RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Justin "TeN of Quad" Alladin, left, and Jeela Ongley of Quadmag.com stand along on University Avenue, the site of many a great party in the 1990s. TeN and Ongley will host a 10-year anniversary party for old and new friends alike on Saturday at thirtyninehotel.
Celebrating the club scene, then and now
BEFORE CLUB KIDS had MySpace.com, text messages and the Star-Bulletin's own expanded nightlife coverage, one of the only online sources for late-night party info was Quadmag.com.
'Quadmag.com 10-year Anniversary'
With special guests Paula Fuga, Taasho "Emirc" Pearce, Creed Chameleon, The Spacifics and Giinko Maraschino
Place: thirtyninehotel, 39 N. Hotel St.
Time: 8 p.m. Saturday
During the mid-'90s, the Internet enjoyed explosive growth as more families bought home computers and college campuses around the country helped students get connected to the information superhighway.
For Justin "TeN of Quad" Alladin, the World Wide Web was the next step after spending his high school years conversing on dial-up bulletin board systems.
"I was online in 1992," he said. "But then I'd travel to Japan and people didn't know what was going on.
"So everything started with us trying to show what was happening here. It was about getting Hawaii seen around the world."
BY 1995, Alladin had started the first incarnation of Quadmag. At the same time, he was a regular in the club scene, and kept crossing paths with a girl who was born in Finland and raised in Chicago. Jeela (pronounced "Yay-lah") Ongley came to Honolulu to study journalism at the University of Hawaii.
"I don't remember the exact first time we met," she said. "But we were in the clubs together over and over again."
Alladin doesn't remember their first meeting either ("I'm guessing it was because she was cute and I was trying to talk to her," he said), but does recall asking her for help with his Web site.
"I kept asking her to work with me," he said. "Eventually she was like, 'All right,' and joined the team."
ONGLEY STARTED contributing to the site in the spring of 1997, around the same time she graduated from UH-Manoa. Her own print 'zine, "RE:Act," served as a template for their online content, featuring many of the same subjects that Alladin wanted to feature on Quadmag.com.
Some of the names in "RE:Act" are still familiar -- G-Spot and the Lightsleepers and Stone Groove Family crews are among those still on the grind today. The variety of subjects covered is a reminder of an earlier era in Honolulu, when genres blended and fans of all types of music could co-exist with one another.
"It just seems to me that it's really important to kind of acknowledge what was going on before we even met," Ongley said. "There was a real atmosphere of it being okay to listen to alternate kinds of music, and it was because of Radio Free (Hawaii).
"You'd go to Ice Cube one weekend and go to Dance Hall Crashers the next, and then check out Dee-Lite another weekend. You'd see punks at the raves, and ravers at the hip-hop shows."
TeN of Quad dances at a party, circa 1998, above, before a rapt audience.
BETWEEN THE 'zine and Quadmag.com, Alladin and Ongley had the local scene on lock. Then Alladin decided to move to the mainland.
"Around 2000, TeN left for San Francisco," Ongley explained. "And Jeela kind of floundered for a minute running the site."
To make up for the lack of original content, she installed a message board and opened it up to submissions from other users. A number of local promoters and DJs got involved, and continue to contribute insider information and the latest club news to those who visit the site.
"These days, we're focusing on the artists who are starting things, who are breaking new ground and innovating," said Alladin, who continues to live part-time in both Honolulu and San Francisco. "We're working on a way to promote Hawaii as a destination for phat, fresh culture so that tourists will come here to check out what Omega Cix is doing, or what the Lightsleepers are doing, or what the different people in Chinatown are doing.
"This 10th anniversary party is more about the changes that have happened and celebrating the growth within the scene."
Killawattz the Mongoose raps at the old Havana Cabana.
DOORS OPEN at 8 p.m. Saturday at thirtyninehotel, with free pupus and a "Class of '97" slideshow before Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner Paula Fuga performs at 9 p.m.
Taasho Pearce, also known as Emirc, will provide a link to the past (he was a member of the HI-State Family, still records as a solo artist and has a sneaker production deal with Run Athletics), while Creed Chameleon and Nomasterbacks show what Hawaii's hip-hop artists are up to these days.
DJs Skid, Bass-X, Jahson the 45 Revolver and Seeko are among those signed up to help keep the crowd moving until 2 a.m.
"We definitely want to open this party up to everyone," Alladin said. "The slideshow part and the video clips, it's to show the history to some of the new people so they can understand what they're a part of."
Ongley is looking forward to seeing old friends.
"I have so many friends from the mid-'90s that I met from the club scene," she said. "I'd like to think it's always possible to have something outside of the mainstream. ... We're just trying to keep it going."