Listen to the Forest (1991)

Listen to the Forest


An environmental documentary that traces the destruction of Hawai‘i’s rainforests, this film calls for preservation and a return to the ecological wisdom that guided traditional Hawaiians’ connection to the land.


The Films of Eddie & Myrna Kamae,
From the Heart

PBS Hawaiʻi television airdates: March 18 – 22, 2018 at 8 pm

All 10 films will also be available to watch below, March 23 – April 6, 2018.

The Films of Eddie & Myrna Kamae - From the Heart


On March 18-22, 2018, PBS Hawai‘i will air an encore of The Films of Eddie and Myrna Kamae, From the Heart. The on-air and online film festival showcases all 10 award-winning documentaries in the Kamaes’ Hawaiian Legacy Series, released between 1988 and 2007. Eddie Kamae, who passed away in January 2017, was well known for his contributions to Hawaiian music. With his wife Myrna, he also made films that perpetuated Hawai‘i’s cultural heritage for future generations.


Sunday, March 18, 8:00-10:00 pm

Sun., Mar. 18, 8:00 pm

Liʻa: Legacy of a Hawaiian Man

Liʻa: The Legacy of a Hawaiian Man


This documentary celebrates the music and spirit of Big Island performer and composer, Sam Li‘a Kalainaina (1881-1975). It is also about a place, Waipi‘o Valley, and a life shaped and nourished by that place. This film’s world premiere opened the 1988 Hawai‘i International Film Festival.

^ Back to top of page.

Sun., Mar. 18, 9:00 pm

Those Who Came Before
: The Musical Journey of Eddie Kamae

Those Who Came Before: The Musical Journey of Eddie Kamae


The Kamae’s final documentary pays tribute to the music of Hawaiians, whose gifts of knowledge helped guide Eddie Kamae. His pursuits led him to some of the most respected gate-keepers of the Hawaiian Renaissance: the author and translator Mary Kawena Pukui, the “Songwriter of Waipi‘o” Sam Li‘a, “Aloha Chant” author Pilahi Paki, and Hawaiian cultural resource Lilia “Mama” Hale. One by one, they entrusted him with key pieces of Hawai‘i’s musical heritage – inspiring him to understand, perform, and pass on to the children of Hawai‘i.

^ Back to top of page.


Monday, March 19, 8:00-10:30 pm

Mon., Mar. 19, 8:00 pm

Waves of Change

Lahaina: Waves of Change


In 1999, Eddie Kamae visited Lahaina, only to find that Pioneer Mill, the center of Lahaina’s sugar industry, was closing down. It was the end of an era – a simpler, more innocent time that Eddie remembers from visiting his grandmother during childhood summers in Lahaina. Eddie leads us through many of the changes Lahaina has undergone, both historical and personal. And despite all of the radical changes and tumultuous times Lahaina has experienced, it remains a sacred Hawaiian place, not because of what has been built upon it, but because of what is in the hearts of people who live there.

^ Back to top of page.

Mon., Mar. 19, 9:00 pm

The History of the Sons of Hawai‘i

The History of the Sons of Hawaii


This documentary tells the story of the charismatic band that helped launch the Hawaiian cultural renaissance. Spanning 40 years of Hawai‘i’s rich musical tradition, the film offers an intimate look at a unique group of performers and composers: their songs, their humor and their devotion to a sound that continues to convey something essential about the Hawaiian spirit.

^ Back to top of page.


Tuesday, March 20, 8:00-10:00 pm

Tues., Mar. 20, 8:00 pm

Kī hōʻalu Slack Key: The Hawaiian Way

Kī Hōʻalu: Slack Key, The Hawaiian Way


Kī hō‘alu (slack key) is the Hawaiian way of making music. Performers and composers reveal how this unique style of playing conveys something essential about the Hawaiian spirit and the Hawaiian family tradition.

^ Back to top of page.

Tues., Mar. 20, 9:00 pm

Luther Kahekili Makekau: A One Kine Hawaiian Man

Luther Kahekili Makekau: A One Kine Hawaiian Man


This documentary pays tribute to the untamed spirit of a colorful and controversial Hawaiian man. Known throughout the islands, Luther Makekau was part philosopher and part outlaw, a chanter and a singer, a fighter, a lover, a cattle rustler, a rebel and a poet. Born on Maui in 1890, during the reign of King Kalākaua, he lived nearly 100 years, shaped by a century of turbulent cultural change.

^ Back to top of page.


Wednesday, March 21, 8:00-10:00 pm

Wed., Mar. 21, 8:00 pm

Listen to the Forest

Listen to the Forest


This environmental documentary speaks of the widespread concern for rainforest preservation, while reminding us of traditional Hawaiian values. Interviews, chants, and original songs and dances give voice to an older form of ecological wisdom summed up in the phrase “mālama ‘āina,” to take care of the land.

^ Back to top of page.

Wed., Mar. 21, 9:00 pm

: Bridging Past to Present

Hawaiian Voices: Bridging Past to Present


This documentary honors the role of kūpuna (elders) in preserving Hawaiian culture. It focuses on the legacies of three respected Hawaiian elders whose lives bridged the transition from older times into the late 20th century. They are Ruth Makaila Kaholoa‘a, age 93, of the Big Island; Lilia Wahinemaika‘i Hale, age 85, of O‘ahu and Molokai; and Reverend David “Kawika” Ka‘alakea, age 78, of Maui. Each is a living archive of invaluable lore and recollection, a treasure whose stories, memories and perspectives need to be shared as a way of bringing the healing wisdom of the past into the often fragmented world of the present.

^ Back to top of page.


Thursday, March 22, 8:00-10:00 pm

Thurs., Mar. 22, 8:00 pm

WORDS, EARTH & ALOHA: The Source of Hawaiian Music

Words, Earth & Aloha: The Source of Hawaiian Music


In Hawai‘i, music has always been much more than a form of entertainment. Through the centuries, it has been a primary means of cultural continuity. This documentary pays tribute to a wide range of composers who flourished between the 1870s and the 1920s, and for whom Hawaiian was still a first language. The film explores the poetry and play of Hawaiian lyrics, as well as the places and features of the natural world that inspired songs still loved and listened to today.

