First Saturday Fever
by Mary "Slacks" Hanson
Going to the museum on a Saturday night is like going to the ... library
on a Saturday night. Right? Nope. At the Brooklyn
Museum of Art's "First Saturdays" program, it's cool. So cool,
it was hot. Meaning that both the coat check and the auxiliary coat
check were full, and so we had to carry our parkas.
But this is a good thing, I remember thinking at the time. If lugging
a parka around a jam-packed museum on a Saturday night is any indication
that American Civilization is not lost, then lug I will. In fact,
these arty parties in Brooklyn -- and the general thriving of the BMA --
seem to be part of a boom (recently reported in the New York Times) in museum
Here's the deal. The first Saturday of every month -- next one is this
Saturday, February 5 -- the museum is open, free, from 5-11 PM. There's
live music, dancing, film, refreshments, and many of the regular and special
exhibits are open (offering that thrilling Basil E. Frankweiler feeling).
At January's event, BG and I listened to the musical stylings of the
Hawaiian swing band The Moonlighters (What can I tell you? They're Hawaiian
-- well, the women play ukeleles -- and they swing), attended the screening
of The Stepford Wives (which BG found almost as scary as The
Rules), strolled around the museum (notably, local artists' exhibits),
and coveted the splendid up-do of the lead singer of the non-Hawaiian --
but still swinging -- swing band rocking the main hall (boy can their disciples
This weekend's event includes: a meet/greet/cheesecake tasting with the
authors of the new Junior's
cookbook; music by the Phil Miller Big Band and Tomas Rodriguez and
Children of the Sun (a quartet combining Brazilian, Spanish, and American
influences); Nigerian drumming and dancing by the New York Multicultural
Theater Company; and a screening of Spike Lee's "Crooklyn."
First Saturdays is a great place to take a date, or to find one for next
time. Why? It's a diverse crowd with good taste. The numbers create energy,
yet stop short of sardines. There's tons of stuff to talk about, tons of
stuff to look at in case of lull. You can ask someone to dance; you can
watch the saddle-shoed floor show and wait for someone to ask you. Not as
intimidating as a romantic restaurant, but you can find an intimate table
for music appreciation. And art -- especially modern -- offers excellent
opening lines ("What do you think that's supposed to be?").
So forget Stepford; come to Brooklyn, where both civilization and chivalry
-- the good kind -- are lively and well.
Mary "Slacks" Hanson works on feature films in Austin and
visits Breakup Girl in Brooklyn.
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