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Exploratorium After Dark: Sexplorations

Biological Exhibit at the Exploratorium
Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Valentine's Day will soon be upon us, and while this event occurs before that day, You can celebrate it early, or use what you discover here when it does arrive. February 6th is the first Thursday of the month, and the Exploratorium's After Dark series is taking advantage of the romantic month to explore the topic, dispel myths, and educate in areas you might not have considered as romantic. Taste honey made from different nectars, sample a sauteed bull testicle, catch insects in the act, guess which sperm is human, and watch a live egg become fertilized.

Sex involves the exchange of genetic information resulting in evolution and specialization---it's the reason you have your father's nose, your mother's eyes. This month's After Dark will peek into the whys and hows of sex and reveal some of the surprising ways nature brings sperm and eggs together. In a presentation by UCSF professor Diana Laird, PhD, you'll learn about how eggs and sperm may become the most unique and specialized cells in the body in Sex Cells: Mergers, Dwindling Reserves, Toxic Assets, and the Competitive Marketplace of Eggs and Sperm. It starts at 7:30 PM in the Kanbar Forum.

You can also join Exploratorium's emeritus biologist Karen Kalumuck and discover the surprising sex lives of flowers. Attend her lecture, The Bouquet Between Your Legs, The Scandalous Sex Lives of Flowers, at 6:30, 7:45, and 9:00 PM in the Bay Observatory Gallery.

Other presentations you might visit could be to hear Good Vibrations sexologist Dr. Carol Queen talk about the history behind "hysterical paroxysms". Check out Circles of Engagement: What is this Thing Called Love? with The Really Big Question Project (TRBQ) at 8:00-9:30 PM in the Central Gallery, and We Get the Sex Thing, but What Is Love? by TRBQ Exhibit Prototypes from 6:30-9:30 PM in the West Gallery.

But wait! That's not all! There are demonstrations such as Everything You Wanted to Know About Orchids, but Were Afraid to Ask with the San Francisco Orchid Society in the East Gallery from 6:30-9:30. Not that one? How about Surgical Interventions for Infertility in the West Gallery from 6:30-9:30 with the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses. Not up your line? How about a Live Sex Show: Sea Urchin Egg Fertilization at 7:15, 8:15, or 9:15 PM in the Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio, or Gonad A Go Go with The Explainers at 7:00, 8:00, & 9:00 PM in the East Gallery.

Maybe you're more of a "hands-on" kind of person. There are several activities from 6:30-9:30 PM. Go to the South Gallery for Sexplorations of the Mechanical Kind, Take Apart Sex Toys, with The Tinkering Studio Staff, and Carol Queen, PhD. How about The Mating Game with The Explorables in the Central Gallery. Or you could try Your Family Jewels, Extract Your Own DNA with The Explainers in the West Gallery. There are also "Tastings". From 6:30-9:30 is Bees Do It with The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) in the East Gallery. At 7:30, 8:30, & 9:30 you can try some Cowboy Caviar in the Central Gallery.

Just want to stroll around with your arm around your sweetheart? Take your time between 6:30-9:30 PM and try these exhibits: Love Nest in the East Gallery, and Which Sperm Is Human? also in the East Gallery in the Microsope Imaging Station.

Maybe you just want to relax and be entertained. You could take in some films like The Kiss, by John Smith, Removed, by Naomi Uman, Little Deaths, by Ruth Lingford, and Speechless by Scott Stark. They start at 9:00 PM in the Kanbar Forum. Ongoing films to catch from 6:00-10:00 PM as you are "exploring" are Kiss by Takahiro Kamura, and Pin-Up in 3D by Kerry Laitala in the West Gallery. Also ongoing from 6:00-10:00 PM in the West Gallery, Mind Cinema is Green Porno by Isabella Rosalini. Ongoing in the Central Corridor is The Operation by Marne Lucas and Jacob Pander. Please note this film has explicit content. If you haven't had enough, you can catch The Love Life of the Octopus, by Jean Painleve' at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 PM in the Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio.

Make a date and head down to the Exploratorium at Pier 15, San Francisco, between 6:00 and 10:00 PM on Thursday, February 6th. Remember, this night is for ADULTS ONLY. You must be 18 years and older. Tickets are available now: $15.00 General; $10:00 Members; Lab Members get to go Free. A ticket does not guarantee admission to special programs with limited seating. Tickets to limited capacity programs will be made available to visitors on a first come, first served basis. However, if you arrive late and the limited seating programs are not available to you, you won't miss the fun! The night will definitely not be boring!

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