While the city of Santa Monica itself is a hotbed for tourist attraction, there’s always one Instagrammable landmark that stands out from the rest, and for good reason: the Pier.
With a boardwalk that stretches to the infinite of the ocean’s horizon, the Pier has anything anyone could possibly want– food, an amusement park, and even horrifyingly authentic impersonators of international despots.
This summer, the Pier aims to engage the community with it’s Summer Series Pier.We.Go., a triad of events held directly on the Pier from July to August.
With the Pier’s wildly popular Twilight Concert Series moved to the fall season, Santa Monica Pier Corporation Executive Director Negin Singh helped put together the diverse events that comprise Pier.We.Go. The summer-long programming is meant to give residents and tourists a “world-class experience every week”.
“It’s time to check back in with this jewel of the city,” Singh said. “These events are all about engagement and connection with yourself, the city, and others around you.”
Kicking off the Santa Monica Pier Corporations event is ROGA. No, that’s not Scooby Doo’s enunciation of ‘yoga’, it’s a portmanteau of ‘running’ and ‘yoga’. Dubbed “The Workout by the Waves” in a press release, ROGA has participants line up beneath the Pier sign at 8 a.m. Colorado and Ocean to engage in a warm-up run (2 or 5 miles) before winding down with yoga at 9 a.m. at the west end of the pier. The event takes place every Saturday at 8 a.m. from July 14 – August 18
Beginning July 24 and ending August 29 is Sea-Saw, a first-time art event co-produced by the Think Tank Gallery. Pier We Go’s website describes the event as “genre-bending” with “eclectic and interactive work” from a rotating group of artists every Tuesday and Wednesday. Mediums such as music, dance, interactive theater, and installations appear throughout the event with art ranging from projection mapping and light-up dance installations to “Yin”, a creepy, dark installation that looks like a melted human centipede, now worshipped as a pagan god.
With a background in arts, Singh says she created the Sea-Saw event to showcase hard-to-define-and-find art to the general public.
“So often [experimental art] is not accessible to a public audience. We wanted to create something to invite artists who have a hard time telling you what they do and give them this platform to share their work with an audience that may not typically have access to this kind of art.”
Rounding out the summer events is PRO/CON, a series of talks meant to bring about civil discourse to contentious issues that aren’t typically discussed civilly across the political spectrum. Every Monday in August, experts from the Left and Right will debate topics such as marijuana legalization, unions, and the abolishment of ICE. Singh and staff are well aware of the intense political divide at the moment, saying the event will have a comedian to moderate and diffuse any tensions. Dates and guests are to be announced.
With impending November elections, Singh says the event is meant to inform the public of important issues facing anyone, no matter what their politics may be. Singh says they’re working on setting up voter registration drives at the event with the Santa Monica Public Library complementing the debate with books of the topics on hand.
While these events will bring more focus to the Pier, Singh feels the Pier should always be a place of wonder for people.
“It can get a little lost in all the hubbub … but there’s a lot of history. If you’ve been here and had the Pacific Park experience, maybe you should come to see what’s under the deck and engage with this landmark in a different way. And if you haven’t been here before, come check these events out. Not many cities have this many resources and we want people to connect and participate.”
Santa Monica’s Pier.We.Go. events are free and begin July 14 with ROGA. For more information, visit https://santamonicapier.org/events/