Archive for May, 2012

Riding in a Rolls-Royce

By
May 31st, 2012



<em>Albatross Transport chief operations officer Phil Deprez puts a shine on his favorite car to drive in the company's fleet - a 2012 Rolls Royce Ghost. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)</em>

Albatross Transport chief operations officer Phil Deprez puts a shine on his favorite car to drive in the company's fleet - a 2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)

It's one thing to show up at a special event in a stretch limousine, whether it's a traditional Lincoln Town Car or one of those fancy Hummers or Ford Super Duty trucks.

Making a first impression by stepping out of a 2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost EWB (extended wheelbase) is an entirely different matter altogether, however.

Starting last November, Oahu-based Albatross Transport began offering rides in that vehicle along with a supercharged 2011 Jaguar XJL and 2011 BMW X3 xDrive35i. But it's the Rolls-Royce that makes the company's private car service unique, since they own the only one currently in Hawaii.

<em>Albatross Transport's 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost EWB (extended wheelbase). (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)</em>

Albatross Transport's 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost EWB (extended wheelbase). (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)

"There's a lot of staring, especially in Waikiki," said Albatross Transport chief operating officer Phil Deprez of the reaction people have to seeing the Ghost in person. "People take pictures. Sometimes it gets a little crazy."

For Deprez, a Florida native who moved to Hawaii four years ago, the adventure never ends — regardless of which car in the fleet he's driving. The people he's met since the business launched in November have been interesting to work with, he said, and the constant change that comes with the job means a new adventure is always just around the corner.

"When (the owner of Albatross Transport) offered me a job out here, I was like, 'Why not?' Getting to drive a Rolls-Royce is incredible," he said.

<em>Deprez behind the wheel of the Rolls-Royce. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)</em>

Deprez behind the wheel of the Rolls-Royce. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)

IT'S ALSO pretty incredible getting to ride in a Rolls-Royce. Deprez picked us up at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newsroom last week for a quick trip through Waikiki and Kahala, donning white gloves while opening our door and taking the time to point out some of the more extravagant features of the car.

Besides the obvious new car smell that still lingers inside the passenger compartment, the Ghost's extended wheelbase meant there was plenty of leg room for my six-foot frame. Adjusting the seat was easy, thanks to the power adjustment controls at my fingertips, and I almost took Deprez's advice to take off my shoes and run my toes through the lamb's wool floor mats beneath my feet.

While we didn't partake this time around, Deprez also mentioned some of the amenities offered to customers, including complimentary use of an iPad 2 and Wi-Fi access during travel. Beverage and floral services can also be arranged in advance.

<em>One of the more impressive options available on the Rolls-Royce Ghost — in case of rain, umbrellas are built into the driver and passenger doors. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)</em>

One of the more impressive options available on the Rolls-Royce Ghost — in case of rain, umbrellas are built into the driver and passenger doors. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)

As we rolled down Ala Moana Boulevard, I could see a few people sneaking looks at us. Most were guys who apparently recognized how rare it is to see a $250,000 automobile on the streets of Honolulu, but I also noticed a trio of female Japanese tourists who were obviously impressed when we passed by.

Once we got to Kahala, however, there was a slight shift in attitude. Pulling up to a neighborhood park to get a look at the other vehicles in the Albatross stable, an older gentleman sat in a folding chair and gave us a single, dismissive look as we got out of the Rolls-Royce right in front of him. Maybe he had a Phantom at home?

At $600 per hour (two-hour minimum reservation required), it's a good bet that I'll never see the inside of that Ghost again. And while the Jaguar ($150 per hour) and the BMW ($120 per hour) are more affordable, it's still quite an expensive proposition to have Albatross pick you up for dinner and a night on the town. Special packages are available, however, and custom reservations are also offered, so don't get discouraged without giving them a call and seeing what kind of deal can be worked out.

<em>Albatross Transport also offers a supercharged 2011 Jaguar XJL. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)</em>

Albatross Transport also offers a supercharged 2011 Jaguar XJL. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)

<em>Albatross Transport's 2011 BMW X3. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)</em>

Albatross Transport's 2011 BMW X3. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)

Still, what can you expect for such a high-end luxury travel experience? While international tourists have provided the bulk of the business for Albatross so far, Deprez said he's gotten a few calls from local residents looking to book the Rolls-Royce for weddings.

For more information about Albatross Transport and the services they provide, visit www.albatrosstransport.com or call 921-8000.

