Pulse Picks: Live jazz, Tahitian party and more

Jul. 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

HONOLULU PULSE STAFF / honolulupulse@staradvertiser.com

‘The Cellar’ at Cupola Theatre

The workaday crowd has another option for a weekday pau hana place to gather, Thursday nights at the Honolulu Design Center’s Cupola Theatre location.

“The Cellar,” promoted by Scott Rasak and Potent Productions in partnership with the design center, is looking to attract baby boomers, with pupu and drink specials (including $4 Coors Light) and popular oldies band Wasabi.

“This is geared for those who work downtown and other nearby office workers,” said Rasak, who runs the established production, promotion and marketing company Potent Productions. “The focus of this event is on cheap food, cheap drinks and entertainment.

“I approached the design center to help me put on this event for a number of reasons,” he said, “namely for its central location in town and the overall ambiance of the venue. I’ve enjoyed going to its wine bar and Cupola Theatre, and the one thing that I thought was missing from the venue was something really entertaining for those who want to have some fun after work.”

After next week, Rasak plans to bring in a rotating list of bands at “The Cellar” to help keep things fresh.

The event will run 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. every Thursday (except July 21 and Aug. 4), with a $5 cover charge and happy hour drink specials until 7:30. Valet parking is available for guests in the parking structure. The Honolulu Design Center is located at 1250 Kapiolani Blvd., near the Piikoi intersection.

To reserve lounge seating, email mail@potentproductions808.com.

— Gary Chun, gchun@staradvertiser.com

‘Water Writes’ mural at HCC

Dignitaries and graffiti artists, kumu hula and hip-hop DJs will join on common ground when internationally known street artist (and Iolani grad) Estria and the Estria Foundation unveil what they are calling the “largest aerosol paint mural on the Islands of Hawaii” at a block party, 4 to 7 p.m. today at the JBL building, 95 Kokea St., on the Ewa and mauka side of Honolulu Community College.

There’ll be art, music and food from vendors, all to celebrate the completion of the third “Water Writes” mural in a world-wide series from the Estria Foundation series. The most recent was in Oakland, and the next is in progress in Gaza.

Oahu’s mural is dedicated to “the Hawaiian community and the vision of a sustainable future,” with a 25-foot-tall portrait of Queen Liliuokalani, who called for a commitment that water and land be held in a public trust, cared for by all Hawaiians, and imagery representing wasteful uses of water and a hoped-for “new ahupuaa – a Honolulu of the future featuring sustainable developments with respect for culture, water, and land.”

It’s a free event for all ages. Bring lawn chairs, sunscreen, your own re-usable dining ware and the keiki, of course.

Get grinds from food trucks: Elena’s Filipino, Sweet Makena’s Pops and Wahoo’s Tacos will be there. For urban artists who want to put their work out there, a Graffiti BlackBook Battle (on artists’ books, to be judged on-site) will go off.

Performers include Palani Vaughan (who has written a song specifically for the unveiling), Imua, kumu hula Vicki Holt Takamine and Halau Ali‘i ‘Ilima, DJ Kavet (of the Lightsleepers crew), “human beatbox” Jason Tom and DJ Candy.

Participating artists on the mural include John Prime Hina (who worked obsessively on the Queen Liliuokalani image, saying, “I’ll know that it looks like I want it to when I cry,” according to Honolulu Water Writes project rep Amanda Corby), Vogue TDK, Katch, Rival, Krush TWS, Escape, Dmize225, Krush BS, Eukarezt, Bieste, Quest, Trax, Ohana, Whyte, SMK and Ckaweeks. They’ll be mixing with audience, ready to talk story.

“It just gives you goosebumps,” said Corby of the mural. “You can see it from everywhere. It’s crazy.”

And plans don’t end with the mural. Under the guidance of taro farmer Charlie Reppun, a lo‘i will be installed at the site. “He said he had a vision,” Corby said. “We all did.”

Expected guests include Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Honolulu Community College Chancellor Michael T. Rota, Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland and Rep. Della Au Belatti. Environmental and social justice groups will have booths on site, too.

Find out more at www.estria.org and www.808urban.org.

— Elizabeth Kieszkowski, ekieszkowski@staradvertiser.com

Cherry Blossom Cabaret at Mercury Bar

This month’s “Speakeasy” party at the Mercury Bar is extra special, as the ladies from Cherry Blossom Cabaret celebrate five years of classy debauchery in Honolulu on Saturday, July 9.

