Don Ho, who would have been 92 tomorrow (Saturday Aug. 13), will be remembered in a day-long birthday celebration at the International Marketplace in Waikiki.

Ho, who died on April 14, 2007 at age 76, is Hawaii’s best known Hawaiian entertainer. He headlined at Duke Kahanamoku’s, the legendary nightclub where he launched his journey to global fame; the long-gone club was located a stone’s throw away from where a statue of Ho now stands.

Dwight Ho, one of Don’s son and often the spokesman for the family, said he and his wife will attend dad’s birthday event, likely with other siblings. But he noted in an email,  “As much as the microphone and I don’t like each other, it somehow ends up in my hand,” referring to the likely prospect of him addressing the expected gathering.

The remembrance celebration will begin at 10 a.m., with a lei-draping event at the statue site.

The Don Ho statue, laded with lei during an earlier birthday celebration.

Other events tomorrow:

  • 4 to 5 p.m., Henry Kapono and Friends will present a “Suck ‘em Up” tribute show at the Queen’s Court show space on the first floor at the marketplace.
  • 5 to 7 p.m., a Don Ho archival photo installation ceremony.
  • 11 p.m. to midnight, “Celebrating Uncle Don,” featuring Kimie Miner, at Moani Waikiki located on the third floor at the marketplace. …

A confession: I’ve shared birthday dinners with Uncle Don perhaps three times over the decades, when he was headlining at a Waikiki venue (you know, he started at Duke’s and has reigned at such other clubs as the Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome, the Polynesian Palace, and the Waikiki Beachcomber, among others). The dinners were on a night-off for Ho, or a late after-a-show meal. In his later years  he often ate sensibly, loved Chinese, and adored chit-chats with me and the late Frannie Kirk, an industry peer who often planned the birthday bites.  Geez, they must be having a funfest in that great showplace in the skies. …

Dennis Carroll

Remembering Dennis Carroll

Kumu Kahua Theatre is launching a philanthropic ticket honoring its founder, the late Dennis Carroll, throughout its 52nd season, from Aug. 25 this year through Aug. 2023.

In the spirit of the tenet of the director-playwriter-professor Carroll to make theater accessible to all, up to  10 free Dennis Carroll Memorial tickets will be available to those financially challenged to experience the performing arts.

Carroll was a professor emeritus of the University of Hawaii’s Department of Theatre and Dance, who died on Nov. 25, 2021, at age 81. So the memorial ticket campaign is timed to his passing. A related celebration of life is being planned this fall on the Manoa campus.

For information on the memorial tickets, call  Kumu Kahua at (808) 536-4441 or visit www.KumuKahua.org

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Note the new Zippy’s kitchen charge

So the Zippy’s Senior Card is history, meaning no more 10 per cent discounts for the elderly,  but  the Zipster program accruing spending totals for rewards (open to all) has been launched at the Zippy’s restaurants.

But check your tab, my friends; there’s also a new “kitchen charge” to your tab now. Had a quick lunch at the Iwilei Zippy’s today, and a 51-cents (affordable for sure) charge was a newbie on the bill. Surely, it will be a higher fee with a larger purchase  – a growing trend for eateries to add on a new dining tax to cover operational costs, a move initiated earlier by Romano’s Macaroni Grill, if you recall.

Also, I’ve received several “what?!” comments, when I earlier mentioned that Zippy’s add-o “sides “charge for three pieces of Spam  is $8.10 with breakfast, but one eagle-eyed diner correctly mentions a slightly higher charge of $8.15 for three slides of bacon and a wad of corned beef hash. …

The forecast is Rain

Pearlridge Center celebrates five decades of service in Hawai‘i with a concert featuring Crossing Rain will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 19 at Wai Makai’s second level at Pearlridge Center, which is marking its fifth decade of service.  The local boy band will perform for shoppers and engage in a meet-and-greet until 8 p.m. Good op to see ‘em and do selfies, before they become global superstars. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Brad Pitt is the zany, condemned  assassin named Ladybug,  in an action adventure called “Bullet Train,” because, well, he flits aboard this sleek and seething Kyoto-bound train like a explosive projectile.

The film plays like an anime cartoon on steroids, and it’s swift, swerving but simplistic. Like the “Fast and Furious” collection of racing and crashing cars, it’s non-stop collisions and confrontations.

A ”Murder on the Orient Express” this ain’t. And because of the collateral damage of this elitist and respected train, you’d think that the Japanese would be thumbs down on this unabashedly chaotic yet charismatic pursuit of good over evil, traversing green-screened land and cityscapes in a Nippon tale that is loaded with music (from “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” to Kyu Sakamoto’s “Sukiyaki” rendered in Japanese for incidental mood shifts).