———

Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

Posted in Latest News, SA | Comments Off on Riding in a Rolls-Royce

Apartment3 to close May 27

By
May 26th, 2012



<em>Century Center restaurant and lounge Apartment3 will close its doors Sunday, May 27, after nearly three years in business. (Star-Advertiser File)</em>

Century Center restaurant and lounge Apartment3 will close its doors Sunday, May 27, after nearly three years in business. (Star-Advertiser File)

Note: This post has been updated. Please see below.

Century Center restaurant and lounge Apartment3 will close its doors on Sunday, May 27, after nearly three years in business, according to an announcement made yesterday via social media.

"It is with a heavy heart that we announce that this will be our last week in business due to circumstances beyond our control," read an update that was posted to Apartment3's Facebook and Twitter accounts. "This Sunday will be our last day."

<em>Apartment3 co-owner Chip Jewitt. (Star-Advertiser File)</em>

Apartment3 co-owner Chip Jewitt. (Star-Advertiser File)

Apartment3 opened for business in July 2009 after owner Chip Jewitt agreed to partner with local promoters Flash Hansen and Matty Hazelgrove and redesign his year-old Aria Restaurant and Lounge. The new space was called Apartm3nt at first, but the name was changed after some expressed confusion about how to pronounce it.

Despite solid reviews and a faithful customer following due to its owners' deep roots in the bar and nightclub industries, issues arose between the restaurant and the Century Center Association of Apartment Owners — the biggest of which were noise and parking complaints from other residents in the building.

"Our location, it's just tough (to do business there)," said Apartment3 co-owner Flash Hansen. "We thought we were able to turn a negative into a positive. I think most people didn't expect us to have the amount of success we had.

"The real issue was the noise. We're a legitimate business, conducting ourselves in a legal matter. But it got to the point where we were getting noise complaints after we were closed because our vacuums were too loud."

According to documents filed with the Hawaii State Judiciary, the Century Center AOAO sought summary possession of the restaurant in December 2011. A trial was set to resolve the case, but both parties were back in court May 3 to announce they had reached a settlement — one that apparently includes closing Apartment3.

<em>Apartment3 co-owners Flash Hansen, left, and Matty Hazelgrove. (Star-Advertiser File)</em>

Apartment3 co-owners Flash Hansen, left, and Matty Hazelgrove. (Star-Advertiser File)

Hansen said he would not discuss the agreement. The Century Center AOAO did not return a request for comment.

"We've been going back and forth for a while," said Hansen. "I'll just leave it at that."

Fans of Apartment3 have five more nights to party, starting with a performance by The Bentos tonight. "Munch," the restaurant's monthly pop-up dinner, will take place for the final time tomorrow, May 24, followed by the last "Champagne Campaign" party.

Friday's "Pussycat Lounge" and Saturday's "Supper Club" will take place as usual, with DJs Byron the Fur and White Chocolate on the turntables. Sunday, May 27, will be all about saying goodbye, Hansen said, making sure to note how thankful he is for the support of Apartment3's approximately two dozen employees.

"What blew me away was that the whole staff was worried about us as opposed to worrying about themselves," he said. "That put a lump in my throat.

"But our main concern is the staff. These people bend over backwards and bust their (butts) for us. Chip and I have already started doing what we can do to help them find other work."

Update:

After a shorter version of this post was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Friday, May 25, Century Center Association of Apartment Owners vice-president (and former president) Ian Lind responded via a blog post of his own.

Although he, nor anyone else from the Century Center AOAO, responded to a request for comment last week, the post provided some additional insight.

According to Lind, the court case mentioned above was filed on behalf of the Century Center's landlord, Century Center Condominium, and was based upon "a large amount of money owed for back rent, utilities, parking fees, and other expenses."

As for the noise issues mentioned by Apartment3 co-owner Flash Hansen, Lind responded they were "raised by lawyers for Apartment3 in a counter claim against Century Center, but the judge ruled against them and threw those claims out," and that the original lawsuit "was then settled with a stipulated judgement against Apartment3."

Lind also said Apartment3 will likely end up owing the Century Center around $100,000 once all litigation is complete. Lawyers for the two groups are expected back in court next month.

———

Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

More summer shows announced

By
May 15th, 2012



<em>The Gym Class Heroes will headline a concert at The Republik on Aug. 24. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 18. (Courtesy photo)</em>

The Gym Class Heroes will headline a concert at The Republik on Aug. 24. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 18. (Courtesy photo)

A number of local promoters are gearing up for the summer concert season, as evidenced by a flurry of show announcements this week.

First up is comedian Mike Epps' return to Hawaii for shows at the Blaisdell Concert Hall on June 29 and the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on June 30. Both performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and are being promoted by Tom Moffatt.

