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Truth from Dare: Hele on to Maui
BY DERIN DEREGO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Long weekends are great! With the Thanksgiving holiday last week, it’s a natural instinct for many to take Friday off and make it four day freedom fest. I actually had to do some work on Friday, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying part of the day on the North Shore where the weather was perfect.
The North Shore of Oahu is really like a whole other world. The pace is reminiscent of being on an outer island. It’s definitely an option to consider instead of scouting various websites for a deal on inter-island air travel.
While I spent part of the Thanksgiving holiday relaxing in the country, I did head back to town midway through the weekend. Very few things could have pried me away from the hammock I gravitated to, but Saturday was the opening night of “Wicked.” (The play actually debuted on Thanksgiving, but the official opening night was two days later.)
If you’re a fan of musicals, or the theater in general, you have to see “Wicked.” In addition to amazing performances by the actors (including Hawaii’s own, Cliffton Hall), the set design and transitions are awesome. And if you’re not familiar with the storyline, the plot itself deserves kudos. It paints the picture of a well-intentioned outcast who is deeply misunderstood, and inevitably bullied into detaching herself from society, and more importantly, her feelings. Anyone who has ever felt ostracized or like they didn’t quite fit in will appreciate this show.
The play made me think about something I’ve been chatting with peers about lately. Recently, a well-known gay establishment celebrated its 14th anniversary at its new location in Waikiki. From the pictures I’ve seen, the event looked like a great time. But I kept hearing that it wasn’t as busy as many had hoped. In fact, I’ve been hearing that in general about predominantly gay venues around town.
My personal take on the matter is something I’ll credit to the “price of progress.” Years ago, gay bars were a place for members of the LGBT community to feel comfortable partying at. They could gather at these establishments safely; a haven, if you will.
Fast forward to today, and you have states legalizing same sex marriage and a President who did away with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We’ve definitely seen progress unfold in front of our eyes. The one casualty of this progress, however, might be the gay bar. No longer do a lot of my gay friends feel the need to go to a venue simply to feel comfortable. On the contrary, many prefer to go to mainstream nightspots where the clientele are educated enough that labels are unnecessary.
Of course, this is just my opinion, but I think I’m out and about enough to say that I’ve witnessed this change first hand. Personally, I’m more about the vibe of a place and the people I go with rather than what other people up to after they leave.
A vibe that I definitely know I’m going to dig will this Friday, Nov. 30, at SoHo Mixed Media Bar when rapper Shwayze brings his laid back, Southern California style to Honolulu once again. Shwayze was the focal point of MTV’s reality show, “Buzzin,” which followed the aspiring rapper as he parlayed his career into something viable. His comedic prowess and unique flow style makes for great head bobbing. I’ll definitely be singing along to hits like “Corona and Lime.”
On Saturday, Dec. 1, I’m actually heading to a real neighbor island. Some friends and I are heading to Maui for some much needed relaxation. I love Maui because it has some really tranquil spots, and just when I start to yearn for some excitement, Front Street in Lahaina is there to satisfy. I’m also a big fan of dinner at the original Longhi’s restaurant, then walking over to have some drinks at Moose McGillicudy’s or the Hard Rock Cafe.
If you’re looking to party for a cause this Sunday, Dec. 2, OOspot Productions is holding its annual “DJ’s Against Aids” party at Hula’s Bar and Grill. The party, thrown in honor of World Aids Day, showcases the best of the best among local DJs and raises money for The Life Foundation. Visit djsagainstaids.com for more info.
As you can see, it’ll be an unusually mellow weekend for me. Sometimes you need to get out of Dodge. I’ll look at this as the calm before the storm — the storm being a whirlwind of holiday parties and events just around the corner.
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 email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.