Archive for April, 2014

Painted Highways reunites for farewell

By
April 30th, 2014



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I’ve been traveling quite a bit to the neighbor islands for work and have been joking about not coming back from Kauai. That place is a dream world. Everyone keeps telling me it is way too slow for me but I don’t know … I kind of love that.

Painted Highways

With PAGE, Botoroke and Oil in the Alley

» Where: Downbeat Lounge, 42 N Hotel St.

» When: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, May 10

» Cost: Free

Some people can’t hang with small towns but to me it’s a glorious escape from the hustle and bustle. I jokingly refer to Oahu as “The Metropolis” whenever I’m out there and love that with each trip I return with more friends. When there’s not as much to do people spend more time on their own families, their own health and fitness, and their own peace of mind.

Who wouldn’t want to have a life on a beautiful lush island as a farmer, getting up at dawn to surf, doing yoga and making smoothies?

There are some, apparently. Most of my friends on Oahu say they could never live somewhere so small. “Everyone knows everyone. You have no privacy.” Blah. Living under the radar was never really a thing for me. The more people I can get to know the more interesting life gets. I saw a quote somewhere (probably on Instagram) that said, “The less people I chill with the less drama in my life.” It’s totally true but missing out on being close with others strips away a bit of our own humanity. People need people.

Mike and Rachel Pooley will be leaving for Kauai at the end of May. (Courtesy Graham Black)

Mike and Rachel Pooley will be leaving for Kauai at the end of May. (Courtesy Graham Black)

Longtime Honolulu musician Mike Pooley and his wife, yoga instructor Rachel Piano-Pooley, will be moving back to Kauai at the end of May with their two young children after 10 years of living in The Metropolis. Could it be that the big city was just too much for the talented young couple?!

Not quite.

“I went to elementary school in Hanalei and always wanted to move back, but since my wife’s family is over there we decided to have our kids grow up around their family,” he told me.

Pooley has been a significant fixture in the local music scene, currently fronting indie rock band Pink Mist but also powering Timbre Tantrums, POWER! and Painted Highways.

Painted Highways was, as many Honolulu bands tend to be, a miscellany of some of the city’s greatest: Jack Tawil (At Sea, Malcognitas), Mark Howard (CTRL ALT DEL one of my favorite bands of all time in Honolulu) and Pink Mist bassist Kai Kalus. They are, essentially, a product of exactly what is right about Honolulu’s tight-knit, incestuous music scene.

Painted Highways performing at Nextdoor circa 2010. Not pictured: me in a dream state. Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

Painted Highways performing at Nextdoor circa 2010. Not pictured: me in a dream state.(Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

I was standing dreamily in the back for many of their shows at Nextdoor and Mercury Bar. Their music is heavily influenced by a lot of the '90s rock that I was actuallyl listening to while driving long roads in Washington state in the '90s: Modest Mouse, Dinasour Jr., Radiohead. These are merely influences, as their sound is all their own. Dreamy guitars could be my favorite thing to see live on the planet.

Painted Highways had a “whirlwind romance,” as Pooley puts it, for two and a half years that included a five-song EP and opening slots for Blitzen Trapper, Vivian Girls and Toro y Moi.

Saturday, May 10, will be a reunion-slash-goodbye show featuring all the original members.

“I’m sure going to miss it here. The musical and creative opportunities I’ve had here have been amazing. It’s going to be hard adjusting, but I’m excited about this new adventure,” Pooley told me. "I'm sad too. It's weird leaving a place I'm still in love with. So bittersweet."

Meanwhile, online local street performers Streetlight Cadence are about to have their big break. They won the Hard Rock Cafe's Hard Rock Rising for Hawaii and are now in the more difficult portion of the restaurant chain's contest: the online voting.

Streetlight Cadence are in the running for an all-expenses-paid trip to perform at the Hard Rock Live Rome Music Festival in Italy this summer. (Courtesy Streetlight Cadence)

Streetlight Cadence are in the running for an all-expenses-paid trip to perform at the Hard Rock Live Rome Music Festival in Italy this summer. (Courtesy Streetlight Cadence)

It's a shame, really. These guys could easily be the next Mumford & Sons but won't be going anywhere if they can't get enough online support. If they do make it, just watch out. The crowds around them under the Hawaii Theater each First Friday, standing there with their mouths hanging open, are totally going to be able to say they knew them when. I really hope they can get past this voting purgatory and in the running to perform in Italy. The Hard Rock Live Rome Music Festival is this summer, and voting is only open for 25 days. The link is here. Good luck guys. You definitely deserve 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.

