SuperCity: The first hurdle for help

Oct. 23, 2013 | 0 Comments


BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser

I bet you could use some help right now.

I wonder if you thought about asking a friend?

It’s not the easiest thing to do, and most times it’s just easier to do it yourself.

I’m wrestling with this right now as December creeps closer. The end of the year marks my birthday and a great time to celebrate everything awesome in Hawaii. I’ve been doing it for the past four years in the biggest way I am capable of, but this year is going to be a lot tougher.

Nicholas von Wiegandt, Co-Founder all grown up (Courtesy Beth Souza)

Nicholas von Wiegandt. (Courtesy Beth Souza)

Unless, that is, I ask for help.

This is the point where I freak out.

I’m not sure why it’s so hard, especially since people are almost always more than happy to offer their assistance when they can. I know I actually enjoy being able to help my friends. It’s a scientific fact we are happier when we are able to help others.

Still, it’s so difficult to ask. It must have something to do with the way we are programmed as humans; like it comes from the same area of our brains as confrontation. The successful people in life are not afraid of either of these things, but the rest of us? It’s just not easy.

Nick Von Wiegandt has been a face around the Honolulu scene for years. My most distinct memory of him is a video he posted on his Facebook in 2009 crying over a “break-up” with a surfboard he was going to give away at Lulu’s Waikiki for their “Unplugged Friday” party.

His comedic timing was incredible; I must have watched it a hundred times, still chuckling to myself out loud. The people in my office must have thought I was nuts. It stuck in my head for years and whenever I saw him I wanted to go to Lulu’s. I don’t even surf.

He has been working hard since those days and will launch a local crowd-funding application for Hawaii this week with colleague David Rippey called Island Funder. The two met working at the Hard Rock Cafe in Waikiki after finishing business school in Texas and the University of Hawaii.

Rippey’s design and development skills paired with Von Wiegandt’s natural knack for marketing business have created a great dynamic. While their website was specifically designed for cultural arts in Hawaii, non-profits and other start-up projects are welcome to submit.

What’s beautiful about the site is that people living anywhere can submit their projects as long as they benefit Hawaii or Hawaiian culture in some way. Anyone in the U.S. can contribute.

A very convincing FB friend circa 2009 (Courtesy Nick Von Wiegandt)

A very convincing Facebook friend, circa 2009.(Courtesy Nick Von Wiegandt)

Have you always wanted to bring a musical act out to Hawaii? This might be your chance. Dreaming of opening a yoga or dance studio? Why not give it a shot! What’s the worst that could happen? This could be your opportunity. You never know unless you try!

Anyway, this is what I was telling local filmmaker Lance Arinaga when I bumped in to him during happy hour at Rakuen Lounge in Chinatown last week. He had just met with Surfer Magazine Editor Jeff Mull and was all excited about a film project that will showcase Hawaii surfers. All the music featured would also come from Hawaii.

“Wait, there is something launching next week that’s so totally for you!” I told him, starting to believe that everything happens for a reason.

This was just too magical, our chance meeting and this new project he was working on and considering launching a Kickstarter for.

“Why not keep it local!” I told him.

Lance is no stranger to producing surf films, with “Icons 1” in 2006 and “Icons 2” in 2009, both released with much praise from the surfing community for both his creative eye and talent for pairing music. The next film he has on deck, called “Braaah,” will feature Kekoa Bacalso, Ezekiel Lau, Seth and Josh Moniz, Mason Ho, Shane Dorian and many others.

Film maker Lance Arinaga at his Icons premiere. His next project could be funded by the people. (Courtesy of Lance Arinaga)

Filmmaker Lance Arinaga at the premiere for his film “Icons.” His next project could be funded by the people. (Courtesy Lance Arinaga)

Back to Island Funder. Anyone with a project to submit should definitely be at the launch event tomorrow, Oct. 24, at the Five-0 Bar & Lounge in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. Starting at 8:30 p.m., the launch will feature live entertainment by Jason Alan, Jahlivity and headliners Rebel Souljahz. Come check out the dozen or so campaigns that are already live, or think about one of your own. You never know unless you ask!

The event is free with proof of a Facebook “Like,” which isn’t much these days, considering it could wind up being the final step in making your dreams come true.
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.

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