Archive for January, 2016

Kursat breathes life into thirtyninehotel

January 20th, 2016

OMER KURSATALT/AIR performing at thirtyninehotel .


ALT/AIR performing at thirtyninehotel .

I was so blown away last Sunday night watching KC perform with her Kings of Spade at The Republik for their Amy Winehouse tribute show. The percussionist was probably very irritated with me before they went on as he was near the sound booth when I was asking if they had ear plugs. I asked him if he was working tonight.

“Nope. I’m PLAYING tonight.” He said with a huge smile.

I was just as excited, it was going to be a great show. A tribute to a female legendary vocalist with guest and local female powerhouses singing our favorites including Paula Fuga, Candy Diaz, Erin Smith and many others after Kings of Spade and special guest from Chicago Jenn Hall took the stage. It was a powerful night with outstanding performances all around.

I was in the front watching Kasi do her thing (which is an amazing thing) probably with my mouth hanging open when I was poked and handed a note. It was from artist Omer Kursat, who had scribbled “She is ... real” on a hotel pad of paper and handed it to me.

If I wasn’t already blown away from the pure rock stars doing exactly what they were born to do right in front of me I was even more at this small but huge gesture.

TORREY SEABOLTKursat in Chinatown.


Kursat in Chinatown.

I mean, I had earplugs in (I found them! You can buy them at the front desk at The Republik) and in the front the sound was great but also very loud. Sometimes you want to communicate but shouting in someone’s ear is the worst. Bless Omer for knowing this and for realizing to always have a hotel pad of paper in his pocket and a pen. I always want to take those but never know what to do with them.

Omer is one of those people if you are out enough over the past couple of decades you’ve seen him or met him or possibly even had a conversation with him. He is a tall well-dressed man from Turkey always observing, always smiling, usually with a camera. You might have seen one of his photography shows at the Manifest or In4mation. You may have seen one of his books Over The Pali, 2 AM No Pork or Young Turks.

After growing up in Izmir Turkey, Kursat moved to the United States in 1978. After attending USC he moved to Hawaii in 1994 and has lived in Waimanalo for 22 years.

He likes to frequent the less pretentious places and events, and is a regular at Bevy. Before thirtyninehotel closed he was a card carrying member of the inner circle of friends that loved what it created so deeply. I don’t think there was ever a night I was there dancing where I didn’t also see Omer and his lovely wife Dee.

“Thirtyninehotel allowed me to discover an aspect of Honolulu culture that I could immerse myself info with no pretense, always feeling at ease.” He wrote to me in an email.

“The diversity of the age, style and hipness of the crowd, the new sounds of local bands, tunes by visiting and local DJ’s, the fine art, art installations, movies and the fashion events and quality cocktails and food all contributed to the vibrant energy of the place.”

On view at Bevy Bar you can find some of Omer’s beautiful photographs of those days. It’s a collection of prints which has three images from an earlier show called “Dancing in the Dark” all photographed at the late thirtyninehotel over a period of several years. There are also a few images from Kaka’ako Waterfront park, hinting the changes that are going on in that area.

Special guest DJ Timo will be back to play music which is a huge treat after the KTUH DJ moved on to New York City but will be spending a few weeks on Oahu to play at this show and then later next week with legendary UK artist Bonobo at Nextdoor. The electronic DJ is most recently known for blowing away a Boiler Room live set this past summer.

OMER KURSATOne of Kursat's photos on display at Bevy Barp>


One of Kursat's photos on display at Bevy Barp>

It will be a nice welcome back to a time that has since long gone.

There will never be another place like it.

Play and Destroy

January 13th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 9.00.31 PM

A lot of people ask me how I became a DJ. I usually just tell them resident DJ Jami at M suggested I try a Thursday night there and offered to teach me how to spin back in 2012.

What they don’t know is what got me to the point where he was even suggesting that.

Earlier that year I had a good friend putting together what could really only be called “The Perfect Event for Christa.” It was a competition for music, which everyone knew I love, but not a DJ competition or competition where any sort of musical instruments had to be played at all.

