Archive for June, 2014

Snapchat eases EDC angst

By
June 25th, 2014



COURTESY JORDAN SHIRAKIHUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC FANS — INCLUDING SOME FROM HAWAII — WERE IN LAS VEGAS LAST WEEKEND FOR THE 2014 ELECTRONIC DAISY CARNIVAL.

COURTESY JORDAN SHIRAKI

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC FANS, INCLUDING SOME FROM HAWAII, WERE IN LAS VEGAS LAST WEEKEND FOR THE 2014 ELECTRONIC DAISY CARNIVAL.

Honolulu’s nightlife may or may not have been affected by the Electric Daisy Carnival last weekend in Las Vegas, but the fact that some of the busiest spots always have one of their slowest weekends year after year at this time, you can’t help but blame the popular music festival.

COURTESY RICK SHIBASAKIELEMENT GROUP'S "PRETTY" RICKY SHIBASAKI WITH PARIS HILTON AT EDC VEGAS LAST WEEKEND. SHIBASAKI IS AN AVID USER OF SMARTPHONE MESSAGING APP SNAPCHAT.

COURTESY RICK SHIBASAKI

ELEMENT GROUP'S "PRETTY" RICKY SHIBASAKI WITH PARIS HILTON AT EDC VEGAS LAST WEEKEND. SHIBASAKI IS AN AVID USER OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO SHARE HIS PARTY ADVENTURES.

With so many local people constantly posting and updating from the full sensory overload of 400,000 people from 40 countries all partying together, I’m surprised the Internet wasn’t completely shut down. There was music in all electronic forms, from the deepest to the brightest and everything in between, with lights, pyrotechnics, costumes and art installations.

For the rest of us stuck thumbing through social media coverage on our smartphones, the whole fear of missing out (FOMO) concept was taken to a whole new level.

Enter Snapchat. This is a bit of a quirky app I have fallen in love with this past year, mainly after following the news about how they are shaking up Silicon Valley with their almost-impossible-for-the-old-school-to-understand technology and turned down a $3 billion cash offer from Facebook.

“Not everyone can create an app that perfectly captures the ephemeral and fluid nature of human communication” a spoof letter from 24 year old CEO Evan Spiegel to Mark “Zuckerbro” read that circulated the tech blogs like wildfire.

According to this post, Snapchat is the application where young people (70% female, the hardest to engage but most influential) are spending all their time.

As a marketing professional, I was determined to understand it. Now I am addicted. I am one of those people publishing to My Story incessantly. Strings of videos and photo snaps can now all be tied together into a never-ending narrative.

COURTESY KIANI YAMAMOTONEON INDIAN: MODEL KIANI YAMAMOTO AT EDC VEGAS LAST WEEKEND VIA SNAPCHAT.

COURTESY KIANI YAMAMOTO

NEON INDIAN: MODEL KIANI YAMAMOTO AT EDC VEGAS LAST WEEKEND VIA SNAPCHAT.

Our Story is the latest from Snapchat, allowing users in the same geographical area to post their snaps to a shared story, giving the viewers an amazing multi-faceted perspective of the event from all angles.

Coming from the era of lengthy 100-photo blog posts each week, I’m feeling right at home. It’s my evolution.

While still relatively new to Hawaii, a place where images are already so beautiful and should last longer than 24 hours, there are some who are still catching on. I was able to enjoy EDC from my couch via streaming video for the high definition artist performances and in the trenches via their community story called Our EDC Story.

I was watching the music festival from the Ferris wheel, backstage, right in the front, all the way in the back, smack-dab in the middle, on the way there, in line, at the pre-parties, at the post-parties. It was the best way to experience EDC without having to actually go. Bravo, Snapchat!

“We wanted to build something that offered a community perspective,” they wrote on their blog last week. “If you can’t make it to an event, watching Our Story makes you feel like you’re right there.”

There’s no question, technology is changing us. I’m just as irritated as the next person when I walk into a room where everyone's faces are buried in their phones. Yet I’m also the person who has this burning desire to share experiences with as many people as possible.

After using the software for a while, it definitely feels more natural. So many people have fallaciously tried to turn their lives into a personal brand, which can often lead to a diluted sense of self.

This is the app that feels more genuine. This is what’s happening. Not what you want to have happen. Not what you want others to believe. Thanks for making the road a bit straighter for us, guys.

