MAKE ROBERT’S ‘MINE’ YOURS

Robert Cazimero’s new CD, entitled “Mine,” clearly is a labor of love. It’s his first solo disc in years, the first in collaboration with the prolific singer-musician Kuana Torres Kahele and Marcus Turner (Kahele’s partner in life and in music).

The CD arrives in the midst of the holiday season, so looms as a perfect stocking stuffer gift that will keep on giving throughout the years to come.

Simply, “Mine” is  alive with a trove of original tunes composed by Cazimero, rich in memories and reflection, about moods, places, and themes Hawaiian.

With Cazimero’s piano accompaniment augmented by Kahele’s upright bass and guitar presence of Imua Garza, the disc assembles a warm vision and tone suited to the singer’s identifying vocal dynamics in mostly cozy stance..

Cazimero’s “Mine” CD.

There’s a lot to embrace and the new compositions provide a cluster of potential hula melodies awaiting movements and interpretation by hula dancers.

A batch of “place” atmospheric songs is quickly contagious:

* “Nu‘uanu Poina ‘Ole” is an homage to the cool area of refreshing rain and fragrant scents of blossoms, amid astonishing cliffs and history of Kaniakapupu, a house of royalty.

* “’Anini Mine” reflects with poetic Hawaiian lyrics a memory of a dancer in gentle rain.

* “Manoaakalani” relates to a glorious and hospitable home where clouds and breezes are plentiful, rain falls freely, all protected by the arch of rainbow.

* “Ka Pali Hotel (Kama‘aina)” paints a picture of the waterfalls of Waikahalulu, the comforts of a Pali Hotel and its verdant gardens.

The reflections of bygone memories appear to flow gently and easily if you’ve lived a rich life influenced by the joys of nature fueled by your imagination and savvy to articulate these flashbacks in new mele.

Cazimero, of course, has been a prolific and productive trouper in the show biz scene here, headlining  in Waikiki showrooms in his prime with his late brother, Roland, and in recent times, providing intimate songfests  in smaller performance spaces.

 He opens a five-night engagement tonight (Dec. 15) at Chef Chai’s on Kapiolani Boulevard and likely will perform a tune or two from “Mine,” mixed with repertoire faves and perhaps a sprinkle of holiday tunes. Christmas is a joyous time to reflect, and it’s his favorite season. …

Blue Christmas

Frank DeLima

With Christmas a-coming and some folks eager to party hearty (with facemasks and vaccination proof, of course), Blue Note Hawaii at the Outrigger Waikiki has a slate of local acts in the days ahead:

  • Frank DeLima, at 7 p.m. today (Dec. 15). This will be the only time and place to witness his inimitable Filipino Christmas parody clad in a Christmas tree costume that lights up.
  • Paula Fuga, at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Dec. 17-18).
  • Jake Shimabukuro, at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday (Decl 19-21).
  • “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with Mike Lewis and Friends, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (Dec. 22).

For reservations, visit www.bluenotehawaii.com

And that’s Show Biz. …

HARA LIFETIME ACHIEVERS NAMED

The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts will bestow its annual Lifetime Achievement Awards from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Monarch Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

The luncheon event will honor the following:

* Jeff Apaka –.For many years, he was a Sunday performer at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Tapa. The son of Alfred Apaka, aka as the Golden Voice of Hawaii, Jeff was at one time the youngest entertainer headlining a show in a main showroom venue in Waikiki.

* Patience “Pat” Bacon – A longtime Bishop Museum employee of Japanese ancestry with an encyclopedic knowledge of Hawaiian culture, hula, language and history, Bacon was the hanai daughter of renowned Hawaiian scholar the composer Mary Kawena Pukui.

Jay Larrin

* Jay Larrin — .A veteran singer, composer, and performer in Waikiki hotel lounges in the 1970s and 1980s, Larrin is a Tennessee native with Hawaiiana in his heart, composing and performing his island-themed tunes such as “The Snows of Mauna Kea,” “Little Lei Lady” and “The Koolaus Are Sleeping” for locals and visitors alike.

