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

Hawaii_Kauai_Elvis_film_Coco_Palms_resort During the early 1960s, Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii became the first major motion picture to showcase Kauai, touching off a wave of interest in the Garden Isle nationwide that continues to this day.

This weekend, the Kauai Visitors Bureau (KVB), with support from the County of Kauai, will host an event dubbed Kauai Remembers Blue Hawaii!  A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the movie and its impact on tourism for the island, the event will feature a live performance by an Elvis Presley tribute artist, a screening of the movie, and a tribute to the late Grace Guslander, the beloved hotelier who ran Coco Palms Resort where some of the movie’s most memorable scene took place.

Tickets for the event, which will be held 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Kaui Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach, are $5. To purchased tickets in advance call the KVB at (808)-245-3971. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Kauai Museum.

Filmed on Oahu and Kauai in the spring of 1961, Blue Hawaii was released later that year in November and made its debut on Kauai as 1962 began.

The plot was simple, even for an Elvis movie. Fresh out of the U.S. Army, Chadwick Gates (Elvis Presley) wants to get into the tourism scene that’s catching on in the Islands by becoming a tour guide. Since Chadwick is a Hawaii native, this should be a snap, right? Nope. Turns out that Chadwick is also the reluctant heir apparent to Southern Hawaii Fruit Co., and his wealthy parents disapprove of his tour guide ambition.Hawaii_Kauai_Elvis_film_Coco_Palms_resort

What to do? Elvis, er, Chadwick rebels with hip-swiveling song and dance, of course.   

The final 20 minutes were filmed on Kauai at or near Coco Palms Resort, culminating in the famous lagoon wedding scene, in which Elvis and his fiancé are carried to the chapel in a double-hulled canoe filled with tropical flowers.

In a news release issued by Kauai Visitors Bureau, its executive director, Sue Kanoho, said that, with few exceptions, filmmakers use Kauai’s lush natural beauty to portray a place other than the island of Kauai.

“Elvis Presley fans everywhere were suddenly aware of this beautiful paradise and they wanted to come and see Kauai for themselves. To this day, we have visitors still wanting to see the lagoon where Elvis got married,” Kanoho said.

Kauai has served as a location filming site for more than 60 major movies and TV shows. Among the films: South Pacific, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Six Days, Seven Nights, Tropic Thunder, Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and The Descendants.

For more information about Kauai Remembers Blue Hawaii, click here.


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Photos: Blue Hawaii (top) Paramount Pictures; (bottom) Kauai Visitors Bureau
 

Hawaii_National_Parks_Public_Land_Big_IslandEntrance fees at nearly 400 national parks, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park located on Big Island, will waive entrance fees in recognition of National Public Lands Day on Sat., Sept. 29. The nationwide event is recognized as the largest single-day volunteer effort supporting public lands. 


In addition to free admission, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will host two volunteer projects and a guided hike of a new trail in the Kahuku area. Here are some highlights.

Save Halemaumau Trail — Park rangers, with the help of volunteer workers, will attempt to remove the intrusive kahili ginger plant (pictured, below) from the parks historic Halemaumaa Trail (pictured, above). Work will get under way at 10 a.m. and continue through late afternoon. For more information about meeting places, or what to pack click here.

• Kipuka AkiHawaii_National_Parks_Public_Land_Big_Islandhi Stewardship — Volunteers are invited to help protect the forest by pulling non-native invasive plants. Participants must be fit enough to take on a challenging 1.5 mile hike through fallen trees, lava rocks, and slippery terrain. Work will start at 10 a.m. and continue into late afternoon in the Kahuku section of the park. For more information about stewardship click here.

• Guided hike of new Palm Trail — A guided hike of Kahuku’s new Palm Trail is set to start at 9:30 a.m. The relatively easy 2.6-mile loop will take hikers through scenic pastures to some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. For more information about the hike, click here.

Hawaii boasts a total of eight national parks, with five on the Big Island and one on Maui, Molokai and Oahu, respectively. Three regularly charge admission: Hawaii Volcanoes, Haleakala National Park on Maui and Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island. Admission is always free at the other five: Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail (Big Island), Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park (Kailua-Kona, Big Island), Puukohola Heiau (Kawaihae, Big Island), Kalaupapa National Historical Park (Molokai), and World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (Pearl Harbor, Oahu).

In all, there are 397 national parks, which include: national historical parks, national historic sites, national historic trails, national monuments, and, yes, national parks. For more information on special offerings at parks nationwide, click here.

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Photos: National Park Service
 

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The latest Hawaii-filmed TV drama series, Last Resort, will make its debut tomorrow night (Sept. 27) on ABC. The American military drama stars Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age), Scott Speedman (The Vow, Felicity) and Robert Patrick (True Blood).

