Party pics: Summit Fest kickoff

Hawaii’s first Summit Fest — a weekend celebration of arts, culture and ideas — kicked off last night on the rooftop of the IBM Building on Ala Moana Boulevard. Attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception with a “post modern luau” created by Christina and Jennifer Hee; music by Lucie & The Perfect Wave; and previews of the weekend from Summit Magazine’s Ikaika Hussey, KITV’s Yunji de Nies, Project Runway contestant Kini Zamora and musician Iyeoka Okoawo.

Summit Fest kickoff

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Okoawo recited an original poem to introduce the Summit Fest activities. She and her band, the Quadraphonix, will be performing this weekend.

Tickets to the Summit Fest events are still available. Click here for the schedule and more information.

Summit Fest 2014
October 24-26
In Kakaako, with related events throughout Honolulu

Preview: Summit Fest’s post-modern luau

The inaugural Summit Fest — a celebration of fashion, music, culinary arts, and ideas — happens this weekend. Presented by Summit Magazine and Ward Village, the three-day event highlights Hawaii as an innovation hub with networking events and speakers that will share culture and promote discussion or collaboration on current issues.

Hee sistersIf you look at the schedule of events, it’s heady stuff, but you get the opportunity to meet some progressive local movers and shakers, like Alison Izu Song and Summer Shiigi of The Cut Collective; artist Sergio Garzon; DevLeague’s Jason Sewell; and Melissa May White and Toby Portner of the Hawaii Fashion Incubator.

The Summit Fest kicks off tonight on the top floor of the IBM Building with a cocktail reception featuring a post-modern luau created by Christina and Jennifer Hee (whom I interviewed four years ago), followed by a show featuring Garrick Paikai, R. Kevin Doyle, Summit Magazine’s Ikaika Hussey, KITV’s Yunji de Nies, Project Runway contestant Kini Zamora and music by Iyeoka. We caught up with the Hee sisters yesterday as they were getting their ingredients together for tonight.

If you want to attend tonight’s kickoff reception or any of the weekend events, visit to get tickets.

Summit Fest 2014
October 24-26
In Kakaako, with related events throughout Honolulu

Party pics: Hawaii Bowl Flavors

The Hawaii Bowl held its annual fundraiser last night in the Sheraton Waikiki main ballroom, featuring wines and spirits from Youngs Market Co., as well as a variety of upscale food stations by chef Colin Hazama. The event also had a live and silent auction, and attendees could order any of the wines presented (which will be picked up later at Tamura’s Market).

All proceeds from the evening are distributed to various nonprofits for children at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in December.

Hawaii Bowl Flavors

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Chef Mavro’s fall menu

Chef Mavro with his new chef de cuisine Jeremy Shigekane.

Chef Mavro with his new chef de cuisine Jeremy Shigekane.

Throughout the year, Chef Mavro changes his menu to match the season’s freshest ingredients. I got to try his latest fall menu offerings recently, which are always spectacular (with or without wine). This time, though, was a little more special: I got to meet his new chef de cuisine, Jeremy Shigekane.

Shigekane is young (and looks younger) but has about 10 years of mainland experience under his belt and was most recently chef de cuisine at Hoku’s at the Kahala Resort. As it turns out, all of my nieces know him from different walks of life, and when I posted his photo, they were all so thrilled to see him doing well. Chef Mavro is thrilled, too — he had been without a chef de cuisine for a long time, and had been working almost double time to fill that position. “Just when I thought I was going to die, Jeremy came along,” he laughed.

After Shigekane showed us how he makes his pomegranate-teriyaki sauce for their Wagyu, we had dinner.

Chef Mavro's Fall Menu

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To start: Chilled crécy orange with coconut foam. I didn't realize it was orange until later — it was so comforting!

Chef Mavro
1969 S. King St.

Amy Hanaiali‘i and Willie K are reunited

Amy and Willie reunionIt’s a project long overdue: Amy Hanaiali‘i and Willie K. have reunited to again create beautiful music together.

Hawaii’s powerful musical duo have spent the past year in Willie’s Maui recording studio, crafting lyrics, writing music and collaborating on a completely new original album titled, “Reunion.” The CD officially drops on Nov. 11, but Melissa Chang and I last night celebrated with the artists at a preview event at Washington Place. There, the two sang a few new songs, along with some past favorites, to revive the mele. And yes, it felt and sounded good.

After being partnered in 1993 by Mountain Apple Company’s Jon DeMello, Amy and Willie worked together, toured together and were even in a relationship for nine years. There was great synergy in their sounds and spirits. But the pair then split up and ventured into separate directions, personally and professionally. While Willie went to Europe, Amy headed to Japan, and their careers and new personal relationships blossomed separately.

As luck would have it, two years ago at a wedding, the two were asked to sing the Hawaiian Wedding Song. They hadn’t performed together in a decade, and it was that night that the concept of coming together to produce a reunion album was born.

“We are stepping outside of the hula skirt,” Willie says, explaining the new album started with 52 songs and had to be whittled down to 10. “We’ve updated our genre and style, added her R&B flare and my rock-n-roll influence; it’s still a Hawaiian contemporary album, but with some traditional and personalized influences.”

Amy describes the reunion as like riding a bike. “Coming back into the studio with him was emotional, refreshing and comforting; I could do songs in one take,” she says.

Eager to share their new project with the world, the pair will soon tour across the islands, the East and West Coasts and Europe. “We want people to be entertained by the music and not just hear another CD; it’s going to make them laugh and cry,” Willie says.

Amy and Willie performed at Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s signing of the same-sex marriage bill last December. That was a bit of a teaser for the album to come. On Wednesday, Abercrombie surprised them by proclaiming Oct. 15, 2014 as “Amy Hanaialii and Willie K. Day in Hawaii.”

Here’s one of the new songs they performed at last night’s event, showing Amy’s R&B flair with Willie’s rock-n-roll style:

A look at the scene at Washington Place last night for their album launch:

Amy and Willie reunion

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—Photo by Melissa Chang