Archive for April, 2015

It Girls provide inspiration

By
April 29th, 2015



As a working woman in a man’s world, it’s only natural I gravitate to women I see kicking butt. I’ve affectionately dubbed them It Girls — magnetic and charming ladies who are a rare find amongst the abundance of supermodel hot, perfect 10 women who frequent Honolulu's nightlife scene.

COURTESY ELORA Elora Tahiti, 25, is a positive force in the Honolulu nightlife scene.

COURTESY ELORA KIM MURGER

Elora Tahiti, 25, is a positive force in the Honolulu nightlife scene.

Yes, they are beautiful and have an effortless fashion sense, but there is something even more special about It Girls that sets them apart. It's their attitude.

It Girls are friendly. They have nothing to gain and everything to give. It Girls are confident, hard-working and independent, but still approachable.

While there is nothing wrong with remaining guarded after countless, repeated attempts to date, touch, or do something even worse to a breathtakingly beautiful woman, it still pains me to see how many of them go out looking so angry at the world. It makes me never want to see them, let alone step in a working environment where I know they will be.

In nightlife, sex sells. You can’t get away from it. You can treat women with respect, but at the end of the day they are utilizing their own sexuality to sell something. It’s disgusting. It’s life. How I manage to stay sane and not get caught up in this is to celebrate the good. They are few and far between, but they are definitely out there. I plan to blog about one every month so I can share these brilliant, amazing women with everyone.

I was blown by an event I was asked to play at The Fix last weekend. The girl who booked me, Elora Kim Murger (aka Elora Tahiti), was someone I had gotten very used to seeing around; she is a very sweet, always smiling Tahitian who loves to dance.

Most of the time we have spent together has been on the dance floor, which is a very special and rare thing. Her 50 Shades of Lust party was full of equally beautiful and friendly women I had never seen before. There is a whole community of them! It was wonderful and I had to know more.

JOAH BULEY / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERElora Tahiti, second from left, at her first party at The Fix, 50 Shades of Lust.

JOAH BULEY / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

Elora Tahiti, second from left, at her first party at The Fix, 50 Shades of Lust.

HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER: How old are you?

ELORA TAHITI: 25 years old.

SA: Where did you go to school?

ET: In the beautiful French Riviera, South of France, at Skema Business School Sophia Antipolis. I received my Bachelor’s degree there, which tool me to Hawaii Pacific University as an exchange student. After falling in love with our beautiful little paradise, I came back for a Master’s degree, still at HPU.

SA:When did you move to Hawaii?

ET: My first move was august 2011 for 7 months. I hopped around the world to visit my dad in Tahiti, for a summer in Cannes (France), and for an internship in Morocco, before returning in January 2013.

SA: What inspired you to produce 50 Shades of Lust?

ET: I’ve always been drawn to event planning, but was never really sure how passionate I was about it until I produced my own event.

What inspired me is the network of talented people I have around me. I see my friends left and right, organizing different nights, reaching out to me and accepting my help, but mostly teaching me a lot about the industry!

SA: What were some of the lessons learned hosting this event?

ET: I would say that the toughest part was communication, and coming from a master’s student of communication, it’s tough to admit! By not communicating enough in the beginning, I felt so overwhelmed I thought I couldn’t do it. But it is ok to ask for help! I had a vision, and not everybody could see the party going off in my head until I invited them!

Lessons learned: be very organized, every detail counts, communicate your ideas, write everything down and never think you can’t do it, because if you already see it, it is happening!

SA: What inspired the theme?

ET: My experience in the South of France, hands down! Events in the South of France have the elegance I crave out here. They are out of this world, everything is sexy and over the top!

On a night out in Cannes, you will see tigers in cages as you wait in line to get in. You will see beautiful women, carried through the room on thrones, holding the biggest bottle of champagne you have ever seen. If you’re lucky, the millionaire next to you is having so much fun that he orders 500 bottles of Cristal Roederer for the whole club!

Every night is a surprise, every night is a chill, and you always find yourself out of breath! “Fifty Shades of Grey” definitely had a similar effect around the world, connecting to the outrageous uniqueness of those events.

SA: Can you list any past events that left a lasting impression on you?

