Honolulu Advertiser ~ Rebel Girl Monthly Revels Without a Pause

Friday, June 27, 2003

Rebel Girl monthly revels without a pause

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Sisters In Sound’s DJ Zita began her series of farewell spins at last weekend’s Rebel Girl Underground party at Chuck’s Cellar. Zita is returning to San Francisco. Kim Kinard photos

Rebel Girl Underground is more than just a showcase for Honolulu’s growing cadre of female turntablists, artists, musicians and poets. It’s also, hands down, one of the most enjoyable monthlies you’ll find in town.

There was art: Patrons studied a small collection of works from photographer Kim Kinard, while Sequoia painted on a fresh canvas. There was verse: First Thursday Poetry Slam champ Selah Geissler took the mike for a wicked-smooth piece of sung verse backed by an original downtempo piano track that left me wanting more.

But with half of the Chuck’s Cellar confines cleared to create a large dance floor, it was clear upon entry that much of RGU was going to be about taking in the beats. From the moment RGU co-founder Kasi Nunes (aka DJ Rebel Girl) started an 11 p.m. set, the party never disappointed.

A female-heavy force hit the floor hard early on for DJ Rebel Girl’s sweet ’80s-charged track menu. Cyndi Lauper, Eurythmics, The Time and Paula Abdul were all duly represented here. The male-to-female dance floor ratio evened as the night went on and the club quickly filled to comfortable capacity. A good number of tracks were smoothed by live drums and sax.

The lived-in Cellar environs seemed tailor-made for RGU’s small-scale house-party-with-friends aim. The den-like club’s darkened old-school brick-and-wood accents were kicked into the millennia with glowing blue and green plasma lightning lamps. Votives, a few track lights and neon contributed the rest of the glow. Another funky old-school touch: dark vinyl half-moon booths and wall-mounted vinyl seating.

Pussycat/Glitter N Glamour co-conspirator Flash Hansen slid down the Cellar stairway with a small entourage and immediately stationed himself barside as DJ Primmitiv launched her ’round midnight breaks set. Drinks were ordered, and all were full of love for the RGU.

“Third Saturday of the month, this is where I like to come party,” said Flash, a man I’m convinced is as skilled at sniffing out a good party as Snoop Dogg is at differentiating the fizzle from the shizzle. “I love the ambience, the music, the promoter. It’s a positive vibe.”

A rushed but beaming Rebel Girl stopped to accept some congrats on her’s and co-founder DJ Lady J’s evening before quickly disappearing.

“Thanks! I gotta go find the DJ for the next set now,” said Rebel Girl.

Post 1 a.m., RGU belonged to Sisters In Sound’s DJ Zita, spinning the first of a week’s worth of final Honolulu sets before moving to San Francisco. Hers was a tasty mix dominated by a comforting aura of long-unheard (at least to these ears) cuts that included Rozalla’s “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” and Janet Jackson’s “Pleasure Principle.”

After an altogether apropos set- and party-ending spin of LL Cool J’s “Goin’ Back To Cali” that even had Zita grooving behind her two-turntable setup, she smiled shyly while accepting very loud applause from the gathered.

Got a night spot, night event or club event we should check out? Reach Derek Paiva at 525-8005 or dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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What: Rebel Girl Underground.

Where: Chuck’s Cellar, Ohana Waikiki East Hotel, 150 Ka’iulani Ave. (at Kuhio Avenue intersection), 923-4488.

When: 10:30 p.m.-2 a.m., third Saturday of the month.

Our arrival/departure: 11 p.m./2 a.m.

Cover: $5.

Younger than 21 OK? No.

Age of crowd: 20s-30s.

Attire we saw: Mostly casual. On men: casual button-down shirts, solid and print tees, polos, jeans, shorts, skull caps, baseball caps. On women: tanks, solid and print tees, baby and cut-off tees, peasant blouses, jeans.

What we drank: dirty Bombay Sapphire martini ($6), black & tan ($5).

Peak crowd while there: 100 to 125.

Queue?: No.

Dancing?: Oh, yeah!

Sample music: Mixed sets featuring downtempo R&B and soul, some house and breaks, with much old-school, classic cuts and ’80s. JJ Fad’s “Supersonic,” Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” and Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” anyone? We appreciated “Jungle Love” (The Time), “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” (Eurythmics), “Goin’ Back To Cali” (LL Cool J).