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Vol. 17, no. 2
April / May 2014


Back in the Limelight 

Story by Alan McNarie
Photos by Megan Spellman

In the darkened auditorium of the Honoka‘a People’s Theatre, Evianne Keeney, home from college on break, is playing Tchaikovsky on a grand piano; the notes reach out, clear and undistorted, to the back of the theater. Out in the lobby, which has been converted into a café, Evianne’s sister Phaethon is helping the baristas behind the counter serve up drinks like the “Marilyn” (cappuccino, with a “light and airy skirt of foam”). Their father, Dr. Tawn Keeney, the theater’s owner, watches a group of local musicians set up for a jam session in the café. The musicians arrange themselves in front of a historic Simplex carbon-arc projector, one of a massive pair that once dominated the theater’s projection room. The projectors were temperamental machines; the projection room had to be fireproofed because of their tendency to set celluloid film alight.

Once the music starts, café-goers gather around and applaud after each number. Tawn, meanwhile, drifts out to the sidewalk to have a conversation. A pickup stops in the middle of the street, and its driver, a handyman on his way to a job, calls out to Tawn: “You got music this afternoon?”

“There’s a band playing right now, and we’ve got an ‘ukulele concert at 2:30,” Tawn calls back.

“Damn,” says the workman. “You just cost me a hundred dollars. I’ll be right over.”