By Nadine Kam
There was plenty of mystery when Fishcake hosted its Mystery May Madness benefit for The Contemporary Museum May 27.
At the heart of the event were 50 mystery grab bags selling for $50 per bag, each featuring artwork by one of 50 artists who participated in the event, with the list reading like a who’s who of contemporary Hawaii artists, among them Mark Chai, Keiko Hatano, Alan Leitner, Cade Roster, Lawrence Seward, Jason Teraoka, Pegge Hopper, John Tanji Koga, Deb Nehmad, Satoru Abe, Mary Mitsuda, and on and on.
To keep things comfy within the furniture gallery, attendance was limited to 200 people, and even at that relatively small number, those who needed time to get your bearings, pick up a drink and start chatting with people, found all the bags gone within 30 minutes. Some attendees had scooped up four at once. Maybe next year it’ll have to be 100 artists at $100.
Nadine Kam photos
Art-filled mystery bags were marked only by a number, one through 50.
The pieces of art were masked by brown shopping bags hanging on walls and dangling from the ceiling. Those who purchased them picked the one they wanted, to be cut down by one of two Bens—one being TV news guy and the event’s ringmaster Ben Guiterrez—integral to the proceedings.
Otherwise, there was a wonderful Mediterranean spread, food, cocktails and wine provided by The Contemporary Café, Ka Restaurant, and Swam, and mini pop-up stores featuring items by P55dle, Soo Zou, Unleash Studios, Sandoaloha, and Premadonna.
There were also lines for psychic readings for those trying to make sense of this wacky Tiger year.
From left, Unleash Studio artist Melissa Rivera, Brooke Berrington, John Tanji Koga and Fishcake’s Betty Lee Kurihara. Kea is her dog.
The tow Bens —Guiterrez and Moffat—towered over everyone in stilts.
Fashionistas in black, from left, Melanie Kosaka, Lianne Bidal Thompson and fashion show/event producer Lynne O’Neill, in town from New York, where she produces New York Fashion Week shows and many other events. What gives? I was wearing black, too. There was a whole lot of black and white dressing overall. I guess everyone really is going back to basics.
Jill Braden, right, with artist Jodi Endicott, who was contributor to the mystery bags. Jodi showed her support for TCM by purchasing a bag as well. She received this drawing by Mari Kuromachi. After this photo was taken, she happily discovered Kuromachi had included a second related drawing. In another example of artists supporting other artists, Mark Chai sported one of Melissa Rivera’s T-shirt designs.
Lianne’s bag contained this metal piece by Tae Kitakata, reading, “If I have to explain you’ll never understand,” which probably represents the sentiment of every artist.
With the help of John Koga and some food, Kea, who nimbly ambled through the crowd without getting toes or tail accidentally stomped on, sits still for a moment.
As soon as I arrived I spotted this amazing light table/lamp/storage unit, and later, when artist Melissa Rivera was showing me her pop-up shop, there was another related piece. I put two and two together and was thrilled to know she created this piece. She is so amazing you’ll be hearing more about her soon!