Thursday, January 1, 2009

Counting the Moments...

Holy mutha fuckin' shit yo (and assorted appropriate exclamations)!

It was last year already (barely over a week ago), but I'm almost recovered. I was innocently cruising for cuties at (where else?) Fitted, and exstatically came uppon (physically but not bio-fluidly) a t-shirt that I'd bought in earlier '08. It's a Pidgin To Da Max ~inspired Flip the Bird / Fitted collaboration, depicting a "local boy" in my favourite uniform: one half t-shirt, surfah shorts & rubbah slippahs. (cap, peach fuzz'stache, and quarter-in-the-ear optional)

They'd run out of my size at the time, but I was so into it, I had to have one. So I bought a medium, and thought "I'll just act skinny when I wear it."

Then last weekend I'm doing my thang, and there! My shirt's back! Except this time they only had XXL :(and the clerk was haole:(. But it wasn't a total loss, he was one of the hot haoles, and he knew how to work me, 'cause right away (after hanging upp on him once) he had Tassho, the shirt's designer, on the phone, and on the way.... o-nay!
Already a fan when I first met him about 12 years ago, I made the worst first impression on Tassho Pearce, aka EMIRC. His group 'Hoomanakaz' were regular performers on the club and party circuit back in the 1990's (I think he went by A.K.I.RA 8, then) and I worked at Jelly's when it was in Market City. One day Tassho came in and we set upp a deal to sell the Hoomanakaz cassette.

I was quite initimidated, not only as a fan, but as a fag who was finally face to face with a fine ass fella who'd appeared only so near in my ~frequent~ fantasies. So I performed my stupidest act: during our first encounter I thought I'd be super cool and make fun of one of my co-workers. It was like a joke and stuff. hahaha. You know me. I'm so funny. Turned out Tassho knew the person. I was humiliated, but kinda grew upp at that moment (I could feel the growth, but it was the '90's, so my baggy jeans hid it).

The Hoomanakaz tape sold well and Tassho would stop by to drop off more and collect his cash. I somehow got invited into his house one day, but I swear I wasn't staking out the joint. (whatever, we don't got stalker laws in Hawaii.) Looking around his room, there was only one thing harder than fighting the urges to stick my head in his hamper or pilfer the pics of his hot friends off the wall. (I ain't over Moon yet, yo)

Then the line kinda blurred between: the time Hoomanakaz were opening for practically every Hip Hop headliner to hit Hawaii (I think I made it to Pharcyde and the Roots); and the era of just Tassho himself warming upp audiences for everyone from Lupe Fiasco to Kanye West, even 50 Cent. Somewhere between days in 2004, under the name "EMIRC", Tassho (with my ex-huzz DJ Syze One) presented his well-received and reviewed first CD "Rhyme and Punishment" which spawned the hit single "Honolulu." (read the video description). I'm tryin to replace mine (barely got an iPod for Xmas '08), but I remember it was polished, political, not too pompous, even polite (listen to the outro of "Honolulu")

Ever the enterprising entrepreneur, the charismatic cutie would befriend visiting performers, offering his aloha and something for them to wear. When they'd rock his shit on stage, the clothing line unexpectedly took off, taking Tassho in a different direction. (I seen Flip the Bird tshirts for sale on Carnaby Street, in London!)

Through a mutual friend, he even hooked upp with Russell Simmons and created Flip the Bird's iconic shoe, inspired by our Hawaii state fish, the humuhumunukunukuapua'a, and another by the flower, Bird of Paradise, still another resembling shave ice.
Four years later, after reaching the world with his music & clothing, Tassho finally released his latest collection of tunes "The Opening Act". It features "primo production" (to quote myself), including tracks by Hi-State's DJ Fame 1, DJ Qbert from Invizible Skratch Pickles, and Evidence & Babu from Dilated Peoples.
The title refers to the aforementioned fact that he's opened for every major act to come through Honolulu. But it's also like an intro to the man behind the mogul. Engagingly personal, the songs tell Tassho's story, from missing his mom after leaving Okinawa with his father ("Halfway Gone"), to the break upp of Hoomanakaz when one of the members got mired in meth ("Iceland").

