Kalani Honua Blog - News & Announcements

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ali Slous

From an idyllic, sun-drenched afternoon at Pohoiki to a breezy, moonlit evening at the Kalapana Night Market; from talk-story in the welcoming environs of Kalani’s EMAX, to the final Kanikapila that filled the streets of Pāhoa with revelers, the 2014 Puna Music Festival had something for everyone.

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With a multitude of genres including traditional Hawaiian, Hawaiian soul, hula, pop, rock, reggae, and folk, this year’s jubilant celebration brought locals, visitors, and artists of all ages and backgrounds together to share in the spirit of aloha, ʻohana, and, most of all, community.  

Here are a few high notes from a memorable week in Hawaii's picturesque Puna District -

Pohoiki Open Concert The day began with Ehulani Stephany’s melodic opening chant and hula dancers, followed by a warm welcome by the day’s energetic, wonderful hosts, Kaʻea and DJ Paris Decambra from KAPA FM.

Paula Fuga @ Pohoiki Open Concert - May 4th, 2014

Local keiki (school children) sang and danced, enchanting early arrivers lounging in the grass on what would turn out to be a flawless oceanside day. The always-entertaining Awa Band presented a repertoire of Hawaiian songs, after which Hawane Rios shared both her vocal talents and message of love for the earth. Jaz Kaiwikoʻo performed some recent hits, bringing festival-goers to their feet.

Headliners Paula Fuga, Mike Love, and John Cruz lit up the afternoon stage to what locals called the biggest crowd Pohoiki has ever seen.

Kuana Torres Kahele @ Kalapana Night Market - May 7th, 2014

#PunaMusicFest @ Kalapana Night Market 
Kuana Torres Kahele captivated the lively night market crowd as festival-goers sampled local food, perused jewelry stalls, and chatted with neighbors and friends.

Always a hit on the dance floor, Uncle Robert’s Awa Band played their signature songs as locals danced into the night and explored the moonlit lava field at Coconut Beach.

An Intimate Evening with Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole Volunteers, guests, and community members gathered in Kalani EMAX for an unforgettable night of talk-story and song.

The stage was decorated with stunning Hawaiian flowers and foliage. Dim lighting and cozy ambiance allowed Kaumakaiwa, one of the voices of the new generation in Hawaii, to be especially interactive with the audience living up to the concert’s promise of intimacy.

The Kanakaole ʻohana have longstanding roots with the land in this ahupuaʻa along with the heiau and halau at Kalani. Honoring her mother in celebration of Mother’s Day, Kaumakaiwa spoke about how her mother’s strength and dignity shone through most when she sang. 

An Intimate Evening with Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole @ Kalani - May 9th, 2014

Seeing her mother sharing her gifts encouraged Kaumakaiwa to pursue music as a way to preserve her family’s heritage. Kaumakaiwa enjoyed interacting with the crowd, making it clear that sharing her gift of music is truly her heartfelt passion.

Kanikapila in Pāhoa
Ordinarily quiet and serene, Pāhoa Village metamorphosed into a vibrant, lively scene – teeming with revelers pouring out of every storefront, enjoying music and performances along the way.

Festival-goers were entertained by live singing, playing, and dancing on stages, balconies and inside restaurants. 

UNIFY @ Kanikapila in Pāhoa - May 10th, 2014

People of all ages moved to DJ’s spinning hypnotizing beats in the Akebono Theater, while others dined in Pāhoa’s eclectic selection of restaurants and eateries or meandered around to discover what surprises

Mahalo to everyone who joined us for the 2014 Puna Music Festival, made possible by generous support from the Hawaiian Tourism Authority, the County of Hawaii, Suisan, KAPA FM, and Kalani. We are immensely grateful for each individual who turned out, performed, volunteered, and showed love and support for this extraordinary event. Here’s to PMF 2015!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kenny Drotar & Ali Slous

Kalani’s dining lanai and kitchen have long been described as the “heart” of Kalani. As many as two hundred-fifty hungry guests, local residents, staff and volunteers file in line each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mealtime is announced by the sound of three distinct tones on the conch shell that can be heard across the campus. This daily tradition reminds us of the rich cultural heritage we preserve on the mystical Hawaiian land where Kalani now resides.

The hardworking, fun-loving kitchen crew meticulously and conscientiously prepares and serves three fresh, wholesome meals each day, and approximately 150,000 meals each year, all while chatting, chopping, and dancing to music of choice. Each meal is prepared with the freshest, most organic ingredients possible, along with aloha and love for our ‘ohana or extended family.

