Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: 1 2 Next>>

Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_Halekulani_SantaGene DiCicco usually stops trimming his beard in June or July. About six months later, his white whiskers are the right length for his annual Christmas Eve arrival at Gray’s Beach, edging Waikiki’s Halekulani resort.

DiCicco, who has happily played the role of Santa at Halekulani for 11 consecutive years, is wrapping up his holiday stay on Oahu today. The Kona resident plans to return for 2013’s Christmas celebration.

HAWAII Magazine recently chatted with DiCicco about his yearly weeklong switch from Big Island boutique coffee farm proprietor (250 trees yielding about 500 pounds of java a year) to Father Christmas. He relayed the following yuletide account.Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_Halekulani_Santa

Shortly before last week’s beach appearance — slated for 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 24 — DiCicco touched up a few gray streaks in his beard with a snowy-white coloring and buckled himself into the storied red coat. Then, launching from a neighboring hotel area, DiCicco and a few holiday helpers hopped into an outrigger and paddled about a half mile off of Waikiki’s shore. Upon receiving a signal, they stroked their way back in, landing just east of Halekulani's grounds (pictured, above).
Estimating the annual beachside crowds at up to 1,000 people, DiCicco says, “A lot of times, “you don’t see sand — just people” gathering at the shore and lined up on a walkway. The beach event also features a children's singing group, musicians and hula performers.

The agile 70-year-old notes that he has yet to stumble while moving from water to sand, in part, because he decks out in a “wild pair of shorts” (pictured, left) rather than red pants. Also, instead of black boots, the island-style Santa goes barefoot.

After making his way through the crowd, DiCicco says he always heads to the resort’s ballroom, where children spending Christmas at Halekulani get together for a party. “The little kids truly believe that I’m Santa Claus,” he says. Over the years, “I’ve seen small kids grow to teens, and I've seen some guests year after year. It’s become quite a nice thing.”  Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_Halekulani_Santa

The annual St. Nick role officially usually ends on Christmas morning, following a caroling stroll through the resort's corridors with housekeeping staff. But DiCicco, who has visited at the resort with his family many times over a span of nearly three decades, says regardless of his attire he’s now known around Halekulani as Santa — even in July.
When asked what’s most challenging about suiting up as a North Pole elf in tropics, DiCicco chuckles lightly and says: “By late November and into December, the length of my beard starts driving me nuts. I can’t wait to get it shaved off.”

And every year on Christmas Day, he does just that.

During the early afternoon, “I’m at the barbershop and my beard’s being trimmed.” This year was no exception (pictured, right). “I love it because now when I look in the mirror in the morning I see a younger guy.”

For more information about Halekulani on the Beach at Waikiki, click here. And for details about DiCicco’s coffee operation, DiCicco Terrace Kona Coffee, click here.

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Photos: Courtesy of Halekulani on the Beach at Waikiki


It’s almost time to bid aloha to 2012. In Hawaii, 2013 will get under way with fireworks bursting in the midnight sky. Toes-in-the-sand spectators will greet the new year on Monday night and very early on Tuesday morning, gazing skyward while stretched out on mats and in beach chairs along Waikiki beaches and on various other shorelines in the Islands.

Here’s our list of New Year’s Eve 2012 fireworks displays. Hauoli Makahiki Hou! — Happy New Year!—and all the best for 2013 from the HAWAII Magazine ohana!



New Year’s Eve 2012 Aloha Tower Block Party  — midnight fireworks, with free public viewing areas around Aloha Tower Marketplace (pictured, top of page) near downtown Honolulu.

Fireworks are shot from platforms docked in Honolulu Harbor so the best spots to watch are along the marketplace's long pier. The marketplace will host a soiree dubbed  “BIG BLAST & BIG BANG,” featuring DJs and musicians performing on eight stages. There will also be a fashion show, exhibits, and street performers. Festivities get under way at 7 p.m. For more event details, click here.

New Year’s Eve Party of the Year — Fireworks every hour at Kakaako Waterfront Park, starting at 9 p.m. The party festivities get under way at 6 p.m. Among other highlights: bands and DJs on eight stages, an “Eat the Street” food truck festival, firedancers, and a Ferris Wheel. For more information, click here

Ko Olina New Year’s Lagoon Fireworks Spectacular  — midnight, with free public viewing areas along each of West Oahu resort’s four lagoons (pictured, above). Starting at 5 p.m., parking will be available at a rate of $20 per car. Alcoholic beverages, coolers, backpacks, personal fireworks and open fires are strictly prohibited.

Want to watch the show from the water? Ko Olina Marina catamaran cruises will be available ($99 and $109 per person).  For more information, click here or call 808-679-1090.

