Melisa Uchida
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Friday - April 22, 2005

Grammy Award-winning songwriter/musician John Cruz
in the dressing room with fellow musician
Jeff Kloetzel just before hitting the stage
at Kokua Festival Maui

What a week! We’ve had everything from Broadway and beyond — Cats opened at the Blaisdell Concert Hall last week with an all-star audience. Augie Tulba and wife Kim sat a few rows behind his morning show co-host Lanai, who was there with former UH Wahine Volleyball star Heidi Ilustre. Ilustre stands at least four inches taller than Lanai, but that didn’t seem to bother either of them. They definitely appeared to be enjoying each other’s company. Augie, on the other hand, was like a little kid on Christmas Eve. He could hardly contain his excitement. “This is my first Broadway show, ’cause remember, I fell asleep during Stomp!” he laughed. By intermission, his enthusiasm had somewhat faded and he looked confused. “What?” I asked. “What’s a jelliclooo, anjellica, a jello mica thing? What kind of cats are they supposed to be?” Neither Kim nor I had an answer, so we shrugged. “I like cats,” he continued, “but these are, um, what are they?” Augie and Kim have been married just over a year, but they still haven’t taken a honeymoon. “He’s gone almost every weekend doing comedy,” Kim said. But she doesn’t mind too much — except when other women bake for him. Augie had a show in Honokaa recently. A woman brought Augie a banana cream pie and shoved it right into his face. She claimed to be a member of the Biotic Baking Brigade. “I’ve been traumatized by banana cream pie!” Apparently, the woman opposed Augie’s voice-over of a radio commercial for the National Guard. She fled before the police arrived. But if she’s caught, she’s facing assault charges. According to the BBB’s website, this is an international network of “militant cells” that plot to “pie” industrial and community leaders. They call themselves “revolutionary bakers” and “pie-slingers” striving for a “Global Pastry Uprising (GPU).” The website also states “dozens of prominent corporate executives, politicians, economists and sell-out non-governmental organization leaders have received their just desserts for crimes against people and the land.” So Augie, getting pied by the BBB is kind of a compliment! Congratulations! You’ve just joined a long list of pied people including current San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, former SF Mayor Willie Brown and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. There’s more! Since Augie’s one-man show at the Hawaii Theatre sold out, he is currently “discussing” having his next big gig at the Blaisdell. But that’s still a year away (2006.) For now, pick up his DVD or catch him at Brew Moon on Wednesday nights. For servicemen and women overseas, Augie says he’s planning a weeklong comedy tour through Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait in hopes of bringing a little laughter to the desert. Dates, T.B.D.

Back to Cats. Personally, I don’t like cats; I’m allergic. My eyes get itchy, I break out in hives and start wheezing. I’ve never been a fan. But Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical changed that. “Growltiger,” played by Steven Rich, stole my heart. He played all my favorite male cats: “Gus,” “Growltiger” and “Old Deuteronomy.” Coming from someone who ,i>does not like cats, that’s a big compliment! Act 2 was excellent. “Grizabella,” played by Amy Phillips, received a standing ovation for Memory. Not bad for her national tour debut. She also played my favorite female cat, “Demeter.” I hope Hawaii sees more NYC culture soon — maybe Lion King will be next.

Jack Johnson’s Kokua Festival at the Waikiki Shell
sold out a month before show date

Jack Johnson’s second annual Kokua Festival sold out at the Waikiki Shell — 8,500 fans filled the lawn and seats for good music and a good time. Jackson introduced local musician John Cruz (who’s on Hawaii’s Grammy-winning album this year) as “one of my favorite songwriters in the world.” Jackson Browne, G. Love & Special Sauce, Ozomatli, Kawika Kahiapo & Kaukahia all performed for free to help raise money for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation. The proceeds from the show go directly to environmental and educational programs for Hawaii’s keiki. The foundation has already launched recycling programs in five elementary schools. Five more are slated to start this spring. Johnson went to Sunset Elementary and now uses the school as his “guinea pig” for environmental projects. Jackson is so cool, down to earth and modest. He’s just a good guy. “I’m not trying to change the world,” he told me. He just wants to do what he can to make a difference and help save Hawaii. With turnouts like Kokua Festivals 2005 — he’ll be able to do a lot with the money raised! There were two festivals this year — the first at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and the second at the Shell. Jackson says these will be annual fundraising events … Tidbits: Emmitt Malloy (of the Malloy brothers, surf filmmakers) shot the concert which is to broadcast nationwide on TV this summer. G. Love & Special Sauce performed at the afterparty at Hard Rock Café and Ozomatli jumped on stage for some funky jams — afterpartiers say it was so much more fun being up-close. Leslie Truglio is producing a documentary on John Cruz. His performance at Kokua will be part of the 30-minute indie. And Cruz is heading to New Orleans for Jazz Fest at the end of the month! We can listen to his New Orleans radio performances live by logging onto April 27 at 9 a.m.

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