Archive for the ‘Movies & TV’ Category

Hype heads home

By
July 25th, 2013



Hawaii-based dance crew Hype, right, wait to find out their fate on the first elimination show of the season for "America's Got Talent" on Wednesday, July 24. (Courtesy NBC)

Hawaii-based dance crew Hype, right, wait to find out their fate on the first elimination show of the season for "America's Got Talent" on Wednesday, July 24. (Courtesy NBC)

Wednesday, July 24, marked the end of the road for one Hawaii-based act on NBC's "America's Got Talent." Josh Ulep, Mikey Ruiz and AJ Pak, who competed on the show as Hype (Ulep has roots in Waipahu-based Hypersquad and co-founded the Academy of Hype), were among the eight acts featured last week who failed to advance.

Of the dozen performances featured in the first "Elimination Show," only four — gymnast duo the KriStef Brothers, teen magician Collins Key and singers Brandon James and Anna Christine — were selected to move on to the semifinal rounds at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Of the four, three were supposed to have been selected by public vote, but a tie amongst the judges to decide the fourth and final spot meant the public's vote would be used again as a tie-breaker.

All that drama took place after Hype got the bad news, however. They were among the first six acts named when it came time for host Nick Cannon to announce who was moving on — and all six got cut.

Hype performs on stage at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday, July 23. (Courtesy NBC)

Hype performs on stage at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday, July 23. (Courtesy NBC)

"They started off good … and then it went flat," remarked Heidi Klum. Fellow judges Howard Stern, Mel B and Howie Mandel seemed to share her sentiment.

"From here, I just think this stage swallowed you up," Mandel told the three young men. "But you're great. We love you."

Hype's departure leaves just one person from Hawaii left with a chance at $1,000,000 and a headlining gig in Las Vegas. Two-time "America's Got Talent" competitor Ciana Pelekai was announced as one of the performers on next week's elimination show, which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, on KHNL in Hawaii.

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Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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Locals follow 'Talent' to NYC

By
July 18th, 2013



Hawaii-based Hype performs on "America's Got Talent" in an episode that aired Tuesday, July 16. (Courtesy NBC)

Hawaii-based Hype performs on "America's Got Talent" in an episode that aired Tuesday, July 16. (Courtesy NBC)

Hawaii dance crew Hype and pre-teen singer Ciana Pelekai were among 60 acts selected to advance in the current season of "America's Got Talent" on NBC.

While 30 finalists were selected outright in the first of two episodes that aired on Tuesday, July 17, and Wednesday, July 18, both Hype and Pelekai were informed they would need to re-audition in front of judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Melanie Brown and Howie Mandel.

Ciana Pelekai, 12, performs during an episode of "America's Got Talent" that aired on Wednesday, July 17. (Courtesy NBC)

Ciana Pelekai, 12, performs during an episode of "America's Got Talent" that aired on Wednesday, July 17. (Courtesy NBC)

"We have some really hard decisions to make," said Stern at the start of Tuesday's episode. As it turned out, he was the only one who had a hard time picking Hype to move on.

Rocking red pants, white shirts and black suspenders, Hype's Josh Ulep (aka Hazmat from Academy of Hype and Hypersquad), Mikey Ruiz and AJ Pak (aka Headache), impressed nearly all the judges with a performance to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Only Stern had doubts, saying he thought the trio were "not anywhere as good as (the) last time" they performed.

Even though Hype fared well, Pelekai did even better. Four years after her last appearance on "America's Got Talent," the Aiea Intermediate School student was easily the front-runner in the show's child entertainers category.

"She made me rethink everybody else," Stern said after her performance of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind."

"She just made it a little tougher now," Mandell replied.

"She did," said Stern.

Next week, "America's Got Talent" will move into the live audience phase of competition, with the finalists performing in front of a crowd at Radio City Music Hall and the general public deciding which acts move on in the competition.

Hype was announced as one of the acts that will perform during the Tuesday, July 23, episode; no word yet as to when Pelekai will perform again.

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Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Aloha Plate on Food Network

By
May 30th, 2013



In a state long known for loving its lunchwagons, it's a little surprising Food Network took four years to get a Hawaii-based team on "The Great Food Truck Race."

