Archive for March, 2014

Sound investments at eleven44

By
March 26th, 2014



Have a drink at Bevy any given weekend and you might notice something different there than most neighborhood bars: the music.

0325 eleven44

PARTY AFTER ART

Presented by Foundation

» Where: eleven44, 1144 Bethel St.

» When: 9 p.m. Friday

» Cost: Free

» Info: Facebook.com/eleven44hawaii

Owners Christian Self and Timo Lee both come from a heightened state of awareness when it comes to their musical tastes. From experimental rock to indie and all forms of disco, house and tech-house, they have an ear for the eclectic and have many friends who are on the same level. Kevin Koga, Roger Bong, Ramyt Islam, Jimmy Lee and many others come in and show people what music is all about. This grows the vibe even stronger and is a way to bring the family closer. It is not dissimilar to the regulars thirtyninehotel brought together for its Space Truckin parties.

Jimmy and Ramyt made a breakthrough this past First Friday at new Bethel Street nightclub and lounge eleven44. They didn’t compromise their music programming even a little bit and played house music all night to a packed room of people beyond their own circle of friends. The crowd was totally in to it and stayed until the very end, applauding the DJs when the lights came on, a la Shake & Pop back in the day.

Not playing mainstream music is a bit risky, especially on a First Friday, but the guys managed to make a connection with the audience that night and were beaming from ear to ear when they told me about it. They'll be back at eleven44 this weekend to kick off another new monthly event, Party After Art. Ramyt and Jimmy will host a new party to follow ARTafterDARK at the Honolulu Museum of Art with their friends and rotating resident DJs Higher Concept, Patrick Park and Zilla.

DJ Jimmy Lee

Promoter/DJ Jimmy Lee plays at the new eleven44 every last Friday and First Friday. (Courtesy photo)

The format?

“Electronic music that is not EDM,” said Lee.

Another major component for eleven44 and Party After Art is the venue's sound system.

“The fact that Dave Stewart said to us when he was building the club, ‘I want the best sound system in downtown,’ got us really excited about the project,” Lee said. “Sound is such a key element for a dance club. Clean, crisp sound is so important and people will notice the difference as soon as they hear it.”

Working with Kevin Sanada (SPELLS), Ramyt (Foundation) and Chris Chartier (Asylum), Lee researched and installed a D&B Audiotechnik system in the new club. This is the same system used in Womb in Tokyo, Pacha Ibiza, the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles (ranked one of the top 10 club sound systems in the country by Beatport) and a variety of other clubs around the world.

While the system is about 90 percent complete, you can already hear the difference. An upgrade to the DJ monitors, proper positioning of the main speakers and installation in the lounge area will make the system complete.

There's no cover for Friday's party, so go check it out for yourself and hear the difference.

———

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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Pancipanci honored at AUW fundraiser

By
March 19th, 2014



“You have to love what you do,” Crystal Pancipanci told a room of 200 women at a March 8 fundraiser hosted by Aloha United Way's Women United.

Stylist Crystal Pancipanci brings her staff to the stage to thank them at the Chocolate, Champagne & Couture event) (Image by Ashley Smith)

Stylist Crystal Pancipanci brings her staff to the stage to thank them at the Chocolate, Champagne & Couture event)
(Image by Ashley Smith)

“Because sleep will disappear.”

Pancipanci had just taken the stage after a pretty glamorous entry into the brunch at the Pacific Club where I was DJing. I admired the way every photographer at the event raced over to get the perfect shot of the popular stylist.

This is the norm for Crystal. I am pretty sure I have never seen her walk into a room and be ignored.

Pancipanci is easy to obsess over for women like me because she is one of us. She comes from a modest upbringing and makes sure to tell women about great finds at local re-sales that can be just as glamorous as designer wear. Her style is precise without being too flashy, her hair and makeup is always flawless, and her smile is 100 percent genuine.

She is also a single mom who worked hard to turn her dreams into reality and admits it comes with a price — her free time.

“I say dream big, work hard, keep smiling and stay positive,” she said in a video shown during the event. “Embrace who you are. Don’t be so scared, because the only person out there who can hold you back from anything is you.”

The fundraiser was the first event Aloha United Way put together on International Women’s Day, but the general consensus was that it's the perfect day to bring women together for a fashion-themed brunch with champagne and chocolate. From where I played music I could see tea trays brought out with decadent sandwiches, pastries and (gasp!) chocolate-covered candied bacon.

Bright colors with bold patterns are what's hot for spring  (Image by Ashley Smith)

Bright colors with bold patterns are what's hot for spring. (Courtesy Ashley Smith)

The fashion show was elaborate, showcasing a wide variety of suits and dresses that went from business professional to high-class function from Macy’s, Michael Kors, Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus and Cache’. The colors were a beautiful palate of softer pastels and earthy tones mixed with bright purples, pinks and blues.