Day in and day out, Kalani’s kitchen crew members, affectionately nicknamed “hoozies,” handcraft delicious dishes, all while catering to a diverse population of eaters including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and omnivores alike. Because the kitchen crew is composed mostly of volunteers on two and three month stints, Kalani has assembled a dream team of chefs and managers to keep this operation, Kalani’s largest, running smoothly.

Sami Ross, the Excel-erator
Sami Ross can be found pitching in anytime help is needed in the bustling Kalani kitchen, whether on the dishwashing station (AKA Auntie Hobart), front of house, Hale Aloha, or even the campground, searching for errant hoozies. With her tenacity and determination, she has played a key role in adding to Hale Aloha’s baking and overall expansion. Sami also has the well-honed ability to put any and all information into a spreadsheet, making her a wizard of organization and logistics. She manages and leads team meetings with a smile, keeps track of a multitude of schedules and requests, and ensures that her kitchen team is happy and healthy.

Dana Butler, the Organic Oracle
No longer satisfied by a life driven by ambition, material success, and outside expectation, Dana Butler made the unlikely decision to become the kitchen manager at Kalani. She credits this decision as one of the best she’s ever made in her life, asserting that the benefits within this space of community, non-judgment, and self-acceptance are worth more than all the money and prestige in the world. Dana takes pride in shepherding Kalani’s movement toward purchasing more locally grown produce and grass-fed beef and supporting local farmers and products. Dana also feels rewarded when she hears that the environment in the kitchen is nurturing, supportive, and fun.

Kenny Drotar, the Meal Manifestor
Kenny Drotar has been cooking his heart out for over twelve years in cities including Detroit, New Orleans, and New York. In contrast with the traditional kitchens he has experienced in the past, Kenny keeps the Kalani kitchen atmosphere light and fun with his love of pop music, high-energy, and humorous outlook. He is passionate about sourcing local, sustainable ingredients, and contributing to expanding the gardens at Kalani. Kenny keeps it fresh by learning to prepare new cuisines while transforming the most unlikely combination of ingredients into something tasty and surprising.

Charles Woods the Salad Ninja
A volunteer turned Kalani resident for over eighteen years, Charles keeps the kitchen running smoothly, while balancing hundreds of van runs for Kalani. He can be found quietly and carefully preparing daily staple items such as salads, dips, and dressings that compliment the bounty of fresh ingredients and produce. Charles is always willing to try something new and accommodate the team’s changing menus and flavor profiles. His presence in the kitchen has become a steady constant on the ever-changing crew.

Lilly Dietz the Yum Yum Yogi
Hailing from a big Italian family in New York, Lilly Dietz knows what it takes to cook for large groups of people - all with a hearty serving of aloha. Often overheard saying “this is going to be the best day ever!,” Lilly is known for her signature positive outlook, smile, and friendly energy. Having completed her training on-the-job, Lilly has grown to become one of Kalani’s most skilled shift leaders. A globetrotting yogini, Lilly has taken cooking classes in both India and Thailand, blessing all of her food with the sacred sound of “Om.”

Mark Ceranski the Dessert Dominator
Another Kalani jetsetter, Mark Ceranski spent many years as a chef cooking for high-end clients along with volunteer organizations both domestic and abroad. Now, Mark loves being at Kalani as our resident baker and dessert-maker extraordinaire, spoiling Kalani diners with his famous sourdough, rosemary focaccia, lillikoi cheesecake, fresh berry tart, and anything with chocolate ganache (to name a few). Mark is currently working on his first book, Pot Boiler in the Kitchen, a firsthand account of his adventures with royalty, dictators, and despots.

Ryan Turner the Expediter of Aloha
Prior to arriving at Kalani, Ryan Turner was the restaurant front-of-house manager at a Forbes’ top-ten rated fly-fishing lodge. In nearly two years at Kalani, Ryan has formulated many of our addictive cookie recipes, including the popular vegan varieties such as chocolate chip, Mexican chocolate, peanut butter, and Kona coffee, along with other products carried at Hale Aloha. Ryan also contributed a year of service arranging flowers for the property. A man of many talents, Ryan has become a skilled aerialist and ecstatic dancer and boasts a great letter of recommendation from Henry Winkler aka “The Fonz.”

