Wednesday - September 21, 2005
MUSICAL MEMOS: Just a few minutes after meeting Gideon Toeplitz (the new chief of the Honolulu Symphony) for coffee at the Halekulani, I learned the following. He grew up in Israel. His father Erich, a prominent musician with the Frankfort Symphony, fled Nazi Germany in 1936 and became one of the founders of Israel’s first symphony orchestra. For its premier concert, he did the impossible: Persuaded the (then) world’s greatest symphony orchestra conductor, the legendary Arturo Toscanini, to play a concert in the new country of Israel ... Toeplitz has a very busy schedule back home in Tanglewood, Mass., and can only spare a few days a month now for Hawaii. He’ll be doing a lot of commuting. Looking at the picture-postcard scenery surrounding the Halekulani while sipping coffee, Toeplitz sighed, “I won’t be able to enjoy much of this while here. There’s just too much work to do for the symphony in Hawaii” ... The work he’s talking about is a problem that’s facing symphony orchestras all over the world - how to make them financially healthy. Hardly any are in the black. Toeplitz is a veteran of symphonies, the last being the Pittsburgh orchestra he ran for 16 years. Today it’s known internationally as one of the best. “I have a lot to absorb and learn in Hawaii. And I look forward to the challenge” ... Thinking out loud: With all those speed-talking heads on TV gabbing a mile-a-minute, Joe Moore‘s relaxed news delivery style (in comparison) is much appreciated. Thanks to Joe’s enunciation and pace, his every word is distinctly understood. (Especially when one’s hearing ain’t da bes’) ... Changing times: Non-members used to need an invite to enter the Waikiki Yacht Club, but now you can enjoy the ambience even if not a member. So sez manager Peter Dietrich: “Folks are more than welcome. The can come in for lunch, dinner or just a drink. And those interested may even want to become a member” ... Just sights: Visitors to the Hilton Haw’n Village are often startled encountering the various birds that come out of the hotel ponds occasionally and wander around the grounds like royalty, ignoring all the onlookers ... If you wanna know the inside scoop about Hawaii’s rag biz (that’s what some call the fashion industry) check out UH prof Linda Arthur‘s book on the subject: Aloha Attire: Hawaiian Dress in The Twentieth Century. Hawaii’s garments sell in the multimillions worldwide, and Linda is a foremost expert on the subject ...Ever hear of Lil’ Bow Wow and Lil’ Romero? These baby-face rappers are heroes to 12 year olds. They sell out concerts and make millions from albums and merchandise. Catering to kids is big biz. T’is estimated they spend about $155 billion a year on music, clothes and entertainment ‘n’ stuff ... You may have heard the name Wally Amos. Or Famous Amos. You may also know he’s been an island resident for more than 30 years.
He recently summed up to friends in an e-mail some of the trials and tribulations of his business career. Sez Wally: “I started out as as Famous Amos, lost Famous and then started Wally Amos Presents Chip & Cookie. Then sued over ownership of my name. Started Uncle Noname while being sued over by Famous Amos. Then I wrote a book about it during the lawsuit. Settled the suit and watched the cookie business fall apart. Filed Chapter 11. Coming out of bankruptcy, I returned to Famous Amos as spokesperson.” And he just started a new cookie store in Kailua. How’s that for perseverance?
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