High Art

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By reading this, you’re agreeing not to sue me if a security figure hassles you for following what I’ll soon suggest. Intoxication means breaking rules. Especially when getting blotto at the Brooklyn Museum.

The first Saturday of every month, the world-class arts institution (don’t scoff, Met snob) hosts its creatively named First Saturday party. The all-evening jamboree offers free movies, workshops, admission and the centerpiece, a two-hour dance soiree. It’s an easy sell, attracting blacks, whites, lesbians, geriatrics, Asians and infants who make the party more diverse than a rush-hour 7 train, and in far higher spirits.

Thank the booze, buckaroos. To accomplish such artful mind-erasing, open your wallets and trundle to the third floor’s colossal Beaux-Arts Court, which is ringed by classical paintings. The ceiling is as high as field-goal posts, and the glass-block dance floor is as precarious as petting a porcupine.

“You couldn’t pay me to do the Macarena on that thing,” an architect acquaintance once warned of the floor’s structural integrity. But worries are washed away with a trip to the makeshift bars offering Brooklyn Lager ($5) and blasé wines ($5), poured into plastic cups.

“It’s dorm-room drinking,” says a friend one recent Saturday evening, draining a brew in one gulp. “Woo-hoo,” my friend adds, halfheartedly wiggling his rump to the hip-hop DJs. “Now pass me the flask.”

Ahh, now we’re arriving at our juicy destination. I appreciate the Brooklyn Museum opening its collections to after-hours revelers, and I’m even more grateful for the entertainment (ranging from waltz bands to Brazilian-obsessed turntablists to April’s sound merchant, femme DJ JD Samson—she spun for ecstatic lesbians who danced enthusiastically, and mostly ironically, to “It’s Raining Men”). However, to properly shimmy, one must be tipsy. You need rapid-fire First Saturday intoxication. You need to break the law. You need to do this…

The first option is pre-partying. That is, drinking prior to the affair. This is low-cost, and fosters camaraderie among fellow celebrants. It’s also preschool simple. So you must be more duplicitous, and even shady. Regress to your teenage era. Do you enjoy boozing nowadays like you did when breaking into Daddy’s liquor cabinet and siphoning off Scotch?
Of course not. After age 21, drinking is too easy, and too costly. Sadly, the shifty, time-honored tradition of sneaking in beers won’t work at the Brooklyn Museum, even if you bring museum-appropriate Brooklyn Lager. Bottles are verboten, and cracking open a longneck in public is problematic.

“Hey, what are you doing?” a security guard once asked, catching me topping off my plastic glass (“borrowed” from the drinks stand).

“Oh, they just handed me the bottle and told me to do it myself,” I answered with three-beer confidence.

“Oh, yes.” I handed him said bottle and dashed to the dance floor, where I spun around like a stuck pig.

However, my suaveness doesn’t grow on trees. If you’re of meeker constitution, please take the low-risk route. Buy a plastic Aquafina water bottle, glug it down and refill it with your favorite clear intoxicant. I recommend Giorgi vodka, paired with Key Food tonic water. Squeeze in a spritz of lime, cap off and sneak the bottle past clueless guards.

Now enjoy art the way it was intended: Shit-faced, slurring words and with an unhealthy appreciation of nude statues.

Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway (at Washington Ave.), Prospect Heights, B’klyn, 718-638-5000

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