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March 26, 2009 - Rick Chatenever
So a friend called a few days ago to ask the date for the upcoming Cheech & Chong concert at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. It’s May 29, 7:30 p.m. in Castle Theater. (For details, visit www.mauiarts.org.)
As lawmakers debate whether it might relieve pressure on the prison population to put marijuana offenders somewhere else, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong might be considered authorities in the field.
For those of us of a certain age, Cheech & Chong bring new meaning to the term “medical marijuana.” The medical part — some might call it a miracle — is that they can still find their way to the theater, much less perform in it. Like the Rolling Stones, they make a good case for the health benefits of unhealthy living. They also bring paranoid new dimensions to the best-selling title “You: A User’s Manual,” not to mention the concept of a smoke alarm.
My friend, who’s younger, has a different take on the pair. They hit big in his teenage years, with their routines about life in the stoned lane. “I wouldn’t exactly call them role models,” he said.. “But they were definite influences.”
“I guess it depends on how you spell role,” I said.
My own role model these days is my friend Mike Spalding. Two Mondays ago, when Hawaiian Superferry service was ended by a decision from the state Supreme Court, Mike’s version of interisland travel ran into a different sort of problem.
His effort to swim the 30-mile Alenuihaha Channel between the Big Island and Hana — the only channel the 61-year-old athlete has not yet swum — ended with an encounter with a small, hideous-looking creature known as a cookie-cutter shark.
It happened around 8 p.m. more than 10 miles into the swim. Luckily, there was support crew nearby to pull him out and get him delivered to Maui Memorial Medical Center where he spent the next day answering the phone and telling the tale.
Considering that few people had ever heard of cookie-cutter sharks before Mike’s encounter, Maui News readers now know plenty about them, including just how icky they look in close-up. Less than 2-feet long, they look like an alien or a smiley face gone bad. With that little pinhead and a row of razor-sharp teeth, they’re a poster image for “Revenge of the Food Chain.”
This was apparently the first encounter between a human and a member of the species. That may be because cookie-cutter sharks are nocturnal, and not many people go swimming 10 miles offshore in pitch darkness.
Paia Fish Market was abuzz with the Legend of Mike when we ate there last Friday. Everywhere you turned, you overheard the words “… mikespalding … cookiecutter … swam every channel … nuts…” echoing down the long wooden tables.
Mike and I are in the same age-division in Maui Masters open-ocean races, like the Swim for Heart coming up this Sunday morning at Wailea Beach. (For an entry form, e-mail email@example.com.) But that’s where the similarity ends. The way he goes about things in the ocean is sort of like an animal; the way I do it is sort of like a buoy.
He came out of the experience alive and well, not to mention, already making plans to do the channel again. Local legends are like that. Single-minded, you might say, for want of a better word.
Yet another role model this week came in the form of Arnel Pineda, the once-homeless Filipino who took Steve Perry’s place fronting one of the most successful rock bands in history, Journey.
Journey inaugurated the MACC’s new outdoor performing space Monday night, putting on an energized, exhibition of rock ’ n’ roll that still had the sellout audience of 3,600 buzzing the next morning.
Ordinarily, if you saw a Filipino standing with four big haoles twice his age, you wouldn’t figure he was the rock star in the bunch. But the diminutive Arnel crooned and belted and powered his way through the endless Journey songbook, backed by Neal Schon, Ross Valory, Dean Castonovo and Jonathan Cain playing real tight and real loud. Flying around the stage in leaps to match his soaring vocals, Arnel definitely connected with the aging rockers in the crowd who knew all the words, along with a larger than usual Filipina contingent, embracing Arnel’s Journey as their own.
Unsung heroes were the MACC’s Art Vento and staff, forced by major construction in Yokouchi Founders Court to create a whole new performing venue. They made the maiden voyage in the space a seemingly effortless success. Problem-solving at warp speed — liquor commission regulations didn’t help, and where should the porta-potties go? — no one stopped believing, all the way to the happy end.
The Journey continues on Page 6.
• Contact Rick Chatenever at firstname.lastname@example.org
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