The trio that did make it this season has the talent and charisma to go far in the made-for-TV competition, which pits rival food trucks against each other for a shot at a big cash payoff and/or a brand new truck for their business.

The Aloha Plate food truck. (Courtesy photo)

The Aloha Plate food truck. (Courtesy photo)

Local radio/television personality and serial entrepreneur Lanai Tabura and his brother, chef Adam Tabura of Maui's Basil Tomatoes Italian Grille, along with comedian Shawn Felipe have taken Aloha Plate to the streets in the show's fourth season. When reached last week by text message, Lanai confirmed their participation, but declined further comment.

While it appears they can't comment directly about the show, teams are still allowed to access their social media accounts. Lanai's Facebook page makes it obvious he's out on the road and making food with his brother. Felipe's Facebook profile includes multiple updates about Aloha Plate as well.

In addition, a quick online search turns up plenty of coverage by regional media and bloggers as the show moves across the country.

Food trucks confirmed to be a part of season four include:

» Aloha Plate (Hawaii)

» Boardwalk Breakfast Empire (New Jersey)

» Bowled and Beautiful (Southern California)

» Frankfoota

» Philly's Finest Sambonis (Philadelphia)

» The Slide Show (Southern California)

» Tikka Tikka Taco (St. Louis)

"The Great Food Truck Race," hosted by chef Tyler Florence, airs on Food Network. Season four is expected to premiere later this summer.

———

Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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VIDEO: Train’s ‘Mermaid’ features Hawaii

By
March 15th, 2013



Pop rock band Train has released a new music video set in Hawaii, following a trip to Oahu last month for a performance at the NFL Pro Bowl and a cameo by lead singer Pat Monahan on CBS television series "Hawaii Five-0."

"Mermaid" features appearances by a number of familiar faces, including Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Alyssa Miller as a mermaid, local ukulele virtuoso Aidan James and "Five-0" co-star Daniel Dae Kim.

A number of NFL players and cheerleaders — plus thousands of football fans — appear in the music video because Monahan and the band filmed in and around Aloha Stadium on game day. Train performed during the Pro Bowl pre-show this year.

"Mermaid" shows Monahan on stage, down on the field and in the bleachers; he's also shown amongst "Five-0" trailers in footage shot while he was on the set for his guest role on the show.

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Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Brown discusses ‘Duets’ elimination

By
June 14th, 2012



<em>Hawaii-raised singer Meleana Brown, left, performs with John Legend during this week's episode of "Duets" on ABC. (Courtesy photo)</em>

Meleana Brown's whirlwind experience on the ABC singing competition "Duets" lasted just three episodes, but the Hawaii-raised singer-songwriter said she couldn't have hoped for a better opportunity.

"It was a really good experience (and) I learned a lot," Brown said by phone from Los Angeles on Thursday. "To get advice from all (the judges), who are all performers who have been doing this for so long, I learned so much from all of them."

<em>Meleana Brown. (Courtesy ABC)</em>

Meleana Brown. (Courtesy ABC)

Brown wasn't originally cast to be a part of "Duets," which pairs amateur singers with professional recording artists Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles, John Legend and Robin Thicke. When finalist Johnny Gray was dismissed from the show after the first episode, Brown auditioned for his spot and was in front of cameras singing alongside Legend less than 24 hours later.

After an impressive performance of "Endless Love" received high praise from the judges, Brown breezed through the show's first elimination. The following week, however, was a bit more difficult. Her rendition of Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" put her in the middle of the pack at fifth place; safe from elimination, but far from the best performance of the night.

On Wednesday, Brown regrouped and surprised the judges and "Duets" audience by singing Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone."

"You know, John really wanted me to challenge myself," she said. "I sing more ballads … that's my forte. John wanted me to challenge myself and show another side of my personality.

"I had a blast up there. Is there another I song I would have chosen? No. I really had a good time."

The visible joy Brown exhibited during her time on stage in this week's episode wasn't enough to keep her safe from elimination. Ranked sixth out of seven finalists, she was forced to face off in an a cappella battle against Olivia Chisholm, with the losing singer out of the competition.

After Brown performed Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love for You,” Chisholm followed with the Bonnie Raitt classic, “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

“You have completely different voices,” said Clarkson during the broadcast. “We’re voting on apples and oranges right now.”

