Just asking:

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day, by surprising your spouse or significant other, with a gift?

The same question might apply to your birthdays.

Sure, a sweet gift is not  unwelcome.

But when you’ve been married for more than five decades, to give or not to give is not an issue.

We’ll go out for dinner on these milestone occasions, but an actual gift is not longer part of our lives.

 Some time ago, my wife and I decided that saving on ungifting meant we’d be able to splurge on vacations and trips. But the pandemic put a lid on our travels – we had a pair of one-night staycations in the past three years,  one in Hilo, one in Waikiki – so we’re aiming for a trip to New York sometime this year.

If and when that happens, it will be a mutual gift we’ll be happy to spend on.

What say you?


Services for the esteemed pianist Rene Paulo will be held Feb. 25 at Inspire Church Mililani, at 95-061 Waimaku Drive.

Paulo, patriarch of a musical family, died Jan. 11 at Tripler Army Medical Center, surrounded by ‘ohana. He was 92.

Not surprisingly, the service to remember him and celebrate his prolific life as a night club owner, performer, and popular recording artist in his heyday, will be rich in memorieshwith familial reflections from his entertainment-industry children.

His surviving wife, Akemi, was his featured vocalist and their recording work complemented and fueled their nightlife career.

Rene Paulo

The family announced this service agenda:

  • Visitation, from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
  • Welcome, with emcee Al Waterson, at 10:30 a.m.
  • Wake service, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., which will include remembrances from his children: Gail-Anne Namerow (Rich), Charlene Paulo-Jubrail (Fadi), Michael Paulo (Terri), Rene Paulo Jr. (Laverne), and Vickie Tokujo (Roy).
  • Eulogy and Lions Club presentation, from 10:35 to 10:50 a.m.
  • Sermon by pastor Danny Yamashiro, from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
  • A video tribute will be shown, noon to 12:30 p.m.
  • Final viewing, from 12:30 to 1 p.m., followed by the closing of the casket..
  • Reception and open-mike musical tribute, 1 to 3 p.m.

Paulo’s fans acclaimed him as “Hawaiiʻs Favorite and Most Famous Pianist.” He studied  at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, so initially focused on classical music, but he expanded his artistic horizons by delving into jazz, pop, adult contemporary and local vibes. When he opened Opus One at the Ilikai Hotel, his singing wife was part of the attraction. His wider repertoire enabled him to gig in Las Vegas and his mentorship influenced his children to become entertainers, including jazz sensation Michal Paulo, with whom he frequently joined on stage. ….

Smooth like silk

Bruno Mars

Silk Sonic, the duo comprising Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars, recently earned their second singles award from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Silk Sonic’s “Smokin’ Out the Window” has been certified 2x multi-platinum with over two million equivalent units sold. It is the second double platinum single from the duo’s “An Evening With Silk Sonic” album.

Silk Sonic’s earlier RIAA award was for “Leave the Door Open,” their debut single, which earned four Grammy Awaras in 2022, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance.  This grand slam is the reason Silk Sonic withdrew participation in the 2023 Grammys this past Sunday. …

Additions to Manoa Valley Theatre calendar

Manoa Valley Theatre has begun preliminary advanced ticket sales for its season subscribers for a new pair of special attractions.

Richard Chamberlain

The first is “Sometimes Love,” a staged reading of a new musical  by Mark Rabbettt, at 7:30 p.m. March 20, at MVT.

Rabbett and Jocelyn Fujii will be featured in the reading about a couple facing empowerment issues in a longtime relationship, who face challenges that come with breakup and makeup.

A celebrity element prevails, since the piece is directed by Richard Chamberlain, TV and film star, who is the director and narrator of “Sometimes Love.” Chamberlain gained famed on TV’s “Dr. Kildare” series and on two TV mini-series, “Shogun” and “The Thorn Birds.” mini-series.

The second new production is a summer bonus revival of Lisa Matsumoto’s “Once Upon One Noddah Time,” which will run June 29 to July 9 run at the Kaimuki High School auditorium.

The pidgin English musical, with Matsumoto’s beloved galaxy of fractured fairy tale characters, has remained a popular attraction for actors and audiences alike, cavorting in a kingdom dominated by the Wicked Queen and the Mean Mongoose.

Presale tickets for both shows require a password code, open now through March 1, after which sales will be open to the public.


And that’s Show Biz. …


Challenges aside, singer Shari Lynn and her keyboarder Jim Howard are back at the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Paradise Lounge, located outside of the Bali restaurant in the Rainbow Tower.

She’ll be back, doing three sets from 7 p.m. on Feb. 18. Her agenda: performances on the second and fourth Saturdays each month.

Distractions and obstacles aside, Shari is a splendid optimist, sharing her skills of a stage actress, educator (retired) advocate of the Great American Songbook music, communicator and sometimes nightclub attraction, like this gig.

Ultimately, she distinguishes herself as a true chanteuse, with her ditties evolving as mini-stories that probe the essence of the lyrics, resulting in exquisite theatrical powerhouses. She’s on the money and she certainly works hard at her craft.

She focuses and digs deeply into the emotions of her tunes, as if she were delivering a romantic  ballad or a swing-thing from stage center. It’s not just her voice that sings, but her hands become part of her accentuate-the-positive expressions..

Shari Lynn

This, amid several pillars that restrict viewing for her devotees, and occasional hotel diners criss-crossing while she sings. She asks a restaurant aide to turn off a TV screen facing her from an opposite wall (a distraction for her, but not the audience – the volume is off) and the errant chit-chats from diners awaiting a table can be heard, too.

