06/19/13

The Hawaii Turntable Alchemist.

Record_alchemy

Alchemy, even at its origins has been about transmutation. From the esoteric Hermetic, who through various forms of transcendence attempted to reach the bodies state of perfection, to the modern day chemist who attempts to transform molecules to produce everlasting energy.

Both practices use elements as a foundation and produce wonders through transformation.

DJ Sho’s periodical table is his vast record knowledge and influences of music styles, transformed into gold by his turn tables and DJ skills beyond measure.

I had the privilege of meeting this modern day alchemist and asked him about his craft.

When did you start DJing, how did you start and how long have you been doing it?

One night in 1997 when I was in high school back in Pittsburgh, I went to a house party and that was the first time I saw a DJ in real life. I literally stood there and just watched the DJ all night thinking to myself, “that’s what I want to do.” I was amazed on how he was mixing with vinyl and going through crates of records looking for the next song to play. Then, I remembered hearing him scratch. I was stunned! I didn’t have the money to buy my own set at the time and I remembered going to the downtown pawnshops every chance I can to look at turntables and mixers hoping one day I’d have them. By my senior year, I finally save enough money to get my own set. My friends and I would practice almost every day after school. We slowly got better and better. For the first 2 years, I was pretty much a bedroom DJ. I eventually started working for a mobile DJ company for about 3 years and then for the last 9 years working at various nightclubs here in Hawaii, San Francisco, San Jose and Las Vegas.

Do you have a particular style of DJing?

I still consider myself part of the old school generation. I grew up learning on vinyl. I also favored the turntabalist side of DJing. That is, I love to scratch and juggle records. It has an added visual performance to my sets. I also grew up listening to a lot of soul music like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, etc… So during my sets, I love to scratch some tracks hear and there but at the same time, I love sampling old tracks where people could recognize that certain melody, hook, or instrumental. Lastly, whenever I can, I try to play some “Golden Era” artists like Beastie Boys, De La Soul, Rakim, etc…

Who would you feel is the crème de la crème DJ of our time?

Without a doubt I feel that DJ Qbert is the “crème de la crème” of all the DJs. He takes it to a new level when it comes to scratching. Just when you think there’s nothing else that can be created or done, he showcases something from outer space. He keeps inventing new scratches and combos all the time.

Can you name some of your influential DJs?

Two of the DJs who have influenced me are DJ Qbert and DJ Packo for their scratching and creativeness. They both take it to a new level and always inspire me to achieve the same level as them. Next would be DJ Craze for his ridiculous juggling routines. I love the group C2C for their “soul” style and their performance as a DJ group. Locally, I enjoy listening to DJs KSM, Eskae, & Delve for their amazing library of music. They always play hidden gems.

DJ Q-Bert

What was the one the most difficult challenges you overcame in DJing?.

By far, the most difficult challenge I had to overcome was the first time I entered a DJ battle. I had already been DJ’ing in clubs for a couple of years and was very comfortable with it. But when I entered the first Mai Tai DJ battle a couple of years ago, I was so nervous. My hands couldn’t stop shaking for the first couple of minutes during my routine. My heart was pounding knowing that almost all the DJs on the island was there and all eyes were on me. It took a lot of nerve to walk up onto the stage. But I’m glad I did it and the next couple of battles weren’t as nerve racking as that first time. I would recommend that all DJs try to enter as much battles as they can. It built up my skills and eventually got my name out there more which ended up getting me more gigs.

Dj Sho Scratch Video (Go Dj)

What’s the best way for someone to start the craft? How important is it to find a mentor?

It’s a lot easier now to start learning it. Back when I started there weren’t many people doing it, so it was difficult to practice. Nowadays, there are so many resources for upcoming DJs. The setups are cheaper now; it’s easier to DJ with just a laptop and a hard drive filled with mp3s, compared to carry around a hundred pounds of records. Also, youtube is very helpful for anyone to learn any aspect of DJ’ing. I still do recommend a mentor. Nothing is better than a one-on-one training session. My mentor is DJ Big John. He’s been DJ’ing for..I don’t know how long. He’s from the old school era. He taught me a majority of what I know now when we worked together at The Celler back in early 2000s.