ET: Yes, one in particular, the Mental Rager Floating Island, put together by Jamie Spann. He managed to build an ocean dancefloor and surround it with boats, rafts and a double decker barge holding a bar and the DJs! I have seen boat parties, but the concept of this one could start a whole new trend of ocean venues.

SA: Where are some of your favorite places to go out?

ET: I love Chinatown, it’s ... full of different events and each venue has its own charm!

SA: What is your opinion on Honolulu nightlife?

ET: It’s very diverse. It’s almost as if there were different (cliques). There are multiple communities, (and) the key is to find what is appealing to all these different crowds to bring them all together!

Honolulu needs innovation and more excitement to kick it up a notch and give some life to the night!

SA: What does the phrase "It Girl" mean to you?

ET: I am still not sure if I really understand that category, as I believe that anybody has IT, as long as they embrace IT.

SA: You are a positive person who would rather share a spotlight than hog it all to yourself and is also beautiful. That is what makes you special.

ET: I am not sure about the categorizing of an It Girl. I would probably rather use the (term) social butterfly. I am always carrying a positive attitude, and the people around me make me who I am.

When I smile, they smile back, and that’s how the good energy is created. I listen, observe and genuinely care about building strong relationships. Everybody around me is IT, as long as we always strive to be the best of ourselves. We each have a talent, and if we unite, we can create beautiful things!

SA: Do you feel like it is harder to execute an event because you are a woman?

ET: It was easier in (the) way people were more open to consider my ideas, but harder in (the) sense that a few were not listening and had their own ideas.

SA: Who are some of your mentors?

ET: My parents ... have made me who I am. My dad is a genius and my mom is a social butterfly. Both have taught me we are all capable of learning and executing anything we would want, as long as we do it with a smile, passionately and strategically.

SA: Where do you see yourself in the next three years?

ET: From Tahiti to Ohio, to France, to Morocco (and back) to Hawaii. I am really not sure where the next flight will take me!

SA: Five years?

ET: In five years I will be 30 years old. I don’t even want to talk about 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.

Championing Team Trop

By
April 15th, 2015



Last year I brought out ColeCo, a musical duo from Toronto, to Honolulu to play the Labor Day edition of the Bacardi Pool Party.

I wanted to do something big but also different, since people were going to be coming no matter what. I thought it would be a good time to introduce the new sound I loved, a sub-genre of deep house music called Tropical House.

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERThe author on the turntables at the Grey Goose Dayclub at the Modern Honolulu on Sunday. After sticking to her guns and playing the music she likes, the sub-genre of Tropical House is now crossing over into the mainstream.

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

The author on the turntables at the Grey Goose Dayclub at the Modern Honolulu on Sunday. After sticking to her guns and playing the music she likes, the sub-genre of Tropical House is now crossing over into the mainstream.

The guys were awesome and had their sound on lock, even abbreviating it to “Trop,” which still makes me giggle. They were making it sound so hard!

“Oh, there’s a lot of us Trop producers,” they would say in between multiple social media posts of them hanging out on the beach in aloha shirts to make their friends in freezing Canada jealous.

While I was still new to the name, I wasn’t new to the sound and the fact that I loved it. It brought me from indie-dance and nu-disco to areas of deep house I had yet to really explore. All I knew is the instruments were what pulled me in, but the beautiful environment in which I am able to play music is the most inspiring.

We are living this music.

On some of my favorite tracks you can hear a marimba, trumpet, flute or strings. Piano and saxophone are also fairly common. It’s most often a higher synthesized, even tempo in the range of 100-115 beats per minute and very easy to listen to, often with vocals. Usually the track is a remix of a popular hit.

The genre is gaining speed on the music festival circuit, as Goldroom wowed crowds at Ultra in Miami and Kygo closed out Coachella last weekend. People don’t need to have their brains gushed out to bangers anymore.

“I love it because it's different from all the mainstream EDM that are bangers or music people want to rage to,” Hawaii-based producer/DJ Jeff "Phantom" Pham, pictured below, said. “The vibes it gives off is summer, beach feels.

“Tropical house to me brings me a soothing emotion; it acts almost as a theme to paradise. Artists incorporate saxophones, trumpets, flutes, different styles of percussions not normally used in a regular EDM track.”

