Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: 1 2 3 Next>>
nolan_kanikapilaAs the Outrigger Reef on the Beach completes its $110 million renovation, it opened its new poolside Kani Ka Pila Grille.

We got there on a recent Sunday to hear Brother Noland sing up a storm, debuting his new CD, Hawaiian Man. Noland Conjugacion is one of the innovators in contemporary Hawaiian music, having had hits with the reggae-flavored “Coconut Girl” and the Hawaiian swing tune “Pua Lane.” 

The new CD is a dip back into tradition, both in its slack key sound and its song selection—“Royal Hawaiian Hotel,” “Henehene Kau Ako,” and “My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii.”

It was no surprise to find an artist of Noland’s calibre playing Kani Ka Pila. The name of the place, after all, means “let’s make music.” Kani Ka Pila has filled its stage with some of the best contemporary Hawaiian musicians.

The current entertainment line-up includes two sons of the legendary Gabby Pahinui, Cyril and Martin. Cyril, of course, is a Grammy award-nominated guitarist in his own right. 

Here's the schedule:
• Sunday: Brother Noland, through April 15.
• Monday: “Pau Hana Monday” talent search with Kimo Kahoano
• Tuesday: Weldon Kekauoha
• Wednesday: Cyril Pahinui
• Thursday: Kawika Kahiapo and Martin Pahinui
• Friday: Kaukahi
• Saturday: Mānoa DNA

Kani Ka Pila Grille serves casual cuisine from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, with live entertainment nightly from 5:30-8:30 p.m. If you’re looking for a particular artist to go with your poolside mai tai, make sure to check for changes in the schedule.

Kani Ka Pila Grille, Outrigger Reef on the Beach, 2169 Kalia Road, Honolulu, Oahu, HI. (808) 924-4992.

Photo by John Heckathorn
  
Counter_grand_openingAll the upscale burgers and sweet potato fries you could eat. Kahlua-spiked milkshakes at the open bar. And a few members of the Lost cast lending some celebrity support to one of their own.

Last weekend, Lost actor Daniel Dae Kim, Hawaii chef DK Kodama and business partners Ed Robles and Pablo Buckingham threw a very cool grand opening reception for the first Hawaii location of their new build-your-own-burger joint, The Counter.

Dropping by to nosh, hang around and generally look cool were Kim’s Lost cast mates Michael Emerson (“Ben”), Jorge Garcia (“Hurley”), Josh Holloway (“Sawyer”), Ken Leung (“Miles”) and assorted crew members.

Invitations weren’t easy to come by for the private party at the Kahala Mall eatery. Guests were whisked into The Counter’s darkened-for-the-evening interior after posing for “paparazzi” pics at an arrival area just outside the door. As intimate a gathering as the party was—barely a hundred or so guests, by our count—The Counter was still standing-room-only inside.

Counter_grand_openingFor the party, The Counter had an open-all-night sushi bar and a DJ spinning house music and classic tracks. Staff worked the room offering trays filled with mini burgers and those habit-forming sweet potato fries.

Regularly packed with patrons, The Counter appears to be a solid hit with residents and visitors. None of this has gone unnoticed to Kim who aims to make The Counter part of his plan for remaining in Hawaii after Lost wraps up production for good in 2010.

Still, I had to ask Kim if even he was sick of hamburgers after spending much of the last month taking care of Counter business when not on the Lost set. He laughed hard and shook his head no.

“But I’m eating just as many salads now to make sure I stay balanced,” said Kim. His favorite menu item? “I like our veggie Burger in a Bowl.”

Kodama, for his part, said his favorite burger was the Old School—angus beef burger, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and red relish—on a bun.  “I like it simple,” he said.

Kodama was enjoying the hoopla accompanying the grand opening party—much of it courtesy of his celebrity business partner. “This is great! I hear we even have Kanye West coming tonight, and maybe even Jay Z.”

Counter_grand_openingNeither showed up. But Garcia and Leung arrived early, hanging with tight circles of friends before splitting midway. Emerson stayed from beginning to end, affably chatting it up with all that approached, chowing down on burgers and, at one point, pausing at the bar to watch episodes of Lost playing silently on flat screen TVs. An ebullient Holloway breezed in late in the evening, immediately making the rounds of the room, getting to know folks by name and happily posing for all pictures.

