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On The Scene - Hawaiian Holidays

By Gerrye Wong March 4, 2016

Kopy Katz performers Cathy Foy and Charles Degala welcome California visitors to their show.

Seeing the WAIKIKI KOPY KATZ  TRIBUTE SHOWCASE was a perfect way for me to get in tune with Island fever as it was a tribute to the Hawaiian stars of yesteryear that everyone well remembers.  Helping relive the musical hits of Waikiki from the 50s to the 70s were six wonderful performers impersonating the sounds of Hawaii’s favorite performers.  Former Miss Hawaii , singer, dancer and actress CATHY FOY  captured the fun antics of Auntie Hilo Hattie, while CHARLES DEGALA brought back the  songs made famous by Alfred Apaka.  Radio personality KIMO KAHOANO’S voice was a convincing Don Ho, and Vietnam Vet US Marine Captain RANDY SMITH belted out Frank Sinatra favorites. Golden Age of Waikiki musician PJ GALARNEAU brought out the melodic sounds of Martin Denny’s orchestrations, and it was a very enjoyable Island evening  seeing this show at the Warriors Lounge of  the Hale Koa Hotel.  This Kopy Katz show, directed by Jack Clone and Wanda Shipp plays every Wednesday evening, so make this your stop when next in Honolulu.

Waikiki Kopy Katz show Directors Jack Clone and Wanda Shipp welcome all at the Hale Koa Warriors Room show.
For another night of entertaining, there’s nothing more exciting than sitting in the Hilton Hawaiian Village beach side Tropics Bar and Grill restaurant and watch the Friday night fireworks show light up the sky. Then after that excitement sit back and enjoy the singing of Nohelani Cipriano of her Hawaiian favorites.  A very busy lady singing at corporate and private events, Nohelani has been Hawaii’s favorite entertainer since she began as a child star, singing in her mother Leina’ala Simerson’s shows at the old Waikiki Sands.  Her CD’s are now available on iTunes and for loyal fans, she is happy to send a personally signed copy by ordering direct at ncypriano@aol.com. When I asked Nohelani for a favorite memory of her career, she replied, “Seeing Kristi Yamaguchi skate to my recording of “Imagine”  with my ailing mother who always claimed Kristi as her favorite skater,  and  singing the Hawaiian Wedding Song at Kristi’s wedding.” 

Nohelani Cipriano welcomes Calvin Wong and Gerry Hing to her Hilton Hawaiian Village show.
A visit to Oahu for us Wongs is never complete without a little batting of the golf ball around beautiful palm tree-lined fairways.  At Darin Sumimoto’s Royal Hawaiian Golf Club in Kailua, we were challenged by lush forests and jungle settings at each hole, but wherever the ball went awry,  my positive thought was  - where else in the world would I be in such beautiful surroundings as this fauna-filled  golf paradise?  Challenging in every way – yes, but the beauty of nature surrounds the golfer wherever we strayed.   On Oahu’s north shore, the Ewa Beach Golf Club has the friendliest crew to welcome you to this hidden treasure of a public course.   General Manager Liane Otake happily showed off her well-stocked golf shop, and says that although they are seeing a growing contingent of golfers from Japan and Korea lately, the club has a large following of the local native community who enjoy  the wide fairways, the lovely Kiawe trees, native birds,  and friendly terrain of this well-kept course.  I liked the surprise of being able to buy a “musube”  rice and spam delight at the mid-point snack shack to spark up a good golf game.

Ewa Beach Golf Club Manager Liane Otake shows off her beautiful golf course to all.
Shopping, of course, is on the mind of every tourist to Hawaii, and a new discovery for me was at the attractive KAYPEESOH store in the Ward Center at 1050 Ala Moana Blvd.  Its namesake, KAYPEE SOH is a delightful young man originally from Malaysia who began his career as a graphic designer in London, Toronto and New York where he designed brands for companies such as L’Oreal, Donna Karan and Tom Ford.  However, his love for Hawaii brought him to the island where his talent is exposed in his textile designs on pillows, wall hangings, clothing and all aspects of home décor as seen in his attractive boutique.  With co-founder managing director EDWARD MACEY, Kaypeesoh textile items are in demand  by not only retail customers, but by resorts who feature his textile accents in their hotel décor.  Two friends, Nancy Lueck and Wanda Wong, were entranced with Kaypee’s designs and showed me his colorful accent pillows adorning their Hawaiian style homes.

KayPee Soh shows his textile designs at his KAYPEE SOH BOUTIQUE in Honolulu's Ward Center.

Nancy Lueck and Gerrye Wong look at Chinese Horoscope display at Bloomingdale's Ala Moana store.
So much to do and see on the beautiful island of OAHU but always interested in history  I visited IOLANI PALACE, the only  existing palace in the United States which was once the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy. The building is a marvel of opulence and political intrigue that tells us of a time when Hawaii’s Majesties, King Kalakaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani occupied its celebrate halls.  California residents Pauline and Wilson Fong and I enjoyed the self-led Audio tour set up which enabled us to explore on our own with the pre-recorded audio guide leading us to the two floors on display and describing the furnishings and the compelling history behind this national Historic Landmark. Group tours  are offered every 10 minutes for the Palace tours Monday-Saturday  and provide a wonderful place to learn more of Hawaii’s rich history.

