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May 2006


IT WAS A TIME FOR THINGS OLD AND NEW ........It was mid-April and it was raining in Seattle (that's the "old" part) but boy-oh-boy the new restaurant on top of Queen Anne hill was absolutely packed as Hawaiian musical star Sean Na`auao and his group flew in from Hawaii to help his friends (restaurant owners Marlene Akana Hall and her husband Tomas) open their "Gordito's on Queen Anne" place! Sooooo many Hawaiians in the crowd like Hawaii General Store's Gail Stringer and her 1-1/2 year old twins Katie and Lanie; Nani Baqui (KS '96) with her friend Tasha Zieroth; quite a few large family groups like the Butch Calivo and Boy Chun Fook and Stephen Gomes Ohanas...very enlightening to see fellow restauranteers Peter Buza (Kauai Family Restaurant) and Bobby/Diane Nakihei (Bobby's Hawaiian Style restaurant in Everett) drop in to wish Marlene/Tomas good luck...others there included Michelle and Stan Bejgravicz (both KS '84) and Kanekawaiola Jervis (Kalaheo HS)....the young "HPC" Jr group (Zaia Chun Fook, Dano Asis, Jed Gonzales and Lito Casem) started the night's musical entertainment and while they were excellent, it was left for Sean Na`auao to truly wow the crowd with his mixture of reggae/ contemporary/traditional Hawaiian music...   

BOBBY'S HAWAIIAN STYLE RESTAURANT IS MOVING!!!  Mark your calendars for around June 1, 2006 when you can go help Bobby and Diane Nakihei celebrate the Grand Opening of their new "BOBBY'S" at 1011 Hewitt Avenue in Everett...not far from their present location, just go makai (towards the water) on Hewitt until you get to the end and there it is on the right side...there'll be more and easier parking and a bigger, nicer place to enjoy great food, good music and a chance to wala`au (talk story) with fellow Hawaiians...... 

Hokulani (beautiful star): a very fitting name for a lovely lady who has been lighting up the Seattle skies for years as an entertainer and Kumu Hula...she's Kathy DeAguair, whose Hokulani Dance Studio sponsored a Sean Na`auao concert on April 16, 2006...nice crowd/fantastic show....top notch Seattle area Hawaiian entertainers "Bruddah Dem" opened the show followed by the "Island Flavor" quartet and then by Rylen Akana and his "Po`okela Street Gang"...in between there were some good fun dances by Hokulani's keikis (youngsters)...and then it was Sean Na`auao's turn. What more can be said about Sean besides "Da Man is Great"?  Between the fantastic talents of Sean and his group (great voices and music)...combined with graceful hulas by the Hokulani Halau kaikamahines (young ladies) and the energetic kane (male) dancers....plus the excellent Hawaiian groups that opened up the evening's entertainment.....auwe, this had to be the best $15.00 concert ticket I have ever bought.  As a guitar player, I have to admit that the guy who stole my attention was Jack Ofoia, Wahiawa guy who plays an awesome guitar for Sean's group...Sean closed the evening with his "Fish and Poi" hit song which had the crowd dancing in the aisles........

I couldn't go to Jake Shimbukuro's concert on April 6th but my spies who were there (Terry Uemura, Edwin Tanaka, Gail Stringer) say it was great show!  My wife Kathy and I had tickets for another show that same evening featuring a very unusual and extremely talented group of seven ladies who call themselves "Honey from the Rock"!  I have always cherished my memories of Hawaiians singing in harmony at old churches like Kaumakapili and Kawaihao and I would never have thought anyone else could compare..but the "Honey from the Rock" ladies were awesome! Every song for the three hour show was done acapella (no orchestra). The blending of their voices in intricate four/five and six part harmony was outstanding as they sang songs of their African/American heritage.  The group has been around for over twenty years, singing around the world and in places like Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center. Go see them if you get a chance...they're really good!

Steve Milner is one of those vendors you see at every big Hawaiian event in this area. Most of the other vendors have "local"/Hawaiian Islander kinda looks so it does seem a little strange to see this haole guy and his lovely blonde wife Julie spending so much of their time supporting our Hawaiian culture (Steve specializes in designing/making and selling Hawaiian style jewelry)... once again the old axiom (don't judge a book by its cover) proves so wise!  Steve Milner grew up from the age of one in Hawaii, attending Haleiwa Elementary and Kahuku High School before moving to Tacoma in the late 1970's.  Steve started "No Ka `Oi" Jewelry in 1988.  He moved back to Hawaii in 1990 where he learned even more about traditional Hawaiian jewelry designs.  Steve moved back to the Pacific NW in 1998 and has been a part of our NW Hawaiian community since then, donating time and money regularly in support of Hawaiian clubs/Halaus in this area.

Know these folks?  I met them at the Kauai Family Restaurant chowing down on some real ono food... Wayne Blankenship (Waipahu HS 64, currently a pilot with Hawaiian Airlines) was there with his wife Deborah Kinsey Blankenship (also Waipahu HS) and their daughter Kinsey Garcia.  How about William Ikaika (KS '54) a name once very popular/famous in the Waikiki music world (he was the "Billy K & the Seamen" group leader); he now resides in Seabeck, WA with his wife Marilou; at their table was their daughter Robin Mokihana Ikaika (Roosevelt '73) and her daughter two year old Courtney....    

Per Sherm Brown and my cuz Bernard Kaopuiki (two guys who love to eat good food) the latest hot spot for Hawaiian food is the L & L Restaurant that just opened up in Renton.  Bernard says he's seen lines stretching out the door waiting to get food......must be good.......Auwe, it's time to hele on ( I am kinda hungry so maybe I'll hele on down to Renton???

I'll tell you about it next month)...until next time..............a hui hou.............Danny                          

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