At evening’s end, Kim offered us a personal thank you for coming, and Kodama asked that we return on a normal day at The Counter to try a full-size burger, fries and milkshake.

“You’re gonna leave full,” he promised.

No doubt.

The Counter: Kahala, Kahala Mall, 4211 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, Oahu, HI (808) 739-5100.

Photos: DK Kodama and Daniel Dae Kim chow on mini burgers for the cameras (top), an Old School mini burger and martini (middle), Josh Holloway with unnamed party guests (bottom).
  
seattle_portland_to_honolulu_360_roundtripAttention Pacific Northwest residents!

Want to trade your drizzly skies and extra tall lattes for a dose of Hawaii sunshine this summer? Act now and you’ll be able to for a seriously reasonable price, with Hawaiian Airlines.

The catch? You must book the end of March, which, unfortunately, happens to be tomorrow.

The Hawaii-based air carrier is offering special roundtrip airfares from Portland and Seattle beginning at $360, taxes and fees not included. The deal is good for travel from June 15 to August 21, during the peak summer travel season.

Hawaiian Airlines also has lowered fares on its direct flights to Kahului, Maui, from the Pacific Northwest. Prices start at $386 for Hawaiian Airlines flights departing from Seattle, $430 from Portland.

All fares are subject to seat availability, of course. Click here for details.
 
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This weekend the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel celebrated its reopening after a $150 million renovation, with not one but two nights of parties.

The elegant first night featured dignitaries, including former vice president Dan Quayle, speeches, and the traditional Japanese ceremony of breaking open a taru (wooden sake barrel). Not to mention a concert by jazz fusion group Hiroshima and splendid food and drink.

The weekend included a golf tournament, Hawaiian cultural classes, cooking demonstrations, art tours and culminated in a full-on luau with headliners Cecilio and Kapono.

Sound like fun? Here's a peak at the festivities. (Click on the slideshow for larger images.)



Photos by John Heckathorn and Bob Fewell
 

UPDATE, 3/30/2009: Kilauea: Mountain of Fire is now viewable online, in its entirety. Click here to watch.


Kilauea_volcano_PBSIf you can’t go the Big Island of Hawaii to see the current eruptive activity at Kilauea volcano in person, a new documentary airing this weekend on PBS might be the next best thing.

Producers of Kilauea: Mountain of Fire say their documentary is the first of the ongoing eruption at Kilauea filmed specifically for high-definition television. Filmed last year at a particularly heightened period in current Kilauea activity, the doc airs Sunday evening on the long-running Emmy-award winning PBS series Nature. (Click here for program times for your local PBS station.)

Given extraordinary access by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the crew of Kilauea: Mountain of Fire aimed to take viewers about as close as one could get to the powerful forces of nature at work on the volcano. Another goal was capturing the challenges of the animal and plant life living in Kilauea’s shadow.

The footage we’ve seen so far certainly looks impressive.

Aerial views peering into the maw of Kilauea volcano’s Puu Oo vent. Molten lava from Puu Oo reacting explosively in blasts of steam and lava particles as it meets the cold, roiling sea. Close-up sights and sounds of underwater lava flows building more Big Island land beneath the surface of the waves. A hike into the pitch darkness of Kilauea summit’s Kazumura lava tube, the world’s longest and deepest.

“The production used a variety of filmmaking techniques to bring this story to life,” says producer-director Kevin Bachar. “From special camera cranes offering us unique perspectives, to underwater housings allowing us to get up close … the production team was always looking for interesting ways to tell the story about this volcano.”

Gathering footage of the resilient animals making their home in and around the volcano’s unpredictable environs, Bachar’s crew encountered Hawaii state bird the nene goose, various species of lava tube-dwelling creatures called troglobites and an attack by a swarm of invasive wasps. One of the most captivating of these encounters focuses on efforts to protect the Hawaiian green sea turtles, which make their home offshore where coral clings to hardened lava.

Says Bachar: “In the end, the film crew was able to bring back a unique and extraordinary look at Kilauea volcano, with some images never captured before in high-definition television."

Click the below frame for a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Kilauea: Mountain of Fire.
 
Photo: USGS



 
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Hawaii's iconic Mauna Kea Beach Hotel reopens


mauna_kea1The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel got a glorious day for its official reopening, sunshiny, 79 degrees, with pleasant trades.  Things are quiet here in the hotel lobby. 

