Honolulu angel

4 10 2017

Blessed is she who feeds the homeless and the hungry. “She” is an island woman named Kiana.

Every Wednesday around half past noon, more or less, a group of adults gather outside of the Library of Hawaii main branch near the gate to Iolani Palace for what might be their only square meal of the week. They wait quietly and politely for Kiana to faithfully arrive in her car with a delicious buffet lunch.

Here, on Likelike street, is the quiet and peaceful stage of Feed the Street. People come, they eat, they go.

She opens the trunk and unloads a tablecloth first, then an attractive spread of a home cooked lunch, including soup. The meal is free to anyone in need.

Kiana arrives. Next to the bicycle racks she sets down tablecloths to receive a car trunk load of prepared casseroles and other dishes.

Amidst the unfortunate circumstances in our country today, this kind and humble compassionate gesture begins earlier in the week with donations of raw produce from farmers and others who have a surplus or who just are more fortunate and want to give.

I have known Kiana to travel by city bus to far places on the island to pick up ingredients. She prepares the food by herself because her small studio kitchen has no room for a sous chef. I think it gives her great joy to express her creativity in this way.

Each week she publicly extends her gratitude for her “Feed the Street” project on a Facebook group called “Too Much Balances Not Enough,” listing the donors and their contributions. That is where I first learned about this activity.

Today I wanted to see a part of Kiana’s world. I put together some small zip top bags of feminine hygiene products, that I learned are very appreciated in addition to food, and went down to Likelike street. Like clockwork, people slowly began to congregate–about 12 when I first arrived and building to 24 or 30 when I left.

Hungry folks wait politely for lunch. They have much respect for Kiana who provides the food for free. Iolani Palace and downtown Honolulu are in the background.

Later Kiana said, in all 70 showed up today. She reported the women liked my small contribution that also contained items like toothbrushes, travel soaps and hand lotion, and that the men were disappointed that there weren’t any condoms.

I know there are those who are wary of homeless people, and that to befriend them would be out of their comfort zone. They don’t feel safe. Indeed, reaching out can be a problem, and Feed the Street has experienced harassment. (Having a sheriff or a cop in the vicinity might be a good idea!)

It’s not so hard to reach out with kindness to make a stranger’s hard circumstances a little better, I found out. You can bet the homeless don’t always feel safe themselves, but you could tell they trust Kiana.

Kiana is a cheerful, woman warrior. Thank you, Kiana. I love you, angel.

Today’s spread is all vegan except for one dish that contains pork. Kiana told me she likes to prepare 14 different menu items.

Everything is nutritious and tastes as good as it looks.

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A famous coconut

21 12 2016

Here’s the famous The Coconut dessert of Alan Wong’s restaurant in Honolulu. The occasion was Darling Husband’s (D.H.’s) 70th birthday dinner last evening. President Barack Obama, if he dines here as usual during Christmas vacation, is likely to enjoy this signature masterpiece, too. Reportedly, it’s his favorite!

Alan Wong's Coconut

The Coconut by Alan Wong’s: haupia sorbet in a shell of chocolate, served with fresh fruit in liliko‘i (passion fruit) sauce. How do they make it?!

 





Enjoy Hawaiian choral music tonight

12 03 2016
Kawaiahao Church is on the corner of King and Punchbowl streets. A plaque describes its construction

Festival venue: Kawaiaha‘o Church, on the corner of King and Punchbowl streets.

Aloha studio fans!

I am excited to perform tonight in “Ke Ahe Lau Makani,” a festival of Hawaiian choral music with the Royal Hawaiian Band, and I invite to you come and enjoy. The downbeat is at 6 p.m. in the sanctuary of Kawaiaha‘o Church on King street across from city hall in Honolulu. There is no admission charge to attend.

I perform with Kawaiolaonāpūkanileo, the host choir. Usually a small a cappella ensemble, for tonight we invited other individual singers and groups to join in. They are:

The Hawaiian Chorus of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Gioventu Musicale Ensemble of the Hawai‘i Youth Opera Chorus, and the Kawaiaha‘o Church Choir.

Indeed, it will be a joyous occasion to perform Hawaiian music written by famous composers of the past, namely Queen Lili‘uokalani, and contemporary composers and arrangers.

This year’s festival honors and celebrates Prince Jonah Kalaniana‘ole for his birthday, the late composer Haunani Bernardino who gifted the festival with its name, and the late Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell who was on the core committee that initiated the collection of Lili‘uokalani’s mele, culminated in the printing of The Queen’s Song Book.

When you come you will be treated to so much more story and translation of Hawai‘i’s past in a most historical setting. Please bring a friend with you to come and hear the music!

Hard-working festival personnel are: Phil Hidalgo, festival coordinator; Nola A. Nahulu, artistic director; Buddy Nalua‘i, organist; Wendy Chang, pianist; and Clarke Bright, band master of the Royal Hawaiian Band. Mahalo!





Moving forward in the new year

16 01 2016

Good morning, studio fans! This is my belated new-year message for 2016. It usually takes a while to get my ʻōkole in gear after the holidays and the lovely celebrations for my birthday in early January. Yesterday I was most inspired by the Royal Hawaiian Band concert at the palace grounds, where I walked after lunching with a friend in downtown Honolulu.

ʻIolani Palace grounds during the Friday noontime performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band draws an appreciative public

ʻIolani Palace grounds during the Friday noontime performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band draws an appreciative audience.

The program featured the music of Liliʻuokalani in remembrance of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893. My friend Malia is the Band’s soloist, and I was glad to hear her sing. She is a phenomenal vocalist. What a gift she has. The entire program was very uplifting. I awoke this morning with the tunes in my head and a vow to keep music in my life; learn or practice something new every day. Reminder number one!

Reminder number two: Take time to socialize with others and make friends, especially as I grow older, to keep my attitude and perspective in check. Besides, it’s fun! Becky, the friend I lunched with (she is like a sister to me)  listened as I inventoried my current health issues (I go in for an annual physical around my birthday). I thought she was being sympathetic, but being younger, she said her interest was in learning what problems she might expect for herself in the future. Humph. We had a good laugh over that one!

Reminder number three plus: Be aware of teachable moments and be kind. In Hawaiʻi, Sovereignty Sunday (remembering the overthrow) coincides with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Miss Marvelous, 6, is in first grade and reads now, lending to interesting conversations between grandparent and grandchild. For example, she reported that she is learning “mindfulness” in school. The other day she asked me, “Am I white?” to which I countered, “What do you mean?”

Big sigh. “You know, a long time ago, maybe the Russians and the Germans couldn’t marry. I’m talking about ancient history,” the child said. “And that King!” Clearly she wanted an answer, and I almost forgot the original question.

I’m drawn to her (my) confusion. King Kamehameha? King Kalākaua?

“Papa, help us out here.”

DH offers, “Martin Luther King?”
Ohhh… (lightbulb)…

“Well, Ayla, if you are asking about the color of your skin or descending from Caucasoids, then yes, you are White,” I said.

Judging the expression on her face, I detected it was a complicated issue in her mind, as she lost interest and ran off to play, as I hoped she would hear me say, “Peoples’ skins on the outside are different colors, but on the inside our hearts are the same.”

As I mused, if she is white, what am I: brown? yellow? beige?

(Copyright 2016 Rebekah Luke)





A memento from me to you of the Prince Lot Hula Festival

18 07 2015

Perhaps you have chosen to spend your precious weekend at the Prince Lot Hula Festival today and tomorrow, July 18 and 19, at Moanalua Gardens in Honolulu. Good choice! The link above explains details.

“Kamaipuupaa” by Rebekah Luke

It is taking place as I write. I hope you will love this spot as much as I do. Would you like a beautiful and long-lasting memento of the experience?  For yourself, for a special gift for a friend or a favorite hula dancer, or for your kumu hula?

My image of the hula mound Kamaipuupaa, painted in 2013, is available as a giclée reproduction from an original oil painting in two sizes: 16″ x 12″ and 20″ x 14″. I have five in stock and would love you to have one of them. They are made with LUCIA pigment ink on Lexjet Sunset canvas. Each is $150.00 and ready for framing.

Please contact me at rebekahluke@hawaii.rr.com if you wish to purchase. I will happy to work with you and advise you on framing, if you wish. Mahalo!





Emerging from a creative slump

6 05 2015

If you find yourself in a creative slump…

Please see the current Windward Artists Guild exhibition of 2D and 3D fine art at Place gallery in Honolulu. The garden setting designed by Philpotts is at once lively, soothing, tasteful, and refreshing!

I am honored that juror Jay Jensen of the Honolulu Museum of Art selected my painting to exhibit. Thank you! No one seemed to like it until now. Here is the photo DH made of my piece, and me, in the window at last night’s opening.
20150506-070423.jpg
Until now, Hawaiian landscapes have comprised the body of my fine art work. I made “Mango Papaya Pineapple” several years ago when the still life of tropical fruit at the studio cried, “Paint me!” And so I was inspired to drop everything and do just that. I recall completing it in one session.

Juicy colors straight out of the tube, and strong, deliberate knife strokes on the canvas. All messy with oil paint everywhere on my palette and my hands at the end. A good tired.

This reminds me of what my late teacher Gloria Foss said, “People don’t care about what you paint. They care about how you paint.”

With that memory and encouragement from an acceptance of my art work, weeks, no, months of a creative dry period just turned around. I have decided to make what’s old new again.

When you go:
Place gallery is located at 54 South School Street, Honolulu, between Pali Highway and Barron Lane. Show is open daily during daytime business hours through May 22. Art is for purchase.

Copyright 2015 Rebekah Luke





Wonderful experience of opera

28 10 2014

Emalani2

Aloha! Ticket information is now posted for the premiere of Emalani 2 in Honolulu! It is my first-ever, up-close-and-personal experience with opera. This wonderful work in both Hawaiian and English was composed by Herb Mahelona with the Hawaiian chant text from He Lei No ‘Emalani edited by Puakea Nogelmeier.

The opera is about the second half of the life of Hawai‘i’s Queen Emma, her life after the death of her husband Alexander Liholiho (Kamehameha IV) and their son Albert Edward Kauikeaouli. The first part of her life was performed two summers ago in Mahelona’s ‘Emalani. Both operas were commissioned for the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus.

So, it is a youth opera with the principal characters played and sung by talented young people. By serendipity, I am singing in the chorus. You can see in the flyer above the amount of collaboration and support there is for this event.

My excitement comes from hearing the music itself and singing it, from reading the book (the lyrics) that is biographical, and from the thrill of realizing what a magnificent and delightful short-hand learning tool opera can be. I am enjoying studying Mahelona’s composition skill and how he structured the music. Hooray for ʻōlelo makuahine and the English translations. I am very thankful for the chance to learn from this type of art.

There are rehearsals in music and dance happening all over town right now. ‘Emalani 2 is quite an undertaking. Just one choral practice remains for the group I rehearse with before the combined “tech/dress” in St. Andrews Cathedral on performance day. I heard the cast numbers more than 100, and that the production of 10 scenes will be staged as theater in the round. Can’t wait! Nola A. Nahulu is the artistic director, and Mathias Maas is the stage director.

Here is Queen Emma’s prayer that I like, excerpted from Scene 2:

God give me courage beyond my own to venture on to a path unknown,
Vision beyond my sight to see each step in thy light.
God give me wisdom beyond my years to speak with firmness in spite of fears,
To live for all to see, to leave a legacy,
Fill my heart with love ever true, my race to bless, thy will to do.
God give me patience and clarity to trust in things I cannot see,
that when my work is done, I will see my husband and my son.

(from ‘Emalani by Herb Mahelona)

Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke







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