———

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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Bring on the sexy

By
June 18th, 2014



I think I found the answer to Honolulu's hot summer nights. Burlesque! Sexy live performances by well-trained theatrical vixens confidently peeling it all off in the dark, cool confines of the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art could be just what you need.

COURTESY VIOLETTA BERETTAHAWAII BURLESQUE SENSATION VIOLETTA BERETTA HAS BEEN KNOWN TO DROP JAWS — AND DRAWERS.

2014 HAWAII BURLESQUE FESTIVAL & REVUE

Presented by Violetta Beretta and Cherry Blossom Cabaret

» Where: The Doris Duke Theatre, 900 S. Beretania St.

» When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m.); additional workshops Thursday, see HBF website for details

» Cost: $35 general admission ($30 for HMA members); $45 and $60 VIP tickets also available

» Info: hawaiiburlesquefestival.com, honolulumuseum.org

The Hawaii Burlesque Festival happens Friday and Saturday, but really kicks off on Thursday with a series of dance and striptease workshops. Now in its third year, the workshops are again the silent assassin, with classes like Intro to Shake Dancing and Booty Rock Twerkshop.

The pros are sharing their talents to anyone brave enough to learn, and the result — besides one hell of a presence on the dance floor — is positive body awareness, more self-confidence and ability to take yourself less seriously. That equals the kind of sexy that can’t be faked. They are essentially teaching you how to become your best you.

Talking to HBF producer/director and Cherry Blossom Cabaret president Violetta Beretta (she prefers not to use her real name), it’s hard for me to concentrate on anything but my memory of the first time I saw her perform. It was at Nextdoor almost eight years ago and her grace and beauty on stage literally stopped my heart. I remember glancing around the room and seeing everyone else with the same jaw-dropped gaze and deduced that this girl was simply not human. She must be some kind an angel from outer space. She must.

I'll never forget when she came to one of my birthday parties with tiniest gift bag I ever saw. When I opened it to reveal a gorgeous set of red fabric pasties, she winked and told me, "I'll show you how to use these one day."

They are still sitting on top of my dresser, reminding me that it's completely okay to channel my inner sexy.

COURTESY KIT KAT CLUB CABARETMAUI'S KIT KAT CLUB CABARET WILL BE AMONG THE 40-PLUS PERFORMERS AT THIS WEEKEND'S THIRD ANNUAL HAWAII BURLESQUE FESTIVAL.

COURTESY KIT KAT CLUB CABARET

MAUI'S KIT KAT CLUB CABARET WILL BE AMONG THE 40-PLUS PERFORMERS AT THIS WEEKEND'S THIRD ANNUAL HAWAII BURLESQUE FESTIVAL.

A highly intelligent and even harder working vixen, Beretta recently moved back to Honolulu after a stint in Portland and is focusing on the HBF and her burlesque troupe. Cherry Blossom Cabaret is in between trips to perform on the mainland and in “Alice in Chinatown” at the ARTS at Marks Garage (it's a must-see). With a lot of other projects in the works, including larger scale shows, a book and expanding the HBF to the neighbor islands, you could say she’s a bit of a busy bee.

Included in the massive lineup of over 40 performers, this year’s festival will also welcome international burlesque sensation Peekaboo Pointe, who has been repeatedly listed in the Top 50 Burlesque Performers by 21st Century Burlesque. Known as the “Fastest Tassel-Twirler from East to West,” this classically-trained dancer you may have seen on the CW network’s “Gossip Girl” also holds a Golden Pastie for Most Sensual Performer.

Including special guests and neighbor island entertainers is wonderful, but our local troupe's talent is remarkable in itself, as I often find myself marveling at how much work they put in to their costumes and performances. It’s truly a spectacle and I’m never disappointed.

“When I started the Hawaii Burlesque Festival the main thing I wanted to do was put on a great show for our local people and entertain them with all sorts of wonderful, exciting, beautiful and crazy acts from around the world and Hawaii,” Beretta said. “I also wanted to be able to showcase the amazing amount of talent we have in our local performers.

“It's tremendous and I'm happy to say we've got the finest in Hawaii burlesque ready and waiting to entertain and enrapture!”

Check the HBF website for more details about this week's events — and somewhat-safe-for-work photos of all the performers!

