Party in Our Past

In the early 1900s, San Francisco was considered the most European locale in America. It boasted more restaurants than any city outside Paris, it had one of the world’s largest luxury hotels, and on its main drag horse-drawn carriages gave way to streetcars. The Barbary Coast was in full swing. There were opium cellars and concert-saloons, places where opera singers rubbed elbows with vaudeville stars. The Gibson Girl was in, and the corset was on its way out. Men wore bowler hats and drank Pisco Punch, a brandy cocktail invented by our own Duncan Nicol at a downtown bar called the Bank Exchange. Then, disaster. The Earthquake Premier Party faithfully sets the stage for that April day in 1906, with can-can dancers from the Vau de Vire Society, music by Sour Mash Hug Band and John Brothers Piano Company, period cocktails, and roving period characters. Get shaken (not stirred) in the Great Quake simulator, and inspect the aftermath in an extensive photo exhibit, which offers images of the city before and after. Also see museum artifacts saved from ensuing fires. For those who want to delve deeper into the seismic science, a new planetarium show explores the San Andreas fault and journeys into the Earth’s core.
Fri., May 25, 6 p.m., 2012

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