UPDATE: Whisky & Poetry Salon Coming to Kailua-Kona

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Storyteller-“Pidgin Poet” Bradajo (“Brother Joe”) Jozuf Hadley, Whisky & Poetry Salon. Courtesy photo.

The Whisky & Poetry Salon. PC: Travis Stevens

UPDATE: April 11, 2018

The venue for the Whisky & Poetry Salon has been changed from Gertrude’s Jazz Bar to a private space in Captain Cook.

The exact location will be sent to ticket holders after purchase.


The Whisky & Poetry Salon, an immersive evening of spirits and words, will make its Hawai‘i debut on Monday, April 16, 2018; from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at Gertrude’s Jazz Bar with local Storyteller-“Pidgin Poet” Bradajo (“Brother Joe” aka, Jozuf Handley) as feature poet.

“We trade you whisky for your words” is the concept of The Whisky & Poetry Salon, which celebrated its fifth anniversary in November 2017.


All guests are asked to bring a poem, original or not, to read in a candlelit circle of fellow poetry lovers.

Over the course of the evening, a whisky ambassador presents distinctive whiskies paired with tasting education.

A feature poet of note ends each evening with a ten to 15-minute set.

In its five years of existence in Los Angeles, the Whisky & Poetry Salon has built a devoted following by inspiring a renewed appreciation for poetry via the encouragement to read aloud in a supportive environment and beautiful, atmospheric settings while sipping fine whisky.

Past featured poets include: Luis J. Rodriguez, official Poet Laureate of Los Angeles (2014-2016); Beau Sia, Def Poetry slam poetry TV series; Raul Herrera, who performed at the White House with the Get Lit Players; and Suzanne Lummis and Annelyse Gelman, each of whom has had poems featured in The New Yorker.


“Highlighting new and established poets for those outside the creative community has been a constant of The Whisky & Poetry Salon since its inception,” according to co-founder/producer Kim Ohanneson. “We are excited and honored to present Bradajo whose unique voice celebrates the unique grassroots language of a multicultural Hawai‘i.”

A third generation kama‘āina from Kaua‘i, Bradajo is a poet, storyteller and artist. For over 30 years, Bradajo has worked within the medium of Hawaiian Pidgin English: traditionally an oral language where the passing of knowledge occurred by word of mouth.

In the late 1960’s, Bradajo developed the first written form: a phonetic cursive or calligraphy he renders by hand. Chaloookyu Eensai (try look you inside) was released in 1972, accompanied by a recording of his narration in old-style Kaua‘i pidgin. It is now considered a genre classic.

Bradajo’s books and CDs will be available for sale at The Whisky & Poetry Salon.

In addition to producing and hosting the salon, Ohanneson, a certified whisky ambassador (The British Innkeeping Institute, Glasgow, Scotland) and principal of Ardent Spirits L.A., will lead the tasting of six distinctive whiskeys from Scottish, Irish, Japanese and American distilleries and will educate guests on how to nose and taste whiskey. (Guests will be able to purchase additional beverages.)



The event is for guests 21 and over.

Tickets are $45 (includes six whisky samples and light bites); available online.

For more information, contact Ohanneson at [email protected] or call (323) 842-7474.

NOTE: The Scots spell it whisky and the Irish spell it whiskey, with an extra ‘e’. This difference in the spelling comes from the translations of the word from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic forms. Whiskey with the extra ‘e’ is also used when referring to American whiskies.

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