Sunday, October 5, 2008

My first trip to Brooklyn and Kate Bornstein!

I attended the first meeting of Fordham University's Pride Alliance last Monday, and after the meeting two girls notified everyone that on Saturday there were going to the Brooklyn museum to see Kate Bornstein lecture. Kate Bornstein is a kind of gender theorist for the masses. Her perspective on gender is heavily influenced by postmodern academic theory, but her lectures are meant to be heard and easily understood by all, whether you have heard of Jaques Derrida and French post structuralism or not.

I love Kate Bornstein. I'd read her most popular book Gender Outlaw, but I'd never seen her live. So, needless to say I approached the two girls after the meeting and we coordinated a time and place to meet on Saturday so we could go to the museum together.

There ended up being a total of five of us that went to Brooklyn together. When we got off the train (which was about an hour and fifteen minutes after we left) we found the museum very crowded, but we got in line and waited to get tickets to see Ms. Bornstein. After spending about 15 minutes in line we were notified that all the tickets we taken! Disappointed, we went to the cafeteria to regroup and decide what to do next.

One of the girls in our group was an art history major and mentioned that Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party is installed at the museum. I had studied this controversial work of art as an undergraduate and was shocked to find that it was located so close to where I was and that I could view it that day. So, after a snack at the cafeteria we all went up to the fifth floor to see The Dinner Party.

Just as we got up there I noticed that Kate Bornstein's lecture was going to be located in a room just next to where The Dinner Party was located. I asked one of the museum staff if my friends and I could stand outside the room to hear the lecture or if perhaps any tickets were available. She told me that no tickets were available, but that if we liked we could stand outside as long as we didn't block the entrance. So, that is what we resolved to do.

As we waited for the lecture to begin (we decided to put of the Chicago piece until after the lecture) I caught a glimpse of Kate. She was talking to the museum staff, and (I think) trying to convince them to let us and a few other folks into the lecture. A few minutes later, we were told that there was room for about eight people to sit on the floor in front of the first row! I raised my hand to indicate my enthusiasm for the floor seats and they were granted to us.

The lecture was everything I hoped it would be. It was controversial (a few people left midway through) and at one point a woman fainted, though I don't think that was related to the lecture itself. Kate was flustered after that, but picked up where she'd had to leave off and continued what she was saying after the woman had been helped.

After the lecture, we saw The Dinner Party which I won't discuss specifically here, but feel free to Google it if you feel so inclined. And then we left Brooklyn for Manhattan to have Thai food for dinner on St. Marks street. I bought a hounds tooth scarf from a street vendor while we waited for our table, and after dinner we headed back to the Bronx. I didn't get home until midnight, but all in all it was a great day full of new friends, invigorating lectures, and a contemporary classic in feminist art.

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