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Neon Heart

Oakland kicks off Valentine’s Day weekend at The Crucible’s Fireside Lounge

on February 12, 2011

On Friday night, art and love enthusiasts hit up The Crucible’s Fireside Lounge event in West Oakland. The Crucible, an education facility specializing in industrial arts, welcomed the public in for an evening of art, music, libations, demonstrations by faculty and, of course, a kissing robot.

This was the first Fireside Lounge event—a series of special evenings that will take place four times a year at The Crucible. Each one will have art, drinks, and be on a Friday, when busy Oaklanders need to unwind most, said Jennifer Harrity, The Crucible’s marketing manager. Friday’s Fireside Lounge was dubbed Amor Ardiente in a nod to Valentine’s Day. The next one is scheduled for May, and the theme is Rosie the Riveter, or a look at women and industry.

Jewelry-makers and neon artists gave attendees insight into their crafts, while the Jon’s Street Eats gourmet food truck fed guests outside in its second to last appearance ever. The Crucible’s blacksmithing crew was a highlight—they teamed up with local musicians to put on a demonstration. As musicians decked out in protective eyewear played improvisational tunes, the blacksmiths hammered metal in time to the beat.

Exuro, the kissing robot, was also popular with guests. A metal man with (eerily) anatomically correct eyes, Exuro stood in his kissing booth waiting for friendly passersby. When someone kissed him, a huge flame ignited behind him, casting light across the whole room.

Harrity is excited to launch this style of event in Oakland. “We don’t have anything like this here,” she said. “We’re trying to bring a swanky, San Francisco style event to the East Bay.”

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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