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Written in Stone

“We all look to the past and to the future to find ourselves,” wrote the late artist Isamu Noguchi. “Here, we find a hint that awakens us; there, a path that someone like us once walked.” It’s a quote returned to often by musician and composer Leilehua Lanzilotti, who grew up frequenting the same path Noguchi tread to construct his sculpture “Sky Gate” near Honolulu Hale, where Lanzilotti’s father worked for then-Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi.

This was long before she was formally introduced to the work of the prolific American sculptor, and just one of her formative experiences encountering art in outdoor spaces. Lanzilotti’s mother, who worked at the former Contemporary Museum of Honolulu, encouraged her to explore the museum’s fields and gardens, which were adorned with kinetic sculptures. “I loved being outdoors in the middle of all that art,” she recalls. “It was really influential to my way of thinking about art and music-making in a playful way.”

But the kind of mastery that Lanzilotti is known for also required structure. As a child she began studying under Hiroko Primrose, a “strict, old-school, and incredible” violin teacher, while also dancing in Hālau Hula O Maʻiki, an experience that provided her with an in-depth cultural education in Hawaiian language and music…

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By In Social Media

We Should Collaborate On A Plan For Public Education In Hawaii

Parents want to be more involved with the education system. That should be good news – in my experience, it’s difficult to get parents involved with their own kids’ homework, let alone participate in the macro-level planning of the Department of Education machine. But something about Civil Beat’s recent story gave me an uneasy feeling.

It’s a good overview that covers several angles of legitimate frustration. Schools feel overburdened and understaffed, under increasing pressure from all sides to do more work with less time. Parents are upset that communication from the DOE and Board of Education is inconsistent, needlessly difficult and unintelligibly hole-punched with acronyms. They feel left out of important decisions that directly impact their children, during one of the most precarious moments in modern American life. It’s easy to sympathize with them…

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By In Social Media

Hawaii’s Public Schools Are More Innovative Than You Think

It’s hard to say whether the origin story of Josh Reppun is counterintuitive or obvious.

It might seem strange that one of Hawaii’s boldest voices for education reform didn’t get his bachelor’s degree until he was in his mid-30s, or that he started his professional career as a chef. On the other hand, his journey reflects an interaction with the education system that informs how he thinks about it today — what it is, and what it could be…

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By In Social Media

An Adult Tricycle May Seem A Little Goofy Until You Consider The Benefits

When I bought my adult tricycle, I was met with two very different responses from the guys at the bike store.

One of them said, sincerely, “It’s great you’re finding a way to keep riding.”

The other guy, puzzled, asked bluntly, “How come you don’t get a regular bike?”

Though I’ve had the trike for two years now, pretty much every response I’ve encountered has been a variation of one of those two reactions.

The latter, less empathetic response is not entirely unwarranted. The term “adult tricycle” lends itself to disparagement; anything clarified by the word “adult” before it, whether it’s a diaper or a film or a tricycle, is usually accompanied by some degree of shame and embarrassment…

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By In Social Media

Bad Tourists Are Not Going To Behave Better Just Because We Ask Them To

On a recent episode of “United Shades Of America” entitled “Hawaii For Hawaiians,” host W. Kamau Bell came to Hawaii to ask a blunt yet legitimate question: can you visit or move to Hawaii and not be an asshole?

It’s a challenging and provocative question, one that’s not easy to receive for those of us who flew here – either directly or via family who settled here in the past – instead of grew here. But it is nonetheless a necessary question to wrestle with…

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