Archive for December, 2010

Podium Raceway set to open in Kapolei

December 22nd, 2010


Some of my favorite memories as a kid growing up on Oahu were days spent at Castle Park, an entertainment mecca on par with Disneyland for those of us who had yet to venture off the island.

Sure, I eventually got to visit sunny SoCal and interact with Mickey Mouse and all his friends. But I still think back fondly on the times I spent in the batting cages at Castle Park, playing video games in the arcade and driving a go-kart long before I was old enough to get my driver’s license.

So when I walked through the doors at Podium Raceway Hawaii, childhood memories of racing with my friends collided head-on with thoughts of a new, grown-up tradition: Kicking butt in an electric kart at Kalaeloa.


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Indigo Master Remixology Contest

December 21st, 2010

Photo by Jamm Aquino /

The scene inside Indigo on Monday. Click here for more photos.


Eight of Honolulu's top bartenders showed up at Indigo yesterday for a shot at fame — and an Apple iPad.

Along with the coveted tablet computer, the top four drinks in Monday's Indigo Ultralounge Master Remixology Competition will be added to the cocktail menu, according to bar manager Jason "J-Rod" Rod. In order to preserve the integrity of the contest and keep himself eligible for the iPad, local liquor guru Joey Gottesman stepped in to host the event with help from one of his co-workers at Better Brands, marketing and promotions manager Christa Wittmier.


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Seether arrives for private shows

December 17th, 2010

Photos by Jason Genegabus /

Seether guitarist Troy McLawhorn, left, chats with a Marine journalist prior to speaking with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Friday. The band will play two USO shows on Oahu this weekend.


South African rockers Seether arrived in Honolulu this week for a pair of concerts that will be next to impossible to get into — unless you're a member of the military.

Led by founding members Dale Stewart and Shaun Morgan, the band will headline the Hawaii stop of the USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour with a performance at Marine Corps Base Hawaii tonight and at Schofield Barracks tomorrow. The shows mark the first time the platinum-selling band has performed in the islands.

The Star-Advertiser got a chance to speak with Stewart, guitarist Troy McLawhorn and drummer John Humphrey on Friday afternoon prior to the band's sound check at MCBH. Their new album, "Holding on to Strings Better Left to Fray," will be released early next year.

The stage at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe. Seether will perform here at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

STAR-ADVERTISER: 2010 marks the second time Seether has hit the road in support of the USO. What does it mean to you guys to play these shows?

TROY MCLAWHORN: I think it's cool to come out here and boost morale for everybody. It's pretty hardcore what these guys go through, and they're away from home.

It's a good motivator to come out here … and show our appreciation for all their hard work.

My wife's family, her dad was in the Air Force. And her grandfather was in the Army. And one of my sons is actually joining the Air Force in February.

JOHN HUMPHREY: My grandfather was stationed in the South Pacific during WWII. And my dad was in the Army just after the Korean War.

DALE STEWART: I've got a lot of friends and family of friends who are in the military. I think everyone knows someone who's out there or has put in their time.

We kind of feel a little helpless sometimes … when all these people are out there doing those amazing things. So for us to come out and kind of say things, we're trying to help a little bit in our own way, for what it's worth.

SA: How do your South African roots influence the band more than a decade after starting out?

DS: Subliminally, probably, more than anything. We were always that band in South Africa who didn't really sound like a South African band. We were actually criticized (for that). We were always very much influenced by American bands.

When Shaun and I were growing up, we started hearing bands on the radio like Nirvana and Soundgarden. Pearl Jam, and even before that, Metallica and all these great American rock bands. Those bands really struck a chord with us.

SA: Has the band's sound changed much over the years?

DS: I think it's just a natural thing to change. And we don't want to be that band that keeps rehashing old stuff.

I think the art of it, we're proud of what we're doing and we're trying to make the best music we can. Our music has changed, but I think it's been for the better, you know?

We've gotten better at what we do. And also with different members joining, that puts a different dynamic on it. But it's an evolution. So hopefully it's getting better.

SA: "Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces" was released during a particularly challenging period of time for the band. Looking back, can you hear the tension when listening to tracks from that album?

JH: There was a lot of drama going on. We had a guitar player who walked off during the middle of our last tour … and I had to get back surgery. I had been on tour for a year and a half, two years, just dealing with pain and trying to make it to the end.

I think with this next album, with Troy being part of it, the whole experience has been more about all of us contributing. (It) sounds much more like a unified band. I'm excited for people to hear it.

SA: The new album is called "Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray. Is Seether now going to be known as the band with super-long album titles?

TM: Yeah, the next one's gonna be even longer! (laughs)

JH: ("Holding Onto Strings…) is actually a lyric from an important song on that album.

