Maui stretches out like a colorful comforter in crisp early-morning sunshine when you're looking down on it from the Upcountry Farmers Market near Longs in Pukalani.
That's where we've been for the last couple of Saturdays, sampling good things to eat, some raw, others prepared deliciously. The fresh, local, Maui-grown stuff in the booths ranges from teas to trees, along with some good advice about how to make them, and your garden, thrive.
Besides the produce, a smiling sense of well-being is the best product of the weekly market, especially since it's not actually for sale but is given away for free.
Sharing their common sense and/or expertise in subjects from irrigation systems to cactus to the meaning of life last week were market manager Neil Coshever; Katy Bayly; Marybeth Seavy, aka, the succulent lady; Billy Irvine of Aloha Honua nursery; Larry (he's everywhere!) Feinberg; and April Lawrence, whose Maui Wild Cultures kraut is coming to store shelves soon.
During our hour there, we didn't notice a cellphone in sight. Apparently everyone had better things to do with their time.
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Speaking of better things to do, when this column began, the assignment was to stop writing so much about movies - something I'd been doing for a long time - and to start writing more about actual people. Real folks, not reel ones. But as trips to the movies dwindle, I've realized that one of my favorite all-time movies wasn't a movie at all.
It's the Consolidated Theatres' trailer, the one with the hula dancers and torches, that starts each show at the Kaahumanu 6. It debuted statewide in 1991. At the Kaahumanu Theatres' grand opening, Nina Maxwell's dancers performed hula outside the front doors to Jon de Mello's recorded music. Consolidated President Phil Shimmin and his staff had flown over from Honolulu for the gala ceremony. He was especially proud of the trailer, even as he confided that it had cost $50,000 to produce.
A hefty price tag for a minute and a half of footage intended to tell people to be quiet during the show. But it has proved well worth it. It's still showing, a quarter-century later, seen by a million people a year.
The trailer is the subject of some wonderful reporting by Denby Fawcett in June's Honolulu Magazine. Funny, how the replacement for the "Be Quiet!" cartoon has become such a unique, lasting and culturally rich statement about this place and its people.
Funny, too, that nowadays "Be Quiet!" translates as "Don't Text!"
My guess is that I've seen the trailer a thousand times. I used to think it would be a great epitaph, playing in an endless tape loop on my tombstone. But those who don't want to wait that long can watch it to their heart's content on YouTube.
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All this new tech keeps reminding us of how useful old tech used to be. In the case of radio on Maui, it still is.
In an age when lots of us watch worlds created in our own image on tiny screens in the palms of our hands, radio still has the power to create community, invisible though it might be. It also provides the soundtrack for all those glorious Maui visuals framed by your windshield.
My favorite stations are in a tiny clump at the far left end of the FM dial. Mana'o Hana Hou Radio keeps getting better, with lots of new energy as it rises like a phoenix at 91.7 My lifetime membership in Hawaii Public Radio, 90.7 and 89.7, is cherished as an always reasonable and compassionate link to a world that otherwise keeps getting more complex and confusing by the day. Also appreciated is the paniolo connection that gives KAKU Radio's "Maui country" its unique accent at 88.5.
But my favorite radio voices of late come from the kids at the Paia Youth & Cultural Center's radiOpio. The young DJs and staffers including Kaya Papaya, Cassaroo, Kate, Nathan, Nohea and Ruby are not only creative, resourceful and a whole lot of fun, but there's also this wholesome "let's put on a show in the clubhouse" spirit lighting up the dial whenever they're on. Besides being endlessly entertaining, the station provides a heaping helping of innocence and new hope for an older, supposedly wiser generation.
Kudos, too, to station manager Laura Civitello, not only for making it all fly, but also for sharing her beautiful, far-reaching musical tastes with the kids, and the rest of us in radioland, especially in the playlists after dark.
Check it out at 88.9 FM or listen online at pyccmaui.org.
* Rick Chatenever, former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist, instructor at UH-Maui College and Emmy-nominated scriptwriter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 344-9535.