Friday, September 11, 2009

A Little Aloha & Tiki From Hawaii Comes to Evanston Illinois


Release: Immediate

Contact: Sharon Honaker, Evanston Recreation Division, (847) 448-8042

Date: Aug. 20, 2009

A Little Aloha Comes to Evanston

Tiki Being Carved at Evanston Lakefront

Hawaiian artist Johnnie "Keoni" Durant is spending his summer vacation visiting friends and carving an elaborate tiki in Centennial Park along Evanston's lakefront. Durant is well-known for his traditional Hawaiian sculpture and jewelry, which can be found in private collections and galleries, and on hotel properties and movie sets. This summer he is drawing daily crowds as he carves the larger-than-life-size tiki, which he plans on giving to the City of Evanston as a gift.

A tiki is a large wood (or stone) carving that embodies the human figure. In Polynesian mythology, it represents a deep connection to the spiritual realm. Historically tikis reminded ancient Hawaiians of their values, including respect for family, appreciation of nature and belief in the power of knowledge. Today, tikis serve as symbols of humanity and creating a better life among all peoples.

The Evanston tiki represents the god of sportsmanship and recreation and will watch over families and the community as they engage in such activities. Durant named the sculpture “'Ohana,” which means family (and community) in Hawaiian, and is a reminder that no one should be left behind or forgotten. To pay tribute to the residents of Evanston and the City's commitment to the health and well-being of its residents, Durant is incorporating the City's logo into his carving.

Durant's creation is being carved from white oak, the Illinois state tree, and will take approximately a month to complete. When finished, the tiki will stand approximately eight feet tall.

The public is invited to watch the tiki being created. The major carving is being done at Centennial Park, between Church and University Place. Once this work is completed, the tiki will be moved south, closer to the lagoon in Dawes Park for the finer carving and finishing touches. The best time to see Durant work is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Durant plans on presenting the finished tiki to Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and the City Council. The final indoor location for the completed sculpture has yet to be determined.

For more information about the tiki or Keoni Durant, call Heather Shadur at 312-933-6777 or go to

About the artist

A life-long resident of the island of Kaua'i, Johnnie “Keoni” Durant is deeply rooted in the Polynesian culture. Standing in the crossroads of the past and the present, Keoni is known throughout the world for his traditional Hawaiian sculpture and jewelry.

Keoni is deeply committed to honoring the way of life created by his ancestors—the high chiefs (Ali’i Nui) of the Kānaka Maoli nation—the original caregivers (and settlers) of the Polynesian archipelago now known as Hawaii.

This is Keoni’s second visit to the mainland and Evanston. His first was last winter, when he experienced snow and extreme cold (11 below zero) for the first time. His sweetheart (kuipo), who he met while carving a four poster bed on a beach on Kaua’i, grew up in Evanston and lured him back to Chicago for a summertime visit with the promise that he would love the trees, not to mention the unmatched culture and diversity of her home town.


August 20, 2009 is Leo (356) days from 20100811, the Divine Birthdate of our Lord God Jesus Christ.

The founders of Northwestern University purchased 379 acres along the shore of Lake Michigan of what was once the Foster Farm on August 11, 1853. 379 is a prime number which is 23 "(9) Am (14)" from Leo (356).

I plan on attending this ceremony on Sunday September 12th in Dawes Park which is located just ONE (1) block from 1811 Sheridan Road which is the address of Clark Street Beach in Evanston.

And 1811 Sheridan Road is EXACTLY ONE (1) mile mile from "Block 89" which is located at the very northern end of the campus of Northwestern University - ie. the block bounded by Lincoln Street on the south, Sheridan Road on the east, Orrington on the west and Milburn Street to the north:

Block 89 in Evanston is graced by the site of the Gross Point Lighthouse which is located on the block just north and east (across Sheridan Road) from Block 89. During the entire history of Evanston and Northwestern University my guess is that NOTHING has ever been built on this block - if anything was I haven't found any record of it as NU has always used this field for intramural sports and recreation. The Evanston Water Filtration Plant is located just to the east across Sheridan Road from Block 89 - on the shore of Lake Michigan. So this block is graced by the blessings of utilities - made the Divine Providence of our Lord - that provide both "light" and "water" to mankind.

Lighthouse in Summer, Courtesy of John Hill
Lighthouse in Summer
Courtesy of John Hill

We live at 3242 Harrison St. which is EXACTLY 3.5 miles from 1811 Sheridan Road. The odometer in our van only calculates to the 1/10th of a mile, but my gut feeling says that the mileage may be very close to 3.56 (Leo). Here's the link to the map: (click image to enlarge)

Here are two videos I took one day later during the afternoon of 9/12 on conjunction with the dedication of the "Evanston Tiki Project".

The really, really cool thing about 1811 prime - at least as far as today is concerned is that 20090912 minus 1811 prime X 40 (72440) days brings us all the way back to 18110514 - May 14th - which is ALWAYS 89 "Prime of Leo (356)" days from August 11th, the Divine Birthdate.

Finally, the min/sec length of this video was/is 1:01. 101 days from today brings us to 20091222 which is the Leo (356th) day of the year.

Here's a picture I took of Johnnie "Keoni" Durant after meeting him and his girlfriend in Dawes Park after the dedication this afternoon:

If you come to Evanston you can't help but visit Northwestern University. At the southern edge of NU's lakefront campus you will find the headquarters of my fraturnity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), which is located at 1856 Sheridan Road. Inside SAE's building is the incredibly beautiful Levere Memorial Temple with its stained glass windows - the last commissioned work by Louis Tiffany before his passing in 1933.

At the eastern wall of this temple which is used by "The Church of Christ The King" each Sunday is a beautiful stained glass window of our Lord God Jesus Christ - see below. SAE was founded on the evening-morning of March 8-9th in the year 1856 - hence the address 1856 Sheridan Road. If you add Jesus (15131) to 18560308 you will arrive at August 11th in the year 1897.



more to follow...

PS. On the morning after I originally made this post I noted that the time of the post was 8:11 pm which corresponds to August 11th, the Divine Birthdate and the phrase My (47) God (764) = 811 prime. Incredible perfection! What more can I say!

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