Here’s a bit of the show’s pilot storyline.

The fictional USS Colorado, a ballistic missile submarine — the most powerful sub in the ocean these days — has just been given a suspicious order to fire nuclear weapons at Pakistan. When the Colorado’s captain, Marcus Chaplin (Braugher), asks for a confirmation on the order, he is removed from his post, leaving the decision-making to crewmember Sam Kendal (Speedman). Struck with the same uncertainty about the order, Kendal refuses to fire. That move appears to set the stage for the Colorado being declared as an enemy of its own country. The crew then seeks refuge on the fictional isle of Sainte Marina, which looks a lot like, ahem, Oahu coastline.

A “Fall TV Preview” that appeared in the Los Angeles Times earlier this month noted that like ABC’s Hawaii-filmed Lost (2004-10) Last Resort is a “high-concept drama.” In the case of the Last Resort, the drama “ambitiously stretches from the White House to 500 feet below of the ocean.”

When asked about comparisons with Lost, cast member Braugher said: "We stand on the shoulders of giants that came before us, but, ultimately, we think this show has its own unique vision."

After the final episode of Lost aired in May 2010, ABC brought Off the Map to Oahu. The medical drama series about doctors working is a remote South American village, premiered in January 2011 and was canceled in May 2011. ABC moved The River to Oahu in 2011. Set deep in the Amazon, The River followed the story tied to the search for a missing wildlife expert/TV personality and delved into paranormal themes. It debuted in February and has since been canceled.

Click on the image below to watch an ABB "inside look" video about Last Resort's characters and plot line. For more information about the new show, click here.

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Photos: Last Resort/ABC
 
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Hawaii_Five-0_premiere_season_three

The third season of Hawaii Five-0 kicked off at Waikiki’s “Sunset on the Beach” venue on Sunday with a sneak-peak viewing of tonight’s premiere episode.

By the time festivities got under way with the stars of our favorite re-imagined TV police procedural drama walking a red carpet rolled out on the sand, cheering and sign-waving fans had filled Waikiki’s Queen’s Surf Beach.

Fans snapped photos and scrambled for autographs from actors such as Michelle Borth (Catherine Rollins), Masi Oka (Dr. Max Bergman) and Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly). When the show’s lead actor, Alex O’Loughlin (pictured, below) arrived, excited fans shouted even louder, waved signs a little higher, and wiggled their way to spectator spots for better glimpses of the Five-O team’s photogenic, rule-bending leader, Detective Lieutenant Steve McGarrett.

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The TV show’s executive producer, Robert Orci, said the evening's event titled "On the Beach with Hawaii Five-Ohana" aimed to celebrate Hawaii and the beauty of the Islands.

Oka echoed that sentiment. “Hawaii is a character on our show, if not the lead. It’s not about McGarrett, it’s not about Danno. It’s about Hawaii,” he said. Oka also confirmed that his character will be part of the third season. He added that while moving to the Islands has been great — beautiful weather, beautiful people — he wishes Los Angeles were a tad closer.

Other stars, such as Borth (pictured, below), who plays McGarrett’s love interest on the show, said that since her move to Oahu she is thoroughly enjoying island life and has yet to return to L.A.

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Daniel Dae Kim, a Hawaii resident for eight years, was asked if he now considers himself to be kamaaina. In response, Kim, who moved to Oahu as part of the cast of Lost (ABC), said: “I don’t know, I think that’s for other people to decide. I just know that I live here and I call it home.”

In addition to the red-carpet entrances the crowd enjoyed Hawaii-focused entertainment, with performances given by groups ranging from graceful Halau Hula Olana dancers to dramatic Taiko drummers. 

After sunset, a hush fell over the crowd as the new episode — projected onto a 30-foot screen — got under way.  The premiere aired last night on CBS. For more information about the Hawaii Five-O show, click here.


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Hawaii_Oahu_Honolulu_international_film_festival

The 32nd annual Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF), slated for Oct. 11-21 in Honolulu, will showcase 219 films from 43 countries, including prestige titles, fest favorites and buzz-worthy films.

While we realize seeing all of the films —spanning 11 days— might be a bit extreme, we do highly recommend keeping an eye out for three screening in particular: The Sapphires (opening night), Silver Lining Playbook (centerpiece gala), as well as The Thieves (closing night) (pictured, above).

A news release issued today by HIFF also notes that the fest will hold various presentations, workshops and an inaugural "Creative Lab," which aims to explore emerging media via low-cost digital tools and online distribution.

