Sneak Into Large Events




About: Engineer making renewable energy products for African entrepreneurs.

Did you miss your chance to buy that last ticket? No problem, lets enter that sold out venue!

These instructions do not involve anything exotic like somehow finding blue prints for the building or some sort of optical illusion. And no, you won't need to find a trash can. While I do consider myself a semi professional dumpster diver, digging through the garbage just prior to entering an event is less than appealing. It directly contradicts the first step of this project. I don't mean any offense to these two linked projects - the time spent on each is obvious.

Step 1: Dress for Success

Dressing up as you did for your awkward prom night probably isn't a good idea when entering a venue in broad daylight. In similar fashion, a fine arts museum will attract a more stereotypically sophisticated crowd where description phrases like "hip and with it" or "stinky cheese and wine" apply.

For this venue, the de Young fine arts museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, we penetrate the elite wearing a cream colored button down shirt (no need to tuck in), blue jeans and a somewhat leather messenger bag. The blue jeans say I'm relaxing while the button down shirt says I'm ready for business - lets get cultured.

The messenger bag is also important - we'll explore this in the next steps.

It should go without saying - but smelling like a urine soaked alcove in a bad neighborhood of town is completely out of the question.

Step 2: Case the Venue

What's security like? Admissions?

Many museums in San Francisco use stickers to show admission. These are typically placed on the chest so greeters at "ticket checkpoints" know you've got your ticket. The de Young museum, legion of honor (in which you get admission to with a de Young museum ticket) and Exploratorium all use this method.

Other methods include wrist bands, badges, stamps etc. As my formerly underaged sister says - "Bars/Clubs are great! Just drink with your left hand." <-- The bars/clubs surrounding her university stamp your right hand if you're a minor. If the bartender (or some sort of event employee) doesn't see your hand, they won't see that you're missing anything. This won't help anyone get into a venue - nor does it help you get ejected once inside ;)

Gather this information ahead of time. Additionally, try to find out how ticket admissions are handled. How many points of entry? Which ones are busy? Is everyone checked? It's very possible that you won't be ale to do this ahead of time - so you'll need to think on your feet. Those that ooze confidence don't earn any extra attention when checking things out.

Wearing a messenger bag allows you to cover your shoulder such that the sticker could, potentially, be obstructed from view. While this won't let you get through a ticket checkpoint, it will keep other security officials away and give an excuse for why your sticker fell off.

Step 3: Entrance

The museum has ticket checkpoints at the entrances to the galleries. These are manned by one employee, each.

Entrance is best made on a busy day, such as a weekend when both tourists and locals are enjoying the facility. You'll need to wait for a confused group of people to grab the attention before casually walking in. This museum, like others, does not check everyone. Instead, the ticket checkpoint people watch for people without stickers - then ask if they have a ticket.

The odds are, you get one shot at doing this without attracting additional undesired attention - so ensure you've got the testicular fortitude to continue.

Step 4: Situations

While enjoying one particular gallery, I was approached by a large man in a black suit.

In a deep, commanding voice; You'll have to take off your bag, sir he said, You can't have anything behind your back.Oh, I'm sorry, I respond, why is that? Can I still wear the bag over my shoulder? The security man says, Things on your back are harder to control, and we don't want anything to get knocked over or damaged.No problem, thanks you I say, as the bag is swung to my front, still strapped over my shoulder.

I thought that was the end of the tour for me, only 5 minutes in. As it turns out, because I didn't get the entrance shtick like everyone else, I wasn't aware of this policy. Keep your cool, don't panic and respond like any other human would. Being courteous, polite and cooperative is an advantage.

Have a story ready - if you're asked about your ticket be ready. My story was that m sticker fell off and I've been separated from my party. I would have explained how a friend, Richard Pelton bought my ticket and would have the receipt. It might not work - but I guarantee that saying nothing also doesn't work ;)

So I don't actually have a photo of this event - so here's a nice picture from one of the exhibits. If you doubt this actually happened, I can imagine some coarse vocabulary to describe my opinion of you - but, Tetranitrate was there along with others - they saw what happened and I need not your approval.

Step 5: Enjoy the Venue

As this was a museum, feel free to inject opinions left and right about the works - to your friends of course.

