variety

ASIAN AMERICAN LIFE

 

This news magazine series features in-depth reports and stories of the Asian American diaspora for a general audience.

 

Asian American Life is an in-depth news magazine program that addresses topical issues affecting the Asian American communities nationwide and profiles Asian American leaders.

 

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT
Hula: The Language of the Heart

 

The Merrie Monarch Hula Festival is a four-day competition and exhibition that showcases elegance, power and rich storytelling that this ancient art form portrays. This program highlights the 2012 festival winners and presents a look at hula’s role in the past, present and future of Hawaii’s people.

 

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
–Mister Rogers

Trolley: Thank you for being our neighbor!

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiYour team at PBS Hawai‘i took a cue from our favorite guy in a sweater, Mister Rogers, and invited scores of neighboring businesses to an open house. After a half-century in Manoa, we’re newbies in a new home across town at Nimitz Highway and Sand Island Access Road. We’re honored to occupy this building created by the people of Hawai‘i.

 

Staff members took individuals and groups on tours through our building, and there was time along the way to stop and get acquainted. “I watched your building going up,” said Curtis Sasaki of next-door office-supplies distributor Conrad Enterprises, a family business. “Thanks for having me over. I’m curious to see the inside, the TV part.” He told us about his own company’s move into the neighborhood, back in 1988, from Kakaako.

 

Our other next-door neighbor is Storage Castle, with the turret wall on Nimitz. The self storage company’s Richard Parry made a good point: “A lot of people think of residential communities when they think of neighbors. But when you think of how much time you spend at work, we need to think of fellow businesses as neighbors and support each other if we can.”

 

We felt terrific support even before we moved in, as the big dog in the ‘hood, Matson, contributed $50,000 to our NEW HOME Campaign.

 

Matson’s affable Gary Nakamatsu motioned to the windows facing Nimitz. “All those drivers go past this area on Nimitz Highway – they just drive right by and they don’t see the great variety of businesses here that do a lot for our state.”

 

Variety, indeed! The Sand Island business district is a crazy quilt of industry and industriousness. Construction companies, candy sales, landscapers, document-shredding, a bakery, garbage collection, balloons, restaurants, dry cleaning, a cement maker, musical instruments. And of course, the Coast Guard. Among organizations that came by to say hi and check out our open, cheerful new work space were Honolulu Disposal Service, McDonald’s, First Hawaiian Bank, New Hope Oahu, Office Pavilion, and a scrappy entrepreneur, Primo Popcorn, owned by the multi-generational Sato family. They’re fearless in translating new flavors to popcorn. Prime rib, end cut? You got it. Kim chee? No problem. Baked potato? Here you go.

 

Each establishment has a story. And of course, we love stories. Our mission is advancing learning and discovery, through multi-media storytelling.

 

We’re glad to add another dash of variety to the neighborhood mix. Thank you, Sand Island area businesses, for being our neighbors.

 

A hui hou kakou—until next time,
Leslie signature

 

INDEPENDENT LENS
An Honest Liar

 

For the last half-century, James “The Amazing” Randi has entertained millions of people around the world with his remarkable feats of magic, escape and trickery. But when he saw faith healers, fortune tellers, and psychics using his beloved magician’s tricks to steal money from people and destroy lives, he dedicated his life to exposing frauds, using the wit and style of the great showman that he is.