Tickets to the second ever “Africa Underground” after-hours party at the National Museum of African Art went on sale Friday, and they’re likely to sell out fast. What’s also likely to bring in crowds? The Freer and Sackler’s upcoming Asia After Dark, which has changed its theme slightly after last month’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami and now will offer opportunities to reflect and send messages of hope to the Japanese people.
Each installment of the new “Africa Underground” events focuses on a different country or region in the African Diaspora. The first party, which sold out in a hurry, showcased the culture of Brazil. This one is set for May 20, and the spotlight’s on the Caribbean and West Africa. Expect DJs and live music, food and beverages, crafts and spoken word performances.
The party will take place indoors and out, so there are more tickets available than there were for the first one, held in February. Even so, it’s a good idea to purchase early.
Africa Underground is the latest in a spate of museum bashes; a veteran on the scene is the Freer and Sackler’s Asia After Dark party, which launched in 2009 and has brought in nationally known DJs and bands, served up specialty cocktails to match each party’s theme, and made use of the museums’ gorgeous outdoor garden court.
After celebrating India, Tibetan and Persian cultures, organizers last year began planning a celebration around the pop culture of Japan and the fascinating goth/schoolgirl/you-name-it fashions of Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood. The ideas for the May 14 party were finalized in December, nearly three months before the massive earthquake struck Japan.
After the earthquake, the party’s organizers met again to decide what to do; rather than cancel the event (one of only two After Dark parties planned this year), they decided to go on with the event, but pay tribute to the Japanese people. Now, galleries holding Japanese art will be designated as places for moments of reflection, and attendees can pick up “We Stand With Japan” buttons and write messages on slips of paper that will then be folded into an instant work of group poetry. And between DJ sets by Cassidy Karakorn and Steve Aoki, the museums will host a give-by-text rally — but, hey, no pressure.
The event always sells out, so get tickets in advance here.