It was the competition for the music nerds like me who were always sitting in the corner of the party with the aux cord or giving people CDs or tapes that they made of whatever they were super into at the moment. It was the competition for people who used Shazam or Soundhound when they were anywhere to remember to look up an artist they heard and liked and find out where they were from and who they are influenced by. It was the competition for people who had more than 50 playlists on Grooveshark, Soundcloud, and Spotify combined, and who basically have music playing in the background their entire life.

It’s called the Red Bull Play and Destroy.

Back in 2012, against every warning signal my body was trying to sound off I decided to go ahead and enter. Mostly because I didn’t want to let my friend down but there was definitely something deep down inside me that really wanted to give it a go. Something telling me that this was something I could possibly do and not make a complete fool of myself, even though I was a grown-up at a college-targeted event.

I surrendered and picked out tracks based on a few given themes: breakup songs, totally 80s, victory anthems, hair bands of the 90s, and so many more that I’ve forgotten by now.

RED BULL ALOHAHypemachine user chelsee.effX was a strong contender in the first Play and Destroy, but the author wound up advancing by a thread.


Hypemachine user chelsee.effX was a strong contender in the first Play and Destroy, but the author wound up advancing by a thread.

The trick was to write down the exact que point where the track was good because you only had a few seconds to try to win over the crowd. If you’re trying to do that with a long intro you would get destroyed. If you could understand not only what would make the crowd go wild but at exactly which point in the song, you would slay everyone.

Think about this for a minute, because I do talk to a lot of people and know there are many out there that have a dream inside to be the person in the room setting the mood. When you’re out at the bars or the clubs or parties you want to be driving that bus. You want to share your passion and you want to connect with people through that.

Just admit it. You want to be a DJ. It’s ok to admit it! Don’t be scared of what you really want, and don’t let anyone ever tell you what you can or can’t do. I’m living proof. After three extremely grueling rounds I won the 2012 Play and Destroy, and three years later I got to hug a whole front row of strangers after opening for Above & Beyond that told me they loved my set. If you’re even remotely interested, go for it.

Resolutions vs. Life Changes

January 6th, 2016

Happy 2016! While I’m currently in Australia and already celebrated my New Year’s eve a few days ago, modern day calculations say there is a whole new calendar year starting today and in some cultures, it’s a relatively huge chance to start all over again, this time getting it right.

Making a list of resolutions is a great practice but can most often lead to disappointment when they are forgotten months, sometimes weeks, sometimes days in to the new year.

Take it from someone who has spent the past 6 months fighting for her life, changes don’t happen overnight.

I feel like I was lucky to get sick. If I didn’t I’d still be on the same blind plan, thinking I’m healthy but in reality am so very much not.

The me in June this year was so confused as to how I could be diagnosed with stage IV cancer. I ate right, for the most part. I exercised, for the most part.

It wasn’t until months later I learned the truth. Just shopping at the farmer’s market and working out when time permitted, never really drinking so much to be fully intoxicated anymore, and genuinely keeping myself in good spirits was not enough to keep me away from serious illness.

The truth is I was eating out at least four or five times a week. Most often it was in a rush and all the time I had no idea what was in the food. While I made an effort to get as much sleep as I could during the week, I was sleeping with my phone, so not really sleeping much at all. I was scrolling through so much Internet consuming so much negativity and secretly holding in so much resentment but making false statements to myself that everything was great. While I thought I had a great life balance between my work, hobbies and community service I was saying yes to too much and working too hard to please too many others and getting further and further away from myself and my own inner peace. I was holding on to everything and letting go of nothing. This also trickled over in to my living situation, as it took at least four sessions with six different people to fully purge my apartment of too many things I couldn’t let go. Now a few months later I feel so much lighter and a million times healthier.

I’m revealing all of this to you now at my own expense because hopefully I can help other people make some good changes and not see them as resolutions… more like life changes. Resolutions are almost doomed to fail. Life changes are not resolutions. Resolutions are empty promises you make yourself. Life changes are the big steps you make that you have to always work to keep intact. Eventually these will become your practice and everything else will fall in to place.

Consider taking a stab at these life changes, and the resolutions will most likely follow. Focus your energy and attention on these and tell me what happens at the end of this year. What have you got to lose?