Through all of this, she soldiers on with a repertoire that taps  Broadway and screen classics, a bit of jazz, for which she’s known. This is not the perfect venue, but she has the manner and motivation to entertain and enchant her listeners nonetheless.

Over two sets, you’ll know and embrace her selections: “This Could Be the Start of Something Big” (with altered lyrics mentioning Waikiki and the Bali), “Send in the Clowns” (the Stephen Sondheim signature, perfect for a little night music serenade), “If He Walked Into My Life” (high drama, packed with sentiment).

Musically, Shari covers a lot of ground. Oldies are crisp, when she taps “Where or When,” “The Gypsy in My Soul,” “Getting to Know You,” “The Best Is Yet to Come.” Even “It’s Not Easy Being Green” is rich in texture, and whoa, her bossa nova parody is one to experience, too.

Mary Gutzi

On this night, her pal Mary Gutzi, a star of Broadway and Hawaii stages, gets up and hits homers with “ ‘Swonderful” (‘Smarverlous, perfect rendering) and “Someone to Watch Over Me” (sustaining the power of the lyrics). Gutzi is on hiatus here, waiting for New York to defrost, but also has been offering vocal coaching.

Jim Howard

This joyous serenade couldn’t happen without pianist Howard, who gets and deserves generous solo-keyboard interludes on many selections, a gift not commonly shared by other warblers. But he connects with the singers. Or, as Shari opines, “He breathes with you,” referring to Howard’s absorbing style of expression via his fingers.

He also is kinda of one-man geek squad; with his Roland keyboard momentarily posing problems, he finds the right plugs to keep the ball rolling. And his remarkable solo of Vince Guaraldi’s “The Charley Brown Christmas Song” was note-for-note as good as the original. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


What’s happening with the mounting exit traffic at the Koko Marina Shopping Center in Hawaii Kai?

You know that Zippy’s will discontinue dine-in, with the last day for service on Feb. 5. However, take-out will continue at the snack bar — at least through the end of this year.

But Hawaii National Bank — on Lunalilo Road, next to the service station –will cease operations for good, too, on May 5.  Unlike one-time neighbor Bank of Hawaii, which previously had a spacious facility but downsized at another location facing Kalanianaole Highway, Hawaii National  is instructing customers to do future banking at its Kaimuki branch.

Another merchant — Al Phillips, the laundry — shut down last November  with little notice.

Thus, there are many open spaces in this suburban mall.

What’s in the water there, with so many closures and abandoned retail space?

After the former Ben Franklin craft store closed to move to the Kaimuki vicinity, across Kaimuki High School, there were other tenants, including Pricebusters, a discount store, and it had a good run. Years after it shut down, an  emporium targeting gaming fans opened and shut quickly, due to scanty patronage.

Across the way, a Japanese restaurant opened, then closed, and did a re-launch, but finally threw in the towel for good, following a dismal run.  A new tenant, Happiness, is a set to occupy that space, next door to Assaggio, though dubiously; this new operator may not have heard that Sophie’s pizzeria closed a few doors away last year.

I support many neighborhood merchants, so it’s worrisome that  that the eight-screen Koko Marina multi-plex is struggling to draw cinephiles. Hope it can survive the skimpy viewership until new blockbuster titles  — like sequels such as “Avatar” and “Top Gun” — start filling the seats. At the large-screen No. 8 theater last weekend, there were only five patrons at a matinee screening.

The pandemic can’t be wholly blamed, but other smaller malls across Oahu don’t seem to have this kind of declining traffic and empty spaces after shut-downs.

What goes? Can’t merely point to inflation either; everyone’s hurting but clearly, merchants can’t keep up with the loss of profit margins due to a lack of patronage. …

Steel guitar festival in Kona

A three-day Kona Steel Guitar Festival is slated for March 23, 24 and 25 at the Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa in Keauhou, on the Big Island.

Alan Akaka

Participating steel guitarists performing March 23 include Alan Akaka, Pomai Brown, Al Greene, Jr., Bobby Ingano, Kapono Lopes, Patti Maxine, Greg Sardinha, Dwight Tokumoto, and Geronimo “Geri” Valdriz. NextGen steel guitarists include Enosa Lyman, Makamae Lyu-Napoleon, Isaballa Bertelmann, Joey Misailidis, and Pono Fernandez.  Kimo Kahoano will be master of ceremonies.

On March 24 and 25, the kanikapila will welcome community guitarists to bring their instruments and perform along with other festival troupers. Those requiring amplification should bring their own batter-operated amplifier.

The event, free to the public, is sponsored by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE), Ke Kula Mele Hawaii School of Hawaiian Music and the Outrigger Kona hotel.

Information about all HIMELE-produced Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festivals and livestream events is available at

Broadway grosses, week ending Jan. 29

Posting a closing date has been beneficial for “Phantom of the Opera,” which again tops the weekly gross list.

The show, Broadway’s longest-running musical, has posted an extended April 16 at the Majestic Theatre, and fans continue to flock to see hear the music of the night and watch the chandelier fall.

The top seven shows with the top grosses in New York:

1 – “Phantom,” $2.483 million.

2 – “Funny Girl,” $1.872 million.

3 – “Hamilton,” $1.871 million.

4 – “The Lion King,” $1.695 million.

5 – “MJ,” $1.584 million.

6 – “Wicked,” $1.549 million.

7 – “Moulin Rouge,” $1.376 million.

Here’s the full tally is courtesy The Broadway Guild. …

And that’s Show Biz. …


It’s February, and yes, Valentine’s Day looms.

To my network of friends and allies, check your mailbox: mailings are out to you.

The pins were fun to make, but had a last-minute burst of creativity: concocted one shadow-box for Valentine’s, already distributed to a longtime buddy, and shared here.