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Cultural Brooklyn in the Midst of Wintertime

Ellen Levitt

Posted on February 3, 2020 15:00

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Friends and I partook of the best of Brooklyn cultural offerings on the first Saturday of February, attending (free!) events at the Central Library and the Brooklyn Museum.

February 1st was a cultural cornucopia in Brooklyn, with stellar offerings at the Central Library and the Brooklyn Museum. The Central Library held the 4th annual Night of Philosophy & Ideas and the Brooklyn Museum staged its monthly edition of First Saturdays. Since the Library and the Museum are just a few minutes walk from each other, some friends and I attended events at both institutions, and enjoyed music, art and lectures.  

I attended two of the previous Nights of P & I, and found them fascinating although at times strange. The Night has a large schedule of performances and lectures on various topics, which begin 7PM and run through 7AM. Attendees can come and go as they please (and I didn't stay until the end). 

It was also an opportunity to see a few friends, and for us and everyone else to sample various topics and issues. We attended the opening speech, which I found a bit boring except for one of the speakers who sang a brief and plaintive a cappella piece. Then we sat in on "Teenage Activism Is Defining a Socio-Political Education," which featured three high school students, a high school teacher and an educator from a local non-degree seminar school. The teens spoke passionately about their thoughts on education and it was interesting to me, as a teacher and parent (and former teenager) to listen to them. I didn't agree with everything they said but that was fine. 

Next we saw a strange and eye-opening performance by the trio Hands in the Pockets. They did some intricate twirling and movement, and then did jaw-dropping balancing routines. One guy balanced an upright broomstick on his abdomen, another balanced a stick on his head, and they all did circular, group balancing routines that were very entertaining. 

We also enjoyed the music mixes from the main lobby disc jockey, as well as a female keyboardist. We attended part of another lecture but honestly, the speaker was nearly mumbling so I lost track of her message, and instead read part of a play in the book stacks. And the library air was very stuffy, so four of us walked over, in light drizzle, to the Museum. There we listened to experimental but funky music by Bri Blvck and her band, who also featured a female tap dancer who was charming. We briefly checked out one of the art exhibitions there.

I truly enjoy these types of events, and part of the fun is you don't know exactly what you're getting into. It's not like attending a play or concert where you know the material well. You take chances being here: you might be fascinated by some of it, bored by other parts. But you sample the offerings, you take minor gambles and might be rewarded.

Too often our entertainment is rigid and laid out neatly; we know what to expect, more or less. That is too predictable. I like taking some risks as an arts consumer. 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on February 3, 2020 15:00

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Source: NBC 7

Musica En La Plaza returns Friday night to the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

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