Author Archive

Vegas Mike talks Acid Wash

By
February 3rd, 2016



ANA MEDINAVegas Mike with Nocturna at Acid Wash Wednesdays at Nextdoor circa 2011.

ANA MEDINA

Vegas Mike with Nocturna at Acid Wash Wednesdays at Nextdoor circa 2011.

Chinatown circa 2005-2009 is arguably the best years of its existence since World War II. With a thriving strip of creative, multifaceted genre bending events happening regularly mid-week and each weekend there is only a small collective left that really still remembers just how good it was. Just like The Wave it’s one of those things that most know will never truly be recreated; only evolved.

Some of my favorite parties back then? Showdown in Chinatown at Nextdoor, Kaleidoscope at Detox, Shake & Pop at thiryninehotel, The Deadbeats on Thursdays at Indigo, and of course Acid Wash Wednesdays at Nextdoor.

The Wednesday 80’s party could be as casual or as crazy as we wanted, depending on whose birthday it was or how much we wanted to dress the part. It wasn’t uncommon to walk in and see someone you know wildin out on the stage with a side ponytail or leg warmers. Special guest DJs would mix it up bringing back tracks we completely forget we even know and would have everyone screaming out each time something was dropped.

It was the party that took forever to build, but became THE place to be thanks to hard work of more than one person. This weekend, one of them is back on island to see if there’s anyone that wants to get that crazy again. I did a Q&A with Mike “DJ Vegas Mike” Licata over e-mail this week to talk about one of the greatest Chinatown events to ever happen in Honolulu.

Full Name: Mike Licata

Known as: DJ Vegas Mike.

Best website for you: @MikeLicata702 IG LicataRules

Facebook.com/AcidWashHonolulu

Where did you grow up: Brooklyn NY and moved to Las Vegas NV in the mid 80s.

Where did you go to school: UNLV

What brought you to Hawaii: I came to Hawaii to help my friend open Nextdoor in Aug of 2005. I didn't have much going on at the moment and the club needed some help, so I came out with the intentions of staying 6 months, maybe a year, to help get it up and running. I stayed 7 years.

How did you get your name Vegas Mike: I got the nickname in the first hour I was on the Island. The Nextdoor office used to be above Indigo back then. I'm not sure if it was actually Sergio or Chris Kahunahana's place, but the usual subjects (Francis, Bret, and Nate) greeted me with the nickname pretty much instantly.

Why did you start Acid Wash and with who: Miguel (OG owner of ND) who brought me out to HNL asked if I had any ideas for a mid-week party, at the time ND was only open Fri and Sat. I originally wanted to do Thursday's, but Chris Kahunahana was starting a Hip-Hop night on Thursday, so I got Wednesday. I called G-Spot, he called Jason Quiksilva, and we went on a hike to discuss the possibility of doing Wednesday, 80s music, service industry with cheap drinks night. Once we knew what we wanted to do, Nocturna was brought in to solidify the team and the result was Acid Wash.

How long did the party run: The party ran 2 1/2 years at ND, then they closed. It drifted around for a few months, Loft, Indigo, Living Room, but when Daniel Grey told me he was opening SOHO, it was on again. We had a great run there for a little over 2 years. Then my Father passed away of pancreatic cancer and things changed for me. The end gets a little hazy because I wasn't really into it anymore. It was a tough time. In the end Acid Wash went back to ND for its last few months before we left to go back to the mainland.

Who all is involved in this resurrection: Me, G-Spot, Nocturna and Jason Quiksilva are playing, Willis Haltom is my technical consultant on this event, Ana is PR, Jimbo offered us a great deal to bring the event to the Hawaii Events Center, that is pretty much the whole crew.

What about the 80’s music attracts you particularly to it? I was a teenager in the 80s, and nothing will ever mean as much to you as the music you loved during that part of your life. Sexy synths, tough girl vocalists, unforgettable R&B anthems from MJ, Madonna, Prince, and the birth of the hip-hop era, the 80s were a very strong time in music history.

Who are some of your favorite 80’s artists? Where to begin??? Depeche Mode, New Order, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, The Smiths, Duran Duran, REM, Roxy Music, The Cure, Bowie, it’s a very long list...

