Archive for July, 2013

Hype heads home

By
July 25th, 2013



Hawaii-based dance crew Hype, right, wait to find out their fate on the first elimination show of the season for "America's Got Talent" on Wednesday, July 24. (Courtesy NBC)

Hawaii-based dance crew Hype, right, wait to find out their fate on the first elimination show of the season for "America's Got Talent" on Wednesday, July 24. (Courtesy NBC)

Wednesday, July 24, marked the end of the road for one Hawaii-based act on NBC's "America's Got Talent." Josh Ulep, Mikey Ruiz and AJ Pak, who competed on the show as Hype (Ulep has roots in Waipahu-based Hypersquad and co-founded the Academy of Hype), were among the eight acts featured last week who failed to advance.

Of the dozen performances featured in the first "Elimination Show," only four — gymnast duo the KriStef Brothers, teen magician Collins Key and singers Brandon James and Anna Christine — were selected to move on to the semifinal rounds at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Of the four, three were supposed to have been selected by public vote, but a tie amongst the judges to decide the fourth and final spot meant the public's vote would be used again as a tie-breaker.

All that drama took place after Hype got the bad news, however. They were among the first six acts named when it came time for host Nick Cannon to announce who was moving on — and all six got cut.

Hype performs on stage at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday, July 23. (Courtesy NBC)

Hype performs on stage at Radio City Music Hall on Tuesday, July 23. (Courtesy NBC)

"They started off good … and then it went flat," remarked Heidi Klum. Fellow judges Howard Stern, Mel B and Howie Mandel seemed to share her sentiment.

"From here, I just think this stage swallowed you up," Mandel told the three young men. "But you're great. We love you."

Hype's departure leaves just one person from Hawaii left with a chance at $1,000,000 and a headlining gig in Las Vegas. Two-time "America's Got Talent" competitor Ciana Pelekai was announced as one of the performers on next week's elimination show, which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, on KHNL in Hawaii.

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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.

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Call him a 'Soul Shooter'

By
July 19th, 2013



The Haleiwa Bridge at night. (Courtesy Mike Krzywonski)

The Haleiwa Bridge at night. (Courtesy Mike Krzywonski)

Photographers can be just like surfers sometimes.

There's the brash, in-your-face type, out for glory and starved for attention. Most shooters, on the other hand, are folks who love what they do and take the time to work hard and continue to improve their skills.

2013 Hale'iwa Arts Festival

» Where: Hale'iwa Beach Park

» When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21

» Cost: Free

» Info: haleiwaartsfestival.com

Saturday, July 20

» 10 a.m.: Celtic Pipes & Drums of Hawaii

» 11 a.m.: Josh Sharp

» Noon: Jungle Rocket

» 1 p.m.: Kalei Gamiao & Friends

» 2 p.m.: Fya Tree

» 3 p.m.: Discord and Rye

» 4 p.m.: Na Wahine O ka Hula Mai ka Pu'uwai

» 5 p.m.: North Shore Ramblers

Sunday, July 21

» 10 a.m.: Johnny Helm

» 11 a.m.: Random Weirdos

» Noon: Paradise X's

» 1 p.m.: Band of The Pacific-Hawaii, Papana

» 2 p.m.: Nick Andrade

» 3 p.m.: Castle H.S. Performing Arts Center & Castle Dance Force

» 4 p.m.: Alika Bajo

But there's also the cerebral, soulful type; someone who not only respects and excels at the technical aspects of their chosen profession, but is also cognizant of the artistic side of things. Instead of chasing the money, sometimes they'd rather explore the creative possibilities available to them.

After a brief chat with North Shore-based photographer Mike Krzywonski, it appears he's that third type. Call him a Soul Shooter. He's one of approximately 130 juried visual artists scheduled to participate in the 16th annual Hale'iwa Arts Festival on Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, at Hale'iwa Beach Park in historic Hale'iwa Town.

Krzywonski, 41, moved to Hawaii from Texas after high school, following in an older sister's footsteps and hungry to hit Oahu's famous North Shore surf lineups.

"I visited twice (before moving)," he said. "After the first visit, I pretty much knew I wanted to be here."

Photography started out as a hobby for Krzywonski in the 1990's, but he slowly began to take it more seriously, even traveling to other states in search of locations to explore his artistic abilities.

"I've been taking photos of storms and severe weather for about 13 years," he explained. "I've photographed lighting storms in Florida and Arizona, and ever since 2007 I've gone every year to the midwest to chase storms.

"The thing that appeals to me, obviously from a photography perspective, is the storms are very photogenic. The storms produce jaw-dropping storm structure. When you get some colors from the sunsets in there, it's surreal. In addition to that, I really enjoy the power. The culmination of the beauty and the power of the storms is what really does it for me. … Tornado Alley gets the most destructive tornadoes in the world."

A 2010 tornado in Colorado. (Courtesy Mike Krzywonski)

A 2010 tornado in Colorado. (Courtesy Mike Krzywonski)

In all, Krzywonski has chased storms in 17 states during his trips to the mainland. With each passing storm season, he gains valuable experience on how to get the shots he needs while maintaining a level of safety necessary to keep his family happy.

"Storm chasing is dangerous, but there are also a lot of misconceptions," he said. "People think you just drive blindly into a storm, and that's not the case. If you have the experience and the tools, you can avoid the most dangerous parts of the storm. You always want to stay one step ahead of the game."

And while getting almost too close to a dangerous storm makes for more exciting video footage, it's not necessarily the best choice for a still shooter.

"You tend to get better photos when you're at a greater distance," said Krzywonski. "If you're super close to a storm or a tornado, you don't get the full structure or view of the storm. So closer is not always better."

When he's at home in Hawaii, surf and nature photography comes easy for Krzywonski, who also enjoys taking his camera out after dark to explore Oahu.

"I like reflections on the water at night," he said. "Whether it's the city lights or moonlight … I'll experiment with sunrises and sunsets, prolonged exposures. All kinds of things."

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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 and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Locals follow 'Talent' to NYC

By
July 18th, 2013



Hawaii-based Hype performs on "America's Got Talent" in an episode that aired Tuesday, July 16. (Courtesy NBC)

Hawaii-based Hype performs on "America's Got Talent" in an episode that aired Tuesday, July 16. (Courtesy NBC)

Hawaii dance crew Hype and pre-teen singer Ciana Pelekai were among 60 acts selected to advance in the current season of "America's Got Talent" on NBC.

While 30 finalists were selected outright in the first of two episodes that aired on Tuesday, July 17, and Wednesday, July 18, both Hype and Pelekai were informed they would need to re-audition in front of judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Melanie Brown and Howie Mandel.

Ciana Pelekai, 12, performs during an episode of "America's Got Talent" that aired on Wednesday, July 17. (Courtesy NBC)

Ciana Pelekai, 12, performs during an episode of "America's Got Talent" that aired on Wednesday, July 17. (Courtesy NBC)

"We have some really hard decisions to make," said Stern at the start of Tuesday's episode. As it turned out, he was the only one who had a hard time picking Hype to move on.

Rocking red pants, white shirts and black suspenders, Hype's Josh Ulep (aka Hazmat from Academy of Hype and Hypersquad), Mikey Ruiz and AJ Pak (aka Headache), impressed nearly all the judges with a performance to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Only Stern had doubts, saying he thought the trio were "not anywhere as good as (the) last time" they performed.

Even though Hype fared well, Pelekai did even better. Four years after her last appearance on "America's Got Talent," the Aiea Intermediate School student was easily the front-runner in the show's child entertainers category.

"She made me rethink everybody else," Stern said after her performance of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind."

"She just made it a little tougher now," Mandell replied.

"She did," said Stern.

Next week, "America's Got Talent" will move into the live audience phase of competition, with the finalists performing in front of a crowd at Radio City Music Hall and the general public deciding which acts move on in the competition.

Hype was announced as one of the acts that will perform during the Tuesday, July 23, episode; no word yet as to when Pelekai will perform again.

———

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 and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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