Heavenly host
to shine again

Since hosting his first birthday celebration at the Ocean Club in 1995, photographer Russell Tanoue has watched his parties blossom into marquee events for the Restaurant Row nightspot.

'Angels on the Rocks'

Russell Tanoue's (above) birthday celebration with performances by Anita Hall, Tani Lynn, Jordan Segundo and more.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Ocean Club

Tickets: $20

Call: 531-8444

Every month, his "Piranha Room" party is a standard that the rest of the scene tries to keep up with. Other events, like Saturday's "Angels on the Rocks," are one-time celebrations that draw Honolulu's movers and shakers, along with the beautiful people that always seem to end up tagging along.

Originally billed as Tanoue's final birthday party at the Ocean Club, "Angels on the Rocks" will feature performances by Anita Hall, Tani Lynn, Jordan Segundo, Jennifer Hera, Marlene Baldueza, Laka Carpenter, Emi Hart and Kaina Costa. The Star-Bulletin caught up with the photographer via e-mail recently to get the scoops on what drives him to be a promoter on top of his regular job.

Question: Why stop celebrating your birthday like this after 10 successful years?

Answer: "No, I am NOT stopping. At first it was going to be my last at the Ocean Club because it has grown so much. But I decided to continue and possibly do two events, one birthday and one project. It's grown so much with fans, clients, friends, etc."

Q: What is your biggest motivation to produce this type of event?

A: "Well, I've always been one who desires to instill positive messages, especially in the club environment and the fashion and beauty industry. My work and all I do has no significant meaning unless it touches and enhances one's life. I've always been this way, and I'm just fortunate that I have a talent to use as a vehicle to get me there."

Q: What do people who purchase tickets to "Angels on the Rocks" have to look forward to?

A: "Well, aside from your normal $5 to $10 cover charge one faces at clubs today just to enter, my guests can look forward to a great show. We always have great pupus and a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas, but ultimately it's an opportunity for each ticket holder to feel they are contributing to making a difference. 'Angels on the Rocks' is a celebration of you, your angels and those who've left us. Hey, knowing that people are still calling for tickets tells me that there are Angels that rock out there!"

Q: What is it about the Ocean Club that makes it such an attractive location to throw a party?

A: "For me, I'm really big on parking, cleanliness and good management. You can always dress up the club to make it look good. I've watched the Ocean Club open and close, and their procedures are immaculate. The employees actually have their sections (inspected) prior to opening and closing. I'm talking the finger test! They do such a great job in making sure it's spotless. Also, it's important to me that business is kept on an open and honest level. Beau Mohr of the Ocean Club has shown me loyalty, generosity and good business ethics. I love the fact that the Ocean Club supports various charitable organizations, and that is a big turn-on for me. And this is why the Ocean Club has been a major sponsor of my annual birthday celebrations."

Q: How does Project Shine benefit the local community?

A: "Currently the level Project Shine is on is offering photo shoots and makeovers to boost self-esteem, create fund-raisers for various causes such as Brad Basuel, last year's recipient, who just received a heart transplant. However, where I plan on taking Project Shine is going to be awesome, and I'll have the ability to make bigger differences in the community. I can't wait!"

Q: After utilizing a number of different themes for your events, are there any others that you'd still like to try?

A: "Well, for my birthday celebrations I went with 'Image Night,' 'Welcome to Hollywood,' and 'Welcome to New York' themes, and this year it's 'Angels on the Rocks,' which is a very personal theme for me. There is one particular theme that I do want to do, but can't really mention it. You know how the industry is. But I assure you it will be original."

Q: Is there one key aspect to throwing a killer party?

A: "There are so many aspects to a successful party, but for me it's energy -- creating a good vibe. And because I do have a lot of VIPs in my business, it's important that the energy is awesome and they are treated special."

Q: Ever considered opening your own bar or nightclub?

A: "Honestly, NO. I've seen too much to know that I'm perfectly happy hosting events, sharing my creative thoughts and entertaining my VIPs, fans and clients. But again, my life has always been full of surprises, so you never know!"

Q: How does Honolulu's nightlife scene rate compare to other cities around the world?

A: "You know, I have to say this, Hawaii's clubs are small and quite lenient, whereas clubs nationally are usually big and much stricter. But it's not all that intimate. In Hawaii it's easy to create an energy and for people to feel a sense of belonging."

Q: Which do you like better, taking pictures of other people, or having your own picture taken?

A: "Of course, taking pictures of others. When I'm having my photos taken professionally, I always tell myself, 'Why do models want to go through this?' "

Russell Tanoue Photographer Fan Site

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