When the full moon rises Wednesday, the stars will be out in Maui's night sky, and if you're lucky, at Capische.
The signature restaurant of Hotel Wailea will team with the Hollywood Reporter to host the Opening Night Twilight Reception that kicks off the 12th annual Maui Film Festival at Wailea.
"We're doing both the opening and the closing parties," says Kyoko Kimura, the managing director of Hotel Wailea. "Last year, we had Zac Efron in attendance. This year, actress Megan Fox will be honored on Wednesday.
“I’m testing some new culinary techniques, trying to impress Megan Fox,” says Capische’s Chef-owner Brian Etheredge. “Actually, all of my chefs are trying to impress Megan Fox. We are so pumped about opening night.”
"Even if they are not mandated to come, oftentimes they just show up. It's going to be a really fun weekend. There's not many places in the world where you can do star gazing and movie watching at the same time. It's incredible!"
Kimura should know about all things Maui Film Festival. She recently penned a two-page feature about it for Japan Airlines magazine (JAL).
"I wrote the story in Japanese," she says. "It gives us some exposure to a new market throughout Asia."
As for the opening-night party, it will be held indoors and outdoors, upstairs and downstairs at Capische from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. before the tribute to Megan Fox and the double feature.
Everyone who buys tickets to these film festival parties gets free admission to flicks at Celestial Cinema that evening. So bring a sweater and a beach blanket or low-back lawn chairs for later.
"The chefs and I are very excited for the opening night party because we are bringing Il Teatro out to Capische," says owner Brian Etheredge of his other, more intimate and upscale restaurant downstairs.
Attendees may mingle and schmooze in the amazing restaurant, where Northern Italy meets Southern France at the top of Wailea. Sip Stella Artois Beer, Maui's own Ocean Vodka cocktails and a selection of fine wines by Johnson Bros.
Then check out the seafood bar packed with an assortment of oyster shooters, Kona lobster and dungeness crab salad, abalone and caviar crepes, and fresh Kauai shrimp cocktails. Then saddle up to the grill station, where chefs will entice you with sausage and pepper sliders, venison sausage with fennel gastrique; eggplant and mushroom sliders; and rabbit confit sliders.
Other highlights are a cold station with beef carpaccio forks and watermelon salad and fry station with fried squash blossoms and fried tofu lettuce cups. Representing Il Teatro will be rabbit saltimbocca, braised short rib with Maui Onion puree; seared pork belly with polenta an corn gelato and duck salad with wilted frisee.
For dessert dip tropical fruits into the caramel fountain and be amazed at the fire and ice station with brulee spoons, flambeed fruits and frozen gelato.
"With liquid nitrogen, we will basically be flash freezing the gelato right in front of you," says Etheredge.
After the Celestial Cinema on Wednesday, head down to the Starry Night MoonDance at Tommy Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar in The Shops at Wailea. Groove to fun DJ music, island pupu and libations from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
"Meet your friends at the festival's sexiest dance party! This year under a magnificent Maui full moon," says festival founder and Director Barry Rivers.
"Power up with pupus at Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar, complemented by fresh libations courtesy of Maui's own Organic Ocean Vodka and Stella Artois - official beer of the Maui Film Festival. Do come prepared to party!" he says.
Of course, you must be 21 or older to get into the Starry Night MoonDance. IDs will be checked.
"We just finished a 10-day remodel," says new General Manager Rob Aspaas. "We just refinished the bar top, painted, wallpapered, added wooden louvres for a private dining room, added awnings. Plants and pictures will be here before the party."
Food items include ahi tuna tacos, shrimp gazpacho, pork lumpia, local pork crostini with sweet Kula tomato jam, walu bites with goat cheese and Hamakua mushroom sauce, Maui Cattle Co. beef sliders, jerk chicken lettuce cups, ceviche, wines and cheeses, and tempting desserts.
"We've really switched it up this year," says Aspaas. "Instead of food stations, we'll have passed pupu. Hopefully Megan Fox and Olivia Wilde will come and enjoy our VIP Room. Dress up, come out and play - we plan to do it right."