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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, October 8, 2004

Studio 1 hosting 'rescue' party

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

On the eve of Studio 1's second birthday, the owner of the downtown visual and performing arts gallery said the venue may not survive without a quick infusion of cash.

Studio 1's second Anniversary Fund-Raiser

With Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre, the 2004 Hawaii Slam Poetry Team, Communication, Melodious Solutions, Quadraphonix and Kavet the Catalyst

7 p.m.-2 a.m. tomorrow

Studio 1

Donations: $5 to $20 and up


"We'll be closed before the end of the year if we don't do something," said Jack Frick, who has operated Studio 1 largely on his own dime since its September 2002 opening.

Studio 1 is hosting a second anniversary party/fund-raiser for itself tomorrow to celebrate its survival and draw attention to its plight. Current and former Studio 1 promoters, artists and musicians performing gratis include Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre, the Hawaii Slam Poetry Team, Communication, Melodious Solutions, Quadraphonix and "Trip The Lights" turntablist Kavet the Catalyst.

"It's one of the best venues that I know of," said local slam poet Kealoha. "And I want to make sure it survives, because some of the best times I've had in the last two years have been there."

One of Studio 1's most popular regular events, Kealoha's year-and-a-half-old "First Thursdays" was recognized by National Poetry Slam as one of the best-attended slam competitions nationwide in 2003.

"As far as attending events that stimulate mind, body and spirit ... (Studio 1) has always been a place I could go to where I knew that was going to happen," said Kealoha.

Frick launched Studio 1 in late 2002 in a leased two-story building at King Street and Nu'uanu Avenue, with hopes of revitalizing the downtown arts scene. A steady following for one-time-only and monthly events, such as "First Thursdays" and Lightsleepers' "Trip The Lights," kept Studio 1's attendance and liquor sales up in 2003. But downturns this year have hurt the space. "Had we continued (the momentum) of the first year into the second, it might've been OK," said Frick. "But I think that people are going out less nationwide. ... That's affected us."

Frick estimated Studio 1's monthly overhead at just under $20,000 — $12,000 of which goes to renting the building.

"And I'm behind now. That's the problem," said Frick. "I'm telling people that want to partner or totally buy me out that I need $50,000 immediately ... just to get started."

Frick said a partnership offered $500,000 earlier this year to buy him out. A falling out between the partners ended the deal.

After two years of running Studio 1 full time, Frick admitted to also wanting some time off. While open to selling Studio 1 outright, Frick would prefer partnering with others to keep it open.

"A partnership would be better because I do feel like I've nurtured this a long time and have some influence downtown," said Frick.

Frick also would still like to realize his goal of turning Studio 1 into a full-fledged arts center. He originally envisioned creating work- and loft-style living spaces in the building's basement and second floors. Frick was a vocal proponent of a recent City Council-approved bill allowing loft living in downtown Honolulu.

Despite the financial travails, Frick preferred calling tomorrow's event a celebration of Studio 1's two years.

"The idea is to get everybody back together and see if we can make it another two years," said Frick. "(Performers) are coming because most of them have been performing here since I opened. And they've all agreed to come and play for free."

Kealoha offered the artists' perspective on the party.

"It's a whole lineup of bands and acts involved with Studio 1's past, present and future," said Kealoha. "And we all want to see this thing continue."

Reach Derek Paiva at 525-8005 or dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com.