Archive for December, 2013

2014 BPM Festival awaits

December 25th, 2013

I hit my five year milestone at work. Five YEARS. I can get lost in time quite often in Hawaii. When it’s always sunny, your brain sort of reprograms itself and you can forget what month it is very easily. Add event planning to this and the months and years can fly right by.

These past five years went ridiculously fast, mainly because I haven’t taken a legit vacation. I usually take a week off in February to pull together POW! WOW! Hawaii, but that isn’t a vacation. All these years I was taking vacation from work to ... do more work.

This trip is going to be legit. I'm going to the BPM Music Festival, way down in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico – the Mayan holy ground along the Caribbean Sea where the sand is so white it looks like sugar. This is the place you see on posters with water so blue it makes you wonder if you're looking at something that's actually real.

The atmosphere at the BPM Festival by night (Image Courtesy of Bennett Sell-Kline for TheBPMFestival)

The atmosphere at the BPM Festival by night. (Courtesy Bennett Sell-Kline)

The BPM Music Festival was suggested to me by a person I trust after I told them I was considering adding Burning Man to my bucket list.

“Why do you want to mess with all that dust when you can stay in a villa on the ocean and do everything in style?”

Good point.

I religiously read Elizabeth Kieszkowski’s blog and know Burning Man is so much more than dust, but the longer I go without a recharge the more all the little things eat away at my physical well-being. The second I decided to go and booked my tickets I could already see an improvement in my mood. Having something to look forward to really drives my motivation to work hard.

Vacations are not just necessary, they are critical.

So I’m going. Of all the music festivals that happen around the world, this one is better known as an industry favorite. Originally started as the music festival for music industry professionals to network, it’s where the promoters, club people, DJs, club owners and the rest of the hospitality industry disappear to rejuvenate and get re-inspired for a new year after the nutso holiday season.

A full 10 days of events doesn’t just include club events, as the organizers take full advantage of the magic of this location. There will be parties on beaches, in the jungles, among Mayan ruins — and I even heard Hawaii DJ and producer Willis Haltom (who is officially included on the 2014 lineup) is playing a secret showcase in a freaking cave!

Art Department (performing in 2013) will return to the 2014 event (Image Courtesy of Bennett Sell-Kline for TheBPMFestival)

Art Department will return for the 2014 festival. (Courtesy Bennett Sell-Kline)

Steve Aoki (also performing in Hawaii Jan. 18) just announced a show with The Knocks in Cancun for New Year’s Eve, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they all stop by the festival to relax or perform, or both.

"For me, the BPM Festival is one of the staples on the calendar I look forward to every year,” said British DJ and Grammy Award-nominated Producer Nic Fanciulli. “It's a place after New Year's Eve, all the DJs come together for (10 days) of parties. BPM has the best festival line-up in the word (with) quality music. It's a lot of fun and I love coming back."

There will be more than 200 artists performing, including my favorite, Moon Boots, and un-missable act (that I missed in Hawaii) Sasha. Adriatique, Fedde Le Grand, Skream, Boys Noize, Mark Farina, DJ Harvey, Art Department and Tanner Ross stand out from the list as well.

Seeing so many names and only recognizing maybe half I know makes me realize I still have quite a bit to learn about music, and this will be the accelerated way to do it. Music has been the most effective way to escape from stress my entire life.

If this is sounding good to you feel, free to e-mail me. We have room in our villa!

Merry Christmas, everyone.


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.

From Hong Kong to Haleiwa

December 18th, 2013

I usually shy away from the country during the VANS Triple Crown of Surfing season - it’s an entirely different world of people, where locals become even more protective and us townies can feel a bit more isolated.

Photographer Zak Noyle watches the first day of Pipe Masters from the balcony of one of the RVCA houses (Image courtesy of Brandon Shigeta)

Zak Noyle watches the first day of the 2013 Billabong Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons from the balcony of one of RVCA's houses on the North Shore. (Courtesy Brandon Shigeta)

It's not like there's a negative energy; more like, I feel like I’m intruding. It reminds me of crashing set parties for TV shows or movies. The day-players and friends of friends who found their way inside can never be in the inner circle among those who spend 12-16 hours each day for weeks, or even months, together. They know who you are.

After accepting a very gracious offer to visit the RVCA house and talk with photographer Zak Noyle about a recent trip to Hong Kong for the global action sports photography competition Red Bull Illume, I was both excited and scared. RVCA founder PM Tenore had brought tons of his advocates with him for a RVCAloha Project, many who I've followed for years (and was trying to keep cool about it).

Nobody likes an overly-excited fangirl on the North Shore.

The day I drove up was a beautiful one — incredibly clear skies and huge waves. It was the first day of the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, so there were many people on the back porch of a house overlooking the contest. Skateboarders Kevin Spanky Long and Josh Harmony, artists Estavan Oriol and Barry McGee, musicians ASAP Mob, YG and tons of others were milling about, watching fellow RVCA advocates Makua Rothman and Danny Fuller in the water, among others.

The waves were so huge you could feel them breaking. As someone who doesn’t get out to watch sports too often, I tried to be cool with each “WOAH!” that would escape my mouth whenever someone would shoot out of the lip of a heavy wave.

