Archive for June, 2013

'It Girls' and Instagram

By
June 26th, 2013



You want to know how self-involved and narcissistic I can be? Sometimes I think there are people who just seem to come from my own brain. Like, instead of grey matter and electrodes in there, it’s a person factory concocting what it thinks would be the perfect specimen for me to obsess over.

DJ Zilla on her "So Called Show," Tuesdays from 9 p.m. to midnight on 90.3 FM. (Courtesy Isabel Ramero)

DJ Zilla on her "So Called Show," Tuesdays from 9 p.m. to midnight on 90.3 FM. (Courtesy Isabel Ramero)

As far as "It Girls" go, many understand my obsession with them and why I think they are necessary to the culture of our scene. I’m not talking about just pretty girls. I’m talking about beautiful-on-the-inside-and-out girls; the ones who literally light up the room with their positive energy and grace. There aren't a lot of them in Honolulu, but I absolutely know who each and every one is.

I have been following Stephanie “DJ Zilla” Barbosa for a while now, who recently posted on Instagram: “Everyone has a favorite DJ, mine is Kitty Lee.”

That was pretty much the nail in the coffin for me (I totally agree!), so when I saw her post again on her birthday that she was getting down at Addiction, I literally ran over there to help/watch her celebrate. That night unfolded into one of the best I’ve had in a while, with nothing but smiling and dancing and not a care in the world. Zilla and her friends are legit. Prepare for me to crash more of your nights out, guys.

As a 22-year-old DJ and Communications major at UH, she is already surrounded by great people, intellectuals, music buffs and just pretty damn grounded individuals. She has never followed any one set of rules, embracing instead all life has to offer.

Spending the last three years as a radio DJ at KTUH has brought her a wealth of knowledge and influences, and her Tuesday night “My So Called” show demonstrates this.

DJ Zilla will be back at CoXist Studio for "Honolulu Night Market" in Kakaako. (Courtesy Mash Hatae)

DJ Zilla will be back at CoXist Studio for "Honolulu Night Market" in Kakaako. (Courtesy Mash Hatae)

If you happen to be tuned in between 9 p.m. and midnight you'll hear anything from world electronica, indie dance (my favorite), trip-hop, moombathon, UK funk, nu-jazz and tons of remixes and mash-ups.

In the flesh, you can see her next week during First Friday at the return of Indigo on Nuuanu Ave., "Honolulu Night Market" in CoXist Studio, and coming up July 20 at Double-O-Spot’s legendary Love Festival.

SPEAKING OF stalking people on Instagram, the new video feature rollout had many up in arms all weekend. For me, it was a serious letdown as I had carefully shot each course of my first visit ever to Vintage Cave on Friday, June 21, only to have the entire application crap out on me.

Those moments were lost forever, those first few courses already in my belly, letting the entire Internet (ok, just those who follow me) down. Vine has stayed true through all of this and even though that’s where I plan to live until IG can work out their kinks, I’m already noticing a few people who stand out and make it happen.

Gifted photographer and software engineer Aaron Van Bokhoven, visual artist and musician Adriel Almirol (aka hypoetical), and Chef Sheldon Simeon each presented my stream with visually stunning works, taking full advantage of Instagram's new video capability.

Some of the weekend's standouts on the new video-friendly Instagram

Some of the weekend's standouts on the new, video-friendly Instagram. (Courtesy photos)

Both Chef Sheldon and Vintage Cave’s own IG feed posted the glorious dance of detail they do in the kitchen crafting the plates, which is something many of us are never able to witness. These guys have kept me believing. Hopefully we’ll see more software updates soon.

THIS WEEK, artist Ben Horton is back in Honolulu for a show at The Republik on Thursday, June 27.

Many are familiar by now with the murals outside the popular venue on Kapiolani Blvd., and many have shirts or iPhone cases with his art as a RVCA Artist. Now you'll be able to meet the artist and even buy some of his art.

All ages are welcome and the event is free from 6 to 11 p.m. I’ll be your friendly DJ afterward.

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

Collectively fresh

By
June 19th, 2013



 Collective Effort's first effort in Honolulu: Steve Aoki at Kaka'ako Waterfront Park (Courtesy photo)

Collective Effort's first effort in Honolulu: Steve Aoki at Kaka'ako Waterfront Park (Courtesy photo)

The first time I met Johnny Kenny, he threw a pair of headphones across the room at me after Kill the Noise and Steve Aoki played a bunch of unreleased music at Addiction Nightclub.