* Aaron Mahi –.A native Hawaiian who graduated from Kamehameha Schools, Mahi was known as the bandmaster of the Royal Hawaiian Band, and under his baton, the legendary  band was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.

* Dr. Puakea Nogelmeir – A prolific island scholar of things and themes Hawaiia, Nogelmeir is a Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning composer, kumu hula and associate professor of Hawaiian language at the University of Hawaii. He also has been a musical collaborator of Keali‘i Reichel.

Additionally, Life Achievement Recognition Awards will be presented to:

* U.S. Sen. Daniel Kahikina Akaka.

* Emma Kapi‘olani Farden Sharpe.

Tickets: $80, includes lunch.

Information: https://harahawaii.com/lifetime-achievement-award

Broadway buzz

“Diana,” the musical biography on Princess Diana, is one of the first casualties of the reopened Broadway season this fall. The show, which opened Nov. 17, also had been streaming on Netflix, will close Sunday (Dec. 19) after 33 performances at the Longacre Theatre.

Michael Jacowitz

Among its many producers is sometimes Maui resident Michael Jackowitz, who also is the driving force behind a yet-to-be-tested or unveiled Hawaiian-themed musical on the goddess Hi‘iaka, which has had input by local “names” Keali ‘i Reichel and Roslyn Catracchia, with ex-islander Patrick Makuakane choreographing and Stephen Schwartz of “Wicked” and “Pippin” musical hits also among the music collaborators. …

Passing mentions

Sorry to report the passing of Dennis Carroll, a professor emeritus of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Hawaii, and founder of the Kumu Kahua theater group. He died Nov. 12 at age 81.

Dennis Carroll

William Dennis Carroll was his full name, but he was known as Dennis, an active playwright in his prime and also launched Kumu Kahua’s annual playwriting contest to stir interest among local playwrights whose works  of local themes, culture and characters, would eventually be staged by Kumu Kahua.

Harry B. Soria Jr.

He was born in Sydney, Australia, and joined UH in 1969. Survivors include his wife, three children and four grandchildren….

And Harry B. Soria Jr., the centrifugal  force of territorial-era Hawaiian music,  died Dec. 7 of unknown causes at age 73. He was founder-host of “Territorial Airwaves,” his signature radio show, but also an award-winning record producer and liner note writer of numerous disc projects.

His massive recording collections– certainly the most valuable, authentic and complete archival files of a specific timetable in island music history –will be donated to the Hawaii State Archives.

Survivors include his wife, Kilohana Silve. …

And that’s Show Biz. …

SHARI LYNN, THE CONSUMMATE SINGER

In her final live performance of 2021, singer Shari Lynn continues to be a consummate songbird others can learn from.

She illuminates any tune she sings, investing an actress’ stance in interpretation, storytelling with lyrics that give melodies substance and breadth.

Her passion is luminous, as she brightens and heightens a song with her elocution and expressive delivery.

In her Medici’s at Manoa Marketplace gig last night (Dec. 10), she opted to stage a mixed bag of a show without sacrificing relevance. It’s the holiday season, so yes, there were a few Christmas pauses, with mentions of that Claus named Santa.  But the artist in her didn’t pause or miss the opportunity to put her imprint on exceptional songs with stellar lyrics, from two creators passionate of the tradition of tough, revelatory words to accompany infectious melodies for the brave souls willing to sing ‘em.

Thus, her pair of tributes to the late Stephen Sondheim, the prolific creator of some of Broadway’s brightest and innovative shows who died on Nov. 26, and Dave Frishberg, the underappreciated jazz pianist and composer who passed on Nov. 17.

Shari Lynn: She brightens a song with storytelling skills.

The homages were powerfully honest and pure, reflecting differing styles that challenge the performer and in her hands, their diverse songs reflected an invisible bond.

The Sondheim section included the inevitable, the reflective “Send in the Clown” from “A Little Night Music,” about ill-fated love that perhaps is his most popular title, plus the rousing Mama Rose’s show-stopper, “Some People,” from “Gypsy,” with all the histrionics and body language befitting an artist who has done the show and the tune and continues to celebrate their allure.

