(Listen to the conversation at www.mauitime.com.)
TOMMY RUSSO: When you look at the pictures [of Maui Time’s first anniversary party] when Reverend Ka‘alakea did our blessing, our baby luau blessing—he blessed our business after the first year—and we had kind of like our first cover, the plate from our first cover on a little easel, so he wasn’t blessing us, he was blessing the business. And we just kind of felt that was important to do. But you know, you’ve got the two of us sitting there, we both have our leis on, kind of a big reception, and you know, there’s several hundred people around… and when you look at the pictures, it looks like a gay wedding. It just flat out looks like Mark and I got married.
MARK D’ANTONIO: We’re both kind of looking down, and we’re kind of half-smiling, and honestly, like, we were really lucky to get the reverend to sit there and do this.
RUSSO: He didn’t know my name, though. He said, “Mark…” and then he’d look at me and then nod. He didn’t know my name—that was so funny.
D’ANTONIO: The fact that he was there was a really good sign, though. I think we’ve got to thank Boy Kanae for that.
RUSSO: Uncle Boy took care of us there.
D’ANTONIO: Yeah, and this was just another one of those fortunate steps, but it was probably one of the better house parties in Lahaina for a long time. I think there were handfuls of kegs and bands and trampolines and liquor luges and I think we were filming the Maui Time TV thing too—I think there was a camera rolling… It was really a turning point I think, in looking back, because the paper gained a lot of legitimacy and it was a great celebration. MTW