"What was that about!?" I asked him, more impressed than irritated.

"I saw you over there. Dancing like a boss," he said. "I saw you Wednesday night, too, at SoHo (Mixed Media Bar)."

Johnny Kenny, Collective Effort's International Man of Mystery (and talent buyer). (Courtesy photo)

Johnny Kenny, Collective Effort's International Man of Mystery (and talent buyer). (Courtesy photo)

It was after the first show he helped produce here (Steve Aoki at Kaka'ako Waterfront Park) and a way to introduce himself so out of left field that I couldn't help but appreciate it.

We quickly became friends, and Kenny has already made quite an impact in Honolulu. I can’t help but notice he's also fallen deeply in love with this magical place. He's pretty much the BAMP of California as part of the Collective Effort crew, which consists of three partners who build out shows. From large scale events to full-blown music festivals, he’s personally taken risks to invest (and not always win), but continues to chip away at building events with our local promoters to take concerts to the next level.

Kenny was drawn to Hawaii to expand their show base, and in a way I am personally very familiar with, everything seemed to fall together perfectly with a combination of hard work and a few phone calls. It’s weird how that happens.

Friday’s Republik Music Festival: Electric Palms Edition reminded me of Tiffany Tanaka (Fresh Café visionary) and her mantra: “Shoot for the stars, but it’s ok if you land on the grass.”

What BAMP and Collective Effort hoped would be another large scale Kaka'ako show needed to be moved to The Republik, but they turned it out there with large scale L.E.D. walls and the artists still delivered all the show we needed. It’s been too long (or ever?) since many have seen Infected Mushroom play their live set with a full band, but it was needed as many of the O.G. music enthusiasts in the house could attest to the value of that kind of musicianship and the performance it delivers. They rocked it.

What is it about Hawaii that draws people like Kenny in?

"I know it sounds cliche, but it truly is the Aloha Spirit I feel every time I come to the islands," he told me.

You don't have to tell me! It was obvious on Friday their effort was widely supported by local music enthusiasts; I saw DJs Sejika, G-Spot, Daniel J, Bone, Packo, Technique and Nightmarcher, plus the guys from Livewire and Odin Works among the crowd. As a consumer of as much music as I can handle, I see it as a very good thing that not only Kenny and his partners are willing to risk money to bring larger, more expensive talent to Honolulu, but moreso everyone's support for the love of the genre.

Above and Beyond at Kaka'ako Waterfront Park. (Courtesy Collective Effort Events)

Above and Beyond at Kaka'ako Waterfront Park. (Courtesy Collective Effort Events)

What they all strive for is the same — the growth of a music category that’s becoming increasingly more dominant with live shows. The numbers don’t lie; there are literally thousands who buy tickets for events like these. EDM shows have become just as popular as reggae shows, the result of years of hard work by many. Their support for each other at shows is awesome.

I saw many at Friday’s Electric Palms event who already knew Kenny or got to know him better that night as he worked the room, taking time to get to know the people at his show. It says a lot, if you ask me. His personality-forward way about him is truly infectious. He obviously lost money on the show, but was still buying everyone drinks at the bar and making plans for the next one.

As far as Hawaii goes, he gets it. He lives by very sound professional advice all of us can learn from.

“Surround yourself with smarter people than you, delegate, and empower the people on your team to work freely with their skill set and create at their highest level." Kenny wrote in an e-mail. "If you try to do everything on your own, or hold on tightly you will fail. Empower those around you to do their best, and in turn the overall product will be better.”

It definitely shines through with their attempts out here, and we will definitely be seeing more of Kenny and his team in Hawaii. Introduce yourself and I can bet you will also have a lifelong friend.

THIS WEEK, there’s an alternative to costly services or products for those who can provide something in return.

In the grand tradition of making leaps and bounds via fresh thinking, Tiffany Tanaka is working with a team to bring "Barter Bar" to Fresh Café. They welcome anyone with goods or services who are willing to trade in a casual networking environment.

The first ever Angry Panda, circa 2003, up for trade at Thursday's "Barter Bar." (Courtesy photo)

The first ever Angry Panda, circa 2003, up for trade at Thursday's "Barter Bar." (Courtesy photo)

Events like this are so creative, many will probably not be sure where to start. It’s more about meeting others with a similar mindset and then understanding how you can help.

Are you a jewelry maker who needs a logo designed? You should definitely be there. New to the city and looking for like-minded individuals in areas of design? Don’t miss this.

Interested in an original artwork from Aaron “Angry Woebot” Martin? He only just happens to be willing to trade his first ever piece for audio/visual equipment.

