Robert Cazimero at Chef Chai’s

It was imperfect, but Robert Cazimero’s return to the limelight last night (March 28) at Chef Chai’s was momentous and a measure of what the local show biz has been lacking for months.

Cazimero’s gig, dubbed the Full Moon Concert, had been a monthly fave at Chai’s, linked to the lunar calendar. It was sidelined last year by the pandemic, so the homecoming of one of Hawaii’s luminous troupers drew a full house.

But like a vehicle idled for an extended time, Cazimero had to pull the throttles, step on the gas, and look in the rear mirror to find his footing. Behind his keyboard, he’s a master, but it took an effort to get his engine purring.

The format here is sharing moods and memories, a structure that allows him to cruise with tunes from all genres, and in the driver’s seat, he doesn’t speed, he coasts and maneuvers his ride without a formal agenda nor a GPS. Thus, it’s a ride that’s equally familiar yet unexpected, because he and his viewers have been on that road before.

It’s curious that the car-ride Hawaiian oldie, “Holo Holo Kaa,” was among the fare, with his two hula dancers, Sky Perkins Gora and Bully Keola Makaiau, chugging along joyfully. This punctuated the evening of magical memories.

Surely, the tapestry of tunes – “Rainbow Connection,” “Keawaiki,” “My Sweet Pikake Lei,” “Waikiki,” “Always,” “At Home in the Islands” – painted a reflective tone of a casual party.

Folks in the audience – Manu Boyd, singing and dancing, Cha Thompson hulaing — joined the celebration. From her seat, singer Nina Keali’iwahamana Rapozo was mouthing the lyrics, simulating a duet with Cazimero, several times.

Of course, there were a couple of Cazimero charm; he shared local-style sing-along ditties, tapping “Happy Birthday,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “I’m. Little Teapot,” “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” “You Are My Sunshine.” Cute, crazy, Cazimero stuff.

Then not surprisingly, he closed his set with a Christmas song he learned back in the day from the late Mahi Beamer. Who else could get away with a yuletide gift now?

Future Full Moon Concerts are scheduled for April 25, May 27, June 24 and July 23. Reservations: 585-0011 or www.chefchai.com.

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’ AT DIAMOND HEAD THEATRE IS DANDY AS CANDY FOR THESE PANDEMIC TIMES

“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

HAWAII’S OWN MARS AND MIDLER ARE BACK ON THE RADAR AGAIN

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?