Brad Pitt, center, as Ladybug in “Bullet Train;” Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Tangerine and Brian Tyree Henry as Lemon.

 It’s a trove of discovery, fueled with CGI artistry, that converts the real-life Shinkansen Japanese train (though not identified as Japan’s rail wonder) as it roars and soars into pulp fiction territory of sorts, with unspoken tributes to Quentin Tarantino and his style of no-goods  with plenty of kicks, blasts, blood and mayhem, in what would clearly be dubbed black comedy.

This  jaunt involves a desired briefcase, loaded with moolah, and it seems like everyone’s trying to grab it.

Ladybug gets hurled into this rampant exchange of chases, knifings, and fisticuffs, but he’s actually a substitute assassin to recover this stash. He’s fresh from anger management sessions, so he doesn’t board the train with a gun, and thus is clueless on what lies ahead on the tracks.

A British duo, cleverly named Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry), are the hustlers with muscles and weapons. No, they don’t make lemonade, but since one of these assassins on the hunt – Lemon – is addicted to the kid-time “Thomas the Talking Engine”  train and book, you know you’re in fairytale land. Especially when he issues stickers of Thomas’ train gang.

However,  a train sticker has relevance in the unreeling tale: it decorates the handles of the coveted silver suitcase, a giveaway if you’re hunting for clues. Occasional pauses in the story involve Japanese kanji along with English subtitles, perhaps to remind the spectator of the Japanese roots of this tale, adapted from Kōtarō Isaka’s 2010 novel, though devoid of all the motion and commotion depicted here.

Like “Trainspotting, ”  odd people do mad things as the world swooshes by.  There are a few cameos, bringing needed giggles to film’s tension. Channing Tatum, for instance, is an off-center, playful commuter with a hilarious sexual overtone. Ryan Reynolds is aboard, too, mostly since  his earlier “Deadpool 2” film inked Pitt to do a cameo appearance, so this moment was payback of sorts. Both Tatum and Reynolds adopt the right look and appetite for their brief camera time.

Sandra Bullock

Then there’s Sandra Bullock, who comes late to the party; she’s not ever aboard the train but arrives in her own choo-choo of sorts, conveniently swooshing her new car amid the crashing and colliding train cars, projecting a cool, controlled  Maria Beetle,  the hitherto unidentified  handler of Pitt’s Ladybug dude. Doesn’t make much sense, but Beetle is the figure and focus of the Japanese author’s inspirational book, which was bravely entitled “Bullet Train.”

Masi Oki, whom islanders may recall as the medical examiner in the Alex O’Loughlin reboot of “Hawaii Five-O,” makes the best of his recurring conductor scenes,

The physicality and violence in the film are not easy to endure, because it’s hard to applaud glistening bloodshed, so perhaps this might have been a better vehicle as an animated film, where the gushing would be less severe or offensive.

 But there’s an underlying message of fate, and how Ladybug has to deal with it, lacking good karma. Suddenly, this humane sentiment somehow nullifies and excuses the punches and punctures of the dueling assassins.

The maddening and manic cadence is kinda like the gore and gritty scenes in the sci-hit earlier this year entitled “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a volley of assaults and energy that put Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis in blockbuster heaven earlier this year. And no train, or replica, was ruined in that one, which was a surprise black comedy, too. …

Broadway grosses, week ending Aug. 7

So it was musical chairs on the Broadway front last week, with Hugh Jackman’s still the “Music Man” mogul, pulling in $2.825 million, shy of his usual $3 million sum, and “The Lion King” overtaking:”Hamilton,” with tallies of $2.222 million and “$2.219 million, respectively, in the nip-and-tuck contest for No. 2 and No. 3 in the ranking.

The figures, courtesy The Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz. …


When CBS’ “NCIS” starts its 20th season in September, the Mothership show will include a crossover episode with “NCIS: Hawai‘i,” the franchise’s island-based newbie beginning its second season.

And despite the ongoing on-screen absence of executive director Mark Harmon, “NCIS” will host Hawaii leads Vanessa Lachey and Jason Antoon on the Sept. 19 episode. Both procedurals share Monday night slots, with “NCIS” at 8 p.m. preceding “Hawai’i‘’ at 9 p.m. on Monday night..

Vanessa Lachey

The original show’s “A Family Matter” opener begins where the 19th season ended, with Special Agent Alden Parker (Gary Cole) and ex-spouse Vivian (Terri Polo) on the lam. They gain assist when Jane Tennant (Lachey) intercedes with Ernie Malick (Antoon) and meet up with NCIS director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll), in the midst of a global military exercise.

