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August 2005



A. Kam Napier explores why loft conversions have yet to take off in Chinatown.

I had to smile when I read A. Kam Napier’s “Where Are the Lofts?” in the June issue. Loft living in Chinatown can and has worked on a “do-it-yourself” basis over the years, but once you start getting the bureaucrats and developers into it the cost goes out of sight. There was a time in the mid-’80s when Barbara Hastings and I had a loft on King Street and our next-door neighbor was Noe Tanigawa. We were up above a couple of retail shops, directly across from the Oahu Market. Those were the days before living in a loft was fashionable. We didn’t know any better so we put in our own small kitchen, remodeled a bath and built a sleeping loft. The space was 15 feet wide, 75 feet deep and had a 12-foot ceiling. The view out the back was the courtyard behind the Cebu Pool Hall. We could walk to The Honolulu Advertiser to work, had dozens of restaurants within a couple of blocks and all of what was then a thriving Hotel Street for entertainment. All for about $550 a month.



I have a mele-abuse problem. It’s not my fault. Blame my parents. They gave me my first drink of Hawaiian music in 1971. That initial experience led me to where I am today: uncontrollably hooked. Recently, I was diagnosed with mele-itis, an incurable condition of needing a daily fix of Hawaiian music. Please, HONOLULU Magazine, ease my pain. Stop publishing such well-written stories about Hawaiian music. Your last issue was more than this mele-addict could stand. After reading your article, I had to go out and buy three more CDs. Is there no cure?



Heidi Chang’s article on the turmoil that greeted the first-ever winner of the Grammy Award for Hawaiian music, Slack Key Guitar Vol. 2.

Excellent article by Heidi Chang about the in-fighting amongst Hawaii’s Grammy nominees this past year, informed, balanced and insightful. I wish I could say the same of the Hawaiian artists bickering about the newly installed Hawaiian Music category and their racist definition of what constitutes true Hawaiian music.

It is this very insular, provincial, ethnocentric, small-island-minded attitude that has left Hawaii—as a culture—the laughingstock of the rest of the country. The very fact that it took years to even come to a consensus on a description of the new Best Hawaiian Music Album category and that very few local artists bothered to pay attention to the requirements and deadlines for a timely submission speaks volumes.

As a former Hawaii resident who tired of the phony Aloha Spirit-versus-the-haole-Mainland mentality (not to mention the ridiculously high cost of living), and whose husband Edward Kurt Weber used to jam with many of the Grammy nominees (notably the uber-talented and Hawaiiana respectful Bryan Kessler), I breathe a sigh of relief in having left for the big, bad, clueless Mainland. After reading the article himself, Eddie also commented, “I never want to go back. The controversy is BS.”

If Hawai‘i’s music community wants to play with the big boys and show off its big guns, Hawaiiana, then it better be prepared to put up quality in all its diverse forms.

I suggest the category be broadened to include any musical work from anybody inspired by Hawaii, to continue keeping this category alive in the future and to inspire all the races living in Hawai‘i to be proud of any honor for the vast, varied Hawaiian music and arts.

But I’m just a Mainlander and expatriate, so what do I know?


Letters to the editor may be submitted online here, e-mailed to: letters@honolulumagazine.com, faxed to: 537-6455 or sent to: HONOLULU Magazine, 1000 Biship Street, Suite 405, Honolulu, HI, 96813. Letters may be edited for space.

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Honolulu Magazine May 2018
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