Ushering in 2015

It’s a lively Baby New Year that’s come kicking and dancing onto the art scene, offering plenty of entertainment, even as the holidays come to a close.


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Alia Bhatt as Ananya in 2014 Bollywood hit ‘2 States,' about a pair of lovers from culturally disparate backgrounds PHOTO COURTESY OF HONOLULU MUSEUM OF ART

Bollywood conjures up visions of frenetic musical numbers exploding with colors and a visual feast of flamboyant costumery. In addition to the traditionally extravagant fare, this year’s Bollywood Film Festival (through Jan. 30, selections also include Mary Kom about the so-named Indian female boxing champion, and Haider, based on Hamlet. The fest is one of Doris Duke Theatre’s most popular of the year.

Gallery on the Pali (at First Unitarian Church of Honolulu) artists delve into Hawaii’s transformative and regenerative influences on artists, with the first exhibit of the year, Undercurrents of Tradition (Jan. 11-Feb. 12, 595-4047). Meanwhile, Waikiki hotels also present venues for artistic appreciation. Parc Promenade Gallery at Waikiki Parc Hotel showcases sculptures by UH BFA candidate Theresa Marie Heinrich Jan. 8-March 27, with an opening night reception for the public at 6 p.m. At adjacent Halekulani, exhibit Art Deco and the Golden Age of Travel in Hawaii (through Jan. 31) features a vintage, private collection of posters, menus, magazine covers and more, available for public viewing for the first time.

Finally, perhaps you recall seeing Outage at TAG or Will the Real Charlie Chan Please Stand Up at Kumu Kahua. Both plays are by local authors who first presented their scripts to the public through PlayBuilders Festival of Original Plays. The festival presents committee-selected works by adults and students, established playwrights and novices alike. This year’s selections will be showcased at three days of rehearsed readings ($10 per day,, with readers comprising some of Hawaii’s most renowned community theater actors.

“Our mission is about exploring and sharing place, identity, relationships, history and cultures of Hawaii through theatre,” says founder and president Terri Madden. “(The festival is an outlet for) giving voice to our community.”

In the lineup are a series of three one-act pieces being presented Jan. 9; a full-length, Hawaii adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard Jan. 16; and a youth night Jan. 23, presenting a compilation of six Le Jardin Academy student works. From a play set in New Zealand to one that contemplates the contents of a storage locker and whether there are some things that cannot be sold, the dramatic readings cover a range of topics. Best of all, the audience gets to participate. Viewer votes are combined with adjudicator selections in determining Best Play and Audience Favorite awards.

“The importance of our Festival of Original Plays is twofold,” notes Madden. “First, it gives audiences the opportunity to see and hear plays they would not otherwise have access to, and secondly, it opens doors for more production and writing opportunities for our playwrights.”

Chances are that some of the readings will blossom into feature productions on a stage near you.

From paintings to plays, from Bollywood imports to Hawaii’s own creative well-spring, thanks Baby New Year for a promising kickoff to 2015!