Heartbreak in Honolulu

By
April 23rd, 2014



The nightlife scene suffered significant losses this month with the announcements that two weekly Wednesday night parties were ending. Riana "DJ Tittahbyte" Stellburg's Gravity party bid goodbye to Manifest last week, while Crush at Safehouse inside The Republik with Jonathan "DJ Compose" Ablan and Tina "DJ Anit" Viernes wraps up tonight.

Crush may have been the party that lasted longer, but I'm more bummed out about Gravity shutting down. Stellburg was definitely ahead of the curve with her music programming, which makes me sad the party didn’t totally blow up. Her style of Heavy Bass and Future R&B is still a bit too new for the masses to understand, but there is a growing appreciation for the developing sound.

Riana "DJ Tittahbyte" Stellburg. (Star-Advertiser File)

Riana "DJ Tittahbyte" Stellburg. (Star-Advertiser File)

Gravity's failure isn't embarrassing by any means; Stellburg can hold her head high that she pioneered the genre in Honolulu, paving the road for up-and-coming promoters like Diamond & Dagger Collective and many others.

I mean, hello, she had Mr. Carmack playing her night! That guy is a legend and respected by all the top producers around. Signed to Diplo’s Mad Decent label, he was recognized by Gaslamp Killer as one of his personal favorites during Gaslamp's recent Red Bull Music Academy lecture. He could have easily sold out a show at The Republik, but there he was, casting a glorious shadow in the back of Manifest.

Even though you can't catch her at Manifest on Wednesdays anymore, Stellburg continues to maintain a monthly residency at DASH Gastropub, 1018 McCully St. DASH Social celebrates its one-year anniversary Thursday with food and drink specials starting at 9 p.m. She will also be a featured guest DJ at The Republik's Chitty Bang on May 1.

SO WHAT is it that’s keeping people from raging every week the way they used to?

“People are more fickle and savvy than ever now,” said BAMP Project's Flash Hansen. “You need to work that much harder to set it off. Plus, there are more concerts and shows than ever, which is a good thing.

“Chitty Bang is (still) a huge monthly for us. It’s a very consistent 400-plus through the door every first Thursday and easily the best dance party and vibe of anything I’ve seen the last few years. We also partnered with DJ Delve to start a new weekly, called Stiletto, starting April 30. That will cater directly to ladies.”

A new party with DJ Delve? Yes, please! More on that later. I still want to share what others think about weekly parties.

“I think they work only if the promoters are very dedicated and have a loyal following,” said Bevy co-owner Timo Lee (and one of my favorite DJs).

Bevy plans a weekly live music showcase on Wednesdays next month with live musicians from different genres. And if it's Bevy, you know the music is going to be good.

“People get bored,” offered Daniel Gray, one of the partners behind Nextdoor in Chinatown. “You have to keep it fresh.”

Nextdoor will kick off a new Wednesday party in May called #Selfie Wednesdays, with — you guessed it — prizes for the best selfies taken each week.

Chris Kam, aka DJ Delve. (Star-Advertiser File)

Chris Kam, aka DJ Delve. (Star-Advertiser File)

NOW BACK to DJ Delve, aka Chris Kam, who is well-known as one of the driving forces behind popular Chinatown monthly dance party Shake 'N' Pop.

“It’s very easy for people to fall in with a crowd where they feel safe. Or where they get the most free drinks. Or where they have the most photos taken of them. All of the parties I’ve DJed at, I have always focused on two things: having genuine fun and the music.

“I am a firm believer in giving a crowd the most relaxed atmosphere with a good-natured staff and music selection where the people feel like they can all let loose and dance till the house lights come up.”

That statement helped me immediately recall tons of memories, most of them huge crowds applauding Delve after the lights come back on and security has started to clear the club. It happens so much that I think we can even call that his “thing.”

“What I want to do with Stiletto is to create a fun weekly setting for ladies,” Delve said. “Musically covering a little of everything: early 2000s R&B and rap, twerk and trap, but also throwback soul/funk/doo-wop sing-along classics and nu-disco selections. (I'm) inspired by 1990s Janet Jackson videos and high school house parties.”

