First, there was the PBS documentary, “Waterman,” that profiled the life and times of Duke Kahanamoku, the beloved surfer-swimmer known as the Ambassador of Aloha. Jason Momoa, the Islander who become a superstar actor thanks to “Aquaman,” narrated that documentary.

Soon, “Aquaman” Momoa will be producing a feature film on Kahanamoku, the iconic Hawaiian Olympian winner, widely credited as the father of surfing. Momoa is teaming up with producer Peter Safran to tell the story of Hawaii’s first well-known surfer-swimmer,   

Duke Kahanamoku
Jason Momoa

who was a five-time Olympian, who broke racial stereotypes when he was a minority Hawaiian swimmer who helped popularize surfing in his lifetime, competing in four Olympic Games in 1912, 1920, 1924 and 1932.

And writing the screenplay for this project is Christopher Kekaniokalani Bright,  who has been based in California, but settled back at home in Hawaii to diligently and quietly work on the script. Bright is the grandson of the late Ronald Bright and Mo Bright; Ron was the popular teacher-director-mentor of thousands of island actors and techies who earned their stripes in Bright-directed productions at the Ron Bright Theatre at Castle High School and Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College.

Christopher Bright

Chris Bright has been on stage, performing in musicals helmed by his grandfather, but has focused on shaping scripts, including “Conviction,” a 2018 Black List selection.

Details are still scanty; there’s no data on when the filming will start, or where it will be done; when a casting call will be held and the biggest wonderment: will a Hawaiian, from here or elsewhere, be tapped to portray Kahanamoku.

Over the decades, there have been trademark issues on rights to projects involving Kahanamoku. Momoa, Safran and producers Susan Miller Carlson and Eric Carlson of Carlson Company have been negotiating with Don Love, a California investor who has been operating Malama Pono Ltd.since 1999, to manage IP (intellectual property) rights to Kahanamoku’s legacy.

After his notable athletic career, Kahanamoku served as the sheriff of Honolulu until the early 1960s and had various jobs as a gas station owner and was the namesake of Duke Kahamaoku’s, the fabled International Market Place nightclub, where Don Ho launched his global fame. The Duke often made appearances at the restaurant club, in the era when  entrepreneur Kimo McVay operated Duke’s.

Kahanamoku died of a heart attack in January, 1968, at age 77. …

Mariota is a TOYA

Marcus Maritoa

Kudos to Marcus Ardel Taulauniu Mariota, quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, who has been named one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the U.S. Junior Chamber (Jaycees). The awards will be formally made at Virginia Beach next month.

He was nominated for the laurel by the Rising Phoenix Jaycees, who wasted no time to honor the former Saint Louis Crusader.  Hope the function doesn’t conflict with a Falcons game. …

One for the grandparents

Frank DeLima will stage a brunch show to mark Grandparents Day

from 10:30 a.m. Sept. 11 at the Central Oahu Event Center, formerly Dot’s in Wahiawa.

Frank DeLima

DeLima will perform at 12:30 a.m., preceded by a brunch buffet from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

A brunch for kupuna is not all that common, but DeLima has been booking brunch gigs recently —twice at Blue Note Hawaii, for Easter, with another coming up on Dec. 11. Before the Pagoda Restaurant welcomed Sorabol as its current tenant, DeLima did brunch and evening shows at the Pagoda ballroom.

The Wahiawa brunch event will offer a range of assorted breakfast breads and pastries, salads and anti pasto dishes, with entrees such as fresh island catch, medallions of chicken in sun-dried tomato and mushroom cream, braised shoulder of beef with cremini mushroom sauce, and a lavish display of desserts, accompanied by coffee, tea or hibiscus-mint iced tea. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase.

The buffet is $47 for adults, $23.50 for youths under 19, and free for keiki 5 and under.

The Central Oahu Event Center is located at 130 Mango St., in Wahiawa.

Reservations: (808) 627-5451.

Details: www.centraoahueventcenter.com. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


They called themselves Na Makamaka, and why not?

Makamaka refers to beloved friends, who effortlessly give and take, and share and demonstrate, unifying the gift and power of friendship.

For Jerry Santos, Kuuipo “Ipo” Kumukahi, Haunani Apoliona and Ryan Tang, last night ‘s (Aug.27) gig at the Hawaii Convention Center was a genuine evening of makamaka. It was all about fond memories, rich vocals and instrumentals, and contagious camaraderie. It was spontaneous and revealing, as if they assembled to have a great time, singing and strumming with sheer joy.

In short, this was a smooth, backyard or back-porch jam session, with generous servings of makamaka. Hence, the monicker for the event, “Na Kupuna Nights,” was fitting; it was a gathering of kupuna performing and kupuna listening and watching. OK, the crowd wasn’t comprised of all seniors, but grey and white hair were plentiful. Everyone was soaking up the aloha, called makamaka.

