Archive for October, 2013

Last chance for 'Linsanity'

By
October 30th, 2013



The author with her "imaginary husband" at the Hawaii International Film Festival Spring Showcase earlier this year. (Courtesy photo)

The author with her "imaginary husband" at the Hawaii International Film Festival Spring Showcase earlier this year. (Courtesy photo)

It’s not easy being a sensation. The highs are sometimes so high the moment is lost because it’s an almost-illusion, and the lows can be excruciating. People find it easier to shrug their shoulders and call you overrated than take you seriously. You have to spend most of your life continuing to prove yourself at a level that is already so far reaching it’s near impossible.

POSTER LINSANITY 7

'Linsanity'

Rated PG

Screens at 3:05, 5:10 and 7:15 p.m. today, Oct. 30, and tomorrow, Oct. 31, at Consolidated Pearlridge West 16

Click here to buy tickets online

Anyway, this is Jeremy Lin and thanks to the film "Linsanity," we get to ride the wave with him through all of it. The fact that young director Evan Leong and his team were already filming a documentary about Lin years before "Linsanity" actually hit shows much more than what you may have seen on ESPN or in his GQ cover story. Sometimes all you need to know is someone’s story to truly appreciate and respect the whole idea of overnight success. Nine times out of then it’s not “overnight.”

I couldn’t wait to see the film when it premiered in Hawaii at the Hawaii International Film Festival Spring Showcase earlier this year, mostly because of Lin’s star quality and handsome-because-he’s-nerdy looks. I can admit it. What I walked away from was an unexpected burst of motivation to keep my head down and focus on working hard. Talent and timing is one thing, but you need to be working constantly to improve. You can always do better.

Even if you don’t like basketball or are particularly interested in Lin, I would still recommend seeing this film. To follow an athlete through the painstaking process of going from college sports to the pros is not only interesting but inspiring. I bumped in to the film’s producer and "Hawaii Five-0" actor Brian Yang at HIFF earlier this month, and he was excited the film is playing a limited run at Consolidated Pearlridge West 16 after an incredibly warm welcome at the Hawaii premiere earlier this year.,

“HIFF Spring Showcase with 'Linsanity' was awesome,” Yang said via e-mail. “There was such a demand, HIFF had to open up a second theater to accommodate more people. The community there really embraced it. Having Daniel Dae Kim as our narrator is really special too as it further gives the film a local bond.”

The film wraps up its run in Honolulu tomorrow..

While I'm thinking about star-quality, I have to say the Hallowbaloo block party was better than ever this year. The only time I really can truly enjoy being in a huge crowd of people like that is when it’s okay to stare, point, smile and take photos. Halloween truly brings people out of their shells and the display of creativity some take on is seriously beyond Earth. Did anyone see the bumper cars?!?

My favorite by far was multifaceted "Five-0" video engineer Shane Curtis and his housemates. Their costume made me second-guess how much I love living alone, because group Halloween costumes have got to be the most fun thing ever invented.

Together with Steve Mazur, Denver Coon, Michael Ogasawara, Shane Seggar and Keoki Dunn, they brought back the beloved Crazybox nightclub from the old Waikiki EDITION hotel in the street. What a perfect idea for a block party group costume! I hope they win some kind of costume contest. If not, I’m totally giving them their own "SuperCity" award for best costume. Super congratulations guys!

Shane Curtis, the "resident DJ" at Crazybox. (Courtesy Michael Ogasawara)

Crazybox "Security" Shane Seggar. The best part was the line that would form to get in and overhearing people say "It's harder to get inside here than the real Crazybox" (Image Michael Ogasawara)

Crazybox "security" Shane Seggar. The best part was the line that would form to get in and overhearing people say, "It's harder to get inside here than the real Crazybox was!" (Courtesy Michael Ogasawara)

Once guests were "escorted" inside by "VIP Host" Denver Coon they were treated to music, flashing strobes, and true-to-life graphics creating the feeling like you were actually in a nightclub.  (Image Michael Ogasawara)

Once guests were "escorted" inside by "VIP host" Denver Coon, they were treated to music, flashing strobes and true-to-life graphics. (Courtesy Michael Ogasawara)

———

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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The first hurdle for help

By
October 23rd, 2013



I bet you could use some help right now.

I wonder if you thought about asking a friend?

It’s not the easiest thing to do, and most times it’s just easier to do it yourself.

I’m wrestling with this right now as December creeps closer. The end of the year marks my birthday and a great time to celebrate everything awesome in Hawaii. I’ve been doing it for the past four years in the biggest way I am capable of, but this year is going to be a lot tougher.

