Lightness of Being

Holiday blues. Winter doldrums. Seasonal affective disorder. We in the Bay Area know it well, that feeling of wanting to crawl under a rock not to emerge until some time well after Valentine's Day. Mercifully the Exploratorium is here to lure you out of your candy-stocked bunker and to blast your senses with a welcome dose of mood-lifting color and light. After Dark: Glow is the latest installment in the parties that happen every first Thursday for grownups who like to mix their adult beverages with a bit of art and science. The museum brings the light in a big way this time with a reprise of local maker Mark Lottor's Cubatron, a giant installation containing thousands of lights that Lottor has programmed to flicker in sequences designed to hypnotize. Brave attendees can even lie underneath the structure for a fully immersive experience reminiscent of Laserium shows of yore. There's also a make-your-own-glowstick station for DIY raver types, or you can learn how bioluminescence has been adapted for use by fish who live in the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. Meanwhile watch for the Playafly bikes masterminded by S.F. artist Michael Brown flitting about the museum grounds. They can be easily identified by their "wings" strung with glowing balls of light, which are LEDs inside repurposed ping-pong balls. Even the cocktails are guaranteed to glow in the dark. Take that, winter gloom.
Thu., Dec. 1, 6 p.m., 2011

 
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