Santos, of course, is best known as the singer-composer-guitarist of Olomana, the legendary group he led through the rebirth of Hawaiian music in the 1970s, when he was a newbie who became one of the somebodies that helped shape and inspired a generation of entertainers who would become, over time, the emerging stars of the Hawaii over the past three decades.

Na Makamaka, from left: Kuuipo Kumukahi, Jerry Santos, Haunani Apoliona and Ryan Tang

She strums both ukulele and guitar with astounding ease.

Kumukahi, a Hilo native, is a versatile vocalist with a wealth of memories, shared through the songs she learned from her mom. She is one of the most underrated female singers of her generation, who performed with Santos and Olomana for the past two decades. Apoliona, best known for her work with Alu Like and OHA, Hawaiian non-profits, when she wasn’t alternate or fulltime singer with Olomana. She brings a rare touch in local combos, because she is a master of 12-string guitar.

Jerry Santos\

Tang, who also used to be a part of Olomana, has become an intermittent semi-regular. But Olomana, the group, has not had a regular Waikiki gig since the pandemic shuttered all venues and sentenced bands to the unemployment line. And clearly, this Na Kupuna event was not an Olomana show; imagine, this was a rare instance when Santos did not render “E Kuu Home O Kahaluu,” his signature since he and the band became household names, because this was all about makamaka.

Kuuipo Kumukahi

This all-star combo put their voices and instruments out there to share the remembrances of hearty music and life moments past,  beginning their journey with Santos’ “Come to Me Gently,” a warm, retroactive ballad that beckons give-and-take aloha, with its inclusive “Hawaii Is Calling” lyric.

Haunani Apoliona

A gigantic medley of familiar songs – weaving one song after another, like sewing a lei of gentle blossoms – including “Na Ali‘i,” “Wahine Ilikea,” and “Pearly Shells” (well, the Hawaiian version, “Pupu A ‘O ‘’Ewa”). The end product was the abundant esprit of commonality and community, with individuals bonding in oneness. Surely, many in the audience were lip-synching quietly, which is OK and part of this sharing experience.

Not surprising, this generous medley – which ran for perhaps 20 to 25 minutes – also included wonderful visual and aural snapshots of each vocalist and instrumentalist. That is, Santos got some guitar licks in, besides his sweet upper-register tones; Kumukahi, switched from guitar to ukulele, pouring out small-kid-time recollections as well as a song bag of Hilo-related tunes; Apoliona, who has not been part of this kind of musicianship during the pandemic, shared her from-the-gut vocals while doing her 12-string thing; and Tang did harmonies as well as a splendid bass solo, even putting his elbow to work on his electric bass. And his hula-dancing wife, Rae Tang, also shared her talent.

Ray Tang

Kumukahi, often labeled the Sweetheart of Hawaiian Music, shared a song, “Bumbye,” composed by Puakea Nogelmeier for his foster mother, Ululani Kumukahi, who is Ipo’s mom. As she tells it, the Hawaiian scholar-composer wrote the tune when visiting mama Kumukahi when she was in the hospital, and based the hilarious melody and lyrics, in Hawaiian, which was a 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano winner. Daughter Kumukahi “owns” the song, and she delivered with wonderful  gestures whenever she came to the title, a pidgin word for later, not now, bumbye. Got it?

“He Ono,” the tongue-twisting ditty about eating all kinds of food, was another of Kumukahi’s gift for the evening; in Hawaiian, it’s lively stuff; in English, she delivers the lyrics (mentioning the likes of manapua and half moons) which is funny as hell.

Santos made an early declaration, about kupunahood. The evening, sponsored by the Hawaiian Music Perpetuation Society, is all about kokua for kupuna. Santos, with a straight face, said “We are kupuna, too,” admitting the years that all of his musical partners have spent, shaping the face of island music and becoming the face of makamaka.

Thanks for the fellowship and sharing, guys…

And that’s Show Biz. …


There’s a bit of a stir, underwater, at “Honu by the Sea.”

That’s the Johnson Enos-produced environmental, family-fantasy  musical,  that has been produced and performed locally, nationally, and internationally since its 2012 debut.

The ongoing pandemic, when the new normal since 2019  meant shutdowns and stalls, has enabled creator Enos to tweak and expand his undersea clientele via a Honu Mele Series that introduce new tunes and new characters in his underwater world.

Johnson Enos

Just out: a two-tune single that continues to promote the urgency of respecting the ocean environment where oodles of sea creatures call home.

