November 1st, 2021 / posted by paularath

It’s been several years since Jerry, Duncan and I first read the screenplay for “The Big Bend.” All of us were speechless after reading it, and the general consensus was simply: “Wow”! The screenplay, a family drama with some adventure and excitement, was so insightful and multi-layered that we felt we knew the characters already.

So we followed that “wow” with an offer to writer/director Brett Wagner: “You have to make this movie. How can we help?”

And that’s how we became executive producers of a movie that has been a source of pride every step of the way.

Meet actors Delilah Wagner (Fiona) and Nick Masciangelo (Carl) on the road in “The Big Bend.” Nick lives on the North Shore of Oahu and Delilah is Brett’s daughter.

The movie was filmed largely in a house in Terlingua, a ghost town in West Texas, and Big Bend National Park. The house belongs to Aaron Brown, producer of the movie. Most of the crew came from Austin.

We could not be there for the shooting because there is, literally, no place where we could stay. But Brett and the crew did a great job of sharing the day-to-day sheets that tracked everything, and everyone, working on the filming.

It was, to put it mildly, a challenging shoot. But, oh my! The resulting movie is simply magnificent!

We just came home from attending the World Premiere at the Austin Film Festival, where “The Big Bend” screened to rave reviews and had to have an extra screening added to accommodate the demand.

Brett briefs crew and cast at the house in Terlingua.

Next stop: HIFF, the Hawaii International Film Festival. We’re not sure what is driving the demand at this point, but HIFF has had to add a second screening on Saturday night at Kahala. That sold out in 24 hours and now they’re trying to find another time slot and theatre to show it a third time.

Brett discusses a scene with actor Jason Butler Harner, who you may recognize from “Ozark” or many other TV and movie roles.

If you don’t already have tickets, please watch social media for information about the third screening: @thebigbendmovie

Actor Erica Ash, who plays Georgia, and is facing the camera in this shot, will be staying with us while she is in Honolulu for HIFF!

The cinematography is gorgeous, shot by Paul Atkins of Hawaii Kai. He and Brett have done many projects together over the years, and he was the natural choice for “The Big Bend.”

We could not be more proud of this movie. We signed on to help with a low budget indie movie – and ended up with credits on a magnificent work of art.

We don’t know where “The Big Bend” will go after Honolulu. I will blog as soon as I know, so please stay tuned.

Paula Rath

August 31st, 2021 / posted by paularath

I have never paid much attention to FB ads that just pop up out of nowhere, but when I saw an ad for a western style long sleeve palaka shirt, I simply could not ignore it. I admired it and thought about it often. One might even say I lusted after it.

Yet it didn’t feel right to order something from a company I knew nothing about, even if they did seem to have got the island style just right.

One morning at brunch with Hifi co-founders Melissa May and Toby Portner, I mentioned this palaka shirt and Melissa perked up right away and said “Oh, Dale Hope is involved with that company.”

Well, okay then. I will follow, and support, anything that Dale Hope is involved with. He is, after all, the world’s expert on the aloha shirt, having written the quintessential book on the subject, called “The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands,” published by Patagonia. He is also a man of tremendous integrity, taste and true grit.

Photo by Jerry Mayfield

I ordered the shirt in navy, and it was love at first sight, followed by more love after wearing it. It’s comfortable, lighter weight than the original twill palaka. It’s got all the appropriate style details for combining a western style shirt with an iconic palaka print: it’s tailored for a woman’s curves, with shoulder yokes, plenty of snaps and pockets with flaps. Find it at http://www.westernaloha.com

What’s more, the label and packaging are engaging. They have the Western Aloha signature surfing pig with Mauna Kea in the background, and a motto to love: “Take it easy, but take it.” (Hope told me that this was a battle cry when he was paddling canoe from Molokai to Oahu.)

So how – and why – did Dale Hope come out of semi-retirement in Waimea on the Big Island to become the art director for Western Aloha? Through a meeting with the company’s founder, Paul Sullivan. Sullivan is a former NYC attorney who fell in love with the Big Island while on vacation. A serious canoe paddler, Hope said Sullivan “fell in love with Island life,” especially upcountry Big Island life.

Sullivan probed Hope with questions about the fashion industry in Hawaii. “I told him, ‘Don’t do it,'” Hope said with a chuckle. “It’s a tough business,” and even tougher on the Big Island. But Sullivan was ready for a new challenge, and, hey, he had Hope on his side.