The Frishberg  collection included “I Can’t Take You Nowhere,” which might be bad grammar, but with tongue-twisting words, plus “My Attorney Bernie,” a fun piece about an attorney.

The opening song, an instrumental version of “O Christmas Tree” rendered by pianist Jim Howard and bassist Bruce Hamada, was solemn and mood-setting, soon diverting to a jazz version of “Santa Baby,” serious and seductive, unlike the wildly uproarous Jewish/Christmas parody that has become one of Shari’s trademark this time of year. Yep, she’s officially Jewish but practices the vows of Christmas complete with multiple decorated trees at home.

Her interpretation of a Barbra Streisand holiday album track,”The Best Gift,” again demonstrated her savvy in extending lyrics into smart tale-sharing, and yep, there was a skosh of Barb in her delivery.

Her onetime, longtime accompanist, keyboarder Don Conover, took the stage by playing piano on a medley of “Remember/Toyland,” a sweet cameo from the past.

Her parody of “My Favorite Things,” with hilarious and insane lyrics, was clearly and grandly goofy and fun.

An advocate of the Great American Songbook, Shari dusted off a couple of “standards,” like  “The Best Is Yet to Come,” the Peggy Lee-composed “I Love Being Here With You” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” tossing  in a hana hou in “Here’s To Love.”

With pandemic protocols lowering for restaurants and clubs, perhaps Medici’s should eliminate the plastic curtain fronting the stage. The see-through shield is a major distraction now; it’s like watching a show through shower curtains. Face masks, of course, still are necessary to attend. …

And that’s Show Biz. …

CRETTON LANDS MARVEL, HULU GIG

Maui’s Destin Daniel Cretton, the director behind the box office behemoth “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” has signed a marvelous deal with Marvel Studios and Hulu’s Onyx Collective that will elevate his profile in the Hollywood spectrum.

The new deal, reported by www.comicbook.com , will involve developing a theatrical sequel to “Shang Chi,” and calls for Cretton to create a new Disney+ series, likely to embrace some spin-out of the events of that boffo film.

Destin Daniel Cretton

Then there’s still another Disney+ project, an adaptation of another comic book caper, a series based on an Young Adult graphic novel,  “American Born Chinese,” an acclaimed and popular resource by Action Comics writer Gene Luen Yang.

Deadline reported that Cretton will be instrumental in widening global audiences with the planned projects. “Destin is a powerhouse storyteller with impeccable taste in material. As we continue to expand our roster, Destin’s unique voice will help usher in an exciting slate of content for our global audience,” according to Tara Duncan, president of Freedom & Onyx Collective.

More praise comes from Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer. “Destin is an amazing collaborator who brought a unique perspective and skill to ‘Shang-Chi,’” he said. “We had a fantastic time working together on the film and he has so many intriguing ideas for stories to bring to life on Disney+, so we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with him and can’t wait to get started.”

Cretton said,”I can’t wait to explore new stories and build new worlds with this community.” …

Show breezes

Shari Lynn

Tonight’s show tip: Shari Lynn graces the stage this evening (Dec. 10) at Medici’s at Manoa Marketplace. The club’s website has been plugging the gig as a holiday concert, but Shari says the program will embrace and honor the music of two late composers “whom I revere,” she says. Thus, Stephen Sonheim, the incomparable and prolific luminary of Broadway music and shows and
Dave  Frishberg, the legendary jazz pianist, composer and singer will be remembered via songs.

Shari’s usual accompanists will join her: keyboarder Jim Howard and bassist Bruce Hamada.  It’s likely a sell-out, so call club on availability. …

In a symphohic mood? The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra presents “Handel’s Messiah,” at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Dec. 11) and  at 4:30 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 12) at the Hawaii Theatre. Jory Vinikour conducts; call the Hawaii Theatre for tickets. …

And that’s Show Biz. …

GOOD TIMES…ON A SUNDAY

I’ve been a subscriber of the Sunday New York Times for decades,  a habit originating back in the day when I picked up the heavy, multi-sectioned behemoth,  purchased at a New York newstand and hauled to my hotel room. It provided data and ads that helped make decisions on which show to see, or not, on Broadway.

