Remembering the Energetic, Inspiring and Always Super Christa Wittmier
Aloha, CW and thank you.
Photo: MIChAel Keany
When we asked people to share their stories of the DJ, blogger and promoter who reinjected life into Honolulu’s nightlife scene, many could tell us exactly when—down to the precise date—and where they first met, and likely hugged, Christa Wittmier.
Meeting SuperCW was just that memorable.
It wasn’t because she was such a big name, which she was as one of the most prominent and photographed nightlife columnists, DJs and personalities in the city as well as one of the key people behind Pow! Wow! Hawaiʻi. It wasn’t because of her story, and how enlisting in the Navy led a girl from Tacoma, Washington to bases around the world and eventually Hawaiʻi. It was because of her overwhelming positive energy, her love for people and connecting them to each other. I only met Christa a few times, but she was always excited to meet me and always introduced me to someone else I didn’t know. CW just naturally created communities.
Thursday, Christa passed away after a three-and-a-half-year battle with cancer. She was with her family in Minnesota. Her sister Lisa posted on Christa’s Facebook feed that her last days were peaceful and content.
We interviewed Christa and her friend Riana Stellburg for our October issue and learned about their friendship, the strength of the human spirit and what it really means to be SUPER CW. As long-time friend Flash Hansen said in his Instagram post, “This isn’t time to be sad. You know how she wouldn’t like that.” But she did like to share stories. So here are a few from friends. We will be adding more memories as they come in. If you would like to share a moment, comment below.
Photo: MiChael Keany
“Christa Wittmier had the superpower to make anyone feel like the most special person in the room. Her life’s light was THAT powerful. If you knew her, you know this to be true. Because to her, nobody was nobody, and EVERYBODY was somebody.
She was a storyteller. She was a media pioneer. She was a teacher, a mentor. She made people dance. She connected people.
Her motto: ‘Get excited. It’s exciting.’ Words to internalize and live by. I have it tattooed into my soul.
I’ve told this story about how we met so many times, but she said she loves it when I tell it, so I feel good about sharing it again. In 2006 I moved to Hawaiʻi for love that didn’t last, and that relationship was the foundation of my entire life in the state. I made no friends. On December 2007, desperate and heartbroken, I logged onto a Hawaiʻi message board and said I was still new to the state, and wondered how to make friends. ‘Meeting people’ was the title of my thread. Christa messaged me privately and invited me to her birthday party at a club, owned by another dear-departed friend, Daniel Gray. She invited me and said she’d introduce me to people. And that she did. She helped me rebuild a new life. Her social circle became my social circle. I am who I am because of her. That was the first time we spoke.
11 years later to the last time we spoke, December 2018. I called her on Christmas Day. The cancer had spread and she was already bedridden but she still answered my call. I thank God we spoke. I told her I will always love her. She sounded excited as always. Her last words to me, ‘I will always be with you.’
Yes, you will Christa. I’ve never met anyone like you, ever. And now I join a cast of thousands across the world who agree: Our lives are more exciting thanks to the one and only, the always, the immortal Super CW."
Gene Park via Facebook, social media editor at the Washington Post
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox
“Christa and I grew up in the same blogsphere but couldn’t have been more different: She wrote about Hawaiʻi nightlife, I blogged about how uneventful my nightlife was. This was almost 20 years ago. Before husbands (me), serious careers (both), cancer (her). But we got each other. Though we would never run into each other—I slept, she didn’t—we chatted over email, then text message, then social media. She was always bugging me to get out, go to The Republik, check out a concert, listen to her spin. I pointed out the time of these events were way past my bedtime and she’d just laugh. I never made it to a single show, not even one her epic December birthday parties.
I remember when I found out she had cancer more than three years ago. Breast cancer, Stage IV, IDC with metastasis to her lungs and possibly (at the time) her brain. I was included on a group email update on her cancer diagnosis. Four months into treatment, she wrote, ‘All of my doctors informed me that this fight is NOT over. I have two cycles of chemo, a surgery, and two years of close, careful natural treatments to make sure any circulating tumor cells do not have a chance to reformulate’ I remember thinking if anyone was going to kick cancer’s ass, it would be CW. Even during her fight, she wrote a blog about her experience and told her friends to please share it with anyone who might be newly diagnosed or struggling with cancer. (The blog link no longer works.) She wrote, ‘Please feel free to share this and/or pass on this very quick guide in hopes that it can save someone else like it saved me.’
