SuperCity: Step out of your comfort zone

Jul. 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

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JAMES GARRETT / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERThe inaugural Diner en Blanc brought hundreds of hungry guests to the grounds of 'Iolani Palace for dinner and dancing.

JAMES GARRETT / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

The inaugural Diner en Blanc brought hundreds of hungry guests to the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace for dinner and dancing.

BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Some of us can be real hypocrites. Myself included. We all talk about wanting something new, something different, celebrating change and all that, yet something comes along that’s even a little bit out of the norm and nobody wants to try it.

You see an event happening and go to the Facebook event page or someone’s Instagram post while it’s happening and ask if it’s crowded. You hear about a new restaurant and see a photo of a killer meal and ask, “what’s the verdict?”

JAMES GARRETT / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERGuests at Diner en Blanc were required to bring their own tables, chairs and linens to the popup dinner party — as well as clean up after themselves when the event was finished.

JAMES GARRETT / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

Guests at Diner en Blanc were required to bring their own tables, chairs and linens to the popup dinner party — as well as clean up after themselves when the event was finished.

Lord help us all if we want to actually take that leap to actually try for ourselves. If everyone is waiting for someone else to try something to validate if they should or not then what does that make us?

There are more examples, but I’m specifically talking about last weekend’s Dinner en Blanc. I know many have heard of it now after seeing it all over Instagram and here on the Pulse, after-the-fact photos of a magical dinner where everyone was decked out in all white dining together in some sort of upscale picnic setting in front of ‘Iolani Palace.

I knew about it because some friends were hosting but still wasn’t too interested.

“Who wants to go to dinner where we have to bring our own dinner, table, and chairs?” I thought. That just sounded like too much to deal with.

There were half-hearted inquiries among my close friends to try it out, all met with a “nah.” Dressing in all-white is one of those things where it’s nice once everyone is at the party, but getting there is a huge headache. You pretty much always have to buy something new because of how turnt up you got at the LAST white party. Then there is the whole paying to bring everything to a party where you don’t even get to drive — a.k.a. feeling stranded and not in control of when you get to dip out.

The table settings were elaborate and beautiful (Courtesy Emma De Vries)

COURTESY EMMAM DE VRIES

Table settings were elaborate and beautiful at Diner en Blanc.

Not knowing where the party is, not knowing what setting it would be, seeing a huge rain storm headed straight for Honolulu; all of these factors were turning this big mystery French concept in to a jaunt that was downright laughable for me and my friends.

The joke turned out to be on all of us.

I was fortunate enough to get booked to play music for the adventurers who signed up, so I still was able to experience the event, even if it was from a DJ standpoint. The second I found out the mystery location was in fact the most enchanting place possible on Oahu, I knew we blew it.

When I got to ‘Iolani Palace everyone was already set at their tables they brought and probably about halfway through their dinner. I was blown away by the lengths people went to make the event special. Save for the glorious setting of the palace grounds, the entire event was what it was because of the people there. Tables, linens, beautiful centerpieces, fresh flowers, table settings, glassware and décor by the hundreds was everywhere, plus all the people dressed to the nines in white.

The best part was how many different types of people were there. All ages, backgrounds and social circles were lined up, smiling and dining. Everyone was so blown away by what they were actually doing that the entire sacred grounds felt alive with a vibrant energy. I was completely blown away.

As soon as I could find co-host Malie Moran I gave her the biggest hug. She was risk-taker numero uno for this whole thing, in a way very similar to how I helped bring Pow! Wow! to Honolulu. She was in Los Angeles taking in that city’s Diner en Blanc in 2013, immediately falling in love and becoming inspired.

JAMES GARRETT / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERThe author at work on the turntables at Diner en Blanc.

JAMES GARRETT / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

The author at work on the turntables at Diner en Blanc.

So she made it happen. Despite all the risks. She didn’t do it alone though. Maleko McDonnell and Aubrey Akana also worked tirelessly to educate the foreign concept to as many people as they could. The result was 750 people going the extra mile to bring the event together, with hundreds of posts online and a tremendous amount of FOMO (fear of missing out) among those who didn’t sign up.

When I asked Malie when the next one is, she said it’s a secret. But you can count on this event becoming a thing in Honolulu, especially because of how many people immediately jumped in to try it out.

Thank God for those people. I appreciate you. I want to be one of you. I would like to think I am but I know that sometimes I am not. I am definitely chalking this one up as a lesson learned.
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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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