Photo Credit: Noam Galai, Getty Images

(New York, NY) May 11th, 2023 – The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosted its annual Gala at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in New York last night. This year’s star-studded soiree honored distinguished musician and lead singer of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, visionary filmmaker Spike Lee, and dedicated BAM board member Claire Wood.

Hosted by curator at large, Hanif Abdurraqib, the Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar co-produced function featured a special performance by Grammy award-winning artist St. Vincent. Each recipient was saluted for their service to Brooklyn, BAM, and the arts. Actress Rosie Perez entertained partygoers as she introduced Claire Wood.

For the past one hundred sixty years, The Brooklyn Academy of Music has been a cultural hub connecting imaginative and inspiring artists with community-centered audiences. The 2023 BAM Gala marks President Gina Duncan’sanniversary in her historic role.

“Thank you to all who came out to support BAM last night,” said Duncan. “This funding is crucial in helping us build a BAM that connects artists and audiences and strengthens communities through the presentation of work that promotes new ways of seeing and new artistic collaborations.”

Honoree and famous New York Knick supporter Spike Lee updated the audience on the halftime score of the team’s pivotal playoff game before giving his acceptance speech. An ode to Brooklyn then and now, he recalled how Brooklyn has changed, but the heart has remained the same. He acknowledged BAM president Gina Duncan, long-time collaborator Rosie Perez, and fellow honoree David Byrne. 

Guests were treated to cocktails, a seated dinner, and a performance by St. Vincent, who David Byrne joined for Stevie Wonder’sWonder’s “Chemical Love” from Lee’s “Jungle Fever” soundtrack. Among attendees were Ethan Hawke, Gina Gershon, Fischer Stevens, Patina Miller, Tamron Hall, Ilana Glazer, Roger Gbenga Akinnagbe, Wyatt Cenac, Woody McClain, Jose Parla, Ezra Edelman, Eisa Davis, Autumn Knight, Ether Perle, and more. An afterparty closed out the evening with tunes spun by DJ Dee Diggs.