And then she lived. I mean, lived like none of us have ever lived. She didn’t feel sorry for herself, she didn’t bitch about it (much), she didn’t let cancer—or anything else, let’s be honest—stop her from living her life. It always amazed me, whenever I bumped into her—like at the Blaisdell farmers market, where I gave her the name of a Chinese energy healer, or at Encore Saloon, where she told me about the movie she was making about her life—how happy she was, how full of life and energy, how she shared that joy with everyone around her. She gave great hugs. We laughed A LOT. And she was someone who loved as hard as she lived.
The last time we texted it was about meeting up for lunch one of these days. We could never settle on a day—mostly because I was too slammed at work or dealing with a toddler—and never met up. It’s one of the few regrets of my life.
She sent me an email, not long after I ran into her at the farmers market. The last thing she wrote to me: ‘You are an amazing shining star fierce human I <3 u.’
No, Christa, you are."
Catherine Toth Fox, HONOLULU Magazine food and dining editor
Photo: Aaron K. YOshino
“Saddened to hear that we’ve lost such an amazing, positive, strong woman today.
This is my favorite picture of Christa from a studio session last year, she wanted a more serious tone for the photo that ran in her piece but her easy smile and her perpetual enthusiasm for life really shows in this image. This is the Christa I know.
I first met Christa at thirtyninehotel over a decade ago. She actually introduced me to my fiance, at thirtyninehotel one random night. Before that, Christa spent a whole year and a half shouting in my ear at various parties, telling me about this rad girl in her art department at Youngs Market who I just had to meet … and to be honest I kind of ignored her because she would always see the positive in people, and so I assumed she was just being way too positive about Shana, because Christa would always tell me how rad everyone she knew was. But she was so right about my having to meet her.
Instead of being sad today, I’m trying to fill my heart with gratitude for the time that we did have with Christa. Aloha Christa. You are loved by us all."
Aaron K. Yoshino via Instagram, aio Media photographer
“The first time I met CW was at the inaugural meeting of the Hawaiʻi Fashion Incubator—sometime in early 2008—up a long staircase leading to the living room of a house on 10th Avenue past Tamura’s.
I had this fledgling fashion ‘online magazine’ as I called it back then. It was a byline-less blog, that was read by a handful of my friends at the time. She was already the Super CW, with the very huge Honolulu Nightlife Diaries blog. And by the way I’m pretty sure our very own @honozooloo was kind of her only contemporary in those days. We hit it off pretty quickly—as we all know, there’s no one Christa doesn’t make immediate friends with. We met up at fashion events wherever they were: Ala Moana stores, Aloha Tower events organized by Melissa Chang who did their PR in those days, fashion shows in front of The Butik. We would sneak out after one plastic flute of cheap champagne without saying goodbye and go watch cute boy bands at Jazz Minds. We crushed on the cute blond drummer. We ate off-menu kimchee pancakes that she knew the owner would make for us because, of course, she knew the owner.
She supported my blog by writing me up on her blog. She blew up my site over Easter weekend 2008 with her post. She gave me a humongous deal on advertising when she worked in radio sales. She told me later I was her first ad buy. I told her many times she almost singlehandedly created my blog’s audience.
Our lives and careers twisted and turned and intersected and diverged and wound around to meet again.
Ten years later, in March 2018, she generously and patiently showed my daughter the turntables at a gig she was DJing for us at HONOLULU.
A post shared by Alyson Helwagen (@alysonhelwagen) on
That kindness and generosity was natural for her. Even my young daughter felt her warm sunshiny soul the moment they met and was drawn to her, wanting to stand next to her and noticing how everyone else did too.
Alyson Helwagen, HONOLULU Magazine publisher