. I'm taking the opportunity of this unplanned time off to learn the stories of the many artists and creators in this wonderful city I love, and to share them with you. Come with me on my 100-day odyssey of art and creativity in Long Beach. I call it .
Auntie Momi Nakila keeps the family tree. She's been tracing the family roots and has a 30+ page document on the family history. On their grandmother's side, Queen Emma. On their grandfather's side, the Moanas and waaayyy back to the Aztecs. Somewhere in there is a line that can be drawn to Kealiimaikai, King Kamehameha's brother. Auntie Sharon's great grandfather helped to build Father Damien's leper colony on Molokai, and her great grandmother was a nurse at the facility.
August 31st was Lemonade Day 61. I went to Na Mamo's opening day.
Pualani Ober is Marketing Chair and has had a substantial role in pulling this volunteer-run event of 18 years together. If you want to find out more about Na Mamo, the host organization, Pualani (Child of God, Heavenly Flower) is the person to see.
Much of the event at City Terrace Theatre is free. There are booths of Hawaiian prints, pearls and Koa bead jewelry. Some of the vendors have come from Hawaii to see their family, visit with friends and yes, sell their Hawaiian wares. There is Hawaiian food. Buns and island coffee. I'm sure musubi (Spam) is there somewhere. Served to you by the young Californians of Hawaiian heritage who are keeping in touch with their past. Heritage is important. It helps to define who we are. Why we are who we are.
On the patio, small groups of musicians gather and sing. Telling stories through song and dance is what Hawaiians do, not just at public performances, but around the table after dinner.
Today was the day of solo dance performances. Tomorrow and Sunday will be the group performances. We travel thousands of miles to Hawaii to attend Hula and Polynesian cultural performances and eat Hawaiian delicacies. Today, I met some Hawaiians who have travelled thousands of miles to Long Beach to do the very same thing.
I was homesick for Hawaii today. No... I'm not Hawaiian, but as I listened to the singers, the strumming of the instruments, I was transported back to a time when I was in Hawaii. A time when I watched the dancers and listened to the music as the Hawaiian sun set. The voices told stories I could not understand, but they were beautiful, just the same.
So I wandered the booths, as I would have done in Hawaii.
I met some new friends from San Diego and Sacramento. They were homesick too, Stacy and Cindy. Their father was Hawaiian and Cindy spent several years in the Navy in Honolulu.
I met one Auntie and Uncle after another. It reminds me of the Caribbean. Everyone is Auntie this or Uncle that. Everyone is related in some way, and can tell you how. It goes something like this "My mom's uncle's brother is your grandmother's second cousin on her father's side."
If you, too, wish to be transported to the Hawaiian islands, there are a few opportunities. You may partake of the free areas. Food, shopping, saying hello to the Aunties and Uncles. You may attend a craft workshop, one of the days of performances, or the Mahalo Bash Concert. I have listed some of the ticketed events in Tips, Tidbits, Things.
If you simply want to say hello to the Hawaiian royalty, go find Auntie Momi and Auntie Sharon. They will be just inside the entrance to the theatre, in the booth to the right.
If you simply want to have a good Hawaiian lunch, stop by the booths at the Terrace theatre.
And a really cool tip. After the competition, the dancers and competitors often convene to the Westin lobby across the street from the Terrace Theatre. There, they will be spurred to dance, sing and play as the evening progresses. 9:00 PM to Midnight in the Westin lobby. No admission charge.
Some new friends for me. Auntie Dawn Miyashiro whose husband is Hawaiian born of Okinawan parents. And a find for me. Theodore Matthew Kaulana Seto who is a Line Technician for Northrup Grumann. Get this. He does lots of things with electronics and electrical components. He says he will help me! Yippee!
Tips, Tidbits, Things
- Tickets for paid events may be purchased at Ticketmaster and at the Terrace Theatre box office. Competition days ($21).
- Mahalo Bash Concert begins at 7:30 PM Saturday ($35).
- Sat, 10AM - 12PM - Cyril Pahinui Slack Key Workshop. Westin Long Beach Hotel Marina Room ($45.00 at door)
- About Nà Mamo®: Established in 1992, Nà Mamo®, a 501©3 non-profit organization, is dedicated to Hawaiian cultural preservation, education, and community outreach. Nà Mamo® strives to create a unique experience at every event to promote a better understanding and perspective of the Hawaiian culture by promoting key values including “Ohana” (family) and “Lokahi” (family unit). For the last 18 years, E Hula Mau® has been presented by Nà Mamo®. For more information visit http://www.ehulamau.org/.
- Soundwalk is September 1st in the East Village Arts District, 6-10 PM.
Want more lemonade?
I'm thinking about Arts Month.
If you would like to contact me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trish Tsoiasue writes about creative and maker topics for and as Handmade Penguin for the Handmade Penguin Blog.