Nicholas von Wiegandt, Co-Founder all grown up (Courtesy Beth Souza)

Nicholas von Wiegandt. (Courtesy Beth Souza)

Unless, that is, I ask for help.

This is the point where I freak out.

I’m not sure why it’s so hard, especially since people are almost always more than happy to offer their assistance when they can. I know I actually enjoy being able to help my friends. It’s a scientific fact we are happier when we are able to help others.

Still, it’s so difficult to ask. It must have something to do with the way we are programmed as humans; like it comes from the same area of our brains as confrontation. The successful people in life are not afraid of either of these things, but the rest of us? It’s just not easy.

Nick Von Wiegandt has been a face around the Honolulu scene for years. My most distinct memory of him is a video he posted on his Facebook in 2009 crying over a “break-up” with a surfboard he was going to give away at Lulu’s Waikiki for their “Unplugged Friday” party.

His comedic timing was incredible; I must have watched it a hundred times, still chuckling to myself out loud. The people in my office must have thought I was nuts. It stuck in my head for years and whenever I saw him I wanted to go to Lulu’s. I don’t even surf.

He has been working hard since those days and will launch a local crowd-funding application for Hawaii this week with colleague David Rippey called Island Funder. The two met working at the Hard Rock Cafe in Waikiki after finishing business school in Texas and the University of Hawaii.

Rippey’s design and development skills paired with Von Wiegandt’s natural knack for marketing business have created a great dynamic. While their website was specifically designed for cultural arts in Hawaii, non-profits and other start-up projects are welcome to submit.

What's beautiful about the site is that people living anywhere can submit their projects as long as they benefit Hawaii or Hawaiian culture in some way. Anyone in the U.S. can contribute.

A very convincing FB friend circa 2009 (Courtesy Nick Von Wiegandt)

A very convincing Facebook friend, circa 2009.(Courtesy Nick Von Wiegandt)

Have you always wanted to bring a musical act out to Hawaii? This might be your chance. Dreaming of opening a yoga or dance studio? Why not give it a shot! What’s the worst that could happen? This could be your opportunity. You never know unless you try!

Anyway, this is what I was telling local filmmaker Lance Arinaga when I bumped in to him during happy hour at Rakuen Lounge in Chinatown last week. He had just met with Surfer Magazine Editor Jeff Mull and was all excited about a film project that will showcase Hawaii surfers. All the music featured would also come from Hawaii.

“Wait, there is something launching next week that’s so totally for you!” I told him, starting to believe that everything happens for a reason.

This was just too magical, our chance meeting and this new project he was working on and considering launching a Kickstarter for.

“Why not keep it local!” I told him.

Lance is no stranger to producing surf films, with “Icons 1” in 2006 and “Icons 2” in 2009, both released with much praise from the surfing community for both his creative eye and talent for pairing music. The next film he has on deck, called “Braaah,” will feature Kekoa Bacalso, Ezekiel Lau, Seth and Josh Moniz, Mason Ho, Shane Dorian and many others.

Film maker Lance Arinaga at his Icons premiere. His next project could be funded by the people. (Courtesy of Lance Arinaga)

Filmmaker Lance Arinaga at the premiere for his film “Icons.” His next project could be funded by the people. (Courtesy Lance Arinaga)

Back to Island Funder. Anyone with a project to submit should definitely be at the launch event tomorrow, Oct. 24, at the Five-0 Bar & Lounge in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. Starting at 8:30 p.m., the launch will feature live entertainment by Jason Alan, Jahlivity and headliners Rebel Souljahz. Come check out the dozen or so campaigns that are already live, or think about one of your own. You never know unless you ask!

The event is free with proof of a Facebook “Like,” which isn’t much these days, considering it could wind up being the final step in making your dreams come true.

———

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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'Grand' plans and mixtape motivation

By
October 16th, 2013



It’s been a long time since the Wave Waikiki days, but I still dream about the day a new club like it opened in Honolulu. I think a lot of us have.

Gone but never forgotten: Wave Waikiki owner Jack Law outside the now-demolished nightclub in 2006. (Star-Advertiser File)

Gone but never forgotten: Wave Waikiki owner Jack Law outside the now-demolished nightclub in 2006. (Star-Advertiser File)

Instead of the famed two rooms of music and come as you are dress code, my dream club would have a bunch of rooms. Like the old subway tunnel I found myself inside on a trip to London that was converted into a nightclub and kept opening up into yet another area. It was a never-ending party I’m surprised I ever found my way out of.

In my dream club there would be one room with a sickening stage and backline for live bands where everyone could see a “Whatever Underground” showcase every night and big acts on the weekends. There would be another room for retro new wave and 1980s punk, all the time.

There would be the Natural Vibrations room, where if the band isn't able to physically be there playing we would just cycle through all their music. I absolutely never get sick of them.