Would you say there is a “distinct” sound that is 80’s? There are a few sounds that came out of the era, and their importance is immeasurable. The 80s Synth Pop sound that was derived from the works of Giorgio Moroder in the 70s, are unquestionably the father and grandfather of today's "EDM". MC's like Rakim, LL, KRS, DeLa, Melle Mel, NWA and RUN DMC laid the foundation for everything Hip Hop has become. People forget, hip-hop wasn't for the masses or even the radio back then. And a stadium band like U2 is directly responsible for the likes of The Killers, Muse and Cold Play. Its all connected, if you know how to see it. "If you don't know your past, you don't know your future."- Ziggy Marley

How do you feel about modern artists sampling or resurrecting that 80’s sound? I think it’s important that current artists pay homage to their influences organically. If it’s good, I'm cool with it, if its forced or cheesy... not so much.

Can you think of any current/pop artists today that are borrowing from that era? Cage the Elephant, Black Kids, St Motel, Ladytron, Interpol, Foals, Deklan McKenna, Joywave, Crystal Castles, and I think St Vincent might be the love child of Prince and Annie Lennox. She's pretty great.

You left for a while – where did you go? I am living in Las Vegas these days. My wife Jenny, who I met at Nextdoor, and I got married 2 1/2 years ago and we had a son Michael IV on Dec 3rd 2014.

Why are you back? I'm back for the show.

How long are you back? 3 days, but if all goes well, this could be an every year thing.

CHRISTA WITTMIERIt didn't matter what was going on, you always knew Acid Wash Wednesday at Nextdoor would be a good time.

CHRISTA WITTMIER

It didn't matter what was going on, you always knew Acid Wash Wednesday at Nextdoor would be a good time.

Can you give some details about the event:

Friday February 12th 9-10pm is the official meet and greet with complementary admission, champagne and pupu's. There are $5 pre-sale tickets available online http://secure.oospot.com/ $10 at the door until midnight, it probably goes up after 12. Also all Ladies wearing 80s are Free before midnight. DJs are Nocturna, DJ Quiksilva, G-Spot and Vegas Mike. We're going to 4am, so all you industry people getting done at 2a, we got you. Industry guest list: email Jimbo james.tennant@hotmail.com

Any future plans? I have a printing and promotional materials company in Las Vegas BGA (GoBGA.com). So keeping that successful is important. I am a husband and a new father. My future plans are to keep my family in a good place, enjoy life and hopefully we can do this all again next year. I really hope to see everyone Friday for the Acid Wash 10yr Anniversary and 80s Prom.

Kursat breathes life into thirtyninehotel

By
January 20th, 2016



OMER KURSATALT/AIR performing at thirtyninehotel .

OMER KURSAT

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.

TORREY SEABOLT

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>

OMER KURSAT

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

By
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.

RED BULL ALOHA

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

By
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.

Driving Through December

By
December 16th, 2015



We can all admit it: driving on Oahu is becoming more and more frustrating.

Every time I find myself on Ward avenue I’m like “WHY did I take Ward Avenue?” and even what could be considered off hours for traffic like weekends or middle of the day can find you in your car with white knuckles trying to figure out a way to tell who you are meeting you will be late without using your hands to pick up your cell phone.

Now that it’s the holidays there’s even more people, and it’s the people that may not usually like to go out and drive to those additional functions or do some extra shopping. Plus we have even more people home for the season to mingle with the visitors looking for a warm holiday get-away. This year we are really seeing the predicament so many people and so many cars on such a small surface area really can be.

Driving? Is a pain.

During this time I like to think about another kind of drive; the drive that brings joy. Toy drives!

Two came up on my radar this year that are directly connected to the Honolulu Nightlife. The first being Carl Richards, trombone player for the band Smokestack who has been doing grass roots drives and feeding the less fortunate for many years.

This year his “Our Hands to Theirs” organization connected with a Veteran’s organization that will need what just about all of us could do without: toiletries. I know personally I had to clean out all of my bathroom and hall closet after I got sick to reduce my chemical intake while I had a super fragile immune system.

CARL RICHARDSThe author with Carl Richards helping to make the Christmas Eve meal that was distributed with gifts from the 2014 toy drive.

CARL RICHARDS

The author with Carl Richards helping to make the Christmas Eve meal that was distributed with gifts from the 2014 toy drive.

