A typical Thursday night at the California Academy of Sciences finds the Academy bustling with its very popular, hip and successful NightLife program. However last Thursday, April 18, was not your average Thursday night: instead, the museum was packed with party-goers enjoying the Academy’s biggest night of the year, Big Bang: Party After Dark! in conjunction with the annual Big Bang Gala.
As guests streamed into the Academy for Party After Dark! they were welcomed by vibrant, colorfully decorated human butterflies, gracefully towering above on stilts. Attendees were first received in the Piazza, specially adorned with graphic black and silver lounge furniture, delicate orange flowers and bold black bars. Music piped through the building as bartenders started whipping up cocktails and pouring wine. The evening’s specialty drink, our very own Spa Collins, was a hit: a zesty and refreshing concoction of vodka, lemon and lime juices, simple syrup, pickled ginger, mint leaves and cucumber slices. Buffets of scrumptious finger foods were open to those hungry for Chicken Siu Mai, Fried Chicken Sliders and Crispy Purses of Swiss Chard, Preserved Lemon and Feta – to name a few edible delights. Bars and buffets continued outside in the East Garden, where the Del Popolo pizza truck was also stationed, dishing up pizzas to guests checking out Rock the Bike featuring DJ Izzy Wise.
Towards the end of the night, DJ Mayer Hawthorne threw down on the turntables in the Piazza, where guests danced up a storm. As guests left the event, they were tempted by abundant candy buffets offering up a wide array of treats to satisfy any sweet tooth.
The gala dinner, which took place for a smaller group prior to Party After Dark! was also a tremendous success. Gala diners were invited first to participate in one of two lectures in either African Hall or the Planetarium by two of the world’s leading natural scientists in the field of biodiversity: James Balog and William McDonough.
Upon the conclusion of these illuminating discourses, attendees were lead into a tent impressively designed by Blueprint Studios, who drew design inspiration from the natural world that the Academy helps to protect. Decorative green and brown walls enclosed diners in an intimate setting, topped off with multi-shaped geometric chandeliers – hanging like stars against the clear-top tent. Succulents and vibrant floral arrangements in stone containers ornamented the tables, alongside candles floating in vases of water.
In this atmosphere of natural wonder and beauty, guests supped on fresh antipasto until the service of the first course, a Monterey Artichoke Salad with Shaved Fennel, Butter Lettuce, Chiogga Beets, Spring Peas, Artichoke and Chenel Cheese. Seared Halibut followed replete with Potato Turnip Puree, Fava Beans, Romanesco Broccoli, Carrots Vichy, Cipollini Onion and a Lemon Dill Beurre Blanc. A delectable dessert course of Raspberry Sorbet with Santa Cruz Berries in a Nougat Basket followed for those who saved room for dessert.
Revelers at both the Big Bang Gala and Party After Dark! not only enjoyed a rollicking grand time, they also helped to raise money for the sustainability and conservation programs for the Academy of Sciences. We are already looking forward to supporting these great initiatives with next year’s Big Bang!
To find out more information about the California Academy of Sciences and its programs, please visit their website at: http://www.calacademy.org/