by Hoa Urse on
I wanted so badly to love Nightlife at the Cal Academy. FAILS: Tonight's theme was "A Chocolate-covered NightLife". I was looking forward to wandering around, sampling some chocolates, getting my fix on. Instead, they had 2 clumps of tables with tiny bins of chocolate "chips" on them, with a long line at all times that moved very slowly. It was organized really poorly, and felt more like a cheap street vendor stand than a classy sampling at such an elegant museum. They also set the tables up about 2 feet away from the Planetarium line, so that whole area was horribly congested. It would have been much better to have the vendors spread out. Now, here's where the night really tanked (because, while poorly organized, chocolate is chocolate): The Planetarium show. Online, it advertises the show "Life: A Cosmic Story". I guess they thought they'd switch it up a bit, and instead had one of their staff members "pilot" a digital model of the universe and drawl on for an hour about some very obscure and complicated new discoveries. I am a graduate student, in the sciences, but I did not want to spend an hour in the most boring astrology class of my life. it was AWFUL. I wanted some famous female celebrity with a soothing voice guiding me through bright, sparkly photos of the universe. Instead, a very well-meaning but inarticulate man dragged my poor brain through a muck of ugly CG images that did nothing to display the wonder of outer space. The computer graphics were glitch-y, and at one point the technology totally failed. For 5 minutes, we stared at a black screen with a URL on it. It was this point that my friend made a finger-gun and shot herself in the head. People started to leave. The narrator seemed like a nice, knowledgeable guy who meant well, but had not developed the speaking skills to pull this off. What really made us angry is that the museum had not told us in advance that this is the presentation we'd be seeing instead of "Life...", although they claim to do this sort of "Update on Astrology" every 3rd Thursday of the month. If I had known, I would have skipped it. When we were finally released from the Planetarium at 8:35p, the Rain forest exhibit was closed. I searched high and low on their website to get better info, but can't you see that at Nightlife? A "We're going to bore you to death for an hour and then deny you access to one of our most beautiful exhibits" before we went into the Planetarium would have been nice. Also, it appears to be pretty easy to get into the place if you're under 21. They do card at the door, but I swear there were some teenagers running amok in there. I like a drink or two, but I don't need babies running past me screaming, "I WANNA TOUCH A STARFISH BEFORE I PUKE!" HOWEVER: I will give them a few kudos. They had museum docents out and about, carrying around fun stuff to touch (the jaws of a bull shark!!!), and they were all willing to answer questions and give us awesome information about the artifacts. The music there was also fantastic. A mix of current pop, hip hop, 80's classics, 90's hits, whatever. All the things I love, mixed well. I also appreciated that they had small bars all over the place, so the lines were never long. The drinks were small, but not expensive, and those suckers packed a punch. The chocolate-themed drinks were DELICIOUS, so props to all the bartenders. Also, this is a beautiful, elegantly-designed museum. The architecture of the building and the exhibits within it have style coming out the a$$. And it wasn't even that crowded, which was nice. We got to see everything without being shoved around. This also seems like a great place to go on a first date. I saw loads of couples (women clinging to their men for dear life whenever a crew of obviously single ladies walked past), and it seems like a good first-date sort of location, because there are lots of exhibits you can use to start up a conversation with someone you don't know very well. Be aware: Parking at the museum is $12. We drove because we wore heels, like princesses, but next time I'd ditch the sexy shoes and just take MUNI. I want to believe that this Nightlife was just a dud, and I got unlucky on my first shot. I would really like to give it another chance...but I'll skip the Planetarium next time.
by Sal K. on
The venue itself is quite beautiful. High above with a pool in the center and cabanas on either side plus loungey inside area with good lighting. It looks impressive. The crowd is typical hollywood. Every single girl in skin-tight miniskirt dresses with boobs a-popping. Guys trying to stand out with either a hat, tie, hipster glasses, or cocky swagger. The bartender, a douchebag that you REALLY don't want to tip. A DJ that's playing the same radio annoying miami-influenced songs. Dancers that look a little lazy and so not into it. The small dance floor that somehow accrued all the weirdos. Yup typical. Now, drink your $15 vodka tonic and let's see if any drunken bitches fell into the pool yet. Haha Luckily, it wasn't that crowded when I went so going through the line was a breeze. A stamp here. A stamp there. We got some drinks and made home at one of their cabanas. Go Sunday. No cover. Less drama. More fun.