DJ-SHO

How has DJ’ing evolved through the years? From the Sugar Hill Gang to the C2C franchise?

Just like everything DJ’ing has evolved with technology. Before, all you needed were two turntables, a mixer, and your favorite records. Now, with the introduction of Serato and Traktor, DJs store all their music on their laptops instead of lugging around crates of records. This makes it easier for DJs and they have bigger libraries when they go to gigs. Nowadays, you don’t even need a turntable, which weighs about 35 lbs. Another thing that was introduced to DJs was the midi controller. This gave DJs a chance to become more creative with their sets, which eventually led to the new type of DJs called “Producers.” With their midi controllers and programs like Logic, Sound Forge, and Ableton they are to create songs and beats live during their sets.

What is your gear setup? What do you use?

The tools of the trade are two Technics sl-1210MKII, Rane TTM-57 mixer, Vestax PMC07 mixer, Sony 7506 headphones, pair of Shure M44-7 needles w/ extra stylus’, and an Akai MPD26 controller. At home I use vinyl but for gigs I take my Macbook because it’s a lot easier to bring music plu,s it’s not as heavy as one crate of records. I get my music from a couple of online subscriptions sites I get free subscription because I’m a club DJ. A subscription can usually run a new DJ about $50 each.

DJ SHO scratch clip

How do you see DJing in the next 10 years? Technology, Styles?

In the next 10 years, I feel that a lot of new devices will be introduced to DJs. New battles will be created because of technology. For example, the famous DMC battle were usually held at different cities every year. But now they have enabled online submissions, so that everyone can enter without having to travel to another city or country. But for DJs like myself, I will always stick with turntables and stay true to the old school ways.

Where can someone go to see your shows or hear your mixes?
Every other Fridays at Pearl Ultra Lounge at Ala Moana Shopping Center and every Saturday at Rumfire, located in the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

DJ SHO at Live Lounge at Pasadena

Complete the sentence: I will survive the zombie apocalypse by…

…going down a hill on a fixed gear and pray I can keep up with the pedals.

Contact Information

Visit DJ Sho
Email DJ SHO
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06/16/13

Revolution Books Hawaii

Logo When one thinks of book stores in Hawaii, common images would be Hawaiiana, hiking maps, best eats, or tourist attractions. What about books on revolutionary commentary? Probably not. I am proud to say that we have such an establishment in our Aina. Today I interview one of the patrons of Revolution books who has been frequenting the store since the eighties .

What can you tell me about Revolution Books?

The store started in the 1970′s by Bob Avakian, exactly when, I’m not sure. But the first store was located in Kalihi. Since then they’ve moved around and are now located near Pucks Alley. I wouldn’t call it a franchise, however, they are related to other rev books in the states. How many are left, I’m also not sure, but there probably some still in existence in big cities like LA, and NYC. It is run by members of the RCP (Revolutionary Communist Party )
The chairman of the party is Bob Avakian, who exiled himself to France? ” Bob is more than that: he’s an innovative and critical thinker who has taken Marxism to a new place; he’s a provocative commentator on everything from basketball to religion, doo-wop music to science and he’s a pit-bull fighter against oppression who’s kept both his solemn sense of purpose and his irrepressible sense of humor.”

What can you find in Revolution Books?

The bookstore carries RCP literature, Mao, Marx and Lenin literature and tons of other things on social issues. They also carry poetry books, do film showings and have discussions on current issues. Lots of stuff you can learn; you can gain a whole new perspective on imperialism and how it affects us all. They have T-shirts, posters and maybe kids’ books from the cultural revolution in China.
The store supports local issues as well, and in the past has been a gathering place for all activist, not just rcp members to meet up and make signs and plan out demonstrations etc…. Lots of info on domestic issues like women’s rights, abortion and immigration. The new perspectives really make you see clearer, like putting on glasses for the first time.