Delve's new party is the first in Honolulu to secure sponsorship from Beats By Dre; along with RVCA and BAMP swag, there will be highly-coveted giveaways for everyone and never a cover charge. With a track record that includes a successful Monday night industry party at Lulu’s and a residency at The Manor at M Nightclub, he recognizes the opportunity to tap in to a huge market of females who want to dance and have fun.

Jason Pollak, far right, gives his trademark bunny ears. This photo was taken during a trip to Indonesia with Pollak's friend, Tripoli Patterson. Pollak was killed in New York last weekend after being in a car accident. (Courtesy Matt Clark)

Jason Pollak, kneeling at right, gives his trademark bunny ears. This photo was taken during a trip to Indonesia with Pollak's friend, Tripoli Patterson. Pollak was killed in New York last weekend after being in a car accident. (Courtesy Matt Clark)

THERE WAS also heartbreak of a decidedly more serious nature last weekend with the news that Hawaii Pacific University graduate Jason Pollak was killed in a car accident in his hometown of Southampton, NY. The former Honolulu resident and nightlife entrepreneur died Saturday, leaving longtime girlfriend (and Honolulu It Girl) Casey Evans and many others in mourning.

Pollak launched social networking site The Jump Off in 2011, utilizing his natural marketing skills and very genuine and kind nature to find success. I met Jason when he sought me out to ask how much it would cost to sponsor the Bacardi Pool Party in 2011.

When I asked what he was looking for, he simply asked, “How much does it cost for instead of Bacardi Pool Party, it was the Jump Off Pool Party?”

I quoted him an ungodly large amount, not really taking him seriously.

“Done,” he said, without even flinching.

The party that followed was probably the best we ever did, with Major Lazer performing and hundreds of his target demographic turned on to his new social network. The campaign was a soaring success for everyone involved, and I was introduced to a very humble, yet very successful, surfer who had a knack for getting things done.

It’s funny when I think back to all the shade he would catch from guys I worked with. I understand how they would be threatened by this surfer from New York who was a supermodel-looking kid and also very business-savy for his age. It’s confusing for many to understand and accept that he was someone who simply worked hard and played hard.

When it came to his business, he took things very seriously and never missed meetings or blew anyone off. There are tons of us shocked and saddened by his untimely death. I will always remember the time we had together and my heart goes out to all of the lives he touched while living in Honolulu.

———

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.

San Diego club owners look to Waikiki

By
April 16th, 2014



An artist's rendition of the theater that will be created in Waikiki to house “CabaRAE” at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. (Courtesy photo)

An artist's rendition of the theater that will be created in Waikiki to house “CabaRAE” at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. (Courtesy photo)

As I’m up to my elbows in work, I find many of my meetings are in Waikiki. So it’s still funny to me when locals ask why I’m trying to get them to come to that area.

The first question is always, “Where do I park?”

I totally get it. But I've also worked around the issue for so long it’s funny to me. Not long ago, Waikiki was the only place we went to party. If a whole generation is having this much of a crisis figuring it out, then I’m a lot older than I thought.

Award-winning nightlife tycoon Dave Renzella's RMD Group has partnered with former Cirque du Soleil director Alan Goldberg to bring Honolulu "CabaRAE" this summer. (Courtesy photo) (Courtsey photo)

Award-winning nightlife tycoon Dave Renzella's RMD Group has partnered with former Cirque du Soleil director Alan Goldberg to bring Honolulu "CabaRAE" this summer. (Courtesy photo)

There was a big announcement last week that “CabaRAE” open late this summer at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The long-abandoned area near the Tapas Pool Bar will soon be a 10,000-square-foot circus tent, home to performers from around the world in a Cirque du Soleil-like experience that includes an afterparty from 10:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. I immediately thought of LEVEL4 Nightclub when I heard about the new space, and so I reached out to talk to the people behind “CabaRAE.”

“CabaRAE” executive producer and creative director Alan Goldberg was, in fact, affiliated with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. His business partner, RMD Group, runs FLUXX, one of the sickest nightclubs in all of San Diego. I met RMD's Dave Renzella when he was here visiting fellow Southern California nightlife developer Matt Bendik (who launched Addiction Nightclub the Modern Honolulu).

Renzella is very sharp, very approachable and keen to what’s hot. He is out constantly and always stays ahead of trends, changing up FLUXX's entire theme (called Fluxxuations ) often. With the themes come huge displays, staff decked out in coordinated uniforms, special guests and shows that take over the entire nightclub. Whether it’s Pollination with thousands of butterflies and flowers, or Aquatic with a 800-gallon aquarium tank and live mermaid, FLUXX takes clubbing as an experience to extreme new heights.

