Starry starry nightclub

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Ever since Woody Allen's diehard New Yorker Alvy Singer referred to Los Angeles as a city whose only cultural advantage is the ability to make a right turn on a red light, the Big Apple and the Big Orange have been dueling for aesthetic primacy.

And while Brooke Astor and Hugh Hefner still manage to fill their respective ballrooms without raiding each other's 400, a recent L.A. phenomenon may signal a West Coast shift in the two cities' cultural standing: When the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held a 63-hour marathon showing of Van Gogh paintings, get this, people showed up! Thousands of people! In the middle of the night!

At first glance, the situation appeared grave for New York's arty elite. But then the other slipper dropped. You see, the museum had opened Club Van Gogh in conjunction with the exhibit. Tinsel Town to the core, the little Dutch dive served Van Gogh Martinis ($7) and offered "Starry Night Specials" on exhibit mementos. Mystery solved: La La Landers didn't know they were setting foot in a museum, they thought they'd found a hot little club in a really big building. Whew! It looks like MOMA won't be crying uncle just yet.

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