Henry Kapono’s “Artist 2 Artist” series, wherein he invites a notable peer from the Waikiki mainstream to partner with him in chit-chat and vocalizing, scored an unexpected  bullseye with Jerry Santos.

Kapono, onetime collaborator with Cecilio Rodriguez (Cecilio and Kapono, remember?), and Santos, leader of the beloved Olomana group, shared a measure of personal reflection and astounding artistry, in an unforgettable 2:15 concert last night (March 31) at Blue Note Hawaii.

The nightclub, at the Waikiki Outrigger resort, has been attracting sellout houses as the pandemic protocols are diminishing. For a Thursday night, the gathering was an emphatic indicator that islanders and visitors are weary from mask-wearing and nestling at home. When a marquee show anticipating a roster of signature tunes from both acts is the lure, a sellout was inevitable.

Henry Kapono

But this outing was somewhat of a new adventure for both Kapono and Jerry. While each have signature tunes in their respective credits, the evening was a reaffirming evidence that this pair of seasoned singers-composers, who helped shaped the Hawaiian Renaissance of island music from the 60s to the 80s,  needn’t have to rely on the best-of-the-best to earn applause. Risky perhaps, but this was an informative exploration of hidden gems in both C&K’s and Olomana’s history.

Further, Kapono has been test-driving this format of sharing tales and tunes for many months now, and has hit paydirt as he seems a lot more confident, assured, relaxed and conversational with his guests. There’s no script, only camaraderie to set the mood and manner, beginning with an exchange of alma matter digs, Kapono being of Punahou upbringing, Jerry of Kamehameha stock. (On an unrelated comparison, Kapono donned shoes, Jerry was barefooted, for this event For what it’s worth).

Jerry Santos

The agenda began with Kapono, clad in informal black top and grey jeans with a backward-worn baseball cap, making the first pitch – a new tune, “Sweetheart of Mine,” with a pop/country-western demeanor. He segued into a hip new arrangement of “Home in the Islands” (always fund to tweak an oldie and give it new sass) and revealed that he composed the tune late one night while in San Francisco back in the day.

He assumed the role of a troubadour, with one of his staples, “Friends,” telling one and all, “always keep your friends,” and yes, the audience knew this classic musical hand-shaking of sorts. Sing, and they sing-along, too.

Soon thereafter, the evening’s format focused on guest Jerry’s growing up days, and there was a consensus on who inspired them in composing music; an ensuing duet on Kui Lee’s “Days of My Youth” was part of the trek down memory lane. Turned out that both gents adored and admired the prolific Lee, whose compositions put Don Ho on the map.

We also learned that Kapono once played at the New Frontier and Toppe Ada Shoppe

Henry Kapono and Jerry Santos in an Artist 2 Artist outing at Blue Note Hawaii.

in Waikiki, Jerry at Gauguin and Black Angus in Waikiki , when they were not yet part of the glittery galaxy of island stars.

Jerry was asked how he came to create his best-known tune, “E Ku’u Home O Kahaluu,” and it also turned out that he wrote this one in San Francisco while he was homesick for his island home.

Kamuela Kimokeo

The song then was performed, with audience members invited to chime in, with trusty support for Jerry from Kamuela Kimokeo, his longtime partner in gigs outside of the Olomana umbrella. Not only has he learned all of the Olomana repertoire, he is a master of ki ho alu, Hawaiian slack key guitar.

Jerry and Kamuela provided the bulk of the evening’s riches, showcasing titles not commonly dusted off from the Olomana lifespan of the late Robert Beaumont, which included recollections of that song about rainy Hilo and how the sound of rain made it into the recording, along with a bountiful medley of Olomana treasures including “Seabird” and “E Ku‘u Sweet Lei  Poina Ole,” the composition by Emma DeFries, which was a must-perform title during Beaumont’s tenure with Olomana, and for many years after his passing – 40 years ago. Clearly, this also was an homage to the late entertainer.

Indeed, because Jerry has not been so visible during the pandemic, these oldies dusted off for this gig, provided stirring memories from the group’s discography. Jerry seemed to get misty-eyed, too, reviving Henry Mitchell’s anthem for Kahoolawe, when Hawaiian activists were pushing for the island to be returned to the populace here after years of being a military target practice island.

To break up the solemnity of Kahoolawe, Jerry and Kamuela ventured into the double-entendre song “Tewe Tewe, about fishing, with also implications of a sexual nature, depending on how much you understand about this Hawaiian classic.

