Saturday, February 5, 2011

OMCA Launch Party - Mixed Demographics

Last night I went to the Oakland Museum of California.  The museum was throwing a free launch party, complete with talks from artists, performances, food, $3 micro-brews, and a DJ from 10 pm to 1 am.

We arrived late missing the majority of the talks (which my friend billed as edgy artsy affairs). When we arrived, there was a line to get a little square sticker with a man posed like a flying superhero along with a wrist band allowing us to get our micro-brews.  Once through the line, we went to the large white beer tent, complete with multi-color LEDs changing hue every few seconds.  After getting a couple of Prohibition Ambers, I took a good look around at the fellow attendees.  Apparently I hadn't gotten the memo.

I was wearing a lot of fuchsia, which didn't really go with the others' black t-shirts, square glasses, and asymmetrical bangs.  Having taken too long in the line for beer, we missed the performances as well as the edgy art talks.  This was slightly disappointing because I heard they were really good, but they were so crowded that it was nearly impossible to see anything unless you were 7 feet tall.

So, we waited a few minutes more to get into the dance party.  Unfortunately the music wasn't really dance music - unless you came of age in 1968.  This was upsetting because I was really hoping for some good dance music, after all, 3$ beers is definitely the cheapest night out we've had. On top of the strange music choices and poor transitions between songs, once I left the room to use the facilities, it was next to impossible to get back in because they had more than reached capacity.  A person might have thought your superhero sticker would have guaranteed your entrance into the dance area without any hassle.  It seemed they hadn't accounted for the turn-out or the space required for the large hipster contingent that crashed long after the stickers had all been given out.

Once I got back in, my friends wanted to leave.  It didn't make sense to wait around in line any more, because even if they changed their minds, the line to get into the dance floor was so long it was likely most people wouldn't get in for the rest of the night. I left feeling rather disappointed.

You could say this was an incredibly successful event as attendance was so high, or you could say that it was meant for a much smaller group of people consisting primarily of museum sponsors (many of whom were graying and actually in attendance on the dance floor) and therefore was a disaster.  For my part, I was just disappointed by the disconnect and the lack of foresight about the potential attendance.  Perhaps this would have been a better event if it had included surrounding buildings and been more of a block party, or if they had limited entrance.  Despite the disappointment, it was a good idea.  For this reason alone, I hope they learn from the mistakes of this event and continue to have similar events for Oakland and East Bay in the future.

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