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Best of The Islands
The Editors with Margaret Kearns | Photo: Adam Jung | February 26, 2014
Hawai‘i looks better than ever—all the while staying true to its roots. Style mavens, top-notch toques, design doyennes, a culturati overload and a blossoming beauty scene await. Welcome to the good life in the islands!
Actor Henry Ian Cusick describes his connection to Hawai‘i as a visceral love affair that began after he was cast in the hit TV series, LOST. Having grown up in the West Indies, the Scottish-Peruvian thespian was immediately taken by the ocean, people’s warmth and the intimate community. “When I arrived in Hawai‘i, I remember feeling something very familiar, and I wanted my sons to have that,” says Cusick, who settled on O‘ahu with his wife, Annie, and three school-aged sons. Going against the typical logic, the dashing, yet down-to-earth, star and his family stayed in Hawai‘i post-LOST and haven’t regretted it for a second. In fact, while the distance to the mainland creates the occasional challenge, Cusick’s career has flourished in more ways than one. At home, he has gained praise for his short film, Dress, which reveals the ravaged emotions of a grieving widower. Shot at his Lanikai home with an island cast, the celluloid wonder scored the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the last Hawaii International Film Festival and is now hitting the festival circuit. Then, there’s his burgeoning television career. After a stint on the ABC hit Scandal, Cusick landed a lead role in a new series, The 100, a futuristic, post-apocalyptic drama that debuts on The CW on March 19. And always thinking of his island home, the 46-year-old Cusick is also collaborating with filmmaker Brett Wagner on a TV pilot in the works—set right in Hawai‘i.
In an era often defined by stifling compartmentalization, Willow Chang gloriously transcends all boundaries. It all started when, after studies at Punahou School and training under Kumu Hula Alicia Smith, this rebel with a cause made a novelworthy journey to Sarah Lawrence College, then Fashion Institute of Technology and, finally, Egypt to perform in a Polynesian revue at a luxury hotel. In the midst of antiquity, Chang discovered the art of raqs sharqi, or belly dance. That taste of those rapturous Middle Eastern rhythms would launch her on a globe-trekking path to become one of Hawai‘i’s most eclectic performers. (Her shows can delve into Bollywood sizzle or contemporary dance fit for an arthouse.) But Chang can sing with the best of them, a talent she proved in her years with exotica band Don Tiki, and continues with Hot Club of Hulaville. While performing and touring abroad will continue in 2014—Chang’s most recent artistic adventures were in Germany—she continues to push her latest interdisciplinary talents. Her newest role: host of the new cultural web series The Art of Life on ThinkTech Hawaii.
Upcountry Maui artist Jonathan Yukio Clark recently returned from a year in Kyoto, Japan, and, judging by his latest series of works, it was time well spent. Drawing upon motifs from Hawaiian and Japanese culture, his latest installations dazzle with color and patterns with sophisticated restraint. This spring, the young talent will participate in the show 4 Men: 4 Visions of Significance, showing from March 14 to May 2 at Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao. Afterward, he will make his way down for a show in the works at new hot spot Art Project Paia.
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