Your Guide to the Perfect Weekend in Honolulu: April 14–20, 2021

Watch a mini film festival, make a joyful museum visit, sing along with an iconic pop hit or cook up something special.


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The Children of the Coral featured in Indigenous Lens at HIFF virtual mini festival. Photo: Courtesy of HIFF



The 2021 Spring HIFF Showcase, Indigenous Lens

April 15 to 25

When lockdowns closed theaters, us film geeks lost the chance to gather in person twice a year to happily binge watch on the big screen at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival. The re-imagined HIFF, presented by Halekūlani, is emerging as a series of four virtual mini-festivals, each with a theme, available between April and July. First to debut this week is Indigenous Lens, powered by Pacific Islanders in Communications featuring a mix of festival favorites and new works by kānaka maoli as well as artists from New Zealand, Australia, Polynesia and Oceania. They include: the U.S. premiere of Cousins, which follows three very different Māori girls through the decades; Christopher Kahunahana’s Waikīkī  (winner of the HIFF40 award for best made in Hawai‘i feature); and the U.S. premiere of The Children of the Coral, a documentary from French Polynesia about the members of the Coral Gardeners Association of Moorea replanting corals in the seabed of Moorea.


Shorter films will include Mahalo COVID-19, the story of a filmmaker and his small island community finding a path of self-reliance and connection to each other and nature during the pandemic, and a Kānaka Maoli New Wave shorts program. Festival passes for each series or all four, and individual tickets ($6 member; $8 general admission) may be purchased online at


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HoMA’s Joyful Return

Opens, Saturday, April 17

Bright colors and people coming together to create and also to admire what others have made take center stage at Joyful Return, a new multifaceted art exhibition that opens this weekend at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Celebrate the chance to again share experiences, art, conversation and connection at the debut of an art exhibition that exuberantly sprawls over much of the museum. The interactive fun includes six outdoor pop-ups and one gallery installation, each designed as “a mix of engaging, evolving, hands-on elements brought to life by museum guests and the HoMA community” to reflect the themes of return, restore, regrow, reveal, recover, relive and reflect. They include sounds, voices, community-sourced textiles, even floral and botanical elements. The special exhibition welcomes and weaves in photos and memories from visitors through the years. The joy continues through Jan. 16, 2022.


Advance admission reservations are advised; $20 general admission, free to ages 18 and under. 900 S. Beretania St., (808) 532-8700,




Friday, April 16, and Sunday, April 18, 6 and 8:30 p.m. shows

When pop princess Tiffany first recorded “I Think We’re Alone Now,” it was 1987, she was 16 years old (weren’t we all?) and the song shot to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100. Since then, she’s sung, acted, recorded a total of 10 studio discs and sold more than 15 million albums. Last time she was in Honolulu, she sold out her shows. Listen to her 2019 re-recording of the mega hit single and enjoy added depth and finesse. Her newest album, Shadows, is set for release this year. Catch this week’s show via livestream at 6 p.m., April 16, or live on stage at Blue Note Hawai‘i. Only 25 tables are available for each show; groups of up to 10 people are allowed with pandemic precautions including masks and temperature checks.


$20 for the livestream, $35–$45, 2355 Kalākaua Ave.,


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Ming Tsai with parents, Stephen and Iris Tsai. Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival



Plus: Coming Up

Generational Cooking with Chef Ming Tsai

Sunday, April 25, 3 p.m.

It seems like we’ve all been hosting our own home Food Network shows during the pandemic, though I’m grateful that no cameras rolled in my kitchen some days. Here’s a chance to indulge our foodie fantasies safely while joining Massachusetts-based celebrity chef Ming Tsai in his virtual kitchen for a cooking lesson along with his parents, who now live in Honolulu. The event comes from a collab with Kamehameha Schools and the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival and is open to all ages. Everyone will get step-by-step directions to make Cong You Bing, a Chinese dim sum flatbread dish also known as scallion pancakes that Tsai learned to make from his mother, along with two sauces: a dip and a pineapple salsa. Ticket sales close on April 21. Receive all the ingredients in a $75 meal kit that serves four and includes delivery on O‘ahu from Panda General Store (a $10 value). For those off-island, an ingredient list and recipe card will be available. Proceeds benefit the Kōkua Ag & Culinary Fund, which supports agricultural and food businesses in Hawai‘i.


On Zoom; tickets and information, go to


More Weekend Ideas

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Photo: Courtesy of Aloha Home Market



SHOP an Outdoor Market with an Earth Day Theme

Sunday, April 18

Aloha Home Market promises spring gifts, homegrown artisans, cool things for your house, and treats for your closet, kids and pets. Check out the earth-loving Sunday shopping experience in the open-air yet covered pop-up market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 340 Uluniu St. in Kailua. Check out all the vendors at


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Chocolate chip cookies with honey-roasted almonds and chile. Photo: Robbie Dingeman



BAKE a Cookie You’ve Never Tried

I’ve been on a quest to find the best chocolate chip cookie—and am slowly chiseling off proof of that journey. I haven’t found THE one yet but this week baked a contender with a nutty enhancement from Once Again crunchy almond butter (made simply of almonds), then dusted with gochugaru. The recipe is from The New York Times: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Honey-Roasted Almonds and Chile.


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Hale Pili. Photo: Courtesy of Hawaiian Mission Houses



FIND Out What’s Up with the New Thatched Hale

Tuesday, April 20

As part of a free Zoom series, Hawaiian Mission Houses will host a noon talk about the link between that new thatched hale and the museum archives, the community engagement that enabled it to be built and the new education curriculum developed for the hale.


Free, register at


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Brighter Days virtual musical. Photo: Courtesy of I’m A Bright Kid Foundation



LISTEN to a Livestream Musical

Sunday, April 18

The livestream retrospective Brighter Days showcases the amazing legacy of iconic performing arts educator Ron Bright with a cast and crew of “Mr. B’s” talented students from the early days to those now in the program. I’m a Bright Kid Foundation hosts the virtual event at 6 p.m. from the Hawai‘i Theatre Center. Suggested donation begins at $5. Click here for more info.