Everyone seems to be down enjoying the hotel’s most prominent amenity, its crescent white sand beach.

Things will light up tonight with a “Cuisines of the World” food festival and a concert by jazz fusion band Hiroshima.

The venerable Mauna Kea Beach Hotel was the only one of the Kohala Coast hotels that sustained serious damage from the 2006 earthquake.  Two and a half years and $150 million later, it has reopened, with a few changes.

mauna_kea1The hotel never looked tacky, but it was starting to look dated, very beige and '60s. The original architectural design couldn’t be improved—it’s a triumph that blends spare modern construction with a tropical surroundings.

But the rooms were small. The new ocean front rooms take up a room and half from the old hotel. The new half room is a stunning bathroom with an open shower. There’s a curtain that closes off the oceanfront picture window if modesty insists.

When Laurence Rockefeller designed the hotel in 1965, he put no televisions in the rooms. The Mauna Kea has finally given in and installed large flat screen TVs—though why would you want to gaze at a LCD screen when you can simply look out over palm trees, surf and blue skies?

Otherwise the hotel simply sparkles, with new paint and tiles, its priceless art collection newly restored and reinstalled. Wish you could be here—we will keep you updated on the festivities.

Photos: John Heckathorn

 
Prince_Kuhio_Day_2009Every year Hawaii celebrates Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi’s birthday.

It is Hawaii’s way of paying tribute to the man who created much of the Hawaii the world sees today. His determination and dedication for the Hawaiian Islands and its people led him to serve as Hawaii’s second congressional delegate from 1903 until his death in 1922. Thanks to Prince Kuhio, we have King Kamehameha Day—the only other state holiday dedicated to Hawaii’s royalty.

For more information on Prince Kuhio’s life and the impact he had on Hawaii, check out “Who Is Prince Kuhio?” in our March/April 2007 issue of HAWAII Magazine.

In honor of Hawaii’s beloved prince, today is a state holiday—schools are closed, city transportation operates on a holiday schedule and many people have the day off.

If you’re on Oahu this weekend, here is a list of Prince Kuhio celebrations:

Thurs., March 26:
Prince Kuhio Statue Ceremony (Kuhio Beach)
Prince Kuhio Celebration of Life (Royal Mausoleum)
Prince Kuhio Day Celebration (Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio)

Sat., March 28:
Prince Kuhio Hoolaulea (Kapiolani Park)
Prince Kuhio Annual Parade (Saratoga Road, Kalakaua Avenue, Kapiolani Park)
Prince Kuhio Moonlight Concert (Kapiolani Park)

In the Koloa district on Kauai, Prince Kuhio’s birthplace, there are many Prince Kuhio celebrations scheduled throughout the weekend, including cultural demonstrations, commemorative ceremonies, carving demonstrations and a celebration luau.

Below is a slideshow of a past Prince Kuhio Day ceremony at Oahu’s Royal Mausoleum in Nuuanu Valley. There’s also a video of the hula performance in his honor.

Click on the slideshow screen for larger photos.

Above: The Prince Kuhio statue in Waikiki at Kuhio Beach.
Photos and video by Sherie Char



 
construction_begins_on_new_arizona_memorialOne of Hawaii’s most visited military historical sites is getting a facelift.

Preliminary construction has begun on a new 17,750 square-foot USS Arizona Memorial visitor center at Pearl Harbor. The $58 million project includes other additions and landscaping changes to the visitor center grounds. The world famous edifice of the Alfred Preis-designed memorial, constructed above the sunken hull of the battleship in Pearl Harbor, is not part of the renovation.

The current 29-year old visitor center (pictured below) will remain open during construction.

In the coming weeks, octagonal shaped pillars, or piles—each 125 to 200 feet long and 16.5 inches around—will be driven into the ground to serve as the foundation for buildings and other structures. The bulk of this first-phase structural work will take place weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. from April 30 to May 27.

Everything at the Pearl Harbor Historic Site will remain business as usual with tours and boats running as scheduled. You should, however, plan accordingly as traffic in the area will likely increase.

construction_begins_on_new_arizona_memorialWhen completed in early 2010, the new visitor complex will house interactive exhibits, a renovated concession area and restrooms better accommodating the 1.5 million people visiting the Arizona Memorial annually. Additional site improvements will include more walkways, security walls, and new landscaping and parking.

