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Watermark Publishing Blog

  • FROM THE ARCHIVES: Local Traffic Only

    Vignettes illustrating proverbs are woven together in the 5x24-foot mural, Hawaiian Folkways by Martin Charlot. Vignettes illustrating proverbs are woven together in the 5x24-foot mural, Hawaiian Folkways by Martin Charlot.

    In 1985, artist Martin Charlot was commissioned to paint a 5x24-foot mural at the Kaneohe McDonald's restaurant. The subject of the painting: proverbs and folk wisdom, brought to life in intertwined vignettes.

    Martin chose to populate his mural with real people, modeling each figure in the painting on a subject he had met, many from his Windward Oahu community of Waiahole. Friends and family were asked to pose, as were strangers whose faces "had the look [Martin] wanted." In some cases, Martin knew which proverb he wanted them to act out; others picked saying that resonated with them, as did actor (and later governor of California) Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was a collector of Martin's father (Jean Charlot)'s work. The muscular action movie star chose "A wise man is mightier than a strong man, wisdom is mightier than strength and a man of knowledge increases power." Martin himself appears in the painting several times in tiny self-portraits. The mural became a Windward side landmark. Families would study it, looking for new details each time they visited the fast-food restaurant.

    In 2007, Watermark Publishing released a hard-cover commemorative book, Local Traffic Only: Proverbs Hawaiian Style, matching details from the large-scale painting to the proverbs they represent.

    Over the years, Martin had lost touch with most of the people who he'd immortalized on the wall of McDonald's. When we released the book, we put out a call to those former models to get in touch with us and to visit with Martin at his book launch signing at the Kaneohe McDonald's. We managed to assemble a group of individuals—who, 20 years later, had fond memories of posing for the mural and seeing themselves on the wall—to gather for a photo shoot for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

    Photo by Dennis Oda / HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN. Martin Charlot, left, and Laurance Uyemura are shown with portions of the mural that bear their images, and the sayings that inspired the poses. Charlot’s self-portrait shows him in a tuxudeo flying a kite, while Uyemura was the model for words of wisdom on laughter.

    When it came time for the book signing event, the line snaked through the restaurant and people stood in line for nearly three hours to have Martin autograph their books.

    Artist Martin Charlot drew sketches for each book at his launch celebration. Artist Martin Charlot drew sketches for each book at his launch celebration.

    Each autograph was accompanied by a little sketch of one of the proverbs. The whole experience was quite thrilling for Martin, and a walk down memory lane, not just for him, but his models as well, several of them reconnecting with old neighbors, co-workers and classmates after decades.

    For more photos from the Star-Bulletin photo shoot, click over to their article on the book release.

    The title of the book, Local Traffic Only, is taken from one of the details found in the mural, a tiny sign on a towering telephone pole. While many proverbs are illustrated quite literally—"He's got the world on a string" or "Big fish eat little fish."—children (and many adults) took particular delight in the surreal images Martin employed to illustrate other the sayings—a tree topped by a woman's head, illustrating "You will know a tree by its fruit" (the face—and the tree—are Martin's mother) or a doctor with a tree growing from his ear, representing "Physician, heal thyself."

    Over a hundred different proverbs are represented in the painting. Martin conceived it as:

    ...a work so dense with content that a restaurant customer would be unable to absorb it all in one viewing. It would be, I told Pat [Kahler, CEO of McDonald's Corporation in Hawaii at the time], "a three-hamburger mural."

    Local Traffic Only includes a foldout replica of the complete mural, as well as the detailed images to accompany the proverbs through the book.

  • Be Sweet – Serve Your Honey a Healthy Chocolate Spice Cake

    Planning to woo your sweetie with some sweets this Valentine's Day? Let A Sweet Dash of Aloha help you prepare treats for your honey that will keep you both healthy!

    For a sweet and spicy treat, try this Flourless Chocolate Spice Cake recipe from Chef Carol Nardello. (It's gluten-free and low in fat and sugar, but you don't have to tell anyone!)

    ChocolateSpiceCake

    Flourless Chocolate Spice Cake
    Makes 8-10 servings    

    Recipe by Chef Carol Nardello

    NutriFacts_ChocoSpiceCakeChocolate and spice is a natural marriage in this moist, flourless chocolate torte.