In addition to new toys, Richards is collecting clothing for all ages, blankets, and sundries/toiletries. Anyone who wants to start a drive in their office this week can take the donations at one time to the Institute for Human Services all the way up until December 24th at 546 Kaaahi St, Honolulu, HI 96817. A community event is planned at the center for Christmas eve beginning at 12pm with live entertainment and a holiday meal. Volunteers are needed, email thetachyongroup@gmail.com.

Tonight if you just want to bring a toy to Chinatown and celebrate the holidays and many people back home for Christmas there is a drive at Manifest, Nextdoor and Bar35. Bring a new toy and get a raffle ticket. Every toy gets a ticket and you can also purchase additional tickets for great prizes. Come decked out in the Christmas Spirit for another free raffle ticket.

2010 December 18 PUL - The Better Brands crew - The 12 Bars Of Christmas: A Chinatown Pub Crawl.  Photo by Aaron Yoshino Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

2010 December 18 PUL - The Better Brands crew - The 12 Bars Of Christmas: A Chinatown Pub Crawl. Photo by Aaron Yoshino Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Presented by Defend Hawaii and BeckerBecker, the event is featuring an all-star lineup of local DJs donating their time so that all proceeds from the night can be donated to the Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation. Music by Debin, Tittahbyte, Compose, Anit, Yozilla, Godiva and Songbird, with many more being added.

BeckerBecker is the one responsible for the 12 Bars of Christmas crawl in years past with the Chinatown Merchants Association and even though he has a lot on his plate with a new job and family obligations he still managed to get a few bars involved and an event pulled together in three days.

“In this busy life, my mother always pushed me to help others. I want to make it easy for everyone to help others so I do this drive every year for that purpose and of course to see the smile on those kids faces, it changes things." Becker told me in an email.

MARK BECKERMark Becker with the Hawaii Cancer Foundation at the Shriners Hospital for Children after a toy drive in 2013.

MARK BECKER

Mark Becker with the Hawaii Cancer Foundation at the Shriners Hospital for Children after a toy drive in 2013.

There’s quite a bit of busy-ness happening in this generation but even more now during the last few weeks of the “holidays” it’s very important to appreciate the now. Look around, see where we are. Look at your family, tell them you love them. Help those less fortunate, bring joy to another person.

That’s what is so great about giving anyway.

SILENT NIGHT NOT TONIGHT

Presented by DEFEND HAWAII and BeckerBecker

Manifest, Nextdoor, Bar35 35 N Hotel St. Chinatown

Wednesday December 16th 2015 10pm-2am

Donations accepted, bring a new toy for raffle tickets, dress in Christmas spirit

Think global, act local

By
November 25th, 2015



I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a mall person. I like to support local and there are more than enough boutiques and cute shops to have everything I could possibly want.

AMANDA DELA CRUZMaui artist Amanda Dela Cruz launched her holiday clutch collection at Kit & Ace this week.

COURTESY AMANDA DELA CRUZ

Maui artist Amanda Dela Cruz launched her holiday clutch collection at Kit & Ace this week.

Especially during the holiday season, the mall is just plain scary. People fighting over parking stalls, even in Hawai’i where nobody really speeds (that lives here) and most times they let you merge in. Something like Black Friday sounds more like a nightmare than a day to go out there and get deals on shopping. I would rather pay more to spare my own sanity. I’ll wait for Cyber Monday.

Although this year is quite special for Ala Moana Center with a beautiful new wing featuring Bloomingdale's and a dozen of other shops, for those that love the deals and love the mall, there is a great new boutique called Kit & Ace on the second floor across the Apple Store. The Canada-based company specializes in technical cashmere and likes to focus on “creative class” people. They recently partnered with a local artist and are supporting a great cause. Friends and loved ones who have moved on to the mainland would love a little piece of Hawai'i and if you purchase one of these mini bags designed by Maui-born artist Amanda DeLaCruz, a portion goes to support Women Speaking Out, a domestic violence organization.

Amanda’s beautiful watercolor drawings featured in her signature clutch collection are inspired by her picturesque surroundings, and is a great little bag to keep you from digging around in your purse for your chapstick or carrying on its own to spread the aloha.

“I’m all about the Law of Attraction” she said via email. “When you are happy with what you are doing, not anybody else then you attract nothing but inspiration and positive vibes.”

Amen, sister.