Taking advantage of ongoing classes offered by the troupe, the birthday party will feature performances by longtime CBC members alongside some of their newest members performing “birthday Burly-Q.”

Doors open at 9 p.m. for the 21-and-over crowd, with the first performances scheduled to begin around 10:30 p.m. Cover is $10 at the door; presents and cake are optional.

— Jason Genegabus, jason@staradvertiser.com

Blue Scholars at Loft

Blue Scholars Geo (left) and Sabzi hold down at The Loft on Saturday, July 9. (Courtesy photo)

Listen — and look: Seattle-based hip-hop duo The Blue Scholars’ latest album, “Cinemetropolis,” is a multi-media effort (they call it a “visual soundtrack”) but the music stands alone if you’re bumping it in the car. It’s a strong and amazingly clever effort, rewarding on repeated listens for the sounds as much as the sentiment. Even the song titles clue you in, with shoutouts to “Lalo Shifrin” (an Argentine composer, who wrote the “Theme from ‘Mission: Impossible,’” “Seijun Suzuki” (Japanese filmmaker), “Anna Karina” (Danish actor; check out her films with Jean-Luc Godard)… and “Tommy Chong” (classic stoner and Asian trendsetter).

So yeah, they’re funny and smart, and they make bold music. One half of the duo, Geo (aka Prometheus Brown), is a Filipino-American with Hawaii ties. Partner Sabzi is Iranian-American; the two hooked up while students at the University of Washington.

If you’re 18 or over, check ‘em when they hit Chinatown for a concert at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Loft, 115 N. Hotel St. You’re sure to hear tracks from “Cinemetropolis,” along with the last EP, “Oof!” — released last year and inspired by the Blue Scholars’ last Hawaii visit.

They’ll be here with L.A.-based hip-hop artist Bambu; the show is brought to you by University of Hawaii-Manoa’s Ethnic Studies Student Association, and there’s a dress code: no shorts (for men) or slippers. Tickets are $15, with $10 presale available via ESSAHawaii@hotmail.com or In4mation stores.

— E.K.

Cali jazz player Fukushima arrives

Live jazz is alive and kicking in Honolulu, with guest artists from the mainland coming here to commingle with our local talent.

Gary Fukushima sits in on two shows in Honolulu next week. (Courtesy photo)

One such pro is Gary Fukushima, who plays two consecutive gigs here next week on Wednesday, July 13 and Thursday, July 14.

The Los Angeles pianist-composer will sit in with fellow Angeleno and vocalist Sharmila Guha, with support from our own Robert Shinoda, Dean Taba and Abe Lagrimas Jr. at the weekly “Jazz Wednesdays” at Gordon Biersch Brewery in the Aloha Tower Marketplace.

The following day, the rhythm section of Taba and Lagrimas will follow Fukushima for a trio gig at Sarento’s Top of the I, which itself has been the venue of weekly Thursday concerts.

A staple of the L.A. jazz scene, Fukushima teaches jazz piano at Cal State Northridge and improvisation as part of the educational program “Jazz in the Classroom” for the Los Angeles branch of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

There will be no cover charge at the Gordon Biersch show, starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Info: 599-4877.

There’s a $10 cover charge for the Sarento’s show, running from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., at the top of the Ilikai Hotel, 1777 Ala Moana Blvd. Information and reservations: 955-5559.

To hear more of Fukushima, click here.

— G.C.

‘Tiurai’ at Cafe Che Pasta

When Cafe Che Pasta opens its doors for “Tiurai,” a Tahitian-flavored Bastille Day celebration, on July 14, the atmosphere will be festive. The Tahitian-French event, open to the public, will feature fine Tahitian cuisine, live music, fire-dancing and French champagne.

Dishes served at the event will be prepared by host and Che Pasta owner Mark Cohen from the cookbook “Saveurs Paradis,” a French-language collection of French-Tahitian recipes by Tsan Wo, co-host Yvonne Bryant’s sister, just before Wo’s death in 2006.

“We’re doing a particularly Tahitian event,” Cohen said. “This is a public party with a French-Tahitian accent. … It’s like the surf colony, paying tribute!”

Cohen promises Tahitian fare “with a gourmet twist,”designed to please the palate, and that sounds like a major attraction, along with the three Tahitian musical acts and the Polynesian fire-dancers.

Ooh la la. Join the party at 6 p.m. July 14, at Che Pasta, 1001 Bishop St. Admission, $30, includes food, entertainment and French (of course) champagne. It’s open to all ages. Reservations: 524-0004.

— E.K.

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