Waikiki Beach fireworks  — midnight, with free public viewing areas along the Waikiki beachfront. This annual fireworks show — sponsored by Waikiki hotels and businesses and the Waikiki Improvement Association — is visible from the entire Waikiki beachfront — and beyond. The popular event even has a fireworks countdown before the show. Organizers plan to fire a total of more than 1,200 shells. Click here for more details.


Hawaii_Oahu_football_Pro_BowlAre you ready for some all-star NFL football in Hawaii?

HAWAII Magazine is giving away a six-day/five night vacation on Oahu with sideline tickets to the 2013 NFL (National Football League) Pro Bowl. The all-star game, in which the NFC (National Football Conference) squares off against the AFC (American Football Conference), is slated for Jan. 27 at Oahu’s Aloha Stadium

How to win an NFL Pro Bowl Experience? Submit a very short online entry form and be sure to check your email on Jan. 10, 2013. To enter, click here.

Entries must be submitted by midnight on Tues., Jan. 8 (Hawaii time). Yes, that's a mere 12 days away! 

We'll select one winner, at random and notify the winner via e-mail on Thurs., Jan 10, 2013.  The winner will be given 24 hours from the time prize-winning notification is sent to reply via email before the prize is awarded to another winner.Hawaii_Oahu_football_Pro_Bowl

Here's what the winner gets:

• Complimentary Hawaiian Airlines round-trip coach airfare for the winner and one guest between Oahu and one of 11 gateway cities served by Hawaiian Airlines in North America

• Six-days/five-nights complimentary accommodations at the Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort, January 24-29, 2013. 

• Two sideline tickets to the 2013 Pro Bowl (on Jan. 27, 2013 at Aloha Stadium)

• Two passes to the Official NFL Tailgate Party

• Two NFL goodie bags

• Two seats in the reserved section at the Pro Bowl Ohana Day on Saturday at Aloha Stadium (Jan. 26, at Aloha Stadium)

• A locker room tour following the Ohana Day event.

For more information about the HAWAII Magazine giveaway, click here.

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Photo: 2011 Pro Bowl, courtesy of the National Football League

Kalalea Heiau and, just beyond it, Ka Lae's marine craft light tower.

For 15 minutes this spring I was the southernmost person in the United States.

It happened near the beginning of my morning exploring the near-flat swath of dry, wildly windswept coastal grasslands and dirt dunes surrounding Ka Lae, the geographic southernmost point of the Big Island and the Hawaiian Islands. I was standing on a small lava-rock outcropping jutting out into the blue Pacific, safely distant from tide pools replenished by an endless march of angry, crashing waves. No one was waiting in line to be the next southernmost person in the U.S.

The crystalline waters off of Ka Lae's sea cliffs.

The nearest human souls to me were a trio of shoreline fishermen several hundred yards away, perched on sea cliffs facing the calmer, crystalline waters of Ka Lae’s west side. They were inhaling Spam, teri-beef and fried chicken from their bento lunches while waiting for fish to bite. Beyond them, a dozen or so others—judging by their rental cars, probably first-time Ka Lae visitors like myself—gazed wide-eyed at the odd-for-Hawaii, prairielike landscape surrounding them.

The prairielike landscape of Ka Lae.

The bragging rights that come with being as far south as anyone can get in the U.S was so geeky cool, I immediately blasted hastily shot iPhone photos to friends back in Honolulu and our HAWAII Magazine Facebook page.

“Wish you were here,” and all that.

The moment duly captured, the iPhone was returned to my backpack soon enough, replaced in my hand by my black notebook. The distinction of being the southernmost person wasn’t the only reason I’d come to Ka Lae.


Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_museum_art_exhibitionHonolulu Museum of Art has plans for several exhibitions in the works for 2013. Among the most anticipated: Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: The Hawaii Pictures.“ According to the museum, the exhibition will be the first to “feature in dialogue work created in and about Hawaii by these two American masters.”
Both artists are associated with specific places—O’Keeffe is tied to the American Southwest and Adams is known for his black-and-white photography of Yosemite National Park. Also, both visited the Islands as prominent artists, and sought to capture Hawaii’s sense of place. The Hawai‘i Pictures explores each artist’s Hawaii stay and reveals how the Islands influenced their subsequent work.

O’Keeffe spent three months in Hawaii during 1939 while on assignment for Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole Pineapple Co.) She was tasked with producing two paintings for a national advertising campaign. The artist produced 20 paintings of tropical plants, verdant landscapes and the blue-green sea — and did not paint a single pineapple. After returning to New York, though, she reported painted a delivered pineapple. 

Adams first visited the islands in 1948 to take photographs for a series on national parks for the Department of the Interior. He and returned in 1957 for a commemorative publication for Bishop National Bank of Hawaii (now First Hawaiian Bank).

Theresa Papanikolas, Honolulu Museum of Art’s curator of European and American art, and curator of the exhibition, said in a written statement: “Both artists wanted to unmask what lay beyond the beaches of Waikiki.”

