Richard Koob, Founder and Director Emeritus

Richard Koob Richard hula

Aloha, thanks for visiting my page.

From growing up as a corn-fed Minnesota boy in a loving family of eight, I moved on to Hawaii in 1973. That is, after a few years in Germany (college and travel), New York (art studies, civil rights work and the beginnings of my dance career), and France (dancing, mostly modern).

In Hawaii I continued performing, reaching out to communities and schools with programs celebrating cultural diversity. I also taught movement in the schools, continued programs that liberate men (from socialized limitations to creativity, community and intimacy), and instructed modern dance at the University of Hawaii campuses in Hilo and Honolulu, where I received a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Beyond dance, which has matured into a continuing love for hula, I also enjoy the visual arts, particularly figurative drawing, painting and architecture. Sport passions include volleyball, bicycling and swimming. Our Puna area offers lots of splash fun including dolphin play, snorkeling in coral castles, body surfing, a crater lake, and sensuous waterfalls -- all of which are included in Kalani adventures I often help lead.

The evolution of Kalani is a continuing creative project, especially now as we've expanded to become a retreat village on 120 coastal acres, with new retreat cottages being built incorporating modern as well as traditional bamboo eco-friendly designs. Village growth is being supported by the inclusion of additional stewards of this land and its homes, people who like yourself share Kalani's nature-culture-wellness educational focus.

The Kalani concept was founded by myself and long-term companion and dancer Earnest Morgan. Meaning harmony of heaven and earth, Kalani Honua was named by a Hawaiian participant in a Kalani outreach program for the elderly.

Earnest inspired an enduring creativity and love in all his relations. Eight years after his death from AIDS in 1992 I wrote a fictional tale about keeping the youthful wonder in one's life: E HO MAI -- meaning "let it come, let if flow" -- and authored a photo history: KALANI - A Leap of Faith, Hope and Love.

Kalani's community, educational focus, and enduring intimate friendships are the beat of my "Rich-heart," grounded in my father's "Richard the lion hearted" encouragement, plus the support of family, mentors, many contributors, and my own self nurturing.

Welcome to KALANI where the worth of our service is measured in the joyful annual participation of thousands - guests, volunteers, staff and board.

Richard Koob, Founder & Director Emeritus

Here's a recent update from Richard:

Aloha ‘ohana friends, 

With LJ Bates as our new director, I’m in re-fire-ment, stoking flames for the next book, Ascend in Love, and stewarding Kalani’s second 30-year plan through County and State permit processes.

Please enjoy the follow items for download

Richard's Figurative Art Slideshow - Enjoy a colorful slide show presentation.

Richard's Figurative Art Online Gallery - Enjoy additional pieces online.

E Ho Mai, - My first e-book, is a gift for times you choose to amuse your own E Ho Mai Tale of Youthing - embracing awe for all of life. 

Ke Ola Magazine - A 2013 Feature article: The founding of Kalani by Richard and Earnest

E Ho Mai is free. If you like it, please consider making a donation, as every contribution helps Kalani, your Hawaiian retreat center erupting with transformative aloha spirit. 

Contact Richard Online.

Advocate article: "Hawaiian Retreat Guru"

RK swimming dolphins

Although I've always recommended that every person find his/her inner leader, by a balance of mana'o, pu'uwai, and na'au, i.e. rational thinking, heartfelt emotions, and intestinal intuition, I was declared "guru" by The Advocate, the award-winning national LGBT newsmagazine and world web site. Their "cool jobs" article introduced me and 9 other "gays and lesbians working outside the paradigm."

The article:

RK yoga

Imagine if your typical workday looked like this: Practice Kundalini yoga at sunrise on the Hawaiian coast, socialize with travelers from around the globe, trek to the beach, sit in on a few staff meetings, play volleyball, and recover in the hot tub. And if it's Tuesday, teach hula.

That's the life of Richard Koob, 60, the director of Kalani Oceanside Retreat, a 120-acre getaway along one of the most unspoiled coastlines on the Big Island. Koob began his nonprofit retreat in 1975 with his partner (Earnest Morgan, who died in 1992 of AIDS complications) as a place dedicated to nature, culture, and well-being. "It's important to enjoy life and focus on doing what we really love," says Koob.

Many of Kalani's activities, including dance and workshops such as a yoga retreat for gay men, reflect Koob's personal passions. "We've been on the vanguard of helping gay men realize how important it is to develop one's soulful and sensual side," he says.

An eclectic clientele is drawn to its rejuvenating massages, hula classes, historical sites, and breathtaking lava-walled cliffs. Koob and Morgan always intended Kalani to attract people from a variety of backgrounds-both financial and cultural. Says Koob: "I think that appreciation of diversity comes from the gay experience."