Thursday, September 23, 2010

Glow Returns This Saturday

Below The Pier
Glow is back this Saturday from 7pm to 3am, the once every other year event that had it's first run 2 years ago. It's a late night festival at and around the Santa Monica Pier showcasing some elaborate site specific art and performances. Like a little slice of Burning Man that's a little tamer, and stuff is not on fire. With a number of street closures listed on the site, it may also demonstrate some of the potential energy of a Ciclovia event as well.

One of my favorites was Machine Project setting up a band spread out around the pier Ferris wheel and as the the wheel spun which instruments came to the foreground would rise and fade. Music on the Ferris wheel will be returning with new sets, along with a number of new interactive art installations by cutting edge artists. Expect some art to be big flashy, and well glowing, but there may be subtle touches as well. Last time around there was a video art installation I think many overlooked that was inside the cannon at the top of the pier bridge.

To get the most out of the experience I think it's a good idea to read up a little on it, and where art installations will be. I think some visitors last time came without a good idea what to expect or where to go, and didn't get the full experience out of it.

Trip planning is also important to have a fun time. For cyclists, bike valet will be available in a few places, and street closures for cars near the pier makes cycling an ideal way to get there. The first year of Glow the area was swarmed like I had never seen, and while bike valet was there, it was packed with long lines. I think they are ramping it up this time to handle huge demand, but I fully expect it to be packed this year as well. I also  expect that everything bolted to the ground within a mile radius of the pier will have bikes attached to it, and what few bike racks exist at the pier will be fully taken before the event even starts.

So I recommend for anyone local enough to consider walking to the event, I think that is the best and most stress free way to get there. If you are going to bike, check out the bike valet, and maybe have some good locks just incase it's packed and you don't feel like waiting in line. For those driving, good luck with that. Maybe put a glow stick on your dashboard so you can pretend like you're there. Parking lots will fill up fast, and traffic will likely be a disaster.

Below The Pier
Unfortunately as I looked over the transport planning for the event, it appears that while this is a special once every 2 years event, and one that goes later than any other event in Santa Monica, Big Blue Bus will not be running later to accommodate the late night demand. If you bus, some Metro buses run late or all night, but if you need a BBB, you will have to bail out hours before the event finishes, which is 3am. While I'm glad the city is putting a lot of effort into accommodating biking to the event, I think it's a real missed opportunity they didn't plan to do more with buses. They could also utilize lower demand car parking further from Downtown and set up shuttle service as a way to relieve traffic impact in the core. Instead, all of Downtown Santa Monica not closed off to cars for the event will likely be turned into a parking lot of idling motors.

If you're looking for a fun group to roll in with, the Midnight Ridazz Glow ride, which regularly rides around with lit up bikes and neon colors, will appropriately be riding to the Glow festival. It appears the crazy energy lo-fi band known as Funderstorm, who frequently appear at bike rides and underground shows is going to be involved. Where there is Funderstorm, there is fun. Nuff said. 

The Midnight Ridazz posting lists the meeting point as CRANK Mob park at 8 with a 9 roll out. For those not familiar with the cult of CRANK Mob, the actual name for the park is Media Park, in downtown Culver City.

The official Glow website is here, and my photos from the last one are here. Be Excited!

Fish Parade

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