Mitch Boehlinger the Banjo Griddler
Another man of many talents, Mitch Bohlinger is a former glass-blower from Wisconsin. He can not only cook a mean “almond joy” pancake or perfectly sear a filet of the fresh catch, but can also pick up any string instrument and play a song. Passionate about learning anything new, Mitch has an uncanny ability to try something once and remember each, step-by-step detail about how it is done. Mitch is abundantly generous, sharing his special, cinnamon flavored cold-press coffee with any takers. Mitch is passionate about cooking and loves the idea that people he taught to play instruments and cook are out there in the world making music and food.

Mariana Bergtold the Vegan Pirate Queen
Having healed herself from Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through macrobiotics, Mariana Bergtold is a living example of the healing and restorative power of healthy, seasonal, locally sourced food. The former owner of not one, but two successful vegan, kosher, organic, sugar-free restaurants, Mariana treats plant and meat-eaters alike to her rich, I-can’t-believe-it’s-dairy-free dishes like wild mushroom and root vegetable phyllo tartes and creamy, delectable soups. Mariana continuously challenges herself by learning new cuisines and inspiring everyone to elevate the quality of plant-based dishes for our discerning Kalani diners.

Ted Leake the Barbecue Chef Bayou
Ted Leake’s signature Southern accent, friendly demeanor, and soulful, retro music selections permeate the kitchen whenever he cooks. A loving father of three, Ted makes everyone feel welcome and appreciated in the kitchen, often giving a hoozie or two the opportunity to create a dish with their moniker attached. He is known for his rich, French culinary trained palette of soups, sauces, and perfectly cooked meats, layered with tons of flavors that have diners returning for seconds. With limited resources but a lot of talent, Ted traveled to fifty countries and survived twenty-five years as a business owner in the competitive catering industry before coming to Kalani.

Sarah Cole the Earth Mama
If you hear the sweet sounds of reggae music echoing through the dining lanai, it is likely that Sarah Cole is on the chef’s line. Another of our well-traveled leaders, Sarah loves cooking holistic, sustainable, non-GMO, organic ingredients while sending good vibrations to the food and to all who consume it. Kalani regulars rave about her flavorful Indian specialties, including divinely seasoned basmati rice and lentil dal, along with spicy onion relish and yogurt raita. Sarah is devoted to homeopathic healing through diet and spiritual connection to the earth.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Ali Slous

In just under eleven minutes, Hawaiian songstress Paula Fuga’s 2012 TEDxMaui talk makes one thing abundantly clear: Paula Fuga is a believer. And her faith and audacity are making a difference in her life and in the lives of others. 

“My life is a miracle and I am living proof that miracles happen every day.”
 
This passionate singer, songwriter, and social activist, set to headline the 2014 Puna Music Festival Pohoiki Open Concert, epitomizes an unlikely success story. Homeless on Oahu’s Sand Island beach at age nine, sheltered from the elements by only a tarp and hali’i leaves, Paula steadfastly protected her dream:
 
“My heart whispered, ‘superstar’.”

 
Paula kept her dream a secret, defending against naysayers and anyone who might try to tear it down. In her heart, she believed that something big was going to happen, and that she would not repeat the cycles of her parents and past generations. She visualized herself standing on stage with a wireless microphone, performing for thousands of people who had come to hear her sing - a visualization that has now become a reality.
 
Described as a modern Hawaiian soul vocalist, Paula has had the opportunity to tour and perform with mainstream artists including Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and Ziggy Marley. Her buttery, smooth melodies blend effortlessly in harmony, complimenting and enriching the overall sound in duets and trios such as in the following song, “In the Morning,” with Jack Johnson and John Cruz, another Puna Music Festival performer.
 
 
Aside from her life as an entertainer, Paula takes time out of her active touring schedule to meet with youth groups and at-risk youths to spread her message of faith and positivity. She encourages them to see what they want for themselves in the future and to greet each day with a sense of hope and possibility.
 
Through her faith and determination, Paula Fuga reminds Hawaiian locals and visitors alike that if you can dream it, you can make it happen. We are all in for a special treat when she takes the stage on May 4th at Pohoiki.
 
For the full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, please visit www.PunaMusicFestival.com.
 
#PunaMusicFest

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Eric Ellenwood

Editors Note: This entry is first in a special series of blogs that will chronicle the growth of permaculture at Kalani.

Aloha!

I’m Eric and I have the honor of being the very first Permaculture Design Specialist to work at Kalani.

Permaculture is a branch of ecological and environmental design and ecological engineering that creates both sustainable architecture as well as self-maintained agricultural systems – all taking cues from natural ecosystems. I know it may seem like common sense that our culture might follow nature’s cues on living and agriculture, but our current approach in modern society has strayed far from nature’s model. For example, did you know that an aquaponics system can produce as much as 5 times the output compared to traditional land agriculture? 

