Thursday, November 10, 2011

Halloween Night Dive at the Aquarium of the Pacific

We welcome our newest staff blogger Melissa Doll!  Her first post reflects on her Halloween experience at Night Dive at the Aquarium of the Pacific!

RestavrantWhoever first decided that sea creatures and music meld together naturally deserves an award. Seriously. Somehow, even in such a party-like atmosphere amongst silly costumes galore, the true peaceful nature of the ocean and animals inside it, shone through.

This is the second year for the Night Dive at The Aquarium of the Pacific. A variation of this event (Shark Lagoon Nights) is a monthly occurrence that has been present for years although (sadly) never quite making it to the top of my to-do list, until now. Add LA band favs, Restavrant and Free Moral Agents, 3 additional dj's, a local art show, and a free dress-up photo booth, and this was definitely worth the drive to the LBC to see what the hype was about.

LivePaintingDriving hastily down the 405, I was there in just under 40 minutes, thanks to all the I-love-Hollywood traffic and a little luck. $10 parking and $12.95 admission fee (anything for my seahorses!) and I was IN. Just in time.

Free Moral Agents hopped on stage almost immediately after I walked inside. With Mars Volta member-Isaiah "Ikey" Owens on keyboards and the brains behind the operation, I was excited I made it in time to check them out. Easy flowing melodies wrapped around afro-beats and a forceful rhythm kept hips moving and led the way down their psychedelic musical adventure. Such an interesting and welcome change from predictable baselines, my attention was captured and held throughout the performance.

With a few minutes to spare in between bands, I headed over to donate more to the future of the aquarium in the form of several reasonably strong cocktails. Future philanthropist in the works? Maybe. Nevertheless, I'm off to a good start. On I went to admire the works of 25 local artists, curated by Mark Olivas, and discovered live artists painting as well. RAD. Ranging in part from spooky skeleton pieces and graffiti street art, to watercolor sharks and bat rays, it was a plethora of images meshed together to celebrate both marine life and Halloween fun.

JellyfishRestavrant jumped on stage next. Or rather. half of Restavrant. (New drummer alert?) Despite that, the crowd was vibrant and ready. And ready they were! Quickly inspiring many a toe tapping and hand clapping, their simple guitar and drum sound seemed 4 members stronger. Orchestrating their lively country-meets-punk with a side of bluegrass sound, this hillbilly hipster hoedown had no problem resonating with fans and undoubtedly creating new ones. What a blast.

As the next DJ set up, I snuck away to pet a few sharks, and visit the always-amazing seahorse and jellyfish exhibits. Somehow they never fail to mesmerize me and tonight, in my Red Riding Hood ensemble, was no exception to this. I also managed to peek in the photo booth, where guests dressed up in provided cold-weather gear or showed off their costumed goods. Sonic the Hedgehog: you win my vote!

I took one last stroll through the main gallery and bid my adieus. With just over 800 in attendance throughout the night, the Night Dive was the perfect way to start out Halloween weekend and an absolute must to those of you who have never experienced the Aquarium of the Pacific after dark. LOVE.

-Melissa Doll

Photos by Joseph Flores

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