It was a night with a nearly full moon. That was probably the first sign that something was going to go wrong that night. But we chose to ignore it as we all stood lined up outside of the dance studio, waiting for someone to come down to fetch us. It wasn’t long until a young mysterious woman came down, individually selecting us in an order none of us could really comprehend. When it came to be my turn to venture up the stairs, I hesitated. It was dark with just the barest hint of candles to light my path. But I pushed myself forward and eventually was led into a room fit for a ritual. Soon it was time. Time to INVOKE.
For those of us who live in Los Angeles, the idea of a dream home being given to us is more than a dream—it’s a unicorn dancing on the head of Nicholas Cage who is shooting marshmallow cupcakes at Big Bird while singing “Fireworks” by Katy Perry illusion of a fantasy. We have all seen those illusions so many times and we know there is always something rotten behind such a beautiful façade.
Something I’ve come to learn since living in California is that Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without a Zombie Joe show and lo and behold, they are back once again with their newest rendition of URBAN DEATH: TOUR OF TERROR HAUNTED ATTRACTION. Not only does this experience include a phenomenal theatrical performance, but guests have the chance to walk through a darkened maze of confusion filled with the most depraved and horrifying creatures imaginable.
This October, SNOW FRIDGE is back with a newly crafted Halloween show aimed at exploring your fears. Similar to the original, guests are asked to fill out a questionnaire prior to attending the event to create a truly individualized experience. Although a similar concept, the masterminds behind SNOW FRIDGE created a vastly new experience that challenges guests to make friends with their greatest fear.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in the mid-city district of Los Angeles on a rather unusually cold and dreary evening. Upon arriving at the secret location, I made my way to a small outdoor seating area decked out with string lights and a fire pit ablaze and checked in for my designated appointment. Just as I gave the young woman my name, the skies opened up and rain poured down with thunder and lightning crashing all around us. A sudden storm had fallen upon Los Angeles which beautifully set the mood for what I was about to experience. A smile crept across my face as I stood in the rain and waited for Delusion’s THE BLUE BLADE to begin.
Whenever I contemplate an immersive production, as either audience member of creator, there are a few things that consistently roll around in my head. The story always calls first for me, because I want to understand why a narrative is being told, why here and now. A close second must always be the design, as I believe that immersive theatre can transport audiences to another world in a way that no other art form can quite emulate. Finally, I believe that the right talent can bridge both earlier elements together; indeed, even the best story and design need the human touch to live and breathe.
I will be honest. I do not have much experience with either VR or escape rooms. I have a basic idea of what each element consists of, but I have generally tried to steer clear of both due to my own preconceptions of both mediums of entertainment. VR can be very overwhelming for me and I am generally put off by the idea of large groups solving puzzles together, which makes escape rooms a bit less fun for me to experiment with. However, despite all of this, I found the WAX HOUSE: THE LEGEND OF JACK THE RIPPER to be quiet fun and enjoyable with just a few glitches here and there.
As a first time attendee of the Wicked Lit event, I was excited to finally get to see a production. I joined Shannon, who had been to previous shows for something a little different. In past years I had heard about the cemetery performances in the graveyard and was intrigued to see that staging. However, this year the creative team behind Wicked Lit has crafted a more intimate experience for their audience to explore the hallowed halls of the Mountain View Mausoleum in Altadena among its permanent residents.
The first immersive event that I attended when I moved to California was Creep LA. Since then, I’ve been consistently blown away by their productions, whether it was their own rendition of the Aaron Mahnke’s LORE, based on the Amazon Prime series, or a dinner party with an eccentric and secretive family in THE WILLOWS, the creative endeavors that Creep LA and Just Fix It Productions go through to make an unsettling, albeit beautiful, experience is unparalleled. I say all this because their Halloween show AWAKE is, without a doubt, a tragically beautiful masterpiece and their strongest performance to date.
While attending the North Bend Film Festival last month, I had the chance to participate in The Annabellee Experience, a weekend long event where a select few would have the chance to meet with Annabellee in person. The following is my account of my experience which touches upon my meeting as well as the realization that this was not my first encounter with Annabellee.
On Friday, I had the chance to travel to Kansas, aka downtown LA, for the funeral of General Jinjur, following the revolt that took place a month earlier that resulted in the death of the Scarecrow King during his wedding to Ozma. With tension still in the air, and a special video message from Ozma asking us all to attend the funeral, those who came, came with trepidation and curiosity. This resulted in the next chapter of The Kansas Collection, “The Witch”, which was one of the most heartwrenching and mind-blowing chapters thus far.
Last month, while attending the North Bend Film Festival, I had the chance to immerse myself in a few upcoming VR Experiences sponsored by Altspace VR and Microsoft MR at the Campfire Lounge at North Bend Train Depot. Ranging from aliens to cults, there was something for everyone, and though I didn’t get the chance to experience all the VR offerings available, I did get to check out three, and as a whole, I was left rather impressed with the state of VR technology. Read on to learn more about my experiences and make sure to keep an eye out for these in the future!
The air is stale and the fluorescent lights flicker as I walk through a motel parking lot trying to find my car. Once I see it, I make my way over and open the passenger door before sitting inside. The car is small and compact, almost claustrophobic even and I could feel the weight of my worries hanging over me. I am Victor Hamlin and this is the start of Echo 1 / Inside My Soul.
As an intern at Ghostbusters you've made your fair share of coffee runs but this time you have been given a special assignment. Pick up a double espresso, one sugar, and infiltrate the apartment building that, according to the PKE meter reading, has heightened ghost activity. You and three of your teammates are charged with investigating these psychokinetic energy readings. Don't mess up your first assignment!
VR haunted house? Where can I sign up? From the makers of the critically acclaimed Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, enter Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment a high intensity virtual reality experience taken place at a haunted fair. Based loosely on a true story of missing persons at 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, you are tasked with investigating their disappearance without being possessed by a rampant evil spirit.
Within the past year or so, studios have been working overtime to allow fans the chance to immerse themselves in the world of their creations. We've seen everything from It's Neibolt House to the complex sci-fi world of Ready Player One. However, while attending San Diego Comic-Con, I had the chance to step inside the world of one of my favorite television shows, MR. MERCEDES, based on the detective trilogy from horror master Stephen King.
Judgment day has come to the Irvine Spectrum, with the first terminator themed virtual reality experience in Southern California. For the past 20 years, the beloved franchise has been tapping into our fears of technology outgrowing its usefulness with catastrophic results. Spaces: Theme Park and Attractions gives you the opportunity to rage against the machines and foil the terminators' plan for world domination. Your objective is simple: break into Skynet, disable the satellite and save the world. But there's a catch, you must undergo a reversible procedure and transform into a terminator in order to break in undetected. You and three of your teammates have 15 minutes to complete the mission. Do you have what it takes?