For the fourth year running, the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami holds its annual teen day Saturday, May 5. Strangely it has chosen as the theme "Back to the Eighties II."
This seems an odd choice, since the teens of 2001 were born between the years 1982 to 1988. So it's unlikely they remember much about the '80s except perhaps the lunch boxes they used to bring to school or how much fun they had playing dodge ball in second grade.
Undaunted by such facts, the museum has put its own spin on the 1980s, heralding those years as the decade that gave us rap. That, the teens understand. Just ask Eminem or any of those Korn Against the Limpknot Posse hybrids. Rap has gone from the strange new form that folks such as the Sugar Hill Gang and Grandmaster Flash pioneered to one of the behemoths of the music industry.
Of course the Sugar Hill Gang brought rap into the mainstream with "Rapper's Delight" in 1979, but the 1980s did see the broadening of rap into a category of its own. When Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys took over the charts in 1986 with their respective albums Raising Helland Licensed to Ill, even the most strident of antirappers had to admit that hip-hop had taken off its leather jacket, propped up its Adidas-clad feet, and made itself comfy.
In celebration of this twist in music culture, the museum offers a series of classes for teens in middle or high school: Learn to be a DJ (noon to 1 p.m.), Composing and Performing Rap Lyrics (1 to 2 p.m.), Fundamentals of Break Dancing (2 to 3 p.m.), and Drawing and Painting the Hip-Hop Way (3 to 4 p.m.). Even those who don't register for these classes have a variety of activities available for them throughout the day, including mural painting, T-shirt designing, drawing cartoon art, and touring the exhibit "Mythic Proportions: Painting in the 1980s."
For those who have no need to take classes on break dancing, the Break Dance Showdown at 3:30 p.m. pits would-be breakers against one another for prizes, and a Street Fashion Strut is aimed at teen designers who think they have the hip-hop threads that will be all the rage. Throughout the day DJs Rufdog and Seamstar pound out the rhythms. All of the classes and events are free; preregister for the classes, the break dance competition, or the fashion show by calling 305-893-6211, ext. 25, or by filling out an application at the museum.