I’m not sure if I am sorry for making that pun in the title or not. Either way, it works for me, so let’s talk about this “all-night cultural experience” called Glow that took place in Santa Monica last Saturday.
Glow sounded pretty intriguing when I first heard about it. The event takes place in the evening and is supposed to showcase various illuminated artworks throughout the beach. Since it was free, my friends Rona and Shelena came along to see what this would be like. None of us really knew what exactly to expect because it was our first time going and Glow seems to be pretty sporadic about when it takes place since it looks like the last two events were in 2008 and 2010.
Parking was pretty bad, but that is expected considering that it is Santa Monica. We did get relatively lucky with $10 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, which was only a few streets away from the beach. I read stories about how some people had to pay upwards of $40 for parking, which is ridiculous.
Okay, where to start, where to start. The art pieces? There didn’t seem to be a lot, but it may have just been that they were so spread apart that you couldn’t really tell. The guide that they gave out says that there were fifteen different attractions to check out, which still seems like a relatively low number for an event like this. I think one of my favorite art installations at Glow was the rotating stage of sculptures by Steven Hull. It was interesting to hear what the crowd thought about some of the art at Glow and the general consensus seems to be that people were confused or not too impressed with what they were seeing, which was unfortunate.
Rona, Shelena, and I actually wound up spending a good chunk of the night at the pier and that was where we had the most fun. We rode the roller coaster and then went on the Ferris wheel, which was apparently one of the art attractions that was listed in the guide. It was supposed to be a revolving mandala, but I am still not really sure what that means since I didn’t notice anything different about the ride. We tried to go on the carousel, which was also one of the listed attractions, since they were going to be playing twelve second clips of music from each decade of the 20th century, but we got there just as the last ride of the night started.
After that, we went back home.
In theory, a program like Glow should work. It’s worked in other places around the world, and Santa Monica has the ability to be one of those places. Glow just needs better planning. I went on Glow’s Facebook page and it seems like there were quite a good amount of people who were disappointed with the event. There is also a Glow page on Yelp with a very unfavorable average rating of 1.5 stars out of thirty reviews. Those who are planning the event in the future should really take the recommendations from these people into account because there are a lot of good ideas as to how to help this event reach its full potential.
I still had fun that night, but it’s probably the same amount of fun I would have coming to the pier any other night with friends.