Best of Honolulu 2004 - Entertainment

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Best Movie Rental

Blockbuster Video stores are seemingly on every corner, but their selection of movies can’t compete with that of the original Diamond Head Video. Owner Jim Coville says the Kapahulu store contains 9,650 DVDs and 15,550 VHS cassettes. Coville stocks multiple copies of new releases, but estimates his stock of discrete titles at 8,500 different DVDs, and an additional 12,000 VHS cassettes. In contrast, the largest Blockbuster, in Mililani, stocks a little more than 5,000 titles in either format. A side note—Diamond Head Video also has about 4,000 adult movies in each format, but we’ll let you decide whether to add that into their selection grand total. 870 Kapahulu Ave., 735-6066.

Liz Chun, Kim Gennaula, Jade Moon and Guy Hagi, KGMB-9.

Photo: rae huo

Best Local TV News

Some people pick their favorite local news station based on how attractive the on-air personalities are. That’s a valid decision, we guess, but there’s another measure of quality you could consider: The Hawaii Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism Awards. The annual awards, judged by Mainland SPJ chapters, recognize outstanding work in categories including investigative reporting and spot news coverage. KGMB-9 has won 34 SPJ Hawaii Excellence in Journalism Awards in the past six years, more than twice that of runner-up KITV-4. The station has also earned the SPJ’s prestigious public service award four out of those six years. We suppose it doesn’t hurt that Kim Gennaula is really, really cute.

Best Daily Newspaper

In addition to television news, the Hawaii Society of Professional Journalists also hands out awards for local newspapers, and it looks like David is beating Goliath. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has won 58 SPJ Hawaii Excellence in Journalism Awards in the past six years, 21 more than The Honolulu Advertiser.

Best Radio Hour

We’re not saying this just because it’s us. We wouldn’t dream of such shameless self-promotion. However, the most delicious hour in radio is none other than Heckathorn’s Hot Plate, which every Friday follows Bobby Curran’s top-10 morning sports program on KKEA 1420AM. In case you’ve missed Hot Plate, it features HONOLULU’s own John Heckathorn, Kam Napier and Joan Namkoong in a rollicking hour, in which no one can guess what’s going to happen. Mainly because it’s not heavily scripted. Lots of food talk, Napier’s DVD reviews, guest chefs and celebrities—and prizes! Tickets to some of the fanciest galas in town, serious gift certificates to fine restaurants, great cookbooks and, once, even three bags of assorted oat cakes. What makes this show so outstanding? It actually has the best listeners in radio. KKEA 1420AM, Fridays, 9-10 a.m.

The Piranha Room at The Ocean Club

Photo: Rae Huo

Best Night Spot

We asked the guys who write about Honolulu entertainment to list their favorite night spots:

Wayne Harada, The Honolulu Advertiser

“If you want informal Hawaiian music, Auntie Genoa Keawe at the Waikiki Beach Marriot Resort is the best overall. If you want a more substantial show, Society of Seven is still the best in Waikiki. One of the nicest places to enjoy a drink and relax is House without a Key at the Halekulani. It’s not so much who’s there, it’s an environment that appeals to visitors and residents alike. There’s a spectacular view of Waikiki, and with Kanoe Miller and the other hula dancers under the moonlight, it’s gorgeous.”

John Berger, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Lewer’s Lounge with Bruce Hamada and Jim Howard (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) is a great place if you have a date or enjoy jazz. You can dance if you want to, you can talk without having to shout—which is nice. The Piranha Room at the Ocean Club (last Saturday of the month) pictured at left, is the ultimate night club party. It’s been around awhile and it’s always good. What Russell Tanoue and Beau Mohr have created is the sense that that’s where you want to be. To the point where people stand in line for an hour, because it’s that important.”

Derek Paiva, The Honolulu Advertiser

”My all-around favorite: Indigo. They have good bartenders, drinks, atmosphere. I definitely like the venue itself. A whole lot goes into making that place great. They do a great variety of events. Every workday they’ll have the Pau Hana Martini Happy Hour, with a huge list of martinis. It brings a good crowd into the downtown area.

“For straight-up clubbing—The Wave, you’re talking about a place that does it all the time and is not a restaurant. It has a really good promotion staff that throws very interesting parties.”

