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ImageNotes by Nicole

In search of parallels between Hawaii and New York City.

Not. Pau. Yet!

Posted by NICOLE
Friday, December 12, 2008 7:18 PM


What do two editors get after thirty years, ninety issues, and countless discussions/ruminations/days of "What is local literature?" A birthday bash, that's what!

December 5th, 2008 begins as a sunny day in Waikiki. I search for parking in the Hale Koa Hotel's lot and wonder how many cars belong to beachgoers. When I get to the Banyan Tree Showroom at 10:30, I discover that even though the party (read: the bar) doesn't officially open until 11:00 A.M., I am by far not the only one present. Bamboo Ridge workers/volunteers are busy arranging plants, milling about, and figuring out how to use the parking validation hole punch.

Partygoers begin arriving en masse at 11 A.M. The food line quickly grows long, and people pass the time by sneaking peeks at the door prizes. These include Christmas baskets, handmade soap, earrings, artwork, posters, CDs, a Tokidoki bag (that eventually and not at all inappropriately went to Michael Little) and of course, books. Some clever book bunches: Lee & Lee (Cataluna and Tonouchi), Lum & Lum (Darrell and Wing Tek), Hara & Hara (Marie and Mavis), and founders (two guesses).

Michael Little and Noe Tanigawa, the party's emcees, open the show we call Bamboo Ridge by calculating their compatibility:
"Fine shave ice or crunchy?"
"Flip-flops or slippers?"
"Sarah Palin or Tina Fey?"

Political affiliations aside, the most contentious question was this:
"Eric or Darrell?"
The personal is political, indeed!

Eric and Darrell then honor people and organizations for supporting them throughout the years (decades, even) because "Without them, we wouldn't exist." However, the UH Manoa English department was left off the list of esteem-ees! Accidentally, Eric and Darrell assure us: "We've had our differences but they weren't that bad!"

By reminding our fearless leaders about the efficacy of monetary support, the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts makes sure it will never be left off any future Bamboo Ridge honorees list:
Eric: "We couldn't survive without them." [Pause.] "What'd she give you?"
Darrell: "A Hawaii quarter - that's our grant!"
Eric: "Please contribute to SFCA!"

According to Darrell, Claudia Cannon dragged our dauntless duo "kicking and screaming into the 20th century". She was the mastermind behind the current size of Bamboo Ridge books, noting that they should be 6x9" rather than 5.5x8.5" (the size of a sheet of typing paper, folded in half, or what I think of as the Bamboo Ridge First Folio). Additionally, she was also Eric and Darrell's early consigliere on things like bar codes and whatever it's called when a price is $14.99 rather than $15.00.

We learned that Keith Kashiwada still dreams of BRAH: Bamboo Ridge Actors Hui, and that Wayne Kawamoto worries about many things. Orphans and widows, whether there are really seven orchids on Ian MacMillan's book The Seven Orchids, and if the cover of Lee Cataluna's Folks You Meet in Longs matched Longs' red-and-yellow colors.

After what Michael Little called "the Lee and Lee show", Lee Cataluna and Lee Tonouchi entertained the crowd with stories and talking story. First Lee talked about finding her books at the Aloha Stadium swap meet in a booth called "Old Hawaiian Books". Second Lee listed his rules for rice, two of which I was able to write down while laughing at the Lees: 1. Cannot be any color. 2. Cannot belong to anybody's uncle.

The blowout Bamboo bash of the year ended with even more door prizes and thanks to the two hundred and fifty people present, proving beyond a doubt that Bamboo Ridge is NOT PAU YET!!!

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