The hottest color for spring? Radiant Orchid!

Women in Hawaii will love this bright pink/purple hue. Also look for items in violet, sand, orange and, of course, yellow. Spring is all about the bright colors and bold patterns.

“Just experiment with what you are comfortable with” Pancipanci said.

Bold colors and patterns not your thing? Don't worry! Sand and pastels are also hot for spring! (Image by Ashley Smith)

Bold colors and patterns not your thing? Don't worry! Sand and pastels are also hot for spring! (Courtesy Ashley Smith)

The event was a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day and Aloha United Way's Women United did a fantastic job with their first event, raising more than $50,000 to support its mission of service to Oahu non-profits and making a difference in people’s lives.

“We wanted to create a fun, unique way to bring together women and their friends and we are so happy everyone had a great time,” AUW President and CEO Kim Gennaula said in an e-mail after the event.

I'm glad I was in that room, surrounded by women who are working hard and still find the time to be glamorous and stylish. It's not easy to walk out of the house or office with perfect hair, makeup and outfit every day. Women who can still make it a priority are definitely huge role models for me. I'm trying!

———

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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Music makes 'Rent' magical

By
March 12th, 2014



It’s been a while since I’ve seen producer/DJ/Grammy Award-winning recording engineer Christian Mochizuki, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy.

Grammy Award-winning DJ/producer Christian Mochizuki. (Courtesy photo)

Grammy Award-winning DJ/producer Christian Mochizuki. (Courtesy photo)

His remix of Zedd’s “Find You” with San Francisco’s DJ Panic City ripped its way through Internet music blogs, bringing the usually low-key artist back in to the limelight. Watch for an EP later this year; this preview already has more than 75,000 plays on Soundcloud and reached No. 6 on Hypem.com. The wildfire is only just beginning.

Hawaii-based artists Kowai Kowai and DJ Compose are also seeing similar success with a track they worked on with VH1’s “Master of the Mix” winner, Los Angeles producer/DJ JayCeeOh. A trap remix of the classic Black Sheep anthem, “The Choice is Yours,” the track is a classic club banger, with more than 100,000 Soundcloud plays and pretty much every DJ in town dropping it in theirs set to tremendous reactions from crowds. These are great national successes for Hawaii producers and positive motivation for others to continue working hard.

The cast of RENT: perfect in their roles (Image by Melia Leineau)

‘RENT’

Presented by Manoa Valley Theatre

» Where: 2833 East Manoa Road Honolulu, HI 96822

» When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; also 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays from April 9-20 (March 13-30 performances sold out)

» Cost: $41 general admission; $36 for seniors and military with valid ID; $25 for those 25 and younger

» Info: (808) 988-6131, manoavalleytheatre.com

ON THE other end of the spectrum, I was reintroduced to the world of music academia when I took some time to catch a preview of Manoa Valley Theatre's undertaking of “Rent” on Sunday.

I originally caught this musical in London and was thrown for a loop. The swearing, drug use, public displays of affection and generally risqué subject matter sucked me into the story, and by the second act I was in uncontrollable tears.

Knowing what to expect didn’t make it any different at MVT, as the actors did an amazing job getting into character and taking us along for the ride.

Shawna Lynn Masuda's performance as Mimi character was phenomenal. I was also blown away by Maureen, played by the incredibly self-confident and sexy Leiney Rigg, who came very close to stealing the whole show when she took the stage to perform “Over the Moon.” While these two were the standouts for me, the entire cast did a great job.

ALSO WORTH mentioning is guest music director James Mares and his talented ensemble hidden behind a “brick” wall on stage.

Seated out of sight and dressed all in black, these musicians are still an intricate part of the production. If they are not in sync with each other and the cast, the show will not go on.

Speaking with the musicians after the preview performance, I found they were very reserved at first. It wasn't until we started to talk about why they do what they do that they began to open up and share their “love of the theater and the music.”

Chase Kaminaka, Benoit Weber, Chris Luke and Josh Cullen perform for Music Director James Mears in Manoa Valley Theater's RENT (Image by Malia Leinau)

From left, Chase Kaminaka, Benoit Weber, Chris Luke and Josh Cullen perform for Music Director James Mears in Manoa Valley Theater's “Rent.” (Courtesy Malia Leinau)

They take their work very seriously and practice for hours each week. They read sheet music and most play more than one instrument. Between the seven of them, they have more than 87 years of stage experience. While they aren't in the spotlight, they still work countless hours and are the unsung heroes of the production. And they are all more than okay with the situation.

Mares, a Music Composition major at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, developed the score, programming sounds and putting the musical production together for the last four months. Since December he's listened to the music, thought about the music, practiced it then went home to think about it even more while taking notes for the next rehearsal. When he's not working on the musical, he teaches private piano, voice and guitar lessons.

