Eat the Street Philippines 2015

Lumpia, adobo, balut and other Filipino favorites were the stars of the newly relocated Eat the Street, held Friday at Kakaako Gateway Park. Mainstays like Elena’s Filipino had long lines until well after closing time, while dishes like Pauls Poppers’ Pork guisantes popper, Smokin’ Wings and Things’ Filipino Fried Chicken Adobo Wings and Chef Yana of Salo Series’ Kare Kare Lumpia & Halo Halo Turon were also big hits. A fun new addition this month was Primo Popcorn’s “smoking cold” popcorn, flash frozen in nitrogen.

Eat the Street: Philippines 2015

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Photo by Tracy Chan

Party pics: Honolulu Brewer’s Festival 2015

The Honolulu Brewer’s Festival, formerly known as the REAL Beer Festival, gave craft beer lovers a chance to sample 80 beers from Hawaii, the Mainland and international breweries on Saturday at the Kaka’ako Makai Gateway Park. The festival also featured live entertainment and food from 20 of Oahu’s top restaurants.

The event, limited to 2500 people, was hosted and presented by REAL a Gastropub and The Victoria Foundation, Inc., a local 501(c) 3 nonprofit. Proceeds went to benefit the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation.

Honolulu Brewer's Festival 2015

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Photo by Tracy Chan

Something to see: The Art + The Ink

The Heart Sūtra, the inspiration behind this show, is often cited as the best known and most popular Buddhist scripture of all. It teaches enlightenment through emptiness of the self, with the themes of disintegration, impermanence, flux and that form and emptiness are one and the same.

THonolulu dancer and artist Willow Chang has curated a show that is magical, strange, beautiful and at times intense. In one beat solemn, in the next playful, it is a celebration of the range of human emotions that the heart governs. But just as important to the show is the space between beats, when everyone holds their breath and the room reverberates with only the sound of a single tone.

The first part of the show is part improv, part short scripted dance, music, calligraphy and spoken word performances.

IMG_7467-2The second part is literally a 50-minute improv session, where musicians take their place and create rhythms and melodies on the fly, and the dancers jump in as they are moved to. Watching the creative process come alive like this inspires wonder at the mastery of each participant, as they communicate with a language that is made purely of sound and mood. It is a jam session between artists of the highest caliber from opposite ends of the earth, who may have never played together before but have the ability to speak a universal language and create intricate pictures as they learn from each other. Memorable pairings include the spontaneous rhythm collaborations between Kenny Endo and Indian Tabla artist Abhijit Banerjee and several dancers playing off each other.

For this two-night performance, Willow has brought some amazing names together, including:

-Master calligrapher Baikei Uehira (he was unable to attend Friday’s performance so his wife and daughter performed in his stead.)
-Taiko master Kenny Endo
-Special guest of the East-West Center Abhijit Banerjee, a master tabla artist from India (only at Friday’s performance)
-Japanese dancer and swordsman Ikuhiko Aoyama
-Artist and instructor Andy Lee
-Twirling Girlish Hoop Dance Company
-Dancer Sequoia Carr Brown
-Japanese Butoh dancer Lori Ohtani/Tangentz
-Slack key musician Danny Carvalho
-Singing bowl artist Katie Fisher
-Bassist Ernie Provencher
-Performance artist Eric West aka Professor Pandemonium
-Martial artist and poet Michael Hamilton
-Mendhi (henna) artist Maya Ball

Since this is a show that cannot, by its very nature, be the same twice, I highly recommend that you check it out at the Honolulu Design Center’s Cupola Theatre tonight.

The Art + The Ink: Journey of the Heart Sutra
Cupola Theatre at the Honolulu Design Center
Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.
$30

The Art + The Ink: Journey of the Heart Sutra

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Willow Chang

Something new: The District

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Bar Seven, formerly Venus Lounge, the large nightclub space below The Republik, has gotten a makeover and is poised to be a major new player in Honolulu’s nightlife scene. Enter The District.

The logo is an obvious nod to social media and GPS mapping apps. “You have arrived at your destination,” it announces.

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This emphasis on social media and mobile technology is also evident in the club’s stamp, which includes the hashtag, #TheDistrictHI and their social media handle. It’s a revealing commentary on how nightlife culture has changed, and how integral our smartphones have become when it comes to going out and having fun.

