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14 Things to Do in the Islands this Winter

By Margo Steines | October 24, 2019 | Lifestyle

Through 1/5
Contemporary Landscapes: Li Huayi
Chinese ink painter Li Huayi’s ethereal landscapes are immersive, their intricacy and monumentality demanding engagement from the viewer. The HoMA’s exhibit of his work includes 33 paintings that follow his career over three decades; some of the work has never before been shown publicly, making this exhibit a particularly rare and exciting treat for aficionados of contemporary art. $20, Honolulu Museum of Art, Makiki/Ward, O‘ahu,


11/7-17 & 11/21-24
Hawaii International Film Festival
The 39th iteration of the glitziest media event in the islands is presented by Halekulani. Take in world-premiere screenings at the Dole Cannery Theater on O‘ahu—single screening tickets are available—or go all in for a flash pass, which will guarantee priority access to all the films. Between the screenings and galas, there will also be panel discussions and industry events across multiple islands. Single screening tickets $14, flash passes $425, various locations, Nov. 7-17, O‘ahu; Nov. 21-24, Hawai‘i Island, Kaua‘i, Maui;

Artist 2 Artist: Henry Kapono With Alx Kawakami
In the MACC’s Artist 2 Artist series, beloved local Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Henry Kapono hosts some of Hawai‘i’s most exciting musicians. First, Kapono plays some of his own music; then he talks story with his guests; and then he invites them to jam with him. Tonight, hear Kapono play with O‘ahu-born singer-songwriter Alx Kawakami (formerly of Manoa DNA). The two will present a special tribute to James Taylor, who has been a huge influence on Kawakami’s work. 7:30pm, premium tickets $65, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, McCoy Studio Theater, Kahului, Maui,

Two Seasons
In his HSO debut, Keitaro Harada conducts principal oboist J. Scott Janusch in a program that celebrates ancient Hawaiian culture. Janusch plays a unique instrument that is crafted out of rare kauila wood, making tangible the program’s intention to connect Hawaiian history and classical music. Nov. 9, 7:30pm; Nov. 10, 4pm; premium orchestra tickets $95, Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall, Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu,

Blood Sweat & Tears
Fifty years of touring and the jazzy rock band famous for hits like “Spinning Wheel” still has it: that electric magic of truly great music, strong enough to excite a whole stadium of fans, but even more exciting on a stage as cozy and intimate as the Blue Note’s. 6:30pm & 9pm, premium tickets $45, Blue Note Hawaii, Waikiki, O‘ahu,

An EnCHANTing Evening of Kirtan
Krishna Das and Ram Dass combine both of their annual Thanksgiving programs—Kirtan and Satsang chanting—into one extra-special event. Experience the truly mesmerizing power of Krishna Das’ voice as he performs call-and-response chanting alongside his full band, and cultural icon and Maui resident Ram Dass joins with his own performance. 7pm, tickets $55, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Castle Theater, Kahului, Maui,

Honolulu Marathon
Watch a field of over 25,000 runners, ranging from elite professionals and Olympic medalists to hobbyists and costumed walkers as they wind their way through the grueling south O‘ahu course. The finish line in Kapi‘olani Park is, naturally, where the party happens, but arrive early if you want to catch a glimpse of the elites, and don’t forget to scream and cheer for the slower packs of runners far behind them—it’s customary. 5am, Kapi‘olani Park, Waikiki, O‘ahu,

A Frank Sinatra Holiday
In this festive tribute to “Ol Blue Eyes,” trumpeter Mike Lewis plays some of the best of Frank, in celebration of what would have been Frank’s 103rd birthday. Lewis is an accomplished musician who has toured with luminaries like Sammy Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Tony Bennett and many more, and has recently brought his talents back to the islands after a stint on the East Coast. 6:30pm, VIP tickets $45, Blue Note Hawaii, Waikiki, O‘ahu,

12/24 & 26-29
Broadway in Hawaii Presents: RENT
The era-defining 1996 musical, on tour in celebration of its 20th anniversary, comes to Honolulu. If you missed the Pulitzer and Tony Award winner the first time around, here’s a wonderful chance to set that right. The play follows the storyline of Puccini’s La Bohème, but set in gritty New York City with a cast of struggling actors. Dec. 24, 2pm; Dec. 26, 7:30pm; Dec. 27-28, 2pm & 8pm; Dec. 29, 1pm & 6:30pm; season packages from $116, Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall, Kaka`ako, O‘ahu,


An Evening With Rufus Wainwright
Vocalist and composer Wainwright has enjoyed a long career in the public eye, collaborating with many of the finest singer-songwriters of the contemporary era, from Elton John to Joni Mitchell. His haunting voice will fill the Blue Note for just two nights. 6:30 & 9pm, premium tickets $55, Blue Note Hawaii, Waikiki, O‘ahu,

Bill Maher’s Annual New Year’s Comedy Extravaganza
For the ninth year running, Bill Maher hosts a star-studded evening of comedy to ring in the New Year. This year, he is joined by the incomparable Emmy-winning comic Sarah Silverman and the hilarious comedic actor Larry Silverman. The show sold out in all of its previous years, so act quickly! 8pm, premium tickets $100, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Castle Theater, Kahului, Maui,

New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Settle in with a picnic—we recommend Champagne—on a rooftop, beach or boat, and wait for one of the myriad fireworks shows across the islands to begin. On O‘ahu, officially sanctioned fireworks begin at 9pm at the Aloha Tower Marketplace and continue islandwide through midnight. Official locations include Hilton Hawaiian Village Lagoon, Turtle Bay Resort, the Kahala Hotel & Resort and the Four Seasons Ko Olina. 9pm-midnight, various locations, O‘ahu

Mostly Mozart
Master pianist Norman Krieger, conducted by Carl St. Clair, takes on two powerful works exemplary of Mozart’s genius: “Overture to the Abduction from the Seraglio” and Piano Concerto No. 24, which St. Clair wisely balances with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10. Jan. 1, 7:30pm; Jan. 12, 4pm, premium orchestra tickets $95, Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall, Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu, hawaiisymphonyorchestra.‌org


Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
Founded in the 1990s by two Joffrey dancers, the contemporary-classical ballet troupe has since grown into an exemplar of the discipline and today is a nationally acclaimed traveling company comprised of 11 classically trained dancers. At the MACC, the dancers perform a program including “First Flash, “Where We Left Off” and “Silent Ghost.” 7:30pm, premium tickets $65, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Castle Theater, Kahului, Maui,

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Photography by: From top: Hawai‘i International Film Festival | rufus wainwright photo by Matthew Welch | sharen bradford