I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
Published April 1st 2010
One of New York's best-kept secrets is the First Saturday celebration of art and culture at Brooklyn Museum. Thousands turn out to see artifacts and exhibits up close, hear lectures, readings, and live music, and partake in a variety of events, such as group dance parties. Come early (tickets go on sale at 2 PM) as the late afternoon through evening event usually sells out quickly. (Tip: Join Museum "1st Fans" for $20 and get ahead of the pack with guaranteed tickets, meet-ups with other members, and exclusive access to artist-created content, plus Twitter and Flickr updates.)
April's First Saturday event, "To Live Forever," the title a nod to the Egyptian theme of the evening, promises just as much delight. Arab ensemble Zikrayat sets the mood with unique string instruments that capture classic sounds from the golden age of Arabic music, a fitting backdrop to the museum's main exhibit, "To Live Forever: Art and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt".
Curator Ed Bleiberg and Objects Conservator Lisa Bruno discuss the process of researching and preserving the ancient artifacts on view and Bleiberg offers an extended discussion of the exhibit, which is followed by a catalog signing. In addition to the new exhibit, the Brooklyn Museum currently has in its permanent collection among the greatest reserves of Egyptian art in the United States.
The theme continues with a lecture with author Joshua Cohen and illustrator Michael Hafftka who discuss their book, "A Heaven of Others," a poetic and dreamlike novel about a Jewish boy who ends up in Muslim heaven.
Those with children in tow might want to take advantage of the evening's hands-on craft activities as instructors lead a group how-to on designing and embossing copper amulets with classic Egyptian symbols.
Finally, the evening rounds out with a freestyle Egyptian-inspired dance party hosted by DJ Nickodemus and the Spy from Cairo. The museum café, which offers a variety of fresh salads and sandwiches, is open all evening and libations are provided by a cash bar that serves wine and beer.