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Even on First Fridays, the streets of Phoenix are cold, cruel, callous boulevards where materialism and art clash, hipsters congregate in slow-moving packs, and drunken ASU students suffer from disorientation and boredom.

Since last February, “Free Hugs” dude Ian Fecke-Stoudt has made it his mission to bring joy to First Fridays by doling out embraces. This week, he hopes to land himself in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The pending record is 612 hugs in one hour. "But there's a girl at BYU who has an unofficial record of 765," says Fecke-Stoudt. "I thought, 'I could beat that.'" It's this kind of bravado, paired with the damaging effects of the post-holiday blues, that makes us totally believe he will.

Look for the guy with the "Free Hugs" sign on Roosevelt Row.

Fri., Jan. 4, 8:30-9:30 p.m., 2008


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