^ Back to top of page.

Thurs., Mar. 22, 9:00 pm

KEEPERS OF THE FLAME: The Cultural Legacy of Three Hawaiian Women

Keepers of the Flame: The Cultural Legacy of Three Hawaiian Women


This documentary chronicles the lives of three Hawaiian women who helped to save the Hawaiian culture, which was in serious peril. The combined artistry and aloha of Mary Kawena Pukui, ‘Iolani Luahine and Edith Kanaka‘ole “helped to revive the flame of traditional Hawaiian culture – a flame that had almost died,” says Eddie Kamae in his on-camera introduction to the film.

^ Back to top of page.







Beyond the genteel galleries and upmarket auction houses of the art world lies a darker dimension: a world of incalculable wealth, social ambition, and occasional subterfuge. Detective Philip Mould, journalist Fiona Bruce and a team of scientists investigate a new batch of potential fine art forgeries.


This episode looks at three works of art: an 18th-century portrait of a young lady which may have been painted by society artist Philip Mercier; a sketch of a man possibly done by German artist Adolph von Menzel; and an early portrait that may have been created by Willem de Kooning.





Beyond the genteel galleries and upmarket auction houses of the art world lies a darker dimension: a world of incalculable wealth, social ambition, and occasional subterfuge. Detective Philip Mould, journalist Fiona Bruce and a team of scientists investigate a new batch of potential fine art forgeries.


The team examines a sketch of a Cambodian dancer that is attributed to the artist Auguste Rodin, best known for his sculptures.



Kanoe and John Miller


Kanoe Miller felt drawn to the spotlight at an early age, fantasizing about becoming a Broadway chorus girl or a ballerina. The young Kanoe began taking hula lessons, and her goal shifted to performing hula in Waikīkī. For more than 40 years, Kanoe has been living that dream. You’ll often find her biggest cheerleader in the audience: her husband John Miller, a former Aloha Airlines pilot. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Kanoe and John tell the story of their love and reflect on the life they’ve built together.


This program will be rebroadcast on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 11:00 pm and Sunday, Feb. 18, at 4:00 pm.


Kanoe and John Miller Audio


Download the Transcript




JOHN: Even my friends would say: Oh, that’s not a good idea. You know, if you come from the mainland and you steal away one of the local girls, they usually kill you. You know. You’ll end up in the Kunia cane fields someday, you know. Well, I mean, that was a joke, but I mean—


KANOE: They were joking.


JOHN: –people would say that.


KANOE: Yeah.


JOHN: You know, to me.


KANOE: Even his mother said to him: John, now this girl is a performer, and she works on the stage in front of strangers every night; there will be lots of people in the audience wanting her. John, are you sure? You know, so there was a lot of … people.


JOHN: So, it was the two of us out there, just on our own, trying to make sure that the feelings we had for each other were real, you know.


When Kanoe and John Miller fell in love during the 1970s, they faced persistent doubt and opposition from family and friends. All these years later, they say challenges and adversity have only strengthened their marriage. Kanoe and John Miller, next, on Long Story Short.


One-on-one engaging conversations with some of Hawai‘i’s most intriguing people: Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox.


Aloha mai kākou. I’m Leslie Wilcox. Our guests today are a husband and wife who say that naysayers made them stronger. Kanoe Miller, born Kanoe Lehua Kaumeheiwa, was crowned Miss Hawai‘i in 1973. For twenty years, she would be one of Hawai‘i’s top fashion models, and at the same time, and up to the time of our conversation in early 2018, she’s been performing hula the iconic Halekulani Hotel in Waikīkī, Oahu, with only a few breaks over forty-one years. Today, Kanoe and her husband, John Miller, own a digital entertainment company, creating videos and live shows of beloved Hawaiian Golden Era music and hula, with Kanoe as the featured dancer.


John Miller grew up in Denver, Colorado and became a military pilot, and served in the Wyoming Air National Guard. In 1976, John says he left the freezing cold of Wyoming to head to the warm shores of Hawaii as a pilot for Aloha Airlines. One fateful night in 1977, as he was walking through Waikīkī, Oahu, he stopped in at the luxury hotel, Halekulani. It was a moment that would change his life.


JOHN: When I first came out here, the second year I was working for Aloha Airlines, I lived on a boat in the Ala Wai. And I used to go for a walk in the evening if I had the evening off. And I walked by the Halekulani, and I saw Kanoe dancing. And I thought: That’s probably the reason I’m here. You know.


What made you say that? Because there are other hula dancers along the beach at Waikīkī.


JOHN: You know, well, there was a lot of entertainment. But Kanoe just has something special. You know? And so, I went in and sat down. And the way she dances, she relates to everybody. But I thought she was just relating to me. And so, I thought: Oh, my god, this is heaven. You know.


A lot of other guys in the audience kind of had the same expression on their face?


JOHN: Probably. I didn’t look at them, though. I was just looking at her, you know. So, yeah, I was probably Number 16 in line.


And it was about the Lovely Hula Hands; it was all about that.


JOHN: You know, if you’ve seen her dance, you know it’s about the whole everything. And I just thought: Oh, my god, she’s dancing right to me. And so then, I tried to talk to her, and I realized she’d never even seen me. You know? It was like, I was just another tourist. And she said something like: Are you having a nice vacation? You know. And I thought: Oh—


And where are you from?


JOHN: Yeah; where are you from? I thought: Oh. But I still was smitten. I just thought: This gal has something different than anybody else. So, I just kept coming back, and coming back. And after I came back enough times, I realized that she had a ring on her finger. She was engaged, or married. I thought she was married. And I thought: Oh, man, I’m too late. You know. But I still kept going. Like everybody else, they go the Halekulani for the music and to watch her dance.


Was that a ring to ward off suitors?


KANOE: No; I was engaged to someone else. And normally, you know, when you dance hula, you’re not supposed to wear any nail polish, no jewelry except your Hawaiian bracelet. But he insisted that I wear this ring. So, I wore it.