———

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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Lux makes lasting impression

By
June 11th, 2014



KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERA GREAT WEEKEND WITH GREAT FRIENDS WAS CAPPED OFF BY THE GREY GOOSE SUMMER CLUB AT THE MODERN HONOLULU ON SUNDAY.

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

A GREAT WEEKEND WITH GREAT FRIENDS WAS CAPPED OFF BY THE GREY GOOSE SUMMER CLUB AT THE MODERN HONOLULU ON SUNDAY.

It’s not often I find myself dizzy with exhilaration after a weekend out. This is a good thing though — it makes me appreciate the Mondays where I’m like, whoa.

Seriously. This past weekend was whoa.

It was probably because it was my first one back in Honolulu for a while. The dust had finally settled from helping produce a huge pool party a few weeks ago and taking a trip to Asia earlier this month. That stuff took a lot out of me.

It also helped that it was First Friday, which is becoming more and more of a thing (again), now that there is so much to see and do in Chinatown.

When the lines stretch out for Bar 35 and Manifest, some of us know the right corners to dip into — this month being The Jump Offs' frontman Landon Tom’s debut art show, a chillingly creative photo collage installation at The Human Imagination — and then everyone congregates back in the street.

There’s literally something for everyone. It’s really a great night out. Avoiding crowds for me is more to avoid drunk people who tend to get too mouthy or handsy, so the open air of the street and delightful nooks and crannies of the neighborhood make this night one of my favorites of the entire month.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUA"HE'S SO GORGEOUS," I HEARD SOMEONE SAY BEHIND ME AS ADRIAN LUX PERFORMED AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUA

"HE'S SO GORGEOUS," I HEARD SOMEONE SAY BEHIND ME AS ADRIAN LUX PERFORMED AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

First Friday was great, but Saturday was even better as I listened to Sweedish producer Adrian Lux’s new EP, “Make Out,” while getting ready to talk to him before his show at The Republik.

It wasn’t my first time getting excited over this artist, as he tends to produce music in a very approachable, beautiful way that I find I can connect with. I was in Cabo for his Electric Palms appearance, watching him expertly command the crowd of spring breakers.

I was safely tucked back in the DJ booth with him, but could see hundreds of young girls swooning over the tall, lanky, blond ex-model who knew the precise moments to bring the music's tempo down, then back up again. He definitely knows how to feel out a crowd.

His Grammy Award-nominated single, “Teenage Crime,” sat perfectly atop one of my “Best of” mixes a few years ago as a track I couldn’t stop listening to. His music just flows with the kind of grace that makes you feel like it’s the soundtrack to your amazing day/life.

With his latest EP, I'm hearing a lot Lux's style of catching everything my ears want to hear when I’m listening to progressive house. More melodic, more accessible and beautiful. Songs you remember. Songs that stand out.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUASWEDISH PRODUCER ADRIAN LUX FEELING THE CROWD'S LOVE WHILE ON STAGE AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUA

SWEDISH PRODUCER ADRIAN LUX FEELING THE CROWD'S LOVE WHILE ON STAGE AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

“Rain” is the first track on the EP and immediately pulls me in from the second I hear the light musical phrasing. I know it’s going to be a more vibey, indie sounding ride than a hard-hitting, barely understandable progressive journey. I love it.

Pretty melodies and flowing rhythms in “Rain” give way to more anthemy “festival”sound in “Smoke & Mirrors” until the vocals and the darker yet penetrating bridge of “Sooner or Later” — the EP's first single and already one of my favorite tracks of the year — make me realize this is something meant to be listened to from beginning to end.

It’s telling a story, and all I can see is Adrian’s visual environment of high fashion, glamorous parties, beautiful art and his deep house past as creative influences.

“I experiment a lot in the studio,” Lux said before taking the stage on Saturday, as opening DJ Massfunk's progressive set pounded through The Republik's sound system.

“When I go in there I try to be as non-restrict as possible. I think a lot of good things come when you just let go. And you don’t really care what the outcome is.”