The judges’ positive comments earlier in the episode apparently betrayed their scores for Brown, however, once “Duets” host Quddus announced she was the one going home.

"I really hope that … the superstars judged me based on my performance," she said. "Also the interaction with my duet partner, John. I believe we had really good chemistry and we always connected."

As "Duets" continues into its live elimination rounds on June 28 without Brown, she said she'll use her experience on the show to continue her pursuit of musical success. Now living in Los Angeles, she said she'll continue to write, record and perform her own original music to "bring it out there and people will know I'm still around." She plans to return to Oahu early next month, with a tentative gig lined up at Pearl Harbor on July 4; follow her on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

"More than anything, I just want to thank Hawaii for supporting me," said Brown. "I still want to represent Hawaii and my culture and heritage and where I'm from."

After airing for another week on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on KITV, "Duets" returns to its regularly scheduled day and time of 7 p.m. Thursdays on June 28.

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Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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Meleana Brown joins ‘Duets’ lineup

By
June 6th, 2012



<em>Meleana Brown, right, performs with John Legend during last week's episode of "Duets." (Courtesy ABC)</em>

Meleana Brown, right, performs with John Legend during last week's episode of "Duets." (Courtesy ABC)

Just a few weeks after singer/songwriter Cheesa Laureta finished her run on nationally-televised singing competition "The Voice," another local girl is attempting to sing her way into the hearts of America.

<em>Meleana Brown. (Courtesy ABC)</em>

Meleana Brown. (Courtesy ABC)

Meleana Brown joined the cast of "Duets" on ABC last week after finalist Johnny Gray was mysteriously removed from the show. According to her biography on the show's website, Brown auditioned for the competition just hours before showing up on stage alongside John Legend.

"I wanted to be a part of "Duets" because singing has always been my passion," she said during an ABC interview last week. "When I first met John and started working with him, it was kind of nerve-wracking. He's amazing. He really is. He has a huge gift and is extremely talented."

Raised in Hawaii, Brown is part Hawaiian, African-American, Filipino, Portuguese and Spanish. She was homeschooled and spent time living and performing in Japan before moving to Los Angeles to further her music career. And while she may not want to revisit the experience, viewers have seen Brown on television before — she tried out for "American Idol" in 2003 alongside Camile Velasco and Jasmine Trias, but was dismissed after forgetting the lyrics to "Can't Buy Me Love" during the group audition round in Hollywood.

On "Duets," music stars Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles and Robin Thicke are partnered with two amateur singers. The teams will face off each week to see who ends up "at the top of the charts" and receives a recording contract with Hollywood Records.

"The most challenging part of working on 'Duets' is trying to get everything done," said Brown. "It's very fast (and) you have to multi-task. … It's a lot of hard work."

"Duets" airs in Hawaii at 7 p.m. Thursdays on ABC.

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Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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Aiona ready for ‘Food Network Star’

By
May 12th, 2012



<em>Philip "Ippy" Aiona in action during the taping of "Food Network Star." The new season premieres tomorrow, May 13, on Food Network. (Courtesy Food Network)</em>

Philip "Ippy" Aiona in action during the taping of "Food Network Star." The new season premieres tomorrow, May 13, on Food Network. (Courtesy Food Network)

When Philip “Ippy” Aiona makes his debut on "Food Network Star" tomorrow night, viewers should have no problem figuring out where he's from or what he stands for.

"The whole show, I was very into promoting Hawaii," the 23-year-old Hawaii Prepatory Academy and Le Cordon Bleu graduate said by phone from Hawaii island earlier this month. "That was my whole angle, showcasing Hawaii and taking people on a voyage to paradise.

"Everybody's there for the same reason, to cook. Still, I think I have a good chance. I'm going to surprise a lot of people. … On the first episode, I said I wasn't there to win. I want to make my family and my state proud, and I'll be content."