Ryan Senaga, The Honolulu Weekly

”It’s hard to nail down a place these days; it depends more on the promoter. The real happening places are done by a few specific promoters, like Komo Low and Flash Hansen, and they kind of jump around. A couple times they’ll do a party at Longhi’s, and then move to the Hanohano Room. As far as clubs, The Wave gets really good DJs, and I hear that the Piranha Room at Ocean’s is going off.”

Opening night at last month’s Diamond Head Theatre
production of Amadeus.

Photo: Olivier Koning

Best Theater Group:

The Hawaii State Theatre Council’s Pookela Awards are the Tony’s of Oahu’s theatre community, with one sometimes frustrating difference—its judges have always shied away from picking only a single winner in each category, citing the need to recognize every instance of dramatic excellence. We here at HONOLULU Magazine, however, are not afraid to pick out the best of the best, and the numbers don’t lie. In the past 10 years, Diamond Head Theatre has taken home 117 Pookela awards, more than any other theatre group. The runner-up, Manoa Valley Theatre, trails by 23. 520 Makapuu Ave., 733-0274.

Best Happy Hours

Your computer crashed, you lost the sale or maybe for once things went well, you got a raise. After a day at the office, happy hour could cheer you up, especially if the drinks are cheap and there’s food to be had. Here’s where to go when you don’t want to head home:


1121 Nuuanu Ave. Martini Madness Hour, Tuesday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. Martinis (25 different ones) are $2.75 and there are free appetizers starting at 5 p.m. You’ll recognize the appetizers as items from the lunch buffet— they are the leftovers from that day’s buffet, but hey, they’re free and delicious.


Ala Moana Center. Mortini Nights, Monday through Friday, 5 to 7 p.m. Specialty martinis (classic, appletini, cosmopolitan, Godiva chocolate) at $4 each and complimentary mini steak (tenderloin) sandwiches.

Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar

Restaurant Row. Early bird special: Sunday and Monday, 5 to 5:30 p.m. food and sushi are 50 percent off; on Tuesday through Saturday, it’s 25 percent off. Reverse Happy Hour: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., all food and sushi are 50 percent off. There are also $3 drink specials each night, featuring a different brand or concoction.

3660 on the Rise

3660 Waialae Ave. Martini Night, Wednesdays, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Martinis with Finlandia Vodka, $4. No pupu, but the appetizer menu is available.

Best seats at Music/Sport Venues

Aloha Stadium

The makai side, Blue Section L and K, row 40. These are on the 50-yard line, in the shade, with easy access to the parking lot. And it’s where the half-time show faces. 486-9300.

Rainbow Stadium

Section A (blue), Rows 6, 7 and 8. These seats are right behind the home plate, have a good view of the pitcher and the field and are covered, so you’re protected from the sun and the Manoa rains. Admission is $6 for blue and orange seats, $5 for red. (Worst seat: the governor’s box. It’s below ground level, so you get a great view of the players’ feet, but not much else.) 956-4481.

Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium

The best seats in the house can be found in Section AA, Rows 1-4. Not only are these seats right behind home plate, but they have seat backs, unlike most of the stadium seats, which have bench seating. The section is also protected by a roof, a big plus in rainy Manoa. Admission is $3 for general, $2 for seniors and $1 for students. All seats are general admission, so go early for a premium spot. 956-4481.

Stan Sheriff Center

To watch players dribble from half court, try Lower Level Section B or GG. For volleyball action, the service line is near Section F, DD and BB. Autograph hunters, try the aisle seats nearest the railing in BB, Row 8 Seat A and DD, Row 8 seats 1, 2 and 3. Be warned, these seats are mainly in season ticket packages, so if you haven’t gotten them already, it may be a long wait. 956-4484.

Neil S. Blaisdell Center Concert Hall

Front rows are for those who want to be seen and do not necessarily want to see. A little farther back try Orchestra Rows H, J, K and L. Up in the balcony, Rows H, J and K give you a dead-on view of the stage. These prime seats are highly sought after, and all afford clear, full-stage views. Remember seats are numbered from seat 1 in the center. The odd-number seats stretch to stage right. Even-number seats to stage left. Lower numbers are better. Two adjacent seats will be either odd (7, 9) or even (8, 10). 591-2211.

Neil S. Blaisdell Center Arena

For most events, Rows AA, BB and CC are up close and center, but the seats aren’t tiered, so sit behind short people. A better strategy may be to go back a few rows. Rows 7, 8, 9 and 10 have unobstructed views. 591-2211.


Best of Honolulu 2004