San Francisco turns out the lights
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About 200 people gathered in Dolores Park Saturday night to dance to music, watch the San Francisco skyline dim and think about saving energy.

"Lights Out San Francisco" put on a free concert for those who came to celebrate the effort to have as many people as possible turn off non-essential lights between 8 and 9.

Electronica-spinning DJs and Beatropolis' ska sounds entertained prepared celebrants and curious onlookers alike as people draped blankets onto the grass and waited for the lights to go out.

When the clock struck eight, all the lamps inside Dolores Park extinguished. Then, those who reveled in the park while it was dark saw various parts of San Francisco join in the act. The TransAmerica Pyramid, City Hall and the Bay Bridge were all visible from 20th and Church as their lights were temporarily snuffed out.

"In terms of [promoting] energy conservation, I think we did a great job," said Brian Scott, director of operations for Lights Out San Francisco.

Scott said the turnout exceeded his expectations and the event was a success.

"Seeing people turn off their own lights was really cool. It's just an awesome event," he said.

At first, the Bay Bridge did not appear to turn off any lights, worrying some onlookers who may have missed seeing the other luminary buildings quickly blend in with the night.

"I don't think I saw anything go out. That's a shame," said Marianne Frapwell, 23.

But the bridge did eventually turn off the lights adoring its vertical spans, just one column at a time. About every five minutes, another strip would darken, garnering a round of excited applause from the more vigilant members of the gathering.

During the hour of darkness, a string quartet and singer Ambur Braid performed classical music that Greg Gutkin, 29, thought really set the proper mood.

"The music makes you think about what this means. Finally, there's awareness about energy. We need to be careful about how to use it," he said.

At 8:50 p.m., a handful of fireworks shot from the park exploded into view, marking the excitement and optimism shared by many who came and liked the event's message.

"It's something all these people have as a memory," said Brett Eastman, 27. "Maybe tomorrow it'll create some conversation. That's constructive. It doesn't hurt."

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PHOTO
Colleen Cummins | staff photographer
Katherine Savvides, 21, left, a Political Science major at SF State and her roommate Dawn Olson, 21 participated in the First Annual Lights Out San Francisco. " We gotta a flyer in front of City Hall and we've been here since three," said Olson. Lights Out San Francisco was a citywide energy conservation event asking residents to install one compact fluorescent light and turn off all others for one hour on Saturday night October 20, 2007. (Colleen Cummins,[X] press staff photographer)

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