With this first blog, I am very excited to share the progress we have made in this endeavor. Kalani’s aquaponics system was designed and constructed by former volunteer Jacob Tuft. Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture that grows plants hydroponically – waste from farmed fish is used to supply nutrients for the plants, which in turn purify the water. Its successful output was interrupted not long after Jacob left Kalani. A power failure on the property caused significant damage to the ecosystem, and most of the living Tilapia fish (an integral part of the aquaponics system) died. This caused the ecosystem to be adversely affected, and many of the plants either died or languished.

My first project at Kalani was to work with fellow volunteer Beth Messinger to reestablish the ecosystem. I am happy to report that we successfully revamped the aquaponics system, and we share our success with you here in this blog!

This is the aquaponics graveyard- parts and pieces of reclaimed material that had been saved for future projects.  They were slowly being overtaken by the jungle.
Above: This is the trough net that keeps the baby Tilapia from entering the grow beds. The nets were torn, and the fish had found new homes in the beds and a new food source- our plant roots! PVC frames were constructed, and nets were made with existing screen material and some 50lb. of test fishing line.

Every float had to be removed,  and the grow beds were netted to remove all of the misplaced Tilapia.

Beth “Bam Bam” Messinger, a force in motion.

Below: Meet Fred.  He is our newest volunteer at Kalani.  We stocked roughly 150 fish into our seven hundred gallon tank, and painted it black because the water was too cold for Tilapia.  Since then the temp has raised to the ideal level, this fish are growing steadily.
Above:  Beth painting our 700 gallon tank to raise the temperature, so our fish will eat more food, and then grow quickly to a harvestable weight.  The tanks on the left are a hatchery system that will allow us to continually breed and manage our own stock of White Nile Tilapia.

With a freshly restocked fish tank, Tilapia out of the grow beds,  nitrogen levels on the rise, pests managed, and hungry seedlings filling the troughs, it is very noticeable how quickly the system is starting to produce again!

Recruiting extra hands…  Even our accountant breaks away for some soil production and seedling planting.

Some of our first harvested veggies.  As I mentioned, it is said that aquaponics can produce five times the amount of vegetables in the space that soil can produce, due to the immediate availability of nutrients in the water resulting in a faster growth rate, and intensive planting arrangement.
Above: Success! Beth Messinger, Aquaponics Manager and Eric Ellenwood, Peraculture Design Specialist.  Hauling in the harvest to our beloved kitchen crew.

So what is next in aquaponics?  We are still streamlining our system, but are quickly getting back to full production.  The upcoming projects will be setting up a fish hatchery system, and a whole new “ebb and flow” system using a 4,000 gallon water catchment tank.  I hope to utilize this system to grow food trees that can be grown from saved seed, such as papaya. 
 
What about permaculture?  Now that aquaponics is back up and running, classes are being taught, and there are some very big projects on the horizon!   

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kalani

Bill Donnelly is a true pioneer in the field of yoga. Along with co-creating and co-hosting the yoga-reality series Guru2Go, Bill is also the creator and founder of Practical Yoga, an energizing practice designed to heal and uplift the body, mind and soul.

Practical Yoga is the latest addition to Kalani's schedule of 50+ weekly classes and activities.

Having experienced the amazing high that comes from attending a Practical Yoga class, we decided to sit down with Bill to gain further insight into the practice.

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Bill (Will) Donnelly - Kundalini Yoga TeacherAloha Bill! Congratulations on joining Kalani's team of yogis. I was buzzing for hours after attending your Practical Yoga class last week. So that our readers know what to expect from your class, could you explain to us what Practical Yoga is?

Aloha Cameron! I am very happy to be a part of the Kalani team of teachers! Many visitors come to Kalani for healing and rejuvenation, so the styles of yoga that we offer are a very important component to their positive experience here.

Practical Yoga is, first and foremost, a healing yoga. My class experience is centered around the ancient and powerful tantric-based Kundalini Yoga & Meditation (as taught by Yogi Bhajan Ph.D.)™, which gives students a deep experience of healing. I like to think of this style of yoga as a very helpful "energy management system". It is useful to anyone searching for meaningful ways to improve the quality of their lives.

What kind of an experience does a Practical Yoga class offer?

We start each class with light stretching, and continue with core-strengthening, aerobic-inspired exercises and a brief Hatha-flow series to build heat and warm up the body. Then, we experience a full Kundalini Yoga set.

