Iz’s ‘Rainbow’ Legacy

There’s yet another pot of gold at the end of Israel “Bruddah Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole’s rainbow.

Iz’s iconic hit, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” today (March 24) will be added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry for preservation as part the heritage in recorded sound.

Marlene Kamakawiwo’ole, Iz’s widow, said the honor is “a blessing for my ohana and we are so happy to share his magic with the world.”

And Jon de Mello, who produced the disc, said “Our wish is that Iz was here to witness the joy the song brings to the world.”

The inclusion in the registry is not surprising, since “Rainbow” already has logged more than a billion views on YouTube, has been included in dozens of feature films (“Meet Joe Black,” “50 First Dates”), television shows (“EZ,” “Scrubs”), commercials, and has earned multi-platinum sales records in the U.S. and many global nations.

The characteristic “ooooh, ooooh” opening notes are part of the charm of the tune, and even the intro-only has been utilized in commercials. Clearly, it’s Iz’s sound and emotion that appeal to listeners; ironically, Iz was a Hawaiian entertainer but his aloha in the pop tunes is what connected to the world beyond the shores of Hawaii.

The track was included in the best-selling “Facing Future” album, and the medley has emerged as the undisputed No. 1 hit in the annals of Hawaii recordings.

Iz died on June 26, 1997, at age 38, so he never enjoyed the popularity and appeal of “Raiinbow.”

Iz’s inclusion in the registry’s Class of 2020 is also historic: among this year’s honorees is Thomas Edison, for the first-ever sound recording.

Review: ‘Shout’ at Diamond Head Theatre


“Shout: The Mod Musical,” now at the Diamond Head Theatre (through March 28), has a soundtrack jammed with 1960s-early ’70s pop hits mostly with British roots), a modest storyline about five women with life and love issues, and robotic choreography that captures the spirit of the era.

An off-Broadway blast from the past, “Shout’ enables DHT to return to producing shows with a cast of five women, singing to taped music in front of a single set of rectangles and squares depicting five hues – red, green, yellow, orange and blue – with each character designated by the colors. With pandemic practices in place, the theater can only fill 25 pct of its seats and drastically modified the niceties of theater-going: no playbill to identify the performers, which signals a lack of courtesy and respect to the cast. Of course, the audience is masked, with social distancing, and there is neither an intermission nor an apres-show meet-and-greet.

Yet the cast soldiers on, delivering credible performances despite the wafer-thin storyline.

“Shout” is mostly about the nostalgic tunes – popularized by the likes of Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Lulu, Marianne Faithful, The Seekers, and others – so you may leave the theater humming a fave like “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “Georgy Girl,”

“Downtown,” “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” “To Sir, With Love,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “I Know a Place,” and “You’re My World.” Even “Goldfinger.”

Those were the days, and these were the songs.

The show’s title alludes to a Brit tabloid dubbed, what else, SHOUT, and Red, Green, Yellow, Blue and Orange (as the roles are defined) also share monologues of gripes and issues sent to the magazine’s advice columnist.

The show is like a huge candy jar, with eye-filling vibrant costume colors, as well as the chirpy and contagious music, providing joyful nibbles and sweetness.

John Rampage directed and choreographed with his usual measure of syncopated fun and expression, inspired by that mound of music. There might be repetition in the motion, but the end result is a delightful dance-a-thon. However, take caution: dancing in the aisles is not allowed, but occasional sing-alongs and clap-alongs are welcome.

The show runs Fridays through Sundays, through March 28; some performances are sold out. Tickets: $22, at www.diamondheadtheatre.com

Bruno & Bette


Two of Hawaii’s homegrown superstars are on the radar right now.

So happens they share the same initials, BM.

Bruno Mars, who has connected with Anderson .Paak to form a new group, Silk Sonic, debuted a new single, “Leave the Door Open,” on YouTube. And because he pleaded online for a slot on this Sunday’s (March 14)Grammy Awards on CBS, he and .Paak earned a spot from the Recording Academy. The star power Bruno might bring to the Grammys should fuel a ratings boost and perhaps a Grammy next year. And unless Mars shaves it off, he might also be showing his newly groomed mustache. Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adLGHcj_fmA

Meanwhile, Bette Midler, aka the Divine Miss M, has added a new orchid to her bonnet: author of a children’s book. The star of Broadway (“Hello, Dolly”), the big screen (“The Rose”) and the recording world (“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Wind Beneath My Wings”) has authored a children’s photobook “The Tale of the Mandarin Duck,” about a real-life duck in New York’s Central Park.

Can you open the can?

I have a beef with Libby’s trapezoidal tin of corned beef. Every time we have corned beef cabbage or onions for dinner, the missus shouts: “Can you open the can?”

Can do, but it takes a real effort. Libby’s product is not shaped for conventional can openers, manual or electric. You gotta use the attached key, not a pull-tab, but a bona fide key. So, if you buy the tin, make sure it has the requisite key.

Did some research (you’re welcome) why Libby’s chose this shape and attached the key.

Historians credit Arthur A. Libby, who acquired a patent in 1875, to claim and retain this shape and key, supposedly to  allows the content to slip out as a block that can be sliced. In our household, the corned beef is mashed and shredded; not sliced.

Wondering: does anyone slice corned beef, as a breakfast meat like bacon or Spam? Spam boasts a soda-style pull tab, which is easier to manipulate, and the contents can be sliced, too.

What’s your take?

Pandemic Tiers

Are Hawaii’s pandemic-related “tiers” precise in deciding what’s open and what’s not?

With Hawaii now in Tier 3 on the totem pole to conquer the pandemic, some uncertainties prevail about bars and nightclubs, which are supposed to remain closed in this echelon.

I’ve been asked, why are such venues as Blue Note Hawaii at the Outrigger Waikiki resort and Medici’s at Manoa Marketplace able to stage performances with live audiences?

Both sites serve alcohol, which means they’re sorta-bars; both places also provide dinner service, so they’re sorta-restaurants with limited capacity.

But what they provide –the mix of food, drinks and entertainment – makes them supper clubs, also known as nightclubs in the hospitality biz.

Semantics matter, so regulations require clarity.

Don’t get me wrong; as a former newspaper entertainment editor and columnist, I support the opening of bars and nightclubs, with the appropriate mask-wearing and six-feet social-distancing measures in place. I assume clubgoers to Blue Note and Medici’s don the facial gear, and certainly, I applaud more opportunities for more entertainers to take the stage.

Admittedly, I’ve not been to either venue since the pandemic hit, but can’t wholly buy into the six-feet distancing; the space between tables might be OK, with or without Plexiglas barriers, but the number of patrons on each table might be questionable.

So the regulators should regulate and provide clarify; take the temperature and diagnose the ailment. Are both venues considered restaurants, to qualify for in-house live shows, even if they’re nightclubs in practice?

We’re in the third quarter of Tier-dom, and the strategy in the fourth will help decide if a win is imminent. What’s your take?