So, you’re engaged.


KANOE: I’m engaged.


JOHN: And then, actually, after a couple years of me being smitten by her, a friend of mine who knew that I really was infatuated with her called me up one night, and she said: John, Kanoe is not married; there’s an article about her in this magazine, and it’s all about The Fox of the Month. And it’s like all these questions about what she hopes to meet in her perfect guy.


KANOE: You know, this magazine; it was called …


JOHN: O‘ahu.


KANOE: O‘ahu. And every month, they had wonderful articles, and it was more tailored for the single young set of Hawai‘i, of O‘ahu. And every month, they had a Fox of the Month. And I was Miss November. And they had asked me: Describe your ideal man. And I did. Describe your ideal life. I did. When my fiancé read the answers, the first thing he said was: You’re not describing me. And that was my reaction: Sure, I am. Of course, I am. Yes, I’m describing you. He says: No, you’re not; everything you say in here is not me.


JOHN: Well, I read this article, and every question they asked about, what’s your perfect guy like … it was me. And I thought: Well, she’s talking about me, and obviously, she hasn’t gotten married yet, so he’s not the right one. Must be me.


KANOE: By the way, you have to tell the story of how you got that magazine.


JOHN: Oh. Well … one of the pilots that I got hired with, his wife was along for the whole time that I used to go and watch her dance, and take people there. I would take them there. I took everybody there. And of course, she would see me going: Oh, gosh, she’s so beautiful. You know. And of course, everybody feels that way about Kanoe when they watch her dance. But she was the one that called me up and told me: I read this article about Kanoe in the magazine. And so, she called me kinda late at night, you know. So, I said: Well, what’s the name of the magazine? She said: Oh, I don’t know, but her picture’s on the front. You know. So, I walked to all the bookstores looking for this magazine. And the magazine wasn’t there; it wasn’t for sale in newsstands. So then the next morning, I called her back up and I said: Where did you see that magazine? And she said: Oh, at my hairdresser’s; it’s a little place called Shear Power over in Kailua. I said: Okay. So, I drove over there. And I went in, and I went upstairs, and I walked in, and of course, the dryers were going and ladies were cutting, and you know, it’s a real female place.


Boy, you had it bad.


JOHN: I know. And I walk in, and there’s this table, and there’s the magazine with her picture on it. So, I walked in, and this one lady looks up and she says: Can I help you? And I said: Well, yes, you know, a friend of mine got her hair cut yesterday, and she told me about this magazine that has an article about someone I’m interested in; could I have that magazine? And she says: No; those magazines are for my customers. And I tried to think really quick, you know. I go: Could I get a haircut? And I took her aback. I said: If I get a haircut, does that make me a customer? Then, could I have the magazine? And she says: Okay, sit down and I’ll get with you in a few minutes. So, I sat down and waited for my haircut. At the end of my haircut, I got the magazine. And as an aside, I had my hair cut from her for like, twenty-five years after that.


KANOE: Faithfully.


JOHN: I was very loyal.


KANOE: You paid for that magazine.


JOHN: I paid for it; right. But then I took the magazine and read it, and that’s when I realized: This girl is talking about me. You know?


Okay, now; what did she say? What did you say was your perfect guy?


KANOE: What did I say? The most important question was: Describe your ideal man. And I said: Well, my ideal man is a global thinker. He thinks three hundred sixty degrees, all the way around, his vision goes out. You know, it’s infinite, and it goes three hundred sixty degrees; he can see both sides of the story no matter what the issue is. He has to be a global thinker, he has to be a big thinker with big ideas. He needs to have a big heart, and he needs to have big hands. In other words, generous. I want somebody who is generous in their thinking, generous here, and generous here. And that’s what I ask for. I said: I want a life that … watch out what you ask for. I want a life that goes up, that does down, that goes sideways, that whirls around like a Mad Mouse ride. I don’t want flat-line; I want highs. I want highs, I want desperate lows. I want to turn to the side, I want to go on two wheels, screaming. You know. I got that.


JOHN: So, I renewed my efforts. I was down there that night, you know, a trying to ask her if she would go out on a date with me. You know. And I told her that I had read this article, and that I thought that she was describing me.


KANOE: And I was like: Stalker.


JOHN: Yeah. And she was thinking: Oh, my god, how do I get rid of this stalker?


Did you feel any attraction to him?


KANOE: Oh, yeah; immediately, soon as he came up to me. I was like: Wow, this guy is really cute. Wow, he’s really attractive, but I am engaged to someone else. And I really like him, but no. I’m engaged to someone else; no, no, no, no, no.


JOHN: So, I asked her if she would go on a date. And she said: No.


KANOE: Yeah.


JOHN: So, I just thought: Okay, how can I bridge this gap? So, I asked her: Well, how about if I come here and just walk you to your car? Now, this is the old Halekulani, where you drive in, and you parked on the grass, right in front of the old building. So, all the cars were parked right there on the grass; everybody parked there. And where she danced was just out at the House Without A Key. So, I knew that the walk would only be like, thirty steps or so, you know. But I asked her: How about if I come and walk you to your car; would that be okay? ‘Cause that way, maybe you could get to know me.


KANOE: Yeah; actually, what you said was: I read that article, and I think that if you got to know me, you would see that I’m the guy you’re talking about. So, I said: Okay, you can walk me to my car. Okay.


JOHN: So, I guess she felt safe. You know, there was lots of people around. I didn’t look too creepy, I guess. Had my hair cut like a pilot, you know. So, I would go every night, and wait until she got off, on the nights that I could go. Sometimes, I had to fly. But she would let me walk her to the car, and we would just talk about a little something.


KANOE: Oh, but the walk would only take, you know, thirty seconds.


JOHN: Yeah; the first week, the walk was like, just thirty steps. But after the first month, I think it was probably taking about an hour to get to the car.


KANOE: Yeah.


JOHN: And we could talk about anything. You know, we weren’t in a rush. She wasn’t in a rush, and of course, I wasn’t in a rush.


