Archive for November, 2014

The boys are back

By
November 26th, 2014



One of Honolulu's most raging groups of party people have a funny habit of telling me they don’t like to party.

1898278_10100899215142636_1449308555_n

CELESTIAL

Featuring Landon Tom (pictured) and DJs Delve, Debin, Jem and Whiskey D---s

» Where: Nextdoor, 43 N Hotel St.

» When: 10 p.m. Saturday

» Cost: $10

» Info: contrastmagazine.com

Ever since Contrast, an independently published lifestyle magazine, launched in 2008 with an A-list party of stylies, surfers, skaters, artists and models who flowed from thrtyninehotel onto Hotel Street, I've begged them to do more parties and have done whatever I can to help.

“We’re not a party magazine,” they would tell me. Over and over. Yet every event they decided to do was bananas. I never knew what a hangover could be until I met this group.

The magazine’s core consists of publisher/front man Race Skelton, photo editor/scenester Lance Arinaga, marketing director/surfer Jason Shibata, wordsmith/activist Daniel Ikaika Ito and elusive editor-in-chief/creative director Mark Kushimi. Other contributors include film genius Luke Aguinaldo, fashionista Cassy Song, global editor Zen Yoshifuku and musician/artist Landon Tom.

In print they are magnetic, but IRL their parties are legendary fun. This Saturday they are back at Nextdoor after a few Siren Summer events in Chinatown and years of art shows, issue launch parties and their signature annual Anti-Canvas boardshort art fundraiser in collaboration with Hurley.

Saturday will feature lots of new music forming in the scene, including Whiskey D---s, the DJ Duo of Big Pineapple's Ryan Miyashiro and Travis Sasaki. Expect to hear lots of indie-electro, J-Pop, nu-disco, house and even chillwave from the two.

The party will also feature the first live performance for Landon Tom’s new band that’s so new they don’t even have a name yet. They are billed as Only Child, but that's a working title.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2010Contrast's Daniel Ikaika Ito, left, and Race Skelton at the second annual Anti-Canvas fundraiser in 2010.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2010

Contrast's Daniel Ikaika Ito, left, and Race Skelton at the second annual Anti-Canvas fundraiser in 2010.

“It’s more of a reference to the bratty mentality not to any of us actually being an only child,” Tom said via text message.

Tom, best known as lead singer of The Jump Offs, has been practicing new material with Aran Souza and John Hamilton and is echoing a similar sound to his former project.

“Rock and punk. It’s how I learned to play music, through easy punk sounds,” he said. “I love guitars and live drums. It’s the kind of stuff I listen to.”

In this high season for surfers and rockers to work hard and play hard, they are rounding out the party with DJ Delve, one of the most versatile, talented DJs in Honolulu. He'll be joined by one of the twerkiest party DJs in town, DJ Debin.

In a long weekend of food and shopping this could be the shining star smack dab in the middle of all of 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.

Posted in SA | No Comments »

Threadz makes Kakaako debut

By
November 19th, 2014



The other day I realized my birthday falls on a Sunday in 2014. Talk about a celebration’s wet blanket.

The highlight of my year used to be when it ended and it was time to round up the best things from that year and plan an epic celebration for everyone.

THREADZ

Presented by Street Grindz

» Where: 445 & 449 Cooke Street

» When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

» Cost: $2

» Info: facebook.com/threadzhawaii, twitter.com/threadzhawaii, instagram.com/threadzhawaii

Now it’s on a Sunday?!? That’s just plain torture. I don’t know about you guys, but Sunday is usually the only day I have left in a week to recharge. I don’t always get my Sundays, but when I do it’s downright sacred.

Unless I pick a weekend date and just do the celebration on a non-birthday day it’s pretty much over — for the next six years.

I’ll let you know what I decide.

Looking at the same warehouse I did a huge party at in 2011, I can’t believe how much time has passed. Those days were so different; I can’t believe it’s only been three years.

There have been lots of changes in Kakaako since then, but that warehouse is still there and every time I’m in there for Honolulu Night Market (or any other event) I'm still reminded of one of my favorite birthday celebrations ever. I think about all the artists who happily spent hours and hours painting the walls, my colleagues who feely donated their time and all the people who came to support an organization I was very passionate about. Everyone worked so hard for something bigger than all of us. It was such a golden era to me.

COURTESY CHRISTA WITTMIERHonolulu Night Market's Cooke Street warehouse in 2011, when the author took over for her birthday celebration.

COURTESY CHRISTA WITTMIER

Honolulu Night Market's Cooke Street warehouse in 2011, when the author took over for her birthday celebration.

This weekend the same warehouse will host a new event, one I see as very beneficial for Hawaii’s streetwear industry and the upcoming holiday season.

Hawaii’s creative talent is incredibly strong when it comes to one-of-a-kind designs and limited edition runs in an otherwise saturated clothing market. The inspiration artists here are working with is so classically beautiful.

Take that and include any local reference only someone from Hawaii would understand and they also become a hit around the world.

Produced by urban block party promoters Street Grindz, this weekend’s Threadz will have occupy warehouses at 445 and 449 Cooke Street; the same ones used for Night Market.

More than two dozen vendors will take part this weekend, including Red Label Clothing, HILIFE, Butigroove, The Firm HNL and Kane Clothing. One of the more interesting vendors is longtime underground music and art co-op Lightsleepers. They will have local artists on hand to customize items purchased at the event. Imagine sending your friends and family who have transplanted to another metro a customized hat by Remi Mead or the Beaksta!

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014Joah Moananu, aka Big Mox, performs outside the Cooke Street warehouse that is home to Honolulu Night Market. The event's promoters will launch a new streetwear-focused event there this weekend.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014

Joah Moananu, aka Big Mox, performs outside the Cooke Street warehouse that is home to Honolulu Night Market. The event's promoters will launch a new streetwear-focused event there this weekend.

"Lots of people in Hawaii spend their money on mainland streetwear brands,” said Street Grindz's Shawn "Doc Rock" Boyd via email. “Threadz is our way of giving back to some of the oldest and most successful brands in Hawaii.

“At the same time, we want to create opportunity for up-and-coming brands and provide them with an event where they can be successful."

The event will feature both mens and womens items, but Street Grindz founder Poni Askew wanted to make sure everyone knew about the mens offerings as Night Market is sometimes incorrectly perceived as a more female-oriented event. Shopping isn’t always for women.

Gifts are best when they are one-of-a-kind. Supporting local businesses and the greater community should be the only way we shop.

———

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.

Posted in SA | No Comments »

Sparkle Princess power

By
November 12th, 2014



STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014The author with DJ Jem at the Grey Goose Day Club in July, where she won over tons of clubbers with her beautiful daytime music.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014

The author with DJ Jem at the Grey Goose Day Club in July, where she won over tons of clubbers with her beautiful daytime music.

There really could be such a thing as a Sparkle Princess. I mean, I just made that up – but whenever I am around Sophia Kennedy, aka DJ Jem, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. She literally sparkles.

CHAMPAGNE & FRIES

Presented by DJ Jem

» Where: Kissaten Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd.

» When: 9 p.m. Thursdays

» Cost: No cover; free validated parking

» Info: (808) 593-7090, kissatencafe.com/en

» Note: Weekly specials include $2 French fries, $3 draft beers and $4 sparkling wine

It comes from within – someone who is comfortable with every aspect of themselves and thus everything around them. They have learned how to see the positive in everything because they have a core that is solid and poised. They know success comes from building up, not down.

I’ve met a few people like this in my lifetime, but they are extremely rare. When I do have the pleasure of being around them, I savor every moment.

The best part about Jem is that her sparkly demeanor is easily shared through her radio show, “The Treasure Chest.” Music is art that stays with us; there are so many songs I can listen to and be immediately transported to her world of shimmering happiness and well-being. Luckily, we can all hear Jem weekly on KTUH-FM from 6 to 9 p.m. Sundays.

It’s her radio show where you can truly understand Jem's gift for curating some of the most beautiful and epic music that exists. You can also do this by following her on Soundcloud, although I have to say she doesn’t post tracks anywhere close to the frequency I need. I need her to post constantly!

KALAE PUNUADJ Jem playing an eclectic mix of tropical, dreamy disco, chillwave and sparkly-electro every Thursday at Kissaten's Waterfront Plaza location

COURTESY KALAE PUNUA

DJ Jem plays an eclectic mix of tropical, dreamy disco, chillwave and sparkly-electro every Thursday at Kissaten Waterfront Plaza.

Last week marked the beginning of Jem’s new weekly, Champagne & Fries, at Kissaten Waterfront Plaza. The name describes a pairing that's just as natural as Jem and music. According to oenophile app Drync, French fries are even more delectable when paired with Champagne or sparkling wine:

“Sparkling wine is naturally high in acidity, that lip-smacking tartness that makes you salivate and crave another sip. This acidity cuts through the natural heft and richness that is inherent in a good batch of french fries. French fries would also not be nearly as much fun without a healthy dose of salt. This can kill many a wine, but not one which is blessed with a high level of acidity. In some ways this salt can make sparklers even more sippable. Additionally, the bubbles can similarly scrub the palate clean, and get you ready for another bite.”

With her marketing degree, Jem should be a natural at promoting parties. Pairing Champagne and fries with her music and magnetic character could be what Honolulu's nightlife needs. She has described her sound as “tropical-futuristic-dreamy-disco-house-galactic-pop-sparkly-electro,” which is exactly what it is. She played violin and piano growing up and participated in youth symphony and band camp programs, which probably explains why I am personally so taken with her. We have very similar backgrounds and definitely appreciate some of the same sounds.

“I didn’t keep up as much with my instruments in college but definitely felt a little uneasy not being able to channel my musicality in some way,” she said. (We could totally be the same person displaced in to two different bodies!) “Although I don’t practice my instruments anymore, they have played a huge role in my DJing due to the musical training I received and the ear I developed.”