To finalize our work, we do an 11-minute active meditation to help focus the mind and expand our potential. We end class with a luscious deep relaxation to "let it all sink in" maybe the most important step! Evocative, healing music is used throughout class to heighten the experience. I offer a non-dogmatic, approachable spirituality in class.

Can you share a couple of Practical Yoga techniques with our readers?

Sure! There are literally hundreds of videos and techniques that people can access on the Practical Yoga Website.

For example, BICYCLES is an excellent exercise to help connect with and strengthen the core.

FROGS is a great technique people can use to stretch the back, strengthen the legs and buttocks, and balance their energy after a long day. Yogis also use this technique to prepare for deep meditation.

What are some of the benefits people will gain from Practical Yoga?

People who are on a conscious path of wellness, creativity and healing tend to appreciate the many powerful benefits found from even just one session of Practical Yoga. As you mentioned, you were "buzzing" for hours after attending. You had stimulated some inherently powerful life force in your body, and the healing and awakening process had been activated.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved physical fitness and strength
  • Improved well-being
  • Spiritual growth
  • Clearer thinking

Kundalini Yoga™ recognizes the importance of glandular balance in relation to physical and mental health. In addition to increased physical strength and improved mental focus, each of my classes works to elicit the Relaxation Response.

Is Practical Yoga designed to be a little more rigorous than other yoga classes?

Practical Yoga is designed to give all levels of students an invigorating, yet approachable, workout. Exercises can be self-monitored by the student, so you can easily meet the yoga where you are physically and mentally.

The music helps participants move through any moments of challenge, and within weeks students find themselves stronger, happier and more energized, or "in the creative flow".  Hatha yoga, in general, takes years to learn and perfect. Yet with Practical Yoga, even after just one session, students have an amazing experience and so many of the benefits the class has to offer.

Practical Yoga is about tapping into your inner strength and steadiness, and anyone with a sincere desire can do it. You don't need to be a pretzel to take a Practical Yoga class!

Did you create Practical Yoga yourself?

My partner and I developed the idea of Practical Yoga over a 10-year period of teaching yoga in top Los Angeles yoga studios, privately with in-home sessions, and on our television show, Guru2Go on fitTV. I received formal training at the renowned Golden Bridge Yoga Studio in Los Angeles, studying under the Renowned Gurmukh. After personally healing from this yoga, I concurred with its founder on the urgency of bringing this personal wellness technology to the larger community.

It was after filming our show that we realized how practical this yoga really is. It was then we developed our Practical Yoga for Everyday People DVD, which has sold internationally and has helped countless students get into shape in the comfort of their own homes.

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Bill teaches Practical Yoga at Kalani each Thursday from 10:30am - 12:00pm.

Bill will also host a special Holiday Yoga Retreat from Dec 20-27 at Kalani. Each day will feature two sessions of practical yoga and meditation in one of the most stunning environments you could imagine, surrounded by fiery lava, invigorating ocean, tropical foliage, and people celebrating the spirit of aloha. Celebrate and honor yourself and your spirit through the winter solstice and Christmas. Click here for more information on Bill's Holiday Yoga Retreat.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Kalani

Soul Purpose Consultant and Life Coach, Geraldine McMahon

Soul Purpose Consultant and Life Coach Geraldine McMahon will host Heart, Intuition, Purpose on Saturday 24 September, a workshop at Kalani designed to help people get into their Heart Space and create lives of purpose, passion, and prosperity.

We sat down with Geraldine to deepen our understanding of why getting in - and living in - our heart space is so good.


Aloha Geraldine. Could you start by sharing why there is a growing movement of people who want to 'get into' their Heart Space? What happens, exactly, when we're there?

Aloha Kalani! More and more people are seeking to get into their heart space is because life is truly great when you do!

When you're in your Heart Space, life becomes easier, almost like an experience of heaven on earth, and worries cease to exist to weild any power.

By living within your heart space, you are naturally inclined to invest your energy and its power into your visions of what you love, what you’d love to create for yourself next while still being totally within the present. There are no concerns or thoughts of the past, and when the future is considered it is done with a firm anchor in the present. The ancient Hawaiians had a firm grip on this principle, even their language doesn’t have a past or present tense!

Life flows, fortuitous synchronicities are common, and our vibration changes too, which means we cease to attract experiences or people we do not love, attracting instead more magical occurrences and people to match our vibration.


It sounds awesome. So what exactly is the alternative? Head Space?