What are some of the example of film screenings?

    (Model Ballet: The White Haired Girl)

The Invisible War

Is there any academic support for bookstores in Hawaii?

Some professors at UH support the bookstore by recommending their students to buy their books there. It is overall a good place to have on our island, if just to get another opinion on issues.

Bookstores like Revolution Books in Hawaii are invaluable sources of unfiltered information.
Stop by and visit or attend one of their book reviews and or film screenings.


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Revolution Books Hawaii Website
Store Events

01/27/13

Impact Games – Hawaii’s Armory For Airsoft Warfare.

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To be truly happy in life, you should spend as much free time as possible doing the activities you have enjoyed as a child. This can be represented by such activities as playing video games, bike racing, watching films, playing WAR/Army to just name a few…

What better way to portray combat than Airsoft? Airsoft games retain the blood roaring thrill of combat…without being taken home in a body bag.

I had privilege to interview Tyler Woo. Tyler is a Hawaii Airsoft veteran and the owner of Impact Games.

Tell me about your store how long you have been in business and what services you provide?

Impact Games has been in business over 9 years. We sell Airsoft guns and equipment, and offer services such as repairs, modifications and custom upgrades. We also host night games for the players twice a month at Hawaii All-Star field (Nimitz Hwy)

Are you a Paint Ball and or Airsoft Shop? Could you explain the difference between the two?

Airsoft. Our guns use 6mm plastic balls. Paintballs are much larger and leave paint markings on impact.

Are there any leagues or Clubs in Hawaii? Is there much competitive play in Hawaii? Where are the games held? Is there also a dubbed champion?

AirSoft Hawaii (ASH) is the oldest airsoft club in the nation. It was founded in 1987. They hold games on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, 4-9pm, at Hawaii All-Star field (Nimitz Hwy). They also hold an annual event called Summer Smash. The largest game so far had over 500 players.

Hawaii Airsoft League

What is the average startup cost and what is needed to start playing?

Expect roughly $250 for a pretty good airsoft gun and facemask. Then you only need to pay for the field fee and on average $10-20 worth of ammo for a whole day of playing.

Could you describe custom requests? From what I understand, you could replicate anything form Danny Glover’s Desert Eagle to Assault Rifles used in Ghost on the shell. Is true and are these weapons allow in events?

M16 DMR

We can make almost anything you can think of. Custom builds, in the past, have involved hand painted camouflage, WWII and Vietnam reproductions, movie guns such as the Aliens Pulse Rifle, themed guns like a Yamaha R1 rifle or a Samurai rifle, possibilities are endless. All gun are allowed as long as they are below our max velocity rule (fps max is 400).

Could you describe the gear used during a game and the type of guns there pros and cons to using them. For example pump action verses non pump action.

Mandatory protective equipment needed will be a paintball mask and covered shoes. Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty in, typically, long pants and either long sleeve t-shirts or a light jacket. Surplus military camo is perfect for this, it’s inexpensive, and you won’t mind it getting beat up.

We have players decked out like Seal Teams, Delta, SWAT, PMC (Private Military Contractor), and snipers in ghillie suits, right next to players in street clothes and tank-tops and board shorts.

Most of the players that come out to the games will be using an AEG (Automatic Electric Gun) that uses a rechargeable battery pack, just like an RC Car. They tend to be the easiest to take care of. You can select either semi or full-automatic fire and have magazines that hold lots and lots of ammo for the game.

Pistols tend to use a compressed gas for them to work. They are more realistic with the guns actually recoiling, however they have a shorter range, and less capacity for ammunition.

The Spring powered guns tend to be found with pump-action shotguns, bolt-action sniper rifles and simple pistols. All of them require a manual action to ready and load a bb for it to fire a single shot. They can be quite accurate, but do not have the firepower of the electric guns.