Papanikolas continued: “O’Keeffe went beyond prevailing stereotypes and pictured Hawaii in terms of her own authentic and deeply personal response to its natural beauty. Meanwhile, the work that Adams did in the island reflected and augmented his broader aim to exploit the capacity of modern photography to reveal the essence of a given subject and, in doing so, make America’s celebrated spaces immediately identifiable and accessible.”

The Hawaii Pictures exhibit is slated to start on July 18, 2013 and wrap up on Jan. 12, 2014. For additional information about the Honolulu Museum of Art, click here.

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Photo: Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Waterfall — No. III — Iao Valley (1939), oil on canvas


HAWAII Magazine’s staff ohana

To: our HAWAII Magazine & HawaiiMagazine.com
reader ohana

A very Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) to you and all the best in the new year. Hauoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)!


By the way, if you happen to be on Oahu this week or next, the 28th annual Honolulu City Lights will be glowing every evening until Jan. 1.

The Mele Kalikimaka scene, which got under way earlier this month, features larger-than-life holiday displays, such as a 21-foot shaka-flashing Santa seated next to a lei-draped Tutu Mele (pictured, above) at a fountain pool fronting Honolulu Hale (Oahu’s city hall). There’s also an island-style snowman and his family (pictured, top of page) as well as an elaborately decorated 50-foot Norfolk Christmas tree. Inside historic Honolulu Hale (constructed in 1928), you'll find a lineup of Christmas trees, each cleverly decorated by personnel in government offices and other volunteers. If you go, have fun — and bring a camera. For more information about Honolulu City Lights and related special events, click here.

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Photos: David Croxford

Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_Punchbowl_Inouye_memorialA memorial service for Hawaii’s Sen. Daniel K. Inouye will be held on Sun. Dec. 23 at Oahu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. 

The Medal of Honor recipient who represented the Islands in Congress for 50 years died Monday of respiratory complications at a Washington D.C.-area hospital. Inouye, 88, was president pro tempore of the Senate and, as the Senate’s senior member, third in the line of presidential succession.

Services for Inouye began yesterday in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, a rare honor usually reserved for presidents and historical figures. Among them: Presidents Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. The last person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda was President Gerald Ford in 2007.

A public memorial service will be held for Inouye at 10:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. Hawaii time) in Washington National Cathedral. Inouye will lie in state at Hawaii’s State Capitol tomorrow evening, with public viewing from 5 p.m. until midnight.Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_Punchbowl_Inouye_memorial

The final memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. 

Inouye, who grew up in Oahu's Honolulu area, began his career in public service at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He served with “E” company of the 442 Regimental Combat Team, as group consisting entirely of Americans of Japanese ancestry. The combat team, known for its motto of “Go for Broke,” would become one of the most decorated military units in history. Inouye lost his right arm while charging machine gun nests on a hill in San Terenzo, Italy on April 21, 1945. His actions during that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.

Three years after statehood was established in 1959, Inouye, a Democrat, was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served for nearly nine consecutive terms.

The senator’s widow, Irene Hirano Inouye, yesterday announced the start of The Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Fund, which has been created at the Hawaii Community Foundation at her request. The fund aims to help the organizations and causes Inouye supported. For contribution information, click here.

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Photos: Sen. Inouye’s Office/(bottom) Sen. Inouye with President John F. Kennedy

Hawaii_Oahu_Waikiki_Maui_Kapalua_Ritz_Carlton_condominiumsRitz-Carlton is poised to make its debut on Oahu with The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach — a high-rise featuring upscale condominiums and situated adjacent to “Luxury Row” retailers such as Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci.

The tower will feature condominiums ranging in size from 400 to more than 3,000 square feet.  Amenities will include pools, a spa, a fitness center, owners' lounge and storage, cafe and restaurant. Developers also plan to open a gourmet food market.  The residential project marks the first new luxury condo property to be built in Waikiki since 2009. 

The Residences will be branded and managed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, L.L.C. The company’s other presence in the Islands is on Maui, at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua Resort and residences (condos and villas).

In a news release issued today, Jason Grosfeld, of Pacrep LLC, the Los Angeles-based developer working in tandem with Ritz-Carlton, said: "The Residences will further secure Waikiki's position as a world-class destination providing full- and part-time residents, as well as visitors, with all the legendary services and amenities they have come to expect of The Ritz-Carlton brand." 

Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association, said: "Tourism is the engine that drives Hawaii's economy and Waikiki represents more cylinders in that engine than any other place in the state." He added, "To have a new luxury property of this stature rising in Waikiki at this time is a very positive sign for tourism and lodging in the Islands."

According to the news release, the property's real estate will be marketed by S&P Real Estate Corporation. Public marketing and sales activities are expected to begin in 2013, with construction slated to start toward the end of the year. Completion expected in early 2016.  For information about real estate opportunities, call 808-683-7494.

