Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lost 2014 Tour: Return to St. Andrew's Priory

After visiting "Mr. Cluck's" I headed east on Dillingham Boulevard, back toward downtown Honolulu.  Because it was more or less on the way, I tried to find the spot where Hurley met Locke in the box company parking lot during season 6.  After circling around Home Depot and running into several industrial district dead ends I gave up on that mission.  Instead I decided it would be fun to revisit one of my favourite LOST locations.

I originally visited St. Andrew's Priory during a full-day Hawaiian Escapades tour back in 2011.  It's a very cool location which was used multiple times in LOST, as a stand-in for Charlie's church, Desmond's monastery, and Oxford.  This time around I tried to get a few new camera angles, and was finally able to take inside the church itself.  As well, a long white limo was parked onsite and I could have sworn I saw a couple of scraggly British rockers behind the tinted glass windows.

Charlie?  Liam?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lost 2014 Tour: Mr. Cluck's

From Liliha Bakery I ventured down Dillingham Boulevard to find the Popeye's restaurant that stood in for Mr. Cluck's in several episodes of LOST including "Everybody Hates Hugo", "Tricia Tanaka is Dead", and "Everybody Loves Hugo".  When originally planning my route I had decided to skip Popeye's because it was a little too out-of-the-way, but as I was walking the streets of Honolulu, knowing I was only minutes away, I couldn't resist the temptation to track it down.  It was a long walk but I'm glad I went.

Although the exterior colour scheme is more or less the same, there have been some structural changes to the store made since it appeared on screen.

Mr. Clucks vs. The Meteor, from "Tricia Tanaka is Dead" 
Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, September 2014

For the show the building was shot from one angle, probably because there is a fairly large parking lot on that side of the building from which the cameras could capture long shots.

Hurley after quitting his job, from "Everybody Hates Hugo"
Requisite selfie.

The other side of the building, which didn't appear on screen, has a drive-thru window and a median which would have partially blocked the cameras view.

The other side of "Mr. Cluck's"

Though the basic layout remains the same, the interior details of the restaurant have also changed with new lights, new chairs, and a central median.

Still-alive Tricia Tanaka, from "Tricia Tanaka is Dead"
Johnny taking orders, from "Everybody Hates Hugo"
Unidentified youth taking orders at Popeye's.
Hurley and Des, from "Everybody Loves Hugo"
Establishing shot from "Everybody Hates Hugo"
Popeye's, 2014.
I purchased a large drink and spent a few minutes sitting at one of the table sipping sprite and thinking about the episodes that had been filmed there.  I'm glad I decided to make the effort to visit; it certainly made my day cluckity-cluckier!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lost 2014 Tour: Liliha Bakery

The first stop on my solo walking tour of LOST locations was the Liliha Bakery on North Kuakini Street.

First stop!
There are really two distinct sections within the establishment -- on one side is a bakery where one can order various pastries (which looked fantastic, but I was so full from breakfast that I didn't buy anything) while on the other side is a small, narrow diner.  The latter stood in for the greasy spoon where Kate visited her mother, Diane, just after blowing up her house with Wayne inside.

Kate enters diner where her Mom Diane works.
Liliha Bakery, September 2014.
Both the bakery and the diner seemed very popular with the locals.

Diane serves Kate coffee.

The coffee is still brewing in 2014. (Photo: Chris)

I returned to the diner a few days later with two of my LOST buddies, and this time sat down for a hearty loco moco breakfast.

Kate feels like talking, not eating.
Where's the food?  We're famished!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lost 2014: Day 2

For Thursday September 18th, my first full day in Hawaii, I decided to take a solo walking tour covering some of the LOST locations I had missed back in 2011.  The day started with a quick appreciation of views from the hotel followed by a stop at Lulu's for a scrumptious blueberry pancake breakfast.

Morning view from my hotel room balcony.

View of Diamond Head from hotel's 8th floor walkway

I then jumped on the #13 bus, heading toward the west side of Honolulu.  I'll break down each of my LOST location visits into separate posts, but suffice to say that the day was hot (in fact, the whole week was abnormally warm and humid by Oahu standards) but fortunately cloud-covered so I didn't feel the full force of the Hawaiian sun.  After more than 4 hours of exploring I caught a second bus back to my hotel.  Despite wearing sunscreen, a hat, and keeping hydrated, I was pretty exhausted.

Fortunately, nothing counteracts exhaustion better than a stop at Lulu's.  I had a wonderfully tasty plate of teriyaki steak bites with sesame, and a couple of refreshing drinks alongside.

Refueled, and with another shower and change of clothes, I ventured off on foot to the hotel where Alice and her group were staying, where Alice was hosting a reunion of sorts with some of our other LOST cohorts who had arrived in Hawaii during the day.  I walked through Waikiki along the beach side of Kalakaua Avenue, always lovely around sunset.

