Blonde Highlights

Rick Hamada
By Roz Makaula
Friday - September 01, 2006

Members of Lalea (clockwise from left) Pu’unui, Puka Tatupu, Salesi Fifita-Atkins, Jarrett Tachibana and Bruce Scanlan
Members of Lalea (clockwise from left) Pu’unui, Puka Tatupu,
Salesi Fifita-Atkins, Jarrett Tachibana and Bruce Scanlan

I’LL BET YOU didn’t know that Elvis Presley, Don Ho, Tom Jones, Boy George and Arnold Schwarznegger all have one thing - err, one person - in common: Gregg Hammer! Yup, that’s right! All of these famous entertainers are linked to the comedian/morning radio co-host on Hot 93.9’s Rory Wild and the Wake-Up Crew. How? Let’s just say they all have a part in Hammer’s comedic variety show at Dave & Buster’s. Last week Friday, Hammer and his posse celebrated three years at the Ward venue in front of a sold-out showroom audience that included folks of all ages - from gen X-ers to baby boomers and everyone in between. For Hammer, the special evening came complete with a visit from his wife, Shawnee, host of OC 16’s Hawaii In-Style TV (the only person, he revealed, who makes his heart skip a beat and makes him nervous during a performance), his parents, Rose and George (who faithfully attend each show), his grandparents and Aragon family, who flew in from the Mainland. Show-goers are treated to what seems like an endless list of familiar can’t-help-but-sing-and-dance-to songs and original, laugh-‘til-your-cheeks-hurt jokes (we’re talking a full two-hour show here) plus a complete dinner.

Two things make this show stand out from other stand-ups. First, there’s a full band - Gerri Nashiki, Kevin Brown, Chaz Tiogangco, Edward Casintahan, Roland Acosta, Butch Nicolas (on break that night) and Manel Quingua - that keeps the crowd’s energy high and Hammer’s show on course. Second, it’s interactive! Hammer weaves his way in and out of the crowd so that the couple within spit-range and the braddahs cracking up in the back are not only fair game, but are a literal - maybe even vocal - part of the show. You can be a part of it too, but there are only three more shows to go until the end of the year. Call 589-2215 for more information. ... Another show in town with three candles lit on its cake is the Na Mele Nei Concert Series at Ward Warehouse. Elena Martinez helps to keep this free community event that features music from various Island bands going. This Sunday (Sept. 3) shoppers and diners in the area will hear The Love Notes, Kroon & the Groove and the Na Mele Nei Ohana. Concert begins at 1 p.m. ... The rRed Elephant on Bethel Street downtown welcomed local music lovers to its café last week. Clear Channel’s James Avis and Island 98.5’s Lanai played host to a VIP crowd who sang, danced, skanked and raised their bottles to performances by Na Leo, Ho’onu’a and Lalea.

While there, I had a quick chat with former MidWeek cover story subject Lloyd Kandell of The Don Tiki Show, as well as (coincidentally) Gregg and Shawnee Hammer, Lalea manager Jose Villa and members of the band Pu’unui, Bruce Scanlan, Puka Tatupu, Salesi Fifita-Atkins and Jarrett Tachibana, who, by the way, told me that Lalea is Samoan, not Hawaiian (in case you were wondering). The infectious energy that these young guys put out on stage spread like wildfire among the crowd. Lalea is definitely a group to follow. ... OC-16 brings back The Silent Majority for a second season beginning Monday, Sept. 4. Former KHNL news reporter Cindy Paliracio is paired with retired Lt. Gen. Hank Stackpole as co-hosts on the show, which hopes to be the voice of our senior community while offering helpful tips on living to the younger generation. Executive producer and creator Seth Feldman adds Auntie Iwalani Tseu to the mix as a fashion consultant on the show, and Alan Nakata lends his expertise in the program’s financial segment. ...

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