Freestyle: Holidays your way

Dec. 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

Dancer/producer/choreographer Derek Daniels brings his annual "Holiday Polynesia" revue back to Hula's on Friday, Dec. 13. (Courtesy photo.)

Dancer/producer/choreographer Derek Daniels brings his annual “Holiday Polynesia” revue back to Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand on Friday, Dec. 13. (Courtesy photo.)

BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / ekieszkowski@staradvertiser.com

Oh joy: It’s holiday season again.

It can be tough to get into the spirit of the season without an attitude adjustment, so let’s get right to it and take a look at events past, present and future that brighten up the night.

Tops on my list: Derek Daniels’ “Christmas Polynesia,” 10 p.m. tonight at Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand.

Daniels, a talented singer and choreographer who is also veteran Polynesian dancer (he’s pictured above), puts this party on every year; it’s festive and fabulous. And with tickets costing only $5, you can celebrate without busting your bank account.

Next up: “Happy Hollah Days”, 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the ARTS at Marks Garage.

This “hip-hop holiday burlesque spectacular” by woman-friendly performance troupe Cherry Blossom Cabaret is recommended for two reasons: it’s racy and extravagant; and it’s all for a couple of good causes.

Buy a $20 ticket at the door and all proceeds will be donated to assist NextDoor owner Daniel Gray with unexpected medical costs arising from surgery. Or bring an unwrapped new toy valued at $10 or more, to be donated to Palama Settlement, and your admission is free.

Doors open at 8:30 p.m. for the hip-hop holiday show open to ages 18 and over.

Vocalist Devaun Williams, center, and bandleader Jason Tobosa, to the right of Williams, held down a drum jam in the middle of JMT Experiment's debut show. (Star-Advertiser photo by George F. Lee)

Vocalist Devon Williams, center, and bandleader Jason Tobosa, to the right of Williams, held down a drum jam in the middle of JMT Experiment’s debut show. (Star-Advertiser photo by George F. Lee)

Finally, I need to give a shout-out to Jason Tobosa and the JMT Experiment, headliners for a showcase concert held last night, Dec. 12, at Crossroads at Hawaiian Brian’s.

(Be sure to read my story about the concert and watch exclusive video of Tobosa and band.)

Tobosa put the show together to celebrate his collaborative band’s debut and successful recording project. Watch for the musical release on iTunes and other sites soon. And he gathered up an impressive group of musical friends to appear at Crossroads for the showcase.

Taimane, an ukulele-playing original, improvised with Quadraphonix at the JMT Experiment debut show. (Star-Advertiser photo by George F. Lee)

Taimane improvises with Quadraphonix at the JMT Experiment debut show. (Star-Advertiser photo by George F. Lee)

I got there in time to catch Stef Muzic, Jerome James and Activ8, Quadraphonix, Taimane and Tobosa’s group, the JMT Experiment. When I interviewed Tobosa in advance of the show, he described these groups as outliers in Honolulu’s music scene — and he’s right. These bands don’t fit into a currently trendy category, but all have an “it factor” with the double whammy of stage presence and musical talent.

If you haven’t seen any of these acts or haven’t heard them recently, I advise you look them up and put them on your “nice” list for the coming year.
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Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at ekieszkowski@staradvertiser.com or follow her on Twitter.

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