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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, August 24, 2001

The Left Lane
Miss America's pew

This time it's her faith, not just her pageant crown, that's landed Hawai'i's Angela Baraquio in the headlines. She's the subject of "A Catholic Miss America: Angela Perez Baraquio," the cover story in the September issue of the St. Anthony Messenger, which is reaching mailboxes now. The Catholic magazine is published in Ohio, and its circulation of 340,000 is distributed nationwide.

A news release from the publisher says the story will cover "Baraquio's passion for family and character education, her unlikely victory as Miss America and her enduring faith." She won the Miss America title against great odds, the publisher says; "Her secret? A strong belief in herself ... and God." The story should be found at AmericanCatholic.org starting Monday, a spokesman said.

— Esme Infante Nii, assistant features editor

One opinion on art

Those Jun Kaneko "dango" sculptures removed from in front of the Honolulu Academy of Art this week are a reminder of how little monumental art graces Honolulu these days.

Once we had artists — and patrons — who thought on a grand scale. They gave us works like Skygate, those big orange tubes on the UH campus, even the King Kamehameha statue.

By contrast, look at some of the public art showing up around town these days. Midgets, miniatures and munchkins. It's all been downsized, smaller than life.

Maybe that's why there was an air of public sadness when Kaneko's ceramic monoliths disappeared from King Street in front of the Academy of Arts the other day. Their larger-than-life exuberance were a reminder of what art is really supposed to do: transport us to a higher, better plane of existence.

We can only hope that the Kanekos will be replaced by something even more inspiring.

— Mike Leidemann

Plus-size pageantry

Two plus-size heroines have emerged in Hawai'i this month. There was the crowning of Snowbird Bento as Ms. Plus Hawaii 2001 on Saturday, a week after last year's winner, Paula Andres, won the national title in the pageant series, Ms. Woman of the Year 2001.

Bento earlier gained recognition for her missed-it-by-that-much, second-place finish at April's Merrie Monarch Festival Miss Aloha Hula competition. This time she danced away with the talent award. But that was optional in the contest; it was the interview and modeling of both formal and casual attire that counted.

The event is part of the Aloha Festivals calendar, and the six contestants sold festival ribbons as a fund-raiser. The 1970 festival queen, Paulette Kahalepuna, was a judge, along with radio personality Sherry Clifton, entertainers O'Brian Eselu and Albert Akiona, and Jackie Bay of Don Ho Productions.

Andres presented her crown to Bento, who will try to duplicate Andres' accomplishments at the next national pageant on July 9, 2002.

— Vicki Viotti, Advertiser staff writer