CHRISTA WITTMIERArt & Flea's Aly Ishikuni circa 2008, still killing it.

COURTESY CHRISTA WITTMIER

Art+Flea's Aly Ishikuni, circa 2008, still kills it in 2015.

If you are still out and about on Friday there is a collaborative sale in Chinatown with a wide assortment of amazing local boutiques, shops, galleries and food vendors to pick up a special and unique gift as special and unique as your loved ones are. The Downtown Shoparound goes all day until 7 p.m.

For those who want to skip Friday completely, the number one shopping event to exist (in my opinion), Art+Flea is hosting a huge block party on Kamani Street in Kaka’ako that features their trademark entertainment and small businesses.

Named in my Best of 2014, I can’t say enough good things about Art+Flea and what they do for the community. For as long as I've known Aly Ishikuni, her talent and work ethic has been very inspiring. It's so great to see how far she's come with both MORI at Ward Warehouse and Art+Flea. If you are looking for one-of-a-kind gifts handmade my local artists that keep on giving, these are some great options.

Of course, if you still can’t find anything you love, you can come to my cancer fundraiser at Nextdoor on Friday starting at 8 p.m. I'll have tons of amazing raffle and auction items, plus everyone who comes will get a copy of the paper I wrote detailing how I beat cancer in four months. I will also be screening my entire two-and-a-half-hour Snapchat story that spanned my fight for the first time. I know there are many who have been touched by this ugly disease and this is my gift to everyone who has supported me through this.

Happy Thanksgiving!

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii, plays music as DJ SuperCW, is a tech columnist for Metro Honolulu and co-produces the popular Bacardi Pool Party on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

Lucky No. 8 for Soulgasm

By
November 18th, 2015



For as long as I've known about Lyanne Brooks' Soulgasm party, I knew there was a safe haven tucked away where all I needed to do was show up and my heart would be full of love — and my feet would be moving.

House music, dancing and smiles. That's just about it; these are things that seem very simple, yet go beyond the norm in Honolulu nightlife.

thirtyninehotel-SOULGASM-2013

SOULGASM 8-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

With special guest Brian Coxx

» Where: Bar 35, 35 N. Hotel St.

» When: 9 p.m. Friday

» Cost: $10

» Info: www.facebook.com/SoulgasmHawaii

I had a chance to speak with Brooks, 41, via email about the party's eight-year anniversary. It's a very lucky number and also a very long time for a party to last in this town. Congratulations!

HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER: Where did you go to School?

LYANNE BROOKS: Princess Kaiulani (was the) elementary school where I first started dancing at recess in the '80s.

SA: When did you get in to dance and why?

LB: I've always moved to music and all kinds of music, I loved it all. But the first times I remember learning actual dance moves were as a youngster dancing with my Polynesian friends in the '80s to funk, soul, electro, and early hip-hop music.

SA:Can you tell me where the first Soulgasm was?

LB: Lotus Soundbar in Waikiki as a Wednesday night weekly.

SA:What is your advice on keeping a party going for eight years?

LB: Personally, I believe being part of the scene and a contributor to it is what gave me a solid base to work from. It helps to understand that we are all a part of what makes things happen as a participant or an organizer, that there's a relationship.

Some key things in keeping a party is doing good business, be willing to sacrifice your time and energy, dedication to hard work, consistency and quality of service. What you share is something you can always stand by and something people will feel besides just you and your crew, especially if you find that you're not about following the trends. There's a delicate balance.

KIMBERLY SEKOLyanne Brooks celebrates 8 years of Soulgasm Hawaii at Bar35 this weekend

COURTESY KIMBERLY SEKO

Lyanne Brooks celebrates eight years of Soulgasm Hawaii at Bar 35 this weekend.

If you have something different to offer you also want to keep in mind that it has nothing to do with being the biggest party or the baddest or that everyone should be in to what you're doing. People will come and go, some will stay, whatever it is, after the event is over, what will people say about your event? Was it something worthwhile for you and them? If so, then you may have something special to keep on.

SA:What are some memorable moments at Soulgasm?

LB: A concert with Nadirah Shakoor. Having live house music sounded amazing with Nadirah's pitch perfect vocals. Also being asked to choreograph the concert was awesome and I enjoyed doing this one number running off the stage while my partner flipped into the crowd while making the audience part of the setting was a highlight of that night as well. The crowd was screaming and feeling it heavy, it was so moving.

