By Team Backbeat
By Amber Taufen
By Jon Solomon
By Tom Murphy
By Jesse Livingston
By Alejandra Loera
By Stephanie March
By Tom Murphy
After the ribbon-cutting, the press and the public were supposed to be given a "sneak peak" preview of the hall. Too bad no one told blue-shirted museum staffers or security guards clad in black pants, black shirts and black berets (they looked like escapees from a Jean-Claude Van Damme film). The security contingent aggressively cleared the plaza and kept everyone at bay until the announcer asked over the public-address system, "Would anyone like a sneak peak of the museum?" The Blue Shirts and the Black Berets looked at each other, shrugged, and allowed the throng to move toward the front entrance of the museum.
There, after several more minutes of confusion exacerbated by the Black Berets' imitation of the Hell's Angels at Altamont, the masses were herded into the museum's main lobby, which is dominated by an information booth and several cars used as decor for U2's early Nineties Zoo-TV tour. But there wasn't much chance to look around: Staffers prodded us across the lobby, down an escalator, past some bathrooms and a water fountain and into a hallway that, we discovered too late, opened onto a loading dock stacked with plywood. Suddenly, we were out of the museum again--and anyone who tried to get back inside was firmly rebuffed. The exception was Ben E. King, who'd made the mistake of trying to use a bathroom too close to the rabble. He was promptly mobbed but so happy to be the center of attention that he smilingly turned away the Blue Shirts who came to rescue him. As long as the people were showering him with love, the loading dock was okay by him.
end of part 1
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