Entries Tagged as 'Entertainment'

Borders Books & Music: Still in Trouble!

I may be part of a shrinking minority but I have to admit it, Borders has always been and continues to be my favorite book store.  My mother and I spent hours in the Borders store at Ward Center almost every Sunday.  While their online presence has never measured up to that of bn.com (Barnes & Noble) or Amazon, except when Borders and Amazon were linked at the hip, that wonderful brick and mortar store was, for me anyway, all that!  It still is.

Borders book store at Ward Center

I had no idea just how bad things have gotten for them in recent months.  On Monday, January 17th, Borders laid off another 45 people and, according to MarketWatch.com, the Wall Street Journal shared the news that Borders “hired bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers while continuing in talks to secure a $500 million credit line.”

While I like the idea of them getting a credit line to get back on their feet, I’m a little worried about who will actually be willing or able to extend them that kind of credit.  More importantly, have they polished up their business model enough to qualify?

Signs telling of sales and discounts on books

We all like to see these great signs of sales and discounts to be had but not because the business is ready to collapse.  Yes, there has been talk of bankruptcy. The same friends that alerted me to the problem-plagued condition of the store spoke of customer service problems.  I know this is true because I have run into this myself.

In early 2007, although I thought it was longer ago than that, Borders severed its ties with Amazon.  At the time, analysts thought Amazon would lose a lot of money.  Some consumers saw it going the other way.  The consumers were right.  Amazon is as strong as ever, maybe stronger.  Borders was and still is in trouble.

In a completely unrelated conversation with Amazon’s Kindle-support staff on Tuesday morning, while responding positively to a “How Did We Do” survey Amazon sent me via email, I asked them to light a candle for Borders.  Seriously!  I did!  I told them that Borders is not as much their competition as they are their helper.

I know, you think I’m nuts but think about it — Borders helps us to be able to smell, touch, and feel those books we are going to download on to our Kindles, or whatever eReader floats your boat.  I don’t think Borders would really appreciate that comment but it’s true.

Mall entrance to Borders at Pearlridge Shopping Center

There are still books not available for Kindle download and there are still bibliophiles, self included, who are not willing to give up the ability to walk through those wonderful glass doors and enter that colorful room filled with the scent of new books!  See, the need and desire for a good bookstore is still there.

Bargain books at Borders, Pearlridge

We need to have access to a place where we can hang out in comfort, a place with good books to experience, and a place equipped with quality staff  that knows what it is they are selling!  This is not a 7-11 Store — the staff at Borders needs to have just a little more expertise and they need to have a more cater-to-the-customer mentality.

Perhaps the affiliation with Amazon is one that Borders could, and maybe should, examine once again.  Arrogance and professional jealousy on both sides will probably not let that happen.  I think it would be a good idea but experts like Mary Gotaas at IBISWorld think this was one of their mistakes.

I disagree that their connection with Amazon was a bad thing but I do agree that their development of a signature eReader was way, way too slow in coming!  Can they catch up with the Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook?  Unless they can come up with some fantastic new development I think they will remain well behind in that arena.eReaders one sale at Borders

Of course they could figure out a way to sell books that are compatible with both of those lead eReaders and sell those on Borders.com, with competitive pricing!  That would be great for consumers, if Borders has not already alienated publishers so much that those publishers would never entertain any such newfangled notion.

They should, they could, perhaps they might, it would be a good idea if — I can go on all day.  In short, I’m hoping that Borders will be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat, or something, and get their book-seller feet back on the ground!  Come on you guys, you’re making me really nervous!

The Sport of Auto Racing is Pretty in Pink!

I’m just beside myself with giddiness!  After all the sympathetic whining I have done for our racing community and all of the underlying anger when nobody cared enough to even try to assist with the restoration of a racing facility, the racing enthusiasts have finally managed to get this moving!

Ti leaf plant at the entrance to Kalaeloa Raceway ParkWhen I heard that Kalaeloa Raceway Park was having its debut event about three weeks ago, I did everything in my power to get out there!   I had no idea where I was going so I took my directions and street names with me.

There was little signage but I found them.  It was easy to know you were in the right place and that something was going on because you were greeted at the gate by a single, good-luck ti leaf plant.  How appropriate!

I was still a little lost when I got there because I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at.  It took me a while to realize that they were still pulling it all together while working on a budget with a lot of volunteer help.  I couldn’t help but keep thinking of this as a true grass roots endeavor!  This has taken a tremendous amount of focus and perseverance.

Getting the track ready for the first public event for Kaleloa Raceway Park!

I walked around the large, cleared lot where there was little or no paved road. They had flattened and smoothed it down but asphalt was still to be laid. The excitement I felt when I saw all of this is hard to describe.

Working to get the track ready for the day’s events.

It’s even harder to describe because I don’t race or even know anyone who does. The only thing I can come up with is that Hawaii Raceway Park was a part of my past.  If I remember correctly, I think I only went there once.  But, it was our friends who were there all the time. It’s a part of my history as I was growing up. Where was everyone on Saturday night? “At Hawaii Raceway Park!”  That was just how things were on the Leeward side.

Newly assembled bleachers for the spectators.

I didn’t have time to stay to see the start of the event that day but I just had to see it for myself! They’ve done it! I read that there were about 4,000 people there that weekend. Amazing!

Banner for Kalaeloa Raceway Park

As I was leaving, I saw that someone had found their banner so I stopped to get a picture of this history-in-the-making.  Kudos and tons a credit to this tenacious group of motor-sport-loving people!

There is a link to their Facebook page further down, which will work if you’re on Facebook.  If you’re not on Facebook, just take my word for it!  They are moving and they have a following!

