It’s Willie K Month on Maui, and surely, the rest of the state will participate.

Debbie Kahaiali‘i, widow of the beloved musician-entertainer Willie K, and the singer’s Ohana Kahaiali‘I and Maui Tribe Productions, will celebrate the month of June as “Willie K Month.”

From June 1 to 30, daily tributes, recollections and perhaps some music will be heard and seen at Willie K’s Facebook page.

Willie K

Willie died last May 18 at age 59, following a bout with lung cancer. He was one of Hawaii’s most versatile entertainers, capable of delivering anything from Hawaiian to rock, from opera to blues, from country to standards from the stage. He played the ukulele but switched to guitar, depending on the genre of his music.

“Willie K Month” proclamation is signed at Maui Mayor Michael Victorino’s office.

Because of his popularity and usually avoidance of sharing his musical stylings to a Waikiki audience, he ultimately became the face and leading figure as a resident act at Blue Note Hawaii, the club at the Outrigger Waikiki resort, and established himself as the showroom’s most popular attraction. He regularly traveled to Honolulu from his Maui base, and ultimately sharing the news of his failing health until he became too ill to continue.

Mayor Michael Victorino made the Willie K Month proclamation to kick off the festivities. And the Ohana shared the moment of the signing at the mayor’s county office.

For details, visit  Facebook: @OfficialWillieK and the website at WillieK.com …

‘I and You’ at TAG

“I and You,” a play by Lauren Gunderson, will be staged July 8 to 11 and July 15 to 18 at TAG(The Actors’ Group), at the Brad Powell Theatre on the premises of Dole Cannery in Iwilei.

Directed by Bro. Gary Morris, the show features a cast of two: Natalie Maria Figuracion Borsky  as Caroline and Manuel Diaz as Anthony. Described as an ode to youth, life, love and human connection.

Anthony arrives to homebound classmate Caroline’s door, with a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” and they engage in the mysteries of the homework poetry by unlocking the nature of their lives.

For tickets, visit tagtickets@hawaii.rr.com

And that’s “Show Biz.” …


What are your favorite TV theme songs?

I have three, for different and specific reasons:

1 – “Hawaii Five-0” – It has no lyrics, yet this instrumental seethes with suggestion of the tropics, perky and outdoorsy energy and genuine aloha.

2—“Cheers” – “Where everybody knows your name” is the mantra, immediately welcoming, inviting, and, yes, cheerful.

3 – “Davy Crockett” – Okay, a vintage one; not the best melody but a true “ballad” that is rich in storytelling, summarizing the legendary figure, and becoming – in its time – a No. 1 fad hit everyone could sing, complete with accessory coonskin cap.

So where do you stand, regarding TV theme tunes?


Actor Miles Teller, best known for his movie “Whiplash,” was assaulted at a Maui restaurant last week, putting a damper on his island vacation with wife Keleigh Sperry Teller and a celebrity couple.

As reported by TMZ, Miles was punched in his face outside of the restroom of the Monkeypod Kitchen on Maui last Wednesday evening. Apparently, the incident was unprovoked, and is under investigation.

The Tellers were on vacation and dining with the actor’s “Divergent” co-star and friend, Shailene Woodley, and her high-profile fiancé, MVP QB Aaron Rodgers of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. Instagram photo postings reflect the two couples’ peaceful vacation that included hiking and swimming on Maui and some golfing.

Keleigh Speller Teller, Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley and Aaron Rodgers amid Maui’s forestry and waterfalls.

The diners were also involved in karaoke singing and dancing before the attack. Reports indicated that the vocals included “Shadow” (the hit song from “A Star Is Born”) and “Stand by Me.”

Teller’s film credits include “War Dogs,” “The Fantastic Four,” “Insurgent” and “The Spectacular Now.” He will be seen in the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick” with Tom Cruise and the yet-to-be-released “The Flag,” co-starring Woodley.

Woodley has previously filmed in Hawaii, when she had a leading role opposite George Clooney, in the 2011 hit  movie, “The Descendants,” a kamaaina story based on the novel by local author Kaui Hart Hemmings. Her other films include “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Insurgent.”

The assailant, allegedly a wedding planner, accused Teller of owing him $60,000 for earlier services for the couple’s 2019 wedding. …

Recording notes

It’s taken a year for entertainer Willy Falk, a New Yorker with Hawaii roots, to complete recording and mastering his first two island melodies.

Willy Falk

He collaborated with guitarist Jeff Peterson, to put his own stamp of two popular Hawaiian ditties: “Hawaiian Lullaby” and “E Maliu Mai.” We got a preview listen. Superb! Seductive! Satisfying!

The key challenge in getting the songs mastered “because post-production studios were closed.”

But they’re now on YouTube: “Lullaby” at

and “Maliu” at


With the pandemic messing up everyone’s career and interrupting normal life the past year and a half, Falk is pondering the fate of the annual Buff N Blue Punahou Reunion Weekend  and alumni lū’au coming up June 11. Because of coronavirus, it will be the second year in a row without an Alumni Tent of 2,000 people.
“I will be home in front of my laptop for five hours … I am DEEP into being at the helm for my Punahou 45th virtual reunion,” he said in an email. “I am literally on board to host all four events at my laptop here in New York. Weird, but we are trying to make it fun.”Tough to stage this one virtually. …

Silk Sonic, the duo with Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, are nominees for two BET Awards, set to be announced June 27. The first single, “Leave the Door Open,” is the reason that Sonic is quite the tonic, nominated for Group of the Year and Video of the Year. …

And that’s “Show Biz.” …



Henry Kapono’s “A Tribute to Jimmy Borges,” staged last night (May 27) at Blue Note Hawaii at the Outrigger Waikiki resort, had a tentative start but a celebratory finish.