Correct! That's exactly the alternative. You'll notice when you're 'in' your head space because you'll have a busy mind, lots of internal chatter and dialogue. Overthinking, analyzing, and worrying are telltale signs of being in your head space, as is limiting language such as 'should' and 'have to'.

People face limited options when they're in 'head space', as when we are lodged in the head, we are only opening to memories, programs, beliefs and assumptions from past experience.

When you are in your ‘heart space’ you have a clear mind. You’ll feel at one with everyone and everything. The feeling we get when we’re in love; when everything is wonderful and there’s no fear.  The world takes on a rosy hue. You’ll have experienced this while in nature, maybe looking at a sunset, totally engrossed in it and in your heart.

When in the head we are only using 5% of our brain’s capacity. When you’re in the heart, you open up to an infinite number of possibilities. You move from the left brain to the right brain, the imagination and the intuition. As Einstein said ‘The imagination is the preview of life’s coming attractions.’


So how can someone actually 'get into' their Heart Space?

To get into your heart space, remember that you are the creator of your life experience. This saying expresses it perfectly:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

People who live in head space tend to get caught up in drama, do things they feel they 'should', even though they know deep down they don't want to. It's not much fun.

A way of getting into your heart space is to train your focus and thoughts on things that you love. Another way is to make decisions with the heart by asking yourself 'What is best for me?' and choosing the option that makes you feel good.

You'll notice when you’re in your heart because you'll be flowing towards what you love; the life you love will start to manifest all around you. You feel connected to everyone and everything. Of course this doesn’t mean that life is ‘perfect’, we may still experience difficult or challenging times, but it’s how we perceive these times which makes the difference.

When in the heart, you'll feel more confident. You won't become easily derailed from the goodness you are feeling. You'll understand on a deep level that even challenging periods will pass and make you a stronger, happier person too!

Learn techniques to get into your Heart Space and create a life of Passion, Purpose and Prosperity with Geraldine at Heart, Intuition, Purpose on Saturday 24 September at Kalani's EMAX, and contact Geraldine at info@geraldinemcmahon.co.uk if you have any further questions about this interview or her upcoming workshop.

If you would like to discover Geraldine's 5 Steps To Doing Work You Love to go www.blissfulcareer.com.



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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Noelani Rodriguez with Wailana Simcock

"Supernature" a site specific work at "The Point" by Wai Company Dance Theater

Interview with Artistic Director Wailana Simcock

Many people at Kalani Retreat Center love "The Point."

The Point is known as a powerful site where you have an 180 degree view of the ocean and also of the lava flow in the distance.

The Point - Kalani Retreat Center - Spiritual and Yoga RetreatsMost people here at Kalani have stories about The Point being a symbolic place for them--sometimes they've invited all their friends there for a party, sometimes they've used it for an individual ritual like prayer or meditation. The Point is definitely a special place, and on Saturday March 19th, 5:30pm there will be a performance out at The Point with dancers and actors from both the Puna community and Kalani. This performance called "Supernature," is inspired by the Point itself and the epic story of Hi'iakaikapoliopele.  It will be performed by the grass roots troupe, Wai Company with founder and Artistic Director Wailana Simcock, who is also part of the Kalani staff.

Here is an interview with Wailana about performing at The Point.

NR: People that visit Kalani love "The Point." So you're doing a performance at The Point called "site-specific." Sounds like fun, can you explain "site-specific" for us?

Wailana: Site-specific simply implies that the actual site of the work being performed is pertinent to the piece/art.  I have worked with choreographers who have taken this idea to the hilt.  Like when I danced with Pearl Ubungen in San Francisco 1993, we danced at a pit where once stood a building, The I-Hotel, which housed the first wave of Filipino Immigrants to the US and where in 1973 they were cruelly displaced.  A human barricade that was 5 man deep awaited the cops at 5 am in the morning of their wrongful eviction.  The site sat empty for 20 years.  On the 20th anniversary of the eviction, Pearl decided to perform right there, so we had the corner of Kearny and Jackson street shut down for our 3 night performances.  It was amazing!

Also, Anna Halprin was a great inspiration for not only Pearl and I, but for the whole of Modern Dance.  She is a well known Choreographer and Activist.  She had a performance on a Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California where the community re-enacted these rapes that had ravaged her community. The re-enactment was a way to "reclaim" the mountain that was seen as spiritual symbol for them.  It was a way to "take the mountain back," also expressing grief, uniting the community around the tragedies.