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The former Bar Seven has been cleaned up, remodeled and brought back under the management of one experienced group. Gone are the midnight drag shows and the stand-up comedy nights; in its place is a new, 23+ upscale nightclub venue with three bars, 15 bottle service tables and an impressive sound and lighting display.

district element group

Meet the team behind The District — Element Group — one of Honolulu’s leading nightlife promotion teams. These are the guys responsible for Ginza, and former nightlife hot spots Tsunami’s, Vice and Ka Restaurant and Lounge. All of them are still under 40, and they’ve proven themselves by gaining a following that has accompanied them to numerous venues, even the unexpected ones. One of the partners said it took about 10 guys two months to renovate the club and get it looking the way it is. Now that’s teamwork!

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Walk into the club and the first thing you’ll encounter is a “peepshow” nook, reminiscent of a museum display. Later, there will be live models posing or doing risque displays.

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The drinks start at $8 for a cocktail, $6 for a beer. Four signature cocktails were available at Thursday’s preview event. This is my favorite of the four sample offerings, the Shiso Cooler, made with Choya Umeshu, Japanese Ume liquor, Iichiko Blu barley spirits with yuzu, Yukari Shiso, syrup and lemon juice. Tasty and sweet, but not too sweet, this one best appealed to my palate.

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Meet some of the bar staff.

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This cool display of real speakers behind the second bar (there are three bars inside the venue) isn’t hooked up, but it’s a neat new concept that fits in with some of the retro decor.

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MW Restaurant staff were on hand to provide food for the preview. Normally, this would be a fully functional third bar, but for special occasions, it can also double as a food sampling station. Whether The District also plans to target foodies and the pau hana crowd like Vice did remains to be seen.

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MW’s candied Spam, probably the most popular of the three food samples.

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Here’s a wider look at the bar. An interesting thing to note are the retro touches that contrast, sometimes confusingly, with the ultra-modern ambient lighting. Frequent clubgoers will probably compare the clean white of the interior furniture to M Nightclub, while some of the more vintage photos and art could be compared to Republik upstairs. As far as atmosphere goes, though, The District meets in the middle, between ultra classy and not too classy to be uncomfortable.

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Bottle service prices are on the higher side, however. With Grey Goose, Jack Daniels and Jameson going for $325 a bottle and more unusual offerings like Patron Silver going for $625, most people might save the bottle service for a special occasion.

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A view of the bar closest to the sunken dance floor.

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Pizza from the lounge next door. Sadly, it is no longer V Lounge, but there’s still good pizza just around the corner from the club, a plus for any hungry clubgoer.

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One of the coolest things about this new club, in my opinion, is that every seating area looks like a VIP section. There is, of course, an actual VIP section in back next to the DJ booth, and another small VIP corner by the main bar, but the fact that all seating is sectioned off and overlooking the dance floor is nice. Limited seating also makes it clear that this isn’t a place to lounge around; instead, you should be mingling or dancing.

 

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DJ Alex Dreamz from Las Vegas (you may remember him from the grand opening of Vice Nightclub) and his partner Drum Lord will host Friday’s soft opening. Together, the pair goes by the name, Club Killers, and you can be sure they’ll break the dance floor in right.

The District’s state-of-the-art sound and lighting system makes the club feel smaller than it actually is. Also on the floor: Co2 Cryo Cannons that give off an impressive amount of smoke.

The District
1349 Kapiolani Blvd.
Soft opening 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday and Saturday, April 17-18
Grand Opening Friday April 24
23+

Party pics by Eric Baranda:

Party pics: The District

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Party pics: Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival 2015 launch

The Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival officially launched ticket sales for the big event happening August 29 to September 13, 2015.  This year, more than 100 internationally-renowned chefs and personalities will be participating in events on Hawai’i island, Maui, and O’ahu.

The festival also announced Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival Kā‘anapali with the expansion of the festival to a total of three days on the island of Maui, coinciding with Roy’s golf classic and Kā‘anapali Fresh.

For tickets and more information, visit HawaiiFoodAndWineFestival.com.

Here are some photos from last night’s big launch event at the Halekulani in Waikiki:

Hawaii Food & Wine Media Preview Night

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Hawaii Food & Wine Media Preview Night