Entries Tagged as 'Non-Profit News'

Honolulu Academy of Arts Goes Green

The Honolulu Academy of Arts did the “green” thing this past Sunday for its Family Sunday. Assuming this was in anticipation of yesterday’s Earth Day, I would say they did a great job.

Honolulu Academy of Arts

For those who drive down Beretania Street and pass the Academy on a regular basis, like me, you’re familiar with the colorful banners in front of the Academy that are blowing in the wind as you drive by.

Colorful textiles covered in cultural writings

These banners, as festive and alluring as they are, have nothing to do with Earth Day. These are part of the motif that continues on the inside and is the current exhibit visiting the Academy.

Signage for The Dragon's Gift The sacred arts of Bhutan are currently this featured display at the Academy of Arts. The full display of this attraction is on the second floor.

We did not venture up to see the display but it was definitely the topic of conversation while we were there. “The Dragon’s Gift,” as this exhibit is titled, is an attraction which focuses on the “Himalayan kingdom’s Buddhist art and culture.”

This exhibit represents an unusual opportunity to learn about a culture we don’t hear about very often. In addition to the educational aspect, it is definitely a visual feast of very colorful arts, sacred ritual dance, and rich textiles.

Those colorful banners we mentioned, the ones pictured above, are actually covered in writings that you would only see if you were standing next to them. While the writings are not in English, the quality and detail involved with such labor still makes quite an impact.

So, just what was going on for Earth Day? Well, there were a lot of things to make you think about protecting our environment and a lot of hands-on activities for the keiki (children).

Volunteers make terrariums for the keiki

Here we’ve got some terrariums being made to further educate the youngsters. I was surprised to see just how little parking was available and how many young children were there. The Academy is not usually a place where you find young children. Its focus is more on the arts of various World cultures. Bishop Museum is a more common place to see the kids.

Parents crafting with the kids

It certainly made for some creativity and quality time for families. Happy Tamanaha, seen below, was showing people of varying ages the art of basket weaving from simple coconut leaves.

Happy Tamanaha explains basket weaving

While the push has always been to plant more flora than concrete, the other, more-recent focus for our planet is to recycle products that may otherwise end up in the landfills.

Mark Chai's Industrial Art

Local sculptor, Mark Chai, has the right idea and shares those ideas with attendees. Pictured above, left, we see a conversational mood light created from a waste basket. In the center we have a decorative light made out of an x-ray film carton that would have otherwise been discarded. The item on the right is a wastebasket made from corrugated tin roof and, get this, old cafeteria trays.

Mark Chai's Street Lamp Shelves

This one is my favorite. The backing of this piece is actually the backing of a street lamp that Mr. Chai found at the dump. He has made a useful creation that, while maybe not suitable for your living room, would certainly make great shelf space on the lanai or in the garage. What’s the Aloha sign? Nothing more than thick cardboard. Imagine that — attractive, functional and Earth-friendly!

The Academy is not done with the green of the past Family Sunday. For their Art after Dark celebration on April 25th (held from 6 – 9:00 PM on the last Friday of the month) attendees will enjoy more live presentations for uses of recycled materials, some organic cuisine and drinks, a variety of entertainment, and a final chance to see The Dragon’s Gift exhibit.

Honolulu Academy of Arts
900 Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96814
Phone: (808) 532-8700

Technorati Tags: , ,

Kamehameha Schools Song Contest, 2008

Blue LeiI know people are looking for this. I talked about it last year but didn’t think to get on it quickly enough this year. Here is the link to the Kamehameha Schools 2008 Song Contest live broadcast where you can pick your software version for viewing. This is their 88th Annual Song Contest and KGMB is going to show it live this evening!

It’s already on — there’s a pre-show information running right now that gives some of the background of the school and the ongoing preservation of the Hawaiian language! It makes me proud to hear them and makes me want to cry. There is a short interview segment with Keali’i Reichel and that put my tears over the edge.  (Don’t ask… I don’t understand it either.)  🙂

Mahalo to Kamehameha Schools for the preservation of this tradition and the continued protection of our island culture. Mahalo to KGMB Channel 9 for bringing it to us live!

The best part is that, even if you miss it, you can order a copy of it this year! I don’t think they made it available last year. If they did, I certainly didn’t know about it!

