Social Lite

First Friday at Barrio Vintage.

Yes, that was Daniel Dae Kim you saw at Apartment3, outside Tsukiji’s, at Pearl Ultralounge and The Standard on Friday night. I happened to be with the Five-O star and friends and it was bar hop city. Kim had a friend in town from LA (Korean American DJ Joe Hahn from Linkin Park) and made sure he took him out to see some of Honolulu’s nightlife. I loved it. There’s nothing better than sharing the real “real” with people. There’s also nobody better to do it. Daniel is so respected and revered it never gets old seeing him engage with the public. All smooth smiles and handshakes from strangers as we hopped from spot to spot.

I also tried not to miss a beat of First Friday downtown. Hard to imagine, but there was a minute there when I was a bit worried about First Friday. Some galleries closed completely; clubs and bars got too overcrowded with blah people. The events were underwhelming. No revival was expected. Then before we could say “Amateur Night” the pendulum swings back in the favor of small business. Like most things that have their tipping point, the new cool is to make the “not cool” cool again.

Fashion is taking over, with chic-in-the-city Milk & Honey, sophisticated La Muse, and super legit Barrio Vintage. I’m finding myself dressing better each month since happening on them. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes, but yes, there’s actually been a micro-community developing. Bethel Street has branched off and become the “upscale” district with The Venue, Rakuen Lounge, Du Vin, Fighting Eel and JJ Dolan’s. Business professionals finally have something to do besides stand in line for Bar35.

And oh! The art! Since its opening in August, In4mation’s Human Imagination gallery has really been bringing it. (Yes again, that was Daniel Dae Kim wearing In4mation’s iconic “Nuuanu and Pauahi” shirt.) This place has been my first stop every month since they opened. Mark Kushimi is one of Honolulu’s most under-the-radar creatives in the business. I’ve been fanning out since I first picked up a Contrast a few years ago and learned he was Editor In Chief and Art Director. That magazine is just beautiful. The photos, artwork, fashion spreads, writing. It’s exactly what we need in this town. It was awesome to see his highly coveted friends in the creative world–captivating in this month’s show. Musician Aly Ishikuni (whom I can’t stop staring at every time I’m around her), artist Nicole Naone (who just seeps fascination from every pore) and illustrious professional skateboarder and former Dog Town rider Jef Hartsel were all displayed through Mark’s eye. “He’s one of the unsung heroes of the creative world in Honolulu,” In4mation founder and pro surfer Jun Jo said in a recent interview. Totally.

There’s so much coming up, I can barely handle! The big Pow Wow, the first ever Instagram Art Show, the Red Bull 3Style, and the grand opening of Dash will all outshine Valentine’s Day! I hope! I’ll be hosting the Soul Valentine single’s party at Apartment3 with Flash and G-Spot if you’re in the mood for some soul revival. We’ll make it allllll better.