'Food Network Star'

Premieres Sunday, May 13

Airs at 6 p.m. Sundays on Food Network

The Finalists

» Philip "Ippy" Aiona (Kamuela, HI)

» Judson Allen (Chicago, IL)

» Martie Duncan (Birmingham, AL)

» Emily Ellyn (Orlando, FL)

» Martita Jara (San Diego, CA)

» Eric Lee (Petaluma, CA)

» Yvan Lemoine (Maspeth, NY)

» Josh Lyons (Jupiter, FL)

» Linkie Marais (North Attleborough, MA)

» Nikki Martin (West Hollywood, CA)

» Malcolm Mitchell (Washington, DC)

» Michele Ragussis (Brooklyn, NY)

» Cristie Schoen (New Orleans, LA)

» Kara Sigle (Chicago, IL)

» Justin Warner (Brooklyn, NY)

Now in its eighth season, "Food Network Star" got its start on the cable network in 2005 and was responsible for discovering "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" host Guy Fieri in its second season. Led by coaches Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, 15 finalists are split into three teams — a new format introduced this season — with one winner selected to host his or her own cooking show on Food Network.

The prospect of sharing his cooking skills on camera is something that goes back to Aiona's small kid time in Kamuela, where his father ran the now-closed Kamuela Deli.

"I made a series of cooking videos when I was in the third grade," he admitted. "They were called 'The Little Italian.' … I would put on my apron and tie it up to my belly, I would have the towel over my shoulder and I'd be cooking."

Aiona, who said his biggest culinary hero back then was Emeril Lagasse, ended up including some of that footage in his application to the Food Network. While being on television "wasn't necessarily a goal," he said the videos he made were an early sign of how passionate he was about cooking. After watching "Food Network Star" at home the last few years, he was encouraged by a friend to finally give it a try himself.

"I knew I could do it," said Aiona. "I wanted to show people the … idea of Hawaiian food isn't just luau stuff. It is traditional Hawaiian food, but (outsiders) don't understand the plate lunch and other local foods.

"On the show, I said I had a style of cooking that I call 'Euro-Pacific,' taking traditional European techniques and including Pacific ingredients, like pasta with furikake and a pink miso sauce made with tomatoes, miso and sake. I did a lot of fusion up there."

<em>Philip "Ippy" Aiona, foreground, and the rest of Team Giada. (Courtesy Food Network)</em>

Philip "Ippy" Aiona, foreground, and the rest of Team Giada. (Courtesy Food Network)

WITH A PORTION of the season's filming already completed (Aiona will return to the mainland to participate in the show's live finale later this summer), some details about the show can be revealed.

Aiona was picked to be on the team coached by De Laurentiis, who shares his Italian background. He didn't know if she was aware of his current role as executive chef at Solimene's, his mother's Italian restaurant in Waimea, when casting was completed, but he's happy with who ended up choosing him.

"I'm very happy to be on her team," Aiona said. "They got the opportunity to hand-pick five people for their team, and she picked me. … She's tough, man. She's not what I expected, but it was a lot better than I expected.

"(De Laurentiis) looks really dainty, but when she wants to get something done, she gets it done. She'd go to bat for me all the time. She's great."

Aiona also makes his presence felt in the very first episode.

"I'm one of the youngest to ever be on the show, and obviously the first ever from Hawaii," he said. "But I've been doing this my whole life. For some of the others, cooking wasn't their first job. I was born into this, so it's all I know. I've been working in a kitchen my whole life. I've always been trying to master this."

The two-hour season premiere of "Food Network Star" will air on Food Network at 6 p.m. tomorrow, May 13, following a 30-minute casting special tonight at 6 p.m.

———

Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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Graham scores SELF cover

By
September 20th, 2011



Lauren Graham was born in Hawaii. She currently stars in the NBC sitcom 'Parenthood.' (Photo courtesy SELF)

One of my favorite shows on television right now is "Parenthood," which airs Tuesdays on NBC. Call me an old man, but the writing on the show along with the dynamic between cast members really resonates with me.

(I also watch "Sons of Anarchy" religiously on Tuesdays, if that helps me to retain my Man Card.)

The cover of SELF's October issue. (Courtesy SELF)

Being a fan of the show, I was surprised to learn last week that one of its stars was born in Hawaii. You may recognize Lauren Graham from her previous role on "Gillmore Girls," but I've grown to admire her work on "Parenthood." And yes, she was born on Oahu. After spending her first five years here, her parents divorced and she ended up moving with her father to Washington, D.C.

Still, she's keiki o ka aina — and as such, I'm an even bigger fan of her work. Want to learn more about her? Pick up a copy of the latest issue of SELF Magazine; Graham is on the cover and even contributed her own writing for the feature. She was partnered with trainer Michelle Lovitt in advance of a photo shoot for the cover in Los Angeles, Calif.

