Sunday, June 17, 2007

PARTIES: Night at the Museum, not starring Ben Stiller

As a kid, I always thought it would be great to get stuck in the museum at night. And though this idea has been the premise of a few children's books and movies, I suspect my motives were dorkier than most. I hated having to crane my neck to look over taller people's shoulders at the exhibits and I just wanted to be alone so I could learn at my leisure. Wow, what a loser.
Anyway, the weekly newsletter of cultural happenings Flavorpill has teamed up with Nokia and Budweiser select to sponsor One Step Beyond, monthly parties at the American Museum of Natural History (more specifically the Rose Center for Earth and Space). If you remember the parties at the Guggenheim museum last year, you'll know they often featured ridiculously long lines and (my) frost-bitten toes. More people stood outside than ever got in (myself included). In contrast, the Rose Center has about 5x the amount of space, a maximum capacity of over 1000 people, no lines at all and 3 floors to party on.
For those who have never been, the Rose Center's main hall is dominated by an enormous white sphere (not unlike Disney's Epcot center) which houses the new Hayden Planetarium on the top floor. Below that is spiral walkway which details the timeline of our universe, and on the ground floor are smaller mini-exhibits on life on earth and the other planets. There are 3 floors, all of which were open for dancing or general ambling around, and a snack stand with pricey hot dogs and chicken fingers.
The music was supplied by DJ team Devlin & Darko of Spank Rock, and Aaron LaCrate (Milkcrate NYC), whose sets were bouncy if not predictable. The only surprise was that they relied on old and new reggae standards for the better part of an hour to get the party started. In the "Powerhouse", a room on the top floor, Foreign Islands spun punk and rave music for the tightly-fitted pants crowd. Danish artist Hess, and The Bassbin Twins played house, D&B and electronica. The drinks were a bit disappointing: there was only Budweiser Select ($6) and wine ($8), but the prices could have been worse. The main floor was host to a few performers, including 3 professional hula-hoopers, a man in a kimono on roller skates, and girl covered in fake flowers who danced with the guests in a B-girl style.
After feeling a bit tipsy, my friends and I saw the show on the Big Bang, narrated by Maya Angelou, and the show "Cosmic Collisions" in the planetarium, narrated by Robert Redford. The highlight of the show is that they use vibrations to simulate meteorite impacts. It was like being on the best class field trip ever, with all the teachers missing and replaced by bartenders. And I am sure the planetarium has never been host to such a rowdy crowd of kids, they were forced to turn off the projection because of the repeated whoopings, cheers and applause at various spectral events, including the creation of the Moon. Fun Science Fact: Scientists believe the moon was created in only 1 month. Which is rather refreshing since everything else seems to have taken billions and trillions of years.
The only drawback to this party is the $20 price tag. For someone like me, who prefers to party for free, that's a big chunk of change just to dance (and learn!), but for Manhattanites I'm sure that didn't put a dent in their wallets. It makes me feel a bit better to know that a portion of the cover will go to the museum instead of some peroxide party planner, and I got a ticket to the museum during regular hours to boot.
P.S. Sorry it took so long to post again, I started a new job that sucks the life and wit out of me, both of which I need to blog successfully.

No comments: