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First Friday, Best Friday

You've got to get downtown. First Friday waits for you.

We hit the town for September's First Friday and had a blast-this monthly street party of galleries and other venues (including a hair salon, restaurants and a tattoo parlor) featuring art exhibitions has only gotten bigger and better. We found live music, food, libations, great exhibits and, best of all, an undeniably mellow, welcoming vibe. On this page are scenes from that night.

A pottery exhibit at the Arts at Marks Garage, 1159 Nu‘uanu Ave. Ceramics by Hawai‘i Craftsman and Raku Ho‘olaule‘a. Photos: Kathryn Drury (1, 3, 4)

Behind every great party are some hard-working hosts. Kim Coffee-Isaak, one of the business partner-artists behind The Arts at Marks Garage, has spearheaded this event since it was a modest gallery walk of eight venues three years ago. About a year and a half ago, it grew into First Friday, and it continues to grow beyond its Nu'uanu Avenue home base to embrace venues throughout downtown. "The current map has 19 venues and by November, it will be 26," says Coffee-Isaak.

Drummers Abdulaye Diop and Jammala perform West African dance rhythms at Soullenz Gallery and Photography Studio. 186 N. King St.
On the wall are new paintings by Dieter Runge. Photo: John Heckathorn

The Arts at Marks Garage looked pretty packed when we popped in. How many people showed up? "We counted 958 throughout the night," she says.

For this month's First Friday, Oct. 1st, The Arts at Marks Garage celebrates the launch of its new Web site, where people can always go to find out what the next First Friday has in store: www.artsatmarks.com.

First Friday goers toast the new looks for fall at J Salon, 1128 Nu‘uanu Ave. Photos on the wall by Karin Kovalsky.

Also celebrating more than usual on October's First Friday will be Atelier 4. Look for this gallery under a new name-Bethel Street Gallery-in a new location, on Bethel by the Hawai'i Theatre. Both changes have a lot to do with First Friday's success. "The new location is closer to the action and gives us a lot more room," says co-owner Scottie Flamm, who has been diligently sending out press releases for every First Friday. "It seems like downtown has really become vibrant. I think it's just going to get better and better."

A crowd takes in the photographic exhibit, “Portrait of a Woman,” by Christina Simpkins at Studio 1, 1 N. King St. Studio 1 also had belly dancer Kalei and music by Amber Richie and Dragonfly.

For more information, call 521-2903.

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,October

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