Event Diary: CMA East Wing Unveiling and Summer Solstice Party

The Cleveland Museum of Art unveiled the renovation of its east wing—the modern art wing—while celebrating the summer solstice with different pricing for events at 5 p.m., 7 p.m., and 10 p.m. Of those options, the 10 p.m. event was the one most suitable for my budget, and it ended up being the most appropriate for my interests. The musician playing at that time, Dan Deacon, was one I could get into, playing electronic/party music. At the 10 p.m. event, the older crowd was still perusing the gallery, but there were enough young people to give it a hip, relaxed vibe.
I think the most surprising thing about the event was the fact that when I arrived, parking was free and I had to wait in line, because apparently over 2,000 people showed up to this event. (Way to go Cleveland!) Not only the amount, but also the range of people surprised me—old women wearing scarves, old men wearing suit jackets, young people wearing black framed glasses and converse high tops, as well as some decked out young women in J.Crew dresses and young men in boat shoes and Brooks Brothers button downs.
Apparently, walking around the art museum at night, looking cultured, while wearing your summer’s best, and drinking a cocktail appeals to Clevelanders more than I expected it to.
I quickly found my cocktail—the only way to survive an event solo—and set out for the East Wing.

Instead of being directed to the East Wing, however, I was pointed outside where a fireworks show was about to start and where Dan Deacon was playing in the courtyard. I looked at the stage, but it was empty. I heard music coming from somewhere, and saw Dan Deacon equipped with analog drum machines and vintage electronics completely submersed in a crowd of people jumping up and down to his music. It was funky, somewhat nerdy, like a video game or techno, but surprising and fun. As we waited for the fireworks show, Deacon engaged the crowd in a chant to the sky, asking it not to rain. In a perfectly orchestrated moment, the rain held off, and as the fireworks started, Deacon launched into his next song. 

I joined the circle of jumping people and got pushed into the center of the crowd, but could not even manage to take a picture of Deacon as everyone around me was going crazy.
Outside, the white marble walls, subtle lighting, and people in cocktail attire holding drinks mixed with dancing hipsters made it look more like a rooftop party in Manhattan than an art museum in Cleveland, and it made me want to stay until the party’s end at 2 a.m. The east wing seemed a little less interesting at this point, but curiosity and a need for a refill on my drink brought me back into the museum.
As soon as I stepped into the east wing I noticed that the design and layout, done by Rafael Viñoly, had been updated with an interesting piece of art strategically placed after every corner that made you more and more intrigued by what was in the room to follow. Shiny new flooring and deep blue and starch white walls contrasted each other. It had all of the artists a modern art gallery promises—Warhol, Picasso, Mattise, Pollock, Monet—but also new galleries dedicated to Cleveland artists and photography. A theme could be found in each room, making it easy to tie certain periods and artists together. My heart skipped a beat as I saw several of my favorite paintings arranged in new and different ways. As promised, the gallery provided more room to display more of the museum’s holdings. The event and the renovation should be considered a huge success.

The King of Pop

For all of you who choreographed dances to his hits like Thriller and Black or White (Shamon!) or have one or two of his more emotional ballads on your iPod like Will You Be There or Man in the Mirror, here is one of my favorite upbeat classics. Also, here is a little Cleveland history: Michael Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Once as a member of the Jackson 5 in 1997 and then again in 2001 as a solo artist.

Trend analyzed: Preppy

Various fashion sources have been saying that preppy is here for another turn in the trend cycle. In some circles I believe it has never left. But what I have noticed, and I believe I formulated this idea after reading a column in GQ, which I can no longer locate, is that it has extended past the ivy leaguers and people of that stereotype and has now found itself on everyone from hipster to librarian in its wake. I don’t know where those generalities came from. (Sorry, I am not trying to insult anyone.) And as this article from the New York Times points out it seems to have taken its course in Japan as well. In any case, once something becomes a trend, you can bet that it will be mass produced in stores, making it affordable and easy to acquire. Here is my polyvore creation of an affordable preppy look. It may not have as much zest as Take Ivy, but everyone has already seemed to put there own spin on it anyways.

NPR Story: Dressing up at work again

According to Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway, workers are dressing better at work to avoid getting the boot in these uncertain times. I am happy to say I have always followed the advice that you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have. But that doesn’t mean that business casual should be completely thrown out the window. More importantly, I think people should dress appropriately for the situation. Some people just don’t need to wear a suit to work everyday based on their profession. Kellaway blames the creative revolution in the workplace for the recently lax dress codes in offices. Listen to the NPR interview here.

(Photo via Style.com, Donna Karan Fall 2009)

Fan of: Bill Cunningham

If you are a regular reader of the New York Times, especially the style section, you certainly know who Bill Cunningham is. He is the cheery looking man on a bicycle who photographs people. He loves people watching even more than I do. I was listening to his latest audio slideshow on the comfortable “American classic”, the cardigan, and its appearances everywhere in New York City (his forecast is that it is here to stay through the fall and winter months), and I got curious. I searched the NYTimes Web site and found this article about how he got his start. I also found this picture of him, most likely at some event, taking pictures of the fashionable and important in New York. I just love his photographs and his interpretation of the trends. His audio slideshows are so charming.