Technorati Tags:

Street Bikers United 2007 Toys for Tots Run

Last year (2006), in anticipation of starting a blog, I managed to swallow my fear, step outside my personal safety zone and get some pictures of this annual, newsworthy event. I was a nervous wreck, but I did it! The problem was that, aside from this personal achievement, it was over a month before the idea of blogging came to fruition. By the time Homespun Honolulu became a reality, the Toys for Tots story was too dated for me to talk about.

Street Bikers United Hawaii Banner

Street Bikers United Hawaii in cooperation with the United States Marine Corp Reserve hosted the 33rd Annual Street Bikers United Toy Run Parade. Anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 bikers come together bringing toys for children for Christmas. They ride from Magic Island, through Waikiki and over to Kapiolani Community College. Once at KCC, bikers surrender their festive passengers to the military trucks waiting to carry them on to youngsters who will soon give these toys or games a home. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ghosts are in the Bones

Kumu Kahua logoThere’s an old State building on the corner of Merchant and Bethel Streets in downtown Honolulu. I walk past it all the time. I never really knew there was a functioning little theater in there! The building is just there and usually looks abandoned, like a lot of old State buildings. These buildings are not really abandoned but their age and lack of any visual activity around them gives the impression that they are.

There’s even a… a dispossessed person (that’s my kind word for the day) who spends a lot of time in the back corner between this theater-harboring, State building and the relatively-newer Bank of Hawaii parking structure.

Anyway, Kumu Kahua Theater is inside this quiet little building and has been having performances for quite some time. So, why did I choose this play? Well, once I found out about Kumu Kahua Theater, I’ve been wanting to go see some of the stuff that goes on there. I’m not sure how the subject came up but while talking to a fellow blogger who hangs her keyboard on the Leeward side of the island, she mentioned that she not only frequents the productions at Kumu Kahua Theater, but she was also familiar with this particular playwright’s work.

Great! I’ll get tickets to Ola Na Iwi (The Bones Live) so we can go too! It’s about what? Bones? Graveyards? Regular readers know how I love graveyards! So I get to finally meet an online friend and see a play about cemeteries! Perfect!

This is great! I’ve been trying to find a way to meet up with Skeet since… April or May, I think. Maybe longer. Then I get to see a play about Hawaiian graves and stuff! Uh, well, that’s not it exactly. Read on…

Me, Skeet and Dusty Flint I was excited to finally meet Skeet and I was certainly not disappointed. On the contrary, while I expected her to be somewhat nonchalant about our meeting, I later told my mother that I couldn’t tell which one of us was the most excited! Skeet’s a more seasoned blogger than I am, and anyone who reads her stuff at Skeet’s Stuff gets a kick out of it! She blogged about our play adventure quickly afterwards. I have been slowed down for a few reasons, which I will tell you guys about later, I promise.

So, that part went well! Skeet is as bubbly and fun-loving as the “voice” in her blog. She’s vivacious and excited about the functions and opportunities that appeal to her internal scribe. Along with Skeet we got to meet her friend, nicknamed Dusty Flint, who shares many of Skeet’s passions. Dusty Flint (I’m guessing she quit smoking and that’s why her flint is dusty but I’m not sure) seemed as knee-deep in the passion of literary art forms as Skeet did.

Skeet and my mother hit it off quickly and Dusty Flint, to Mom’s delight, is an opera fan! We’re doing really well here. Skeet did a short write-up and put up a picture on her blog. Mine didn’t come out so well, but, I’ll include it anyway just to say I did.

We had so much to talk about, but at some point we had to stop talking to each other because the play was about to start! I have to admit, the play was confusing to me because there were so many parts that I kept trying to piece together — trying to link them the way you do when you read a novel. I kept trying to find the connection between the scenes. The reality was that they had nothing, yes I said nothing, to do with each other. The disassociated parts were inserts with a connection to the past that actually explained a lot of the “Why?” that was going on in the play.