As the show neared its end, Kapono returned to the stage to render “Teach Your Children Well,” as well as a new composition, “Sailors of Fortune,” a lovely entry advocating the validity of dreams to make things happen, with Jerry doing counterpoint backup vocals.

What the world needs is not only dreamers, but lovers, so “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” was a handy sing-along, too.

And because the audience hollered “hana hou,” Kapono came back to share one more for the road, one of his C&K classics, “Sailing,” written for his dad who was not a sailor.

So, yes, there were little nuggets of information throughout the serenades right down to the final blackout.

Kapono has another Artist 2 Artist show featuring the Makaha Sons, set for April 28. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Today, March 29, is a dubious but memorable milestone for me. It was the first time ever that I was fired from a job…two years ago.

It was the day my last Show Biz column was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

I had a full-on career for 44 ½ years, mostly at the Honolulu Advertiser, longer if you count a couple of prior years I worked (while in high school) for a Sunday tabloid called Hawaii’s Youth, which the Advertiser published, tapping six youths from different high schools to do reportorial chores. That was the infancy of my journey as a journalist.

The conclusion of my print career happened – while free-lanching for the Star-Advertiser — when the COVID 19 pandemic was festering, but not in a manner I anticipated. I skipped the first anniversary of my dismissal, but decided to reflect belatedly  on that awkward instance when I was terminated.

This was the last Show Biz column, in the Honolullu Star-Advertiser, March 29, 2020,

An abrupt call from my immediate editor at the newspaper brought my service to an end; she said all freelance contributors had to be released to cut production costs. OK, I accepted the decision and the dismissal, agreeing that if there were to be cost considerations, freelancers should go before fulltime staff. How naive of me.

That bottom-line alibi turned out to be an outright lie. In retrospect, I was one of only two contributors – the other was Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi, the esteemed travel writer – who were immediately erased from the ranks. No two-week notice consideration, which is customary in the trade, but a freelancer has virtually no privileges.

I would have expected the courtesy of doing an aloha column – you know, a reflective piece on the joy of writing about folks and events here and elsewhere – to simply say mahalo for the mana‘o and memories shared over the years.

But here’s the thing that bothered me then and still is snarled in my memory. By the end of the week, and over the next few weeks, I noticed that the paper continued to retain a corps of contributors, who report and write weekly for a very nominal fee (one has told me he columnizes for free). Still happening, in the third season of the pandemic, because the paper relies on outsiders to produce stories or opinion pieces to augment the daily news gathering. The freelance pay is so minimal, it’s gas money at best.
What irked me is that my editor – and perhaps other management staffers – did not have the decency to speak the truth; the selective termination decision came from a higher-upper, the publisher – and my supervisor never challenges her boss. “I need my paycheck,” she once revealed, and thus would neither question nor discuss matters concerning replaceable hired hands. Do as told, or head for the exit door.

My tenure at the paper included a dozen years of freelancing columns after I retired which notably meant I had been part of the reportorial scene for more than 50 years.

One door closed but another opened In May of 2021, I launched my own website and resumed the Show Biz column/blog, much like the old days but, at a pace I can  freely handle in retirement.

Still doing it, even attracting readers from the past, and the tempo varies – with a mix of columns and reviews and reflections – because I still maintain  twice-a-week PT sessions, frequent doctor visits, and occasional lunches or dinners with friends and family.

Samples of this year’s crop of Easter-season pins.

I am quite busy, thank you, in different ways. Like, I still create my hand-made Wild Cards, note cards with local-themed motifs. And I do annual lapel pins for Valentine’s, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, adding a limited amount of. yuletide table decorations as gifts to family and friends, including former colleagues and a roster of island entertainers.

With chronic back pain, I proceed  activities with caution. Had a procedure done during the pandemic that involved the implantation of a battery in my butt, with wires connected to my spine. It’s an alternative pain management procedure (yes, I said no to actual back surgery).

So I lumber on, doing what’s doable when the mood hits.

Nope, there’s no salary; my monthly pension checks go directly into a bank account.

I have no editor, thus no outside stress, and  nope, I can’t be fired.  I can take a coffee or lemonade break when I want one and sometimes factor in a deserved short nap.

I’ve found my passion, set my own clock, and proceed to Do It, too, to keep the mind and spirit alive. I have no staff, unless you count my wife who catches typos frequently. My Apple MacBook Pro and my Apple iPhone are my work-related resources.

I learn from yesterday, as I live through today, and anticipate a cheery tomorrow.

