Whew, now that we're safely past the last day of the Mayan calendar, it's a good time to look back and see what actually went on in 2012.
On a personal level, one of the year's biggest developments was my retirement after 20 years as Maui Scene editor. I'm grateful to still be part of Scene from this Page 2 vantage point; grateful too, for all your kind thoughts on my status change and for two decades of incredible memories.
Maui Scene is cyclical - like the weather, island culture moves in patterns both predictable and surprising. Looking back, the year unfolds on newsprint, one week at a time, usually with who's headlining at the MACC or what's playing at the movies. Then there are are the annual rituals: the drive to Hana for the East Maui Taro Festival; the theme of the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's Celebration of the Arts; the occasional encounter with whales and dolphins; the interviews with the luminous honorees at the Maui Film Festival at Wailea.
Musical highlights of 2012 included Freyda Paine in the MACC's intimate McCoy Studio Theater; Marty Dread at sea with the whales; the Haiku Hillbillys providing the soundtrack for a Western movie against the inimitable Kaupo landscape of Bully's Burgers; and a DVD of George Kahumoku Jr.'s "Slack-key Masters," plus some ukulele wizards at Napili Kai Beach Resort.
Last June's Maui Film Festival at Wailea brought cool encounters with Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden and "Samsara" coproducer Mark Magidson, as well as the chance to give front-page coverage to independent filmmakers Shanon Kring Buset and Renee George.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's Celebration of the Arts Easter weekend is always an act of renewal and a chance to get aloha by osmosis from festival director Clifford Nae'ole. This year's celebration was also a chance to honor and remember three kumu hula who had played such vital roles in shaping the event with their mana, Cliff Pali Ahue, Akoni Akana and Charles Ka'upu.
Inspiring exhibits at the MACC's Schaefer International stretched from the local, "A Reflection of Kalaupapa Past Present and Future," coordinated by Valerie Monson featuring historical photos and newer ones by Wayne Levin; to the global with "Soaring Voices, Recent Ceramics by Women from Japan."
The column also marked mileposts on more personal journeys - a cinematic trip to Cambodia last February with a group of Mauians to launch the first Angkor Wat International Film Festival; the birth of our new granddaughter in Missoula, Mont., last May; an August return to our old stomping grounds of Santa Cruz, Calif.; memories of my colleague, former Maui News City Editor Ed Tanji, who died in September; and a recollection of a child's Christmas in Oklahoma, just last week.
As grateful as I am for those opportunities to get personal, what this column has always sought is the segue to the "the big picture," the interface, the place where so-called "reality" meets our creative efforts in a variety of media, to capture, convey and understand it.
The year coming to an end has provided no shortage of those opportunities, from the spectrum of women athletes pacing the U.S. Olympic victory, through the nail-biting election and its reverberations, to the new urgency of talk about guns and the culture of violence spawned, in part, by what we call "entertainment."
Screens large and small play larger and larger roles in connecting us to the rest of the world, and to each other. As everything we know continues to change faster and faster, as we seek "authenticity" as the same time we hope there's an app for that, there's always sorting out to be done.
Looking back, 2012 has brought us joy and tragedy, exhilaration and illumination . . . and, hopefully, has also set the agenda and illuminated a path to a brighter tomorrow.
See you in 2013 - Happy New Year!
* Contact Rick Chatenever at firstname.lastname@example.org