Phase two of the project begins soon after, with the demolition of the existing visitor center and construction of new pavilions. The estimated completion date for the entire project is September 2010.

A formal opening ceremony for the new visitor center is being planned for December 7, 2010—the 69th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Click here to view a photo slideshow by HAWAII Magazine associate editor Sherie Char of a recent visit to the USS Arizona Memorial.

Image and photo: National Park Service
 

Catching up with HawaiiMagazine.com's best posts


catching_up_best_postsTime to catch up with our best and most-popular Web posts again!

Every couple of months, we bring our brand new HawaiiMagazine.com readers—and even regular visitors who sometimes miss a few stories—up to date with the best of our daily Web site posts.

We’ve written 528 posts in total since January 2008—all of ‘em still here in our HawaiiMagazine.com archives, all of ‘em searchable by subject or island. Short features on Hawaii’s people, places, and products. Travel tips and travel deals. Slideshows of the photos we take on our travels throughout the Islands. And dozens of updates on activity at Kilauea volcano on the Big Island.

The Hawaii subject matter we write about is as infinite as our continuing fascination with this collection of Islands we call home.

Click the links below to catch up with HawaiiMagazine.com’s staff and readers favorite posts since the beginning of the year.

• Celebs, music and fireworks light up Royal Hawaiian gala reopening

• Hawaii officials huhu at The Rock’s SNL skit. Are you?

• Jason Mraz shares tales from "I'm Yours" Hawaii video shoot

• What's the deal with Waikiki's Trump Hotel & Tower?

• Take a tour through Lahaina’s historic trail on Maui

• Where's the beach? Seeking the origins of Waikiki sand

• Colbie Caillat shows Kauai roots in "Little Things" video

• Hidden Hawaii: Cool, green and serene Lanai

• New Hawaii burger joint part of Daniel Dae Kim's post-Lost plans

• VIDEO: Kilauea volcano lava lake rising, falling

• Jack Johnson's Kokua Festival taking a break in 2009

• Where to stay in Hawaii if you smoke

• Searching for Hawaii’s poi on the Mainland

• L.A./San Francisco to Hawaii airfare and hotel as low as $299

• The best restaurants in Hawaii

• It's humpback whale season in Hawaii

• Doing a Hawaii-themed luau away from Hawaii

• Char’s Chopsticks: Fresh Catch restaurant


• Char’s Chopsticks: Sam Sato’s, Inc.

• Maui's Grand Wailea Resort finishes multimillion dollar renovation

• What’s really “essential” on iTunes' Hawaiian Music Essentials playlist?

• Oahu’s Waahila Ridge Trail. I hike it.
  
Hokulea_arrives_PalmyraHawaiian voyaging canoe Hokulea and its crew sailed into the calm teal waters of Palmyra Atoll yesterday, nine days after departing Oahu.

Crew members reported sight of the atoll— some 1,000 miles south of Hawaii—at 8 a.m. (Hawaii time) Thursday, posting the information on its voyage blog a few hours later. In a lengthier update today, crewmembers Jenna Chiyono Ishii and Pauline Michiko Sato blogged about Hokulea’s very cool and very unexpected atoll welcome escorts, and other much-missed necessities accompanying the Palmyra arrival.

Wrote Jenna and Pauline:

On our approach, we were escorted by pods of dolphins (spinners, bottlenose) and melon-headed whales. It was a sight beyond imagination. Palmyra grew bigger and bigger and we saw the lush green trees on the low-lying atoll.

We were welcomed by The Nature Conservancy's staff by boat that led us through safe passage in this beautiful yet potentially dangerous system of reefs. It took a while to finally enter, but the wait was definitely worth it. The staff fed us a delicious lunch. However, the thing we went for first was an ice cold drink. This was the first time we had anything cold for a long time!  We were in heaven!

The staff took us out on short field trips in the afternoon. Tomorrow we will write more and hopefully load some photos of our adventures.


As previously reported here, the current month-long voyage to Palmyra and back to Hawaii is the first of at least a dozen training missions preparing Hokulea crews for a global circumnavigation voyage in May 2012.

You can continue to follow the crew members’ daily activities as they log them in Hokulea’s Palmyra voyage blog, or on its Twitter page.

Hokulea crew docking at Palmyra Atoll. Photo by crewmember Mark Taylor 
  
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