Editor’s Page: Begin Again

Here’s to good starts.
Robbie Dingeman

September brings a sense of starting again, even though schools now begin the fall session earlier, the weather’s still warm and many of us don’t set foot in a classroom regularly these days. Our issue this month reflects an eclectic mix of the beginnings of several journeys.


From the world of art, the Honolulu Museum of Art this month debuts an ambitious exhibition titled Abstract Expressionism: Looking East From the Far West. This show combines the work of such internationally renowned artists as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. But it goes bigger, digging into the deeper history and the local artists woven into the movement. As part of this story, contributing editor James Charisma got one of those assignments we vie for as writers: To sit down with 92-year-old artist Satoru Abe, whose work graces so many of Hawai‘i’s public spaces. The interview came together with the help of another talented artist, John Koga, some beer, sushi and a wide-ranging discussion that took place over several hours. (Yes, recorders helped with that pesky notetaking.) James brought back from that experience a profile of a man who is still producing more than 150 pieces of art a year, and who tells us one of the main differences in his work now is that he is more spontaneous, enough that he surprises himself  “almost every third day or so” with what emerges in his art. I’d like to be like him when I grow up.


This issue is neatly bookended by journeys that center on food, one ending and another beginning. Leading off our monthly Calabash section is a photo taken in the last days of 57-year-old ‘Ono Hawaiian Foods, which served classic Hawaiian dishes on Kapahulu Avenue. Now closed, the co-owners and crew who’ve run the place all these years—Vivian Lee, Doris Maeda, Cynthia Oh Young and Clayton Oh Young—determined it was time to retire and enjoy time off after running the restaurant from dawn to dinner Monday through Saturday for all those years. They talked about their journey with writer Lorin Eleni Gill (bit.ly/hnonohawaiian) and we wish them the best retirement, one that gives them a chance to sit down occasionally! 


Ono's Hawaiian Food
Cynthia Oh Young, co-owner of ‘Ono Hawaiian Foods, pauses from serving classic Hawaiian food at the iconic restaurant on Kapahulu Avenue that closed its doors after 57 years in business.
Photo: Kyle Wright


In our own ‘Ono section, we learn how ABC Stores’ Paul Kosasa put together a new eating complex set in Waikīkī that includes a 150-seat restaurant named Basalt, a raw bar that features oysters, Kualoa to Kumamoto, alongside poke, fresh Island coffee, a gelato bar and much more. Writer Mari Taketa takes us inside the concept, explaining how the decision to focus on local came about from a company better known for providing beach mats and snacks in resort areas. Mari also tells us what attracted Honolulu-born chef Kelly Degala to return from a Mainland-based career to head the kitchen here. If you haven’t been to Waikīkī in a while, this could be your reason to go. While you’re there, check out some of our favorites from three of the upscale street-eats concepts that have opened in Waikīkī in the past year.


We also caught up with Dr. Elizabeth Ignacio, one of the Top Doctors in our annual cover story. Her professionalism comes through as surgical director of Queen’s Center for Sports Medicine. In between surgeries and office appointments, Ignacio let us tag along for a look at her life as a surgeon. We had to admire another surprising talent she has:  Whether she’s dressed for the office or in blue scrubs, if you look closely you’ll see she’s also wearing high heels. Kind of reminds me of that cartoonist quote about dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: “Sure, he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did … backwards and in high heels.”


Thoughts about the magazine? Please email me at robbied@honolulumagazine.com.