Meanwhile, at the paper, the newsroom no longer has that buzz because – much like those dutiful freelancers — the reportorial staffers work from home. Something’s just not right here … newspapering is not what it used to be.

Wayne Harada’s Show Biz column regularly appears at https://www.wayneharada.com


Will Smith’s slap on the face of Chris Rock, and his F-bomb comment which ABC censored, reflect the heroes and zeroes of this year’s Oscars.

Unfortunately, that surprise walk-up-and-wallop instance became the hot topic on social media. A slap on the face of Oscar, for sure.

And today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is reviewing the outburst, with Smith filing a sort-of-delayed Instagram apology to Rock.  Point to remember: Both are known to have temper issues; and this is the second time Rock has picked on Jada Pinkett Smith, Will’s wife.

The slap in the face of Oscar: Rock and Smith surprising encounter. –Los Angeles Times photo.

Looking back at last night’s proceedings, it wasn’t the only double-edged moment of the Academy Awards.

High and low, hit and miss, call ‘em what you want. We’re sharing Hero and Zero reflections from watching the telecast :

Hero: Smith demonstrated, physically and literally, the protective spirit of the character he played in his first Best Actor win, Richard Williams, the misguided father of tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams. Smith became the night’s hot button, giving Oscar more life than ever with that slap. Thus, his abusive slap resulted in talkfests aplenty today. When was the last time you reacted to the Oscarcast?

Zero: Smith apparently didn’t hear the “Cut!” call. Last night was real life, not role-playing. Last night was a surprise that shouldn’t have happened. His apology to the Academy was made to voting members, but he snubbed Rock, until today’s lame apology. But Rock has got to button up his attacks — he’s a grenade with the pin pulled out.

Lady Gaga giving Liza Minnelli a helping hand: a risky situation.

Hero:  Liza Minnelli  clearly was the pre-show “surprise guest” the academy touted; with guidance from co-presenter Lady Gaga, they presented the Best Film award to “Coda.” An honorary Oscar surely goes to Gaga, who was denied a nomination, for her good cheer in a risky situation and lovingly guided Minnelli through some shaky moments.

Zero: While it was nice to see  Minnelli, it was an uncomfortable circumstance; her hands were quivering, she had moments of memory gaps, not certain what was happening. And in a wheelchair? A cruel display of a woman’s health issues. Who decided to stage this unstable uncertainty?

Hero: The Best Picture wins for “CODA” and Best Supporting Actor winner Troy Kotsur  awardee were well deserved. Lesson here: Release a film timed to Oscar-voting, when the memories are fresh and current.

Zero: “The Power of the Dog” released its film early enough to generate  advance Oscar buzz, but the momentum was overtaken by “CODA,”  a feel-good movie. From early hero, the film became a zero, despite Jane Campion’s win as Best Director. And shouldn’t the academy finally combine the Best Picture/Best Director categories? Campion won, but her film didn’t? Wazzup?

Hero: Kevin Costner, the actor-director and former Oscar winner. His brief comments, on the role and wisdom of a director, was spot on. He articulated like a true warrior of his multi-craft. He’s not usually on the front tier of movie-making these days, settling into films that are streaming. Maybe a welcome back soon, in the form of a script he likes?

Zero: There is a gap between the academy and its members; we need more Costners in the limelight.

Amy Schumer, one of three Oscar co-hosts: If you hire ’em use ’em.

Hero: The trio of female co-hosts of the show, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall. And Schumer uttered the evening’s best quote: “This year the Academy hired three women to host because it’s cheaper than hiring one man,” she said. “I’m representing unbearable white women who call the cops when you get too loud.”

Zero: The Academy under-utilized the powers of these comedians. If you hire ‘em,  use ‘em, too…

No perfection in predictions

So I missed two categories, from nine predictions, in an earlier column on Oscar picks.

I have yet to see “Coda,” the Best Film winner, since I don’t have an Apple TV+ subscription, so I  felt obliged to select  “The Power of the Dog” which I viewed on Netflix twice, because I dozed off during my first attempt to watch the  film.

I erred on the Best Song category, too, figured the flow-over appeal of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” (which was splendidly sung and choreographed live in the Oscarcast) might have carry-over votes for “Dos Oruguitas,”  the Disney nominee from “Encanto,” but the winning  “No Time to Die” by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell was my second choice. …

Finally, a bit of good news: Last night’s telecast from the Dolby Theatre drew more viewers than last year’s streamlined version from Union Station. The Oscars nabbed 15.36 million viewers and a 3.2 rating among adults 18 to 49, according to Nielsen. That’s a skosh better than last year’s no-host show, which had 13.73 million and 2.9 in demos. As adjustments are made over the next few hours, the ratings should go skosh up.