I wore my Western Aloha palaka shirt to Blues Night at The Pacific Club, where Jerry and I were able to enjoy a few dances under the stars.
Photo courtesy Val Ito of The Pacific Club

They put together a team, which includes designer Janice Lucena, an experienced pattern maker and designer from San Francisco who worked for GAP. Hope introduced Sullivan to Big Island artist Mayumi Oda, who is creating original aloha prints for Western Aloha.

The fabric is a long story in itself, ending with a fabric source in Taiwan that makes a light weight polyester cotton that doesn’t require ironing. “The original palaka was practical for stevedores, paniolos and pineapple workers,” Hope said. “But in today’s world it’s all about comfort and easy care. You never need to iron (Western Aloha).”

The heavy butcher paper-style envelop the shirt arrived in is totally appropriate and fun.

What’s next for Western Aloha prints? Hope is working with the art of John Keoni Meigs, who created more than 300 textile designs from his studio in New Mexico from 1938-51. To see more of his work, which is currently on tour in the University Art Galleries at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, go to www.eusa.org

As for Hope, he said with characteristic enthusiasm, “We’re just having fun again and working with our friends.” That joy – and hope – are sewn into every Western Aloha garment.

Paula Rath

June 17th, 2021 / posted by paularath

Love all the blues in the gallery, from glowing glass to shimmering indigo. And, oh my, is that a Mark Mitsuda martini glass? Yum!

“Fine craft is fine art.”

That’s the premise behind The DAC Gallery First Floor. It’s the brief summation of curator Barbara Rau’s philosophy, and how she chooses the everchanging art that graces the walls and pedestals of her Chinatown treasure trove.

Sanit Kewhok created these exquisite tiny figures on ice cream spoons!

“What I want is art that people don’t see anywhere else,” Rau explained. “I’m looking for unusual sculpture, art that isn’t the norm, a little more edgy.”

Rau herself has lived a life infused and surrounded by art. Like many gallery folks I have known, she has had numerous, and varied, jobs along the way. Her earliest job was with Crazy Shirts, followed by ownership of a graphic printing business in the pre-digital era. She learned a lot about Asian art during buying trips in Asia for the beloved antique shop Treasures of the East. She got on my radar when she was manager of The Contemporary Museum Gift Shop. Her unique eye for the unusual, paired with her eclectic and sophisticated taste, made the little shop my go-to for great gifts.

Can you guess what’s in those large wood frames? It’s wood shavings! Artist Bai Xin Chen creates a mesmerizing effect with these mundane materials as the light changes.

“Art is for enjoyment, pleasure and beauty, but also to make you inquire and think about it,” Rau said. She learned a great deal about art, as well as honing her personal taste, through her work with interior designer Kathy Merrill Kelley.

Kim Blackburn loves beads, and that’s what she used to create these tropical panels.

Don’t expect to find a plethora of paint, pottery or pretty flowers at the DAC Gallery First Floor. Many of the materials employed by the artists are off the wall, or they are traditional media treated in a refreshing new way.

Tell Me a Story is a gallery within the gallery that features lots of gifts for keiki.

DAC Gallery First Floor contains several small galleries, each of which features a theme. One of the galleries features textiles, and I am proud to be represented within it.

Honu Comes Home to Laniakea, textile work by Paula Rath

In addition, the work of my indigo mentor, Darius Homay, is featured in this gallery, as well as in several other rooms.

It includes gorgeous indigo shibori table runners, scarves, napkins and terrific cotton T-shirts like this one, which I already snatched up:

Photo courtesy Jerry Mayfield

This gallery is an ideal place to find a wide variety of reasonable gifts for house warmings, hostess gifts, baby showers, and of course birthdays and holidays.

In addition, it’s important to know that DAC Gallery First Floor is a nonprofit organization.

Those three canvases are from my “Sand & Sea” series, and the scarf (or table runner) is by indigo guru Darius Homay.

 

Betsy Robertson dressed up her denim with art.

Wouldn’t it be fun to meet a friend for Tea at 1024 or lunch at Fete (my favorite restaurant for a special meal) and shop the gallery?