Every time DJ FLX came to play has always been amazing! He conjures up these deep ancestral vibes that you'll see in the dance floor. He's one of my top choices for DJs worldwide!

What I cherish each month the most is working with my crew, seeing my awesome friends, the hardcore Soulgasm heads, and new faces smiling and being moved by the music.

SA: Who is the special guest for the anniversary party this year?

LB: The featured guest is "The Wizard" Brian Coxx from Soulgasm NYC. He's an amazing DJ and producer. He's one of those that I appreciate as a music lover, dancer and a house head. I would love to see all the DJs in Hawaii come to hear him and be open to learning. He will play it all in a set and can make it whatever you want; for me that's what makes a great DJ.

Also, all the residents will be playing from disco with Gnaraly, more classics to straight house with Yuji, the super soulful Kentaro and the funkdafied veteran DJs Min One and Matt Kee.

SA:Where are some of your favorite places to hang out in Hawaii?

LB: Bevy, Nextdoor, Downbeat and some cool little hole-in-the-walls.

SA: What are some key elements that make a great venue for your party?

LB: Good business with the venue, that is a must. Support from the venue helps too. Venue must also have decent sound and being open to your suggestions and/or support to their system.

SA:If money was no issue who would your dream lineup be for Soulgasm's 10-year anniversary?

LB: If money was no issue, I'd have three parties, starting with a day party then peak night into afterhours with Stevie Wonder, DJ Spinna, then Bodhisatva, Osunlade with vocals by Oveous, Nadirah Shakoor into Karizma, then finally Louie Vega and Tony Humphries til the end.

However, I will gladly take Nadirah live in concert for the 10-year! Maybe have Brian return alongside Ejoe Wilson to DJ and do a dance showcase, and DJ FLX too!

SA: Anyone else you want to mention?

LB: You, Christa for always being so giving and supportive of our scene and the people in it. Having coverage of our scene has helped so much in keeping it fresh, moving and alive!

My crew Kimberly Seko, Gnaraly, Liz Miller, Yuji, Matt Kee, Min One, Kentaro, Rayne. George and the staff at Bar 35, Timo and Christian at Bevy, Darren and Willis at Asylum, Daniel Gray at Nextdoor, Paul Shih (Lotus Soundbar), Photocyclone, all the guest artists, DJs, vocalists, dancers that have come through.

My friends who have inspired me Shane, FLX, Eddie, Josiah, Ejoe, Brian Coxx, Redness, Nadirah, Terry, Naz and all those who came and/or come to dance with me at Housing Project 360. Everyone who has ever helped Soulgasm from then til now and those who come to the event! Your love is what keeps this alive and healthy. I can't thank you enough for giving me something to look forward to and cherish in my life every month!

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii, plays music as DJ SuperCW, is a tech columnist for Metro Honolulu and co-produces the popular Bacardi Pool Party on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

Posted in Music | No Comments »

Annalog embraces It Girl attitude

By
November 11th, 2015



Before this blog was so rudely interrupted earlier this year, I introduced you to Elora Tahiti and the concept of an It Girl — someone who, as I described Tahiti back in April, is one of those “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 ANNA DANG DJ Annalog on the decks at the Trump Waikiki in October.

PHOTOS COURTESY ANNA DANG

DJ Annalog on the decks at the Trump Waikiki in October.

Speaking of an It Girl, I'll never forget meeting Anna Dang, aka DJ Annalog. It was a special all-female lineup at Addiction Nightclub. I was spinning and she came into the DJ booth during the middle of a major girl power moment, telling me she was a DJ from New York. I was immediately intimidated and prayed the next transition I made was on point. I remember her texting me later that night, saying, "Great music! I danced all night!"

The thing with girls is the ones who prefer to support and build up rather than tear down are the ones who will truly win at life. Dang is one of those girls. From the night we met a year ago until now, she has been supportive and made a point to come to my gigs. We have similar taste in weird indie music, but she also loves hip-hop and proved at the recent LUX at the Trump Halloween party that she knows how to hold a dancefloor.

I recently spoke with Dang via e-mail and discovered you can't judge a book by its cover. Just because she is a model doesn't mean she can't also be obsessed with music and sports, or be super down to Earth.

HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER: Who are you?

DJ ANNALOG: Full legal name: Anna Nguyen Dang. Known as: DJ Annalog and Dangasian. Website: www.djannalog.com.

SA: Where did you grow up?

DA: I was born in Lancaster, PA and then moved to Orlando, FL when I was seven. I pretty much grew up there until I finished high school. After that I followed a boyfriend to Louisville, KY for my freshman year in College. (I know, Louisville? It was awesome though) After that came and went, I returned to Florida, where I finished my liberal arts studies at USF and Rollins College.

SA: How old are you?

DA: I'm in my dirty thirties, 31 to be exact, my birthday is coming up in April though on the 14. Which means a LA/Coachella birthday extravaganza.

SA: When did music become a big part of your life?

DA: I guess music was always a part of me growing up. I started playing the guitar when I was seven and then took up the alto sax when I was in middle school. The funny thing about that was, in middle school, band was the only elective class that offered a field trip to Busch Gardens every year. To answer the question more specifically though, I'd have to say music was my every living moment when I moved to Louisville and got a radio show on my first day of school. It changed my whole scope of living "the college life."

IMG_12561

SA: Do you have early memories of music?

DA: Man the first live show I went to was when I was in eighth grade, I had just gotten into ska music and there was a spot in Orlando called DIY records. It was this hole in the wall space that sold punk 7-inches, cassettes and CDs.

As far as my earliest memories of music, I remember listening to a lot of Mozart and Pavarotti at the dinner table with my family. My parents went through a phase were they insisted on listening to classics and "enriching music." My mom was a singer and my dad played the guitar. They had a band together with some of their Vietnamese friends from church. On Sundays after church we would go to their friends house in their basement and listen to them jam on a stage with streamers and all the kids would play hide an go seek while our parents played music and partied. It was pretty epic.

SA: Can you tell me about the first show you ever played?

DA: First show I ever did was back in 2006? I think? It was opening for Ghostface Killer at (Cal State-Fullerton). It was intense. I got the call to perform about an hour before the how started. I was sitting on a trampoline with another promoter who got the call looking for me. He turned to me and said, "You mean, Annalog? She's right in front of me..."

Next thing I know, I'm driving back to my crib to pick out some records and speeding down the toll roads to the college campus to perform. I roll up and call the PA and stage manager of the tour to meet us and we get walked in through the back entrance where they had a stage set up in the common area. There were probably 3,000 students there jamming out to Witch Doctor, who was the supporting act on tour with Ghostface. The whole production was sponsored by Cornerstone and Adult Swim. I had maybe 15 minutes to prepare backstage before I had to perform. I didn't get to sound check or anything but I felt semi-anxious to get out there and wow the crowd.

I wore a blue zip Sector Nine hoodie, with a yellow and red racer back American Apparel tank top underneath. Stretching my legs, I took a deep breath and strided casually in my plaid Vans high tops and Obey dark denim jeans. I had my hood up over my head and looked down at my feet. Looking up into the crowd I put my record crate on this wonky foldout table that had a wobble to it and picked my first record. I took my hoodie off and everyone in the crowd was like, "it's a girl!" I got on the mic and introduced myself and within seconds I could feel even more anxious as I realized how imbalanced the table was.

Nervously I spoke into the mic and said,"You know what, this first song will explain everything and exactly how I'm feeling right now." I put the needle on the record and let A Tribe Called Quest's "Stressed Out" play through the airwaves. In that moment I felt the stress in my body just melt away. Song after song though I felt like I was diffusing a bomb on stage because of how wobbly the stage an tables were. It was so bobo. But I made the most of the experience and played my gems.

The show ended and I had made lifetime fans who asked for my autograph and where I'll be next. Then and there started this snowball of club, festival and house parties... I will always remember that day.

image2

SA: When did you start producing?

DA: I started seriously producing music when approaching the Major Lazer remix contest in 2008-ish. I had fiddled around with a Roland 808 and reason when I was in college but DJing stuck to me more than producing had at that point. The first full track I ever made was a minimal electronic remix of "Pon de Floor."

SA: Did you have a mentor or were you self-taught?