And there would be yet another room for all forms of EDM, depending on the night and time, plus the dreaded room of mainstream top 40 music (which is pretty much essential to operating a successful nightclub).

Buddhist Priest performing at The Wave circa 2005 (Image Christa Wittmier)

Buddhist Priest performing at the Wave Waikiki, circa 2005 (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

At my club, there wouldn’t be a dress code anywhere — except in the mainstream room — and anyone in the service industry (bartender, server, musician, etc.) would get a VIP card to always skip the line and never worry about a cover charge. There would be a room where people who smoke (or vape) could go; this would be the hot spot where all the different rooms are connected to mix and mingle, called the Melting Pot.

And its name? It would be called — get this — the New Wave. Of course, this is all in my own fantasy world of nightlife dreams.

We're getting closer to reliving those glory days with the opening of Grand Leyenda Cantina and their new party, "Grand Saturdays." Forget about the come as you are, as this party has a strict dress code (and only “fashionable” hats allowed), but they're off to a great start with two rooms of music. Sometimes people like to mix it up.

The new weekly is a collaboration by Furious Styles Productions, Artist Groove Network, Level H Promotions, Livewire and Pure Coalition — pretty much everyone in the party business who have been part of the scene for quite a while.

Grand Leyenda Cantina kicked off its new "Grand Saturdays" party on Oct. 5. (Star-Advertiser File)

Grand Leyenda Cantina kicked off its new "Grand Saturdays" party on Oct. 5. (Star-Advertiser File)

Speaking of two, "2Work," the second CD mixtape from Addiction Nightclub resident DJs Compose and Anit (C&A) will be released this weekend with a party at the Modern Honolulu on Friday, Oct. 18.

I’ve been particularly impressed with this mix after hearing a preview; while other mixes have stayed a bit more within the boundaries of exactly what you would hear at Addiction, this one takes quite a few steps outside that box.

They included not one, not two, but three tracks by Keys N Krates, who have secured a spot on repeat inside my brain since I heard them take Drake’s “Unforgettable” and make it something I could listen to. They have taken the whole trap/dreamy electro era and put their own signature on it to make a sound all their own. You can listen to something and be like “Oh, this is Keys N Krates.”

DJ Compose, left, and DJ Anit release a new mixtape at Addiction Nightclub in the Modern Honolulu on Friday, Oct. 18. (Courtesy photo)

DJ Compose, left, and DJ Anit release a new mixtape at Addiction Nightclub in the Modern Honolulu on Friday, Oct. 18. (Courtesy photo)

While club music is club music, these mixes are an opportunity to showcase tastes that are more adventurous that you would assume. Keeping a room dancing and having a good time every weekend is talent — being able to throw in more obscure music is pure genius. These two have that on lock.

Everyone who shows up at Addiction on Friday will get a copy of "2Work." CDs will be dropped at select local boutiques around town as well.

I don’t think people realize how valuable these hour-long mixes many Hawaii-based DJs put up on Soundcloub are to people like me. I listen to them all the time — in the car, at my desk, at the gym, at home. It’s how I am able to get through most days.

The dreaminess of Keys N Krates is probably why I daydream about my own fantasy club so much. There could be worse things.

———

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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From vamping to vampires

By
October 9th, 2013



October is in full swing and there is no shortage of events this month, but the first Hawai‘i Fashion Month also brings a slew of beauty to our lives.

163I can’t even articulate how impressive HFM is and what an impact it has had in our fashion industry. Walking into the huge “OUTFIT” space they built out at Ward Centers' TJ Maxx building last week for the opening was extraordinary, to say the least. I was floored.

Everything from the range of events, to the many retailers and designers showcased, to the graphic design — it was all so on point; they have taken the fashion industry in Hawaii leaps and bounds beyond the next level.

The incredibly talented team at the Hawaii Fashion Incubator (Hifi) has envisioned this for years. I know, I used to be one of their volunteers, sitting on co-founder Toby Portner’s living room floor with a room full of hope and ideas.

A trip to Hong Kong shifted my passion and spare time over to POW! WOW! Hawaii, but Hifi's efforts have always held a special place in my heart. Their team of dedicated volunteers has worked diligently and they made it happen. Being able to see inside their brains via Hawai'i Fashion Month is a special treat for us all.

Hifi, circa 2008 at co-founder Toby Portner's house. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

Make sure to check both the Hifi site and the Pulse for continuing coverage and information about upcoming events.

THIS WEEK in pageantry will have more than just the Miss Hawaii as an option, as DJ Nocturna and Lana Saldania bring their fourth Miss Vamp Hawaii Pageant to the Hawaii Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 10.

