07:46 AM

WeekendWatcher: De Young's Friday Nights Season Is A Huge Dud

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I'm a big fan of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and I love everything about it. It's been on a roll with great exhibitions and its free "Friday Nights at the de Young" has always been a great way to kick-off the weekend, 6pm to 8.30pm.

But that was last year.

This year the season started off with a whimper and gradually got worse. 

I've always liked the eclectic themes and the live music, and the different experiences  and different crowds of people that each Friday evening attracted. Sometimes it was not so good, sometimes superlative, but it was taking risks and I appreciated the efforts the organizers made.

But this season has been a huge dud. There has been no live music, just DJs. And now there's a 6-week "celebration" of Dutch culture, which started with last night with "Queen's Night"  -- which refers to "Queen's Day" in Holland,  a huge, bacchanalian event.

Dutch culture was represented last night by orange tablecloths, some very old ladies in Dutch attire, and three rooms of DJs belting out late night dance music at large volumes -- totally inappropriate for 6pm in the evening.

The DJs chased most people away, including the old ladies in their clogs, filling ever emptier rooms with the sounds of a bad Dutch disco.

There are five more Friday "Orange Nights" scheduled. Why? Because the Consulate General of the Netherlands, San Francisco, is paying and it seems its doing the cultural programming too, at which it is shockingly bad.  

I hope the De Young get's its "Friday Nights" mojo back -- it's so much better than the Academy of Sciences and its "Thursday Nights" just across the street. It has put several years of hard work in building a superb series of events -- it should't be thrown away so glibly. 

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Some scenes from last year's "Friday Nights..."


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