january ’09
    Here it is — a brand new year — a brand new President. No, I did not go to Washington, D.C. but instead co-chaired the Aloha Presidential Inaugural Ball at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. With the assist of former Governors George Ariyoshi, John Waihee, Benjamin Cayetano and their wives, Jean, Lynn and Vicky, we put on a fabulous event to celebrate President Obama's inauguration. Jim Burns represented his dad, Governor Burns, so we had this historic photo taken at the event.

    We also had an exceptional evening with the
performers, Willie K, Azure McCall, Jordan Segundo, Jasmine Trias, Nina Kealiiwahamana and Jimmy Borges. We also danced to the Barack Obama Yes We can Band under the direction of Kit Ebersbach. It will be a night to remember for a very long time!

february ’09
    This was the month Hawaii bid farewell to Wayne Harada's three times a week column at the Honolulu Advertiser. Although he "retired", he still has a Sunday column for us to go to for our "Harada fix".

    His fundraiser at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center Theatre Complex was superb! Cha Thompson and her crew assembled the finest entertainers who paid musical tributes for four hours to Wayne. We'll miss Wayne — but we still have him on Sundays and in Friday's TGIF!

    At the Waialae Country Club, Melveen Leed actually got Governors Cayetano, Ariyoshi and Waihee to come up and sing karaoke with her. At the bi-monthly "Waialae Hawaiian Night" which I've hosted for 15 years, the Tita was able to get Governor Cayetano to sing "Dahil Sa Iyo." Governor Waihee struggled but was funny with his version of Dean Martin's "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime." And Governor Ariyoshi, I'm proud to report, was exceptional. His "Kokoni Sachi Ari" was a hit! They were all such great sports — but Melveen had the last say. "I hope you all play golf better than you sing!" 

    My production assistant, Joanne Corpuz and office manager, Trudy Rawlins worked extra hard this month as we readied the John A. Burns Documentary for rebroadcast and as a statehood commemorative DVD.

    We had retired Jim Burns re-shoot the introduction and close the documentary (which was produced earlier in 2000) at PBS. Robert Penneybacker assisted us in directing Burns to do what he doesn't like to do — get in front of the camera. But it was great to finally get my husband to see what my whole life has been about. He said, "I'll stay behind the camera from now on — you can do your thing. But just this ONE time."   . . . Thanks, Dear.
  april ’09
    This was the month we launched the John A. Burns Statehood Memento DVD. We also re-aired the nearly decade old hour long television special. We decided to do this to honor the man who was considered the "architect" of our statehood bill.

    Jim Burns was quoted in the Honolulu Advertiser "We can't know where we're going unless we know how we got here."
For that reason alone, we felt this 50th Anniversary of Statehood was the perfect time to educate Hawaii on the times, how they’ve changed and what we may need to re-learn from the past.

    We also attended Statehood Ceremonies at the State Capitol and had the privilege of seeing all the former Governors and their family representatives.

    So far, we have received many, many wonderful and warm emails and phone calls for the program and DVD orders. It's exciting to know the legacy of John A. Burns can be as meaningful now during Statehood's 50th Anniversary as it was when it first aired in 2000 during the 25th Anniversary of his death. For more information or to purchase a copy of the DVD, click here.

Finally, this month, we went out to the set of "You May Not Kiss the Bride" to see two of its co-stars, Willie K and Tia Carrere. Willie plays a Tahitian King — he does a great job! And Tia has the role of a sexy cocktail waitress. We got them in a moment of playing 'SWITCH.' Tia talked to Willie about winning a grammy and Wllie K expressed his difficulty "acting" in the film. But combined they sang a stunning version of "He Aloha Mele." Without a rehearsal, they jammed for our Island Moments cameras. You can see this "island moment" on our first Emme's Island Moments for 2009 airing May 28th at 9pm and May 30th at 3pm on KHON 2.
  may ’09
    It was an honor to help Halekulani Hotel celebrate its 25th anniversary — since it was rebuilt in Waikiki. Among the guests were top chefs which included Roy Yamaguchi and Nobu Matsuhisa (seen here with Emme and Priscilla Texeira). It was a nice reunion since 1998 when Roy took us to meet Nobu at his New York restaurant.

    We also aired our first Emme's Island Moments 15th anniversary special — the first of three specials for 2009. Tia Carrere talked about her movie about surfing legend, Rell Sunn. Willie K and Tia took us to their movie set "You May Not Kiss the Bride", and our dear friend, Dean Pitchford, took us back to his alma mater, St. Louis School, for a great reunion.
  june ’09
    On June 29th I had the priviledge of meeting the Governor of Ilocos Norte, Michael Marcos Keon. It was a nice reunion — I met Governor Keon 30 years ago in Manila when he came from his native country, Australia. Today he runs one of the most powerful provinces in the Philippines.

july ’09
    Over the July 4th weekend, we had a most touching celebration with Hawaii Filipino Veterans. On July 2nd, we had the Patriots dinner for Hawaii Foodbank and among those being honored was my uncle, Pedring Tampon. On July 3rd, we hosted several hundred Filipino American Veterans at a First Hawaiian Bank event with Rep. Michael Magaoay at the Halekoa Hotel. Both events were emotion filled. I truly hope the Filipino Veterans will get their compensation soon from the U.S. Government. They are old, frail and many are dying before they even see their checks.