"When SELF invited me to be on the cover, I told the editors I wanted to try training like an athlete," she said in the cover story for the October issue. "Good news: They loved the idea and said they had the perfect trainer for me. Bad news: I had only five weeks until the cover shoot, during which I'd be traveling a lot. I panicked."

Graham had jokes, too. Some of her better one-liners:

"A few sessions with my trainer and I started using words like glycogen. Don't get me started on fast-twitch muscles. I'm saving that for Letterman!"

"I'm in New York City to visit my sister. Unfortunately, my dear friends Bagel and Cream Cheese live here, too."

"I only like water when it tastes like a margarita."

On the topic of getting fit and working out, Graham said it was difficult at times to stay focused — but also taught her a valuable lesson about setting goals.

"I could have just given up coffee, but no, I gave myself this fitness challenge while on vacation on my family, my boyfriend's family, while in New York City, and I really found out a lot about what it's like to try and achieve a goal," she said. "One thing I really learned about was the power of other people and when you start looking for inspiration, just saying that can bring it into your life. You can't do it alone."

The October issue of SELF should be in stores soon; click here to read more highlights from her feature story.

———

Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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TV: ‘Real World’ back in Hawaii

By
March 11th, 2011



Now in its 25th season, perennial reality show staple "The Real World" continues to thrive on cable network MTV with its edgy blend of youth, sex and endless interpersonal drama.

This weekend, Hawaii residents will get an opportunity to show producers why they're the type of person who needs to be part of the cast for the 26th season of filming. The casting call marks the first time the show has returned to the islands since filming its eighth season at a house on Diamond Head Road, which aired on MTV in 1999.

Casting directors from Bunim/Murray Productions will hold an open casting call from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Hooters in Aloha Tower Marketplace. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 24 years old and need to bring a valid ID and recent picture (if available) to complete the registration process.

“We look for characters from real life; people with strong personalities who are unafraid to speak their minds,” said Jonathan Murray, executive producer of “The Real World,” via email. "Past seasons have been populated with cast members from diverse backgrounds, who have shared their daily experiences openly with millions of viewers."

You may remember one of those characters — Ruthie Alcaide (pictured at left) was the hometown cast member on "The Real World: Hawaii" who attracted a lot of attention for her public battle with alcoholism on the show. With the current state of reality TV as it is, who knows what type of kolohe behavior casting directors will be willing to tolerate this time around.

If you can't make it to Aloha Tower this weekend, applications are also being accepted online.

Diddy was close to performing here

By
March 3rd, 2011



You'd think with all the promotion superstar hip-hop producer and rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs (pictured) is doing for his Dirty Money project that Honolulu would be one of the stops on his "Coming Home" tour.

We're not.

Sure, the tour doesn't technically kick off until April 14 in Chicago, but the recent news that Diddy would make an appearance on the hit CBS television series "Hawaii Five-0" meant he'd be on-island for at least a few days of filming. Why not kick off the tour in paradise?

Turns out, Diddy's camp was in talks to bring his Dirty Money experience to Honolulu. According to a source, one local concert promoter made it through the entire deal-making process to the point where a venue was secured, Diddy's artist rider was sent over for inspection and plans were in the works to send his management a deposit to lock in the appearance.

But, as often is the case when it comes to big name acts like these, the deal was off before it could be completed. When Diddy's camp asked for a higher appearance fee than was originally discussed, the promoter was forced to scramble and try to pick up a partner who could help with the financing.

Unfortunately, the promoter couldn't make a deal fast enough to meet Diddy's deadline and had to bow out of negotiations. At this point, fans may spot him out and about, but it doesn't look like he'll be making any public appearances while he's in town.

According to a post on Twitter by "Five-0" producer Peter Lenkov, Diddy arrived in Honolulu this week and finished his first day of filming yesterday. A representative for the production said Diddy would not be available for interviews while working on the show, although he did speak with the local CBS affiliate yesterday (guess it's one of the perks of having "Five-0" on your network).

Come on, Sean. We're both on Twitter. Get at me — Let's go drink some Ciroc and talk about the Yankees. We can meet up in Chinatown, and I'll even walk over to Otto Cake to get you a slice of the best cheesecake in Honolulu!

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