Island Address Book 12-16-2005

Samantha Campos, Columnist, on Entertainment Hawaii-Style

By: Karla Aronson

Most people assume island life in the middle of the Pacific will be slower than where they come from, and for most, that is the case. Of course, visitors can stay in high gear if they want to, and the islands of Hawaii provide the opportunities for both ongoing activity and simply kicking back. Just ask Samantha Campos, associate editor for the alternative newsweekly, Maui Time Weekly, who sorts through the best arts and entertainment events for readers.

Each week Campos selects the newspaper’s entertainment “Picks of the Week” for Maui.

“Some weeks are better than others,” she admitted. “We try to skip over the obvious, like the Eagles concert. Mainly we say check out this band you may have missed that plays every week.”

Campos’ base of comparison is San Francisco, where she moved from in 1997. By contrast, Maui, and most of Hawaii, is a place of small towns. Still, the islands are fortunate to have lots of live music and talented, local artists.

So what does a Hawaii arts and nightlife columnist recommend visitors do to soak in the local scene and scenery? Her first tip is to slow down.

“Initially, my recommendation is simply to relax, kick back and smell the plumeria. ‘Lo-fi’ activities like walking on the beach, taking a leisurely drive or merely eating as much sushi as possible should not be overlooked.”

The sheer beauty of the sleepier islands of Molokai, off Maui, and Kauai can be enjoyed with scenic drives or Campos’ personal favorite, helicopter rides.

“I believe the greatest charm in these islands lies within the people who inhabit them,” Campos said. “On Molokai, take a break, shoot some pool and share a cold beer with the good folks at the Paddlers’ Inn. On Kauai, head over to Stevenson’s Library (at the Grand Hyatt Kauai), where you can enjoy a cigar and live jazz nightly or Friday’s popular sushi and martini night.”

Her first pick on Oahu is the popular Polynesian Cultural Center, both for its family-geared entertainment and its “excellent insight into Hawaiian culture.”

Otherwise, visitors should head to the island’s North Shore and visit the town of Haleiwa. Its surf culture can be experienced in its galleries, boutiques and the North Shore Surf & Cultural Museum.

No one should skip Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, and few visitors to Hawaii do.

“What other chance would you have to witness in person the dramatic flow of hot, molten lava?” Campos asked.

Visitors can also unwind and replenish after the long drive to the park with a side-trip to the neighboring Volcano Winery.

On her home turf of Maui, the Maui Film Festival showcases high-quality films every Wednesday on the big screen at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Visitors can also mingle among the locals over dinner or desserts on the grounds. In June, the Film Festival heads to Wailea and is the annual event not to be missed on Maui.

“Here, legions of film industry bigwigs, visitors and locals alike gather under the stars or on the sand to watch the best in movies for the year in the highest quality outdoor theaters, with a whirlwind of accompanying parties and promotional events,” she said.

Sometimes, Hawaii is anything but low-key and feels like the center of the universe.