Now, this weekend, they had another plan…

“Build The Track! It’s go-time for the 1st Ever Hula-X & Powderpuff Demo Derby! We’re gonna be racing and smashing all day long at Kalaeloa Raceway Park! We hope you can join us for a great time for a great cause. We’ll be donating all PPDD entries to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

Um, they weren’t kidding!  And they painted all these cars pink for the occasion!

Demolition cars all painted pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month!

Photo by Build The Track!

I swiped this picture from their Facebook page but I know they’ll forgive me!

An organization so much in need itself extends a helping hand to others.  What can I say? This kind of community outreach is something we can always use more of! I don’t know, I think I wanna keep these guys around for a while!  Did I mention that they’re amazing?

5th Annual Hawai’i Book & Music Festival is Coming!

Here is another one of those events that I keep missing.  Coming up on us very quickly is the 5th Annual Hawai’i Book & Music Festival, a Celebration of Story and Song.

Douglas Corleone, AuthorThis year’s event comes with an added touch for those who are literary-minded.  We have an O’ahu resident whose book will debut at this event!  Douglas Corleone was an attorney in New York but he left the practice and moved to Hawaii.  Now Douglas is a beach-going writer who is enjoying life at a much slower pace than what he found in New York city!

This is great — we have a resident novelist among us!  His book, One Man’s Paradise, is an award-winning crime-drama/mystery using Honolulu as the back drop.  It will be  interesting to see, and fun to watch, how this young author will do with this novel and the novels that follow!  I’ve started reading it and the personality of Mr. Corvelli, the book’s protagonist, is already an interesting study.

Cover of One Man’s ParadiseThe book is now available at our local book stores and if you want to get a head start on One Man’s Paradise before the Festival, or if you can’t make it to the Festival, you can still get a copy and meet the author at:

     Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana on Saturday, May 1, 2010 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

or

Borders, Waikele Center on Saturday, May 8, 2010 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m

Then there’s the Book & Music Festival where Douglas will be on May 16, 2010 at the Barnes & Noble Bookseller tent for signing at 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. followed by a reading and a Q&A at the Author’s Pavilion.

If you still don’t have a copy at that point, there is still June 5, 2010 at Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Mahalo to all of the sponsors and contributors to the 5th Annual Hawai’i Book & Music Festival!  Try to get there if you can!

Cable to Maintain Community Programming

As I was sitting listening to Haunani Apoliona talk about OHA’s role in the community, and as I watched the keiki at one of the ‘Aha Punana Leo schools talk about ethnic food dishes (using the Hawaiian language of course) I can’t help but feel a need to share some gratitude with Oceanic Time Warner Cable and the State of Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) for their continued support of community programming!

Oceanic Cable Truck

We almost lost it, or at least a big chunk of it, or so we thought! The franchise contract was up for renewal and one of the articles I read seemed to have a very negative view of what the outcome would be.  The concern was largely focused on the availability of channels designated for various types of community programming.

No need to worry — there’s good news!  The conditions of the newly-restored, 20-year franchise include, aside from other things, the addition of more community channels!  Instead of the six (6) we had before, there will now be fourteen (14)!  We will have even more places to accommodate the PBS, ‘Olelo, and PEG (public, educational, and governmental) channels than ever before!

Mahalo to DCCA and Time Warner Cable for staying on top of the things deemed important to the viewers!

Imagine That! Dreams Can Come True!

Movie Contest for the Keiki!

Here’s a summary of the storyline for an upcoming film:

Imagine That film poster

In Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies’ family comedy “Imagine That,” Eddie Murphy stars as a successful financial executive who has more time for his BlackBerry than his seven-year-old daughter (Yara Shahidi).

When he has a crisis of confidence and his career starts going down the drain, however, he finds the solution to all his problems in his daughter’s imaginary world.”

This movie opens Nationwide on Friday, June 12, 2009.  It runs for 107 minutes and stars Eddie Murphy, Thomas Haden Church, Yara Shahidi, Nicole Ari Parker, Ronny Cox and Martin Sheen.

I like Eddie Murphy movies and this one sounds like fun! Besides, bringing fantasy and the real world together is something I think we should always strive to do!  It makes life all the more enchanting.  Apparently Hollywood thinks so too!

Anyway, we thought it would be fun to have a little contest.  Here are the rules:

  • You need to be 13 years old or younger.
  • Submit one or two paragraphs telling us about a dream of yours and why you think it should come true.  (Send submissions to evelyn@homespunhonolulu.com)

Winners will be randomly selected and the grand prize winner will receive our “IMAGINE THAT Dreams Come True” prize package and passes for an advanced screening of the movie on June 9th!  Hippo Toes will be sponsoring our little contest with a $40 gift certificate for the grand-prize winner.

I need to post the following disclaimer so you need to read it:

DISCLAIMER:NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Seating is first-come, first-served and cannot be guaranteed.  The theatre is overbooked to ensure a full house.

Passes received through this promotion do not guarantee you a seat at the theatre. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, except for members of the reviewing press. Theatre is overbooked to ensure a full house. No admittance once screening has begun. All federal, state and local regulations apply. A recipient of tickets assumes any and all risks related to use of ticket, and accepts any restrictions required by ticket provider.

Paramount Pictures, homespunhonolulu.com, Hippo Toes and their affiliates accept no responsibility or liability in connection with any loss or accident incurred in connection with use of a prize.  Tickets cannot be exchanged, transferred or redeemed for cash, in whole or in part. We are not responsible if, for any reason, recipient is unable to use his/her ticket in whole or in part. All federal and local taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. Participating sponsors, their employees & family members and their agencies are not eligible.  NO PHONE CALLS!

There!  Now hurry up!  Start using your imaginations and tell me your dreams and why you think they should come true!  The deadline for entries is this Thursday, June 4th!  I want to be sure I can get you your passes in time for the advanced screening the following Tuesday!