‘Hair’ is a hit: HPAF let’s the sun shine in

Grooooovy, man. Psychedelic. As the audience trickled into Waimea’s Kahilu Theatre Saturday night, the stage was slowly filling to the brim with bell-bottomed, tie-dyed, head-banded hippies, meditating or writhing sensuously. Smoke wafted lazily across the scene. It was 1968 again. The scrim at the back of the stage featured a 1960’s vintage Peter Max style design that then left the scrim and panned across the “tribe,” lying prostrate on the stage floor. Then the light show left the stage and panned across the audience pulling us right into the action.

‘Orpheus in the Underworld’s’ two-show run a success

Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (HPAF) fans are thrilled that fully staged opera is once more part of paradise. At the Kahilu, temperatures are taken, and masks are worn, but the bar is open, seats are filled, and generous patrons (for this opera, Michael Thompson and Marilyn and Carl Bernhardt) have again stepped up to give the Big Island community what it so craves: sets, singers, an orchestra in the pit and a full show to come.

‘As One’ Opera: A moving take on gender identity

This year’s Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (HPAF) theme is “A Season of Self-Discovery” and that was reflected in last weekend’s two performances of “As One,” a story about Hannah, a young transgender woman. Through 15 songs and a three-part narrative, the opera reveals Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years, and then traveling to Norway.

Elevated spirits: ‘Opera on the Rocks’

Imagine you’re in a cozy little cabaret, maybe in Paris. Sitting at small tables, with the bar open for business, you can look straight into the eyes of the singers performing just feet away from you. Well, the Hilo Palace Theater lobby transported us there for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival’s “Opera on the Rocks,” one of my favorite musical events of pre-COVID years, and now, finally, back again! This is theater up close and personal, with the resonance of the voices injecting an electric charge into the atmosphere that reverberates to the bone. You don’t just hear the music; you feel it.

Shakespeare in the Park returns to Hilo

Hilo Community Players announce its 45th annual Shakespeare in the Park festival, opening with “The Tempest” July 8 to 24 in Hilo at the parking lot of the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium Parking Lot and then in Honoka’a from July 29 to 31 at the Honoka’a Sports Complex.

Nakaya KVA featured artist for July

Kailua Village Artists Gallery will feature origami designer and sculptor Shannon Nakaya throughout the month of July. While origami is more commonly thought of as craft rather than art, Nakaya takes paper folding to an entirely new level with seven foot dragons and toothy sharks, amongst other fantastical creations, all of her own design.

Joachim Cooder delivers intimate songs and stories set

Joachim Cooder is no stranger to the Big Island. Although his Saturday performance at the Kahilu Theatre marked his concert debut here, he tagged along with his father, Ry Cooder, to visit slack-key guitar legend Gabby Pahinui at his home in Kona. Ry and Gabby had recorded several albums together in the 1970s.

Makana concert honors family and music legends

Makana’s Father’s Day concert at the Palace Theater was filled with heartfelt emotion and exceptional showmanship. The gifted slack key guitar master took the opportunity to publicly honor his dad, who passed away in January due to COVID, by performing traditional Hawaiian music that his father enjoyed.

Diary of 12-year-old Ukrainian refugee to be released

NEW YORK — The reflections of a 12-year-old refugee from the Russian invasion of Ukraine will be published this fall. Yeva Skalietska’s book is called “You Don’t Know What War Is: The Diary of a Young Girl from Ukraine.”