“Prisoners’ Dilemma” is the title of the island crossover episode, with Tennant’s team, with help from “NCIS” team members Nick Torress (Wilmer Valderrama) and Jessica Knight (Katrina Law), tracking the whereabouts of The Raven’s plans to invade the RIMPAC exercise. Other leads,Gary Cole, Brian Dietzen and Diona Reasonover, also appear….

Filming coincided with the actual RIMPAC dynamics here, so the episodes are in the can, awaiting the season launch. …

Shall we dance?

Greg Zane

Greg Zane, the choreographer, dancer, actor and director, is home again. Alas, not for doing a musical, like last summer’s exquisite “A Chorus Line” at Diamond Head Theatre, but to get back to the roots: basic dance classes.

He posted on Facebook, while still in New York, that he was headed home today to conduct dance classes @ #queenemmaballet, on Aug. 11, 14, 16, 18 and 21, “and looking forward to the ocean, my family and (gulp) dancing on-stage again after a 10-year absence.” He added: “Pray for me.” Welcome home, buddy ….

Looking for a mouse, and more


“Wordsworth,” the new family musical about a poet mouse, is looking for a cast of players for the world premiere of the show based on the character mouse from author Frances Kakugawa’s books. The show, adapted for the stage by Jackie Pualani Johnson, premieres Nov. 7 at the theater at the University of Hawaii Hilo campus Performing Arts Center..

Tryouts for an English version of the show (an earlier play was done and taped in the Hawaiian language) will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 23 and from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the theater on the Big Island.

Justina Mattos is director, Wendell Ing is musical director, and Kea Kapalua is choreographer.

Besides the titular mouse, available roles for Wordsworth’s ohana (mom, dad, three brothers, a sister), and friends  Emily, Eliot and Dylan, among others.

For details, contact director Mattos at (808) 932-7491 or jmattos@hawaii.edu

Nightlife, revisited

Shari Lynn

The Shari Lynn Trio performance, set for Aug. 26 at Medici’s at Manoa Marketplace, has been postponed till Sept. 30, due to conflicts with one of the musicians. Tickets purchased for the original date will be accepted for the updated timetable. ….

The John Kolivas-led Honolulu Jazz Quartet’s Aug. 5 show at Medici’s at Manoa Marketplace has been canceled, but a new slot has not yet been announced. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Randy Rainbow (his real name) is bringing his Pink Glasses Tour to the Hawaii Theatre, for a lone performance at 8 p.m. Dec. 2. Honolulu is the final stop of his tour of Mainland cities.

If you’re a YouTube follower of his incredibly creative and expressive parodies of political figures, you know he’s an artist extraordinaire. His parodies, particularly during the Donald Trump campaign and presidency, are mini-musical-moments of whimsy and wonderment, with Rainbow doing all elements of the process. He writes, produces, directs, costumes and clearly is a one-man trouper who knows how to fashion and mount hilarious and powerful slams. His targets include the likes of Joe Biden and a slew of GOP figures; I’ve shared his stuff on my website for years.

Randy Rainvbow

In his popular touring show, he can’t do multiple Rainbows in full-bloom costumes, so part of the presentation taps his library of parody gems.

Tickets range from $57.50 to $189.50, on sale at the Hawaii Theatre box office. Two tiers of VIP packages also are available for diehard fans; the $189.50 tier 1 includes premium seating, a meet-and-greet with Rainbow, early entry, and a Q&A session; the $131.50 tier 2 package includes premium seating, early entry, and an autographed copy of Rainbow’s book.

 Visit www.hawaiitheatre.com or call  (808) 528-0506. …

A gift pahu

Nani Dudoit

Let the drumroll begin! To support wife Nani Dudoit’s launch of her Halau Kaleilehuaikealoonalani, Ho’okena leader Horace Dudoit III gifted his wife-kumu with a spanky new pahu (drum) that certainly will become a valuable addition to her halau.

Horace asked his hula brother/pal Brad Cooper to create the instrument with specific requirements, and when the pahu was pau “it turned out so beautiful that I just couldn’t wait” to give Nani the surprise gift early. 

The pahu has a name, Kananinoheaokaleilehua, or Nohea for short., and it means “the lovely and handsome beauty of the lei lehua,” Horace said on a Facebook post. “It has references to all our boys and granddaughter names and the halau where Nani comes from.” …

Kumu Kahua revives ‘Las Vegas’

Kumu Kahua will revive Edward Sakamoto’s “Aloha Las Vegas” comedy beginning at 8 p.m. Aug. 25 at its downtown theater.

The play focuses on a retired widower eager to sell his Liliha home and relocate to Las Vegas, where he might live amid more affordable ease. To go or stay, that is the question.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 24.

