There was a lot going on at BAM on Saturday night. Probably too much. BAM held their first annual Takeover event. It was a night that consisted of several series of films, rock concerts and various other forms of entertainment. We arrived at around 9pm and waited in line for about twenty minutes before getting into the already crowded Peter Jay Sharp building. The films were about to start, as were the musical acts, but we decided to relax for a moment and get a drink at the beautifully decorated BAM Cafe. A DJ (who was very talkative) welcomed everyone to the event, where there were three dollar beers available all night and a lot of Brooklyn pride. Then it was time to check out some movies. The only problem was, there was no booze allowed in the movie theaters or the opera house. We discussed how the entire event sort of felt like a party that was awkwardly chaperoned by your parents, or an overly cautious friend who didn’t feel like cleaning up the next morning. Nonetheless, we finished our drinks and proceeded to the movie theaters.
There were four series of films playing. One was the “Pusher” series, a group of three Danish drug movies. I wanted to watch these, but that would mean giving up my entire evening and not seeing any of my friends at all. There was also a series called “When Animals Hug” which all featured fuzzy creatures being cute. There was a group of rock documentaries about The Sex Pistols, The Talking Heads, Ziggy Stardust and The Rolling Stones. And finally, there was a collection of Lindsay Lohan films, dating right up to her most recent disaster, I Know Who Killed Me. Of our group of five, two went off to watch Mean Girls, while myself and two others went to watch some of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. The theater was completely filled, with people forced to stand in the back. The crowd was energetic and giggled as a mulleted David Bowie jumped around the stage dressed in a skimpy kimono and knee high boots. We watched for a good forty minutes before we had to leave to make our way downstairs.
Be Your Own Pet had already started playing when we walked into the beautiful opera house. The crowd was smaller than I would’ve thought. There were more people watching the Ziggy Stardust movie than there were here. All the same, the band was cocky and loud, and the acoustics were excellent in the theater. The pint-sized Jemina Pearl Abegg thrashed around stage like Karen O’s bratty little sister who had forgotten to take her Adderall. The crowd was surprisingly talkative. When one fan jokingly asked them to play some Sonic Youth, guitarist Nathan Vasquez responded “Why don’t you play some shut the hell up?” They played for forty five minutes, which is a long time when most of your songs are barely two minutes long.
After this, there was a short burlesque show, where a woman named “Little Brooklyn” danced to “Minnie the Moocher” and slowly disrobed. The crowd enjoyed this, as well as The Glamazons who came on next and sang Peggy Lee’s “You Give Me Fever” dressed in red and black corsets. By the time we left this however, we all wanted more drinks, and the next string of movies had already started. The place had become ridiculously crowded at this point, and they had started holding people back from going to the cafe because they were at capacity. In short, BAM was slowly turning into a club. Everyone got a little frustrated with this. Lines were getting longer, it was becoming harder and harder to walk through the building, and we were missing the events because there were just too many at once.
I love BAM, and I love the fact that they did this event. I love that it was so popular, and for the most part, people seemed to have a good time. This was their first year though, and they obviously still have some organization problems to work out. For starters, they need to at least allow alcohol in the music hall and movie theaters. We understand that people don’t need to be bringing bottles of gin into your average movie theater for the 3:30 showing of Wild Hogs (unless they plan on throwing it at the screen), but if the logo for your Saturday night event says “Party All Night” on it, people are going to expect to be able to drink where and when they please. And honestly, I would say that the event only needed about half of the shows that took place. I know that the Lindsay Lohan movies were probably the biggest draw here (or the most eye-catching), but had it been a night of maybe just rock shows, rock documentaries and the BAM Cafe playing music, that would have been great. If you come to an event like this with friends, everyone is going to want to do something different. This means that a lot of the evening is spent either split up from people or trying to reconnect with them afterwards. If they do this again next year, and I really hope they do, I think the entire thing should be both more focused and laid back.