1544335_10203637704573978_3966796896810267376_nThis weekend, promoter/producer/DJ Matt Barberi turns his monthly Lush party on the third Friday of each month into the summer kickoff for Tropical House. As a long-time proponent of this genre, I was invited to be the special guest DJ. I am, as they say, ecstatic.

“Tropical House to me is the natural maturing of electronic music for the masses,” Barberi said. “Using synthesized melodic patterns, often well-known pop vocals and uplifting party vibes perfect for making anyone smile and feel good.”

It feels good to be championing a concept before it hits the mainstream, but it feels even better to be in the epicenter of the place these producers are inspired by when making this music.

The most explosive producer in this genre is Kygo, who is from one of the coldest corners of the world in Norway. Others, like Bakermat, ColeCo, Henry Land, Bergs and Soco are also from very very cold places.

But we are in the tropics, so it’s time to enjoy that with some inspired music.

Check out some of my favorite Tropical House mixes right now, plus my mix from the last time I was at Lush, below.

———

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.

RELATED AUDIO:

Hickman launches Darsana Music Fest

By
April 8th, 2015



Those of us active in Honolulu's nightlife scene can pinpoint many what I like to call pillars — the faces we see everywhere and might not necessarily know too well (or at all) but are very familiar with and have become comfortable seeing.

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DARSANA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2015

Presented by eleven44, DJ Collective and EyeContact

» Where: 1144 Bethel St Honolulu, HI 96817

» When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (doors open at 7 p.m.)

» Cost: $5

» Info: www.culturekinetic.com, www.eleven44hawaii.com

Edward DeLeon Hickman, aka Fu Man Chu, is one of these pillars. I can remember seeing him out and about for as long as I've been in Hawaii. We’ve had various friendly exchanges; my favorite was his cameo in my birthday party video from 2010. He is either standing very still in the room with a casually stern face, obviously taking everything in very inquisitively... or he is destroying the dance floor. I have yet to really ever see an in-between of those two.

Hickman mostly grew up in New York and most recently attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Digital Media program. His company, Culture Kinetic, calls its work "inspired media." I am impressed with their design and wish more people who produced events and parties realized how important the impact of a well-designed event flyer actually is. It matters.

Of course, there are tons of key elements to making a party and making it successful, but if someone is failing at one of the first steps how is anyone going to be interested beyond that? After learning more about Hickman and his company, I can see that he gets it.

I don’t have to know him that well to know he loves to dance. Lately I’ve learned he loves much, much more. His company lists many creative services; not just videography and photography, but pretty much everything that make a party a party. Graphic design, outreach, promotions, music, dancers and all the content are now included in what he offers and can be tailored to any subject or venue.

“I first envisioned Culture Kinetic as a media company focusing on dance related projects,” Hickman said via email. “Of course, in the initial year or two that meant doing whatever kind of media work landed in our lap.

“But a month ago, while doing the memorial event for the now deceased, legendary dancer Large Marj, we began transforming Culture Kinetic into an artists collective of DJs, dancers, promoters, writers, filmmakers, photographers, live artists, performers (and) musicians.”

This weekend, Honolulu gets to see what this looks like in real life as he hosts the Darsana Music Festival on Friday and Saturday at eleven44. Together with main players and organizers Boaz Rosen (aka BoBoFet), Mark Lavender (aka Dr. Lavender) and DJ Warren Anthony they will have their first full production with eleven44 and Eye Contact. The night also unofficially kicks off their new monthly party at the nightspot.

So what can people expect from a dancer/artist/musician troupe?

“We're of the mind that partying and the act of creation are participatory in nature,” Hickman said. “While it's currently en vogue to go to an event and stare blankly at the stage, we'd like to re-shift the focus back to where the actual party takes place.

“In order to do that people have to want to BE the party, not simply witness it. Culture Kinetic, however, has an open door policy so anyone that wants to get involved, all they have to do is show up at one of our events and make themselves known (this is how most of our current roster has got involved, in fact).”

The two-day dance festival — and with these guys, there will be dancing — will feature two rooms and a huge roster of musicians, guest singers and dancers and Cocina serving up their famous al pastor street tacos.

Bravo to people working hard to make cool things happen. Now all we have to do is show up, and in this case, participate!

———

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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