Truth from Dare: A bittersweet homecoming

Dec. 11, 2014 | 1 Comment

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PHOTOS AND TEXT BY DERIN DEREGO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Coming home to Hawaii is always bittersweet for me. It’s nice to return to the amazing weather and friendly faces, but there’s this empty feeling that always lingers for a bit.

I imagine being bombarded with so many things to do, then returning to the slow pace here creates a feeling similar to what those who partake in party drugs at a rave experience the next day. Like the whiplash going from sensory overload to tranquility might cause.

JamesPumpMy trip to Los Angeles was exactly as I expected, mainly because the only thing I expect when going to L.A. is that everything is going to be over the top. Once again, the city did not disappoint.

Popular shopping destination The Grove was topped with a decorations and a Christmas backdrop that would rival the set of any holiday movie. Snow machines lightly powdered patrons as they perused various stores. And a giant tree, complete with Santa and sleigh, provided a perfect photo opportunity. It’s also a great place for celebrity sightings.

Another must do when in La-La Land is bar hopping and nightclubbing. Santa Monica Boulevard is the perfect place for this exercise. Within a quarter mile stretch there are at least a dozen bars and clubs, the newest of which is Pump, made famous by the Bravo TV show “Vanderpump Rules”. While there I ran into one of the show’s regulars, James Kennedy, and had to take a picture so I’d have evidence when telling people that yes, Los Angeles is really like this.

I’ve been back on the rock for about a week now and am finally beginning to feel back in sync. Seems like I’ve shaken the funk of city life withdrawal just in time, as there’s a lot going on this weekend.

On Friday, punk rockers Pulley invade NextDoor in Chinatown. The animated California natives, who have a sound reminiscent of Simple Plan or Lit, play an all-ages show that kicks off at 8 p.m. Their guitar hooks might be a bit overwhelming for some, but anyone who loves punk won’t be complaining.

Later that night I’ll be heading to The Republik to see electro superstar DJ Morgan Page. The Grammy Award-nominated DJ has collaborated with everyone from Madonna to Katy Perry and his own tracks have garnered numerous accolades. Having never seen him live, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this show since it was announced a couple months ago. Consider this what’s sure to be another amazing DJ set at The Republik this year.

Keeping with the DJ vibe the infamous after hours venue, Asylum, celebrates their sixth anniversary with special guest DJ Matt Tolfrey from the UK.

With so much going on this weekend it’ll be easy for me to forget I’m no longer in the City of Angels. And with New Year’s Eve just a sleigh ride away, I’m sure that empty feeling will be a thing of the past.
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.

  • cw

    aren’t you glad it’s NEXT friday then ;)

    love ya see you soon