Archive for January, 2016

More thoughts on UB40

By
January 29th, 2016



KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISERUB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue on stage at Blaisdell Arena on Thursday. The band returns for a second sold-out show tonight.

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue on stage at Blaisdell Arena on Thursday. The band returns for a second sold-out show tonight.

UB40 fans lucky enough to hold tickets for tonight’s sold-out Honolulu concert at Blaisdell Arena are definitely in for a treat, as UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue delivered an entertaining two-hour set on Thursday and will undoubtedly do the same again this evening.

Here are a few more thoughts on the show that didn’t make it into my review, which can be found here.

IS THAT UNCLE BARRY?

If I were drinking something when UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue first hit the stage, I would have done a spit-take worthy of viral video glory.

Even though I had my glasses on and was sitting just a few rows away from the stage, I truly had a hard time believing it wasn’t President Barack Obama on keys after faking out the world and extending his annual holiday vacation so he could give Virtue a break. And this was before the smoke with the funky smell started to waft above the crowd, so I knew a contact high was out of the question!

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

Whenever I found myself losing focus on some of the more obscure songs performed on Thursday, I fixed my gaze on the Uncle Barry lookalike and cracked up. Maybe I’m easily entertained, but I got a kick out of it the entire show.

SUPPORT LOCAL

Kudos to concert promoters Ray Jr. and Tantriq Entertainment for giving local bands a shot at opening for such a legendary band. In order to cut costs, promoters based on the continent often skip on hiring an opening act, opting for just the featured artist — or even worse, letting the artist handle the job and suffering through a family member who was suddenly appointed tour DJ for the trip.

Sure, UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue and/or their management probably had to sign off on the bands, but Ray Jr. and Tantriq were smart in presenting local rising reggae stars The Vitals (pictured below) as an option for Thursday’s show. They represented the 50th State well and got the Blaisdell crowd more pumped than they would have been listening to a playlist off the audio engineer’s iPod plugged into the sound board.

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

Going tonight? Try to get there when things start at 8 p.m. so you can catch perennial local favorite Kapena opening things up.

PUT YOUR HANDS DOWN

It used to be a good thing when everyone at a show would have their hands up as the band played. Not anymore.

JASON GENEGABUS / JASON@STARADVERTISER.COM

JASON GENEGABUS / JASON@STARADVERTISER.COM

In 2016, most of those hands are holding a smartphone and blocking the view of people behind them — and more often than not, it’s for the entire performance. It’s getting harder and harder to enjoy a concert when you’re forced to constantly avoid glowing phone screens being waved around on all sides.

Sure, maybe I’m being a little hypocritical. When I cover a concert, I bring two iPhones with me to create content for social media, along with a separate point-and-shoot camera and other equipment. But I’m working! Whenever I spend my own money to see a band play, I might take a picture or two, but then I'll put my phone away and focus on what's happening in real life right in front of me.

What gets me is that people will pay good money for tickets to a show... and then spend the whole time experiencing it through a phone screen. If you’re going to do that, why not buy a concert Blu-Ray or DVD and stay home instead?

Just. Put. It. Down.

———

Jason Genegabus 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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Fluffy inks ABC pilot deal

By
January 15th, 2016



KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER Gabriel Iglesias, aka Fluffy, on stage at the Hawaii Theatre on Thursday.

KAT WADE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

Gabriel Iglesias, aka Fluffy, on stage at the Hawaii Theatre on Thursday.

As stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias neared the end of his 93-minute set at the historic Hawaii Theatre on Thursday, he allowed himself to slip out of Fluffy mode for a bit in order to share a few juicy bits of news with fans — as well as at least one Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter in the room.

Nestled between a funny story about the increasing automation of bathrooms and two classic jokes involving a police encounter after picking up a box of fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts and his adventures driving a souped-up Volkswagen Beetle, Iglesias let it slip that he has a deal to film a sitcom pilot for ABC based on his life when he’s not on tour.

“The Fluffy Shop” will be based on his real life, Iglesias said, because he didn’t feel comfortable playing the role of someone else on television. He wanted fans to see him as himself.

Iglesias also mentioned a number of animated projects he’s part of that are in various stages of development. “Norm of the North,” which opens today in theaters, pairs his voice with a polar bear. He’s also set to appear in an upcoming follow-up to 2014’s “The Nut Job,” and he’s signed to work on a remake of the classic Disney cartoon “Ferdinand the Bull.”