I also want to pay a special tribute to my calabash uncle and Hanai'd father, Claude Magpiong Ortiz. He died in June and was buried at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Kaneohe this past July 22. He took care of my horse, Nohea, and taught me many lessons on horseback — that became metaphors for lessons in life! Now Uncle Claude is reunited with Panipuka, Ginger and Nohea — three great spirited horses of Pupukea.


    August was a busy month! It was exciting to be part of the Japanese Women’s Society Foundation’s 55th Anniversary Fashion Show. I had the pleasure of being outfitted by the Hakkubi Kyoto Kimono School of Japan. My sensei outfitted me in a record 30 minutes! The layer upon layer of cloth was incredible to be inside of—and then to walk the stage and emcee. Quite an amazing experience! Congratulations to the Kuakini Medical Center for an outstanding fundraiser event.

   OHA Grammy Celebration — It was an honor to also take part in the OHA sponsored Grammy Awards Banquet at the Hawaii Convention Center on August 2nd. They paid tribute to Aunty Genoa Keawe while celebrating this year’s Grammy Award nominees. Eric Keawe and his Ohana did a beautiful musical tribute to mom – definitely a legend in Hawaiian music.

    Lupus Hawaii honors Chuck Furuya — Lupus Hawaii surprised Wine Sommelier Chuck Furuya by honoring him at the 20th Annual Honolulu Wine Festival. Furuya started the event two decades ago and Cheryl Jong of Lupus Hawaii found it fitting to acknowledge him for all his past works. Willie K came out and blew the house away — as usual! The best in food, wine and music — definitely an Island Moment!

    We gathered with our crew and EMME Inc. team to celebrate our Telly Award at Hiroshi’s at Restaurant Row. Editor Daniel Bernardoni, producer/writer Robert Pennybacker, along with my production assistant Joanne Corpuz and executive assistant Trudy Rawlins were part of the celebration. We received a Telly Award for the Barack Obama “With Island Roots” segment we did before he was President of the United States.

    Chef Hiroshi Fukui made a fabulous 6 course pupu menu and Chuck Furuya wine paired each dish—what a night!

    I emceed Alan Wong’s 10th anniversary at The Pineapple Room of Macy’s on October 11th. It’s difficult to believe he will be nearly a decade old at Ala Moana Center. This is my favorite lunch spot with family, friends and business associates. Alan Wong was also one of my guests for Emme’s Island Moments “Food Wine and Island Moment in D.C.”

    The ‘island moment’ in D.C. of course was Alan Wong creating the first Congressional Luau on the White House Lawn for President Barack Obama. (see show info)

    Speaking of President Obama, I will be emceeing the HBO Hawaii screening of “By The People”, a national documentary on the election of Barack Obama. HBO will air this on Election Day this year. It has its Hawaii premier screening on October 29th, 6pm at the Waikiki Shell. I’ll be there along with Willie K and his band for the presentation. It’s free—JOIN US!!!
[see promo ad]

    It was a whirlwind month which began with a trip to Manila and Cebu! My production assistant --Joanne Corpuz-- and I jetted to the Philippines with the 21st Annual Filipino Chamber Trade Mission.

    In the 6 days, we only went to Manila and Cebu to play our documentary trailer for "Mabuhay with Aloha". I also had to emcee two dinners hosted by the Filipino Chamber. The tour continued on to Olongapo and Baguio.

    Then, we screened the 90-minute documentary at the University of San Carlos
-- a 300 year old university in the province of Cebu. About 200 students watched the documentary and later wrote papers on the screening.

    Pictured below with me are Dr. Erlinda Alburo, Director of Cebuano Studies and panelists which include Deans of neighboring universities.

    We also met Bobit Avila, Cebu talk show host and had a nice interview on his program, Straight from the Sky (right photo below).

    All in all, it was a most intriguing journey to the second largest city in the Philippines -- Cebu rocks!

    On Dec. 9th, EMME Inc. had the privilege of producing a 22-minute video honoring former Chief Justice Bill "CJ " Richardson. It played before a thousand people at the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel at his 90th birthday. Not a dry eye in the house --- all thanks to the crew, production team and Jennifer Hee of the Richardson Law School, who made it all happen.

    On Dec. 2nd, we also filmed the “Emme’sChristmas Island Moments 15th Anniversary” before an intimate invited audience at the Road Runner Music Hall.

    Willie K, Na Leo, John Cruz, Ernie Cruz Jr., Jimmy Borges and Pauline Wilson were just some of the many musical moments. A stunning and touching hula by Na Wahine O ke Alaula was presented. The dancers are from the Women's Community Correctional Center. This moment truly made my Christmas. They made the other entertainers feel humbled. The inmates said they felt "important." Not once did anyone treat them like "prisoners." Be sure to look at the website for more programming info on this.


   From my staff to all of you ---
   AND YOURS in 2010!

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