Could you walk me through a round . From start to finish. What are some scenario’s used.

We play all types of games, from simple elimination, capture the flag, protect the VIP, attack/ defend games, and ones with a medic to heal you back in the game. Just to name a few.
It’s basically like a FPS game, but you are actually running around, and not sitting on the couch.

What are some best practices used by the champs. Can you give away any tips for new players/seasoned vets?

New players just need to play, run out there and mix it up with everyone. Have a good attitude, you won’t get EVERYBODY on your first game, but you might get a couple! And everyone will get shot sometime during the game, no one is immortal. No matter how much they may think so.

Communication is key. When you know what your players are doing and calling out the baddie’s positions, you have an easier time winning games. Going at it yourself can be done, but you have to work a lot harder at it to achieve victory.

But the best players all do this: A good attitude to players, call all their hits, and have fun.

CHAARGE!
What’s the best way of contacting you for questions requests and more information?

Impact Games


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98–027 Hekaha Street, Bldg 3-19
Aiea, Hawaii 96701
Phone: 808 488-4120

Impact Games Email
The Impact Games Website
Youtube Channel
Facebook page

01/20/13

Allen Wilson The Introspective Artisan of Hawaii

Allen Wilson

Are comics a valid representation of Art? This has been argued throughout the decades of the last century. I had a chance to discuss this very question and more with who I like to dub “Hawaii’s Socratic Artisan,” Allen Wilson.

Tell me about your art style and how long you have been doing it?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had some form of art or at least exuberant expression in my life. My parents are from the “Baby Boomer” generation and I take pride in the fact that (unlike other generations) most of what they passed down from their pop culture was inspirational, soulful and ground breaking for its time. Between my early exposure to The Beatles, classic rock, soul music, blues and amazing animations like heavy metal, and fire and ice, and my “comic books galore”, I had a multitude of sources for my foray into expressing myself.

All these influences are responsible for my love of art that doesn’t need to cater to a society to be beautiful. The art I enjoy the most comes from a place of counter culture and thought provocation, but also doesn’t shy away from what’s fantastic and “cool” for the sake being “artsy.” These are the underlining inspirations that push my hand in times of creation. As I developed my talent and ability to perceive and translate my expressions, I find it’s like a “snowball effect.” The search for beauty keeps me almost enamored with wonder, my mind soaks it up like a sponge, and sometimes it overflows on to paper, on a screen, or in a sculpture.

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What are your feelings regarding the local Hawaii art scene? How does it differ from other states/countries?

I’m Oahu grown, so I’ve had the blessing of living in Hawaii my whole life. Growing up in such a vivid environment, you can’t help but have an appreciation for art. Likewise, the people I tend to meet are in touch with their inner artist; I might be biased, but I think Hawaii produces some of the finest artists. Creativity is deeply entrenched in the culture of my home state.

As for other places I can only speculate, yet I keep my ears and eyes open. I hear Austin, Texas is the live music capitol of the world. I’ve been to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA. The beautiful thing about art is it transcends boarders.

Sail Boat

Who are some of your influencing artists? Have these heroes changed through the years? If so, how?

My Mother has artistic talent. I always had outlets as a child; like Light Brite, and Echaskech, Mini chalk boards, Legos and video games. I’ve had my share of “one for the fridge moments”. I would say the first style that had an influence on my art was Anime. Dragon Ball-Z…I got good enough to sell my drawings to the other kids at school. I remember the first time I felt like I had made one of the characters appear on the page in front of me. Krillin, a round head with no nose, and six dots up his forehead. From then on I was hooked.

I went on to discover comic books and the list of influences goes on and on.Jack Kirby, John Romita Sr, Lanky Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee. and Leinil Francis Yu , Steve Dillon, Joe Quesada, Lee Bermejo, all fantastic and master craftsmen. On the finer side of art there are Frank Frezetta and Alex Ross. If you look any of those men up you won’t be disappointed.

Swamp Thing-2

What where some of the obstacles you faced with your craft? How did you overcome them?

