Arts & Culture

Arts and culture reports by Noe Tanigawa


Every year, the Prince Lot Hula Festival offers a prime opportunity to visit Moanalua Gardens, arguably the most beautiful hula venue in Hawai‘i.  This non-competitive festival honors Prince Lot Kapuāiwa who revived hula in Moanalua when it was still publicly banned.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa offers a look at the history of this celebrated area.


Noe Tanigawa
Noe Tanigawa

  Two of Hawai‘i’s celebrated mountains, Mauna Kea and Haleakalā, remain in the crosshairs of a battle that appears to pit preservation of culture against pursuit of science.  In both cases, the state and counties are being called upon to enforce state land board decisions, while challenges to those decisions are before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.   HPR’s Noe Tanigawa continues a look at Haleakalā, the issues and the mountain.

Noe Tanigawa



The very first telescope on Haleakalā was completed in 1958, and used for satellite tracking.  Three years later, 18 acres of ceded land at the summit were set aside for astronomy, becoming the Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory Site with the University of Hawai‘i as owner/manager.  Currently there are ten facilities on the mountain and another, a cutting edge solar telescope, is underway.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports on the controversy over its construction.



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  How is Hawai‘i Opera Theatre one of the most successful arts organizations in the state?  One key is, they reach about 25 thousand people a year with their education programs.  They have interisland tours, an adult studio, and a new young voices studio for high schoolers.  Yesterday, HPR’s Noe Tanigawa visited the Opera Residency program at Niu Valley Middle School as they prepare for their big opening Monday.

See a free student performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute, Monday, July 6, 6pm at Niu Valley Middle School.

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  An expansive and enjoyable sale of primarily local contemporary art is underway for just a few days at Spalding House in Makiki, the former Contemporary Museum.   HPR’s Noe Tanigawa attended the Contempo #Artshop opening to peruse the inventory.

Kumu kahua



   In early April, three pirates hatched a plan to get people out of their snuggly homes and into Kumu Kahua Theatre.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa visited the theatre recently to find out why and how.

The New Play Festival runs Sunday through Tuesday, June 21st through 23rd at Kumu Kahua.  Eventbrite is handling advance tickets, or get tickets at Kumu one hour prior to performance.  

Connect with the New Play Festival on Facebook.


Hawai‘i’s Gertrude Tsutsumi has been honored with the nation's highest award in folk and traditional arts.  She has been honored with a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, which comes with a $25,000 award.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa visited one of her classes in Japanese classical dance.

Onoe Kikunobu Dance Company will perform as part of this summer’s Asia Pacific Dance Festival at UH Mānoa in July.   

Daniel Ramirez / Flickr


  This week Friday and Saturday,  the 99th Annual King Kamehameha Celebration events take place on O‘ahu.   HPR’s Noe Tanigawa gives a preview of the Kamehameha  Parade, known for its floral panorama of the islands.

The Kamehameha Celebration Parade begins at 9am Saturday near ‘Iolani Palace, running down Ala Moana and Kalākaua to Kapi‘olani park for the afternoon’s ho‘olaule‘a.   For more on the King Kamehameha celebrations on O'ahu and across the state.

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    Right now, at the prestigious Venice Biennale, 56 countries are presenting their most important contemporary art and artists.  In a surprise move, France selected a sound artist as their official representative, and that same artist has just opened a new installation on Maui.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa visited the show at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.

This exhibit is free and open to the public. 

Now through July 18, Schaefer International Gallery
Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5 pm
FREE Admission! (Also open before Castle Theater shows and during intermission)

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   The Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association has presented the Samuel Kamakau Book of the Year Award to Dr. Kamanamaikalani Beamer, the new president and CEO of the influential Kohala Center in Waimea.  Looking ahead to Kamehameha Day, HPR’s Noe Tanigawa offers this look at Beamer’s ideas about Hawaiian leadership.  In this book you will also find fascinating descriptions of Hawaiian land divisions and management practices.

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  Maui-born Andy Graydon has shown internationally in the emerging field of sound art.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports Graydon is among a growing number of artists linking imagination and sound.

Andy Graydon’s installation, “Figure 1 (these things we know)” remains on view at the Honolulu Museum through May 31st.

Find out more on the Honolulu Museum of Art exhibit, “Figure 1 (these things we know)”

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   You can see Kilohana peak at the top of Kalihi valley from Mokauea, a tiny island just off the coastline.  Over forty fishponds once laced the area, ali‘i had summer residences , and a struggle over land rights literally blazed on the island in the 1970’s.  Today, we board a canoe with HPR’s Noe Tanigawa, for a visit.

Due to past experiences, the Mokauea Fisherman’s Association requests that any visits or requests for information be arranged through Kehaulani Kupihea (

noe tanigawa

The idea with these two stories is to situate ourselves in a Hawaiian understanding of place.  Hawaiian land divisions reveal an intimate knowledge of resources.  One key concept is that of the ahupua‘a, a pie shaped wedge of land with its point on a mountain top, widening down to the seashore.  Ahupua‘a acknowledge the link between land and sea, and make the resources of both available to those who dwell within it.  


  For its tenth anniversary,  Maoli Arts month has expanded to three months and three islands.  There’s a Native Hawaiian art exhibit at Marks’ garage, and wearable art shows and markets are coming up on O‘ahu and Maui.  HPRs Noe Tanigawa surveys events.

Honolulu Night Market welcomes MAMO  Saturday night, May 16th, from 6 to 11 pm in Kaka‘ako.   

