Do It: Hoku season, Found Footage Festival, Bathe Baby Buddha, Kenny Endo
FRIDAY, APRIL 27
Performances by some of Hawaii’s biggest recording artists set stage for Na Hoku Hanohano Awards
Kick off the Hoku season with the first concert of Mele Mei award, a monthlong celebration of Hawaiian music leading up the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards ceremony.
Festivities begin at 6 p.m. today at the Hilton Hawaiian Village with a concert featuring “Sistah Robi” Kahakalau, Napua Makua and Amy Hanaiali’i, all of whom are multiple Hoku winners.
Also featured will be ukulele virtuoso Taimane Gardner, who’s had other recent brushes with fame. She recently played for the Dalai Lama and a crowd of thousands. “When I heard the lineup (Jack Johnson also played), that just got me more excited. And when I found there was going to be about 9,000 people, that really got me going,” Gardner said.
At the event, Gardner sang an original song, “Earth,” in four languages, “just to show that we all come from different cultures but that we all come from the same planet, the same place.
“Languages are like music. If I can hear it, I can play it,” she said.
She’s working on an album, but for this concert she’ll play just one tune; Gardner promises it will be a “long, really fun, really energetic song.”
Other Mele Mei events include performances by Hoku winners Waipuna, Mailani Makainai, Kupaoa and Mark Yamanaka at the Halekulani on successive Tuesdays starting May 8; Teresa Bright and Natalie Ai Kamauu at The Royal Hawaiian on May 24; and Pimpbot and the Throwdowns performing at The Modern Honolulu on May 26. The Hilton hosts a second Mele Mei concert on May 18, with Maunalua, Cyril Pahinui and John Cruz.
Where: Hilton Hawaiian Village Great Lawn
When: 6 p.m. today
Info: melemei.com, 947-7955
FRIDAY, APRIL 27
Tacky videos provide entertaining evening
“Out of boredom, we would look for things that were so bad they were good.”
That statement from Nick Prueher pretty much sums up the Found Footage Festival, which Prueher and colleague Joe Pickett are bringing to Fresh Cafe tonight. It promises to be a laugh-out-loud look at life as seen through the prism of exercise videos and cheesy corporate footage.
Their first find was a training video from a McDonald’s where Prueher worked. “We would have friends over to my parents’ living room and have screenings and make jokes about it,” he said. “When we got bored of that, we just thought there’s got to be other material out there like that sitting around collecting dust at thrift stores and people’s garage sales.”
That’s where Prueher and Pickett regularly find themselves looking for tapes, though fans also send them or bring them to festivals. They intend to check out stores and swap meets here.
There’s “something cathartic” about watching such videos, especially when in a large group, Prueher said. “Hopefully at Fresh Cafe we’ll have three or four hundred people there, and when you get that many people in a room watching a waffle-house training video, something magical happens.”
One of his favorite videos, which will be part of tonight’s festivities, is “Magical Rainbow Sponge,” about a painting technique that uses a sponge. “With a title like that, you can tell why we picked it out,” he said.
But as they say on TV, wait, there’s more. Its host is “almost orgasmic” in her enthusiasm for her artwork, moaning and “nearly weeping” over it, Prueher said.
What’s the difference between the Found Footage Festival and YouTube?
“We started doing the show pre-YouTube, Prueher said. “What we found is it’s actually increased people’s appreciation of the role of the curator, which is what we do. There’s so much stuff out there, it’s hard to know what’s good.”
Where: Fresh Cafe, 831 Queen St.
When: 7:30 p.m. today
SATURDAY, APRIL 28
Bathe Baby Buddha at birthday celebration
Join the Hawaii Buddhist Cultural Society in Chinatown on Saturday for ceremonies commemorating the birth of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, a prince from the Indian subcontinent who became a spiritual leader and founded Buddhism.
The society will observe Buddha’s 2,556th year with rituals including Bathing of the Baby Buddha. “It’s a purification of the people’s mind and body and spirit,” said Shirley Lum of the Hawaii Buddhist Cultural Society. “Each person will give an offering, and at the same time we have bath water and a baby Buddha, and they pour water on his body, on his head and on his shoulders, and they make offerings to Buddha.”
The leaders of other Buddhist congregations, including Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and possible Tibetan groups, are expected to participate in special chants and offerings. The formal ceremony will last about an hour, after which everyone can bathe the Buddha.
The public can also participate in copying sutras, which is a traditional way for people to learn about and practice Buddhist rituals, Lum said. “There will be someone there … giving instructions on how to do the copying (with) the right attitude,” Lum said.
Entertainment will include dance, music, magic and the blessing of a new dragon recently obtained by the Lung Kong Physical Culture Club.
Where: Chinatown Cultural Plaza
When: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Formal ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday
Info: Hawaii Buddhist Cultural Society, 545-1183
SATURDAY, APRIL 28
Kenny Endo and friends offer softer side of taiko
Taiko drumming is best known here in Hawaii as something loud and exuberant, but Kenny Endo likes to show its more subtle side, too. He’ll be doing that with the help of some friends from Japan, shakuhachi expert Christopher Yohmei Blasdel and vocalist Mika Kimula, pictured, in a show called “Breath/Beat” at the Hawaii Opera Theatre’s Rehearsal Space.
Taiko “can play very softly and express a lot of things,” Endo said. “Especially in the kabuki theater, where the odaiko has a role providing sound effects having to do with the weather or the geography, or the feelings being expressed in that scene.”
For this concert, the trio will be playing both contemporary and traditional music. “A lot of the pieces will be a basic theme but fairly open with improvisation, and we’ll be doing solo pieces as well,” Endo said.
Blasdel, who is originally from Texas, has lived in Japan for nearly 40 years studying and performing on shakuhachi. Kimula is an accomplished vocalist in Western and Japanese singing. Endo met and first performed with them while studying in Japan more than 20 years ago and has worked with one or the other many times over the years, but this will be the first time in many years that all three will perform together.
After these many years pioneering taiko drumming around the world, Endo still has a sense of what makes it so popular.
“The sound is quite deep, and you can hear it not only with your ears, but you can feel it down to your bones,” he said. “I think there’s something about that that people can relate to. As modern as our world becomes, there’s something very primal and basic about that. It’s almost like the heartbeat inside that you can feel and that takes you to a different place for a fleeting moment.”
Where: Hawaii Opera Theatre Rehearsal Space, 780 S. Beretania St.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $12-$15 (limited seating; reservations advised)
Info: 737-7236, www.kennyendo.com