by Brittany Bellinger
Ten years ago, I fell in love with the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I was a teenager born and raised in Brooklyn but I never had the chance to attend an event there. In the spring of 2007, I performed at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House as one of the top youth poets in NYC in my very first youth poetry slam finals. I entered through the side door on St. Felix Street and went straight to the spacious green room. Before anyone else got there all of the finalists were ushered to the stage to take in the space. It was gorgeous. An opulent space that seats around 2100 people.
“Do you guys know that you will be performing on the same stage as Mos Def? He did a sold out performance last night.”
I held my breath. I had never seen anything more beautiful in Brooklyn before. That was the exact moment that my love for the Brooklyn Academy of Music began. They offer various programming for every kind of art lover. Over the past ten years, I have experienced almost every single kind of event they have to offer. I saw the Oscar award winning film, Moonlight, at the BAM Rose Cinema. I have taken friends to enjoy the free music and some drinks at the BAM Cafe. I have enjoyed amazing dance performances at the restored BAM Harvey Theatre. From poetry events to story-time for the kids, BAM has something for everyone to enjoy.
In the heart of Fort Greene, the Brooklyn Academy of Music continues to make art and culture accessible to the local community. This past Memorial Day weekend commemorated the 40th anniversary of the largest African dance festival, Dance Africa, which is hosted by BAM. There is a bazaar that is held in the area full of music, African wear, books, and food. Inside of the Howard Gilman Opera House, you can catch a showing of the performance. It marks the start of summer in Brooklyn.
If you are looking for an event to catch this summer then check some of these upcoming gems.
For the film lover:
BAM cinemaFest showcases the best American independent films of this year. (June 14th - June 22nd)
For the theatre lover:
Theater Mitu's rendition of Death of a Salesman is uniquely staged in which humans become objects and battle with the idea of the unrealized dream. (July 14th - July 22nd)
For the music lover:
R&B Festival at Metrotech is a free outdoor concert series on Thursdays featuring new and old r&b musicians. (June 8th - August 10th)
For the book lover:
Unbound is a literary partnership with Greenlight Bookstore that highlights talks with famous authors around their newest works. The next two are Roxane Gay (June 13th) and Arundhati Roy (June 19th).
There are many programs at BAM to check out whether it’s with the kids or for yourself. It is the perfect local spot to spend some time learning and having a great time. I hope to see you at some of the upcoming events this summer.