Parking for DAC is simple, located right in the Chinatown Cultural Center. Enter the lot from Bethel Street. The Center occupies the block bordered by Nuuanu Avenue, King Street, Bethel Street and Hotel Street. Gallery hours are 11a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Paula Rath

May 28th, 2021 / posted by paularath

Remember when I used to give mall talks at Ala Moana Moana Center and Kahala Mall about how to pack for a long trip? Following the talks, I would write a story on the subject, incorporating ideas from my audiences.

Well, this is not one of those.

This is from a story I found in the Palama Settlement Archives. It’s by the late Bob Krauss, beloved writer of “Our Honolulu,” from The Honolulu Advertiser, dated February 9, 2000.

My mother, Jacky Rath, found letters her father-in-law, James A. Rath, had saved in 1905, and she shared them with Bob.

They were written in 1905 by the folks from Central Union Church who had recruited my grandfather, James A. Rath, a recent graduate in social work from Springfield College in Massachusetts.

My mother, Jacky Rath, and me at the official opening of the Palama Settlement Archives in 2010.

Jerry, my mother, Jacky Rath and me at the opening of the Palama Archives in 2010.

My grandparents were recruited in 1905 to come to Honolulu to create a social agency that could serve Honolulu’s poorest neighborhood, Palama. What they created is Palama Settlement, which turns 125 years old this year. These excerpts are from letters sent to them regarding what to pack for Hawaii – and what not to pack.

“You will be allowed by the railroads to take 350 pounds of baggage each. I should advise you to bring such furniture as you now own which can be compactly boxed.

“You need no warm clothing in Hawaii. Bring no stoves.

“Stuffed furniture is not needed here. Buy all the thin underwear you will require for some time. This should be of the thinnest kind.

“Goods of all kinds are dearer in Hawaii than in the United States. White clothes are worn a good deal by men and women.”

It was suggested that bulky items too heavy for the train could go by ship around Cape Horn.

Quite an adventure for a young man from India and his Norwegian wife, who met and fell in love in Massachusetts. And what a legacy they created: Palama Settlement!

The Palama Archives is in need of funds so we can digitize our treasure trove of Hawaii history. If you feel inclined to honor this storied social agency, please go to www.palamasettlement.org for information on how to donate. Or you can email me.

Mahalo!

Paula Rath

May 4th, 2021 / posted by paularath

Honolulu girl Lynne O’Neill shares her decades of experience on NYC runways with UH-Manoa fashion students. Photo from the cover of MidWeek

There have been a lot of downsides to being a UH student during COVID-19. But for the fortunate seniors in the UH-Manoa Fashion Production class (FDM 430), one significant benefit has landed in their laps: the opportunity to be taught be one of the nation’s most prolific and prized fashion show producers.

Lynne O’Neill, who is originally from Honolulu, has an impressive fashion pedigree, honed primarily in New York City:

  • Producing numerous shows for New York Fashion Week
  • Executive producing HONOLULU Fashion Week 2014, 2015 and 2016 for HONOLULU magazine
  • Launching events with the Rolling Stones and Usher for client Best Buy
  • Fashion show consulting for CW’s “Gossip Girl”
  • Acting as fashion consultant for HBO’s “Sex and the City” (in which she was played by none other than Margaret Cho)
  • Serving as a fashion show expert for Bravo’s “The Fashion Show” and “Sex and the City: The Movie”
  • Countless fashion magazine spreads and retail events

O’Neill has been co-teaching the class with Amanda Stevens, an event planner and fashion writer who has assisted O’Neill backstage during both HONOLULU and New York Fashion Weeks. Under their guidance, students are producing a two-part docuseries on broadcast television featuring the 55th Annual University of Hawaii at Manoa Fashion Show, titled “Road to Runway,” as well as behind-the-scenes interviews with three senior fashion design students.

It has been quite a challenge for the students and faculty to reinvent their annual live runway fashion show as an entirely virtual event.

Now you can see the results of their prodigious labors on May 10 at 6 p.m. on ‘Olelo 53 and at 8:30 p.m. on KFVE 6 and Livestream on HawaiiNewsNow.com.

In addition, a Docuseries called “Road to Runway: Meet the Senior Fashion Design Students” can be seen during “Hawaii Fashion Now,” a TV series hosted by Andrew Reilly, PhD of U.H.-Manoa’s Fashion Design and Merchandising Program. Watch it on Olelo 53 at 10 p.m. May 5 or livestream on olelo.org/53.

It’s a great way to support Hawaii’s up-and-coming designers.

Paula Rath