I ordered the home delivery option because from far-away Honolulu, it’s not readily easy to find a one-stop resource for news and advertisements about Broadway shows. Yep, online sites and ticketing resources are plentiful, but not the most convenient way to peruse the Great White Way haps.

Thus, the Sunday Times has been wholly and generously a treat for leisurely Sunday reading.

This past Sunday’s edition (Dec. 5) boasted several genuine surprises, in all the right places. Two mentionables, coincidentally, were in the Book Review section. About literacy. About the value of reading. About a voice coming from youths:

Bette Midler
  • An interview with Bette Midler, caught my eye, since she is a bona fide children’s book author (latest effort: “The Tale of the Mandarin Duck.”)  In one of the questions, on what kind of reader she was as a child, the Hawaii native revealed this: “My mother  (Ruth, with whom I had many phone chats when the Radford grad was en route to superstardom) taught me to read when I was 4, and I became a compulsive reader. My parents left us kids in the Honolulu public library (the main branch near Iolani Palace) every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., while they did their shopping. I wandered all over. I read Grimm’s ‘Hans Christian Anderson,’ the Betsy Tacy and Tib books, ‘Freddy the Pig,’ ‘The Borrowers,’ ‘The Boxcar Children,’ ‘The Secret Garden’ (very important), a lot of boys’ adventure and magazines. Especially Life! It showed me the world. When I was 12, I read ‘The Lash of the Just’ and I never got over it.” …
Frances H. Kakugawa
  •  My poet friend, Frances H. Kakugawa, formerly of Kapoho and Honolulu and now of Sacramento, submitted a letter to the Book Review section, which published it with the headline, ‘Our Own World.’” It read, “James Yang’s ‘A Boy Named Isamu‘ (Nov. 14) is what excellent children’s literature is, the absence of the adult voice interfering in the telling of a story with the intent to teach a lesson or two. Children are surrounded by adult voices in life – in ‘A Boy Named Isamu,’ there are Isamu and the reader alone. This book will also be excellent for readers in their 80s and 90s as they, too, are surrounded by too many adult voices. What a pleasure to stroll with Isamu, awakening our senses to our own world.” …

Other profound discoveries in the Times:

* There is a threat of a shortage of schmear for bagels. New York is sort of the unofficial capitol of bagel-binging, and what’s a bagel — plain, blueberried, or cheesy with sprinkled herbs – without the cream cheese schmear, plain or with flavors. Oy vey!

* So what’s the favored emoji, among the hundreds of variations available? The Unicode Consortium, which monitors these things, says in a Times piece that No. 1 is the laughing-crying-smiling emoji, reflecting a sunshiny day with sprinkles, I guess. No. 2 is the emoji with the red heart, shouting romance or love. Now you can use these with your emails and know that you’re part of the in crowd. …

Dr. Jill Biden

* ‘Tis the season to be merry, thankful and joyous, that the Bidens are in the White House, and that Dr. Jill Biden, the First Lady, is responsible for decking the halls and stairways and thus is the chiefess of Christmas. A Times visit to examine the B.C. (Biden Christmas) indicates that tradition has been rediscovered, with predictable but purposeful trees and decor that reflect, well, taste. Gone are the bizarre, isolating forests of red trees, the white wonderland halls devoid of warmth, from the not-quite-normal and isolationist former lady Melania Trump. Her designs were targets for late night talk show hosts. …

* With the NFL football season nearing its finale – I watch as much as any reasonable fan can – I’ve found the Times’ analyses and previews of the coming week’s games enlightening and essential in the Sunday Sports section. It evaluates and predicts each game – an overview that has as many rights as wrongs, considering the uncertainties, unpredictable and see-sawing season…

And that’s Show Biz. …