Soulful house and a full belly

August 13th, 2014

Welp. There goes summer.

While I still happen to be recovering from First Friday, this weekend it’s already third Friday — which means it’s Soulgasm time in Chinatown.

The First Friday nightlife can lean more towards rage on the party scale, but the monthly Soulgasm party at Bar35 keeps it clean with a more, well, soulful vibe. The music featured is house and the regulars there love to dance.

PETER CHIAPPERINOSome of the Soulgasm regulars ready for Third Friday


Featuring House Dance Hawaii and AC Lewis

» Where: Bar35 35 N Hotel St.

» When: 9 p.m. Friday

» Cost: $10

» Info:

Lyanne Brooks always brings in guest artists and dancers to the feel-good event, and this month is no exception as she hosts AC Lewis from Seattle. Lewis has a rich history in funk, soul, deep house and jazz, which is how he caught the attention of Yoruba Records visionary Osunlade. Known for his legendary DJ sets, he will be accompanied by Soulgasm residents Yuji, Min One, and Matt Kee.

If dancing is your thing, you have a shot at winning some cash this month as Brooks hosts the sixth annual House Dance Hawaii during the event. She will have judges scoring individuals based on their creativity, expression and technical ability. As of Monday night she already has 11 signups and the list is growing. With the competition and guest dancers, including Aerilox, Cordao de Ouro, Diverse Art Center, Nathaniel Whittaker and the Housing Project 360, there is going to be extremely minimal blank space on the dance floor at Bar35 that night.

IT'S GOING to be hard to miss this weekend in Honolulu, but only slightly. I’m heading back to Portland to enjoy another year of the Forest For The Trees art event.

What started as a Pow! Wow! Hawaii-incubated mural project now stands on its own legs hosting 20 artists from all over the world to paint at more than a dozen mural sites. A lot of the participants are already in my (hanai) family from our Hawaii event, but it’s been really amazing to get to travel and see them work abroad as well.

I would have possibly saved my vacation days and watched the event grow over the Internet if I hadn’t been invited to play at the Electric Summer PDX event that kicks off the same weekend. It’s going to be my first ever gig outside the state of Hawaii, and I’m beyond thrilled for how it came to be.

STEPHAN T HERRERAToo cool for school: Electric Summer Event Co-Creators Tia Vanich and Chef Gregory Gourdot in Portland.


Too cool for school: Electric Summer Event co-creators Tia Vanich and Chef Gregory Gourdot in Portland.

In the spirit of how we grew Pow! Wow! Hawaii, I now have a family in Portland after traveling there last summer. I met and became very close with Tia Vanich, a gangster-as-hell event producer who I could tell had a long-time history in the food and beverage industry the second we met, mainly by how the staff at the staff at the restaurant we were at doted over her and us. She was at the artist dinner with her best friend, Chef Gregory Gourdet from Departure Restaurant & Lounge, and we all instantly became friends over the next couple of hours.

After staying at their gorgeous house on a layover last year, she stayed with me during Pow! Wow! Hawaii in February, inking the deal that we are basically family.

Electric Summer PDX is Vanich and Gourdet’s collaboration event for friends and family in the restaurant, music and production worlds to all enjoy a day off together. It started and has remained a backyard BBQ-style vibe for their friends. This weekend’s private event at the White Owl Social Club will host dishes from more than 20 Portland restaurants and five local DJs, plus three guest DJs, including myself and Pow! Wow! Hawaii 2014 artist Mr JPatt from The Knocks.

It’s all sort of what you would call a dream come true for me.

Speaking of The Knocks, you have to hear their new single. It’s been getting rave reviews from all the music blogs and backing from indie artists like Flight Facilities, RAC, Dave Edwards and more. It’s got exactly the upbeat pop sound over the disco roots I already knew Mr JPatt loves so dearly and could possibly be the single they need to break in to the mainstream.

My fingers are crossed. Either way, listening to this is definitely going to help stretch the summer feel-good vibes just a little bit longer. Trust me.


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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