<em>Mike Epps returns to Hawaii in June for two performances on Oahu and Maui. (Courtesy photo)</em>

Mike Epps returns to Hawaii in June for two performances on Oahu and Maui. (Courtesy photo)

Tickets for the Oahu show are $45, $55 and $65, and will go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 19, at the Blaisdell Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.ticketmaster.com. The Maui date adds an additional $25 ticket option, with tickets available to the public by phone at 808-242-7469 and online at www.mauiarts.org starting Saturday, May 26.

As Epps makes his way from Oahu to Maui, rapper DMX will arrive on Oahu the same weekend for his Hawaii concert debut on June 30 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Mainland-based promoters appear to be working with local radio station Power 104.3 to execute this event, with tickets going on sale to the public on Saturday, May 19, at www.ticketmaster.com.

The next big weekend to mark on your calendar is Friday, Aug. 24, and Saturday, Aug. 25, as the Gym Class Heroes and Musiq Soulchild fly into town for a pair of shows.

The Gym Class Heroes will headline at The Republik, BAMP Project's new event venue located in the former O Lounge space on Kapiolani Blvd. that is set to open next month. The group continues to ride a wave of success from their monster 2011 hit, "Stereo Hearts," which has sold more than 3,000,000 copies since its release.

Tickets for the Friday, Aug. 24 concert go on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. Friday, May 18 (fan club members can purchase pre-sale tickets now), priced at $31 general admission and $65 VIP (plus fees; prices go up $5 on the day of show). Tickets are available at all Local Motion stores, the UH-Manoa Campus Center, all military ITT and MWR offices, or online at www.groovetickets.com or www.bampproject.com.

On Saturday, Aug. 25, DIGS Hawaii, Architechs Hawaii and Tantriq Entertainment present "Soul Sessions, Volume 2: Laugh Now, Cry Later" with sets by R&B crooner Musiq Soulchild and stand-up comedian Donnell Rawlings. Tickets will go on sale Friday, May 25, at the Blaisdell Box Office and online at www.ticketmaster.com, although prices have yet to be announced.

———

Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

Related Video:

Aiona ready for ‘Food Network Star’

By
May 12th, 2012



<em>Philip "Ippy" Aiona in action during the taping of "Food Network Star." The new season premieres tomorrow, May 13, on Food Network. (Courtesy Food Network)</em>

Philip "Ippy" Aiona in action during the taping of "Food Network Star." The new season premieres tomorrow, May 13, on Food Network. (Courtesy Food Network)

When Philip “Ippy” Aiona makes his debut on "Food Network Star" tomorrow night, viewers should have no problem figuring out where he's from or what he stands for.

"The whole show, I was very into promoting Hawaii," the 23-year-old Hawaii Prepatory Academy and Le Cordon Bleu graduate said by phone from Hawaii island earlier this month. "That was my whole angle, showcasing Hawaii and taking people on a voyage to paradise.

"Everybody's there for the same reason, to cook. Still, I think I have a good chance. I'm going to surprise a lot of people. … On the first episode, I said I wasn't there to win. I want to make my family and my state proud, and I'll be content."

'Food Network Star'

Premieres Sunday, May 13

Airs at 6 p.m. Sundays on Food Network

The Finalists

» Philip "Ippy" Aiona (Kamuela, HI)

» Judson Allen (Chicago, IL)

» Martie Duncan (Birmingham, AL)

» Emily Ellyn (Orlando, FL)

» Martita Jara (San Diego, CA)

» Eric Lee (Petaluma, CA)

» Yvan Lemoine (Maspeth, NY)

» Josh Lyons (Jupiter, FL)

» Linkie Marais (North Attleborough, MA)

» Nikki Martin (West Hollywood, CA)

» Malcolm Mitchell (Washington, DC)

» Michele Ragussis (Brooklyn, NY)

» Cristie Schoen (New Orleans, LA)

» Kara Sigle (Chicago, IL)

» Justin Warner (Brooklyn, NY)

Now in its eighth season, "Food Network Star" got its start on the cable network in 2005 and was responsible for discovering "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" host Guy Fieri in its second season. Led by coaches Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, 15 finalists are split into three teams — a new format introduced this season — with one winner selected to host his or her own cooking show on Food Network.

The prospect of sharing his cooking skills on camera is something that goes back to Aiona's small kid time in Kamuela, where his father ran the now-closed Kamuela Deli.

"I made a series of cooking videos when I was in the third grade," he admitted. "They were called 'The Little Italian.' … I would put on my apron and tie it up to my belly, I would have the towel over my shoulder and I'd be cooking."

Aiona, who said his biggest culinary hero back then was Emeril Lagasse, ended up including some of that footage in his application to the Food Network. While being on television "wasn't necessarily a goal," he said the videos he made were an early sign of how passionate he was about cooking. After watching "Food Network Star" at home the last few years, he was encouraged by a friend to finally give it a try himself.

