The Conversation: A Look at HPD's POST Facility for Oahu's Homeless

Jul 24, 2020

HPD's POST facility for Oahu's homeless; Kimi Howl Lee on her film Kamaaina; Art Bar; Professor talks K-Pop and politics; Maui luthier Steve Grimes

Honolulu Police Department Major Mike Lambert

HPD's POST facility for Oahu's homeless

We're exploring ideas for sheltering homeless people on Oahu. According to Point-in-Time counts, over 2,000 people are living on sidewalks, in tents and cardboard shelters looking at possible drenching rain, wind, no food or bathrooms this weekend. If they want to, a hundred or more homeless could be sheltered at the Honolulu Police Department's POST, Provisional Outdoor Screening and Triage facility, at Ke'ehi Lagoon Beach Park. It's a new idea offering immediate shelter, with pets, transportation and connection to services. Clients may enter through a service provider or HPD. You drive up to a locked gate, and all around is a wide, scrubby grass field. You can see a few dozen tents socially distanced between orange barriers. Major Mike Lambert is in charge of POST. He has been with HPD for 17 years, mostly in narcotics and vice. He's a single dad with two middle school age sons. Two years ago, he started a program linking service providers with police enforcement. He says it's a logical connection.

Kimi Howl Lee on her film Kamaaina

Kimi Howl Lee is a writer and director from New York City and a Stanford University film graduate. She started at Snapchat and is now a story editor at Netflix and she's a filmmaker herself. She spent time in Hawaii growing up because she had relatives here. Lee's new film is a coming-of-age story that unfolds in the community at Puuhonua o Wai'anae, the encampment at Wai'anae Boat Harbor where hundreds of people have found shelter over the years. The film will open this year's Rainbow Film Festival, held virtually July 31 to Aug. 12, and it's a fundraiser for the settlement. Click here for more info on the film festival. Find out more about Pu'uhonua o Wai'anae and contribute to their new village https://www.alohaliveshere.org/

Artist Reem Bassous

Art Bar

So here's the idea: Art Bar, everything you love about art and everything you love about bars together in one Zoom call. That was my pitch to four thoughtful artists and thinkers. You're about to hear what happened. Curator, director of UH galleries, Maika Pollack, new from Brooklyn, describes how COVID-19 is growing her roots here. (The UH galleries reopen in August.) Artist, educator Reem Bassous throws in exactly what should be done with torn down statues. Artist, former UH Art Chair Gaye Chan describes her work, participate anytime in Kaneohe. We'll jump in with Taylour Chang, curator, she runs The Doris Duke Theatre. Click here for more info on the Honolulu Surf Film Festival online.

Professor talks K-pop and politics

Vote-by-mail ballots arrived this week, and candidates and causes are clamoring for attention - especially online, where there have been warnings about misinformation and questionable players. AP reported recently that a network of Facebook groups united against COVID precautions rife with misinformation and is turning against a new enemy: BLM, or Black Lives Matter. On the other hand, when organizers of a Trump rally in Tulsa in June reported over a million ticket requests, and only about 6,000 people showed up, K-pop fans, or fans of Korean pop music, were called out for using fan tactics in the political arena. Talk about power - fans of K-pop supergroup BTS matched the band's $1 million donation to BLM in just 24 hours. Professor CedarBough Saeji started out as a fan herself in South Korea in the mid '90s. She's now teaching at Indiana University and says her students willingly learn history to contemporary politics, through K-pop.

Screenshot of Steve Grimes from After the Rain music video
Credit Screenshot / After the Rain

Maui luthier Steve Grimes

We go to Kula, Maui, in the studio of Steve Grimes, luthier. He's made 1,000 instruments now, and one of the guitar styles he's known for making has 2 sound holes. What? Picture the guitar as a woman's body, the neck with frets - a double sound hole guitar has holes where breasts would be, leaving the bottom half to vibrate fully. Steve's story starts 40 years ago, when he was planning to move up the ranks as an engineer, until he happened to build a mandolin. Click here to watch Steve Grimes' music video, "After the Rain."