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Who goes to Hawaii and passes this up? (Okay, but only if you’ve been to one before), a Luau is one of those “must-dos” when in Hawaii, especially if it’s your first time to the islands. Luaus are known as the traditional Hawaiian feast that have you indulging in delicious Hawaiian delicacies (complete with roasted pig) and watching hula performances for three hours of your life.

Yes, luaus are tourist attractions, (and nothing screams “cliche Hawaiian tourist” more than a middle-aged man wearing aloha-wear, khaki knee shorts, and socks with leather sandals), but who cares?! When you are fed insane amounts of scrumptious food, given any kind of drink you want (whenever you want), get impeccable customer service from your host, and get to enjoy a variety of traditional hula performances, even the “anti-tourist” tourist is going to leave pleased.

When Kyle and I were planning our trip, we left one evening open to attend a luau. After doing research online, and with the help of Kyle’s co-workers, we settled on the Old Lahaina Luau in Lahaina, Maui. About two weeks in advance, we had two front-row seats reserved! Good thing we reserved ahead, too, because when we called to ask about changing the date about an hour before the thing actually began (don’t give me crap – we had spent all day in the sun and I was feeling pretty dehydrated and sick by then), they said that that evening’s show and every other show that week had been sold out! With that information, I pushed myself to go, despite the handful of times I tried to convince Kyle that I would repay him the $100 he spent reserving my seat. (Yes, that does indeed mean the luau cost $100 per person).

Turns out, with just a bit of fresh ocean air and a few sips of some kind of red, fruity beverage, the dehydration/minor heat stroke/whatever-else-I-thought-I-had went away. The luau grounds were literally right next to the ocean, and the breeze was rejuvenating. For about an hour, we walked around the property, took pictures with the tiki ornaments, and looked at all the souvenirs they had on display. I ended up buying a wooden sea turtle for my parents. One of the guys at the stand even did on-the-spot engraving with a chisel, which was pretty cool to watch.

This picture probably only shows about 1/4 of the entire luau audience. Kyle and I had the pleasure of sitting at one of those lower tables by the round stage.

Another part of that pre-dinner hour was spent “watching” two of the luau hosts dig up the roasting pig from beneath the dirt. I put “watching” in quotes because I was at the very back of the standing audience, trying to capture each moment on film with my arms stretched all the way up, and trying to accurately aim the lens toward the action while standing on my tippy toes. Needless to say, I didn’t get very many great pictures of that, but it’s still cool to visualize in your head, right?

Then it was time to eat! Our table was the first allowed to go get food, and Kyle and I – no joke – were the first people in the entire place to even touch the food at the buffet. We concluded that we struck it lucky in Maui (there’s a lot more than just being the first people to get food at a luau, but I’ll save it for another post)! Just try to focus on not getting hungry when looking at the following photo:

You can’t really tell in the picture, but the plate is about a foot long. That’s a foot-long of food, people.

A bit shaky of a picture, but it was the only one I got of the buffet full of traditional Hawaiian dishes.

After about 45 minutes of stuffing my face, the hula performances begun! The variety of costumes, styles of dance, and emotions conveyed through those dances were a sight to see. I quite enjoyed it all.

Ask me for a review, I dare ya! Just kidding – I’ll just give it to you now. While I have no other luaus to compare this one to, I would have to say that I was very impressed with Old Lahaina Luau. The only thing I have to get over is the fact that it cost $100 per person, but considering all the other luaus in town cost at least that much, and considering this one was recommended by almost everyone (in person and online), I’d say it was well-worth it. Like I mentioned before, the food was amazing, the service was amazing, and the performances were amazing. It was very family-friendly and it provided a great experience (and great pictures!) overall. Just remember that if you are planning a trip to Maui and would like to attend a luau, your best bet at getting that chance is by reserving (and paying for) your seats well in advance. Also, don’t spend all day on the beach and get dehydrated before the show! 🙂

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I dunno, I think I might be falling in love with blogging again… (said in a playful-yet-questionable-yet-sarcastic tone) I mean, this is my second post today (“whaaaa?” – ah, the beauty of scheduling posts for the future 🙂 ). I’ll blame my re-discovered enthusiasm on recent “followers,” “likers,” and “commenters.” (Yes, I’m talking to YOU!) 🙂

Today is Thanksgiving. (Well, actually, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, seeing as how I wrote this “yesterday”…) I should be in San Francisco with my family by now (although there is still a chance we got abducted), and y’all should be sitting in your nice, warm, cozy homes enjoying the smells or tastes of a traditional (or non-traditional) Thanksgiving dinner. I must admit: I’m jealous; the thought of my mouth missing out on the scrumptious elements of this annual meal – the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, STUFFING (in all-caps to show that STUFFING is my FAVORITE), cranberry sauce, finger veggies, and pumpkin pie – was the one reason I almost decided against this trip. This goes to show how bad my wanderlust is.

