Friday night began before dark while waiting with my friend Drew at his gallery SPF Projects for our friends to go to ARTafterDARK. Both the girls and the guys we were to meet decided that this was the evening that they would play prom princess and were taking forever to get ready. I was due to sound-check at quarter to 10 and didn’t have the luxury of time to obsess over which button to button my shirt up to, or if I should change into something with a less pointy collar. I was ready to go out.

As I twiddled my thumbs waiting, I remembered an email I received about a SPELLS and Red Bull Music Academy event taking place in Chinatown and decided that it’d be a good idea to check it out before I played at Jus Bone’s monthly hip-hop event at The Dragon Upstairs. When we arrived, it seemed like Tittah-byte + Davey Shindig were in the middle of a trade-off, and the invite-only crowd was getting hyped and ready for Daedelus to hit the decks. The loft was fancy, and the drinks were on the house. Joseph Paahana of the SPELLS crew had visuals blasting on a large flat-panel monitor, and the crowd seemed to be mainly a mix of DJs who were about to run off to their own gigs, guys in bands and girls who like to party.


The next morning I caught up with Ara Feducia (one of the organizers) in the parking lot of Morning Glass (home of cheeseburger pancakes), and she told me about how she wanted more events like this to start happening. Bringing underground acts to Hawaii is a risk for promoters because you have to balance the desire to expose the audience out here to new music with the practical reality of covering the event’s expenses. This event felt like a big “thank you” to everyone who is involved in the scene: bringing out a super dope artist for an intimate show that we could check out for free. I appreciate the resourcefulness required for throwing something like this together. It takes the right timing, the right people and the right space.

Speaking of space, I told you about the Space Party, right? Just around the corner from Hawaii Theatre, up a long spiral staircase in a low-ceilinged Chinatown attic, about 100 people gathered to wish happy birthday to one of the island’s up-and-coming DJs, Gnarly. Kind of like a space-time flip on how the other party was a “before everyone did their thing” thing, this was after the UFC Fights, Bevy’s one-year anniversary, Love Fest and everything else that happened Saturday, stretching into the wee hours of Sunday morning.

It has been just 10 years since Hawaii Theatre’s marquee has been restored. Since that time, thousands upon thousands have experienced the brilliance of its dazzling lights. In urban Honolulu, artificial lighting often takes the place of the glory that a night’s sky might provide to a rural setting. A powerful telescope on a dark night can give glimpses of ionized gas clouds that swirl in shimmering bursts of mystical colors with twinkling stars piercing through the dark, like the eyes of feral cats in a Kakaako parking lot.

What we can’t have from the heavens above, we can re-create through Edison’s bulbs, Holonyak’s diodes, Byler’s black light and the cheapest fog machine they sell at Party City.

Also in Honolulu, unlike in the vacuum of space, we can listen to some of the best DJs on the planet and do so alongside our friends in paradise.