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OurTown: J Salon


J Salon, a new downtown hair salon, caught our eye the moment it opened on Nu'uanu Avenue. The salon is done up in bold, simple rectangles of bright orange and blue, which seem to hover in the large, open space against a background of white walls and bare, gray concrete floors. "We're minimalists," says salon owner Joe Randazzo, who designed the space with his partner, Gary Casupang. "We wanted to keep it simple, keep the lines clean. But being in Hawai'i, we wanted a warm feeling, so we went with the wood, orange, white and blue to warm it up while keeping it modern." Randazzo and his partner also built everything themselves, from the cabinetry to the reception desk.

Originally from Chicago, Randazzo moved here five years ago from New York City's East Village and says he wanted to bring some of that New York energy into the design of J Salon. "For the clientele we have, and want to have, it works."

The salon's space was most recently occupied by the Honolulu Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and its high-ceiling airiness and bare floors originate with the minimalist design of those offices. This was part of what attracted Randazzo to the location. "I love architecture and interior design, so the history of this space interested me. And we looked around at the neighborhood, the galleries, the stores, and fell in love with the space."

Of course, salons aren't just about snazzy design. Randazzo, a Vidal Sassoon-trained stylist, has three stylists on staff and is steadily building a team of talented cutters. Haircuts start at $30 for men, $50 for women. J Salon, 1128 Nu'uanu Ave. 550-4441.



Joe O’Mealy, professor of English and interim dean of the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature at the University of Hawai‘i at Ma-noa, recommends Spellbound, not Hitchcock’s 1945 classic, but Jeffrey Blitz’s 2002 documentary about the National Spelling Bee Contest. “Who knew there could be so much drama in a kid trying to spell banns? Or hypsometer, for that matter? It’s a fascinating and touching portrait of eight obsessive, grammar school kids and their often even more intense parents.” Columbia Tristar, 2002.

Tanisha, 104.3 XME morning radio personality, recommends Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. “It’s one of my favorites. She just transcends all of the stereotypes placed on hip-hop. Not only does the CD entertain, but also it educates and inspires. Hill adds so many different musical ingredients from jazz and blues to hip-hop and R&B, each with the purpose of auditory stimulation. It’s also a perfect CD to listen to with another person when the lights are dimmed and the candles lit. The CD takes you on a mental, emotional and physical ride and I don’t want to get off!” Ruffhouse, 1998.

DeSoto Brown, author and Bishop Museum archivist, recommends Jim Heimann’s All American Ads of the ’60s. “This cornucopia of advertising fantasies from various 1960s magazines shows not only graphic styles, but the social trends of those years, from space-age dreams to a safely restrained psychedelia suitable for middle America. Similar companion volumes cover the three previous decades. Much fun, and very evocative for those of us of a certain age.” Taschen America, 2002.

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Honolulu Magazine September 2020
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