    • 15 oz. garbanzo beans
    • 12 oz. gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 4 eggs
    • ¾ c. Splenda
    • ½ tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

    For a silky smooth-textured cake, squeeze beans between fingers to release skins and discard skins before rinsing and draining. Place chocolate in small saucepan and melt on low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool. In the bowl of a food processor, combine beans and eggs and process until smooth. In a small bowl, combine Splenda, baking powder, cinnamon and cayenne. Add mixed spices to bean mixture along with cooled, melted chocolate. Blend until smooth. Scrape down sides of food processor bowl to incorporate all of the chocolate, mixing well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes or more before inverting onto a serving platter.

    See if your sweetheart can identify the hidden ingredient.

    A Sweet Dash of Aloha is available in bookstores and online. Use coupon code SWEET throughout the month of February to take 30% off your entire order* when you purchase a copy of Sweet Dash at our online store, www.bookshawaii.net. FREE SHIPPING on orders totaling over $25.

    SweetDashPromoCard

    *Discount applies to non-sale items only. Purchase must include a copy of A Sweet Dash of Aloha in order to qualify for the discount.
  • "Hey, Sailor..." Eddie Sherman Introduces His Book

    Eddie Sherman and Marlon Brando on the set of Brando's movie, "One-Eyed Jacks." Eddie Sherman and Marlon Brando on the set of Brando's movie, "One-Eyed Jacks."

    We are saddened by the loss of one of our most charismatic authors, Eddie Sherman. At age 88, Eddie passed away on Tuesday. He is survived by his wife, Patty, to whom he dedicated his memoir, calling her "my inspiration and the love of my life."

    Eddie always had the best stories, and it was great fun to hear him tell them. We can still hear his raspy voice reading aloud from his memoir, Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me: Adventures in Paradise with the Celebrity Set. Here's a taste, the introduction to his memoir relating his own introduction to the celebrity scene he spent decades chronicling. And wouldn't you know it, it involves him holding a beautiful movie star.

    "Hey, Sailor..."

    Do you remember the first time you met an honest-to-goodness, larger-than-life celebrity? Some people may have a story like that to tell. Maybe it involved bumping into an inebriated Hollywood star at a Los Angeles nightclub or getting a basketball legend’s autograph at a book signing.

    I’ll have to wager, though, that my first encounter with a celebrity was more intimate than most. After all, it’s not every day that you get to hold the derrière of a ravishing major Hollywood actress.

    I guess I’d better explain.

    The year was 1942 and I had just been given an honorable medical discharge from the U.S Coast Guard. I dislocated my left shoulder during basic training in Algiers, Louisiana. The Coast Guard refused to operate because I had a history of previous shoulder dislocations and, in fact, I had surgery on my shoulder before entering the service. I argued that since they examined and accepted me, why shouldn’t they be responsible for fixing my shoulder? But my efforts fell on deaf ears.

    Here I was, just seventeen years old, and my dream of serving in the military was already dashed to pieces. I hopped on a bus back to Boston, my hometown, with no job prospects and only a few dollars in my pocket. At least I had permission to wear the Coast Guard uniform for a couple months.

    On my way home, I decided to stop in New York for a day or two. I had never been there in my life. All alone in the Big Apple! I felt like just a tiny grain of sand on the huge beach of mammoth Manhattan.

    Most people in New York have this in common: they walk. A lot. Everybody does it, and so did I. It was exhilarating! The sights, sounds, smells and feel of New York—everything was just throbbing with excitement.

    While I was strolling along in the Times Square area, a car suddenly pulled up to the curb. A man leaned out the window and yelled, “Hey, sailor. Would you come over here for a minute?”

    So I did. “What’s up?” I asked.

    Eddie Sherman and his mother, Bessie, who infamously had Marlon Brando change her kitchen garbage bag! Eddie Sherman and his mother, Bessie, who infamously had Marlon Brando change her kitchen garbage bag!

