Yes, you can: Inaugural events around the borough

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For the borough that gave Barack Obama eight out of every 10 votes in November, Jan. 20 is Christmas, New Year’s, Halloween and Thanksgiving all rolled into one.

So it’s no wonder that Baracklyn is gearing up to celebrate the transfer of presidential power next week with all-night raves, viewing parties, and at least two big balls.

Here’s how to set your political agenda over the next few days before the Free World finally get a new Leader:

January 18

From Martin to Barack

Jan. 20 may arguably be the culmination of the odyssey of blacks in American politics. And with Martin Luther King day falling on Jan. 19, what better time is there to reflect on the man who kick-started the long climb to the top?

Kevin Powell, who has gone from his appearance on the first season of MTV’s “Real World” to become a writer, activist, and congressional candidate, will give the keynote speech at an event to commemorate this auspicious time in black history.

“Dr. King, Civil Rights, Hip Hop and Barack Obama” at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts [1 University Plaza between Willoughby Street and DeKalb Avenues in Fort Greene, (212) 360-0399]. 3:30 pm. FREE.

Hip hop and cold hops

It’s probably safe to say that no presidential inauguration has ever been met before with pulsing dance beats and free-flowing malt liquor.

Two days before Obama takes the oath, DJ Mannes, Steve Lurkel and Designer Drugs’ Michael Vincent Patrick will keep the dance floor burning — and also help raise money for a national Martin Luther King, Jr. monument.

Get there before 11 pm, and the Colt 45 is free.

“I have a Beat” at Glasslands Gallery [289 Kent Ave. between South First and South Second streets in Williamsburg.] 9 pm-4 am. $7-$12. RSVP to

January 19

Get on the bus

What better place to witness the inaugural than Capitol Hill? Well, the coveted bus tickets are long sold out, but you can still go to a gala send-off.

Galapagos Art Space will host a cruise-themed bon voyage party for George W. Bush that will culminate in the departure of an inauguration-bound party bus at 1 am. Partygoers are encouraged to dress as “Love Boat” extras. Tropical drinks and deck games will round out the celebration of King George’s retreat, which, fittingly, will benefit Planned Parenthood.

Bus departure party at Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 222-8500]. 8 pm-1 am. $20. RSVP to

January, 20: The big day

If you like to watch

If you’re looking for a more traditional way to celebrate such a group catharsis as the Obama inauguration. BAM Rose Cinemas will show the event live on every screen, and best of all, it’s free.

BAM Rose Cinemas [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100]. 11 am.

Lose the Bush

For the more vindictive among us, one event will focus less on the incoming president, and more on giving the outgoing one a swift kick in the rear.

Southpaw in Park Slope will host a farewell party to celebrate the departure of the Decider, hosted by DJs Alex Grashow and Jah C, with replays of the day’s events on a giant screen.

Goodbye party for Bush at Southpaw [125 Fifth Ave. at St. Johns Place in Park Slope, (718) 230-0236]. 6 pm.

The inaugural balls

Two big balls will be held in Brooklyn on Jan. 20, and just like the president, you can traipse from one to the other over the course of the evening.

The first event, held at Smack Mellon, an art gallery, and will feature a “farewell speech” by Dick Cheney (played by an impersonator, unfortunately) and a cash bar. Food will be sold by Red Hook Park’s Latin food vendors.

A second event at the Bell House, a newly opened concert hall and bar on Seventh Street, will honor the transition of power while also raising money for PS 261, a Gowanus elementary school. Plenty of food and wine will accompany a re-broadcast of President Obama’s inaugural speech, followed by music and dancing.

And though you won’t be serenaded by the Marine Corps Band, there will be plenty of live music at both events. The Bell House will feature a South African music ensemble and a spoken-word performance by Brooklyn-based poet/musician Karen Gibson Roc, and Smack Mellon will have DJ $mall ¢hange.

PS 261 Inaugural Ball at the Bell House [149 Seventh St., between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510]. 7 pm. $75 per person. For info, visit

Smack Mellon Inaugural Ball [92 Plymouth St. at Washington Street in DUMBO, (718) 834-8761]. 7 pm. $25 per person. For info, visit

Updated 5:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Juanita from BedStuy says:
Freezin my a** off listenin to Kevin Powells painful poetry. I'll be there!
Jan. 15, 2009, 10:20 pm

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