So the new mele marks the debut of Nalu, and a fresh wave of creativity for the often misunderstood tiger shark, whose animated cartoon identity is displayed on the CD, complete with Polynesian tattoo-type etchings adopted in the culture here: the dorsal fin, again with the trademark tattoo art, is inspired by the sail of a traditional voyaging canoe.

Nalu’s tune, performed by John Cruz, explores the frustration of the shark, moaning that “critters are afraid of me … I’m just misunderstood.”  Nalu admits “I like to glide in the ocean, I like to ride a wave or two, my dorsal fin looks scary, and that’s just what I do.”

And that’s why, he laments, “why can’t a guy like me have a best friend?”

“Just Misunderstood” tune is about Nalu the shark

 The family show’s cast also includes The Three ‘Opihi, Jan, Ken and Pon, whose mele is entitled “Common Sense,” with vocals by Enos, Aaron Sala and Ikaika Blackburn.

The catchy tune is a smart way for kids to learn means and manners about the growing problem of ocean trash that can stifle life undersea.

“Common Sense:” tune is about the Three ‘Opihi.

So as easy as one, two and three, the three ‘opihi’s tune advocates picking up trash, plastic bags, and bottle caps, and “pick it up and put it away,” where trash belongs. “That’s common sense,” the ‘opihi sing, three times, of course.

The recording sessions tapped a host of notable musicians: Benny Chong (ukulele), Jeff Peterson (uke), Ian O’Sullivan (uke), Dean Taba (bass), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Jeff Au Hoy (steel guitar), Dean Taba (bass),  Clayton Cameron (bass), Alden Levi (background vocals) and Kainoa Enos (whistle).

More recognizable names were involved in technical aspects of the recording, including David Kauahikaua, Milan Bertosa, Christian Roberts, Travis Ference and Chae Choe.

More character-driven songs are expected, according to Enos, who admits his influence in this ongoing process include his late mentor, Ron Bright, for his unending you-can-do-it belief;  his mother, whose conversations triggered the jan-ken-po characters; and the late Don Ho, for his wealth of unexpected wisdom. “I recall a bit about villains from Don Ho,”said, Johnson, imitating Ho’s drawling speaking style. “He said (villains) talk in song … so watch out for barracudas out there.” …

Augie on a roll

Augie Tulba, who also is a Honolulu Council member, launched an impressive roster of shows Thursday night. He’ll do stand-up on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, with admission at the $20 and $10 levels.

His booking is a twofer, meaning he’ll do a twofer on Sept, 17 at the Hawaii Theatre, with shows at 2 and 8 p.m.

He’s posted an impressive and lively series of ads on Facebook, which gives you an idea of how he’s themed certain shows. Take a peek. …

Augie’s show roster from now to Oct, 7, shows a variety of affordable outings.

With condolences…

Details are sparse, but sorry to report the deaths of two entertainers. Carlos Barboza, a member of The Aliis, died earlier this month. Randy Abellar, former member of the Society of Seven, died a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, where services and burial were conducted in Las Vegas. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


Whenever you travel, you inevitably book a hotel room that becomes your home away from your own digs. Not very often, a little amenity at your hotel might make it a special memory.

Back in the day, most hotels here gifted visitors with a simple but precious gift: a vanda orchid on your pillow. Visiting women guests would cherish the orchid, usually wearing it behind an ear; the vanda had a sweet scent. Some hotels generally provided a mint on your pillow.

I recall several lasting memories, in hotel stays here and elsewhere.

Warm brownies at bedtime on Kauai.

The local experience was at the Sheraton Kauai at Poipu several decades back. Before bedtime, a ceramic cookie jar, housing several wedges of warm brownies, would be delivered to your room every evening. Open the jar, and a whiff of delish brownies would fill the room. How classy is that?

Further, the hotel provided a plush miniature teddy bear sitting on the sofa. To avoid guests “stealing” the cute bear, a note indicated that if you wanted to take teddy home, you could get one (paying for it, natch) at checkout. If a minor child was in your traveling group, it would be hard not to order one to take home.

On my very first trip to Broadway and New York, I booked a room at the Algonquin  hotel on W. 44th  St., a block away from the Shubert Theatre in the theater district, upon the recommendation of local travel agent Ruth Rittmeister. She said the hotel had old-world charm, and hallways boasted covers from the New Yorker magazine (then located across the street from the hotel) that was sorta a gallery for the literati.

New Yorker art in Algonquin’s corridors.

But the real surprise was that all guests then were greeted with a tiny fruit basket, laden with a banana, an apple, an orange, and grapes, enough to tide you over for a quick snack. Sure, I’ve had more lavish and larger fruit baskets in Hawaii, mostly because I knew the g.m.

