March 27, 2011 |
A man emerges on the shadowy stage, bare-chested and tattooed, as powerful as a force of nature. As light glimmers across his body, he stares into space, the sound of gongs clanging in the distance. Suddenly, he comes alive, eyes widening in fear, and he lunges forward as if ready to go to battle. In one unearthly scene like this after another, Samoan choreographer Lemi Ponifasio transports audiences with "Tempest: Without a Body" to a place outside time where human beings morph into lizards and birds into rocks.
September 12, 2010 |
Even in darkness, on the way from the airport, Samoa didn't look like anywhere else I'd been in Polynesia — not like Rarotonga or Fiji, not like Tahiti or Easter Island. Open pavilions dotted the roadsides almost as frequently as the small houses. Some were more brightly lighted: Designed as ovals and sometimes squares, their thatched roofs supported by pillars, they glowed like cages in the hot tropical night. In some small ones, families were watching TV, as if the pavilions were open-air living rooms.
April 18, 2010 |
I would rather eat paste than poi, and I hate buffet lines, so I thought I wasn't the luau type. Family-style service, upscale Hawaiian fare and five bare-chested male dancers twirling and throwing flaming knives changed my mind and kindled my curiosity about Samoan fire knife dancing. The Samoan warrior dance, or ailao, didn't include fire until 1946 when, rehearsing their acts in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, a Hindu fire-eater and a baton twirler inspired Uluao "Freddie" Letuli to embellish his Samoan warrior dance.
October 2, 2009 |
Convoys of military vehicles brought food, water and medicine to the tsunami-stricken Samoa Islands on Thursday as victims wandered through what was left of their villages with tales of being trapped underwater, watching young children drown and hoisting elderly parents above the waves. The death toll rose to 160 as grim-faced islanders gathered under a traditional meetinghouse to hear a Samoan government minister discuss a plan for a mass funeral and burial next week. Samoans traditionally bury their loved ones near their homes, but that could be impractical because many villages have been wiped out. The dead from Tuesday's earthquake and tsunami include 120 in Samoa, 31 in American Samoa and nine in Tonga.
October 1, 2009 |
The death toll in Samoa and American Samoa rose to 99 early today, according to news reports, after a powerful tsunami triggered by a deep ocean earthquake devastated coastal towns. Dozens of people were still missing. Seventeen hours after the magnitude 8.0 temblor struck, another massive ocean earthquake off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island early today killed at least 75 people and trapping thousands under rubble. A tsunami warning was issued in the region but was later lifted.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 1, 2009 |
Rocking an infant nephew in her arms, Mary Poloai stood outside the main entrance of the imposing Samoan Congregational Christian Church in Carson on Wednesday staring up at the sky and fighting back tears. "I'm so sad that I can't think straight," said Poloai, 58, one of more than 100 people who gathered at a special prayer service for victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday. "They still haven't found my mother's sisters," she said.