DA: As far as production goes, when I first started, I had a co producer show me how to use the program, Ableton 8 Live, in its simplicity but not in depth as I had grown to learn on my own as I began to get a real feel for it. If you know anything about producing music, Ableton almost feels like working in DOS sometimes. There are way simpler programs out there that are user friendly, like Fruity Loops, but if you sample or mix down multiple pre recorded tracks, Ableton is the way to go. You can see the wave forms in the immediate skin vs clicking a couple of drop downs to get to the wave.

SA: What is the greatest reward from DJing?

The greatest reward is seeing a crowd of people dance and move to what you're spinning. Their expressions in dance and in their faces alone are the feelings that drive you to DJ more and more.

SA: Do you have any issues with your gender/looks?

DA: I had one totally skeezer slide a sneaky hand onto my butt and I turned around and decked him. The booth and music stopped and everyone was staring up at us. I was at Don Hills in NYC. He pushed me back into the tables and two of my friends straight jumped him. We got bear hugged by security and brought outside.

As were getting pulled out of the club my friends knocked over beer bottles and kicked the guy in the gut. It was nuts.

SA: How was it living in New York?

DA: Living in New York as a model/DJ was an eventful combination. By day my life was skating (skateboarding) the city from model casting to casting. There would be days where I'd kill time baking in the sun in Sheeps Meadow and then times where I'd be squeezing my legs into size 0-2 resort pants and couture dresses.

Some people would say I've been blessed with good looks and good brains, which may sound arrogant now when I think about it aloud, but whatever. I'm so thankful my parents were good looking babes. By night I'd work on music, go to the Bryant Park Library and eat loads of Chipotle before heading into DJ an event or socialize with my model friends at promoter dinners and civic events. Life was good in NYC. It's my second home, behind here in Hawaii.

SA: How often did you play?

DA: At times I would play weekly when I'd organize my own nights revolving around the NY skateboard scene. I threw parties with pizza and skate products.

SA: What clubs/bars were your favorite haunts over there?

DA: My favorite places to kick it could be ranked from bourgeois to divey spots. I ran with different crowds that enjoyed all kinda of scenes. Most of my model/skater friends and I would party at places like Provocateur, Avenue, Up and Down and PHD at the Dream, which are places known for charging upwards of $3,000 for a table to Brooklyn spots like The Flat that would cost maybe $5 to get in when there were live bands or Epsteins which plays skate videos and has cheap wings.

SA: What genres do you like to play?

DA: I like to play a blend of moombahton, trap, tropical bass and classic hip-hop.

IMG_2915

SA: What do you like to produce?

DA: I like producing Miami bass and bMore sounding tracks that use a mix of familiar sounds, samples and bites with accents of original sound creations.

Once upon a time, I had also made an EP called "Neon Sea Wallz" in hopes of touring with a live band and Lazer light show. The dream was to do an aquarium and planetarium tour with that album. You can hear it on http://djannalog.bandcamp.com.

SA: Can you talk about skateboarding?

DA: I started skateboarding at the age of 5 in Pennsylvania with my older brother and sister. My dad had bought a board when he first moved to the (United States) and we'd cruise and row each other behind my dad's bike with a tow rope growing up in a very suburbany rural neighborhood. It was awesome. We always had a skateboard around. Whether it was the OG deck my dad had bought, a nash or new school pro model deck we were a family that skated.

My brother and I progressed with the times and changes of the sport as we grew older and learned flat land tricks in front of our house in Florida. We'd try ollying over recycling bins, trash cans and then eventually built rails out of PVC pipes and 2x4s. We were the neighborhood skatespot for a while, then blueprints for mini ramps came about in the CCS skate catalogs and we learned to build in our friends backyards who's parents would allow it. Nowadays, I like to skate flow courses at concrete and wood skateparks. I cruise and throw an occasional trick here and there.

SA: What other sports are you in to?

DA: I'm really into all board sports really. All the cute boys in Florida either surfed, skated or wakeboarded when I was growing up. It helped having attractive and active guy friends that were into the same sports.

SA: Were you always active?

DA: Yeah, I was always outdoors as a kid and still am now. I never wanted to be cooped up for too long. If so, I'd end up painting things or designing new inventions or ideas.

SA: Do you have brothers and sisters?

DA: I have and older brother and older sister. They are funny and charismatic people.

SA: Can you share your thoughts on Honolulu’s bar/nightlife scene?

