Hickman launches Darsana Music Fest

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.



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:,

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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