To check out the film fest’s full schedule, click here. Most of the screenings will be held at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres & IMAX Tickets in Honolulu. For ticket information, click here or call (808) 447-0577.

Here’s a bit more information about the three films slated for high-profile screenings.

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• The Sapphires (Australia) (pictured, above) is based on the lives of four Aboriginal sisters and their journey to become the Australian version of “The Supremes.” Set in 1968, the sisters are discovered by talent scout named Dave (Chris O' Dowd, Bridesmaids). Based on a true story, The Sapphires celebrates youthful emotion, family, and music. The film will be shown at 8:30 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 11, Dole Cannery.

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Silver Lining Playbook (United States) (pictured, above) stars Bradley Cooper (Hangover), Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games), Robert De Niro (Limitless, Meet the Parents), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom), Anupam Kher (Bend it like Beckham), and Chris Tucker (Rush Hour). The film follows Pat Solitano (Cooper) as he attempts to get back on his feet after losing his house, his job, and his wife. When Pat meets Tiffany (Lawrence), a mysterious girl with her own problems, she offers to help him reconnect with his wife, but only if he does something for her. An unexpected bond forms, creating a “silver lining” in both their lives. The film will be screened at 6: 30 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 17, Dole Cannery.

The Thieves (South Korea) is one of Korea’s biggest box-office smashes of all time. Described as a cool, fun and sexy Pan-Asian riff on the classic “heist film,” it kicks off with Yenicall (Gianna Jun, My Sassy Girl) in the middle of a diamond heist, leaping across buildings. Yenicall’s crew includes characters such as Popeye (Jung-jae Lee, The Housemaid), and Pepsi (Hye-su Kim, Tazza, The High Rollers). The story follow’s the crew’s attempt to steal the “Tear of the Sun” diamond. The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 21, Dole Cannery.

For more information about the Hawaii International Film Festival, click here.


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Photos: HIFF
 
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One of Hawaii’s own top chefs, Sheldon Simeon (executive chef at Star Noodle in Lahaina, Maui) will compete with 20 other culinary contenders in the next season of the popular Top Chef television show on the Bravo cable channel.

Titled Top Chef: Seattle, the show’s 10th season is slated to premiere on Wed. Nov. 7. Among the roster of judges will be Wolfgang Puck, Tom Coliccio, Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons, and Hugh Acheson

Simeon, 30, is known for combining traditional comfort foods tied to multiple cultures in Hawaii, ranging from Portuguese to Filipino communities, and adding creative and delicious twists.

The Hilo native is two-time James Beard semifinalist — for “Rising Star” and “Best New Restaurant,” both in 2011. Also in 2011, Maui Nokaoi Magazine named him “Chef of the Year.” Earlier this year, Food & Wine Magazine named Sheldon “Best New Chef People’s Choice” (2012) nominee.

We featured Simeon in HAWAII Magazine’s “Guide to Local Eats” (November/December 2011). In a feature in which chefs shared their favorite local comfort foods, Simeon discussed one of his go-to dishes: fried rice. Also, in HAWAII Magazine’s current issue, our “Best of Hawaii 2012” staff picks singled out Simeon’s two restaurants: Star Noodle and Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop (Lahaina area). Both won the category titled “Best Excuse to Eat Your Greens.” Staffers raved about melt-in-your-mouth fried Brussel sprouts and crunchy Hana-grown pohole accented with Maui onion, dried shrimp and seaweed. Leoda’s, an everything-from-scratch diner, also won the staff pick for “Best New Restaurant: Maui.”

For more information about the Top Chef show, click here.


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Photo: Top Chef/Bravo    
 

Hawaii_Oahu_endangered_threatened_speciesThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week announced that 20 plant species and three Hawaiian damselfly species found on Oahu will receive protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The plant species include an annual herb, shrubs, trees and a fern. The animal species are the crimson Hawaiian damselfly, blackline Hawaiian damselfly and the oceanic Hawaiian damselfly.

These species will join 437 other threatened and endangered species found in Hawaii, which has the highest tally nationwide. Except for California, Florida and Alabama, all other state listings top out in double and single digits.

Why is Hawaii especially vulnerable? Here’s the federal agency’s take on the matter.

“The native plants and animals of Hawaii, like those of other island ecosystems that evolved in isolation from mainland species, are highly specialized and depend on one another for survival. The introduction of alien diseases, as well as alien species, which compete for food and habitat and sometimes become predators of native species, has had a devastating effect on the native plants and animals of the islands.”Hawaii_Oahu_endangered_threatened_species

In addition to adding a total 23 Oahu species to the protection roster, the agency’s “ecosystem-based” approach to the conservation of imperiled plants, animals and habitat on the island, also identifies habitat essential to the survival of these and other threatened and endangered species.