DA: So far, Honlulu's bar/nightlife scene feels like home already. It helps having good friends and welcoming (locals) to the scene guide me through. If I was completely alone and anti-social, it'd be a different feeling. Luckily, I'm pretty easy going and love to dance. The DJs are definitely up to par with the current musical trends and you can see a good blend of visitors and locals on the dance floor, too.

SA: Why did you move to Hawaii?

DA: I moved out here to get back to a more organic way of living. Having grown up in Florida, New York winters equal slow death. You could say I'm a snowbird living in Hawaii.

I also wanted a challenge and a new experience. So far, Hawaii is a lot like how I grew up in Florida, but turned up to 1,000 with mountains, waves and beautiful lookout points.

SA: What do you do in your spare time?

DA: In my spare time I like to play pool, darts, hike, skateboard, go on bike rides, do yoga, camp, and anything outdoors, really. I also watch a lot of Netflix, try to cook quasi-gourmet food and take Instagram worthy pictures.

SA: What is your day job?

DA: I just moved here so I'm looking for a possible day job.

———

Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young's Market Co. of Hawaii, plays music as DJ SuperCW, is a tech columnist for Metro Honolulu and co-produces the popular Bacardi Pool Party on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

Take a Snapchat, it'll last longer

By
November 4th, 2015



Well hello there! Did you miss me? I wonder if you even knew I was gone? Just kidding!

It's actually kind of serious, my hiatus. In May I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Stage 4 with metastasis to my lungs. It was also in my brain but we didn't find that out until much later. So weird how the world works. I never had cancer in my family and with the exception of Daniel Gray, I've never been touched by the disease at all.

cwstrong flyer

#GIRLGANG

Presented by #CWSTRONG

» Where: Nextdoor, 43 N. Hotel St.

» When: 8 p.m. Nov. 27

» Cost: $20, includes one specialty cocktail created by the Hawaii chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild

» Info: facebook.com

To say I was shocked to learn this is a huge understatement. I never really accepted or believed it, even now.

I've spent the past few months working hard to take control of my health and can happily share that all of the cancer has been completely resolved. I still have a few surgeries to deal with, but the hard part is over.

They said once you reach stage 4, you can't be cured. That it will never truly be gone... but I want to be the person that proves this wrong.

I spent a lot of time looking inward and for the first time in my life I taught myself how to meditate. It made a huge difference in my frame of mind, with my intuition and deciding which path to take. My Snapchat stories became very popular as more and more of my network learned about my diagnosis. I didn't hold back and shared everything, becoming more motivated to do so after many told me I inspired them. It became a part of my normal routine to share the entire fight. The more people I saw looking, the more I wanted to post. It kept me motivated.

I saved all my Snapchat stories and made the video above to share my journey with as many people as possible. It's very scary during those first few days and weeks after you're told you're basically going to die. I pray for every woman facing this now and am here to tell you that you can beat it. It's possible.

COURTESY GRACE LIMThis is the face of someone who just beat stage 4 cancer. The closest thing the author can compare it to is a snake that's shed its skin.

COURTESY GRACE LIM

This is the face of someone who just beat stage 4 cancer. The closest thing the author can compare it to is a snake that's shed its skin.

My fundraiser is set for Nov. 27 at Nextdoor. #CWSTRONG presents the #GIRLGANG. It makes me happy to be able to do this event at Nextdoor, which is Daniel Gray's bar.

All of the ticket, raffle and auction sales will go towards the next two years of maintenance I need, but Gray — who continues his fight against cancer — will keep the proceeds from drink sales. So make sure you secure a designated driver in advance and come with some extra cash for him and his bar staff.

I have collected a ton of my favorite things to share with everyone that night, with a special all-female DJ lineup and many surprises. If you know me, I would love to include your participation in this event, as it was very much our fight. Please email me any videos or photos you might want to share — we are compiling everything to show on the big screen at Nextdoor.

If you have no connection to me, come to learn more about cancer and how to attack it. I will share what I did and my entire two-and-a-half-hour Snapchat story. If anything, I want everyone to walk away feeling inspired.

Cancer is an ugly, ugly disease that can happen to anyone. It doesn't matter how healthy you are or how careful you are, but I am here to prove that it can be beaten!

———

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.

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.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

    Archives

    Categories