Show-biz veterans remain true to their artistry the honolulu advertiser hawaii’s newspaper stock market trading hours new years eve


Society of Seven members, from left, Albert Maligmat, Bert Sagum and Hoku Low performed a comedic number during the group’s three-concert engagement last month at the Hawai’i Theatre.

Last project: Supporting Filipino Community Center fundraising drive April 29 to help four families who lost members in a fatal crash in Kunia Next project: TV special on the Filipino Centennial, airing June 28-29 on KHON-2

Known for: Long-running Society of Seven shows at the Outrigger Waikiki’s Main Showroom, formation of spin-off group called Society of Seven Las Vegas

Next projects: "Jazz and Wine" event, with Rocky Brown and Friends, Friday at Bishop Museum; "An Evening of Jazz With Noel Okimoto and ‘Ohana," with Okimoto and Jake Shimabukuro, May 21 at Mamiya Theatre, Saint Louis School; Windward Jazz Festival, June 12 at Paliku Theatre, Windward Community College

A pioneering first wave of Filipino performers who made the climb to mainstream success beyond Hawai’i, including figures such as independent television producer-host Emme Tomimbang and Society of Seven leader Tony Ruivivar, say they have connections to their culture but see themselves as popular artists. These troupers tap genres as diverse as pop and show music, jazz and comedy, drawing influences from their roots while reaching out to the broadest possible audience.

Many of these performers say their cultural influence came into play in valuing artistry, ambition and hard work, rather than forwarding a specifically "Filipino style" of performance canadian dollar to indian rupee exchange rate today. In the case of the SOS, the members — originally considered "outsiders," since they came from outside Hawai’i — had to weather a brief storm before evolving into one of the longest-running acts in Waikiki.

"Filipinos have a strong, artistic expression," said Tomimbang, the veteran television producer and host who has been an avid booster of the Filipino entertainment community here for 30 years. "They work very hard at their artistry, and they have pride. Look at Tony Ruivivar and the Society of Seven; Hawai’i was their third environment, having come from the Philippines and then Hong Kong the box tops. Filipinos work long and very hard to reach their goals."

Ruivivar and his original SOS make a good case in point. Now based in Las Vegas (though back in Hawai’i, for a pair of Kaua’i engagements this weekend, linked to this year’s ongoing Filipino centennial celebration), the group has played for nearly 40 years at the Outrigger Waikiki, and it’s known throughout the Islands convert hkd to usd. The spin-off Society of Seven Las Vegas, now in residence in Waikiki, also has a Filipino contingent.

Ruivivar said his eye always has been on a mainstream audience, though the group certainly doesn’t turn away Filipino fans. "We’ve never catered our show to the Filipino audience," he said. "While we’re proud about our ethnicity, we don’t consider ours a Filipino act binary file compare. We’ve always wanted to be mainstream."

Tomimbang, one of the state’s most visible Filipinas, was buoyed by her late father Tommy Tomimbang’s pioneering work as a Filipino radio celebrity. When she was growing up, she accompanied him to plantation sites, where he would work the crowds on hand dollar to euro conversion rate today. She had her own radio show, "Morning Girl," on KISA, the first Filipino-owned radio station in the U.S., launched in 1973. Her dad also hosted a program on the station, "Maligayang Araw," for Filipino-speaking audiences.

"Oddly enough, in the Filipino community, I knew I was Filipino, but in school, I was around mostly Japanese kids, and I’ve always looked back at myself as being local, not Filipino," said Tomimbang.

"It was someone else, a peer, who later said that I was the first Filipino local girl on television, and if that inspires others, great ip address to binary. If I can do it, you can do it," she said.

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar, who is half Filipino and half Japanese, is known as a leading light in the Islands’ jazz scene but made a name for himself as a musician in Los Angeles. He said his ability to perform and hold his own with mainstream jazz artists was the determining factor in his success.

In the 1960s, Baltazar performed and recorded with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, and had ties with Terry Gibbs, Oliver Nelson and Gil Fuller decimal operations. Since the 1970s, he has been a premier saxophonist and a staple at jazz festivals here and abroad. "In the (music) business, I was never considered Filipino, nor did I play Filipino music," he said. "It was always jazz."

