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First Fridays

September 24, 2008

First Fridays is a monthly event held to promote business in Chinatown, featuring an assortment of street entertainment and gallery openings. Chinatown is a Honolulu neighborhood in a state of flux: at once a historical district gone to rot, now undergoing a gradual gentrification from the business district. This makes for a charming mix of urban decay and beautifully renovated spaces, rendering Chinatown the de facto cultural heart of Honolulu. There are still a few too many homeless drug addicts lingering in the shadows, a few too many dive bars (the scary kind you wouldn’t venture into even for the fun of “slumming it”) and a few too many boarded up condemned buildings for it to be truly comfortable, but even this dark side contributes to a pulsating organic soul that provides a real reprieve from the plastic, Vegas-like atmosphere of Waikiki.

We had been hankering to go for a few months, but had always got caught up in something up until the most recent First Friday. We brought the kids, but soon realized these events are geared toward adults. Next time it will have to be parents night out.

Plenty of gallery openings and free wine.

We ducked inside the Hawaii Theatre for a few minutes and listened to a few tunes on the ol’ pipe organ. It’s a surprisingly beautiful venue.

Many a boutique have settled in the neighborhood alongside the bars, restaurants and galleries, the kind that are just fun to rummage through.

A lot of Chinatown still looks like this.

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