Despite performing in front of a nearly sold-out Hawaii Theatre crowd, this week’s show “wasn’t supposed to happen,” Iglesias said.

Thursday’s four opening comics — Martin Moreno, G Reilly, Alfred Robles and Rick Gutierrez — are all in town this week shooting scenes with Iglesias for the second season of his Fuse TV show, “Fluffy Breaks Even.” Expect to see Fluffy and friends eating at Koko Head Cafe and taking part in a mud run at Kualoa Ranch among other adventures when the season premiere episode airs in April.

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Jason Genegabus 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+.

RELATED POST:

Comedian Gabriel Iglesias returns to Hawaii for last-minute laughs

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Cannabis Expo offers learning opportunities

By
January 15th, 2016



No matter your personal views on the consumption of marijuana in Hawaii, medical dispensaries are on the way to our shores more than 15 years after former Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano passed Act 228.

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2016 HAWAII CANNABIS EXPO

» Where: Neal Blaisdell Exhibition Hall, 777 Ward Ave.

» When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 30 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 31

» Cost: $10

» Info: www.hawaiicannabisexpo.com

Last year, the Hawaii State Legislature passed Senate Bill 321, which allows for the establishment of a legal distribution system of medical marijuana. A number of groups — with various controlling interests — have lined up for a shot at one of just three licenses available on Oahu.

The stakes are high, with these groups required to pay a $5,000 application fee along with a $75,000 license fee if selected. They also have to show proof of having $1 million cash readily available in a bank account, plus another $100,000 per dispensary they’re licensed to open.

But on the flip side, the number of medical marijuana patients in Hawaii could easily double once a safe, reliable supply of medicine is made available. Other types of businesses will be able to cash in on an industry that’s booming in other places where marijuana is legal.

With so many questions surrounding the issue, this month’s 2016 Hawaii Cannabis Expo should be a valuable experience for those at all levels on the medical marijuana spectrum.

“What we've done with The Hawaii Cannabis Expo is get some of the leading local and national experts together in one space so patients and potential patients can get their questioned answered,” event organizer Kyle Paredes said in a statement. “If you want to learn anything and everything about cannabis, from health benefits to home-growing and regulations, you can get it at this event.”

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 30 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 31, local residents will be able to learn more on subjects ranging from how to acquire a medical marijuana card from the state, the different ways of consuming medical marijuana and how to effectively grow the plant for personal consumption. Special guests expected to attend include well-known grower and author Ed Rosenthal; the Hydroponic Society of America’s Dan Lubkeman; Dani Green Fox, Miss High Times 2015; and Wendy Gibson, field organizer for the Drug Policy Forum and the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii.

“The challenge is that there are more questions than answers when it comes to how to become a medical cannabis patient in Hawaii and how to safely access cannabis as medicine,” said Gibson. “We welcome this opportunity to share.”

Along with seminars and presentations, paid classes and a trade show will be part of this year’s expo. A food court will also be open at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall with a variety of dining options available.

Admission to the two-day expo is $10 per day; those under 18 years old must be accompanied by a paying adult. Visit www.hawaiicannabisexpo.com for more information.

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Jason Genegabus 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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Bar Leather Apron opens downtown

By
January 6th, 2016



PHOTOS BY KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COMBar Leather Apron owner Justin Park presents a Clover Club cocktail accompanied by candied bitter orange peel. Cocktails at Bar Leather Apron will be served with a complimentary appetizer.

PHOTOS BY KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM

Bar Leather Apron owner Justin Park presents a Clover Club cocktail accompanied by candied bitter orange peel. Cocktails at Bar Leather Apron will be served with a complimentary appetizer.

It only took a few days for guests to steamroll this week’s soft opening of Bar Leather Apron at Topa Financial Center.

Owners Justin Park and Tom Park (no relation) put out a private invite on New Year’s Day via social media, inviting friends and family to make reservations at the new space that used to be Mezz 127. By Monday, the first day of the soft opening phase, Tom Park had to put out another message letting people know reservations were nearly full.

The overwhelming response only underscores how eagerly anticipated the new bar is among mixology fans.

“It’s the home stretch to the starting line,” said Justin Park. “Different people are going to see us for different things.”

