Best Place to Watch Stuff Burn - 2006
The "molten bronze pour" a great phrase, huh? It carries an ancient air, evoking protective-garb-wearing strongmen sweating in a smoky, devilish atmosphere, gingerly turning hard metals into melted pools like 17th-century alchemists (or 20th-century steel workers). That guy can be you at the Crucible, where industrial arts classes have tantalizing names such as "Brown to Bronze: Direct Burn-Out Casting" and "Foundry Fundamentals: Hands-on Furnace Building." The center is the premiere spot to learn the various explosive trades, but the timid can simply watch them at yearly events like the Spring Open House and the Fire Arts Festival, which features all sorts of madness in the 100,000-square-foot Fire Arena, from flaming sculptures to burning-bright performances. Special events such as January's Seven Deadly Sins, a fire opera staged with members of the San Francisco Opera and the Oakland East Bay Symphony, prove that the Crucible's mix of high art and stuff that burns is explosive.