Chops earned him a place at the gigs he played here and elsewhere, not his ethnicity. But the Filipino love of performance and performers helped bring out listeners, he said.

"I grew up in a jazz environment, in the 1930s and ’40s, and I recall that the Filipinos loved jazz whenever we played parties here," he said in his gentle manner.

From the get-go, Ruivivar said, "people here were great, appreciative and friendly; it was always an ‘ohana type of atmosphere. In the beginning, fans would bring food binary search tree java code. I think it had to do with timing, too; we were here when the showroom scene was changing in Waikiki."

"Ilocanos are known to be funny people," said Wai’anae-reared Bumatai, who is Ilocano, Visayan and Igorot. "So based on background, you might say I’m supposed to be funny.

He recalls a transplanted comic tradition from the Philippines that was briefly the rage in Hawai’i: Male comics dressed in drag for performances. The Reycards were a prime example in Honolulu, with singer Rey Ramirez and Ricky Castro, a clown who donned women’s garb usa today newspaper online. They were Philippines stars who found success in Las Vegas, transiting to Hawai’i’s showrooms in the 1980s and ’90s.

When Bumatai started to succeed, Filipino fans supported him, went along with his jokes about their common habits, and made their approval known.

"Bumatai is a Filipino name; I chose to make fun of Filipinos, because they’re funnier than Hawaiians. And being Filipino, I could get away with it," Bumatai said. "I recall a legislator once told me — I wish I could remember his name — that in school, he said, it was uncool to be Filipino, and I made it cool to be Filipino best exchange rate for usd to inr. Filipinos applaud your success."

His early riffs were about growing up; now Bumatai’s into parenting jokes. But the foray into Filipino themes remains, since "that’s part of me."

"I call my humor survival comedy," he said. "When you grow up poor, you do what you can to get along, you joke about stupid clothes from Goodwill. You’re influenced by the circumstances under which you lived."

The Society of Seven were always pop artists, but they incorporated Filipino elements early on by bringing the Filipino tinikling or bamboo dance into the show.

Baltazar’s parents, who had plantation ties, brought the work ethic of the pineapple fields to his everyday life, he said. "My family were hard-working people; but because my dad was a musician, he played on the plantation and formed a band and taught music, too. So I grew up in that environment of music and dedication."

Among musicians — or at least the crowds he hung out with — Baltazar’s Filipino ethnicity has never been an issue, he said. "Our music was popular in the barrios here, and accepted by others elsewhere."

Ruivivar, the leader and manager of Society of Seven, said the only form of "discrimination" his group encountered in the Islands — in retrospect, he said it was largely a misunderstanding — was in the late 1960s, when the band, then called the Echoes, was booked to open the now-closed club Duke Kahanamoku’s in the International Market Place. "Lucky Luck (a radio and TV personality of the time) said we were taking over Don Ho’s spot, like we were displacing him, which was not true."

The suspicion about the "outsiders" blew over, and after the Duke Kahanamoku gig, the SOS moved across the street to establish a long residency at the Outrigger showroom.

Over the years, Bumatai said, he’s encountered minor forms of discrimination because of his ethnicity — one of his perennial peeves has been an assumption that he was Hispanic, particularly in California — but he was more amused than bothered by the slight.

"I don’t mind stereotypes, as long as some of them are based in truth," he said, half-jokingly. "But once when I was on the Mainland, a lady stamped on my application that I was nonwhite." That stirred his suspicions: "I’m an ethnic chameleon, but in some quarters, anyone brown can’t be (portrayed as) a business owner in a TV show."

He also recalls, "I remember my father’s generation being exposed to some discrimination; he told me there were signs on the Mainland that read ‘No dogs or Filipinos (allowed).’ "

"The nightclub scene has dried up completely," said the comedian, now in limbo. "So I’m doing casual (comedy) gigs, but I’m still shooting for something national. … I’ve been trying that for 25 years."