Kailua Art Den

Art and chocolate. The two come together in a cozy pairing above Cinnamon’s Restaurant in Kailua in a mom-son enterprise. Young entrepreneur Dylan Butterbaugh opened his own mini chocolate factory, Manoa, last June (with the tastiest bars on the island – try the one with pineapple, ghost chili peppers and salt). His industriousness prompted painter-mom Jill, along with fellow artist Shyrl Matias, to open an art gallery in the vacant space next door this past September. Jill and Matias, who met in a painting class, have set up an inviting space that currently features the original works of 17 local artists.


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“Pele’s Dogs” in glazed cermic by John Stephenson

“We have been fortunate to have very talented artists who do amazing work,” says Jill. “We enjoy variety, so we’ve got contemporary art, realism, mixed media. And we have a variety of sizes, from artwork that’s 3-by-3 inches to work that’s 3-feet-by-80-inches.”

In addition to paintings, Art Gallery 315 (315 Uluniu St., Suite 204) displays stained glass, ceramics and sculptures. The overarching theme is Hawaiiana, but there’s some unusual takes on the theme, such as Bruce Schauble’s pen and ink renderings that put a distinctly Asian stamp on the tropical depictions. Pati O’Neal has eye-catching pieces that include planes, autos (a rusted VW Bug beside a corrugated roof shack, “Molokai Memories,” has a special vintage appeal) and some experimental acrylics that use coconut palm fiber as their canvas.

The gallery also hosts lessons by some of its featured artists (262-5678, artgallery315.com).

“It’s a really nice environment,” says Butterbaugh. “We set a table up for a small group of students and play music, and they draw or paint.”

The gallery also occasionally lends its space to Dylan’s chocolate and wine pairing events. The family affair makes for a warm, “palette-able” niche. Call it upscale Bohemian.


Elvis In The House

Legend has it that Charlie Chaplin once failed to make the finals in his own look-alike contest, as did Dolly Parton. The same might happen if Legends in Concert Waikiki’s latest celebrity tribute, Chris VanDahl, shared the stage with Steven Tyler. When VanDahl makes his grand aerial entrance to the “Rock-A-Hula” show, it’s nearly jaw-dropping impossible to believe he isn’t the real deal. Marking the show’s first anniversary, Tyler and Madonna (Kimberly Goltry) are in the new lineup, while Elton John and Lady Gaga have stepped away. But Elvis is still in the house, and with statistics finding that more than 7 percent of Americans believe The King is still with us, well, when you see Legends’ “younger” and “older” Elvis performers, who’s to say he’s not? When Wahiawa-born Johnny Fortuno (the older Elvis), winner of the 2011 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Las Vegas, croons I’ll Remember You to giant screen images of Elvis with his wife and baby girl, it’s achingly hard not to dab at your cheeks, and Fortuno’s voice is velvet in its own right. Speaking of Elvis, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ “Aloha from Hawaii” concert, Legends in Concert Waikiki is hosting a preliminary round of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Jan. 12 for those who have the vocals, style, stage wear and stage presence (legendsinconcert.com/elvis-contest), or just want to watch the excitement (elvis.com/aloha/schedule.aspx).

As for the two new Legends additions: “We did surveys of our guests for the past year,” says COO Brian Brigner, “and the No. 1 request was for Madonna. It’s been a huge year for her with a tour, a new album and the Super Bowl halftime show. Aerosmith and Steven Tyler have a big resurgence with a new book, new album and a tour. Our show has new choreography, new costumes, and the crowd reaction has been amazing – from when Young Elvis takes the stage, it goes full throttle through the end of the night.”

Bring your cameras, because you’ll have a photo op with the tribute artists after the show, and they’re all so easygoing and much more accessible than their famous doppelgangers.