MERRY MEN OF THE MACABRE

Lei - - Style - TEXT BY Lisa Ya­mada IM­AGES BY John Hook

A cu­rios­ity shop in Honolulu gives new life to a bizarre col­lec­tion of an­tiques.

A few blocks from the heart of Chi­na­town in Honolulu, just past a makeshift booth sell­ing cheap cig­a­rettes and a store filled with dresses cov­ered in plas­tic, is cu­rios­ity shop Hound and Quail. In­side, hard-to-find ob­jects from the ghoul­ish to the bizarre, in­clud­ing globes, med­i­cal sup­plies, anatomy mod­els, and skeleton keys, are stacked in an or­ga­nized chaos sort of way. A taxi­der­mic wolf stands watch over it all.

How the shop’s own­ers, Travis Flazer and Mark Pei, crossed paths is only slightly less macabre than the vin­tage wares that line Hound and Quail’s walls. “We met ini­tially on Glen Grant’s haunted tour of Honolulu,” Flazer re­calls of the out­ing in 2004 that took them by such haunted sites as ‘Iolani Palace, Hawai‘i State Li­brary, and Kawa­iaha‘o Church. “I vol­un­teered to be the guy who got hit on the head by a spirit,” he says. Flazer has a habit of ex­ces­sive vol­un­teer­ing—to a fault, he ad­mits—and is quick to pitch in on the machi­na­tions of oth­ers, in­clud­ing Pei. Says Pei, “I’m prob­a­bly the in­sti­ga­tor be­tween the two of us. I’m like, ‘I want a shop—’” and Flazer in­ter­jects, “And I’m like, ‘I’ll help you build your shop.’”

Ever since they met, the two have chan­neled their shared love of all things weird into own­ing and main­tain­ing what they de­scribe as “cre­ative out­lets.” With both hold­ing rig­or­ous full-time jobs (Flazer is the as­sis­tant tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor of the­ater at Pu­na­hou School and Pei is a pi­lot with Hawai­ian Air­lines), their shops have al­ways op­er­ated on pas­sion, and thus, lim­ited hours. The duo’s first foray into shop­keep­ing was Area, a mid-cen­tury mod­ern fur­ni­ture store open just one day a month in Chi­na­town for the neigh­bor­hood’s pop­u­lar First Fri­day event. How­ever, af­ter Pei lost his for­mer job at Aloha Air­lines, they were forced to close Area’s doors. “In 2008, the re­ces­sion hit big time,” says Pei, who was un­em­ployed for nearly a year. “No­body was spend­ing money. … Air­lines were fold­ing, and we couldn’t sur­vive, so we shut it down.”

When the econ­omy bounced back, Pei and Flazer opened Hound and Quail in 2011 in a two-story walk-up on Ka­pi­olani Boule­vard. No longer able to find vin­tage mid-cen­tury fur­ni­ture, they switched gears, fill­ing their shop with smaller goods that Pei sourced from flea mar­kets and an­tique shops while on lay­overs around the world. But the size of their

quar­ters, which amounted to some­thing along the lines of a walk-in closet, quite lit­er­ally be­gan to cramp their style, so they launched the hunt for a new lo­ca­tion.

In early 2014, they stum­bled upon the Chi­na­town shop. “It was kind of a derelict space on a derelict end of the street with peo­ple camped out with carts,” Flazer says. “But we chose to come back to Chi­na­town be­cause if we were go­ing to con­tinue to do this, I wanted to be part of a com­mu­nity.” With Pei’s cre­ative di­rec­tion and Flazer’s back­ground in set build­ing at Pu­na­hou, they trans­formed the space into an ur­ban won­der—it’s easy to for­get you’re in Chi­na­town upon step­ping in­side. The shop even came with such creepy fea­tures as a grand stair­case that leads nowhere and an eerie base­ment reimag­ined as an art gallery.

In ad­di­tion to monthly ro­tat­ing art ex­hi­bi­tions at Hound and Quail, Pei imag­ines the shop will play host to events like small din­ner par­ties, wine classes, or even taxi­dermy work­shops. Even­tu­ally, the two hope the space will be a gath­er­ing place for the com­mu­nity, as well as an in­spi­ra­tion for oth­ers. “When is it ever a good time to do any­thing?” Pei asks. “Just try it, and if it doesn’t work, you’ll re­cover.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.