Life Practice: Respect My Body as a Temple

Resolutions it Covers: Lose Weight, Drink Less, Quite Smoking, Save More Money

“At least you have your health” isn’t something I wholly understood until I lost mine. Having issues with your health or your body really is one of the worst things that could be happening to you. Yet we do so much to destroy it daily. Our bodies are such complex systems, with an estimated hundred billion cells and five vital organs working around the clock in a beautiful harmony to create an existing you. When you respect your body as the temple it is, you want to keep it conditioned and healthy. You know that eating fried foods, fast foods, overly processed foods, added sugars or chemicals is bad for it. Once you decide to start cutting back on that, you will also want to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking enough water is something hardly anyone does, but with the rising popularity of Hydroflask and all its accessories I’m betting this can change for the better in modern practice very soon if it hasn’t already. Eating from Earth, good vegetables, grains, seeds, roots, fruits and nuts as often as possible is something your body really likes, and will reward you for once this becomes a life practice. Scrubbing the skin daily, keeping the muscles conditioned, stretching and giving your insides the best access for blood flow are also great ways to respect your temple. Circulation really does make the world go around.

Life Change: Meditate Daily

Resolution: Enjoy Life to the Fullest, Travel More, Live a Happier Life

Meditation and yoga. It’s been gaining more momentum in Western lifestyle over the past decade what Eastern cultures have known all along and at a rate that pleases me. For this practice and despite some hilarious sad but true viral videos, there is no veteran angst for the n00bs, only secure pleasure in knowing that we all may live to see true peace in this world, in our lifetime. With so many jumping on the bandwagon either by self realization or in my case forced on by an illness, this time there is nothing but good that could come from it. Mass consumption will certainly mean many trying to cash in on it but what harm can there really be in a wellness retreat? A yoga class? A self-empowerment workshop? This, my friends, is not a competition. We are all one.

Meditating just means sitting in silence with no distractions, and thinking about nothing. Letting the thoughts that try to pop in to your head flood back out of your head and just observe your inner self. The thinking mind is a noisy bugger that will always be trying to overtake your true self. Once you can separate your thinking mind from your true self you will understand that the ego is something completely made up and not who you really are. Breathe in until your entire lungs and belly is full, then let it out slowly all the way. Do this for as long as you can, knowing that when you first start the longest you can probably do it is like 3-4 minutes, with a goal of at least 30 minutes each morning and night. If it’s the first and last thing you do for the day there is a whole new level of life that you can unlock.

Life Change: Overcome your Social Media Addiction

Resolution: Spend More Time with Friends and Family, Life a Happier Life

The first step in addiction is admitting you have it. I can fully admit how I would spend hours before bed and when I first woke up scrolling through Twitter then Instagram then Snapchat then Vine then Facebook then by that time there could be more posted on Twitter then Instagram and so forth. It was a never-ending cycle of empty consumption, with very very little of it making me a better person. As a single person there was nobody to call me on it but sadly when I was out I would see so many couples, families, and groups of friends out doing the same thing, which made me feel better. We all do it, so there.

My eyes burn thinking about it, and it was only my recent illness that weaned me off completely. After a few months of no social media when I finally did go back to scrolling instead of just posting I could see a significant difference in what is being put out there. It’s toxic stuff, you guys. Overcoming your addiction is a slow process, not an overnight cold turkey thing. Start by unfollowing or muting the habitual negative ranters or conspiracy theorists. Change your five-six times a day down to once a day down to every other day down to only on Sundays. You might notice time spent on the Internet now is better time spend with humans. Millennials especially: do not lose your human connection. Be present. It’s ok to take photos and share and post but scrolling when you are in others company it a blatant billboard saying “I AM LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BETTER THAN WHAT I AM EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW WITH THESE PEOPLE.”

Resolution: Pay off Debts

Life Change: Give Freely

Holding on to anything is not good. This means holding on to debts, but start giving a bit more freely and see if you notice a more positive stream of wealth come in to your life. Nothing is meant to be hoarded and that includes your wealth. Circulation makes the world go around.

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