[Tassho w/ The Spacifics opening for the Grouch]

[Tassho w/ DJ Jimmy Taco at Beat Root]

Thankfully, he's been performing rather often, in support of this CD. I'm grateful because Tassho Pearce is one artist whose persistence, talent, and love for Hawaii glorifies his home town (in true hip hop fashion,) without whitewashing, hyper-hardcoring or otherwise misrepresenting it. Plus he exemplifies how far humility, an aloha-y attitude, and dedicated work ethic can take you. Much furthermore, the quality of his work reveals a clear vision and confidence that can only serve as inspiration to those who like, loyally love the lad, and he could help even the most hopeless of haters. (plus he fine too)

To top off the 2008, Tassho just recently unveiled the Flip the Bird Holiday Look Book, displaying his diversity of design with images influenced by Hawaii, hippies, holidays, video games, and even other labels. I'm saving upp for the collared shirt with the Polo guy attacking the Izod alligator. (Below pictured are 3 older Flip the Bird T's I got so far)
So ya, back to my story (spoiler alert: it's not anti-climactic, it's worse: optimistically self-affirming.)

Tassho was on his way to deliver my favourite t-shirt to me.
SHIT!!! What the fuck?
I left my last copy ofprint issue #4 of Shaka Zine over at exclusive, and the rest was in my car...parked like 3 blocks away by the Ala Moana Hotel! I normally would shy away at handing someone my zine (expecially if they're in it) but I knew that I uncharacteristically didn't say anything affectionate when I mentioned his Opening on my Xmas shopping list. I meant "his CD, The Opening Act." That was a typo. We regret the error. Damn spell-check.

So as outta shape as I am (unless you call "poor-posture-impregnated" a shape) I raced thru the mall without stopping to check out no one. I was focused. And freaked out! Then extremely exhausted by the time I found my car. I had to rehablitate, then debate which was more dangerous: driving back to Fitted and possibly killing someone and/or myself?; or running back and possibly just dying along the way? I chose to drive, just in case I made it, I wouldn't be as tired or shame.

No one died. But I arrived too soon. He wasn't there. I couldn't breathe. Walked back to the mall. Bought me a soda. And gathered myself...A forced few minutes later, a might bit rejuvenated, but shockingly re-assembled, I made it back to the store in one piece.

Tassho lit upp the doorway. Like a firm beam of light bursting from the gaping mouth of a vast uppward-spiraling tunnel of love (no homo). The moving molten masses nearby but blurred by his aura (or was it his halo?) musta been the haole clerk's friends who'd been waiting for dude to get a break... waiting on me... well... whatever...I wanted time to slow down, but I knew that would just give me more time to fuck more things upp.

"Shaka Zine," I hear him say. What? Tassho recognizes me?
I almost run into the pet store next door to piss off PETA. But nuh-uh. I say "Hi, I was trying to get that shirt from you." He points me toward the counter where my haole hunny is smiling, holding upp my shirt. My size. My goodness. (I swear, white people are so cooler nowadays. Change I could get used to.) I pay for the shirt, and start looking at hats, then the new girly shit on the counter. Stalling. But I can't stand it.

I leave the store, and thank Tassho for the special delivery (please: lemme believe that I was the first). "We mentioned you in the magazine" I tell him. ('We' I says.) "Did you see the latest one?" I hand him #4, The haole's homies must be glad to see me fixing to leave. I don't see them at all. Just excuse myself, then retreat to my car. And exhale. Shoop.

I made it! Got through a close encounter of the thrilled kind. Plus, I got myself something I wanted for Xmas, from someone I wanted for days. Plus I didn't dirty my drawers! And I gave him a Shaka Zine without flirting or floundering. Do you understand what a big step that is? I never get the nerve. I should print the "Psychological Impact Statement" we made for the zine. It's my therapy, and I've just barely begun.

I don't mind that I went over my Christmas budget that day, by buying something for myself. I would have spent 10 times that much on an airhead escort, and still woulda come too fast.

ps: Happy New Year! Prospero Ano Nuevo! Hapa Haole Shaka Hiki Hou!

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