“Sooner or Later” came out of his 2013 Australian tour, where he mostly worked in short bursts of studio time while on the road. The track’s vocalist, Kaelyn Behr, is a good friend and Lux would send ideas for chords from the road for him to put vocal melodies over.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUATHE AUTHOR INTERVIEWS ADRIAN LUX BACKSTAGE AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

COURTESY ORRIN NAKANELUA

THE AUTHOR INTERVIEWS ADRIAN LUX BACKSTAGE AT THE REPUBLIK ON SATURDAY.

“It was fun because we made it on the tour, and by the end of the tour I started playing it out and got to see the reactions,” he said. “It was very good! It’s more intimate and it has more of an underground feel to it (debuting music that way).”

The track is definitely deeper house, but still bright enough to hold its own for daytime vibes. I know I’m totally going to try this track at my pool parties this summer. I love it when musicians go outside of the box.

“Artists serve themselves best when they really look into themselves,” Lux said. “That’s how they can develop, and that’s the ones that usually do the best.

“I experiment a lot in the studio. When I go in there I try to be as non-restrict as possible. I think a lot of good things come when you just let go. And you don’t really care what the outcome is.

“There’s a lot of A&Rs and producers and they try to figure out music before it’s happened like, ‘We’ll put this together with this artist and it will sound like that and that will be great!’, but you know you can’t really do magic like that.

“You have to go in to the studio with no expectations try a vibe and whatever feels good, that’s what you gotta do. Hopefully the outcome is really cool.”

Saturday's show was fantastic, and everyone there was feeling his vibe and music. With great support from Jeff Phantom and Massfunk, expect to see more great EDM artists coming through Hawaii with the partnership of Collective Effort and BAMP Project.

———

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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Let's go crazy

By
June 4th, 2014



As I traveled back to Hawaii from Asia this week, I couldn't stop thinking about something I saw on CNN International one morning when I was up too early in my hotel.

The anchors were talking to Andy McNab, a full-fledged psychopath who has found success in business and was on the network promoting his new book, “The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success.” I was suffering the effects from the day and a half time difference, but immediately pulled out of my narcoleptic fog when they teased the story.

COURTESY CHRISTA WITTMIER

COURTESY CHRISTA WITTMIER

The following segment talked about something I'd already known, but learned the hard way throughout adulthood. They basically said it was okay to be a psychopath, even going so far as to find the positive in it. They even published a quiz online to see if you're one, too.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m crazy. I really do think we all are. Some of us are just better at suppressing it than others.

Some have had to learn to accept the struggle of real life early on, or what we like to call “matured.” Some were raised by two parents who loved them. More and more people of my generation and those younger than me were not.

While true psychosis is a serious neurological disease, these broken families have resulted in a new type of person who doesn't know how love, or care to. These people think others don't matter; only material wealth and power does.

These are the things that make these people happy, and without compassion or the need for human empathy they believe they can move much further ahead in business than others. Their hope, essentially, is to become more successful in the long run.

When I lived in Europe there was something very different about living in the mainland U.S. But it wasn’t until I moved to Hawaii and saw the same thing that I started to make the connection between multiple generations living under the same roof and the types of young adults those homes produced.

In both places, it's widely accepted to live with your family into adulthood, and sometimes forever. You just don’t see this too often in larger U.S. cities and suburbs, especially where I grew up. Kids were running away from their homes as fast as they could the second the clock struck midnight on their 18th birthdays, with some even figuring out how to emancipate themselves earlier. Divorce and bad marriages really took their toll on my generation.

In Europe and Hawaii, I’ve seen families take care of each other for every segment of their lives from birth until death. I always believed this is why there isn’t as much violent crime. Strong families stimulate chemical reactions that cause happiness in the human brain. Happy people don’t kill other people.

As I shake off the fogginess of traveling and settle back into life at home in Honolulu, I keep thinking about the psychopaths running our world.

While I don’t think there’s ever going to be a time I can get to their level mentally (I scored a 3 on the quiz), I do have respect for the personality type who knows how to make the hard decisions for the sake of their company. If all the world’s top companies were run by a bunch of softies, we might be in even bigger trouble than we are now. At least there’s hope.

In any case, I missed Hawaii dearly while I was away and can’t wait to dive into June and beyond. Every day I wake up and get to go to work, I'm grateful I'm not in a position that requires as much psychosis as it does just plain hard work.

I’ve accepted the fact there are people out there who will never be loyal, and people who are only close to me when it benefits them. Being aware of it, accepting it, and working around it is how I stay sane.

———

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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