"Surfing Pineapples" by Cora Yee. Part of the "Reflecting Hawaii" exhibit at HISAM.


This month, Hawaii becomes the 43rd community worldwide to host its own Ladyfest.

The arts celebration and female empowerment event is part of a global grassroots movement motivating artists to create exhibitions and showcases outside traditional gallery and theatrical venues.

Ladyfest Hawaii 2005 Arts Festival

Complete schedule available at www.ladyfesthawaii.com


» 4 to 11 p.m.: Nomoola.com free store and "Prada Not Chanel," choreographed by Jennifer Butler Shannon, by Convergence Dance Theatre, at 9. Free. At 22 S. Pauahi St.

» 5 to 9 p.m.: Visual arts exhibit, with performances by Geneva, Willow Chang, the Convergence Dance Theatre, DJ Nocturna, and fashion show by Michele Lau and Lauren LoLevin. Free. At the ARTS at Marks Garage, 1159 Nuuanu Ave., and Starpoint Cafe, 1131 Nuuanu.

» 10 p.m.: Deerhoof and Maria, with DJ Sleeze; $12 at the door, 21 and over. At Indigo, 1121 Nuuanu Ave.


» 3 and 7 p.m.: "A Suite for Lovli" by performance artist J. Faith Almiron. Free ($3 suggested donation). At the University of Hawaii-Manoa Art Auditorium.

» 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.: Tiny Believers, with My Ex Is Dead, Vax!, 17/10, and "a strangely beautiful puppet show"; $10 at the door, all ages. At Club Pauahi, 80 S. Pauahi St.

You gotta have art

Ladyfest is one of the events taking place during First Friday, running 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.Other highlights of the free monthly downtown art walk include:

» HISAM: The Hawaii State Art Museum will open its new exhibition, "Reflecting Hawaii," an exploration of the personal and artistic impressions of Hawaii, including recent acquisitions from a statewide call for artworks and photographs from the Art in Public Places Collection. At 250 S. Hotel St.

» Pegge Hopper Gallery: "Lost & Found: Drawings from Life," by Kenneth Bushnell on view, featuring drawings created in a studio setting with a group of artists and friends over a 35-year period. At 1164 Nuuanu Ave.

Gallery maps are free at 22 participating downtown galleries. This month also marks the introduction of trolley service from Waikiki for visitors. Pickups start at 4:30 p.m., with the downtown departure at 8:25 p.m.

Pickup stops are at Benihana Restaurant on Ala Moana Boulevard, Outrigger Islander on Lewers Street, the Duke Kahanamoku statue on Kalakaua Avenue, Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, Nuuanu Avenue across from Indigo, and the First Hawaiian Bank on King Street.

For more info call The ARTS at Marks Garage at 521-2903.

With roots in the early 1990s Riot Grrl movement, the first Ladyfest was held in Olympia, Wash., in late 2000. Since then, the non-profit, do-it-yourself feminist-based festival has moved across the nation, to Europe, Australia, and now to the islands.

The inaugural Ladyfest Hawai'i 2005 will fill downtown venues and the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus. And among those who will display their art, dance, spin records or make music, there are two acts to look out for.

One is a music-making couple, and the other a San Francisco band that consistently pushes the boundaries of rock music.

WHAT'S IN A NAME? For Jon Moritsugu and Amy Davis, not much, considering they had to change their act's name for Ladyfest Hawai'i when, during a late-night Google search, they discovered that The Believers was already registered by another band. For now, call them Tiny Believers.

Moritsugu -- who made his name creating underground films in New York and San Francisco -- is a big, conceptual thinker, and didn't think the new name did justice to his and Amy's freewheeling mix of "scuzz punk and bliss pop." Davis, however, reflecting on how much their life has changed in the year since moving from the Bay Area to Jon's island home, thought it was perfect.

As they move into their 40s, their on-stage look has "evolved" from what Davis calls "messy hair and lots of glitter to all white, not in an Usher way, but sort of nerdy Lacoste."

Armed with her "buttery cream bass," this in-demand fashion illustrator who's finishing a nine-year run doing a cartoony style column for Paper, a New York magazine for the "hipoisie," has appeared in several of her husband's movies, and will talk about "That Biz We Call Art" Sunday afternoon at the Richards Street YWCA.

"Jon (a reluctant-to-reveal Punahou grad) grew up here, and the first time I visited and saw the ocean at Waimanalo beach, I was so moved. It's so cool here, you can feel the vibe. So even though we've left friends back on the mainland, life is short, and we love it here," Davis said.

The two met as seeming opposites -- she, a 17-year-old goth with Louise Brooks-style hair, and he, 21, all punked out with orange hair -- in college in Providence, R.I. Davis's flair for the dramatic made her a natural for Moritsugu's cinematic guerilla assaults on pop culture, and she admits to having used her talent to flirt with the bemused guy behind the lens.

Moritsugu plans to work on a new feature here soon, albeit one not as curse-laden as his earlier efforts.

In the meantime, the Tiny Believers carry on. "And our music is super cheesy," Davis says with pride. "Don't come if you're lactose intolerant!"

Amy Davis' work will be featured Sunday.

DEERHOOF IS a band that must be seen live to fully appreciate its bracing brew of sweet pop melodies and experimental noise. The group's distinctive sound is made more so thanks to former Japanese national Satomi Matsuzaki singing her beguiling lyrics.

Deerhoof -- also featuring founders guitarist Rob Fisk, drummer/keyboardist Greg Saunier, and new guitarist Chris Cohen -- began receiving critical and fan support with 2003's "Apple O'" and last year's concept album, "Milk Man."

The band's fearless and playful chemistry also is reflected in an e-mail interview with Cohen.

On whether he helped solidify Deerhoof's sound since joining the band, he blithely replies, "I'm glad someone finally noticed the connection. My psychic control over the band has invisibly allowed me to get to the point where I can control the very thoughts of the other members."

Seriously, "We made the decision to go full time after I joined," he said. "That, coupled with my own patented synthetic formula, administered in a simple glass of water, has actually caused the band to spontaneously generate musical ideas."

The diminutive Matsuzaki, Cohen said, "is a very powerful person. She gets mad if we play too loud behind her, which we continually do without us realizing it. She's like a lion tamer, and we're impossible to fully repress. You get that feeling with certain bands. I find it very inspiring."

As to what the Ladyfest goers can expect from the noise pop band, Cohen boldly promises, "There'll be no tricks, just good clean fun! The laser machine and crowd-control gas pellets are only if John breaks a string."

Deerhoof at '03's All Tomorrow's Parties.

E-mail to Features Desk


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