    The gentleman told me he was a publicity man for a motion picture company. A major film star was arriving at Grand Central Station, he said, and he was trying to round up as many military folks as possible for a photo session with her. He gave me a few dollars for a taxi and told me exactly what track the train was coming in on. Then the car sped off.

    I had nothing better to do, so off I went to meet a movie star. The greeting party was easy to find—it was quite a crowd—and all branches of the services were represented.

    There were about thirty of us in all.

    And suddenly there she was: Merle Oberon, stepping off the train—beautifully dressed, oozing glamour and sophistication.

    She was one of the major screen stars of that era. I had seen some of her films and was a big fan. I especially enjoyed her in Wuthering Heights. She was so sultry and exotic looking. I had never before seen a famous film star in person. This was exciting!

    Before Oberon got off the train, the man who asked me to come to the station came over and selected a soldier and myself to be the ones to make a “seat” for Oberon. I’d like to think it was my chiseled good looks that landed me this opportunity, but more likely it was because I was one of the smaller guys in the group.

    The soldier and I locked wrists. As Miss Oberon was brought to us, we lowered our hands and she sat on our little “seat.” She put her arms on our shoulders and smiled broadly as we lifted her up.

    She smelled like flowers. So delicate and dainty! Camera flashbulbs went off like fireflies.

    “It’s a real pleasure to be holding you, Miss Oberon,” I said.

    “I have enjoyed your movies.”

    “Thank you,” she replied, smiling sweetly.

    And then, just like that, it was over. Oberon was quickly escorted out of the station to a waiting limo.

    I never got to meet Merle Oberon again. As fate would have it, however, this chance encounter was just a preview of things to come. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d someday cross paths with the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Rocky Marciano. I never imagined that I would someday go sailing with Albert Finney, and become buddies with guys like Sammy Davis, Jr., and Marlon Brando.

    But it all happened. These stories, and many more, are all here in this book.

    Enjoy!

    Eddie Sherman

    Eddie, it's been a real pleasure knowing you. We have enjoyed your stories.

    Now available in e-reader format:
    Amazon Kindle
    Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me - Eddie Sherman

  • M.I.A. Art & Literary Series Presents Don't Look Back

    Don't Look BackJoin us at the January 2013 M.I.A. Art & Literary Series evening on Monday, January 21 at Fresh Cafe’s Loft in Space (831 Queen St.), 7:30pm - 9:00pm, to hear readings from Don't Look Back editor Christine Thomas and contributing writers, Timothy Dyke and J. Freen. The event is free and open to the public.

    To whet your appetite, here's a teaser taste of the three authors' stories. (Click through for longer excerpts.)

    Timothy Dyke's story, "No Look Back," inspired the anthology's title. His take on the legend of Māui the Fisherman:

    I’m trying to construct a tale about my friend, Logan Cabrera. It’s difficult for me to look back at all the events that happened between us and find one clear instance of narrativelaunch. I could begin on the day we met, or on the day I was born. I could focus on the way the trouble started. I could start with the morning I came out of the closet. I could begin today and move backward.

    Back in the day, there was a high school teacher and a former student. Once upon a time, I drove the kid out to Sand Island when he was strung out on OxyContin. I could begin with the moment I picked up the telephone. I could describe the afternoon in Phoenix when I watched him snort heroin through the shaft of a ballpoint pen. Or I could start, as I often do, by wandering off on a tangent connected to some recent conversation from English class.

    I teach an elective for high school seniors called “The Bible as Literature.” Early last semester, I was talking to my students about the story from Genesis about Lot and his wife. I find that story hard to analyze, and I was asking the kids in my class to explain specific plot points. Some of them have it in their heads that God destroyed Sodom to purge his land of gay people, and while I wasn’t necessarily trying to contradict their upbringings, I was attempting to steer them toward a more nuanced interpretation.

    “Hey,” I asked my class as we got to the part where Lot’s wife turns to a pillar of salt. (She would have been fine if Lot had resisted the temptation to turn around and check on her.) “Doesn’t this remind you of the Greek myth of Orpheus?” They looked at me with mild recognition. “In Greek myth, Orpheus goes down to the underworld to rescue his lover, Eurydice.” I saw a kid move a thumb toward his iPhone, but I ignored him. “Do you all know this story?” Most did, but some didn’t, so we etched out important details: Orpheus is allowed to take Eurydice from Hades, but he’s told that when he exits the underworld, he’s not to look back at her. He starts walking and, as he gets anxious, he turns around to gaze behind. Eurydice disappears, never to return again. Erica, the girl with the mushroom design on her hoodie, announced that a Māui story went the same way.

