As one of the innumerable people that made a cameo on Christa Wittmier’s blog, I once thought myself cool because Christa had taken my picture. Over the course of the last decade, Christa’s omnipresence in Honolulu has earned her multiple mononyms. A woman of exuberant energy and talents (writer, marketer, deejay, community organizer, documentarian), she has become not “the person from the paper,” or “the lady managing the liquor sales,” but Christa, CW, or SuperCW.
For her countless friends, Christa has captured some of the most enjoyable moments of young adulthood in Hawai‘i. I first met her, I think, on the dance floor of thirtyninehotel in Chinatown, or it might have been at a beach party, or through a date. In the spring of 2007, a friend and I installed an art show at a tattoo shop, and the totality of our marketing plan consisted of getting Christa to post the flyer online, and then getting her to show up. It worked. The place was packed with revelers seeking free cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Christa got to Hawai‘i the way many transplants do. “I needed to escape from Tacoma, Washington,” she says, speaking from her Honolulu apartment. To do so, at age 19, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy without seeking the counsel of her sister or parents. Stationed on bases in North Africa and Europe, and on a variety of ships, she performed a variety of computer-related work. While serving on a base in England that monitored the Atlantic from 1998 to 2000, Christa created a website to archive her free time and the interesting humans her gregarious nature attracted. Her website, supercw.com, was born. In 2002, she was stationed in Honolulu. She spent her afternoons and weekends at Sandy Beach, where her long blonde hair touched the sea spray, and the doors of her VW van were open to anyone nice. She fell hard. When her military position ended, she was in relationships with a bassist in a reggae band, and with the island itself. She declined to reenlist, despite a perfect record.
Over the next several years, supercw.com traced the awakening of an urban Honolulu scene, while Christa herself occupied a variety of office jobs. As the scene moved away from club nights in Waikīkī hotels to dance parties in historic Chinatown, with the opening of thirtyninehotel in 2004, followed by half a dozen clubs in the following years, Christa introduced the town to new bands, events, and styles via images and captions that she uploaded weekly. In 2007, predating the social media onslaught and the tagging of images online, supercw.com blew up. That year, the now-defunct Honolulu Weekly held its annual “Best Of” contest, and SuperCW won the year’s best website by a ridiculously large margin. Ailing from a decline in readership, the Honolulu Weekly hired her to write a nightlife column—a print version of her blog—which she named The Social Lite. For five years and four months, she never missed a week.
The best reads—the inside jokes, puns, bizarre humor—were still on the blog. “I tried to update the site in a way that was funny, but not in an obnoxious way [like] putting puppy faces on people or emojis everywhere,” she recalls. She looked for subjects to photograph and promote. Subjects, in turn, looked for her. If you were an event planner, fashionista, art director, social justice organizer, or a corporate sponsor, your party sucked unless Christa was there. When the Weekly disappeared in 2012, Christa moved her column to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and retitled it Supercity.
Today, a review of supercw.com shows Christa with real superhuman ability: Getting to a place, transposing through any form of door security, snapping a picture at the apex of the event, and disappearing in a flash to catch the next spot. Like a violation of physics, or magic, her blog shows her at multiple events that occurred simultaneously on the island. Here, all of yesterday’s parties are still happening online.
Her efforts did not go unnoticed. Through them, Christa became the marketing director for a liquor distribution company, which allowed her to direct national marketing budgets toward aspiring women, bands, and community programs. “Parties that aren’t misogynistic and terrible—that’s my thing,” she explains. She became a deejay. She organized social events for the Pow! Wow! art collective. She threw events for government officials, Hollywood producers, and visiting deejays. The website captured it all, in addition to the birth and often hilarious demise of numerous local clubs.
She also collaborated with people whose previous parties were disasters, or supported rivals who have openly criticized her omnipresence, which is especially surprising to those who live on an island. “I remember walking into some bars, and I could feel the record skip,” she remembers. “I didn’t care. I realize people see me as too hype, too over-happy, too cheesy. It’s just that there’s so much happening here, and I couldn’t wait to share it with everyone.”
It all came crashing down in May 2015, when a routine medical checkup led to Christa being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. Traversing into the land of the sick, everything changed. “The first two weeks are terrifying, the absolute worst—you’re always waiting around, waiting for the doctor to see you, waiting for a test—just too much waiting with your mind racing,” Christa remembers. “A journal was the first thing I did.” The journal evolved into the Aloha Cancer Project, an online resource she created with friend and fellow cancer survivor Daniel Gray, who owned SoHo Mixed Media Bar on Pauahi Street until 2013. She wrote a how-to outline for those recently diagnosed with cancer. Her doctor declared “all trouble areas completely resolved” in September 2015, then confirmed it again in March 2016. A few months later, in July, she was scheduled to present a TEDx talk about perseverance. Days before, new tests showed that her cancer had metastasized to other organs. Instead of canceling, she filmed her presentation in advance, and went to treatment. She recites these facts quickly in person, dispelling any horror with another story of a remembered party, of the next event crew to look out for.
Christa is nowhere near ready to leave the party. In the summer of 2016, between brain radiation and hormone and light therapy, she took vacations in France and New Zealand. Per the usual, she responds to emails in a snap. She is filming a documentary. She continues to write for the paper, for her blog, and to pen notes of encouragement to others. She is planning pool parties, receptions, yoga fundraisers, and more trips around the world. She is creating business plans for marijuana dispensaries, which cater to those, like herself, who require pain medication. She adopted a middle-aged salt-and-pepper-colored dog named BooBoo to accompany her to radio interviews and doctor appointments. “Everything is here,” says Christa, whose long blonde hair has been burnt away. “My friends have become my family. There’s nowhere in the world like this place. Believe me, I’ve seen it.”
Exiting her apartment, I’m plied with a mixtape CD, an Aloha Cancer Project journal, and several flyers. The next day, I read her Supercity column in the paper. This week’s installment is about a nightclub she had visited between treatments that most had written off as corny, with lame music. “It’s one of those places you can go with no plans or no friends and most likely still be all good,” she writes beneath an image of diverse young people clearly enjoying themselves. “You will make friends. If you feel like you don’t fit in anywhere, this could be the place for you.”