SA: Can you hear an evolution in the band's sound with this new album?

DS: I think all of our stuff, you can definitely tell it's us. It's not night and day. We still have that signature sound.

TM: It sort of sounds like a continuation from album to album. It keeps evolving, but you can hear the influences from the last album.

SA: Is this next album the best Seether project ever?

JH: I'm really excited about it. I think it's strong. I know it's cliche … but I think you try to get better as a musician, to get better and write better songs.

DS: When we spoke about the last album, we thought that was the best one that we've done … up until then. There was a lot of pressure on us to get a little bit better again, but I think we have on this one.

SA: Is it a challenge to get people interested in your music, if all they remember of Seether is "Broken" with lead singer of Evanescence?

JH: I think we have fans from all over. Some who lightly listen to the music … or you have the diehards. The "Fake It" single from the last album was number one for, like, 13 weeks or something.

We have some strongholds in middle America. These places where we have played, we've got a great fan base regardless of what we're doing on the charts. We pride ourselves as being a live band, a touring band. We're on the road 200-plus days out of the year.

SA: Any thoughts on Hawaii?

TM: It'd be great to come back and do a show.

JH: I think we shoujld do a show in Hawaii and then have two weeks off.

DS: We had a little time (to hang out) last night. It was great. Everyone is so nice.

We even went swimming at 2:30 in the morning!

SA: Did you guys get to check out any local bands?

TM: There was a keyboard player last night who was killing it. He sounded like an actual guitar, but he was doing solos on keys. It took me a second to figure it out. It was at the Shack. Right over by the Outrigger.

Correction: Troy McLawhorn plays guitar in the band. He was described as the bass player in an earlier version of this post.

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Review: ‘Tron: Legacy’ in 3D

December 16th, 2010

Courtesy Disney

Light cycles help provide the action in "Tron: Legacy," just as their animated counterparts did in the original "Tron," released in 1982.


Like its predecessor, “Tron: Legacy” includes gaping holes in its plot that leave you scratching your head — even more so when you try to reconcile what’s going on here with what happened in the original version from the early ‘80s.

Trying to wrap your mind around this movie is an exercise in futility. In order to truly enjoy it, you’ve got to sit back and enjoy the ride. To borrow a line from main character Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), it’s “biodigital jazz, man.” Just let it happen, and your mind won’t implode from all the discrepancies.

In “Tron,” the year is 1982 and the movie’s namesake is a security program (think of it as anti-virus software before anyone knew to call it that) designed by software company Encom. Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a disgruntled former employee trying to hack his way into their computers when he’s digitized and somehow transported inside the system, where he ends up meeting a digital version of Tron.

Compare that to “Tron: Legacy,” which apparently takes place in the present, but opens with a flashback to 1989 (Head-scratcher #1: Where did those seven years go?). Flynn has a young son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund), and is still employed at Encom, which now develops operating systems instead of national defense programs. Instead of hacking his way in, Flynn is apparently the programmer behind his company’s Master Control Program.

One constant? Flynn’s, an arcade named after the elder Flynn, which is fully operational in both movies — in “Tron: Legacy,” while covered in dust and apparently left undisturbed for more than 20 years, Sam is able to walk in, flip a few switches and fire up a jukebox and all the games in the arcade, including one called Tron (Head-scratcher #2: What happened to Space Paranoids?).


VIDEO: World of Dance Tour 2010

December 13th, 2010

Video courtesy Pacific Rim Video/Photo Press


The World of Dance Tour made its Hawaii debut last weekend, hosting an evening of competition, exhibition and camaraderie at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.

A number of teams from season five of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” television show were in attendance for a special reunion performance; Hawaii’s own Hype 5-0 were joined by Static Noyze, Heavy Impact and Swagger Crew. Season five champs Poreotics also made the trip.

Along with the reunion, the Hype also took part in a team competition during the event, beating out seven other local crews for a $1,500 grand prize. An exhibition showcase featured performances by Future Funk, Mischief Makers, 24-7 Danceforce Teens, KM Legacy, Hype Juniors, T2P and the UH Rainbow Dancers, while a separate “BBoy/BGirl Arena” showcased 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and 5-on-5 battles.

World of Dance Tour 2010 - Hawaii Winners

» First Place: Hype 5-0

» Second Place: 24/7 Danceforce

» Third Place: Knetx Studio 808

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SURFER Poll Awards make Hawaii debut

December 7th, 2010

Photo by FL Morris /

Andy Irons' brother and professional surfer Bruce Irons, middle, poses for a picture with Mia Irons and fellow pro Sunny Garcia. Andy Irons was mentioned repeatedly by winners throughout the night; he also placed sixth in the annual poll, voted on by readers of Surfer Magazine. Click here for more pictures.

BY DANIEL IKAIKA ITO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

The Surfer Poll Awards is the one excuse on the North Shore — besides a wedding or funeral — to wear that custom suit you bought in Bali.

Or, for young female pro surfers to attempt wearing high heels.

The international surf community converged on Turtle Bay Resort for the 40th annual Surfer Poll Awards on Monday. Surfer Magazine conducts the annual poll, allowing the general public to vote for their favorite wave riders and surf movies. The awards banquet is the biggest and brightest night in the sport, honoring athletes and films that have made an impact on the global surf consciousness during the past year.

Professional surfer Fred Patacchia and ESPN’s Sal Masekela hosted the show, which was broadcast live online.

The best speeches of the night were from those who didn’t win — Dane “I Cussed Numerous Times On Stage” Reynolds and Carissa “I’m Only 18, But I’m Probably More Mature Than You” Moore. The 2010 World Champions, Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore, were both voted into the number one positions among the top 10 male surfers and top 5 female surfers of 2010, respectively.

“It’s really exciting to have the Surfer Poll Awards at home this year,” said Moore from the red carpet shortly after her arrival. “I was kind of skeptical because we had it at the theater in Los Angeles and that was super sick, but I’m stoked that it’s at Turtle Bay and it’s turing out pretty sick so far.”

This was the first time the Surfer Poll awards were held in Hawaii, the birthplace of surfing. It was a grand production, running the length of a hallway and out into a spacious outdoor cocktail area in addition to the ballroom the awards were presented in.

As with any show of this size, there are always technical difficulties.

“It was like being towed into a closeout,” said North Shore big wave surfer and red carpet co-host Mark Healey about headset battery malfunctions throughout the webcast. Despite the minor glitches, Healey was perhaps the best-dressed dude in the house, sporting a salmon-collared, tailored suit and custom snakeskin loafers from Bali.

After everything had wrapped up Monday night, Slater echoed the same sentiment as Moore about the venue change — especially with the surfing community still mourning the death of three-time ASP World Champ Andy Irons.

“It was cool,” Slater said. “It was a little bit mellower. Anaheim gets a little bit out of control and you get a different crowd there.

"It’s obviously a bittersweet time and the night was really about Andy, so I think (that) kept everyone really focused."

Photo by Jason Genegabus /

THE AWARDS ceremony was the first time in a decade that Irons, who died last month, was not in attendance.

But whether it was his brother, Bruce, accepting Irons’ sixth place Surfer Poll award, or 10-time ASP World Champ Slater accepting his first place Surfer Poll award and telling a story about Andy surfing against Layne Beachley, A.I. was the man of the evening. He won the award for Best Barrel with his ride in “High-5” and even helped present another, thanks to pre-recorded video filmed before his death.

“I think his presence will always be felt here in Hawaii,” said Fred Patacchia about Irons. “Like (Kai “Borg” Garcia) said in a tribute video aired during the awards, ‘It’s like he’s still here.’

“It’s like any minute now he’s going to walk through those doors and be like, ‘What’s up, suckas? Why are you looking so bummed for?”

Courtesy photo

2010 Surfer Poll Winners:

Heavy Water Award: Jamie O'Brien ("Who is J.O.B.")

Best Cinematography Award: Taylor Steele ("Castles in the Sky")

Worst Wipeout Award: Derek Dunfee ("Down with the Ship")

Best Maneuver Award: Jordy Smith ("Modern Collective")

Best Performance Award: Jamie O'Brien ("Who is J.O.B.")

Digital Short of the Year Award: Allan Wilson and Mickey Smith, "Dark Side of the Lens"

Breakthrough Performance Award: Craig Anderson

Best Barrel: Andy Irons ("High-5")

Agent of Change Award: Mauli Ola Foundation

Best Documentary Award: "Sea of Darkness"

Movie of the Year: "Modern Collective," directed by Kai Neville (pictured above)

Courtesy photo

Top 10 Male Surfers

1. Kelly Slater (pictured above) - “I don’t think you come up here and not have your heart pounding out of your chest. I don’t care how many times you’ve won this and stood in front of this microphone.”

2. Dane Reynolds - “Two is pretty high. It’s really funny to be accepting award like this in Hawaii. I surfed V-Land today and felt like a grom. I was on the bottom of the pecking order, fighting with 12-year old kids for waves. I barely surf Pipe other than my heats because I don’t really get waves. It makes sense winning awards like this at Trestles because I do airs and stuff, but it’s super funny winning one like this in Hawaii.”

3. Jordy Smith - “Thank you to my family and everybody here tonight.”

4. Mick Fanning - “I’d like to thank the ocean and Hawaiians, for giving us a reason to go surfing.”

5. Taj Burrow - “I just want to say Surfer Poll is one of my most favorite nights because of all those video clips.”

6. Andy Irons (Accepted by his brother, Bruce Irons) - "My brother loved surfing more than anybody I know. I know it's hard, but ... he'd want everyone to have a good time and enjoy tonight. I want to thank you all."

7. Rob Machado - “Wow. Much props to Surfer Magazine. It’s really special to be here in Hawaii, the birthplace (of) surfing. It’s an honor to be in this group of people.”

8. Joel Parkinson - "I spent most of the year sitting on the couch, so I’m ... stoked to be back up here this year.”

9. Julian Wilson - “I’m truly honored to accept this trophy. I came to Hawaii and I had a stellar year.”

10. Owen Wright - “Thanks for 10th place. It’s probably the lowest placing I’ve ever had, (but) it’s definitely a big honor anyway.”

Courtesy photo

Top 5 Female Surfers:

1. Stephanie Gilmore (pictured above) - “Kelly, you had an amazing year, but this one is for Andy.”

2. Carissa Moore - "This year was a big year for me. I graduated high school, I turned 18, and I got my driver's license!"

3. Coco Ho - "Surfer Poll is finally here in Hawaii, and I hope my dad made it from the bar to listen to me."

4. Sofia Mulanovich - “Everyone here is amazing.”

5. Alana Blanchard - “Hi, everyone. Thanks ... for voting.”

City addresses Pipeline crowd issue

December 3rd, 2010


The City and County of Honolulu and Honolulu Fire Department have responded to Star-Advertiser requests for more details about a developing situation at Pipeline Cafe.

As previously reported on The Pulse, the Kakaako nightclub has been forced to adjust its entertainment calendar after the city reduced the club's occupancy to fewer than 300 people late last month.

The venue changes are a result of building permit and fire sprinkler issues at Pipeline, according to owner Greg Azus. A first-floor addition lacked the proper permit when it was built in 2003, and the club does not have a functional automatic fire sprinkler system. The violations have barred the club from using the addition and a second-floor lounge, bringing the club’s legal capacity from 951 to 299 occupants.


Pipeline parties move

December 2nd, 2010



At least three events at Pipeline Cafe have been relocated after construction issues forced the Kakaako nightclub to reduce its occupancy to fewer than 300 people.

Both the Volcom Stone 4th annual "Volcanic Rock Out Tour" featuring Big Island rockers Pepper and "Digital Paradise 3D" have moved to other venues, according to promoters for both events. The two parties were originally supposed to take place at Pipeline on Dec. 10, but will now happen at the Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace and Chinatown's SoHo Mixed Media Bar, respectively.

A third event — a Dec. 11 concert by Passion Pit — has also been moved, according to promoter BAMP Project. That show will now take place on Dec. 12 at the Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace, with all tickets previously issued to be honored at the new venue. Those who bought tickets for the three events and are now unable to attend are encouraged to contact the point of purchase for refund information.


2010 Mai Tai Rumble finals

December 1st, 2010

Photos by Jason Genegabus /

Paul Izak, right, and the rest of Pressure Drop thank the crowd after winning the "Island/Reggae" category in the 2010 Mai Tai Rumble on Tuesday.


Mililani's T.T.Y.M. (Talk to You Music) and Kailua's Pressure Drop took home top honors and a share of $30,000 in cash and prizes during the 2010 Mai Tai Rumble finals on Tuesday.

T.T.Y.M. won the "Open Mic" category of the annual competition, now in its 10th year at the popular Ala Moana Center bar. Led by brothers Jeff James (vocals/guitar) and Jerome James (percussion), the band traces its roots back to Mililani High School and the Chuck James Music Studio.

Like T.T.Y.M., the members of Pressure Drop also met while attending Kalaheo High School. For the last five years, they've steadily built a following on the windward side of Oahu by playing house parties, graduation celebrations and other underground venues. With their win in the Mai Tai Rumble's "Island/Reggae" category, vocalist Paul Izak said the band hopes to expose even more people to their style of music.

"Honestly, I just feel so blessed that so many of our friends and family have supported our music, and to see that love totally uplifts us on stage," he said on Tuesday while receiving multiple congratulations outside the bar. "All that hard work we've been doing, as far as trying to get our positive messages across … it's all coming from our heart, so it's good to see people enjoying it.

"We're trying to represent the vibe that we feel in Kailua, which is pure love."

T.T.Y.M. celebrates their Mai Tai Rumble win with friends and family outside the Mai Tai Bar.

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