Coincidentally, a week after this performance, a tip came in and the perpetrator was caught. Whether it was due to the performance or not does not really matter.  The fact that the community was able to heal and take back the mountain was powerful and meaningful enough.  Him being captured was just extra!

NR: Many people at Kalani love The Point, a magical place where you can see 180 degree views of the ocean, hear it roar, and do rituals or celebrations. Many visitors to Kalani have stories about special occasions or soulful moments. I know someone that had a birthday party on The Point, someone else that reclaimed her body after 5 years of being in pain due to an accident by doing Qi Gong on The Point.

Can you tell us why you chose The Point?

Wailana Simcock - Choreographer - Kalani Retreat CenterWailana: The Point was just the most logical place to go outside while here at Kalani. Thus it is a celebration of nature really, more than reclaiming anything or making a poltical statement.  It is to honor the 'aina (land) and to recall the story of Hi'iaka and Pele where they live here in Puna.  It is so inspiring to live where their myths and legends are lived out.  And, as you know, the Point is so symbolic.  To me it is  like where time stands still, a portal to the gods and the sea,  a symbol of union where the sea meets the sky.  Supernature is a nod to the super nature found here and to the supernatural gods and goddesses of Hawaii.

NR: One well known Goddess of Hawaiian myth is Pele...

Wailana: Pele has chosen to live here next to us, with her "clan," right here at Kileaua.  We are right next to her, we feel her everyday. We can't do a dance outside without talking about Pele. I want to pay homage to this wahi pana (storied place) of Puna that have been told for hundreds of years.

NR: What will you be doing for the performance?

Wailana: It's very eclectic and all over the place.  Some acting, spoken word. Some oli (chanting). We're going to be doing some Aerial work too on the tissue, ring, and straps, hanging from the trees there. We're going to have a Nina Simone song I am excited to work on in the aerial straps, a pas de deux to "Wild is the Wind" by my favorite, Nina Simone.

We'll have some different influences, like some kitschy camp 70s music (Supernature by Cerrone), some original hula and oli, songs about Pele.

NR: How can we come see you in this unique performance?

The performance is Saturday March 19th, 5:30pm at The Point. We are accepting love donations of any kind!  We are a very young company and are very ambitious. We are premiering Wai Company, our name, our mission and and our website -  waicompany.com.  We are stoked to be this unique dance theater company based out of Puna. We are faced with lots of challenges here but we make them into opportunities.  You have to to survive. You gotta be creative. I never would of thought I would start a dance company here. But I am so glad I did.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Jacob Tuft

Barcus and JacobAquaponics is the buzzword around Kalani these days.  When I moved to Kalani a year ago, I had never even heard of the word, and now, I seem to be the local expert. 

It all started in Kalani’s drive to become more sustainable on this island that currently imports 90% of its consumables.  Gardens to feed the guests, volunteers, and staff that number between one and two hundred at any given meal were an obvious place to put our energy.  There’s only one problem … living on a part of the island that was flowing lava as recently as a hundred years ago, there is very little soil to grow in.  While considering trucking in soil which hardly seemed sustainable, my boss discovered a system of farming being developed in the Virgin Islands that not only did not need soil, but produced fish to eat as well….Aquaponics.

The word AQUAPONICS is a combination of AQUACULTURE which is the raising fish, and HYDROPONICS which is the growing of plants in nutrient filled water instead of soil.  Aquaponics marries these complimentary forms of food production into a stable ecosystem that solves many of the problems that occur when each is practiced independently. 

When I heard Kalani was interested in exploring this new food producing technology, I knew I was the person to do it.  After leaving my engineering profession 4 years ago for the simple island life, I had been missing the challenge of problem solving and experimentation that had been such a part of my every day life on the mainland.   Combined with my knowledge of fish and filter design from working at an aquarium store in my youth with my more recent interest in gardening and sustainability, I began a project that has brought me more joy from creating than I ever felt in my whole engineering career.

AquaponicsI researched ways people were doing Aquaponics locally and on the internet, primarily influenced by Friendly Aquaponics located here on the big island.  It became apparent that the size system required to supply our kitchen’s demand for 900 pounds a month of greens would be a bit risky to jump right into.  We decided on something much smaller to prove the concept and started construction in November.  Due to the thorough training from Friendly Aquaponics as well as the simplicity of the design, things went very smoothly and we had our first harvest in early February.  There is still much experimentation and learning to be done before we stop buying greens for the kitchen, but plans for a first stage of expansion are already underway.

I’d like to acknowledge Barcus Adams, Richard Koob, Stuart Blackburn, and especially Tim Mann and Suzanne Friend at Friendly Aquaponics (www.friendlyaquaponics.com) all of whom were instrumental in this project’s success.  Thank you for bringing joy and gratification back into my work life.

Note: You can read more about Jacob's aquaponics adventures at his blog: http://aquaponics.totallytuft.com

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Richard Koob

Aloha Kalani supporters,

Heiau offering

Mahalo to the hundreds of you who sent letters and/or signed petitions requesting that the Planning Department reinstate Kalani’s EMAX greenhouse as a perfect location for Kalani’s community nature-culture-wellness programs.On September 3 the Planning Department Director BJ Leithead Todd, the County’s Corporate Council, Amy Self, and the Zoning Inspector, Scott Leonard, all came to visit us here at Kalani. Together we made offerings at our preserved heritage sites, walked much of the property, viewed structures and dined together.

Richard sign

The following day BJ sent a letter thanking us for the visit, rescinding the violation, and saying “We agree with you that working together will help better serve the needs of the community.”

So your Kalani ‘ohana is now confident that we are back on track with more of the co-creative collaboration that we have had with the Planning Department for 34 years!

- Richard Koob

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Beverly Mendoza

Beverly MendozaThe WE (Women's Entertainment) Network flew through Kalani this week and filmed our retreat for their Great Escapes show. They took shots of the sunrise, of Kehena Beach, of our food spread on the lawn, of our beautiful rain forest, of our weekly hula class with Kimo and Richard, and interviewed a few folks.

There was such a buzz that morning. Not only were the kitchen staff clad in Kalani shirts and looking extra-peppy in the morning, but the Gaia group brought in a lot of great energy with them as well, especially the fairies (the women with wings and fairy giggles that hug and kiss everyone they pass). The giddiness was so contagious that day.

Kalani poolI had a great morning relaxing by the pool and swimming and catching up with some girls at the pool, where small talk is simply impossible. We just dive on in. That’s one of the greatest things about Kalani and the people that come through, the conversation always just cuts through the surface within the first minute. I’ve never had more interesting and honest conversation in my life. We recharged in the sun and talked about future plans and always recognizing how lucky we are to be where we are with the people we are with. We spoke of freedom and happiness and living in the moment and love. Wonderful poolside revelations.

My interview took place right after lunch. We set up a chair on the lawn with people frolicking in the background by the pool. As I was hooked up to the microphone and got situated it started raining (the first time that day as it was as clear and sunny all morning). We then had to pack up and move on to the tree house and filmed there.

Chris and Mike, the film crew from Maui, are cousins and couldn’t be any more Chicago. Big burly guys, down-to-earth with a Midwestern teddy bear quality about them. Chris actually lived where I grew up in Chicago and even went to the same art school as me. Such coincidences at Kalani no longer surprise me because we chance upon such connections all the time here. Just a few weeks ago, the family of our resident surfer and artist, Roy Ruiz, was visiting from Canada. I was talking to his father over lunch and we just happened to realize that the one person he knows in Chicago (the ONE PERSON!) his cousin, is my godfather and father’s best friend. Ana Lisa, our resident fashionista extraordinaire from Oakland, California, we share so many mutual friends, it’s so weird that we’ve never met before Kalani. Everyone here is connected not by six degrees of separation but more like two degrees of separation.

The set-up took awhile. We had to wait for the helicopters to stop flying over Kalani. They had to get the lighting perfect. I sat in front of light for awhile, I felt a bit like chick incubating under the hot lights. We were talking story the entire time and I couldn’t have felt more comfortable. But once the camera lights went on and the countdown began… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and Nathan, our Marketing Manager, started in on the question and morphed into Matt Lauer, the butterflies began to revolt inside my stomach, my brain, my throat.

“You’re just talking to a piece of equipment,” Mike said.

“And my mother,” I responded.

I got through it. I don’t remember what came out of my mouth, but it was a fun experience. We talked about what 'ohana means to me and about the volunteer experience. It’s going to be so funny watching this on TV.

We had a wrap party afterwards at Todd’s house. Todd is one of our chefs, also a Chicagoan. The film crew came. A few guests joined us and some volunteers and it was a great evening. Chris and Mike looked like they felt at home immediately.

I don’t know if cameras can ever capture the magic that is Kalani. You have to just be here. You have to just sit by the pool and soak up the sun and look into people’s eyes and have a laugh. Then you may begin to get it.

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