“The big picture is its one voice.” said drummer Chris Luke. “There are many parts but it’s one voice. The band and the cast, at the end of the day, we all produce once sound. We always strive to get closer and closer to that.”

MVT's initial run of “Rent” from March 13 through 30 is old out, but additional performances were announced from April 9-12 and April 16-20. General admission seating only; doors open 30 minutes prior to showtime and there is no late seating.

———

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.

Donnis brings NYC vibe to Hawaii

By
March 5th, 2014



We all tend to get lost in our online world sometimes, scrolling away on our phones from the second we wake up until the last moments before sleep. So it doesn’t surprise me to hear younger generations talking about the current stalemate in Honolulu nightlife.

“There’s nothing new,” a 22-year-old regular on the scene told me recently over drinks at Bevy. “There’s nothing fun.”

Donnis will host and DJ the Ratchet Twerk Rave 3000 this Saturday at Ong King (Courtesy photo)

‘RATCHET TWERK RAVE 3000’

Presented by In4mation and Fool's Gold Records

» Where: Ong King, 184 N. King St.
» When: 10 p.m. Saturday
» Cost: $10
» Info: ratchettwerkrave3000.tumblr.com/

While I am constantly in the trenches digging up what’s hot — and trust me, there’s plenty happening — I did find myself stalling a bit. There is still at least one place every night that goes off consistently (and for which we should all be grateful), but most are the same spots as last year, or even two years ago.

And so, the only retort I could drum up was that young people need to keep their heads up. We are seeing less and less people willing to get off their phones to go try something new. Any seasoned promoter will tell you that building a base of support takes a lot of work. Some who spend their money going out at night are trading bottle service with fair-weather friends for neighborhood bars with quality company. Hustlers are trading risk-taking for steady-paying, honest work.

Those who understand what it takes to succeed in our scene are growing up and starting families. We are losing our grip without those people who actually make things happen. I’ve listed the ones to watch in this blog more than once, and as I continue to meet people willing to try, all we can do is support them.

ONE DAY as I scrolled along through life myself, I got pretty excited seeing Fool’s Gold Records show up on a flyer for a party with In4mation. This label is known for pushing the boundaries of everything; music, performance, events and even retail. In terms of independent labels, they have set the bar incredibly high with their brand.

Founded in 2007 by A-Trak (aka Alain Macklovitch) and Nick “Catchdubs” Barat, Fool's Gold boasts a roster that spreads across (and blends) everything cool in indie, hip-hop, dance, twerk and trap. From the kings of cool Chromeo, Jokers of the Scene and Danny Brown, to festival dancefloor destroyers Laidback Luke, Flosstradaumus, Carnage, Duck Sauce, Tommy Trash and frequent Hawaii visitor Four Color Zack, this Brooklyn label’s tastemaker status was already next level before they even started. Everything they touch turns to gold.

Donnis first performed in Hawaii in 2011, right after being listed among the ranks of Big Sean, Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa as one of XXL magazine’s Top 10 Freshmen. The experience of performing here, even after living and working all over the world was eye-opening for him; I could relate, so we quickly became friends.

Changing the game: Donnis and A-Trak (Courtesy photo)

Changing the game: Donnis and A-Trak. (Courtesy photo)

“At that point in my life I had done a lot of traveling, but I had never been somewhere like (Hawaii,)” said the artist born born Ladonnis Crump. “The energy was, and still is, intense as soon as you get to the island. I’m not sure if people realize how powerful this place is.”

Donnis signed with Fool’s Gold in 2012 after a few years with Atlantic Records and has since settled in quite nicely. He began hosting a touring house party with A-Trak and Flosstradaumus, spinning the norm into a completely new universe.

Now he plans to do that in Honolulu.

“I just want to bring good vibes and new vibes to the underground culture,” he said. “I grew up in Atlanta, Tokyo, and New York City. I like to believe I’ve been to some of the best parties in the world.

“Me and A-Trak have been all over throwing parties under Fool's Gold. I think we have kind of mastered what it takes to make a successful event.”

This Saturday will be his first Hawaii attempt, but luckily he has a healthy lineup and the good fortune of immediately following the Kendrik Lamar concert at Blaisdell Arena. With Ong King as his venue, Donnis will definitely get the house party vibe he’s going for.

“Saturday’s party is going to be a lot like the house parties me and A-Trak have been throwing on the mainland, with Hawaii’s unique flavor added in by using the hottest DJs playing whatever ratchet music they want,” he said. “There are no rules. This event is for any and everyone who just wants to have FUN. We’re doing everything we can to make it a place where everyone feels comfortable being themselves. A true no-judgment zone.”

If this sounds like a new, exciting, welcome break from the norm, then don’t let the name freak you out. Embrace it!
———
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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