KANOE: And I really enjoyed talking to him. And we had a lot of things in common. You know, lot of interests that were the same. Lot of almost kinda the same dreams. You know, which every time after I’d leave him, I’d go: Gosh, he and I have the same dreams, same ideas, same visions, but I don’t have that with my fiancé, as much as I love him. You know, we don’t have the same ideals, I think. So, anyway, I looked forward to him coming and walking me to the car.


JOHN: I think I had been coming for about two months, and she was letting me walk her to the car. And one night, I just told her: You know, I think I’m in love with you.


KANOE: Of course, I was really afraid. Terrified; terrified. Because I knew he was right, and I knew he was the right person for me. But now, I had to break off this six-year engagement to someone that I thought I loved, away from his family that I love so much. So, it was like, you know, seeing this giant maw open up in front of you, like a giant crevasse that you know you’re just gonna go plummeting down into. It’s very frightening to break off from people you know and you love, a lifestyle that is comfortable to you, to go off with somebody you’ve only known for maybe two months. And he’s from the mainland, he hasn’t lived in Hawaii very long, he doesn’t know us as a people yet, he’s totally from Colorado. These are things that are frightening to me.


Kanoe Kaumeheiwa had feelings for John Miller, but was conflicted because of her six-year engagement to another man. In turn, her fiancé did not appreciate John’s sudden appearance in her life. John asked to meet with Kanoe’s fiancé at a church in Kailua, Windward Oahu, to sort out the difficult situation. John sought the advice of the church’s brand new priest, and after several hours of counseling, the priest had some advice for the three of them.


JOHN: He came up with the solution and he said: Okay; I want you to not see either one of these guys for a month, and I want you to go and date. I want you to go out there and date as many people, and as many dates as you can, and all different kinds of people.


KANOE: And I want you know, that’s hard for me, ‘cause I’m not a dater. You know, I’m really a one guy kinda woman. And I don’t like to date, and I feel very uncomfortable. But I did it. And he also told me: I want you to go on Kailua Beach, and I want you to take these long walks, and I want you to spend a lot of time by yourself, and I want you to think about things. So, I followed his advice. And one of the things I realized is—oh, and the priest also said: I’ve asked both your suitors to stay away from you, and give you space and give you time. And I said: Okay. So, I did; I spent one month totally by myself. Ooh; I lost a lot of weight, ‘cause I was very stressed. Oh, I looked great. One of the things I noticed is that he was honorable, and he stayed away. And my fiancé did not. And I did date for a month, other people. And when that month was over, ring-ring-ring-ring-ring; called him up.


And said?


KANOE: And said: Let’s get together.


So, you were clear.


KANOE: I was clear.


You were clear at that point.


KANOE: And I had to say to my fiancé, it’s finished, and I had to break it off.


A year later, in 1979, still facing skepticism and opposition from family and friends about their relationship, John Miller married Kanoe Lehua Kaumeheiwa. Kanoe said that in the early days of their relationship, only one friend and one coworker supported their decision. Without wavering, the couple set out on their dream honeymoon across the U.S. continent, visiting more than thirty states.


JOHN: We were both gonna take three months off, and drive around the United States. And I had an old Corvette, and so we decided, let’s do this Route 66 thing.


KANOE: Well, we grew up watching Route 66; yeah? In the 60s. And for the two of us, we found out that was like our dream life, to be vagabonds, to be in this open convertible, to travel untraveled roads, or highways or paths that had never been taken. If you look on the map of the United States, it’s all these main highways and other main roads. But then, there’s these blue highways. The blue highways are the path that nobody takes; it’s the ones that go through the back areas. We were quite interested in taking those roads. And that’s what we did for three months.


JOHN: So, we planned that. And the wedding came, we took care of all that. And then I shipped my car over to the mainland, and then we headed out.


KANOE: Yeah.


Life was good, and the marriage seemed ideal. So much so, that friends would often call them Miss Hawai‘i and Captain Aloha. But life has a way of not going according to plan, and the couple confronted a series of major financial and personal challenges, including the 2008 collapse of John’s employer, Aloha Airlines. However, Kanoe and John say the obstacles they faced made their relationship stronger.


KANOE: I thought: I’m marrying an airline pilot, life is grand, I’m going to have children. Someday, he’ll retire at age sixty. We’ll take up golf, we’ll go on cruises. Oh, this is lovely. Right? And lots of things happened along the way that didn’t happen, and we didn’t have children. Lots of things fell apart. But not us. I think one of the turning points in our life was … well, the main thing is when Aloha Airlines went down. Basically, everyone was out of a job, including him. And we had losses. We lost pensions, healthcare. Let’s just say we were living here; everything dropped. The level of our revenue stream went from here to … there. And we didn’t know what we were gonna do. All he knew was to fly; he was an airline pilot. All I was, was a hula dancer. He was about fifty-five years old; he was not at an age where airlines might want to pick him up. Mandatory retirement age at the time was sixty; he was fifty-five. I highly doubt an airline would pick him up. We were faced with who are we, and what do we want to do? And we decided that we were gonna stick together, and we were gonna put our talents together, and we were going to do a business together. And that’s what it is. And the business is that we became a digital entertainment company. And that was hard because, you know, I don’t know anything about business; he doesn’t either. We really had to teach ourselves.


JOHN: It’s storytelling. It’s what you do. What she does is with the compositions, the musicians, and through the art of hula. And there is such a wonderful history in Hawai‘i ever since David Kalakaua got interested in the ukulele, up until, you know, Kui Lee wrote I’ll Remember You. There’s just a huge repertoire of storytelling. And it shouldn’t be lost; it should be perpetuated and continued.


Lovely hula hands, telling of the rains in the valley, and the swirling winds over the pali. Lovely hula hands.


There’s a feeling deep in my heart, stabbing at me just like a dart. It’s a feeling heavenly.


KANOE: We created the DVD to preserve that kind of storytelling through hula. So, I had to choose ten of my favorite hulas to dance to from that Golden Era. I have many, but I had to focus it down to ten. So, we created the DVD. And then, the next thing we noticed is that DVD sales several years later started to drop off, and people now wanted downloadable things. Okay?


