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On the Road Again: Spectra Ball or Bust

jungle 8 gangThe birds are chirping, the sun is shinning and our minivan is crammed to capacity; it’s Spectra Ball or bust baby!

Our journey begins early Saturday morning along California’s beautiful Golden State Freeway, truly the American Autobahn. We journey onward (well within the posted speed limit of course) up the state’s central valley with our sights set on San Francisco. Who needs cruise control when you’ve got six of your closest friends, a spacious rented KIA and a trove of gas station treats that could make any gourmand salivate?

All of us look forward to a real ‘bonding experience’. That meaning an enriched understanding of each others’ bladder capacities and gastrointestinal nuances. Boy are we bonding! But, as the mantra goes: “what happens in the van, stays in the van”. Good thing we got full coverage, not to name any names, but some folks here have a serious depth perception problem.poster

After a drive rivaling only that of the Joad family, the city finally emerges on the horizon just as the sun is beginning to set, “we made it Pa, praise gawd for victory”. We edge across the Bay Bridge and onward to our hotel, our legs asleep with anticipation. There’s something in the air, the night is beautiful and we can’t wait to start our grand adventure at the Spectra Ball. Oh, and we can all use a drink. Viva la mini-bar! That is a tax deductible business expense, right?

Just a side note: as a Spectra Ball neophyte, I didn’t quite know what to expect. But I was thoroughly assured by my fellow travelers, that I would return home with all ten fingers, all ten toes and a great story.

Held this year at the incomparable Regency Center, the Spectra Ball is in its fourth and possibly most exciting incarnation to date. We are elated to finally arrive and breeze past the long line, courtesy of our v.i.p. status (sorry to those that have to wait). Don’t get us wrong, we jungle [8] natives are not elitists by any means, but after all, we know a guy (our amazing pal Brad Nye, Artsfest founder, Spectra Ball guru and our very own jungle man in San Fran). Hold on to your hats kids, we’re not in Kansas anymore.the jungle boys

In we go. The air is thick with excitement, it’s standing room only, the music is pumping, the conversation is bubbling, the stilt walkers are walking, the drum lines are drumming, and the dancers are dancing. They say it’s the journey, not the destination, well, they couldn’t be more wrong; it’s Spectra Ball time!

The Spectra Ball is a vibrant amalgamation of theater, art, fashion, circus and even a silent auction. It is a sensory experience fueled by good music, even better people and the food isn’t half bad either. Art, artists, costumed scalawags, rogues, scoundrels and a variety of rascals are all in attendance (we’re pretty sure we saw Elvis too). We find ourselves wonderfully lost amid the crowd and enveloped in the other worldly realm that is the Spectra Ball.

In short, it is a blast. The evening rolls on and time seems to melt away. There is much to see, much to do and much to experience. The place is alive and thriving, just the way we jungle dwellers like it. Our evening does eventually come to a close, at what time, I’m not sure. The Ball is still in full swing as we leave and head back to our hotel, in need of a respite and a comfortable bed in which to recuperate.

As the sun rises on our evening, it is time to pack our suitcases, guzzle some complementary Chancellor Hotel coffee and face the real world once again. Alas, there’s always next year, start the count down.

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