Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, June 22, 2001

Dancers, from left, Georgette Leonhardt, Marlo Tores,
Chris Hee and Bruce Berbue.

Starry starry nights

All Star Hawaii transforms
into a hot dance spot Saturdays

By John Berger

Drive down Kalakaua Avenue on a Saturday night, and the crowd outside All Star Hawaii is impossible to ignore. They're generally well-dressed, and there sure are a lot of them waiting to get in after 10 p.m., when the sports-theme restaurant becomes Waikiki's newest and hottest dance club.

The A/C wasn't designed to handle the heat generated by a capacity-plus dance crowd.

"It's really really crowded, and it's really hot, but its really really fun," Kari Koki explained. Koki was there with a group of friends that included Diana Chang, Nicole Drumellor, MiJin Gregory and Jen Kim.

Chang added: "It's more of a social event than a regular dancing club. You know everybody in there, like, everybody. The music is OK but it's the people."

The group says All Star is where "everyone comes on Saturday," and that if you don't get there early you may not get in at all.

"The first time we came to check it out the line was moving, like, 5 feet every half hour, and we couldn't get in. We figured it must be good so we came back," Marlo Torres said last weekend. Torres and her cousin, Georgette Leonhardt, gave the club two thumbs up for the music and "clean" ambience.

One factor in the ambience and in overall succ

In 30 minutes the dance floor will be shoulder-to-shoulder, but for
now, this trio has all the room in the world at All Star Hawaii.
The dancers, from left, are Marlo Torres, Georgette Leonhardt and Chris Hee.

ess of the Saturday Night Club is that it is open to all adults, not just those 21 and over. Blaise Sato, leader of the year-old Architechs crew that created the event, says that creating a place for young adults to party was his group's objective.

"Most clubs are just interested in making their money at the bar. Our goal is to build something for Hawaii for that age group -- 18 to 25, college students mostly. We really want to reach out to the people who are looking for something different to do.

"The name Architechs indicates that we are forward thinking and progressive with our attitude about how we're going to go about getting people to open up to it.

"We play for the crowd -- typically our set-up is hip-hop with a bit of dancehall (and) some soul. We have one room with more of an eclectic loungy where you can kind of just groove with the music. Our main room is where we play a lot more of the radio stuff and fill it out with music that they might not have heard and open their ears to new ideas in hip-hop music and R&B music."

Sato adds that he currently avoids house and trance music, and "anything that has to do with the promotion of drug use."

Natalie Izumi, left, Jessica Dixon, center, and Serah Ocampo are
among patrons turning All Star Hawaii into the place to be after 10 p.m.

"Our main goal is to provide something fun and exciting where people can come and enjoy themselves without worrying about being a superstar or being seen."

Sato is a low-key guy. He asked that he not be photographed for this story, launched the event without big-bucks radio support and promotes it primarily by word-of-mouth.

"The most positive thing he's be able to do is give the people a fun (and) clean place to hang out and maybe revive the scene in Waikiki," says Doc Rock, veteran old-school club DJ and music promoter with credits going back to Cilly's, Rumours and George Kail's Blue Zebra.

"A lot of clubs don't see a profit margin in catering to 18-and-over people but if the 'kids' have something to do they're not out racing around like that kid (who killed himself racing) last week). It's really cool of the management of All Star to let the Architechs guys put together a party that's safe and a good party environment."

And so the line. People in the know arrive early. Sometimes the line moves slowly. Sometimes it doesn't move at all. When the club is full even those on Sato's VIP list face a wait.

Club management had to tell more than 100 people who were still standing in line after midnight one recent weekend that they weren't likely to get in at all.

Some delays are caused by people with dubious IDs. All Star Hawaii management takes its legal obligations seriously and a single picture ID isn't always enough to ensure entrance.

All Star management keeps the party inside under surveillance.

"We've decided to welcome all adults on Saturdays but we expect them to obey the law and that means no drinking by people under 21 anywhere on the premises. Period. They don't drink here. They don't drink outside and come in here," the doorman says.

Kari Koki and her friends say it's all good.

"It's like, all of our friends are always here. Even if we don't tell them to meet us here we'll always meet a lot of people we know. It gets so crowded that we always have to get here exactly at 10 o'clock if we want to get in, and it's worth it."

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