Sunset in Waikiki
The early evening was punctuated by smiles, hugs, and shouts of delight as guests arrived.  "Rambo!"  "Ian!"  "Fiona!"  "Paul!" "MJ!"  "Chris!".  What a lovely group of people, and how lucky I am to know them.  Most I hadn't seen since 2011, with the exception of Chris and Ian whom I met up with in London during a family vacation in 2013.

Reunion.  (Photo: Ian)

Later in the evening Jo & Lisa dropped by to say hello and chat for a bit.  I believe it was here that we heard that sad news that Jo's Cancer Get Lost partner, Jared, had to cancel his travel plans last-minute due to a family emergency.  We missed you, buddy!  I called it a night relatively early, and had the pleasure of walking with Jo and Lisa back to the hotel zone.  I first met Jo back in 2011 when she visited "The Barracks" in San Diego; I'm always impressed by her energy, her lightning quick smarts, rapid-fire delivery, and giant heart.

Jo & Lisa visit.  (Photos: Alice)

And so ended my first full day in Hawaii.  I hit the hay before midnight, knowing full well that things would only get crazier and sleep more elusive in the days ahead!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lost 2014: Day 1

It must have been back in 2013 when I first heard that there would be a gathering of  LOST fans in Oahu to celebrate the 10th anniversary of LOST.   Although I had to be cajoled into travelling to Oahu back in 2011, this time I knew immediately that I had to go back.  Once further details were communicated in early 2014 I eagerly booked a flight, hotel, and registered for the event along with a couple of LOST-themed tours.

As the months ticked by anticipation grew, particularly as I received news from some of my closest LOST pals that they too would be heading to the island in September.  It would be the first time I met many of them in person since our wonderful stay in the San Diego Barracks during SDCC 2011.

On September 17th I awoke bright and early to catch a 7:45AM flight to Vancouver.  All went well on this leg of the journey, and upon arrival I set off to the Maple Leaf Lounge to pass the time during my 4-hour layover. (This is Air Canada's airport lounge, which features free food and alcohol.)  I managed to grab a quick breakfast just as it was being taken away, then a few minutes later lunch was brought out.  Good thing I was hungry after the flight which (as seems to be the norm these days) didn't offer anything in the way of free meals or snacks.  The hours went by fairly quickly, and soon enough I was queueing up for the second and final leg of my journey.  Things were about to get interesting.

My neighbour on the flight was a young guy from Quebec, maybe mid-twenties, who had recently started a new job just north of Vancouver.  His contract allowed one paid flight back home to Quebec per month; however, he also had the option of using the money to travel elsewhere, and for this first flight he more or less randomly decided to travel to Oahu.  In fact, he told me, this was to be the first time he had travelled outside of Canada.  He had booked a room at a hostel in Honolulu, and planned to rent a motorcycle to tour the island.  I mentioned that I had been to Oahu once before and we discussed some of his plans, what to see, etc.  Over the course of several hours and of 3 or 4 drinks ordered on the flight (and a few extras that emerged from his backpack) we talked and talked, and talked some more.

When he asked me why I was heading to the island I vaguely mentioned that I was meeting up with some friends.  I didn't really want to bring up the LOST gathering, for fear that he either would have seen the show but either not liked it or not understood it. (They were dead the whole time!) Or that he simply wouldn't have heard of it and then I would have needed to explain the entire history of the show.  Eventually, though, he wore me down with persistent interrogation and I admitted that several hundred fans of the show LOST were coming together in Hawaii to celebrate its 10th anniversary, to visit filming locations on the island, and to enjoy a Q&A with Jorge Garcia who played Hurley.  And this was the moment that a look of what I can only describe as confused elation crossed his face.  Somewhat like the look in John Locke's eyes when he first saw the Smoke Monster up close.  For not only had he seen the show (the first few seasons, anyway), but he loved it.  He hadn't realized that they shot most of the series on Oahu.  This opened up a whole new dimension to his vacation.  He literally shouted out "Hurley!  Hurley!" when I reaffirmed that we would indeed be meeting, in person, with Jorge in a few days.  (A short time later, when he had gotten up to use the washroom, one of the flight attendants dropped by to ask if he was OK.)  Around 4 hours in to the flight the excitement of this discovery (and the seven or eight drinks) finally took their toll and my neighbour nodded off for the remainder of the trip.  We split a cab to my hotel (he was staying close by), and before saying good-bye I mentioned that there would be a meet up at O'Toole's and he was welcome to drop by.  However, I never did see him again.  Hopefully he had fun and was able to soak up some of the island's magic.

I stayed at the Park Shore Hotel, where I had also stayed back in 2011.  Although the rooms are average, the hotel has good air conditioning and strong, hot showers. (Two of my measure for hotel excellence.)  It is located on the east side of Waikiki, right beside the Honolulu zoo, and across from Queen's Surf beach.  On the plus side, being slightly out-of-the-way it isn't completely flooded with tourists; conversely, it is a little further to walk to many of the restaurants and bars located in central and western Waikiki.  The Park Shore's ace-in-the-hole is Lulu's, a fantastic bar/restaurant with great views of the beach and very tasty, reasonably priced lunch and breakfast.  Happy hour, from 3PM to 5PM daily, features $4 daiquiris and a small selection of other low-priced drinks.  Lulu's also hosts bands most evenings, though this time around I didn't catch any of the shows.

Love this place!

When I booked the hotel I made two requests -- to be on the 8th floor or higher, and to be away from the elevator.  On arrival I was offered room #819 (good), directly across from the elevator (d'oh!).  Luckily, elevator noise was undetectable from my location, and on only a few occasions did I hear guests making noise as they made their way to and from their rooms.

Arrived!  Park Shore Hotel, room #819

By now it was a little after 7PM, and I had to be at Allan Wong's restaurant at 8:30 for dinner, so I quickly showered and changed, then had the hotel call a taxi given that it was a little far to walk.  I arrived a few minutes early and took the elevator up to the restaurant to see if anyone was there yet; they weren't so I took the elevator back down to street level to wait.  As the doors opened my eyes fell upon my good pal Alice, her wife Terri, their friends Kiana and Allison, and Paul, my favourite Scotsman in the world. (Sorry, Desmond.)  We were soon joined by fellow LOSTie Dave Rambo. (I'll refer to Dave as "Rambo" from hereon in, just because it's more fun.)  So great to see Alice, Paul, and Terri again, and to meet Kiana, Allison, and Rambo for the first time!

Friends old and new.  (Photos: Alice)
Super-tasty snapper at Alan Wong's Restaurant
We had a lovely (and expensive!) meal at Allan Wong's, and afterwards decided to go out for drinks at the Mai Tai bar next to the Royal Hawaiian Waikiki.  (The "pink hotel".)  Instead of a cab (which is fairly expensive in Honolulu) Alice had hired a car though Uber (I think); half the fun that night involved fitting the seven of us into his vehicle!

Royal Hawaiian Waikiki, on the way to the bar.

Mai Tai bar, right on the beach. (Photo: Alice)

After a few drinks, some fantastically entertaining conversation and a massage or two, we called it a night.  (Strictly speaking it may be more accurate to say that we were gently encouraged to leave by the staff as they tried to close shop!)

Fun times at Mai Tai bar.  (Photos: Alice)

Paul enjoys a massage.  (Photo: Alice)

It was a stellar start to my weeklong stay in Oahu, not only celebrating LOST but, more importantly, celebrating with LOSTies.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

LOST: The Musical

When I first heard about a Kickstarter campaign to fund a LOST parody musical I chuckled at the possibilities and left it at that.  However, as the days progressed I arrived at the conclusion that it was something that I needed to be involved in.  When I noticed that one of the Kickstarter rewards  included an Associate Producer credit, my ego could not be denied.  Having my name "up in lights" on a LOST creative endeavour is a real thrill.

Tickets link from the LOST:The Musical website

Several supporting characters from the show were on hand for opening night -- Andrea Gabriel (Nadia), Sam Anderson (Bernard), Kimberley Joseph (Cindy) and M.C. Gainey (Mr. Friendly).  Jorge Garcia and Bex Mader (Charlotte) also attended later performances.

One-sheet for the show

I probably won't make it down the LA for the show, but I was able to pass on my free tickets to some of the LOSTie pals in the area.  They attended the October 11th show and by all accounts loved it.

Justin, Laura, and Pat enjoying their front row seats! (Photo: Alice)

Alice meets Walllllllllltttt! after the show. (Photo: Alice)

All of the Kickstart contributors have been added to a "candidate wall" at the theatre, and I was ecstatic to find out that I am candidate number 8!

Rob Perrin, candidate 8.  (Photo: Alice)

I've heard feedback from several other LOST fans (including Jo Garfein) and it is overwhelmingly positive.  I am happy (and relieved) that the show has been received in the spirit it was intended, and equally pleased to hear that as buzz builds the theatre is starting to sell out for the weekend shows.

"in associated with Rob Perrin..."  hee hee

Paley Center LOST exhibit

The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills held a LOST exhibit over the summer of 2014.  A few items from my collection were on loan for the exhibit including a Juliet blouse, one of Jin's handcuffs, an Exposé chairback, and one of Charlie's T-shirts.

The exhibit was conducted in association with Cancer Gets LOST, the charity organization run by Jo Garfein and Jared Wong.  Many of the items on display were auctioned off in September after the exhibit had closed.

I was thrilled to be a part of this event!

Exhibit hall, Paley Center for Media

Sawyer and Juliet

Exposé chairback

Charlie T & scarf
Jin handcuff

Photo credit: Pat McKinley