She's also ecstatic over the opportunity to host the new weekly.

“It’s the perfect place to get the weekend started and hang out with your friends over drinks with great music filling the air,” she said. “Nothing gives me more joy than creating a great vibe for great people, so I’m really stoked to be able to do so on a weekly basis.”

———

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.

Posted in Music | No Comments »

Turning the P∆G∑

By
November 5th, 2014



Emily Sewell has such a beautiful presence. Seriously. Every room I walk in to that may seem dark and stony at first becomes bright and glorious the second she looks up and give me the biggest, most genuine smile.

MICHAEL KEANYMusician and artist Emily Sewell.

COURTESY MICHAEL KEANY

Musician and artist Emily Sewell.

In an otherwise seemingly intimidating tight circle of performing artists, incestuous current band and former bandmates and intellectuals, she is a standout as both a visual artist and musician. While she may be the most extraordinary woman of our time, she remains humble and kind. There is no ego. It is truly refreshing.

I met her how most of us meet — from being around everywhere all the time. I became more acquainted her in 2013 when she was selected as a POW! WOW! Hawaii artist. While there has been a noticeable effort to reduce the bro-down of male colleagues that the group of street artists could (and had) become, I found myself always being taken with any of the females invited to enter the family.

Emily was one of one solo artists working indoors (a la New York sculptor Derek Weisberg circa 2012), so I was able to watch her develop her art over the course of the festival. It was the same work that made the recent Esta and DJ Sosupersam show presented by local music collective Green Leaf Check and Los Angeles-based collective Soulection at Fresh Cafe Kaka'ako so iconic. I am a fan.

Lately she has been performing with a close group of friends she’s known for years. Their new supergroup, while having less than a year of experience performing together, sound utterly amazing.

P∆G∑ is Paul Bajcar, Amrik Shidu, Grant Naauao and Sewell. What developed after a few months of jamming from Shidu, Naauao and Sewell became instantly solidified when they asked veteran guitarist Bajcar to join.

“Right away it felt like something,” Sewell said. “There was an identity to what sound naturally came out between the four of us.

“The chemistry, the creative flow, the friendship ... it was all there and pure."

COLIN CROSSP∆G∑ performing at Art & Flea.

COURTESY COLIN CROSS

P∆G∑ performing at Art & Flea.

I had to hear about how good they were before finally being able to hear for myself. When I was able to see them live, it was their third time performing together. I was immediately transported to a dreamlike state. They describe their music as “Atmospheric Dream Rock” and Sewell’s vocals are indeed very dreamy. Bajacar’s trademark dream-guitar is also pleasantly haunting and the group has a brilliant chemistry when performing live.

Last week they wowed a crowd at the Honolulu Museum of Art's Doris Duke Theatre with a very special Bjork tribute before “Bjork: Biophilia” screened.

Their bond is also evident by the significance of their name.

“We consider ourselves story tellers,” said Sewell. “Our songs, our way of writing, it's all conceptual. P∆G∑ represents not only the four individuals who collectively work together to write the story from start to end, from the first note to last, but it represents the idea of being in a state of fantasy or dreamscape and being taken away, like reading a book from page to page.”

The misconception people have is that Sewell and her crew are unapproachable, which is mostly misunderstood. They just all know each other very, very well. They practice together and perform together. They play for each other, drink together, BBQ together.

It’s like when any of us crash a “Hawaii Five-0” party; they know who the day players are.

SHIRLEY LAMAll 4 members of P∆G∑ performing at one of their regular Chinatown haunts: Mercury Bar.

COURTESY SHIRLEY LAM

All four members of P∆G∑ on stage at Mercury Bar.

“The most beautiful, special, and addicting thing (about this live music scene) is the bond,” Sewell said. “The bond to the people who play and go to the shows, the bond to the music, the performers, the spaces, the nights, the love and passion, the constant and the change.

“It's what hooks so many of us here. It's what waters our appreciation, interest, and support. We all absolutely love the friendships and community. In a very symbolic and actual way, Hawaii is a place of waves coming in and going out.”

While the community remains tight, it is by no means small. There are regular shows and with every goodbye there are a few more hellos or regroups. Poncho, ALT/AIR, The No No Spots, Fransic Knife, Linus, Beaman, TV Mircowave, The Bougies, Drugless Macarthur, Alive and Swell, Distant, TTFN, Animal Mother, Early Grey, The Horror Show, Prie and the Prolific Unknowns are all favorites of mine, to name a few.

With no upcoming shows currently planned, I still expect to see P∆G∑ popping up more around town, and hopefully on stage opening for major acts. Headliners and their management approve opening acts through their online music these days, which has affected the amount of local music featured at big shows, but hopefully as more and more awareness is drawn to this tight-knit community we can see that change. I'm ready for 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.

Posted in Music | No Comments »

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

    Archives

    Categories