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Photo: Waikiki Beach/Diamond Head, (HTA) Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson


Earlier this year, The Honolulu Museum of Art unveiled its new plans for Spalding House, the verdantly landscaped hillside estate — previously home to The Contemporary Museum. Much of The Contemporary Museum’s 3,000-strong contemporary art collection is now housed at the downtown area Honolulu Museum of Art, which absorbed all of the former’s assets in a 2011 merger of the two museums.

The debut exhibit, Spalding House: A Thousand Words and Counting (five small-scale shows illustrating aspects of literature), opened this fall. As the 2012 calendar wraps up, three shows remain: “Letters to Queen Liliuokalani” (through Jan. 2, 2013), “Francisco Goya: Los Proverbios,” and “Code/Character: The 47 Ronin” (both through Wed., Dec. 26).

“Letters to Queen” features 21 letters written by Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last queen. They portray a monarch deeply worried over issues regarding Crown Lands and other matters. Museum visitors invited to compare these long and thoughtful works to Hawaiian poet Nou Revilla’s 21st-century visual poem distilled from the Queen’s letters.

“Los Proverbios” spotlights the 18th-century Spanish master’s print series of surreal scenes, which serve as visual metaphors. And “The 47 Ronin” is made up of woodblock prints depicting a classic Japanese tale of honor and revenge among masterless samurai. According to a museum description of the show,  "Ronin" offers up “excellent examples of character development in literature.”

For additional information about The Honolulu Museum of Art at Spalding House, 2411 Makiki Heights Drive, click here.

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Photo: “A View of Loyal Ako Samurai Breaking into Kira’s Mansion,” Yamazaki Toshinobu (1886, Japan’s Meji period). Woodblock print, ink and color on paper. The Honolulu Museum of Art  

Hawaii_Oahu_Inouye_Senate_Pearl_HarborHawaii’s Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a decorated World War II veteran who lost an arm in battle and represented the Islands in Congress for 50 years, died yesterday. He was 88 years old.

The senator, who was third in line of presidential succession as the U.S. Senate’s senior member died of complications tied to a respiratory illness at a Bethesda, Md., hospital, his office said in an official statement.

Inouye, who grew up in Oahu's Honolulu area, began his career in public service at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He served with “E” company of the 442 Regimental Combat Team, as group consisting entirely of Americans of Japanese ancestry. The combat team, known for its motto of “Go for Broke,” would become one of the most decorated military units in history. Inouye lost his right arm while charging machine gun nests on a hill in San Terenzo, Italy on April 21, 1945. His actions during that battle earned him the Medal of Honor.

Three years after statehood was established in 1959, Inouye, a Democrat, was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served for nearly nine consecutive terms.

In a statement issued by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s office, the governor said: “The Senator gave everything. He knew the true meaning of ‘Go for Broke.’ He left us with a legacy of honor and service to the people of Hawaii, to the people of this nation, without parallel.”Hawaii_Oahu_Inouye_Senate_Pearl_Harbor

Inouye spent his career in Congress building a federal presence in Hawaii aimed at ensuring that the state would receive its fair share of federal resources. He worked on matters ranging from expanding the military's presence in the Islands to building critical roads and expanding bus services. Also, Inouye he championed the rights of Native Hawaiians and the return of Kahoolawe.
Inouye also helped set in motion the process that eventually led President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to issue an apology and provide $20,000 each to survivors of Japanese internment during World War II.

Working with fellow Hawaii Democrat U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, Inouye helped win historic passage of a resolution signed by President Clinton in 1993 formally apologizing for the U.S. government's role in the 1893 overthrow of the kingdom of Hawaii.

In addition, during his long career in politics, Inouye fought for the rights and benefits for veterans, supported the development of major facilities and research assets at the University of Hawaii, and advocated for local agriculture and alternative energy initiatives.Hawaii_Oahu_Inouye_Senate_Pearl_Harbor

At the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Inouye served as Chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Commerce Committee and was the first Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

After serving as a member of Watergate Committee, Inouye went on to serve as chair for the special committee investigating the Iran Contra Affair.

According to the statement from Inouye’s office, when asked in recent days how he wanted to be remembered, the senator said: “I represented the people of Hawaii and this nation honestly and to the best of my ability. I think I did OK.” The statement continued: “His last words were,  ‘Aloha.’ “

Inouye is survived by wife Irene, the former president and chief executive of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, whom he married in May 2008, son Ken, daughter-in-law Jessica, granddaughter Maggie and step-daughter Jennifer Hirano. He was preceded in death his first wife, Maggie Awamura.

Gov. Abercrombie yesterday that a public memorial will be planned.

Photos: Sen. Inouye's Office /(middle) Inouye with President John F. Kennedy; (bottom) Inouye at annual reunion of  the 442 Regimental Combat Team.
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