When I was beginning to get the hang of comic book drawings, I would bring them in to my high school art teacher and get a critique. He would tell me to stop taking short cuts. I had learned all the techniques for making art expedient for mass consumption. He made me slow down and comprehend what I was drawing. Realize that it was about process, not end product, and if I build foundations and worked on my elements I would be fine. Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten.

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I am interested to hear your views on modern art style verses classical methods. Especially with digital verses
non. What are you opinions on this war? Or is it a war? Can modern /classical styles co-exist?

Another amazing thing about art is it gives a sort of emotional history that co exists with human history; bringing another perspective on how the social climate effects change. The art of the past is responsible for the modern and helps create a swirling effect that has the past influencing the future by association. Hence the battle between Retro and Neo, once one gets popular, the other rolls in to create change and progress is made; avoiding stagnation. For some strange reason an artist who uses the mediums or techniques of his day is considered less of an artist, and this is how the future effects the past. That’s how you get to be “before your time” like Jimi Hendrix, Vangoth, and Alan Moore.

To shift gears. Andy Warhol has once said “An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have”. I personally favor art as a function over form. Not just art for art’s sake. What is your opinion on this? Can art even exist without having a function? The subtlest Avant-garde piece could change someone’s mindset forever.

Nothing is more necessary than the superfluous. Andy had that “Mr. Glass” thing going on, so he’s kind of a Droopy Dog, but I see his point. That quote comes from a place all artist share. The uncertainty of translating something from your mind’s eye can be nerve wracking, and process is such a personal thing. Some artists are like raging conduits of creation, no stop, just constant flow. Some artists have to plan carefully and nothing is misplaced. I, for one have trouble working in front of people, I feel like a magician and someone is in my workshop, watching me craft my tricks, cheapening them somehow.

If you look up the first examples of art in human history you’ll find that the oldest forms we know of are pre-historic hand axes. The cavemen would carve a tool out of shale rock, a tool for cutting, chopping and pounding, and then he would make it an exquisite example of the tool, showing his keen ability for craftsmanship, and attention for detail. These master craftsmen tools where never used for labor, and some still survive till this day. It would seems that form, function and art all share a common genesis.

Silver Surfer

I understand your read a great deal of comics. What current artists /comics would you recommend?

Current runs? No, but graphic novels are always quality. Anything by Alan Moore, Jeph Loeb, J. Michael Straczynski , Garth Ennis or Frank Miller is good stuff.

Where do you think comics will be in the next 10 years?

Well, my beloved medium is in the hands of Disney, and Warner Bros. so I’m guessing a lot more movies? The culture will be affected. People will start to dress like superheroes. The age of the superman will begin, Dr Manhattan will unknowingly help Adrian Veidt summon foth dimensional, psychic cephalopods, faining an alien invasion, and tricking the world in to unadulterated peace, while I read about pirates and horror monsters, because superheroes are overplayed. Yeah, it’s gonna get crazy.

Disney Botox

I find that having an actual comic in my hands seems to be a satisfactory tactile experience. Rather than reading the same comic on a computer screen or digital tablet. What are your opinions on Digital comics vers paper comics? Pros/cons?

If I have a book in my hand that I’m interested in, I tend to read it stem to stern. As if I might have missed something, but when I have a digital copy, I tend to skim. I’m not sure why. It might be habit or the fact that if I zoom in on a computer I get pixilation at some point, but I can put the comic up to my eye and see the stroke of the artists’ hand. Digital has always had the problem of carrying the same emotions and memories as its older counterparts.

Finally, do you feel formal training is needed for an artist to make a living at his trade?

Simply put…no. If you have a yearning in your soul to create something for the pure joy of seeing it exist, sharing it with others, and bringing creativity to the world, than you are an artist. Trust me, it’s gonna get out somehow.
How can you be contacted for commissioned work or mentor ship? I have a Facebook page under Allen Wilson, or you can e-mail me at my email