Posted | 1 Comment
Freestyle: Stylin’ in Kakaako
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / firstname.lastname@example.org
In the wake of a vibrant holiday season, the action is heating up in Kakaako.
On Friday, Jan. 11, Caleb Shinobi is putting on “Abstract Noir,” a fashion event highlighting his stylist’s sense for the sleek and bizarre, with a red carpet, runway, cocktails and DJs. Behind the scenes of this event and other endeavors in Kakaako, as I saw on Thursday, a small army of creative types are planning, dreaming, building and bolstering new things for the district.
“Abstract Noir” event planner Cyrina Hadad invited me to see the space where the event will take place, and to meet CoXist Studio’s chief wrangler and co-owner, Casea Collins-Wright. My visit turned into an eye-opening tour of the space and nearby attractions, including the community food space Taste (serving amazing, delicious Cuban food that day) and Lana Lane Studios where artists work in a collaborative environment.
Shinobi was a little amped, planning final touches of his show’s presentation and getting set for the logistics of putting everything in place.
Casea (pronounced like “Casey”) Collins-Wright was keeping it cool, despite the fact that a daunting amount of work would need to be done overnight, including the building of a runway for Shinobi’s event.
She gestured out into the parking lot at 331 Keawe Street in Kakaako (just mauka of Whole Ox), showing me where the red carpet would be laid out, a runway will be placed, and she expects aerialists to perform.
Inside CoXist, the studio space, models will prepare in one room. Refreshments will be set up, and the producers will stage the entertainment from this haven.
There will be bars in place, and a DJ Mr. Nick is among the headliners spinning music. The neighboring warehouse, A Pinch of Salt, will be open for guests as well.
The event starts at 8 p.m. Friday for VIP ticketholders, and 8:30 for general ticketholders. Get your tickets here.
“We’re embracing the urban fusion of art, concrete and performance here,” Collins-Wright said with a grin.
Then Collins-Wright guided me through the features at CoXist, which include commercial-grade sinks and refrigeration, and bathrooms which are partially renovated. “It’s all a work in progress,” she said.
With input from her business partner and boyfriend, architect Jason Selley, CoXist is incorporating locally designed, locally constructed elements. It can be rented out or used as an events space with production assistance from Collins-Wright or other creatives in her extended Kakaako network.
THE PROSPECTS are exciting. It’s all part of a burgeoning movement by artists and creatives in Kakaako to stake out a claim for the contributions they have to offer.
Collins-Wright came to Honolulu from Austin, Tex., where she attended the University of Texas and was deeply involved in the arts and related events. Her background has prepared her, she said, to accomplish all she can here in Honolulu.
“You constantly have to be looking for the next step in a city like that,” she said.
The dynamism also prepared her for the flux that Kakaako is now in. CoXist is not a permanent space, she’s been told by landlord Kamehameha Schools, but she expects to have most of 2013 to see what can be done with it.
She first got the space in August 2012.
“When I started, I didn’t realize I could be as creative as we have become,” she said. “But when you’re around people who are creative and who are working their butts off, it has an effect.”
“There is a love for the arts here and a respect for creativity and innovation,” she said. “But it’s a small area. I feel that if more people know what we’re trying to offer, they will support it.
“The effort is: How can I reach out, and how can I make this work?”
Find out more about CoXist at the studio’s Facebook page, or call 621-8761.
I’ll be telling you more about creatives in Kakaako, next month’s looming Pow Wow Hawaii street art festival and changes in the district in coming weeks. (Read my story on last year’s Pow Wow and the transformation of Kakaako here.)
What you need to know now is that Kakaako has some powerful attractors both day and night, so keep your eyes open and check out “Abstract Noir” for a daringly stylish urban outing.
Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter.