The cheaper seats are peppered with budding young brainiacs who find heightened stimulation in verbal joust.
A 45-minute cocktail reception precedes each debate, after which comes a cranial lucha libre where, on one night, author Michael Crichton sparred with other panelists on global warming.
With matchmaking Web sites designed for all sorts of people, finding like-minded singles has become easier. A Web site called "The Right Stuff," which advertises that "smart is sexy," bills itself as a place where lonely-heart Ivy League graduates can find their match.
intellect Connect.com, a Washington-area company, launched in August 2005 and has built up to 6,000 members, according to co-founder Cindy Embleton.
If Woody Allen were Cupid, one of his romantic inventions might be a New York singles spelling bee night with categories including "sex," "medical conditions" and "uncomfortable things." But he would no longer have to invent it, because Makor -- a Manhattan social center popular with a young, Jewish crowd -- has done it already.
It's a chance to impress a mate, or a potential date, by flexing a body part that has lost ground in recent years to biceps and pecs -- the brain.
Revelers heard music spun by garage-style DJ Ian Svenonius and selected to capture the essence of the art.
Later, some revelers broke off from the cash bar on an "insomniacs tour" of the galleries.
Last year, New York's Museum of Modern Art began Pop Rally, an event aimed at young couples and singles that mixes cocktails, music and art.
Last month, the Hirshhorn began a series of museum nights with a sold-out event in which 1,700 Washingtonians mingled amid a new installation exploring how artists use light.