FIRST FRIDAYS

Young professionals will add Pop to party

2010-02-25T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:54:26Z Young professionals will add Pop to partyBy Valerie Vinyard Vvinyard@azstarnet.com Arizona Daily Star
February 25, 2010 12:00 am  • 

A popular monthly party will merge with Pop Art on March 5.

That's when First Fridays puts on its disco shoes at the Tucson Museum of Art, which is opening an exhibition of almost 100 pieces by Andy Warhol.

Originally conceived as a networking opportunity to draw professionals downtown, First Fridays has evolved into an event that combines art, networking and socialization.

The event, which will have a Pop Art theme March 5, is hosted by the Tucson Young Professionals, a group of about 50 strong devoted to promoting and keeping young professionals in Tucson.

But it's not all about networking when it comes to First Fridays - just like it's not all about soup cans when it comes to artist Warhol's work.

The soup cans will be displayed as you enter the exhibition from the lobby. That same lobby will be home to hundreds of event-goers, mostly in their 20s to 40.

Julie Sasse, chief curator for TMA, said the Warhol exhibit was just hung.

"It's so colorful right now," said Sasse of "Andy Warhol Portfolios: Life & Legends."

"It looks so lively - it's so graphically brilliant," she said.

First Fridays, created in December 2007 as a way to promote downtown and to give upwardly mobile Generation X and Y-ers a place to network, is held 10 months a year. To keep things fresh, every month brings a new theme.

The museum will be done up like Studio 54 a week from Friday, with lots of silver, Mylar and balloons.

A Warhol look-alike contest will entertain and the specialty drink of the night will be cocaine shooters (a mixture of half-and-half, Coke and several liqueurs). Other featured restaurants will serve hors d'oevres, and Cafe a la Carte will have its usual chocolate fondue fountain.

Adding to the '70s vibe, the Tucson Roller Derby girls will make an appearance, and there will be a photo booth and screen printing.

Live music will be in the courtyard, while Satyr Entertainment will play disco tunes inside the museum.

February's theme was modeled after Brazil's Carnaval, which drew about 500 people - a handful of them in costume. Colorful necklaces of beads were generously distributed to partygoers.

Dresses rustled, feather boas dangled and Mardi Gras masks provided an air of mystery. Sophia Eva Flamenco Dancing entertained the crowd outside, while the disc jockey spun dance mixes inside.

"It's fun to get out," said Shawn Shen, a 27-year-old Raytheon engineer clad in a button-down shirt and pants. It was his third time attending First Fridays. "It's nice to go around and see the exhibits," he said.

Yasmin Harris, 33, had a more focused reason to attend.

"I'm starting a plan to open my own restaurant next year," said Harris, who hopes to call her wine bar Mata Hari. "I will start coming to meet people, get some adult time and make different connections."

Stephanie Bermudez, 27, is First Fridays committee chair. She also owns Tryst Street, a company that holds events for singles in Tucson.

"It's an opportunity for artists to showcase their talent, for business owners to promote their businesses, and to experience all of Tucson's hidden treasures," Bermudez explained, noting that First Fridays also serve as fundraisers for the group.

Many attendees stay for the raffle, which includes prizes of restaurant meals and museum memberships. A free raffle ticket is included in the cost of admission.

February's event was a first for Cori Ann Breslauer, 24, of Coriann Jewelry Design.

"It went very well," Breslauer said. "I met a lot of people. I got a lot of enthusiasm about my products." She describes her pieces, which sell for $20 to $500 at Etsy.com, as eclectic couture.

Wayne Weld, senior manager for Send Out Cards, was at his second First Friday. His first was about a year ago.

"I met a lot of fun people - made some business contacts," said Weld, 66. "It's good at getting people downtown."

Mary Wood, a 33-year-old prevention specialist for Our Family Services, used to own Mary's Downtown Flower Market but closed it a year ago because of the economy.

She has been going to First Fridays since its inception.

"I think it's gotten better and better," said Wood, who still does the flowers for First Fridays. "Right now it's good for networking; later it's just socializing."

Like many of the attendees, she was given lots of business cards.

"Now I know where I can find a DJ, a photographer, an insurance person and a Realtor," Wood said.

If you go

• What: First Fridays, the Tucson Young Professionals' monthly mixer.

• When: The next one is 8 p.m. to midnight March 5.

• Where: Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N. Main Ave.

• Cost: Come at 8 for the hour-long networking reception and pay $10, which also includes admission to First Fridays from 9 p.m. to midnight. Otherwise, it's $15 in advance; $20 at the door. Drink tickets cost $4 ($1 for water), redeemable at one of the two bars run by Tucson Bartending Academy.

• Dress code: "Refined attire" requested. No jeans, tennis shoes or flip-flops.

• Information and tickets: typfirstfridays.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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