Tom, Mos & Maui
August 11, 2010 | 04:55 PM"@hodgman: I tire of the term 'celebrity.' We are no longer celebrating them but ritually burning them in effigy… like they deserve." (via Twitter)
Given the ol' "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here" prompt, the remnants of Bubba Gump's official Maui Celebrity Series after-party took to the sidewalks last Friday.
A baker's dozen clung around Tom Green, snapping smart-phone photos and tossing their adoring quips at the former MTV star. The mass meandered within a 20-yard radius on Front Street—a disjointed, inebriated parade.
"Man, this is weird," a woman turned to me and said. She looked disgusted. "Isn't this weird?"
Indeed—even for a situation surrounding Tom Green, who works to embody weird—it was odd. Aren't we on Maui? What happened to our rep for leaving famous folks alone (or at least being a little cooler around them)?
Sure, Green had earned the attention with his non-stop funny show at the Maui Theatre, yet I couldn't help but feel bad for the guy. Because really, when the show is said and done, dude just wants to put his one nut to no ka oi use; and thwarting those plans were "fans," from a grass mat-wielding guy who smelled like poo to a douchey dude shouting, "Drinks! Drinks!" (but not actually buying drinks).
It's swell that Green obliged his fans as much as he did, but had he instead galloped off into the night with the cute girl(s) he'd been chatting up in the corner, that would've been fine by me. Maybe it's just my hometown pride talking, but there's no better place than the 808 to get lei'd and have a ball.
Perhaps even worse than the crowd Green faced in the street was the skimpy crowd that showed up for his Maui gig. It doesn't seem like it'd be hard to fill (or come closer to filling) the 680-seat venue. OK, so Green's been out of the limelight a while, and maybe his humor's not for everyone. But Mos Def, who headlined the following night, also played to a lot of empty seats. We're an Oahu-afterthought for most acts; you'd think more people would jump at the few chances we get to see big names.
With Mos, perhaps it's a case of a star's power only going so far. Given the premium ticket prices, last-minute postponement and, perhaps, the bad taste still left in the mouths of those burned by the November 2007 "Mos Def debacle" (where—through no fault of Mos's—promoters at Liquids Nightclub in Kihei, formerly Hapa's, took the money and ran, leaving a $70-plus void in the pockets of some pretty pissed-off patrons), there may be a bit of Def disillusionment festering on-isle.
But Mos's artistry is formidable enough to stand against even that history (and the fact that under-21 ticket holders were turned away at the door, and that the audience was herded into the theater incrementally, as if through locks at the Panama Canal, and that there was no opening act, just canned music over the sound check, and with Mos being late to the gig...OK, I'll stop.) But one thing Mos is no match for? Maui's LC.
An alert reader left us a voicemail message pointing out that in last week's Picks, I was incorrect in recommending people bring universally-practical towels to mop up their dance sweat (a reference to Mos's role in The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy) as there is NO DANCING allowed at the Maui Theatre. Touche.
Promoter Brian Evans was met with a chorus of boos when he requested that, if we must dance, we confine ourselves to our seats (and that the uniformed officers guarding the door and flanking the stage would see to it).
Despite whatever weirdness, the Mos Def show was worth waiting for. Whenever he helmed his humble drum kit—for songs like "Quiet Dog (Bite Hard)," off his latest, The Ecstatic—the air was alive with beautiful raw beats that begged to be danced to, Footloose-esque regulations be damned.
In the end, I suppose, I shouldn't feel bad for celebs who face empty seats—they'll live. And maybe I should forgive Mauians, both those who didn't show up and those who got a little too enthused.
Wouldn't want to analyze a fun weekend to death.
P.S. I did, in fact, analyze this fun weekend to death. For more rants and raves, visit mauifeed.com/kulakid.
Anu Yagi is also available in Twitter form at @anuheayagi
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