Q + A, Robbie "Flash" Hansen
As promotions and marketing director of the Wave Waikiki for the past seven years, Flash, 32, keeps that nightclub jumping. As an independent promoter, his twice-monthly Skyline parties have resurrected the formerly geriatric Hanohano Room in the Sheraton Waikiki.
Q: In recent years, night life has evolved away from established clubs toward one-off or rotating parties at different venues. What’s driving this?
A: When I started out, all we had were the big clubs—the Wave, Maharaja, Spats, Rumours, Studebakers. But there’s an overall trend in America where our attention spans get shorter and shorter. Movies have quicker cuts, TV shows have MTV editing. We look for instant gratification. Now, to just go to the same club three, four times a week is boring. I’m in a unique position to be responsible for the Wave seven days a week, and make that tick. We just celebrated the seventh anniversary of the Pussycat Lounge, which turned one the Wave’s slowest nights [Tuesday] into one of its busiest. Then, as an independent promoter, I’m always looking for the next big thing, like Skyline, and finding some synergy between the two.
Q: A few years ago, the Hanohano Room was sadly quiet and dated, even though it has stunning, 30th-floor views. Recently, we visited it during a Skyline party and it was packed, with pretty dressy people. What happened?
A: The Hanohano Room did have a stigma as being more for the Perry and Price set, not the young and hip. But a couple of years ago, the Sheraton remodeled it, with an eye to the future, to what the W was doing to attract a young, upscale vibe. They were looking to change, and my business partner, Matty Boy Hazelgrove, of Doorman Productions, and I were the right guys at the right time to introduce that room to a new generation. One of our tag lines when promoting Skyline was free million-dollar views. When Matty Boy and I are setting up during the day, we look out at Diamond Head and the beach and feel so lucky to be doing this.
Q: What is the secret of a successful party?
A: The promoter has to be the ring leader. I like to have fun and that translates into the party. If the promoter and the entertainers—the go-go dancers, the DJs, the band—aren’t having fun themselves, then I find it hard to believe the customers are having any fun. When it works, people just see us having a great time, they don’t see the 50 hours of work that went into the four- or five-hour party. It’s a weird thing. I’ve done parties where I lost money, but 100 people had the time of their lives! [Laughs.] Ideally, you want it to be a success for both the customer and the promoter.