And that’s Show Biz. …


Just asking …Is your iPhone, or any other cell device, prepared for the looming 5G upgrades?

AT&T led the parade, shutting down its 3G — third-generation mode — to beef up to a speedier 5G service.

Verizon will eliminate 3G in December.

T-Mobile, my service, is terminating 3G at the end of March, which, gulp, is next week.

So I went to my T-Mobile store to check if I’m AOK for the switcheroo. Turns out, I am, because I got an iPhone 12 two years ago, my phone already is primed for 5G. My wife’s device, older than mine when I upgraded, was deemed ready for trashing when 3G vanishes at T-Mobile. So we got her an iPhone13 mini. Her data was properly transferred to the tinier new phone, so she’s ready to fly, too.

But are you? If you have popo or kupuna in your ‘ohana, you might want to assist them to updated their phones. If not, elders may lose connection and not know why.AARP Bulletin estimates between 1 and 3 million are 3Gers will need to convert to the 5G mode.


Will the power of 12 nominations, in major voting categories, be the key to predicting the winners of the 2022 Oscars, to be handed out Sunday (March 27)?

Yes. Or no.  “The Power of the Dog,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and directed by Jane Campion, logically should be the front-runner in the 94th annual Academy Awards. ABC will televise the show at 2 p.m. Hawaii time on Sunday.

But this year’s Oscarcast could yield several upsets, making it a challenge to guesstimate the outcome. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loves upsets.

For what it’s worth, here is my list of winner choices in the key categories, followed by parenthetical comments, where appropriate. :

  • Best Picture – “The Power of the Dog.”  It had the bark and the bite of a true best-in-show. But its early-lead power might have diminished, with mounting buzz that “CODA,” with its feel-good aura amid our tense global climate, could rewrite the code of predictions.
  • Best ActorWill Smith, “King Richard.” He earned this year’s Screen Actors Guild’s Best Actor nod, as dad of tennis aces Serena and Venus Williams, which gives him an edge over Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”). Frankly, I’d like to see Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick… Boom”) win, for his portrayal of Jonathan Larson, and he still could, if Smith and Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”) duke it out and cancel out each other’s votes.
  • Best ActressJessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”  Since Lady Gaga” (“Gucci”) was denied a nom, all eyes have been on Chastain.
  • Best Supporting ActorTroy Kutsor, “CODA.” Signing his role, instead of speaking it, made him hands-up this year’s rarity. Thus, the handicap should land him the statuette.
  • Best Supporting ActressAriana DeBose, “West Side Story.” As Anita, she delivered “I Feel Pretty” with aplomb, showing off her sizzling acting and dancing skills. Would’ve been a sentimental result, in a perfect world, if Rita Moreno, the original Anita on film, was also nominated for her tweaked role as Doc, in “WST,” and they both tied in this category.
  • Best DirectorJane Campion. If she wins, it will be her first Oscar for direction, though she previously copped one for original screenplay. If Steven Spielberg  (“West Side Story”) can pull an upset, I’d be delighted; his vision matched the spirit  of the earlier “WST.”
  • Best International Feature, aka Foreign Film –“Drive My Car” (Japan). Nearly a three-hour journey, but worth the ride; also nominated for Best Picture but a shoo-in for this category.
  • Best Song — “Dos Oruguitas,” from “Encanto.” To explain:  “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” from the same Disney animated film “Encanto,” was snubbed in the nomination process (early admission deadline, well before the song and the film put the world in a Latino mood).  I strongly feel the academy members will vote for the designated title on the ballot, but in actuality will be supporting “Bruno,” in spirit if nothing else … like a write-in balloting. “No Time to Die” (from the James Bond film by the same name), music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, is the victim here. If “Dos Oruguitas” wins, it will confirm composer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s EGOT status.
  • Best Animated Film: — “Encanto.” For reasons stated above, and below.

Some other notions:

  • Bruno’ stars — A huge ensemble production of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” will be a surprise musical element on the Oscarcast, because one of the five nominees can’t participate in show, and how can you not talk about “Bruno,” which has popped out of the animated film all the way up the hit charts, even surprising creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, its composer. He also composed the nominated “Dos Oruguitas” tune, which will get stage time, too.
  • We three queens — A trio of women – Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes – will host the broadcast, originating from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It’ll be the first emcees in three years, and the first-ever trio of ladies as hostesses. …

And that’s Show Biz. …