Noyle winning the Sequence Category at the Red Bull Illume Award Ceremony at the Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong, China on August 29th, 2013   (Courtesy of Brian Ching See Wing)

Noyle with his Red Bull Illume award during a ceremony in Hong Kong on Aug. 29. (Courtesy Brian Ching See Wing)

Zak was the best, immediately making me feel welcome and taking our group up to the second floor so we could watch from the balcony and talk about his trip to Hong Kong.

As one of four staff photographers in the world for Surfing Magazine, Noyle is the kind of globe-trotting creative people can easily look up to. He is patient, humble and shows great appreciation for all forms of art. Having traveled to Japan, Puerto Rico, Tahiti, Easter Island, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia, California and Orgeon, he shows no signs of complacency, telling me Hong Kong was a very memorable visit.

“It was so sick,” he said.

His sequence photo of surfer Gabriel Medina was selected from more than 30,000 applicants among the top 250 images, which earned him an invitation to see if he made the top 50. Winning his category was a breeze, he said, but he also had the opportunity to meet and mingle with hundreds of other action sports photographers at the event.

“I liked a lot of the skate and the snow photography." said Noyle. "Mainly because it was so different from what I do in the water. I liked seeing how they use light and different elements to capture their subject.”

Each of the top 50 images were on display in illuminated cubes in Hong Kong, but have since been packed up and shipped to the United States for a nighttime exhibition that will travel from Phoenix to Atlanta.

All of the mind-blowing images can be seen online; a special collector's edition book with all of the top 250 images is also available for purchase.

Zak Noyle's winning photo. (Courtesy Red Bull)

Zak Noyle's winning photo. (Courtesy Red Bull)

ALSO THIS weekend: It's my birthday!

I love this time of year so much and have found bringing everyone together to have a party, as a party person, is the best birthday present to give myself.

There’s so much happening with the POW! WOW! Hawaii music program, I wanted to produce a showcase for that and raise money to support programming for the big February event that's coming up super-fast.

"BANG! BANG!" will feature performances by students in the POW! WOW! School of Music from 9 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St. They'll be followed by the announcement of 2014's featured Hawaii music artists, who will then take over for the most ultimate dance party celebration yet. One of my favorite visual artists, Ekundayo, will also be painting live and Visual Cortex will display projection art all night.

Cover is $10 for everyone 18-and-over; click here to buy tickets online. I hope you can come!


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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Choose your own adventure

December 4th, 2013

You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with.

Truth? I’m not too sure.

I mean, there is about 70% of our lives where we don’t get to pick. Most careers involve maintaining a certain level of friendliness with people you otherwise... wouldn’t.

Unfortunately, I don’t come from a huge family, so I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of what that’s like, but I do know living in a city like Honolulu that the easiest way to function is to just be cool with everyone.


Femfessionals ‘Connection Luncheon’

Presented by FemCity Honolulu

» Where: A Cup of Tea, 407 Uluniu St.

» When: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 15

» Cost: $55; $40 for FemCity Honolulu members

» Info: Email or visit

As for friends, most of us have taken a couple decades to understand the quality vs. quantity theory. They say friends are the family you choose. What about influences? Professionally, we can talk about how we want to surround ourselves with people that inspire us, who encourage us to try harder, work harder, be happier.

But how many of us actually do that? Is it just too easy to get sucked in to the negativity? I don’t think so. As hard as it is to walk away from someone who is dragging me down, it’s harder to keep them close. Life is too short and our careers are just too precious.

Sitting in on a recent Femfessionals luncheon, I was so thrilled to be able to see Tanna Dang again. She is definitely one of the women in our community I have always looked up to. She perfectly balances philanthropy, owning a business and family.

As owner of the Wedding Cafe, she has taken a cute idea and turned it in to a successful business with the help of her husband and sister. The three of them were all guest speakers at the luncheon and hearing them talk about working together was so awesome. They have such an amazing dynamic – Tanna as the idea person, her sister Tessa Gomes as the hyper-organized executor and her husband Bryson as the logical thinker.

Tanna Dang with Hawaiian Ryan in 2008. (Christa Wittmier)

Tanna Dang, right, with Ryan "Hawaiian Ryan" Matsumoto in 2008. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

They each spoke with a humble, yet incredibly content confidence that made everyone in the room who hasn’t yet taken that leap of faith seriously consider their life's path. They have fallen in to each of their roles so perfectly, growing their business and team into what it is today.

“You have to decide what your purpose in life is and work towards that,” Dang told the group. “Once you start working for something that is in your heart and soul, everything in the world just makes sense.”

I wanted to cry when she said this. It’s so true. After working for more than a decade as a systems administrator in the Navy, I was just along for the ride, so to speak. It wasn’t until I got in to marketing that I realized what I truly loved and what motivated me.

“Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?” is a question that drastically changes from when we are young to our adult lives. When we are young, it has more to do with getting in trouble; when we are older, it takes on a more impactful meaning. It’s totally fine to keep asking ourselves that question until we are sure of the answer. Investments in education might be the biggest weight holding us down, but mingling with professional women like Tanna, who has invested everything in to what she is passionate about, proves that there will always be a way.

Anyone who could use some motivation, positive influence, or just a few new friends should look at attending a Femefessionals event and possibly joining FemCity Honolulu. It’s $100 per year to join and $300 to become a lifetime member. That may be a little steep for some, but I’m not too sure you can put a price on the satisfaction of knowing your life's path is the right one.

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