Here’s an insert of my own. This familiar piece of art below is a lithograph of the 1824 painting by artist John Hayter, of Chief Boki, governor of Oahu, and his wife Liliha, who later succeeded him as governor of Oahu. This art work is owned by the Honolulu Academy of Arts.Boki and Liliha

In Ola Na Iwi, we are led to deduce that the spirit of Liliha lives in the bones that were illegally “rescued” from a museum in Germany by a young Hawaiian girl who, while visiting with a theater group, couldn’t bear the thought of leaving them behind when she returned home to Hawaii. So, while it wasn’t exactly cemetery stuff, we’ve got us a ghost! Liliha is part of the play! She’s smart too — she assumes a different name, Nanea, to manipulate the other characters into helping her achieve her goal — to come home where she belongs, and ultimately rest in peace.

Why were the bones so far away? How did they get there? Here’s where one of those disassociated scenes come in handy and explains, in a nutshell, that it was the anthropologists who took them many years before.  Grave robbers were paid to get these bones and turn them over to the scientists who then took them elsewhere for scientific study.

It was also one of those out-of-context, disassociated scenes that made me want to slap one of the characters as he spoke of the primitive shape of the… pacific islander’s skull. I say pacific islander for lack of a better word and for lack of a better memory — but you get the message.

At some point I found my internal voice saying things like, “Yes, change the scene please. I don’t want to listen to those idiots anymore!” Obviously the play was working on me (albeit not as the playwright had intended)… working on me and getting my emotions involved. Now that I think about it, what we were actually seeing was a tongue-in-cheek peak at historic anthropology.

The play’s director, Sammie Choy, said it best in her portion of the play’s write-up when she talks about both the aspect of “cultural memory” and playwright, Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl’s thoughtful ability to take these seemingly separate scenes and treat them with equal amounts of understanding for both the native Hawaiians, and for the 19th century anthropologists. Choy writes that the anthropologists, as abominable as it is to us now, felt that “scientific advancement was a rationale for grave desecration.” After I had a chance to put it all in perspective, I understand what Kneubuhl was trying to accomplish.

Kumu Kahua Theater has a newsletter that explains all of these things. Had I read the issue with the synopsis and the essays by others about this play, I would have known what it was I was watching. But, then again, wouldn’t that have spoiled it? I don’t know. If I had read it ahead of time, my intellect might have been more involved with my experience of the play rather than my emotions.

If I hadn’t already been feeling that emotional impact, perhaps the closing monologue by Liliha, the spirit member of the cast portrayed by cast member, Mane, would not have been as capable of bringing me to tears. I already felt anger so the pain and subsequent restitution experienced by the wronged spirit of Chiefess Liliha was no problem for me to assume and digest.

Worth seeing? Absolutely. Advice? Read the newsletter so you know what it is you’re watching! You won’t spoil the story, so don’t worry. What it will do is help you to understand and appreciate the humor in it a little more.

One more tip: bring a napkin or tissue, just in case you need it. In a short little essay, Justina Mattos calls Ola Na Iwi a postmodernist look at science and culture. I have to agree. Mattos also quotes a portion of the closing monologue that we get from our ghost, the spirit of Liliha, which wraps it all up nicely and brings us emotional people to tears as it brings Liliha home. The part of that monologue that gets me even now:

“Lay me there on a bed of green ferns, of palapalai and laua’e, and maybe a bit of maile you found along the way. Hide the resting place with rocks and branches, hide it so only the birds know where I am, and then leave me. Leave me in the breathing, beating heart of my beloved ‘aina.”

The play continues through December 2nd. Check out the schedule of performances here.

Kumu Kahua Theater
46 Merchant Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808-536-4441

Some Interesting Updates Worth Reading

Charity War Between the Financial Institutions?

Let’s start with the story that is a little less startling, not at all nerve racking and probably pure coincidence and a little amusing. In the recent story about Bank of Hawaii putting together a charity walk for the Institute for Human Services, I said how comical it would be if the banks got into a charity war.

I said that, “Bank of Hawaii has thrown down the gauntlet so let’s see if First Hawaiian Bank and/or Central Pacific Bank pick it up! … shall I send this link to their corporate offices? I would love to start this war!”

That was a tongue-in-cheek comment and I swear I didn’t send the link to any of them. Honest! I’m not crossing my fingers either!

Check this out! Not only did Central Pacific Bank decide to give away 100 computers but also they’re giving them away to, guess whom? They are gifting them to the Institute for Human Services! What are the odds? Okay, it has got to be a coincidence but you have to admit that it’s a little weird.