Iolani Palace is visited by Californians Pauline and Wilson Fong with Calvin Wong.

Visiting Hawaiian friends Larry Tseu and Nancy Lueck at her home overlooking the Pacific Ocean ends a nice visit to Paradise.

Visiting local Hawaiian friends is what makes every trip to Oahu special.  Where else can I see ocean views from the hillside home of Nancy Lueck and enjoy seeing good friend Larry Tseu again.  What memories I bring home of enjoying Leonard’s Malasadas with Rodney and Marvie Pang, Dickson and Merrilyn Lee and Myrna Chun Hoon, and enjoying  the Lobster King cuisine with continuous traveler Sylvia Young and Kathy Wong.  Reuniting with fellow Californians taking in the Hawaiian hospitality was a special pleasure too so thanks for the memories of dining with you Hawaiian style, Hampson and Evangeline Lum, Joe and Cathy Wu, Ken Gee, Richard Achuck, Larry and Helen Chew, Manford and Wanda Wong, Jimmy and Trudy Fok, Ronald Young, Wilson and Pauline Fong and Lan Tran.  Aloha!   

William and Tina Chang, Merlion restaurant owners,  prepare a singaporean feast for hosts Spencer and Phyllis Leong of Orinda.

Phyllis Leong of Orindahas always supported non-profit causes, but when she decided to be a top bidder at the Chi Am Circle’s fashion show gala fundraising lunch back in 2015, she reaped a wonderful benefit for herself too.   Phyllis and Spencer Leong won the Merlion Restaurant of Singaporean food in Cupertino’s dinner for 20 persons, donated by owners William and Tina Chang. 

Happy Diners at Cupertino's Merlion Restaurant.
The feast prepared for the Leongs and their 20 guests was an 18 course non-stop culinary feast that had the guests gasping for air, but thoroughly happy.  William Chang greeted the guests himself as he said he was happy to help the Chi Am Circle charitable cause and wanted to make sure the high bidders received a special menu he put together.   Los Altos Hills friends Brenda and David Wen with Saratoga’s Bonnie Kwong enjoyed the appetizers mixed satay, samosas, roti prata, murtbak, Gado Gado and special friend prawn crackers directly from Singapore. San Franciscans Michael and Agnes Chan, along with Lena Fongraved about the Dry Rendang Beef, Curry Chicken, Seafood Bird Nest, Hainan Chicken and Sambal fish. Bill and Ruby WongPat Ko, Angela and George Chan and Cecilia Oei, with Spencer and Phyllis pointed out their favorites the Belacan okra, eggplant & String Beans Singaporean style, Char Kway Teow, Mee Siam Hokkien Mee and the beautifully presented fruit plate.   As co -chair of the Chi Am Circle benefit, I personally want to thank the generous William and Tina Chang for such a gourmet banquet donation, and thank Phyllis Leong for being the generous top bidder to donate to the Chi Am treasury at their 50thanniversary fundraising luncheon.
Berkeley Repertory Theater deserves a big hand for presenting the world premiere of Julia Cho’s AUBERGINE, a sensitive story of a Korean son coming to grips with a dying father whom he never felt completely comfortable with. As the story unfolds, we learn many of the Korean cultural customs which can cause a rift between two generations of an immigrant father and his Korean American son.
This deeply moving story is one of an estranged son, his ill father, a visiting uncle, a woman without an appetite and a refugee from a forgotten country. All of the actors brought laughter and tears to the enthusiastic audience, and I commend Tim Kang as the young son, Jennifer Lim as his girlfriend, San Shimono as the dying father, and Joseph Yang as the uncle who rushes to his brother’s side from Korea.  Tyrone Henderson played the understanding hospice worker who helped counsel the suffering son on how to cope with his father’s last days.  Held over until end of March, I advise everyone to rush to Berkeley’s new Peet Theatre to enjoy this wonderful play, AUBERGINE.    Info@berkeleyrep.org.
If you were around in 1963, surely you remember the popular film DIRTY DANCING with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey and the ever memorable songs (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life and You Do Something To Me.  Well, the classic story has come to the stage and you can go down memory lane and see its marvelous dancing, nostalgic love story and hum its familiar songs at this enjoyable musical playing at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre. Ticket info:  www.shnsf.com
To be honored on stage at the ASIAN LAW ALLIANCE’S 39th Anniversary Dinner at San Jose’s Fairmont Hotel March 11 were Legal Impact Honoree EMILY WARD, Deputy General Counsel- Pay Pal;  Community Impact Honoree STANLEY YOUNG,  Partner – Covington  Burling; Business Impact Honoree CYNTHIA DINH, Vice President Global Development – Tango Me.   Congratulations to them all, and to Asian Law Alliance Event Co Chairs Tom Chen, Richard Lettiere and Wendy Ho.