In a news release issued by the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, Loyal Mehrhoff, the office field supervisor said: “Protecting these Oahu species and identifying the habitat they and other native threatened and endangered species need to survive enables us to work with our state and federal conservation partners, private landowners and other groups to address the threats they face and to protect and restore the unique ecosystems that support them.”

Among those threats are habitat destruction caused by invasive, nonnative plants, feral pigs and goats, and agricultural and urban development. Other threats include predation by non-native feral pigs and goats, and other introduced species such as rats, fish, bullfrogs, slugs and ants. In addition, native range habitat is also threatened by the effects of climate change, which may intensify during the presence of natural threats such as fire, hurricanes, landslides and flooding.

To download the agency’s final ruling, click here. For additional information about the Honolulu-based Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, click here.


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Photos: (top) oceanic Hawaiian damselfly (female), Dan Polhemus/USFWS Pacific; (bottom) Ewa Hinahina (achyranthes splenders), Dan Clark/ USFWS Pacific.   
 

Mealani’s 17th Annual Taste of Hawaiian Range and Agricultural Festival, set for  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 21 at the Big Island’s Hilton Waikoloa Village (Kohala Coast's south end), spotlights Hawaii's grass-fed beef industry's local ranchers, farmers, and more than 30 of the state's top chefs.

Festivalgoers wil be invited to "graze" on culinary creations featuring beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton, and wild boar (all grass-fed) as well as locally grown fruits, veggies, and spices. While familiar cuts, such as sirloin tips and ribs, will be served, so will cuts for decidedly adventurous diners — just about everything from tongue to tail as well as “Rocky Mountain oysters.” Each culinary station at the fest will get 100 pounds of protein to create a dish of chocie.

The festival will also serve up opportunity to “talk story” with the ranchers and farmers. Plus, a cooking demonstration titled “Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101,” is set for 3 p.m. The demo will feature James Babian, executive chef at Four Seasons Resort Hualala,  detailing how to properly use and prepare pasture-raised beef.

Also among the chefs lineup: Philip "Ippy" Aiona of Solimene's Restaurant in Waimea and a recent competitor on cable television's Food Network Star show.

Tickets for the evening event begin at $40 presale, $60 at the door, and $10 for the afternoon cooking demo. For more information about the event, click here.


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Photo: Mealani's Taste of the Hawaiian Range
 

Hawaii_Oahu_North_Shore_surfing_Sunset_Bansai_HaleiwaStarting in mid-November, the world’s top male surfers are slated to line up in waters edging Oahu’s North Shore for the 30th anniversary of Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Association of Professional Surfing’s annual world championships

Holding periods for the competition starts with the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa’s Alii Beach, known as the gateway to the “Seven-Mile Miracle” that is Oahu’s legendary North Shore, Nov. 12 to 24. The event will be based at Alii Beach Park on the west side of the Haleiwa Boat Harbor.

The Reef Hawaiian Pro will be followed by Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, Nov. 25 to Dec. 6. The powerful waves in this competition are famous be being reportedly “unruly and complex.”

The year-end event will wrap up with and the Billabong Pipe Masters at Banzai Pipeline Dec. 8 to 20. Often rated among the world’s best and most dangerous waves, Banzai is known for top-to-bottom barrels and its close proximity to the shoreline near Ehukai Beach.

For more information about the Triple Crown, which this year features a total prize purse of $925,000, click here.

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Photo: Maui's Ian Walsh in 2011 Triple Crown competition/Association of Professional Surfing
 

Hawaii_Napa_Valley_Las_Vegas_Aloha_FestivalWho said you had to live in Hawaii to experience Hawaiian culture? Why not celebrate island style no matter where you are. For those living in or near Napa Valley or Las Vegas you are in luck with the arrival of the Napa Valley Aloha Festival, and the Las Vegas Hawaiian Civic Club’s Prince Jonah Kuhio Ho olauea.

The Fifth Annual Napa Valley Aloha Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Napa Valley Expo.

While it might not be an actual island, it is the next best thing. The festival will include live entertainment, authentic cooking, music, dance, clothing, and crafts all provided by the local Hawaiian and Polynesian communities. For more information click here.

The Las Vegas Hawaiian Civic Club’s Prince Jonah Kuhio Ho olauea will also provide a taste of Hawaii from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday in Henderson, Nev.

Since the early 1990s, the club has supported Hawaiian culture by creating a home away from home for people of Hawaiian heritage. Both events welcome all who share a love for the Hawaiian Islands and the culture inspired by them. For more information about the Las Vegas area and Napa Valley events, click here and here, respectively.

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Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/ Sri Maiva Rusden
 
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