Moving on…

Did Extreme Makeover Make an Extreme Error?

Another topical post recently was the one about the Honolulu family who was chosen for an Extreme Makeover. We wrote about this and talked about it last month. But, the story about the Akana family that appeared in today’s newspaper is a little unnerving and a little difficult to just shrug off.

Reading this story in the Honolulu Advertiser left many people rattled this afternoon. I am shaken by it and cannot seem to figure out where to take a stand on this. Shame on ABC for embarrassing us this way.

I, for one, will have a hard time seeing the show the same way ever again. I will always be left wondering. In addition to the challenges made to Extreme Makeover’s credibility, there are other things that come to mind, like the recent, unrelated interview with a man living in one of the homeless shelters on the Leeward side of the island; a man who was there as a volunteer helping to build this project. How is this news going to impact people like him and the other volunteers?

I don’t know, guys. You read it and you decide. You can read the comments left by other locals after reading the story too. This is so sad. It was such a happy thing and then…

You guys wanna talk about it? Please leave comments and share your reactions. It doesn’t matter which way you see it, I just want to know what you’re thinking. Please share! Are we overreacting? Should we be shook up? Tell us what you think!

Bank of Hawaii Gives Back to the Community

BOH logoIn a new and different way of doing things, one of Hawaii’s large financial institutions did more than just join in with another non-profit for some corporate philanthropy, they ran their own show! Rather than join in with the walks hosted by the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association or one of our other charities, Bank of Hawaii organized and did their own walk!

The Bank came up with a list of five charities and presented the list to their staff to vote and chose one. For the first year of this new philanthropic venture, the winning charity was IHS, the Institute for Human Services.

IHS feeds and houses the homeless. They provide clean clothing, clean showers and good food for those who are, or have become, homeless and would otherwise have nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep.

To keep things interesting and entertaining for staff and their families, not only did the organizers get local TV and radio celebrity, Kimo Kahoano to attend and MC the event, they also put together a “Centipede Parade” contest for the different departments in the company to get together and have a little parade. The rules? Have a theme and stay connected.

Noah and the Ark

This was supposed to be Noah, or maybe Evan, and I believe this was the first place winner. Noah, or Evan, did have a bad hair day though.

Crayons on Parade

Then there were the cruizin’ crayolas, whom I believe took second place.

Trust Real Estate

These real estate people were, well… a neighborhood? These buildings with legs took 3rd if I’m not mistaken.

Dragon on Parade

My favorites were the dragon shown above (they looked more like a centipede than any of the others) and these absolutely adorable ice cream cones seen below. I thought they were shaved ice when I first saw them but they were ice cream cones. I just thought they were so darn cute!

Ice Cream Cones on Parade

Read the rest of this entry »

Taxi Drivers Still Ahead of Kaiser Patients?

I had so hoped for a better update to this story I wrote a while back but, so far, not so good. I even sent the link to their head office. Apparently they don’t think it’s important enough.

Taxi Driver Reading the Paper

I was on my way in to get some medication and look what we have here.  Now, if he was there to pick up a patient I would have been cool and that, while still irritating, would have at least been understandable, but, he was kicking back and reading the frickin’ newspaper!

I couldn’t even make it to the door before my blood started boiling. I whipped around, grabbed my camera and had a rage fest of picture taking. Now everyone can see just how ugly this situation is!

Full scene of my pet peeve

Gratified after getting my photo evidence of this continuing atrocity, I went in to get the medicine and continued to bitch to the people behind the counter. It’s not their fault and it’s not their doing, but they are the sounding board. The nice young man behind the counter said, “oh, those stalls are reserved for them.”

“I know they are,” I responded, “THAT is the problem!”

Cars at Kaiser Urgent Care

By the time I got back outside, the cars of other Kaiser clients were still trying to untangle themselves in the tiny space (no, my car is not there) and the taxi was gone. Guilt! Of course, peeking at me from over his newspaper while I was taking his picture couldn’t have been very comfortable. He was reading the classified section… maybe he was looking for another job. Good idea!

