‘Thursday Night Thing’ a watering hole for SD hipsters

Thursday nights — once an evening reserved solely by the undergrad, for the undergrad and of the undergrad — have lost their drink-until-comatose connotations.

Now, however, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego has re-established Thursday night as that thing you do — or more specifically, that thing artists, bohemians and aging hipsters do, in the pristine glow of white space and spinning video projections. The cunningly titled Thursday Night Thing (TNT) offers intriguing programs the first Thursday of every month — ranging from DJ lessons, live yoga and poetry readings to break-dancing classes, artist’s talks and slide jams. In line with MCASD’s Cerca Series, a string of exhibitions featuring up-to-the-minute art and artists, TNT couples fresh contemporary culture with an atmosphere of cuttthroat cool, sporting a full bar, acoustic noise and a long line of gorgeous people. In the San Diego wasteland of sunshine and eye candy, TNT is one of the few watering holes where people can still gather on a Thursday evening and engage in intricate rituals of people watching and wine guzzling.

On Nov. 2, TNT showcased “Informal Economy Vendors,” Cerca Series artist Julio Morales’ works examining the street vendors of Tijuana, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Integrating various digital and technological mediums into his work — including photography and architectural renderings — Morales investigates the strategies employed by street vendors in maximizing the potential of their streetcars, and street vendors’ effects on the urban landscape of major California cities. IPod lovers couldn’t help but reminisce over their favorite commercials when viewing Morales’ flat, digitized images — brilliant stencils of street vendors set in white. Upstairs, a 26-foot-long Buddha balloon inflated and deflated while a live yoga performance uncurled to the hiss of its leaking air. The night culminated with DJ sets by Tijuana artist Nortec Collective and Torolab, and a visit by Morales.

This month’s TNT will continue the arbitrary artistry of months past, opening with the launch of “Cerca Series: Melanie Smith,” a video and photography installation titled “Six Steps to Reality” by the English artist, who now lives and works in Mexico City. Developed in collaboration with Rafael Ortega, Smith’s work explores relationships between the object of presentation and its own production. Bulbo TV (from neighboring Tijuana) will also be featuring its latest works and debuting its new magazine. Musical accompaniments by Mario Escovedo (The Dragons), Pete Thurston, Gregory Page, Billy Shaddox (Billy Midnight), Jimmy Lewis (Superunloader) and Ryan Ferguson (No Knife) will be held in the upstairs gallery. TNT will take place Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.