

Yaemi Yogi (pictured above) sported a pair of pineapple-frame glasses at a breakfast on Maui honoring the last generation of pineapple cannery workers. Next to her is fellow retiree, Ann Igarashi, who worked for Maui Pineapple Co. for 43 years. This picture and story appeared in our Jan./Feb. 2008 issue.

Do you have an idea for the sequel to the pineapple-frame glasses?

Photo by Tony Novak-Clifford/Courtesy of Maui Pineapple Co.
  

From "Tiny Bubbles" to "Margaritaville"


from_Tiny_Bubbles_to_MargaritavilleMusician Jimmy Buffett is starting construction on his first Hawaii restaurant in Waikiki.  

That may mean nirvana for Parrotheads planning a trip here. But it also quietly marked the end of an era for fans of the late great Hawaii crooner Don Ho.

Jimmy Buffett’s at the Beachcomber—a $15 million dining, entertainment and retail venue named for the man who wrote “Margaritaville”—will open later this year in space that housed Ho’s final Waikiki showroom. Ho, who passed away last April after a long illness, had sung for fans in the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber hotel showroom for 13 years. A showman till the end, Ho passed away two days after his final performance in the room.

from_Tiny_Bubbles_to_MargaritavilleThe Beachcomber showroom wasn’t as large as the ones Ho ruled in the 1960s and 1970s. But he made it his own. The show was a throwback to his early years performing at his parents’ lounge, Honey’s. He filled the Beachcomber room almost every night.

“We were doing the same thing at the Beachcomber as Honey’s … small room … 250 seats. Me at the organ with my telephone, band right there, best musicians I can find,” Ho said, in his posthumously-released oral history Don Ho: My Music, My Life.

A confessed longtime fan of Ho, Buffett now owes more to his hero than just his laidback, tropical-inspired act.

Win a copy of Don Ho: My Music, My Life, from us, here.
 
Photo of Don Ho with The Alii's at Duke Kahanamoku's in the 1960s, courtesy of Watermark Publishing; photo of Jimmy Buffett courtesy of RCA.
 
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