While Honolulu’s “CabaRAE” performance space will not double as a nightclub, per se, we can definitely expect the same attention to detail when it comes to look and feel of the show’s afterparty as the production itself.

“We plan on creating more of a cool lounge vibe during the 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. afterparty portion of the night,” Renzella said via email. “We are creating a unique lounge environment where people who just saw the ‘CabaRAE’ show can mix and mingle with the performers after the show, and then the venue opens up to the general public so everyone can enjoy an infused artistic environment.

“We love the location and feel strongly that both locals and tourists will be drawn to the show and that it’s an experience they will return to again and again.”

RMD Group's FLUXX nightclub in San Diego. (Courtesy photo)

RMD Group's FLUXX nightclub in San Diego. (Courtesy photo)

Interior design will be handled by Nevada-based theatrical designer Jeannette Farmer and progressive and modern architecture enthusiast designer Davis Krumins. Krumins, of Davis Ink., has had his hands in a huge A-list of award-winning designs in Southern California, including Bendik’s Hollywood hot-spot AV and FLUXX.

While the show’s cast will appear during the afterparty in a non-performing role, there could still be surprises.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see some of them entertain guests spontaneously,” Goldberg said via email.

I immediately thought of acrobats spinning over our heads at LEVEL4 while we danced beneath them. It was also the first time I was ever in a club that used confetti and thought it was the most amazing thing ever.

“Honolulu has a very progressive urban nightlife scene,” Renzella said. “Now is the time to revitalize the late-night scene in Waikiki.”

With cast already on-island and “CabaRAE” set to open in August, I will definitely be looking forward to wrapping up summer in Waikiki this year.

———

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.

Saying goodbye to DJ Soundcheck

By
April 9th, 2014



A lot of people ask me how I find the time to DJ. It’s true, there really aren’t enough hours in the day — but it’s also very true that we make time for the things we love.

The feeling you get when you’re vibing with the crowd and completely in control of everyone’s good time while playing music in a club or at an event is almost indescribable. It’s a very delicate art, and even the most skilled DJs have been humbled by blasé crowds. It’s what keeps things exciting and keeps DJs hustling week after week, including me.

DJ Soundcheck. (Courtesy Tom Quach)

DJ Soundcheck. (Courtesy Tom Quach)

Some of my best nights I can think of usually involved looking up from a mix I surprised even myself with and seeing Ryan “DJ Soundcheck” Aubin's giant smiling face. Of all the DJs in Honolulu, he is one of the very few who gets my style and tastes. It’s hard to stick with your own personal sound when the people dancing and drinking only want to hear Chris Brown, so any situation where we can stay true to ourselves is considered the utopia of DJing.

I first saw Soundcheck playing at a Thursday night party in 2011 at the old SoHo Mixed Media Bar in Chinatown, where he was getting away with throwing in tons of disco and indie-dance while keeping the dance floor packed. Before that night, the only people I ever heard going this far away from the mainstream and still killing it were DJs Deko and Delve. It was amazing, and I had to know who this kid was that seemingly came out of nowhere.

Turns out, he met SoHo owner Daniel Gray while at KTUH during DJ G-Spot’s radio show. For those who don't know, G-Spot is from Chicago, and Aubin was told by another DJ as he left that city for Honolulu that he only needed to look up one person. The advice was golden as G-Spot allowed Aubin to join him on his long-running “Underground Sounds” show for an interview and play a demo when Gray walked in.

EDM Hawaii also heard Aubin's demo and booked him at SoHo, which landed him the Thursday night residency and eventually First Fridays until the club closed in March 2013.

“I put together the #Checkin weekly event to ride the social media explosion in Honolulu nightlife and asked DJ Soundcheck if he wanted to be the resident and help me build it,” Gray said. “He did, and we had almost two full years of a great weekly. He wasn’t afraid to play throwbacks, 80’s, random pop hit remixes and unique genres that you would never hear out. That’s why I hired him and why that party’s programming was truly unique.”

The author and DJ Soundcheck at RumFire Waikiki. The duo was known as "SPRCHK" when they collaborated. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

The author and DJ Soundcheck at RumFire Waikiki. The duo was known as "SPRCHK" when they collaborated. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

During that time Aubin was discovered and booked for residencies at RumFire Waikiki, Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand, V-Lounge, The Safehouse and tons of special events.

