Worshipping the sun really doesn’t seem that far-fetched when you think about it. Midsummer solstice is one of the sun’s crowning glories: she shines her warm gold glory down on your face the most on this day. For yoga practitioners, this is special. The changing of the seasons is a time to clean out mental and physical baggage, and ritual yoga can aid your cause.
On last Friday’s solstice, 15,000 people gathered in New York’s Times Square at sun-up to show their reverence, while 20,000 gathered in England at Stonehenge to marvel at the sun that was hiding behind an overcast morning. I remember bonfire parties burned for the midsummer solstice in Huelo in my youth, but this year I wanted to make the day epic in another way. No, I spent this solstice packing in a non-stop activities involving art and soul from dawn to dusk.
I began with instructors Rachel G and Megan at Body Alive Yoga at 7am with the goal of doing more than a hundred sun salutations. That totally got me high. Every pore was dripping. I never knew there were so many different interpretations to the sun salutation. I didn’t get to stay for the whole class (which was going on for three hours), but I hope for their sake Shavasana was going to last at least 30 minutes at the end.
Next on the solstice agenda, I headed to Wailuku Coffee Company for a post-practice banana, peanut butter, almond milk, chocolate and espresso smoothie. The Baldwin High School Alumni art show called Together but Apart is hanging there for June and it’s blowing my mind.
There’s mixed media work from carved wood, paint and paper on found objects, articulate acrylics and pen and inks. Spearheaded by Baldwin High art teacher Jan Sato, participating alumni artists include Kirk Kurokawa, Edwin Ushiro, Natasha Chang, Noble Richardson, Amanda Bowers, Cianna Valley, Lianna Rosa, Jessica Garcia, Jennifer Matsumoto, Anna Duvall, Elmer Bio Jr. and Brandon R. Torricer, along with 2013 graduates Alexandra Underwood and Jordan Patao.
I was very taken with Bowers’ image of a squid and a pill swimming together on paper. “My art reveals no sense of time or space and things are not only existing with one another, but forming strange and beautiful relationships,” Bowers says in her artist statement. “The subjects may look recognizable but the interactions are unfamiliar.” Her pharma-dillo with acrylics is equally engaging.
Nearby, Valley’s aquatint etchings are haunting black and grey images with names like “No wonder we never meet, you are digesting me.” A 2007 grad, she now runs a small print studio in Oakland, California.
Then there are Torricer’s paintings, which are galactic masterpieces inspired by Jack London. “I paint objects the way I would have molded this state of being we all share,” he wrote. “I paint what is there but focus more on what is dismissed.”
With a head full of art, I headed to Paia Tattoo Parlor for a little time under the gun with artist/owner Justin Yates. The parlor is planning renovations for an art room in front to hold an incredible show planned sometime in August. Crystal from Gomineko will be back, along with other amazing artists fresh off of the convention circuit in the upcoming second annual Pacific Ink and Art Expo that will happen Aug. 2-4.
After a few hours with a needle in my side, it was time to drink tequila. A quick shot at Milagro’s was enough to numb the pain, and then I was off to Kihei to check out Amigo’s new location next to Long’s. The bar at the new location is great and celeb mixologist Manny Hinojosa was in the house mixing a fresh new batch of tequila cocktails.
While we sampled pupus like Amigo’s Cameron cocktail, which reminded me of a stay in Cozumel, we sipped at a roasted jalapeno coconut margarita–a spicy coconut milk infused cocktail with Cazedores reposado. We also sampled the highland paloma that uses grapefruit juice and St. Germaine, as well as a prickly pear margarita with a spicy rim.
The prickly pear margarita quickly became my go-to during solstice; the beautiful fuschia color of the drink and the zing of the spice was draining the fancy margarita glass faster than I wanted to admit. In fact, Amigo’s new cocktail menu is ideal for nurturing my romance with tequila and al pastor–plus, they’re just $8. Their $4 happy hour margaritas are served 3-6pm, with beers starting at $2. Happy hour pupus start at $5.99 with taquitos, bean and cheese nachos and ceviche. For early birds, the morning happy hour starts at 8am with $3 screwdrivers and $3.50 Bloody Marys.
But back to the art. We hele’d from Amigo’s just in time to get fancy for the Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s second annual installment of Art=Mixx. This time it was a runway edition, celebrating fashion in futuristic, artistic and cultural forms. The show included Koa Johnson with Kojo Couture and videos by Josh Meridith, Juicy with his Vulture.com line and videos by Tom Sewell and Jenny Jensen with her Solstice Scheherazade collection and videos by Jaisy Hanlon. Special guest Maui shoe designer Teri Edmonds contributed footwear as well.
I sniffed at psychedelics in chocolate and perused champagne tailgates as we strolled through the crowds and spocked out the trunk show. All the fashionistas were out in full force: I spied Larissa Williams in a fresh black and white striped LeRu Couture handmade gown, Marissa Meyer in a hand-painted and dyed silk column and Paul Janes-Brown in a dapper white suit strutting his bow tie stuff in the tie competition.
I clamored unsuccessfully for cold beverages and relegated myself to the drinking fountain as things got heated at the MACC. The whole Yokouchi Pavillion turned into a pumping Las Vegas nightclub after the last act onstage, which was the place to be when solstice turned dark.
Later we cruised Lower Main in search of snacks but were unceremoniously turned away at Tiffany’s, where the steak bite hour ended at 11pm. Then the live music coming from Steel Horse Saloon caught our fancy, so we closed the solstice night over Michelob ultras and an IRL zombie bar brawl.