Delicious sugar art....
Spectacular use of vivid colors...
And just plain awesome - two neon sign guys getting their eyes perpetually poked!

If there's some sort of rock band playing - be sure to rock out. If it's some sort of convention, with free schwag, do help take away free schwag. I personally stock up on pens and such for the remainder of the year this way.

Step 6: Give Back to the Establishment

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm so frugal that I must sneak into a fine arts museum (I can be rather frugal). I was more than ready to give my $10 if it weren't for the sold out sign on the ticket counter.

So, rather than buying the ticket, I put my $10 in the donation box. Venues such as this typically have a place to donate. Conscious clearing? Perhaps - but I would have had no problem walking out without donating. But I do wish to support the arts in which I'll take a moment to politicize. If you don't want to read it, skip the italicized text...

Florida has a program called Bright Futures. Get good grades and test scores - your college tuition is payed for assuming you keep up the work in college. The program is changing. More money will be given to programs like Engineering and other sciences while less money will be awarded to degrees in the arts. I am an Engineering student, but, I feel it's a bad omen when we turn our backs on the arts like this. I, for one, would not have gotten though my courses without books (other than engineering :p) or music (my university has a pretty decent jazz radio station that the broadcast locally). The future is rather gloomy without art.

That's all I have to say on that - you don't have to agree with me, but that didn't stop my from calling my representatives.

Step 7: So You Didn't/couldn't Do It?

That's okay! As long as you tried. For some, it takes some work to build up the confidence, aka: Testicular Fortitude. All is not lost.

Enjoy the free portions of the venue. The museum had some great things on display that were completely free.

*Observation tower
*Mural Room
*Edited video of Dale Chihuly glass blowing
*Other arts of many different media

And the museum store. Lots of photo books and even video. I watched about 15 minutes of The Way Things Go - a video of a 30 minute, 100 foot rube Goldberg machine in action. I could have watched the entire thing if I wanted to.

Additionally, the surroundings of this particular venue were amazing. Having a back up is a good idea - so you didn't/couldn't get in, go for ice cream or out to dinner. A nice bike ride is always good for the body and mind :)

Step 8: Victory Snack!

Just thought I'd throw this picture in here. Some dumpsters have tasty goodies.. I wonder what a museum throws away...

First Prize in the
Burning Questions: Round 5



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    25 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 8

    So what kinds of great food can we find in the dumpsters?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    i like the just drink with your left hand thing, but at rams head they stamp both your hands, and I can't open a beer with my feet yet.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    A lot of times its permanent marker that they use, so just water wont work, however.... Hand sanitizer, the stuff with alcohol in it(this is important), will remove permanent marker.


    10 years ago on Step 7

    Hydrofluoric acid? That's pretty harsh, sign of the times I guess.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Haven't been to the de Young in a while, but if I remember correctly, they let me in for free last time because I had a Bank of America card...

    Gee, just a little angry in step 4? ;-) About Bright Futures: Most everyone I know who had that ends up losing it because they let their grades slip, once again enforcing my belief that if you give someone something for free, they don't value it. Good thing it's paid for by a tax on stupid people.

    6 replies

    I still have my Bright Futures after 4 years; I'll have it through my 132 credits. But I have a relatively easy major -- just about anyone I know in a more challenging major lost it. :/

    jongscxStercus Fit

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Urg... I was academically eligible for it (Well, the Hope Scholarship up here in GA) but lacked the 1 yr citizenship requirement... we'd just gotten our permanent resident status 8 months prior, after going through a 10 yr application process. Quite incidentally, by the time I had the residency requirement... I was no longer academically eligible... Ironically, because I had to work because I was having trouble paying for everything; which didn't help when I already had bad study habits and was going to a hard-@55 school- GA Tech... funny how these things work out.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    As do I. By the way, what's the story of the bike in your profile picture? I walk by it every day in the lobby of the Engineering Building at UCF?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    It's a human powered vehicle - we build it for competition... - I should update a few things on there :p

    If you're interested in joining or want more details, hit me up on eMail
    trebuchet03 at gmail dot com... Or try and flag me down, I'm the guy with the crazy yellow recumbent bike on campus.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I was on Cal Poly's HPV team for five years. Good stuff. Didn't hurt that we won a lot too. heh. Bike looks nice!