Tickets: $5 to $25, at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/aloha-las-vegas-tickets-338500192187

Around town

After the Point, a flashback of sorts, is slated at 7 p.m. Aug. 20, at the Convention Center. The evening sounds like the comeback disco and the ‘70s and ‘80s bands, since Aura and Greenwood are uniting to bring back the dreamy dancing memories of yesteryear, whether it’s slow dancing or jiving and bouncing on the dance floor. If you frequented The Point After, at the Hawaiian Regent  or Rumours at the Ala Moana Hotel, you know what’s in store. For tickets, visit www.hawaiistars.com

And that’s Show Biz. …


With the pandemic in its rear view mirror, the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra is looking for harmony and stability in a new four-year contract with the orchestra’s 84 musicians.

The HSO board has ratified the  pact, also overwhelmingly approved by the orchestra’s union, Musicians’ Assn. of Hawaii, Local 677, which assures 18 weeks of performances for the first two years, 19 weeks in the third year, and 21 weeks in the final year. The agreements cover the fiscal years from 2022 through 2026, somewhat rare in the still uncertain pandemic cloud that has stalled growth and security for many orchestras.

Dave Moss

“The heart of the symphony is our musicians and the signing of this multiple-year agreement ensures that they will have opportunities for growth as we continue our mission-driven work for the community,” said Dave Moss, president & CEO of HSO. “In a large way, it ends years of stops and starts for the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra throughout the past decade and puts HSO in a place of unprecedented stability, even after we’ve navigated the effects of the pandemic.”

James F. Moffitt

“The four-year agreement is unusual among orchestras at this time. For Hawai‘i, it will allow the HSO management time to recover from the detrimental effects of the pandemic and it gives the musicians job security and growth to look forward to,” said James F. Moffitt, president of the Musicians’ Association of Hawaii, Local 677. “This will also strengthen the organization by giving confidence to patrons, donors and sponsors, encouraging them to continue to contribute generously as they anticipate the expanded programming and financial stability of the HSO.”

“The harmony between musicians, board, administration and community serves as the catalyst behind the credibility and trust that has been established over the past three years, both financially and artistically,” said Paul Kosasa, chairman  of the HSO board of directors..

The  contractual certifications will assure stability for the orchestra, when it launches the upcoming season, beginning Oct. 8, and enables HSO to continue the Halekulani Masterwork Concerts Series, the HapaSymphony Series, Starlight Series and additional special performances ….

‘Doogie’ boyfriends

Alex Aiono

Alex Aiono will return in season two of Disney+’s “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” already in production here. Aiono has been portraying Walter Taumata, the surfer boyfriend of Lahela, the titular character played by Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who is the teen doctor when she’s not in high school. His relationship with Lahela, however, has not been defined since the series this year also cast Milo Manheim in a new recurring role and a likely boyfriend of Lahela.

Aiona also has  been a regular in “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin,” the HBO Max streamer, where he appears as Shawn. His Hawaiian/Polynesian looks are from his Samoan-Maori father and he calls Phoenix, AZ his home. …

Casting couch

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves, a Hawaii native of “The Matrix” and “John Wicks” franchises, will star in his first TV mainstreamer on Hulu,  “Devil in the White City,” based on Erik Larson’s book. The movie explores the life of Daniel Burnham, a visionary architect, who left his mark on the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, supposed the part Reeves will play, opposite a yet-to-be-cast  Dr. H.H. Holmes, considered to be America’s first modern serial killer (200 victims) and the dude behind the “Murder Castle” built in the shadow of the World’s Fair. The film boasts two celeb exec producers, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

Lady Gaga will add wattage to Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker 2,” officially to be called “Joker: Folie a Deux,” when she plays Harley Quinn, a tongue-in-cheek handle for sure. In an early posting in June, Variety said the sequel would be a musical, though that distinction has not be mentioned in her casting announcement, but it had a musical teaser, tapping “Cheek to Cheek,” a song legitimizing her  career as a chanteuse-partner of Tony Bennett rather than an oddly-dressed pop-rocker. ..

Look for James Franco to play Fidel Castro in “Alina of Cuba,” an indie flick about Alina Fernandez, daughter  of the Cuban revolution. It’s a true story of her exile from Cuba and also features Natalia Revuetta as the Cuban socialite whose affair with Castro resulted in the birth of Alina. …

Zippy’s Senior Card expiring

If you possess a Senior Card from Zippy’s restaurants in Hawaii, you have until Sunday (Aug. 7) to utilize the card. The program will conclude effective Aug. 8.

A new Zipster program will replace the card, which has been a boon for the elderly with its 10 per cent discount for dine-in or take-out patronage. …

And that’s Show Biz. …