The concert capped a weeks-long series of Kapono-led presentations, enabling island musicians a venue for gainful employment and exposure, and audiences to get a notch closer to a restored life of club-hopping normalcy.

Henry Kapono, top; Jimmy Borges poster, foreground.

In brief, it was a triumph, though Kapono initially seemed uncomfortable crossing from his pop-contemporary world into the jazz hemisphere of the late and great Borges. He dipped his metaphoric toes into the waters, by asking John Koliva, leader of the Honolulu Jazz Quartet who has had a couple of decades of gigs supporting Borges, the obvious question, “What is jazz?”

Kolivas, whose life has always been all about the bass (fiddle), wisely responded, “Jazz is a conversation…and improvisation.”

And therein was the model for the evening.

Kapono shared conversations about Borges – “when he sang it, he owned it…a true artist,”   he said of the honoree.

Then despite a repertoire largely new to him, Kapono worked the improvisation mode frequently. Since jazz, by rule, enables individual musicians to indulge in brief and relevant interludes of solo instrumentation during a vocal, each song choice embraced the conversational and the improvisational elements. The HJQ, comprised of bassist Kolivas, saxophonist Tim Tsukiyama, keyboardist Dan Del Negro and drummer Noel Okimoto, was the logical “house band” for the tribute. The accompaniment was superb, helping define the jazz spirit befitting Borges.

With a few exceptions, Kapono’s song choices to salute Borges were familiar melodies that most would recognize, refashioned for variety. On “Night and Day,” there was a bossa nova tempo; on “Can’t Take That Away From Me,” a sorta honky tonk veneer; on a two-tune medley of “Sunny” and “Fever,” a generous finger-snapping blues motif; on “When Sunny Gets Blue,” a Kapono-on-guitar-only elocution inspired by a YouTube clip featuring Borges, projecting both sadness and gladness.

When Kapono introduced “Fly Me to the Moon,” he said of Borges: “He owns this one like he wrote it.” It  was composed by Bart Howard and recorded and popularized by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, legendary icons admired by Borges throughout his life. Lest it be forgotten, Borges was given permission to utilize Sinatra arrangements for concerts here and Bennett has dubbed JB as one of the greatest singers ever.

A poster photo of a smiling Borges, draped with a maile lei, was a constant reminder of his cheer and grace, though its presence was not mentioned. But his impact lingered.

There were anecdotal recollections of Borges’ links to New York/Broadway and Kui Lee — generating tunes such as “On Broadway” and “Ain’t No Big Thing,” an anthem to the Great White Way and a Lee composition, respectively — that were marginal at best.  And while Kapono included a couple of titles from his Cecilio and Kapono catalogue, this was not a C&K retrospection whatsoever. His fans won’t let him leave a stage without a signature or two or three.

As the show neared completion, the nostalgia factor increased, with Kapono offering “Goodtimes Together” to punctuate the happy memories shared, a guitar-backed “Over the Rainbow” and the wholly proper “My Way,” a favored show biz anthem. One puzzlement: if this was a tribute, wouldn’t it have been kosher to have one of Borges’ certified partners in song to sit in and share first-hand memories?


Three “names” with island ties have fascinating tales in the May issue of The Magazine, the

AARP publication for seniors.

In a story dubbed Finding Their Heroes, the mag spotlights folks of local interest:

  • Olympian Greg Louganis’ hero as an athlete was the late Duke Kahanamoku, the celebrated Hawaiian free-lance swimmer-surfer who won three Olympic gold medals. Louganis, who collected four gold trophies himself, is part Samoan, was adopted as an infant, but met his biological father Fouvale Lutu some years ago, and learned he had a half-brother and two half-sisters with Hawaii ties.
  • Amy Tan, author of the revered “The Joy Luck Club,” credits local author Maxine Hong Kingston and her “The Woman Warrior” book for inspiration that Asians could publish stories they know. Tan notes that Kingston’s life wasn’t just her own – it was a turning page for other authors of color to open the door, or book, to share their tales.

  • If there was no Patsy Mink, there might not have been a Mazie Hirono, because Mink was the first woman of color to serve in Congress in the 1960s and ‘70s, serving 12 terms. She created such trend-setting legislations like Medicare and co-authored the Title IX law for equal-sex opportunities.  “I’m grateful that America offered me many opportunities,” says Sen. Hirono, an immigrant (born in Japan) who was a lieutenant governor of Hawaii who earned a seat in Congress in 2013 and the nation’s first Buddhist to serve.

These separate stories reflect the power of minorities beating the odds and becoming models for generations to come. …

Whee, the people

KoDee Martin

Local boy KoDee Martin has been cast as Ferdinand, King of Navarre, in Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” a July production in Central Park. It’s his New York theatrical debut, so if you’re in The Big Apple this summer, go visit. Martin was part of the “Allegiance” cast when the Manoa Valley Theatre staged the Hawaii debut of the show at the Hawaii Theatre. …

Singer Shari Lynn and hubby Michael Acebedo head to New York shortly –  beginning a five-week vacation-celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary, but one year tardy because of last year’s pandemic. If the Tokyo Olympics can stage a belated to-do, why not the Kailua couple? Bon voyage – and a shout-out for a happy 46th. …

Isle actress B.K. Cannon has a featured role in “Why Women Kill,” streaming on Paramount + this summer. She filmed her Season 2 role from last October till last April, in the height of the coronavirus pandemic; it’s a 10-episode, dark comedy series set in 1949, with requisite period costumes, cars and set,  from Marc Cherry, who created “Desperate Housewives.” …

And that’s “Show Biz.” …