August 2012

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1000 Bishop St., Suite 405
Honolulu, HI 96813

“Party Foul,” July 2012

First Friday started as a mild-mannered art walk, but as writer Matthew Kain found out, big crowds and late-night drinking have made some in Chinatown question the event’s value.

As a community advocate and representative of Chinatown Business and Community Association, I favor banning sales of alcohol at these huge street festivals because of the collateral problems of trash, rowdiness, loud noise, fights, open drunkenness, urine, vomit, and mayhem affecting the rest of the non-participating/attending residents, shopkeepers, restaurants and bus riders. Do we really want historic Chinatown to be promoted as a place to get drunk, using art as an excuse to promote loud music and irresponsible drinking?

—Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock
Honolulu, Hawaii
Via Facebook


Short memories prevail. It was only 10 years ago that the community would not venture into what became the Arts District of Chinatown and the start of First Fridays. The area was owned by drug dealers and prostitutes. There were many vacant storefronts and little or no employment in the area. Artists came and, along with the Federal Weed and Seed Program, they helped create a safer community. The artists did well for a while and then the 2008 economy killed spending for artwork, forcing the closure of many art galleries. Now, trendy boutiques are filling in and we are again showing signs of stable economic life. On First Fridays, as well as other event evenings, the active merchants hire off-duty police in uniform, which has made a huge difference. As the property manager of Marks Garage, we appreciate the growing occupancy in the neighborhood. Let’s be thankful for the good these events bring to the economic viability of downtown.

—Andy Friedlander
Colliers International
Honolulu, Hawaii

"Unsolicited Advice:  for the Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall," June, 2012

Editor A. Kam Napier wondered why the concert hall has been looking so shabby, writing, “A lot about the concert hall falls short of the ‘luxurious comfort’ promised by its website.”

Concerns raised in your June edition regarding the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Concert Hall are well taken, and we are happy to provide additional information. Ongoing projects at the Concert Hall are updating its performance space and public space. Some seats do need work, which is why we had already begun refurbishing some seating sections and will soon complete others. Over the past five years, we have installed a new air conditioning system and modern stage lighting, which have significantly reduced electricity costs. We’ve also installed a new Line Array sound system, electrical transformer and carpet. More efficient lighting has also been installed in the parking lot, which is being resurfaced. Our goal is to accomplish as much as possible through revenue generated by the Center, rather than rely on taxpayer dollars. Revenue is growing through the presentation of popular attractions, and we’ll strive to make every visit thoroughly enjoyable. Mahalo.

—John C. Fuhrmann
Auditoriums Events and Services Manager,
City and County of Honolulu

Ahana koko lele

In our July Calabash story on First Fridays, the name of the Arts District Merchant’s Association president and co-owner of J.J. Dolan’s should have been printed as John “J.J.” Niebuhr.

In our June Best Doctor’s listings, pediatrician Keith T. Matsumoto should have been listed as accepting new patients by referral.