So you have to learn that.


KANOE: So, we have to learn that. And that’s where he taught himself, and he also went to all the outreach classes, the Pacific New Media classes at the University of Hawai‘i. He taught himself websites, and he taught himself how to write an app.


So, you had to learn about yourselves individually, and then what you could deal with as a couple.


KANOE: Yes. We both wear different hats. Sometimes, he wears the creative hat, where he’s doing layouts and editing. And sometimes, I wear the bean-counter hat. You know, I do all the accounting and the bookkeeping. And then, sometimes, we switch; he becomes the CFO, where he thinks about the large picture of our finances and which way we’re going, and I do the creative, which is choreographing dances or writing articles for our magazine. So, we switch all the time. You’re asking: What are the challenges there? To communicate. Constantly. And to share roles, and to, I think, respect what each person brings to the table. That, I think. We don’t do anything, unless we pass it by each other. Emails where we must answer somebody, a business question; we both discuss it first at length, and then he usually composes the email, and then I have to approve it. So, everything we do is done with complete communication.


Any tips for people who are about to set off into the unknown land of marriage?


KANOE: You’ve gotta really count to ten before you speak.


JOHN: If you’re mad at each other.


KANOE: If you’re mad at each other. I didn’t do that so much when we first got married. I’ve learned to do that. You know, just take a deep breath and count to ten, leave the room. You want to say something, but you don’t. You just don’t say it. Wait. And it’ll calm down, and then it’ll go away. Respect the person. Very important.


JOHN: That’s the most important thing.


KANOE: Yeah.


JOHN: Even if you’re mad, and the person is doing something you don’t like, you still need to back off and remember who it is that you fell in love with.


KANOE: Yeah.


JOHN: And that that’s still there, that person is still there. And that’s more important than you winning your argument.


KANOE: Uh-huh.


Do you still think of each other the way you used to when you were courting?


JOHN: I like more things about her now than I did when I fell in love with her. When you find out that someone also has determination and courage, and stick-to-itiveness, and a bunch of other characteristics that you really weren’t thinking about when you’re like, going on your first couple dates, it’s just a bonus.


KANOE: When we have gone through the hard times, which we certainly have, to see his gumption, his positive thinking, his optimism, his drive, is something I really like. Which I didn’t know he had that.


As I speak in early 2018, you can still see Kanoe Miller grace the outdoor stage twice a week at Halekulani’s House Without A Key. And Kanoe and John Miller, who have always defied the naysayers, have expanded the reach of their live hula productions with performances in Japan. With digital storytelling, they continue to share the charm and beauty of old Waikiki and Hawai‘i with the world. Mahalo to this dynamic and committed couple, Kanoe and John Miller of Kāne‘ohe, Oahu. And thank you, for joining us for this edition of Long Story Short on PBS Hawai‘i. I’m Leslie Wilcox. Aloha nui.


For audio and written transcripts of all episodes of Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox, visit To download free podcasts of Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox, go to the Apple iTunes Store or visit


JOHN: When you are confronted with the naysayers or the negative personalities, or people who say you can’t do that, I think that gives us the strength to show them.


It’s inspiration.


KANOE: It’s inspiration.


JOHN: It’s inspiration, you know. You can get beaten down by naysayers, or you can become more strong. And I think that’s all the way through our lives together.



Marilyn Cristofori


For 24 years, Marilyn Cristofori headed the Hawai‘i Arts Alliance, a statewide nonprofit that champions the arts through advocacy and education. Upon Cristofori’s retirement, the very nonprofit she headed selected her as its 2017 Alfred Preis Honoree for her lifetime support and leadership in the arts. In this conversation, she recounts her experiences as a dancer, a university educator and a nonprofit leader.


This program will be rebroadcast on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 11:00 pm and Sunday, Feb. 11, at 4:00 pm.


Marilyn Cristofori Audio


Download the Transcript




Once upon a time, arts was considered a basic part of life.




A formal piece of education.


And it still is. Because what we do at the Arts Alliance is … the big picture. But if you want to be a ballet dancer, you’ve got to get your body to a ballet studio and stand at the ballet barre, and learn … that particular discipline. If you want to be an opera singer, you’re not gonna do it … in a school classroom.




I mean, you can be exposed to it, you can learn about it, you can … the history and the composers, and so on, and so forth. But if you want to be a performer or a creator of that discipline … gotta go there. There is no other choice.


Marilyn Cristofori headed the Hawai‘i Arts Alliance for twenty-four years. Upon her retirement, she was selected as the 2017 Alfred Preis Honoree. That was a prestigious acknowledgement of her lifetime support and leadership in the arts. She joins fellow Preis Honorees next, on Long Story Short.


One-on-one engaging conversations with some of Hawai‘i’s most intriguing

people: Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox.


Aloha mai kākou. I’m Leslie Wilcox. Marilyn Cristofori always knew she’d have at least two careers, because she started out as a dancer, a calling prone to injuries and other physical wear and tear. Next, Cristofori became a university dance teacher. And then, she enjoyed a long third career heading a nonprofit organization advocating for arts. Upon retirement, she was named 2017’s Preis Honoree for her arts achievements by the very organization she headed, Hawai‘i Arts Alliance. She joined a long line of distinguished honorees, many of whom she helped to select. We’ll revisit some of these arts champions during the half hour, and get to know Marilyn Cristofori. As a child, she spent summers and many other times away from her family home in Sacramento because her mother was often ill. Young Marilyn would stay with her grandmother in the Bay Area.


I loved my grandmother. It made me identify with the things that were part of that life. And I loved it. San Francisco.




Italian. She loved the opera, I loved the opera. I can’t sing, but she loved the opera; she always played opera in the house.


And you were the only child in the house?


The only; yeah. She had three children, my mother being one of them, but they were all grown up. I was the only young child. My grandmother did not intend to raise another child; that was one of those … it happened.


And you felt at home at school, and at your grandmother’s house?


I felt very at home at my grandmother’s house, and I adjusted to my other home.


Was your grandmother your most formative influence, then, as a child?


I consider her that; m-hm. Yeah.