This week he is leaving Honolulu. As usual, when any great talent decides to leave I am sad but happy for them. With Aubin, however, there is definitely more sadness than happiness. In the same way I am happy/sad for DJ Dirty Secret as she takes Las Vegas by storm.

Still, Aubin has a good reason to leave. His new endeavor should be very lucrative.

“My business partner Benny Carasco and I are (starting) a medicinal marijuana farm,” he said. “With the momentum in the U.S. we are still on the cusp of a growing industry, and after a years’ worth of paperwork and permits we are able to expand our non-profit and create lasting careers doing something we both love.”

Was moving to Hawaii even worth it?

“It was totally worth it,” he said. “There are so many talented DJs out here to learn from. The scene is always changing; even in my short time here there were new spots opening up and great spots closing. It’s a small pool of regulars so getting to know everyone was so easy.

“My goal is to be back in three years; hopefully by then Hawaii’s laws will be more like Maine's.”

Looking back at how many amazing people I have met and said goodbye to, Ryan will definitely be one of the more impactful people in my life. Taking the time to work on mixes with me, showing me the ropes of playing out with nothing but encouragement and always with that enthusiastic smile when he hears me play — there's going to be a huge DJ Soundchceck-shaped hole in my life.

———

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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Waikiki ready for nightlife comeback

By
April 2nd, 2014



Tantriq Entertainment's Jay Kawakami, second from left, welcomed a new generation of party people to Park Restaurant in the Lotus Waikiki for the launch of Park Place on Friday. (Star-Advertiser File)

Tantriq Entertainment's Jay Kawakami, second from left, welcomed a new generation of party people to Park Restaurant in the Lotus Waikiki for the launch of Park Place on Friday. (Star-Advertiser File)

“They probably have no idea where we are,” BAMP Project Marketing and Promotions Director Flash Hansen quipped as I marveled over a huge line packed with gorgeous young people deep in Waikiki on Saturday night.

We were at the Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head for new Friday party Park Place, but many of us still referred to it as “The Old W” in reference its previous incarnation as the W Honolulu from 2004 until 2009, when Friday nights were just as swanky as the global boutique hotel brand and hundreds would line up to get inside the second floor restaurant-turned-nightclub.

Flash and I were rushing out to catch the Jurassic 5 pre-party with DJs Nu Mark and Cut Chemist (which I’m so glad I did!), and as usual I was in a situation where I was saying hello to all the cool kids whooshing in as I whooshed out.

The crowd wasn’t all young, however. There were definitely quite a few of the major players from Honolulu's nightlife who also made the trek to the far end of Waikiki to party with Tantriq Entertainment and say happy birthday to MillerCoors Area Sales Manager Colonel Toma. Pro surfers Sean Moody and Roy Powers, entrepreneur Jason Kim, promoters Bryan Simpson and Nao Fukazawa, Butigroove owner BJ Sabate, local American Apparel model Kiani Yamamoto, Element Group partner Sean Saiki and many others braved the traffic to come kick it. I would even say the average age in the room on Saturday night was late 20s to early 30s, which is the sweet spot for most clubs that want to be considered “upscale.”

The author, left, with BAMP Project Marketing and Promotions Director Flash Hansen and Uber Honolulu Community Manager Tommy Pierucki at Park Place on Friday. (Star-Advertiser File)

The author, left, with BAMP Project Marketing and Promotions Director Flash Hansen and Uber Honolulu Community Manager Tommy Pierucki at Park Place on Friday. (Star-Advertiser File)

Since very little was different in regards to the decor and look of the hotel's second floor space except the art on the walls, many of us older nightlife types couldn’t help but reminisce about the old W days. I wasn’t alone in my musings that this town is ready for something different.

While Tantriq doesn’t have plans to promote the party every week, Lotus Waikiki General Manager Joshua Gray said Park Place will be a weekly event. I’m looking forward to this event jump-starting what appears to be an imminent resurgence in Waikiki nightlife options over the next 12 months.

