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Glow '08

Saturday I picked up the Pyrate Queen, who was exhausted and tipsy, from a bbq at her friend's house. We stayed and socialized with friends, dogs, and burgers. (Actual dogs, not hot dogs) and then set out for Glow '08. It's a huge series of art installations all over the Santa Monica Pier, starting at sunset and going to sunrise. Given the text of the installation's manifesto, it promised to be pretty intense, "Glow will fill the hours between dusk to dawn with compelling, enchanting and effervescent sights and sounds situated in spaces and times that expand possibilities for where, how and when the public experiences contemporary art." We reasoned that by going from dusk to dawn, it was sort of a covert way of saying, "freaky shit will happen here."

So we piled onto our bikes and went with some other residents of my building down the boardwalk towards the pier. Very quickly, we were swamped with other people headed the same way, on bikes, skateboards, walking, even a Segway or two. There was allegedly a "bike valet" service, but half a mile way from the pier, and every pillar, stanchion and particularly slow moving bum had bikes chained to it. We locked ours up (drunkenly) and headed for Glow. From a distance it looked pretty cool. but then the pier always looks neat at night. There were a couple of large installations out on the beach, too. but there were just so many people it was difficult to get close. We walked (drunkenly) under the pier and saw a series of strangely illuminated and slowly inflating and deflating biomechnical creatures. They were roped off with police tape, though, and the line to get closer was absurdly long.

We walked down to the water, and saw a floating installation out by the end of the pier. There were so many people actually up on the pier, though, we couldn't bring ourselves to fight upstream to the spawning grounds of the salmon. Instead we climbed back under the pier, where there were far too many people, even in the dark and dangerous parts. Emerging once again, we ottered about a little, took a few seconds to be adorable, and packed it in and went home.

The Pyrate Queen is not a woman to be taken lightly, and naturally our (drunken) ride home turned into a race. I was comfortably ahead - due more to the aerodynamic capabilities of my bike, which is a fairly top-tier racing bike, and made the final turn into my street off of the boardwalk after dodging people all the way. It's been far too long since I've raced on a bike, however, and I made the turn leaning in to the left with the pedal down. The pedal caught on a crack on the sidewalk, and I went absolutely flying, ass-over-teakettle. Despite visions of a Tyler Hamilton-esque broken collarbone, I managed to tuck into a half-decent (drunken) ukemi, and rolled right up to my feet. I even had the presence of mind to throw my hands up in the air like a gymnast who just stuck a landing. With a little bit of bravado, I picked up my bike and made it the rest of the way home (alas, second place to PQ, who was merciless in taking advantage of my disaster.) Other than a little scrape on my right hand, though, I seemed unhurt. Well, that is until the next morning when hangover and muscle-ache took over. I felt about as healthy (but also as happy!) as I look here.

In all, Glow was pretty underwhelming. The crowds were huge and capacity-planning wasn't very well thought out. Maybe in the dark of the morning, with fewer people around it would be really neat - but with the limited amount of stuff actually going on, and the vast, teeming crowds of humanity, it wasn't much more than a momentary distraction. And when it comes to distractions....well, I'd already brought the best one I know...

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
recoveredweasel
Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
three cheers for aikido!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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