Oh, and the Algonquin boasted a reigning cat in the lobby bar; feline fans could pet and hear the kitty purr; over the years, a new cat would be the live-in mascot, a tradition I believe still in place.

And two decades ago, I visited Croatia because my wife hand a global conference in that region, when it was the No. 1 destination for travelers. The walled city of Dubrovnik had hotels, restaurants, plazas and shops; a population of locals who lived up and down the hillside corridors had some of the best views of cruise ships dispatching visitors by sea shuttles.

Ocean-side sea life tanks in Croatia.

But the memory that remains is a tiny hotel, whose name I don’t recall, which was accessible only by a sea shuttle boat. The hotel was nothing fancy, but its “amenity” was a row of coastal restaurant vendors a short walk away. You knew which was the most popular dinner spot, by the length of the waiting line. And talk about fresh catch – you select your entrée, whether fish or lobster, by pointing out the fish swimming (or lobster) in the  coastal “tank” which was the holding space for sea food. Couldn’t get any fresher than this. …


Without question, Tom Cruise and his “Top Gun: Maverick” blockbuster  raised the heat temperature, ruling over the summer movie season, which ends as Labor Day and back-to-school classes loom.

Remarkably,”Maverick” — at last count, amassing $662 million — now is the seventh highest grossing domestic flick of all time.

This means that the sequel to Cruise’s 1986 hit also has bypassed “Titanic” figures and also has logged a global take of $1.35 billion so far. And counting.

The film opened Memorial Day weekend in May, traditionally the start of the summer movie derby, and it was a smash from the get-go, earning $156 million that first weekend.

It had the makings of a winner, with a lot going for it: a 99 per cent approval rate from Rotten Tomatoes, grand and glowing reviews, and a career-best performance from Cruise, who had to wait two-plus-years for the film to finally be released because of the pandemic, riding a wave of nostalgia, and became The Movie that attracted audiences to see a film in a legit theater after a frustrating, long wait because the movie houses were shut down as the COVID-19 brought life to a lockdown in late 2019.

Cruise in the cockpit in “Maverick,” his and summer’s hot flick.

“Maverick” became the first Cruise film to surpass the $100 million threshold, which will reap him beaucoup bucks. And perhaps an unplanned second sequel.

It wasn’t a superhero flick, though Cruise earned superhero status in his performance, and wisely, Paramount didn’t put it on a streaming track like a few other films.

It was a big screen, IMAX-flexing wonderment, and a title that triggered a sizeable amount of see-it-twice devotees. When was the last time you were enticed and stoked to see a flick a second time in as many weeks?

The history books may ultimately call “Maverick” the film that saved Hollywood, under all odds. And Cruise will be up there on the moneymaking celeb charts, since he not only will collect a salary as the leading actor, but he also was a producer of the film. His contract will enable him to also earn a percentage of the grosses, in a formula that will put him in a higher income bracket, for sure.

Cruise also still has another major film, a “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” sequel, awaiting release in two parts: July 2023 and June 2024.That’s another franchise that will have fans lining up, perhaps not in the huge numbers of “Top Gun.”

“Maverick” was deemed to be the concluding chapter of the “Top Gun” franchise, but its astonishing performance all summer likely will not go unnoticed. It wasn’t in the plan to have a Part 3, but Paramount would be  remiss to totally ignore one, with Cruise still as the centerpiece.

For the record, “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” is the highest grossing domestic film ($936,662,225), followed by “Avengers: Endgame” ($858,373,000,), “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (“804,793,477), “Avatar” ($760,507,625), “Black Panther” ($700,426,566), and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($678,815,482). Following “Top Gun: Maverick”) are “Titanic” ( $659,33363,944), and “Jurassic World” ($6533,406,625).

Zare Anguay joining ‘Aladdin’

Zare Anguay: Lands “Aladdin” swing roles.

Zare Anguay, the actor from Kaneohe last seen in the touring company of “Rent” that played the Blaisdell Concert Hall last December, has been tapped to join the cast of the still-running Disney musical, “Aladdin,” likely in the fall.

He learned his ropes as one of the many youngsters directed by Ron Bright, and is the lone bro of the acting Anguay sisters who did shows at the Ron Bright Theatre at Castle High School as well as Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College.

He’ll be part of the vacation-swing ensemble , which likely means he’ll have to learn and cover several roles in the Tony-winning family musical. …

Broadway grosses, week ending Aug. 21

Recapping the Broadway scene, Hugh Jackman and “The Music Man” raked in $2.784 million, followed by “Hamilton” with $2.194 million, with  “The Lion King” grossing $2.052 million.

The weekly chart is courtesy The Broadway League:

And that’s Show. Biz. …