Did she give you any explicit advice about the future?


Oh, god. She was … a woman of her era. And I think the year she got married, the women’s vote was finally put in, and she was determined I was gonna get an education.


Did she know how she would pay for it, or anyone would pay for it?


Oh, no. I just had to get good grades and earn a scholarship.


So, you knew that from an early age?




That you were gonna go to college through a scholarship, and you were gonna make the grade to do it.




Did you know what you wanted to do?


When I was raised, Leslie, there was the idea that as a woman, you did nursing or teaching, or mothering, or sometimes a secretary, and occasionally you might have another profession. But those were the main ones. So, I thought I was gonna be a teacher.


M-hm. And you did get a BA in education.


I did.


From a very good college.


I did.


You got into Stanford.




On scholarship?






At that point in time, it was kind of fun, because women were still new to Stanford, so the ratio was about four to one. So, it was a great experience.


Lots of men. And did—


And I was young, so …


Did you feel younger than eighteen?


I was twenty when I graduated.


Oh; how did you get into college so early?


Well, when I was much younger, and all that shuffling back and forth to my grandmother’s and so on, they skipped me a full grade in school.


Wow. So, you graduated from Stanford University at age twenty.




As a … teacher.


Teacher. Yeah. And then, we had an opportunity to take a trip to Europe. And … I thought, that would be fun.


We, meaning you and …


And some … Stanford colleagues.




And a professor was doing the trip, and it was like a big deal. We had to go to New York and change planes, and fly over Iceland, and go to London. That was my first time out of California.


And you actually—


I didn’t come back for five and a half years.


Is that right?


I discovered dancing, which I had been doing all my life, but I didn’t know that I really wanted to do it.


What kind of dancing were you doing?


I was doing ballet at that time. So, then, I wanted to be a dancer, but I had gotten a full scholarship to what was then Radcliff at Harvard Business School. Why did I apply to Harvard Business School? Because the guy that I had a crush on applied to Harvard Business School. I thought it would be fun to go. And I went to Europe, and I decided I really didn’t want to go, and I knew that I could always go to business school, but I couldn’t always dance. So, I stayed in Europe.


And where did you dance?


I danced in Rome, and I danced in London, mainly. Those were the two.


And what was it about your experience in Europe that caused—you left the boyfriend behind too; right?


Yeah. But another one came along.


And is that part of the reason for staying in Europe, or was it—




–sheer dance, or a combination?


Well, part of it. Because he decided to go to London School of Economics, so we got married. I was working in a contemporary company. And I went to ballet classes, and I went to the Royal Ballet. I was not working as a professional ballet dancer in London. I experienced a lot of it, and that was what I knew. So, when I came back to San Francisco, I then was with San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Opera Ballet, Pacific Ballet, and Lathrop Contemporary Company. So then, I worked as a professional dancer. And because I was still young enough, since I had graduated so young, I was able to do it, and have … a fairly decent career.


What other types of dancing did you do?


Then, I did contemporary.


Which was freeform …


Well, modern dance. And that’s why I got involved until I … I needed to get a job, and became a professor and academic, and you’re supposed to write a book. And what did I do instead? I didn’t want to write a book; I made … documentaries for PBS about famous dancers. And so, I got very involved with that part of things.


And you felt passionate about a number of things, it sounds like.


Yeah; yeah. Well, I loved dancing. That’s definitely my first love. But every dancer needs at least two careers.


And you know that, going in.


Well, because you can’t dance beyond a certain age … adequately. I got to be a professor, I got to teach. And then, I went to business … eventually.


Because that’s what you were going to do years before. You know, it’s not a natural jump, it doesn’t sound like, to go from dancing to professor of dance, to an MBA at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


At least in my day, it was more natural to go from a professional dance career, or to parallel with teaching, and to move into academia.


You were a professor, and then, you left California and came here. Why?


Because I married … Gregg Lizenbery, my husband, and he got offered the position to be director of dance at UH Mānoa. So, I had taken an early retirement, and then it just so happened he got offered that position. And then, we moved here. That was almost three decades ago. I did not look for my career with the Arts Alliance. But after we moved here, we realized that the cost of living was a little bit different than we were used to.




And so, I had thought: Oh, I’m retired, I’ll just … but that didn’t work. So, I needed to find a position. That’s what I did. So, for a while, I worked part-time for the Arts Alliance, and part-time for Early Childhood, and made them partners. And then, when I was into the position at Arts Alliance, I realized that I would hit a ceiling if I didn’t get a new skillset. Which is why I went to business school.


After receiving her executive master of business degree from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai‘i, Marilyn Cristofori felt she had all the tools necessary to grow the Hawai‘i Arts Alliance.


How do you get funding for the arts?


Oh … so many ways. One of the biggest, biggest … important things that people don’t always get. I find when I say to somebody “arts”, the shade comes down, and what they see is a painting on a wall in a museum.




Or they remember, because there used to be arts in the school curriculum, when they were in school as a child; they had a music class and they had a drawing class, and they had maybe sometimes a dance class, and they could be in their … high school production, theater production. And they remember those things, and they don’t know that it’s not there anymore.




So, you have to tell them … No, it’s not been there for quite a while.


Do public schools have virtually no arts classes? Is that what you’re saying?


Not exactly. It’s heading upwards, but mostly, one of the things the Arts Alliance does now, partners with the State arts agency to run what we call Artists in the Schools.




And that’s … funded by public monies for public schools.


But how do you argue the case when lawmakers or charitable organizations are saying: Look, I mean, we need to support the basics; reading, writing, and arithmetic, and computer technology. We can’t do art; that’s something you’ve gotta get on your own.


One of the biggest convincing arguments has to do with brain research. And they’ve done a lot of research to find out—one of my favorite studies was done, a longevity study. And they followed kids in high school who were either in like boy scouts or girl scouts, or some other community service organization, and where there school arts event in some way, whether it was after school or in school, or if they were in sports. And then, they followed them for … ten years, and how did they do ten years later, by which time they were usually married with some kids, and in a career of some kind. The ones that were happiest, most successful, had come from the arts. So, then they looked further back into that, and they examined what happens when you have those … experiences as a child.