    Click here to read more of "No Look Back" by Timothy Dyke

    J. Freen's modern version of the legend of O‘ahu Nui, the Cannibal King, and the Ai Kanaka has been popular at our past reading events:

    Try GoogleEarth 1188 Bishop Street, Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Take off from above the mainland, cross the Pacific in a second or two—makes you kind of dizzy the first time. Before you know it you’re above the harbor, coming in, coming in, mouse in hand—hold it—hovering above the office tower on the corner of Beretania and Bishop, at the gateway to the city’s financial and legal district. Lots of stuff goes on here, interesting stuff, but to find out you need to climb out of your computer screen, put on some clothes, some shoes, and hit the street for real.

    It’s a toasty January morning in the city. You feel the sun on your face. You are standing on the corner, looking up at the steel and glass tower. In front of you is a short, dark-haired fellow dressed in a bland aloha shirt and neatly pressed slacks—the uniform of the local businessman. His name is Case Izumi. Follow him. He won’t notice you because, actually, you’re still back home, staring at the screen, dressed only in your underpants. I was just kidding about making you do anything realworld today.

    His finger is on the button for floor number 21 and up we go. Suite 2110 is to his right, the door with the tasteful sign that reads: Alvin Alakawa, Attorney at Law. Push the door open, and the warm and pleasing face of the receptionist greets the visitor.

    Her name is Kilikili, which means “fine misty rain” in Hawaiian. The kind of rain that often fills Nu‘uanu, the big valley behind downtown, in the morning and evening of a day like today. Kilikili’s last name is Pulena, a famous name in Hawai‘i, the family name of a long line of kings and nobles. She is proud of this but more proud, truth be told, of her two sons, Kai and Kawika, aged six and seven—kids she has raised as a single mom ever since their dad took off and left her to fend for herself, which she did, landing a job with big-time attorney and politician Al Alakawa. For six long years now she has been Al’s factotum, a fancy Latin word that means slave treated like dirt.

    Click here to read more of "If You GoogleEarth 1188 Bishop Street" by J. Freen

    Editor Christine Thomas was inspired to assemble an anthology of re-invented Hawaiian legends when she discovered that a story she had in the works bore similarities to an old Hawaiian myth:

    Pua taps on the redwood door of Kai’s room, and then shouts her brother’s name loud as she walks in. The room is dark, the afternoon sun blocked by a coarse bamboo shade; when she rolls it up, Kai’s deep voice cracks, asking her to close it again. She hears but acts like she doesn’t, leaning over the bed to peer at his face, casting a new shadow over him. She keeps her voice crisp, not wanting to betray worry or acceptance of what could still just be elaborate self-pity.

    “What you doing? I have for go school or work ev-ery frick-in day and you just lying in bed whenever you like. No fair.”

    “Go. Away.”

    “How ’bout I lie down and you go serve grumpy mainlanders at that dumbass Convention Center. ’Kay? Get up or you going be late.”

    The mattress dips as she squeezes in beside him and then shakes as she forces a laugh. But when humor provokes no movement or response, the knots return to Pua’s stomach, tentacles tightening. Tutu leans her head in, then vanishes.

    “You okay? Should I be worried?”

    “It’s nothing. Just go. Go to work.”

    “Tutu says you’re not eating. And you sit in here all day, see nobody or even talk. I mean, alone time is one thing, but…”

    Silence.

    “You need to eat, Kai. Get fresh air.”

    She stares at the ti leaves outside the window, can almost feel the heat soaking into the soft fibers. She gets up and turns on some music. Still nothing.

    She is definitely going to be late, and if it’s even one minute they dock her pay. So she asks the inevitable question, utters the name she thinks will rouse her brother and allow her into his thoughts.

    “Is it Eliza?”

    Click here to read more of "Places of Entry" by Christine Thomas

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