You might have already seen the companion reality show on KFVE on Saturday nights; if not, you can watch them online. The 17 hopefuls represent all ethnicities, body types and ages, and promote the idea that a woman’s grace “never dies.”

Highlighting their timeless gifts and sexuality, the contestants will take the stage to showcase their artistic, more theatrical sides. In addition to aerial performances and pole dancing, contestants will compete in a “Moon Bathing” category. Comparable to a swimsuit competition, they will model lingerie under a mystic full moon, emphasizing the true beauty in a woman that comes from within.

The lovely Miss Vamp 2013 hopefuls will compete Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Hawaii Theatre. (Courtesy Tzana Saldania)

Pageant organizer DJ Nocturna has fueled my own personal thirst for new wave and industrial music with her long-running “Feast of Friends” show on KTUH, always taking time to say hello and offer her diffident smile. I always knew there was a lot more about her I didn't know.

For example, I found out she has experience in pageants as a former recruiter for Miss World. I have to say I wasn't surprised; the fact she strictly refuses to share her legal name or reveal what she does for a living during the day only makes me more curious. I guess it will remain a mystery.

For now, we can all sit back and enjoy the marvelous show she and Saldania put on every year, complete with all of the behind-the-scenes artistry and action via reality TV.

———

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.

'Soulgasm' welcomes NYC legends

By
October 2nd, 2013



“You found the perfect bird perch, haven’t you?”

The stranger in a fedora noticed me sitting on one of the barstools in the Safehouse that faces the dance floor in The Republik on Saturday, Sept. 21.

I always thought those barstools were rather awkwardly placed when the large curtain separating the two venues was closed. Who sits and just stares at the dance floor?

Me, I guess.

I was by myself taking in the music and aimlessly glancing around the room at everyone there. I was once again impressed by the crowd Foundation brings to their events.

Big things come in small packages: Lyanne Brooks hosts "Soulgasm" this weekend. (Star-Advertiser File)

Big things come in small packages: Lyanne Brooks hosts "Soulgasm" at thirtyninehotel this weekend. (Star-Advertiser File)

It’s not just a room full of people; the vibe is definitely more positive. Everyone loves to dance, and not just that weird, drunken mating ritual you see in mainstream music clubs. These people are totally feeling the music. It’s a heightened sense of reacting I am still not able to fully figure out, but still love to witness. Dancing is definitely something I want to be better at. My movements always feel so forced and awkward.

Lyanne Brooks, a regular in the house scene and longtime dance instructor, stood against a wall, also taking it all in. She had a brighter than usual look about her, which is saying a lot – for someone so small, this girl is a massive ball of positive energy.

I went over to say hello and learned she's bringing back some of the Elite Force crew for her next “Soulgasm” party on Saturday, Oct. 5. No wonder she was smiling so big; both Bobby Mileage and Brooklyn Terry are legends in the world of hip-hop dance. When you talk about choreography and include people like Michael Jackson on your resume, that’s all people really need to hear. Years of touring and a natural progression into the lifestyle realm with a successful clothing and shoe brand have shaped these guys into the icons they are today.

Elite Force Crew dancer Brooklyn Terry will help host/judge the dance cypher then jump on the decks to DJ. (Courtesy photo)

Elite Force Crew dancer Brooklyn Terry will help host/judge the dance cypher then jump on the decks to DJ. (Courtesy photo)

They will be back for “Soulgasm” to host an open format dance cypher, hand-picking the finalists for a dance-off. Everyone has an opportunity to jump in, with the winner scoring a pair of Bobby Mileage’s Elite Force high-top sneakers. Plus, everyone who participates will be evaluated for an opportunity to be sponsored by Bobby Mileage clothing. Email soulgasmhawaii@gmail.com to sign up (18+ only).

“Soulgasm” has been in Hawaii since 2007, started by Brooks and house dance pioneer Ejoe Wilson from New York after Brooks threw a party called "Soul Much Love." Wilson, a founder of the original “Soulgasm” party in NYC, was there and encouraged Brooks to start her own version of “Soulgasm” in Hawaii.

Since then, the party has thrived at venues all over Chinatown, including the now-closed Indigo and SoHo Mixed Media Bar, The Loft, NextDoor and thirtyninehotel for the past three years.

Together with resident DJs Min One, Yuji, HughB, and Matt Kee, Brooks is a key player in the scene, working hard to seek out other like-minded house music and dance enthusiasts and warmly welcome them to “Soulgasm.”

A room full of fun is what it sounds like to me. I’m definitely planning on finding a perch for this. “Soulgasm” has been around for six years and there is a reason the underground dance culture thrives here. These people love to dance, love the music and love each other.

We could all learn something from that.

———

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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