to you sweetheart, aloha

this movie is all about hawaii. and that it's only already less than 2 months, and i am headed that way for the first - and possibly the only - time. WOOHOO!!! ;-P really need to stop eating and save money NOW. ahahaha -

"to you sweetheart, aloha" is a documentary of incredible and wonderful bill tapia, a jazz artist playing the ukelele. right now the web site doesn't list any playdates for june; i'll just visit the web site again.

it opens at a local senior center, with a roomful of adults learning to play the ukelele. they strum in unison to... i think it's "to you, sweetheart, aloha," by harry owens. a soloist absently picks at his ukelele, responding to waves of melody. from his expression, he looks like he's wondering when things will pick up. at the end of the song, the host calls the young part of the program, and asks bill, possibly the oldest in that room, to play for the room.

i knew, while picking at postcards at asian american showcase, just looking at a postcard of this film, that i would like it. it just took turns in ways that i didn't expect. it begins shortly after the deaths of his wife and his daughter, and like a true legend, he becomes unexpectedly wildly, widely appreciated and popular, carrying on a demanding schedule headed by his 26-year-old manager turned muse, alyssa.

when family members noticed that he seemed to be spending more time with her than his family, they begun to suspect alyssa of taking advantage of bill. alyssa had no choice but to break from what she calls her friendship with bill.

bill, on the other hand, cried the one time the filmmakers asked about alyssa. "i don't want to talk about this," he said. he also said that if alyssa were his age, he would marry her in a second.

when alyssa took bill to his old home in hawaii, his voice shook and his eyes watered. he said he had  a lot of happy memories in that house. he also said "but that's how they got to be," about the house, the memories, his wife and daugher, and alyssa.

before screening co-director and producer marcedes coats (worked with leo chiang on this film) said she called tapia to let him know of the show and to check up on him. he is now 98 years old. she said a shade of the inevitable, that he is slowly loosing eyesight in his other eye.

the film ends with alyssa reconciled with the family and bill, but not at the level as before. alyssa is saddened, but visibly thankful - "it takes a lot of patience," she said, of working with someone as old as bill. she says the yearlong hiatus has allowed her to take care of other things in her life.

the film does not end sadly, instead it ends with his 2002 sold-out concert at the historic hawaiian theater, a place under renovation. the film ends by mention of his sold-out concerts all over hawaii and california.
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welcome, and thank you for boarding the ulanmaya transit express. tickets, please. mind the gap as you depart. have a pleasant experience.

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