Irregardless (oh wait, that isn’t a real word), I thought I would still share some pictures with you. These pictures happen to be taken on Thanksgiving Day in 2008 and 2010. (Don’t ask where 2009 went).

My cousin Mariah serves my mom a piece of pumpkin pie. Taken November 27, 2008.

Veggie platter (where are the OLIVES??). Taken November 27, 2008.

Baby sportin' a nice "do" and a pink tennis vest. Taken November 27, 2008.

First cut off the ol' turkey, courtesy of Grandpa. Taken Novemeber 25, 2010.

Portrait of Adele, my newest cousin. Taken November 25, 2010.

Immigration Canyon, Idaho, fogged in the distance with falling snow. Taken November 25, 2010.

One thing’s for sure: I’m going to miss this this year. Perhaps we’ll find a good restaurant in San Francisco that is serving turkey dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the past few days, Utah has played host to the Tour of Utah. Stage 4 took place today in and around the Avenues, and seeing as how intrigued I’ve become with the race because of my job, I figured it would be a great day to go and check it out. Besides, how many times do you ever get to see professional cyclists zoom down South Temple at 45 miles per hour?

It's a Tour of Utah Po-Po, riding in front of a group to ensure the path is clear for them to pass.

One group of Tour of Utah riders pass by as we spectate on South Temple in Salt Lake City.

A United Healthcare Team rider

He's taking a drink! Doesn't look easy to me.

Technically, all of the riders were "battling it out" but you can just tell that these two are rivals. Really.

It's a sandwich...made of bicycles...

Until your next lap, my lovelies.

It wasn’t the most action-packed thing I’ve ever seen but still neat to have witnessed. Tomorrow’s Stage 5 takes place from Park City to Snowbird, so if you’re in the area, it might be worth it to go check it out.

…And another semester comes to an end!

For the past three months, I have been following Malevolent MC for a semester-long project for my Documentary Photography class. If you have been following my blog for a while, you probably know of him or will recognize him from previous photo shoots that I’ve done with him. Over the past two weeks, I wrote a story to accompany the photos I captured from the 6-7 times that I met with him throughout the three months and assembled the material into a magazine-style documentary spread. I have been anticipating this moment of finally being done and being able to publish it to my blog!

Please note that due to image sizes, downloading may be slow.
Please also read my comments below the gallery.
Enjoy!

“An Evil Art: Expression Through Words
…A photography documentary on the life of Malevolent MC, a freestyle hip hop artist living in the suburbs of Salt Lake City.”

Commentary:

I originally wanted to use “malevolence” as part of the theme but found supporting it with a story and images would be difficult, so it was changed to “the life of”.

There were many accommodations made on both mine and Malevolent MC’s part. For me, it was having to make myself available to attend his scheduled events/performances, since they would happen only one time. This meant having to miss school some nights.

I wasn’t really into the whole hip hop/rap scene before the project, but having followed Malevolent MC really opened my eyes to the “foreign” culture and I did find myself enjoying the events, in particular: the Rap Battle and his opening performance at Kilby Court.

From the 6-7 times that we met, I had taken over 300 photos, yet I only chose to incorporate 16 of them into the documentary. The ones I chose, I feel, really display Malevolent MC’s story. In the text I describe a lot of things in detail so I wanted to give a visual to perhaps the more significant or interesting ones, for example: the photo of the crowd hollering to “vote” him into the next round and the photo of burning incense.

All placing of images is relative to the text and to each other. For example, the photo of his shoe collection would only make sense if placed on the same page as the text that describes it.

You may have noticed that the documentary starts out with the Rap Battle. Rather than placing that towards the end, I wanted to entice people with the rather interesting imagery. Metaphorically, on another note, it represents how we see an artist as just a performer instead of realizing the amount of work that is first put in before they are able to actually perform.

Lastly, let it be pointed out that all photos are black and white. Initially, desaturation of the images was brought because there were usually too many colors in each shot, making them confusing and the colors distracting. By making them black and white, I hoped to reduce that effect. However, from interviewing Malevolent MC, he mentioned that he views his music in “shades of gray” because he is still trying to find his musical identity, and using black and white took the issue of ‘identity’ out completely.

I hope you all enjoyed it. I’d like to thank everyone for being so patient with me this semester, especially with the lack of blog posts. However, now that school is out…you all know what that means: we’re back in business, baby!

Expect a continuance of great photography soon 🙂

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