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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 20, 2007

SHOW BIZ
'Moon' Kauakahi's wedding brings out Isle stars

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Columnist

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Louis "Moon" Kauakahi, leader of The Makaha Sons, wed Kyoko Yamamoto in a beachside ceremony on Sept. 7 at the Sheraton Waikiki hotel, after an international courtship (he lives here, she's an accomplished dancer from Japan). Considering the flock of performing entertainers, it was an event of starry grandeur: Robert Cazimero, Hoku Zuttermeister, Chris Kamaka, Cyril Pahinui, Ho'okena, Na Kama, Keali'i Reichel, Sean Na'auao, Robi Kahakalau, Na Hoa. Kumu and hula soloists also shared their artistry, including Sonny Ching, Nani Dudoit, Pohai Kalima, Manu Boyd, Chinky Mahoe, Shelsea Ai and yes, the groom and his Makaha chums Jerome and John Koko, also took the stage, summoning Melveen Leed and Natalie Ai Kamauu.

Kauakahi's gift to his bride was a song he composed titled "Lei Pua Gardenia," danced by the new Mrs. Kauakahi amid tears of joy. For more details, go to www.makahasons.com/home.html. ...

DOUBLE O: Emme Tomimbang was among a short list of Islanders who attended Oprah Winfrey's gala fundraiser, which raised $3 million for presidential candidate Barack Obama, at Winfrey's palatial 50-acre Santa Barbara, Calif., estate earlier this month.

"She seemed surprised and pleased that there were folks who came all the way from Hawai'i," said Tomimbang, who met Winfrey and chatted briefly with Obama before he was whisked away by Secret Service agents.

Nice Island touch at the gates: a huge maile lei. "Some people dressed to the nines, others wearing more comfortable flat shoes," said Tomimbang. "We sat on blankets and sipped wine like an outdoor Waikiki Shell concert." Notables she spotted: Sidney Poitier, Chris Rock, Cicely Tyson, Louis Gossett Jr., Stevie Wonder, Gayle King, Stedman Graham. ...

Tomimbang will include Obama in her next "Emme's Island Moments" special, "With Island Roots," airing at 9 p.m. Sept. 27 and 3 p.m. Sept. 29 on KHON-2. It's an updated snapshot at local newsmakers singer Tia Carrere, golfer Tadd Fujikawa, and Obama. The Obama sequence will include chats with his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng and her husband, Konrad Ng; his hanai mother, Georgia McCauley; and his friends Bobby Titcomb and Michael Ramos. ...

STAGE CRAFT: "The Lion King" is a roaring wonderment. Go. Discover. Enjoy. Cheer. Visually, technically, emotionally, artistically, it's the season's theatrical best bet, ensconced at Blaisdell Concert Hall for 12 weeks. Whether it's the mendacious Scar (Kevin Gray), the maligned Mufasa (Geno Segers), the wise Rafiki (Gugwana Dlamini), the rational Zazu (Michael Dean Morgan) or the comedic Timon (John Gardiner) and Pumbaa (Bob Amaral), you'll be mesmerized by stellar performances and incredible creativity. There's so much to see, absorb and admire up in the air, in the balcony, in the aisles, and, of course, on stage. See if you get chicken skin during the opening parade of critters leading up to "Circle of Life." And the Blaisdell Concert Hall has risen to the occasion, looking like a first-class hall with a first-tier tenant. And whoa the new aisles should stay! ...

When cast members had their pre-opening "call" at Blaisdell, they witnessed keiki dancers from Blaine Kia's Halau Ka Waikahe Lani Malie and immediately took to the aloha; the youngsters (playing young Simba and Nala) bonded with the local kids, with everyone rhapsodic about receiving lei. Turns out this kind of aloha and ceremonial Hawaiian blessing had not evolved anywhere else on the tour, and the African troupers saw echoes of the Island tradition because they observe similar rituals. Watch the buzz spread quickly through the Broadway circuit. ...

"Once Upon a Mattress" winds up this weekend at Army Community Theatre's Richardson Theatre. Actual Broadway costumes elevate the show a notch or two, but Renee Garcia Hartenstein as Princess Winnifred is a workhorse, and Lenny Klompus' mute King Sextimus is seeworthy. ...

And that's Show Biz. ...

Show Biz is published Tuesdays and Thursdays. Reach Wayne Harada at 525-8067, wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com or fax 525-8055.