That it shapes your brain differently. You have those connections, neuropathways. And if they aren’t formed by a certain age, usually puberty, they kind of wither and die on the vine.


It’s a key to happiness.


A key to happiness and success in life. So, that’s why back in ancient days now … arts were considered to part of the curriculum. So, the big deal is to get it during the formative years. So, right now, the way our Hawaii school system is built, by the time … children go into high school … there are art teachers, and music teachers, and band, and there are options, after school performing arts centers, all of which work very, very well. But a lot of the times, the kids that want to do those things didn’t have them when they were young, and so, they don’t have competitive skills to be involved. We teach about the arts and how the arts can enrich an experience and change your life.


How big is the Hawai‘i Arts Alliance? How many staffers?


Well, we’re all the way up to seven.


Seven staffers; and what’s your budget?


I took over in ’94.


’94; okay.


Yeah. So … it was thirty thousand. And I said: That won’t do. And then, we got up to … it’s varied, depending on what comes … from national, mostly. Not two million; just under two million. But that was a good jump. It needs to now double again. I feel really good about … we have a base that’s established in the education part. And there’s something to work with, and expand, and go to, and staying with education is essential.


You mentioned three careers, and it’s a very long work record. I don’t know what seventy-seven looks like, but to me, you don’t look like you’re seventy-seven years old.


I really am. And a half.


Do you feel it?


Starting to happen.


Marilyn Cristofori was the thirty-seventh recipient of the Alfred Preis Honors for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. In the past, we’ve featured other Preis Honorees on Long Story Short. We look back now at three recent recipients, and their contributions.


Sarah Richards was the 2015 Preis Honoree. As president of the Hawai‘i Theatre Center for a quarter of a century, she spearheaded an historic restoration, transforming the once dilapidated theater into a national award-winning performance center. A former college dean of students, Sarah Richards switched careers and actually succeeded the legendary architect Alfred Preis himself as chief of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.


You succeeded a man who has got a lot of aura around him in history.




Alfred Preis.




As head of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.




In 1980?


1980; m-hm.


What was he like? Did you know him before you took over?


I got to know him. He was a wonderful man. He was a Prussian architect. And so, he was very Prussian in character, in modus operandi. And he was the one who really initiated the Art in Public Places program, really, on a European model. He was a lovely man, with a great vision.


And when it was time for him to step down, the foundation looked for somebody who was a good administrator, and who could handle the strong voices in the arts community.




And they selected you to do that.


They did; they did.


What kind of strong voices?


Oh, well, the arts, as you know, because the State Foundation dealt with all the arts, whether it was visual arts, performing arts, literary arts. And so, there was a lot of variety of art groups we were dealing with. And of course, since we were the granting agency, we had a lot of very personal contacts with how much money grants were gonna be given to what groups.


Right; and projects are like babies.


Oh, yes; oh, yes.


You give money to one, and it’s my baby.


That’s right.


You know, it seems like a dream job to have all this money that you can give to wonderful art projects. But you probably are under criticism, no matter what you do.


Oh, yes. Giving away money is not just a piece of cake. You need to be clear on what your mission is, what you want to accomplish, and then also who makes decisions and who are qualified to make decisions. It wasn’t just sort of, Here’s some money. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or in the eye of the creator. But there are certain standards that the art community has, and that’s why you ask a group of knowledgeable people to review and make a judgment. We were proud we were number one in the nation in per capita state support. So, we did a fair amount of lobbying the State Legislature, and also getting money from the federal government.


You’re a very determined person, aren’t you?


I am determined.


You’re very goal-oriented.


I was very goal-oriented; yes, I was. Yes.


And you’re a missioned person.




Here’s 2016 Preis Honoree, Michael Titterton, former president and general manager of Hawaii Public Radio. Under his leadership, HPR expanded its broadcast reach across the State.


You got your master’s degree in public speaking and rhetoric.


Rhetoric; yes.


Why did you choose that?


Bear in mind, this is the very, very early 70s. It’s 1971, actually. And … coming into ’72, and I knew the U.S. was … I mean, this was … social mobility was here, and that’s what I was really after. I didn’t know it at that time, ‘cause I didn’t know the words. But social mobility. And meritocracy. You know, if you work hard, you can get places. And that’s really what everybody dreams about, when they dream about America, when they’re not from here. If I was going to understand this place, the quickest way to do it might be to study the media, because that seemed to be the bottleneck through which everything passed. And it was a very busy bottleneck at that point. Watergate, for example, Vietnam War, all the unrest on college campuses. Glorious time. And all of it was being fed through a media, which was under suspicion, as much of it is now. And so, I specialized in that.


And you’d already had experienced storytelling, because you had stories to tell along the way.


Well, everybody does. Yeah. Just because of the basic courses that I had to then take as part of being in the rhetoric program, I began to learn something about the mechanics of storytelling, if you like, the idea of a narrative arc. And I was very quickly drafted into teaching public speaking. So yeah, that was … I hadn’t really thought about it, actually, as being part of the whole storytelling business, but I seem to keep coming back to that. But that’s what it is, that’s what life is; it’s the stories we get to tell.


And sometimes, you do things without having a name for it; right? And then, you find out—


Oh, yes; most of the time, actually.


Your real self keeps popping up in the form of what you do.


Yes; that is true. That is true. But storytelling … I guess that’s a lot of the attraction that I have, or that radio has for me, because it’s a storytelling medium, and storytelling is … there’s very few human behaviors that that go back further than storytelling. It’s the quintessential social act. It’s a wonderful vehicle for healing, for illumination, for understanding, for being civilized.


And radio has that intimate quality.


Mm. It’s a one-to-one medium, and it’s frighteningly intimate. And the best radio is indistinguishable from pillow talk. It’s that intimate. And that’s what I love about it. I mean, what’s not to love?