Park, 34, was previously the bar manager at Manifest in Chinatown and has more than a decade of experience in the bar industry. He raised his profile tremendously after winning the title of World’s Best Mai Tai in 2012, and is widely considered the best bartender in the United States for 2014 after winning the United States Bartenders Guild’s Shake It Up competition and finishing fourth overall in the World Cocktail Championship.

0106 BLA 002

Tom Park essentially grew up at Topa, where his mother still runs a flower shop in the building after more than 25 years. He also owns luxury shoe retailer Leather Soul, which had a storefront in the same building before moving nearby to Merchant Street. After signing their lease over the summer, the two have enlisted the help of friends to get a lot of the remodeling work done themselves to turn the space into what they want for their intimate, service-oriented business model.

“We’ve both been very hands-on with the build out,” said Tom Park. “With my shoe store, I conceptualized with the architect, and then it was executed by the architect and the contractors. With this, we were involved in the process the whole way.”

Walk into the 1,054 square-foot space and you’ll find a beautiful 16-foot, J-shaped bartop fashioned from a slab of monkeypod by local woodworker Dae Son. It’s a worthy stage for Justin Park to showcase his skills, yet cozy enough for customers to get the one-on-one interaction expected from such a refined establishment. Customized glassware from Japan lines the shelves, with bottles of whiskey and other spirits on the bar that you’d have an extremely difficult time sourcing on your own.

Bar Leather Apron is also leading the way when it comes to ice in a local bar, with Justin Park promising that all his cocktails will be served with hand-carved ice. A preview visit to the bar last week turned up oversized blocks and spheres created to fill different shaped glasses, plus an expensive commercial freezer installed smack dab in the middle of the bar itself.

Justin Park explained the placement was out of necessity, so bartenders will always have ice within reach, but also as a marketing tool for customers used to watching bartenders pull “fancy” ice out of portable coolers that look like something you’d take to a picnic at the beach.

0106 BLA 003

“I want there to be new flavors people have never tried and pairings they’ve never tried, and make the classics really good, but I want the emphasis to be on the whole place and not just the drink program,” he said. “You could go to a really good bar and have a (terrible) drink. You probably wouldn’t go back there. Or you might go to a (terrible) bar, but this guy knew what ... he was doing and made great drinks. I want it to be like, ‘Man, we went to this really good bar, and we had a really good drink, and we’re going to go back to this really good bar.’

“My cocktail program is a bar program. My bar program is everything that goes on in the room.”

While the drink menu continues to undergo fine-tuning during the soft opening phase, Justin Park said he expects to offer “six to eight signature drinks and about 15 to 20 classic cocktails” once Bar Leather Apron opens to the general public on Monday. A variety of classic highball cocktails will also be served along with beer, wine and “some other fun stuff.”

To help introduce the new bar’s drink menu, he shared two cocktails that are confirmed to be on the menu. Pick up a copy of today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser to check out the Bar Leather Apron Old Fashioned, a twist on the classic cocktail made with Knob Creek whiskey from a barrel hand-selected for Bar Leather Apron.

Justin Park prepares a Bar Leather Apron Old Fashioned.

Justin Park prepares a Bar Leather Apron Old Fashioned.

While the Old Fashioned is considered a more masculine drink — that hasn’t stopped more women from ordering them in recent years as the popularity of whiskey has grown, Justin Park added — the Clover Club falls on the other end of the spectrum. With gin as its base alcohol and a special raspberry syrup made using a sous vide machine, the drink is both delicate in appearance and full of flavor. See the recipe below.

Bar Leather Apron is located at the Topa Financial Center, 745 Fort Street, Suite 127-A, and will be open from 3 p.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays starting next week. Call (808) 524-0808 or visit www.barleatherapron.com.

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Jason Genegabus 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+.

0106 BLA 004

CLOVER CLUB

By Justin Park, Bar Leather Apron

Ingredients:

» 2 ounces gin

» 1/4-ounce Lillet Blanc

»1/2-ounce sous vide raspberry syrup

» 1/2-ounce lemon juice

» 1 egg white

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Shake and strain into another mixing glass. Shake with no ice added and strain again into chilled cocktail glass.

Note: Park creates his sous vide raspberry syrup using sugar, water and raspberries in a sous vide machine. Substitute with raspberry-infused simple syrup.

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