"I knew I could do it," said Aiona. "I wanted to show people the … idea of Hawaiian food isn't just luau stuff. It is traditional Hawaiian food, but (outsiders) don't understand the plate lunch and other local foods.

"On the show, I said I had a style of cooking that I call 'Euro-Pacific,' taking traditional European techniques and including Pacific ingredients, like pasta with furikake and a pink miso sauce made with tomatoes, miso and sake. I did a lot of fusion up there."

<em>Philip "Ippy" Aiona, foreground, and the rest of Team Giada. (Courtesy Food Network)</em>

Philip "Ippy" Aiona, foreground, and the rest of Team Giada. (Courtesy Food Network)

WITH A PORTION of the season's filming already completed (Aiona will return to the mainland to participate in the show's live finale later this summer), some details about the show can be revealed.

Aiona was picked to be on the team coached by De Laurentiis, who shares his Italian background. He didn't know if she was aware of his current role as executive chef at Solimene's, his mother's Italian restaurant in Waimea, when casting was completed, but he's happy with who ended up choosing him.

"I'm very happy to be on her team," Aiona said. "They got the opportunity to hand-pick five people for their team, and she picked me. … She's tough, man. She's not what I expected, but it was a lot better than I expected.

"(De Laurentiis) looks really dainty, but when she wants to get something done, she gets it done. She'd go to bat for me all the time. She's great."

Aiona also makes his presence felt in the very first episode.

"I'm one of the youngest to ever be on the show, and obviously the first ever from Hawaii," he said. "But I've been doing this my whole life. For some of the others, cooking wasn't their first job. I was born into this, so it's all I know. I've been working in a kitchen my whole life. I've always been trying to master this."

The two-hour season premiere of "Food Network Star" will air on Food Network at 6 p.m. tomorrow, May 13, following a 30-minute casting special tonight at 6 p.m.

———

Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

Related Video:

Tickets for final ‘Birthday Bash’ on sale

By
May 10th, 2012



Kapena performs at the Waikiki Shell during the 2011 "Birthday Bash." (Star-Advertiser File)

Kapena performs at the Waikiki Shell during the 2011 "Birthday Bash." (Star-Advertiser File)

After more than two decades of birthday parties at the Waikiki Shell, local radio station KCCN-FM announced this year's 22nd annual "KCCN FM-100 Birthday Bash" will be the last.

Tickets for the July 28 concert go on sale Saturday, May 12, at the Blaisdell Box Office, with the first 1,000 terrace seats available for just $19 (regular price $29) and lawn seats on sale for $38. VIP packages will also be available.

According to KCCN program director Wayne Maria, the decision to say goodbye to the annual summertime event was part of a "restructuring" at the station. Longtime "Bash" co-producer Events International informed KCCN earlier this year that they wouldn't be available to work on the concert, but the station still wanted to host a proper sendoff for longtime fans. Promoter Ray Ho, Jr. has since agreed to help produce this year's final show.

"It's bittersweet," admitted KCCN promotions director Shannon Scott. "I went to the first 'Birthday Bash,' and then I've been a part of it since the fourth one.

"It's exciting to see what we got in store, but it's still hard."

Island music fans enjoy the music at the Waikiki Shell during the 2011 "Birthday Bash." (Star-Advertiser File)

Island music fans enjoy the music at the Waikiki Shell during the 2011 "Birthday Bash." (Star-Advertiser File)

Ever since the first "Bash" in 1990, the concert has been the must-attend event of the summer for island music and reggae fans. After selling out year after year, the station decided in 2000 to expand the party to two nights at the Waikiki Shell, with different lineups each night to appeal to both younger and older fans.

This year, however, there will be only one show. And even though tickets go on sale this weekend, the concert's lineup won't be announced until June 4. Both Maria and Scott said they wouldn't be surprised if the final "Bash" sells out before the station even gets a chance to share that info with fans.

"I think this is going to be THE concert of the summer," said Maria. "Everyone will be asking if you went to the very last 'Birthday Bash.' You don't want to be that guy who didn't go."

While he wouldn't disclose details, Maria promised the station would continue to host concerts — both during the summer and throughout the rest of the year — and that the decision to bid aloha to the "Bash" wouldn't diminish KCCN's presence in the local music scene.

"Yes, it's the last 'Birthday Bash,'" he said. "But does that mean KCCN will stop hosting concerts? No."

———

Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

Posted in Events, Latest News, SA | Comments Off on Tickets for final ‘Birthday Bash’ on sale

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories