OurTown: J Salon

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

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.



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.

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.

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.