Your Guide to the Perfect Memorial Day Weekend in Honolulu: May 26–June 2, 2021
Remember loved ones, get crafty with Hawai‘i’s fairy tern and celebrate community reopenings this Memorial Day weekend.
Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai‘i Interactive Experience
Through June 5
Rather than releasing thousands of lanterns of remembrance at Ala Moana Beach, this year’s Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai‘i transformed into “Many Rivers, One Ocean: Interactive Experience,” accepting reservations nightly through June 5. Visitors can go to the exhibit across from the Shinnyo-en Hawai‘i temple and write notes of those they are remembering, prayers or statements of positive action. The messages are added to the art installation, designed by lighting artist Hideaki Tsutsui, featuring a lantern large enough to stroll through with a silhouette of a kukui tree symbolizing light, hope and renewal. The socially distanced exhibit includes hand-painted murals by kumu Boz Schurr and students of the Kamehameha Schools Art and Mural clubs. There will also be a television special focused on the event from 6:30 to 7 p.m. May 31 on KGMB. Go to lanternfloatinghawaii.com for virtual messages, reservations and more information.
The HI Brau Room Grand Reopening
Friday, May 28
Fully vaccinated and ready for summer, many of us can safely get out more to see friends and treat ourselves as some of our favorite spots reopen and welcome us back. This Friday, May 28, The HI Brau Room, that eclectic speakeasy-style bar above Aloha Beer Co. in Kaka‘ako, celebrates its grand reopening from 9 p.m. to midnight. Same hours Saturday. Hmmm, I’m thinking a Charlie Don’t Surf with gin and kaffir lime and sharing a cheese board.
Manu-o-Kū Bird Community Art Project
Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For another artsy and family-friendly take on dedicating messages to someone special, the community is invited to craft paper Manu-o-Kū birds and write inspiring messages on their creations. Bird crafting based on the white fairy tern will be held at the small park in front of H Mart in Kaka‘ako. The birds will be displayed in a temporary community art installation through June 13, on the fence of The Barn at Salt at Our Kaka‘ako, 327 Keawe St. Younger keiki will also be able to make Manu-o-Kū finger puppets to take home. As part of the celebration of Honolulu’s official bird, at 11 a.m. May 29, you can learn all about this native bird from marine biologist Susan Scott, author of Hawai‘i’s White Tern, Manu-o-Kū, an Urban Seabird. She’ll share their unique characteristics, significance to Hawai‘i and the Hawaiian culture, and ways to protect this feathered friend. Download a bird outline and find out more at ourkakaako.com/manuoku.
Espacio The Jewel of Waikīkī Reopens
Tuesday, June 1
Fantasizing about a splurge staycation? Starting June 1, indulgence can be found nearby with the reopening of the ultra-luxury Espacio The Jewel of Waikīkī. The $4,500-a-night, nine-suite resort opened in 2019 and a night there cost even more then. Each suite makes up a floor, includes ocean-view Jacuzzis, a private sauna and a designer kitchen just steps away from the French-Japanese Mugen restaurant. If you’re not quite ready to book a suite, Mugen chef Jason Yamaguchi plates an eight-course tasting menu starting at $150 a person. It’s an eclectic culinary journey that begins with Sasanian osetra caviar served on a mochi blini with cured egg yolk (pictured above); and ends with Mililani chocolate crémeux with potato crisps, smoked cashew soil (we must investigate this!) and miso caramel. The menu also features produce grown by Yogarden Hawai‘i in Waimānalo as part of its commitment to supporting local. Add wine pairings for $70.
LISTEN to Kalani Pe‘a
Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter/musician Kalani Pe‘a is celebrating a new album, Kau Ka Pe‘a, and showing up in the national music spotlight. The charming, energetic performer brings together modern verse based in Hawaiian tradition and can be spotted on more than 125 digital billboards across the Bay Area and New York City as Spotify shines the light on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders this month. He’s also featured in Amazon Music’s launch of a new collection of playlists for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, including “Made in Hawai‘i,” spotlighting works of Hawaiian musicians.
CELEBRATE Micronesian Poetry
Saturday, May 29, 12:30 p.m.
Carrying Culture: Micronesia kicks off with “Voices of Life,” a livestreamed event featuring poetry readings and discussion with three poets featured in Indigenous Literatures from Micronesia, an anthology of creative writing from a region that is homeland to many Hawai‘i residents.
Find livestream link via honolulumuseum.org
READ About Opium in Old Hawai‘i
Picture a secret meeting in 1886 of five men at San Francisco’s swanky Baldwin Hotel, mix in the schooner Halcyon made famous by author Jack London, and the true crime story of one of America’s early drug trafficking rings unfurls. Opium Kings of Old Hawai‘i comes from author and career law enforcement agent John Madinger, who is equally comfortable spinning a suspenseful tale as testifying about money laundering.
PLAY Tourist in Waikīkī
Since reopening in August, chef Masaharu Morimoto’s ramen restaurant, Momosan Waikīkī, added sushi plates and poke bowls AND those frozen glasses of Kirin beer that we first encountered in Tokyo and at the Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival. Think of it as a way to travel light without boarding a plane. Field trip!