Henry Akina, who retired from the Hawaii Opera Theater, was the 2014 Preis Honoree. Born and raised in Honolulu, Henry Akina spent much of his adult life directing opera in prestigious opera houses around the world. He even founded an opera company in Berlin, before moving back home to Hawai‘i. Under the guidance of its first ever Hawai‘i-born artistic director, the Hawaii Opera Theater became known for vibrant, creative productions, sometimes incorporating modern updates and collaborations with top international artists.


I love that approach, in a sense modernizing with Harajuku costumes.


You’re referring to The Mikado, then.


Yeah, Mikado.


Right; yeah.


And you feel free to do that. You don’t take the same opera and present it again. You add new touches. You’ve had Anne Namba’s designs, you’ve had Dean Shibuya change things up.


We have a resident designer at HOT, Peter Dean Beck, who’s resident in New York, but who’s nonetheless been seminal for design here.


How do audiences feel about those changes?


I’m not sure. You know, people say nice things to me, so I’m assuming that they’re honest about those things. But I think that the audiences in Hawaii respond well to good stories, and we try and make good stories wherever we are, from wherever we are.


Do you look for ways to take a classic story and localize it or modernize it?


Well, modernize it, perhaps. Localize it, not so much. But modernize it, perhaps. And in the case of Mikado, for instance, we knew that we couldn’t go backwards; we had to go forwards. And we had to look at the Japan of today, which was a lot different than the first time we did Mikado, which was ten years ago.


So, in ten years, it changed.


In ten years, life has changed. Yeah.


Did audiences know Harajuku girls? Because that was the play.


I think that we tried to let the audience know that we were doing the style. But you’ll have to ask Anne about the Harajuku things, because it was based on one of Anne’s trips to Japan. But I think that in contemporary life, we would be someplace else in ten years.


Right. I think she reimagined those characters as hip shoppers out for retail therapy.


She did; she did. And using cell phones every five minutes. Right. And using an iPad; things like that. So, whatever we’re using in ten years will be reflected in the staging.


You’ve already been announced, I believe, as the 2014 Preis Honoree in Arts, which is a tremendous honor, probably the largest honor we have in Hawai‘i in arts.


Well, I knew Alfred Preis, and I think that that’s … I was saying that, you know, people who know me well don’t expect this honor. And I didn’t expect it, either.


Why? Why didn’t you expect it? I wasn’t surprised to hear that you were named.


Well, I was, in a weird way. And I went to a board member, Jean Rolles, who had been honored herself. And she said: You will do it for this organization. And since then, I have decided that I will do it for the organization.


Congratulations to 2017 Preis Honoree Marilyn Cristofori of Hawai‘i Kai. And mahalo to all of the recipients of this award over the years for the work you’ve done to advance the arts and keep them vibrant in Hawai‘i. For PBS Hawai‘i and Long Story Short, I’m Leslie Wilcox. Aloha nui.


The key thing, whatever you’re doing … is to support creativity in our society as a whole. Keep your passion about creativity, and moving forward with what is right … what is just, and what helps everybody. ‘Cause if we don’t preserve our creativity … the rest of it doesn’t matter.


For audio and written transcripts of all episodes of Long Story Short with Leslie

Wilcox, visit To download free podcasts of Long Story Short with

Leslie Wilcox, go to the Apple iTunes Store or visit


I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to contribute so far to education. We’ve been able to create and move forward significantly with Arts First and get admirable, high quality arts back in the schools, particularly elementary schools. So, I’m really feeling good about that.



Episode # 908



Students from Wai‘anae High School in West O‘ahu go aboard the Hōkūle‘a voyaging canoe, back from its celebrated worldwide voyage. They show us how the current crew is teaching traditional navigation techniques to a new generation and how this experience is connecting Hawaiian students to their culture. In this story, Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson talks about the importance of relaying ancient practices and wisdom from his generation to the next. These skills and knowledge will prepare younger Hawaiians to take up the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s mission of perpetuating traditional voyaging and the spirit of exploration. Kristyn Kailewa, a 15-year-old, is one of the young people eagerly taking up that challenge.



–Students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School on Kaua‘i introduce us to a middle school student who has been motivated by her own homeless experience to pay it forward and now inspires others to volunteer.


–Students from Moanalua High School on O‘ahu show us how a high school athlete is going beyond his physical limitations to pursue his dream of playing soccer.


–Students from Kalani High School in East O‘ahu teach us simple steps to help shake off the stress of school and life.


–Students from Kamehameha Schools Maui Middle School introduce us to a Maui woman who has turned her lifelong love of dogs into a career training therapy dogs to help people get through tough times.


–Students from Saint Francis School in Manoa on O‘ahu explain how hula goes far beyond dance for the reigning Miss Aloha Hula, Kelina Eldridge.


–Students from Hongwanji Mission School on O‘ahu go off-the-air with Billy V – a local celebrity who opens up about the emotional journey that’s accompanied his physical recovery from cancer surgery.



Natalie Ai Kamauu and Family


Natalie Ai Kamauu’s voice fills the PBS Hawaii studio.  Natalie performs with a passion that comes from the origins of the songs she sings, and the love she has for her family. She is joined by her husband, Iolani Kamauu, on guitar and vocals, and their daughter, Sha-Lei Kamauu, who accompanies the music with hula.


Among the songs featured are “Pili Aloha,” which connects Natalie to her mother, kumu hula Olana Ai, and “Shower Tree,” which was written for Natalie and Iolaniʻs son, Chaz. Sha-Lei joins Natalie and Iolani with hula, including the playful “Hula Tease,” and a graceful accompaniment to Natalie and Iolaniʻs performance on “Uhiwai.”


Where Asia Meets Europe – Turkey


Join Emmy® Award-winning travel host, producer and dancer Mickela Mallozzi on her adventures as she experiences the world, one dance at a time! From re-discovering her family’s roots in Southern Italy to exploring the diverse regions of Central Asia in the hills of Turkey, Mickela’s travels explore the traditional dances of every culture while connecting with the local community through celebration.


Turkey is a country that crosses two continents, full of rich dance and music, from the bustling city of Istanbul to the fairy caves in Cappadocia. Mickela’s magical journey through Turkey connects her with the locals through the universal language of dance.



1 2 3 8