Each event will have a featured business leader to ring the bell for trading. This month it's designer Justin Takaha White, a gifted designer and artist who no doubt will be surrounded by many at the event.

The "Barter Bar" website is amazing, too; you guys had me at the first video. It will be interesting to see this event catch on. I can definitely see the potential.

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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Fresh faces

By
June 12th, 2013



Some of the ladies behind "Wonton Wednesdays" at theVenue. (Courtesy Alex Kamm)

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This post marks the start of a new blog on the Pulse. "SuperCity" will be published every Wednesday.)

Thank God it's summer. The only way I really can tell is to look up and see more vibrancy in the scene. A lot of people are home from college and happy to be back in Honolulu. You totally can tell.

“There were so many people everywhere,” DJ Soundcheck told me last Thursday over a beer at Rakuen, where he had recently found himself raging at "Rakuen Wednesdays" with DJs Augustine, Neekz, Mixmaster B and Shift.

"It was madness," he said.

The madness continues across the street with promoters Racesauce and Shishi Nainai Entertainment with support from Element Group and Eightball Hawaii, who bring the party downtown to theVenue. "Wonton Wednesdays" is gaining speed as THE spot to be with a fresh-faced promotions team running an 18-and-over party that enforces a strict dress code.

I love it. They are essentially preparing the new generation to go clubbing in Honolulu.

The dress code was reiterated recently at Racesauce's Saturday night home at Ginza Nightclub, as too many people have slipped inside with hats or jeans. The problem is too many friends think they are the exception to the rule — and when you’re talking about promoters like Racesauce and Element Group, they definitely have a lot of friends. I can only imagine how hard it was to see so many of them showing up in tanks or snapbacks.

I’m not going to lie. I love streetwear, but there’s definitely a time and a place to rock that. I’m happy for the guys who were able to get their message across without destroying the killer vibe at Ginza. The club's confetti cannons, lovable staff, amazing sound system and open-format playlist sets them apart as one of the top nightclubs in the city. It would have been a shame to walk in to all that and see everyone in boardshorts.

Wonton Wednesday resident Massfunk with Norman Jay Santos

"Wonton Wednesdays" resident DJ Massfunk, right, with Norman Jay Santos. (Courtesy Alex Kamm)

Anyway, back to Wednesday. "Wonton Wednesdays" features two of my favorite DJ/producers as their residents: Massfunk and Frizel.

Massfunk is probably one of the youngest producers I know who's been killing it in the EDM scene for the past five years. A lot of the barely legals who raged with him when he opened for Afrojack or Skrillex are now of age to drink with him at theVenue, and the ones still not quite 21 can come hear his music, too. It’s a win for everyone!

While he's ridiculously shy for how talented he is, that never comes across in Massfunk's stage presence. You can tell this kid is obsessed with music. House, progressive house and trance are his forte, which is nicely rounded out with DJ Frizel, who will happily play just about anything.

Frizel is one of those open-format types who has a deep affinity for EDM but can get as old school funky as you want. I loved his set at the Mai Tai Bar's "Hot Island DJ Spinoff" earlier this year, where he made everyone over 30 feel damn comfortable with more than a few old school nuggets.

Tonight, June 12, he competes again at Dave & Busters for a highly coveted gig at Lovefest. The "DJ/Go-Go to Lovefest" series will be held every Wednesday on the D&B's rooftop until the finals on July 10.

This weekend, our friends from Collective Effort are back in town to partner with BAMP Project on the two-day Republik Music Festival. The EDM portion Friday, June 14, at The Republik will reunite me with one of my favorites from a trip to the Electric Palms Music Festival in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, earlier this year — miss Kate Culbertson, a.k.a. Pretty Low.

Pretty Low at Pink Kitty in Cabo for Electric Palms Music Festival April 2013

Pretty Low at Pink Kitty in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, during the 2013 Electric Palms Music Festival in April. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

As an up-and-coming dubstep and trap DJ/producer based in Los Angeles, she has roots in Hawaii and is super excited to be coming back. I was lucky enough to escape down to Cabo to see the festival and was in the DJ booth at Pink Kitty when she delivered a whole lot of nasty to all the spring breakers in town. They had no idea what they were in for when she got on the decks, which was one of my favorite moments of the entire weekend. It's always fun to witness a crowd getting completely destroyed.

I can't wait to hear her set Friday night. It's going to be a stellar weekend!

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular "Bacardi Pool Party" on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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