Archive for February, 2015

Level H levels up

By
February 25th, 2015



STAR-ADVERTISER / 2013When local nightclub promoter Hanson Nguyen, center, isn't creating and hosting events for Honolulu's beautiful people, he's often out partying with them.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2013

When local nightclub promoter Hanson Nguyen, center, isn't creating and hosting events for Honolulu's beautiful people, he's often out partying with them.

Sometimes I think it’s weird how few nightclub promoters there are currently working in Honolulu. Then I think some more and realize that given the circumstances of our unique and amazing city it’s about right that there are just a handful of solid veterans and a revolving door of up-and-comers in Honolulu.

CONTOUR

Presented by Level H Promotions and Artist Groove Network

» Where: CabaRAE Showroom, Hilton Hawaiian Village

» When: 10 p.m. Saturday

» Cost: $10

» Info: http://facebook.com/levelh808

The legwork and investment needed to be successful here is staggering. The reward isn’t always equal. Stressors come from every angle — from a customer base who feels more entitled than ever before and venues that let greed take over when making business decisions to knowing that just about everyone in your life will turn their back on you at the drop of a hat once you stop providing for them.

And then to lose money on top of all this? The beach just sounds more and more like the best weekend plan.

If you’re a promoter and aren’t going out nightly, most likely you’re in an empty room on your phone for the first three hours if not the entire evening of your event. It's a humbling experience, but it should also be a lesson to get back to the drawing board.

It's because of this that Honolulu's nightlife veterans truly deserve our recognition and respect for making the scene vibrant. Anyone who steps up to host a weekly is illustrious. Level H Promotions currently has three. This weekend they add another monthly party as well, descending upon Waikiki to reshape the beautiful interior of the CabaRAE Showroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Level H Promotions was founded by Punahou graduate Hanson Nguyen. Together with his team — Donovan Almarza, Daxs Moorse and Nate “DJ Flip” Corpuz — and a roster of top DJs and go-go talent, the crew has over 20 years of combined experience in the local nightclub and events industry.

On his nights off, Nguyen is usually engaging in “out and about shenanigans” at venues he hosts parties at, including The Fix in Chinatown, RB Sports Bar near Puck's Alley and Club 939 on Keeaumoku. When he’s not out or working, he's also a full-time dad.

“I’m all about industry love, especially since I promote an industry night so I try to be everywhere.” said Nguyen. I know this too because I see him everywhere, usually in a suit, always smiling. “I just remember being a rookie amongst nightclub royalty when I first started promoting. It was a steep learning curve and I made a lot of mistakes and I constantly was trying to be innovative.”

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014 Level H Promotions founder Nguyen with Daxs Moorse, left, and Nathan Corpuz.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2014

Level H Promotions founder Nguyen with Dax Moore, left, and Donovan Almarza.

Hanson started as an independent promoter in 2005 when he co-produced “Flow,” a monthly hip-hop showcase at the O Lounge (now known as The Republik) that featured Hawaii-based talent. He first broke into the scene as a choreographer, manager and performer for a dance team called Affinity, when promoters would book them as a draw to their events.

His first weekly party was Be Social Fridays at the O Lounge, which turned in to Deuce and featured top go-go dancers like Sheleen Dee, Nikki Sotelo, Cerle Shima and DJs Jimmy Taco and Flip.

“It felt like being an artist, having a vision or concept in your head and getting to materialize it,” said Nguyen. “And the end result made people happy and created memories. It was a joy for me to do that for an occupation.”

This weekend, Level H and Artist Groove Network will make use of the Hilton Hawaiian Village's beautiful, multi-million dollar circus space with a sexy party. It was set up to be a possible monthly event, but so far the venue will determine when future parties will be held. It's only fair to see what they can do; I’m pretty sure these guys can deliver.

———

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.

Facing social fears with fitness

By
February 4th, 2015



I’ve stayed cooped up in my apartment the past two weekends. I can admit it gets quite addicting. Why would I want to step outside and face possible judgment and ridicule when I can stay indoors, saving money, listening to the music I love, eating the food I love, with my cat who — sort of, in her own way — loves me?

COURTSEY PHOTOThe peaceful and welcoming lobby of the new PoleArity Studio on N King St in Chinatown

ICE CREAM SOCIAL

Presented by PoleArity Studio

» Where: 111 N. King St., Suite 2B

» When: 8 p.m. Friday

» Cost: $10 general admission, free for members; includes Italian gelato

» Info: (808) 518-1118, http://polearitystudio.com

It makes me wonder how many others out there find more peace in being alone than venturing out in to the night to bars, clubs and restaurants every weekend. I wouldn’t know it from being out, but I imagine there are people who make staying in as much of a routine as me and my peers do going out.

At first it sounds so weird, but in a way I am also quite intrigued by this behavior, especially now that I have had an opportunity to revel in it these past few weeks.

While my hiatus was to prepare for POW! WOW! Hawaii opening this week, others often cite social anxiety as a reason for staying indoors whenever possible. A few close friends are victim to anxiety disorders including social anxiety, which can be incredibly impairing. A few stages deeper than typical shyness, people who suffer from social anxiety disorder are so fearful of embarrassing themselves in public situations that even just interacting with people is a situation they avoid at all costs.

This makes me sad, but I am happy to see there are self-help methods that can help ease this pain. I am a huge supporter of eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly already, and this is a very solid foundation to help treat social anxiety. It is also beneficial to try joining a supportive social environment.

Perhaps getting involved with the brand new PoleArity Studio is just what the doctor ordered. I happened to meet owner Telepharaoh Brandon while DJing with him at Eurocinema Hawaii, but have seen him around some of the larger scale corporate events performing in many capacities from a DJ to a 12-foot tall LED robot shooting lasers and CO2 at the crowd. He’s got a great smile and a very positive, infectious spirit that makes it impossible not to have a good time when he’s around. As a lifelong entertainer, promoter, DJ and dancer, controlling the vibe of the crowd and making people feel comfortable is his specialty.

Brandon grew up in Chicago but has spent many years working and traveling the world, which you can see in his studio office. It's adorned with many beautiful relics of his travels and relationships he’s made.

COURTSEY PHOTOTelepharoh Brandon (center) does many large scale corporate events and weddings throughout the state of Hawaii

COURTSEY TELEPHAROH BRANDON

Telepharoh Brandon, center, does many large scale corporate events and weddings throughout the state of Hawaii.

January marked the grand opening of PoleArity, which has already been kicking with events and classes. The studio is a beautiful second floor location in Chinatown on North King Street. It’s a gorgeous and sleek design that includes a large hardwood floor and lounge area. Fitness classes include ethnic dance, aerial arts, flexibility, yoga and (eek!) pole dancing. Of course. those who are a bit more anxious in any class might run away screaming at the thought, but it is advised that people with social anxiety disorder also face their fears.

“We have people of all ages, races, backgrounds and size.” Brandon said when I visited with him last week, nervously contemplating the eight poles situated throughout the large studio area. “You will not feel uncomfortable, I promise! If anything, you will be part of an amazing group of talented and artistic people,” he added as he effortlessly hoisted himself up onto a suspended hoop used in the aerial class.

The idea of unlocking a portal to an entirely new group of creatives who are interested in fitness for fun sounded really good.

“Our goal is to host 10 different genres seven a week and three special workshops every month,” he said.

PoleArity also hosts events for their members to socialize. This is a great step in overcoming your fears and also satisfies the exercise aspect as well. I have yet to partake in any sort of class for fitness but admit it gets boring doing the same thing each week, so I see the dance classes as having some kind of practical application for life as well.

———

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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