Party-hopping isn’t going to be as easy as it used to be come next year, especially if the Lotus sticks to its plans. Or when the 9,000 square foot SkyBar Waikiki opens downstairs from the Top of Waikiki at the Waikiki Shopping Plaza. Or when the new 300-person Buho Cocina y Cantina unveils its large rooftop patio bar above Tanaka of Tokyo at 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. And especially if/when the planned Tyler Restaurant and Jaded Nightclub renderings that use the likeness of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler in the former Señor Frog's space at the Royal Hawaiian Center are ever built.

Although there are plenty of people still around who remember running the nightlife gauntlet in Honolulu every weekend when parties were scattered from Waikiki to Chinatown, there is definitely a certain finesse people need to make it out of Waikiki alive. The first, and most obvious, is don’t drink and drive. That sounds easy, but many are not as keen to accept this challenge, unfortunately.

I can only speak for myself when I say being wasted when you’re out is not fun. I personally just don’t like being all sloppy and out of control (anymore). It’s more about enjoying my beverage, the conversations and the music. Those who drink have taxi cabs and Uber to rely on, or possibly that one friend who doesn't drink to drive them home.

Uber is becoming more and more accessible with a taxi option that allows you to use a normal taxi billed to your credit card for only $1 more (instead of Uber's regular black car service, which can get pricey), and with EcoCab’s rewards program, people can earn free stuff starting at about the cost of a round of drinks. Now is a good time to test these services out and get back in the swing of things before all the new spots begin to open their doors.

Rage4Daniel, the fundraiser series for Nextdoor owner Daniel Gray as he battles brain cancer, moves to the Pacific Beach Hotel's new Oltra Lounge this weekend. (Star-Advertiser File)

Rage4Daniel, the fundraiser series for Nextdoor owner Daniel Gray as he battles brain cancer, moves to the Pacific Beach Hotel's new Oltra Lounge this weekend. (Star-Advertiser File)

Also in Waikiki on Sunday is the debut of a new lounge concept at the Pacific Beach Hotel, called the Oltra Lounge. This is the hotel I always park in to go to the Waikiki 24-Hour Fitness and walk by their giant aquarium thinking of Las Vegas.

A volunteer committee including myself, Merielle Tomas, Shayla Nakashima, Erin "Roxy on the Mic" Bunda, Clear Channel Hawaii's Kaulana Young, Level H Productions' Hanson Nguyen and Dax Moore, Nextdoor's Marty Simijan have been working the past few months on a Waikiki version of the Rage4Daniel fundraiser for Nextdoor owner Daniel Gray, who was diagnosed earlier this year with brain cancer. Lea Saporito, a manager at the Pacific Beach and Gray's former co-worker Chili's, came up with the Oltra Lounge concept and helped organize all the volunteers for Sunday's fundraising effort.

While the tumor has shrunk in Gray's brain, he has been dealing with a feeding tube and some pretty harsh after-effects from radiation therapy. The difficult treatment means daily visits to the hospital for two hours of fluid and anti-nausea intake. While staying in good spirits and determined to keep bringing shows to Honolulu, Gray's attitude has made it easy to carve out the time for everyone to step up and keep working to help raise money to offset his medical bills.

Rage4Daniel Waikiki starts at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Pacific Beach Hotel's new Oltra Lounge, 2490 Kalakaua Ave. The party will also feature live entertainment by Simple Souls and a fashion show featuring Hula Hearts, Kaimana Beach Wear, Pull-In Clothing and Red Label Clothing. Tickets are $20 general admission and $45 VIP (includes food and drinks); $5 validated parking will also be available. Visit facebook.com for more info.

Ratchet Twerk Rave 3000 will bring a crowd back to Ong King this weekend. (Star-Advertiser File)

Ratchet Twerk Rave 3000 will bring a crowd back to Ong King this weekend. (Star-Advertiser File)

Meanwhile, back in Chinatown nobody is slowing down any time soon. Out of the box thinkers Jun Jo and Donnis present another installment of their freaky Ratchet Twerk Rave 3000 party called “Free Wi-Fi and Pizza” at Ong King, 184 N. King St., on Saturday night. If it’s anything like the last one, expect a room full of skateboarders, hip-hop heads, perfect-10 supermodel-looking girls and Donnis jumping around on the mic getting the crowd amped up.

“Turnt up” would be an understatement to describe this party; I was literally clinging to Ong King's brick walls because I was afraid the floor was going to cave in from all the jumping.

“It was something that Honolulu has not felt for a long time,” Jo said afterward, and I definitely agree. If First Friday wears down the amateurs, this monthly could easily take the trophy for Saturday night professionals.

———

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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