Truth from Dare: Finding synergy in Honolulu nightlife

Feb. 29, 2012 | 1 Comment

BY DERIN DEREGO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Synergy is usually defined as two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable. Indeed, some things are definitely better when coupled with their respective complement(s). We see this most often in the art of cooking where the fusion of flavors blend to create something dynamic and unforgettable.

Jack Johnson. (Star-Advertiser File)

Jack Johnson. (Star-Advertiser File)

Think of your favorite indulgences — they’re usually the combination of things that are tasty on their own, but amazing when they’re combined. In addition to tantalizing our palates, synergy can also be experienced in a number of other ways.

Musically, a song can be taken from good to unforgettable if it’s done as a duet with the right people. Our admiration for “Endless Love” would probably have come to an end it were just Lionel or Diana. And “Under Pressure” probably wouldn’t have resonated as much if it wasn’t for the addition of Bowie to the Queen classic.

Its this type of synergy that has me stoked for the release of “Jack Johnson And Friends: The Best of the Kokua Festival”. From its inception in 2004 through 2010, the Kokua Festival grew to become a showcase of the most socially conscious and talented musicians on the planet. And though it’s been a while since we’ve had a true festival, the album being released on April 17 captures the essence of this coming together of amazing artists. Over the years Jack has performed with the likes of Ben Harper, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, and Eddie Vedder, and all can be heard on this release.

If you missed any or all of the shows, you’ll definitely want to add this to your collection.

Of course, mixing up various components to create something splendid is also the cornerstone of bartending. Three of the island’s best bartenders demonstrated that Thursday during “MXLGY Triple Shot” at Addiction Nightclub. Each contestant concocted three cocktails that were voted on by a packed house.

Tim Rita. (Star-Advertiser File)

Tim Rita. (Star-Advertiser File)

My favorite of the evening was called “Jamaica Nice,” made by Tim Rita of the Modern Honolulu’s Lobby Bar. The beverage featured Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur and combined the flavors of chocolate and coffee with spicy sweet chili and rum foam.

I was a little concerned about the latter, but the combination of coffee and chocolate with the slightly spicy foam created a minty explosion on my palate that lingered while the warmness trickled down my throat.

The eye also has the ability to experience synergy at its finest, and such was the case at Friday’s “ARTafterDark” at the Honolulu Museum of Art (formerly the Honolulu Academy of Arts). This month’s theme, “Better Together,” was a nod to the merging of the Contemporary Museum and the Academy, and the displays illustrated the coming together of the institutions. The music was also a fusion of a variety of genres with DJs in the main court and center atrium.

Attendance seemed to be a little lighter than usual, but that could have been due to my arrival being closer to the end of the evening. The party starts around 5 p.m. and I showed up closer to eight, leaving only an hour to mingle. I did run into a number of familiar faces and was happy to get the chance to chat up some I hadn’t seen in a while.

The scene at the Honolulu Museum of Art during this month's "ARTafterDARK." (Star-Advertiser File)

The scene at the Honolulu Museum of Art during this month's "ARTafterDARK." (Star-Advertiser File)

Perhaps nowhere is synergy more observed and rewarded than the annual gathering of entertainment elite known as the Academy Awards, and this year’s fesitivities did not disappoint. The coming together of the right stylist with the perfect muse can mean red carpet gold. (Emma Stone or Milla Jovovich weren’t up for any major awards, but their looks got them more than ample camera time.) Once the awards actually start, the combination of the perfect lead actor with an amazing director can lead to Oscar gold. (“The Artist” took home both categories, among others.)

And the collision of a genius jokester and tempermental red carpet host can result in comdedic gold — Ryan Seacrest’s reaction to Sasha Baron Cohen’s preshow prank was priceless. I took in the entire show at an Oscar party hosted by movie producer Chris Lee and stopped in at a post Oscar party at Apartment3. Both were well attended by just the right amount of quality individuals making for an enjoyable end to my weekend.

This week’s highlights include tonight’s leap year edition of “Check-In” at SoHo Mixed Media Bar and the launch of “Phonetic,” a weekly house music party, at Lotus Downtown. Another First Friday and the requisite post block party festivities all over Chinatown. “The Lei Over, a daytime shindig with BBQ and beats, kicking off at 4 p.m. Saturday at Fresh Cafe. And the five-year anniversary of “DownTowne” at Bar 35 featuring DJ Josh Peace from Los Angeles, plus Taryn Manning spinning at RumFire in the Sheraton Waikiki.

As you can see, there are a lot of options to help usher in March. Be sure to come out to one or all of the parties — the combination of perfect people and a great party makes for an awesome time!
When he’s not out and about at the hottest parties and other events in Honolulu, Derin “Dare” Derego works as an account executive at a local radio station group. Reach him via email at or follow him on Twitter.

  • Anonymous

    check out homepage for more pics from Art After Dark, The Oscars, or more info on Jack Johnson!