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Dressed Up

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Memphis' Africa in April is a mere flip of the calendar in the future, but for those needing it, a fix can be had at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art this Saturday. The museum is celebrating the opening of the exhibit "Power Dressing: Men's Fashion and Prestige in Africa" with a free family day. In addition to no-charge admission to the exhibit, visitors can create their own African-inspired art and clothes and will be treated to the song-and-dance rhythms of Watoto de Afrika (a Memphis group composed of African Americans age 8 to 17). Visitors can also enjoy a screening of short films inspired by African folk tales (unless Anansi gums up the projector).

"Power Dressing" runs Saturday through May 10th, and it proves that the emperor does, indeed, have clothes. The exhibit shows off a wide variety of dress, from the threads of itinerant workers and warriors to the duds of kings (no, '68 Comeback leather isn't on the sched), from Morocco to South Africa, from the 19th century to the present. All told, 49 outfits will grace the Brooks, and their colorful array will prove that the Dark Continent is anything but. In particular, the exhibit explores the relationship between fashion and social, political, and spiritual status. If you're going to be the alpha male, you better look the part -- your duds better not be a dud. There's nary a one in the Brooks' bunch.

"Power Dressing: Men's Fashion and Prestige in Africa" Family Day at the Memphis Brooks Museum of art, 1934 Poplar (544-6200). Saturday, March 10th, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free.

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