What’s the update? No change. As I was leaving another car was beeping at me because he was trying to turn in to join this picture — a good-size SUV too! I bet he parked in the stalls marked for the taxis. I hope so. I left, still breathing hard and trying not to let it turn into road rage.

Half Marathons: Definitely NOT Half the Work!

I am of the opinion that anyone contemplating attempting a full marathon might want to try a half marathon first. On Sunday I attempted and completed a half marathon, the first annual Hibiscus half marathon, but not without a lot of thinking and decision making. Am I glad I did it? Yes. Will I do it again? Probably. Am I going to attempt the Honolulu Marathon? Hell no!

I like joining in the fight for a worthy cause. This one was for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Hawaii. I am very proud of them for taking on this challenge! Read the rest of this entry »

Come Join the Hibiscus Run! Hurry!

Okay, I know some of you are looking for this and things are down to the wire.White Hibiscus

The last pick-up is from 10 am to 5 pm today, Saturday, June16th, at Runners HI in Aiea. They are located at 98-390A Kamehameha Hwy, next to Dixie Grill.

If you’re coming from town or the East side, i.e., if you’re Ewa bound, this is that little area on the right when you get off of Moanalua freeway like you’re going to Pearlridge. There is a tattoo place, some used auto shops, etc. If you get to KFC, you’ve gone too far. If you get lost, call the store and they will help you find them, 488-6588.

I believe you can still register with them there but you can no longer register online. It’s too late for that. This run is to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society so it’s a worthy cause.

Again, I am not part of the organization committee for this; I am just trying to help you guys find your way! Enjoy the run!

Extreme Makeover Pays a Visit to Honolulu!

Somehow one of our local families was chosen to be the recipient of the generosity of the popular television series, Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Momi Akana and her family were surprised to find that they were the chosen ones for Extreme Makeover to rebuild their home.

Paving Equipment and Gravel

Why was Momi chosen? Well, about ten years ago she was a single mother of six on welfare and trying to raise her children. While dealing with that, Momi managed somehow to establish Keiki O Ka ‘Aina Family Learning Centers, a non-profit organization that has grown from providing programs for 30 keiki at its founding in 1996 to nearly two thousand at this point — maybe more.

Paving driveways

Momi and her family were moved off the island as the crew, made up mostly of volunteers (nearly 2000 of them), worked for a week non-stop and, in spite of tropical weather conditions that kept the ground soft and even muddy at times, they managed to complete their mission.

City Mill Banner

There were several sponsors from local companies as well as mainland firms. City Mill provided materials.

Hawaiian Telcom Banner

Even Hawaiian Telcom got involved with providing the “communications for the build.”

Crazy Shirts Banner

This was an exciting event to have happen here. I mean, this is the stuff you watch on television. It doesn’t happen here! Surprise! It just did.

Officer manning traffic Officers monitor heavy vehicles and pedestrian traffic

As I mentioned the other day, officers from the Honolulu Police Department are always there! Here they were on hand to direct and control traffic while protecting the nosy and inquisitive pedestrians, like me, from getting in the way of tractors, buses and other construction vehicles.

Workers and Bulldozer

On a narrow street like this, these vehicles appeared even larger than normal. There was only one way in and one way out so it was a challenge for builders and neighbors alike. The neighbors stuck together and seemed happy to deal with it.

House almost completed

Here it is and there they are! Volunteer workers continue working through the night. They started on Thursday, June 7th and wrapped it up today (Wednesday, June 13th), only a week later.

Sheets of Grass

I like these sheets of grass carpeting that will soon make up the lawn!

Community Center

The interesting part of this project is that Extreme Makeover was not only building a house for the Akana family, they were also building a community center for Keiki O Ka ‘Aina on the same property! Members of the Extreme Makeover crew said this was their biggest challenge so far — building two buildings instead of just one in their allotted time.

Paving Center Driveway

Keiki O Ka ‘Aina is an organization that works to involve parents more actively in the education of their children. Their mission statement says that they aim to “support parents as their children’s first teachers.” Well, Keiki O Ka ‘Aina now has a brand new place to work with even more families in the education and cultural enrichment of their children!


From what I understand the show featuring this build will be aired in September. Until then, KHON Channel 2 has a nice clip of the Akana family homecoming. To the crew of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Honolulu thanks you — for your generosity and for the excitement!