For a list of vendors at Honolulu Night Market.  Note that all food vendors will also be Native Hawaiian, and the focus ingredient will be Kalo!

Nick Yee
Nick Yee



  This Saturday, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center is holding its hugely popular fundraiser, the Maui Brewers Festival .  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa found Hawai‘i’s beer brewers are taking the opportunity to get organized, and perhaps make more beer.

The 7th Annual Maui Brewers Festival returns to Maui Arts & Cultural Center (the MACC) on Saturday, May 16, from 4-7 pm.  

Kawehi: Girl Band

May 12, 2015



   Very soon after releasing a cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box on Vimeo about a year ago, Honolulu–born Kawehi’s kickstarter campaign was funded 900 percent.  Esquire, the Huffington Post, and Elle magazine called, and Courtney Love weighed in on Twitter with her verdict:  “genius.”  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports Kawehi has worked hard for this moment.   

Kawehi performs at the Republik in Honolulu May 29th.   Her most recent Kickstarter project, Interaktiv, invites investors to help program her next EP.

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  Pow!Wow! Hawai‘i is pressing on with its mission of igniting street art festivals around the world.  In March, Pow!Wow! staged its first event at the influential media mixer, South by Southwest.  Next month, Pow!Wow! rocks Long Beach, California.  Meanwhile, people continue to discover new paintings here in Kaka‘ako.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa offers this look at one particular work, by Egyptian artist, Ganzeer.




  These days, people around the world are discovering a wealth of Hawaiian culture online, from ‘ukulele tutorials to newspapers from the 19th century.  A music endeavor, Project Kuleana, has attracted hundreds of thousands of views, highlighting a Hawaiian perspective in contemporary media.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports on their latest release.

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  The Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival this weekend will offer 150 different events involving 600 writers, performers, and presenters.  Offerings range from ‘ukulele workshops to insights from best-selling authors and panels on important local issues.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa offers a glimpse at the panel on Native Hawaiian law.

All Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival events are free and happen on the grounds of Honolulu Hale 10am to 5pm this Saturday and Sunday.

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    Contemporary depictions of Iranian culture range from news footage to the Shahs of Sunset, but ages of literature are also available to open the doors to this culture.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa found a twenty-first century version of an epic Iranian poem offers a feast for the eyes.

Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings, continues at the Honolulu Museum of Art through July 26th.

Hawaii Opera Theatre
Hawaii Opera Theatre

Hawaii Public Radio’s takes a “Behind the Scenes” look at Hawaii Opera Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd.

HOT’s Simon Crookall takes listeners through a musical tour of the history, characters, and production of the Opera.


•April 24, Friday, 8:00pm

•April 26, Sunday, 4:00pm

•April 28, Tuesday, 7:00pm

Tickets Available Here

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   This Saturday, you’re invited for a “Walk on the Wild Side” in Chinatown--- part of a National Kidney foundation effort to get people out walking.  Boutiques and restaurants are offering discounts and Art and Flea will fill Fort Street Mall with artisans and designers. HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.

Ancient Hawaii






    The second annual “Contact” show is living up to its goals of both breaking new ground and providing points of convergence.  Offerings range from films, group discussions, even an ‘ukulele sing along, to the exhibition at the Honolulu Museum of Art School.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.

The “CONTACT” curators, Noelle Kahanu and Ngahiraka Mason, host a discussion tonight, and there are related events into next week.  The exhibition runs through Sunday April 12.   Upstairs, the Ancient Hawai'i exhibit funs through April 30th.

Natalie Nakasone



  Hawai‘i Youth Symphony has been bringing music into the lives of students from every socioeconomic group in Hawai‘i for fifty years.   As part of its anniversary celebration, HYS is inviting everyone to a free Spring Concert at the NBC concert Hall this Sunday.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.

This Sunday, 4pm, Hawai‘i Youth Symphony’s most advanced orchestra performs a free concert at the NBC Concert Hall.   Get your tickets at the NBC Box office.  

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For the past week, HPR has been looking at the issues Hawai‘i faces around solid waste. We’ve looked at the proliferation of plastic, the possibility of pollution from particles smaller than we now measure, and the struggles of each county to reduce mounting “waste” in landfills.  Over the past 20 years, a movement has been building around a mind shift—HPR’s Noe Tanigawa found that waste could translate into resources.

Nathan Yuen







   When was the last time you saw a butterfly?  Seventeen butterfly species make their home in Hawai‘i, and though they are often seen, the overall population of butterflies is drastically lower than fifty years ago.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa found there are efforts underway to lure even the rarer Kamehameha butterfly into home gardens.

Taimane: Stardust

Mar 23, 2015
amber crago



   Don Ho first spotted the ‘ukulele phenomenon, Taimane, when she was thirteen, and recording deals and international gigs have followed.  This Saturday, she releases her new album, “We Are Made of Stars,” at the Bishop Museum on the lawn under the stars and in the planetarium.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.

All are invited to this free CD release party Saturday, March 28 at the Bishop Museum, Planetarium and Gallery Lawns, 7-10pm.  

Ages All Ages, Picnic on the Lawn. BYOFC (Bring your own food and chairs!)

HOT: Out of the Box

Mar 18, 2015
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   Adventuresome culture buffs have a new experience waiting as Hawai‘i Opera Theatre unveils its first production in Kaka‘ako.  The warehouse space that houses Night Market and other events will be transformed to tell a particularly contemporary tale of deceit.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.

Hawai‘i Opera Theatre presents “Siren Song”, six performances only through March 29th.  Street Grindz vendors will offer refreshments.