Immersives – California

Here are some of the immersive experiences I’ve attended in California. Click the link to read about my experience. Each blog post will include a link to the website for the event when possible so you may plan your own visit. These are listed in no particular order. If you have any questions feel free to tweet me @christinebarger

Events:

Bl4kM4ss

The Nest

Tales by Candlelight

Speakeasy Society: Kansas Collection The Portal

Past Events:

Speakeasy Society – Kansas Collection (10 parts):

Have You Seen Jake (ARG & Interactive Theatre)

Black Matter Foundation

The Tension Experience (Part 1) The Tensions Experience: End of Indoctrination (Part 2)

Theatre Macabre

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Immersive Theatre – Los Angeles

Recently I’ve gotten involved in the immersive theatre and alternate reality game (ARG) communities here in Los Angeles and I couldn’t find a good reference list anywhere, so I’m creating one. Please note some of these experiences are more intense than others.

This list of immersive theatre is in no particular order and should link you directly to each company’s website.

The Lust Experience 

Have You Seen Jake   ***read my blog post here***

Heretic

Speakeasy Society

Screenshot productions

Sanction

The ABC Project

Unbound

Hamlet Mobile

Shine On Collective 

Alone

Creep

Blackout

Vescorp

Delusion

Modern Masters

 

 

 

Have You Seen Jake?


Jake is missing! 

Will you help us find him? 

Join the search party HERE.

The website describes this experience as follows, “Have You Seen Jake is an immersive, experiential theatrical project that is highly curated and specifically customized for each participant. The experience evolves based on your level of engagement and the interactions of the rest of the search party. Search party members will be engaged through telephone calls, emails, text messaging, social media, small group in-person interactions, fully realized experiences – and perhaps other means.” 

So far I’ve found it to be a fascinating journey. I jumped into the search party near the beginning in early October. I have regular text communications with my friend Jake, however I’m still fuzzy on how we know each other. The forgetting sickness has really affected me. I am pretty sure I’m also friends with Heather and Jesse, but again forgetting sickness has made our history a bit foggy for me. I enjoy chatting with Blue and the community on the Slack chat group where we share personal stories and theories, as well as solve puzzles together. Many photos and videos appear regularly on the Instagram.

I’ve already attended two in person events.

The first was a search party event at a park where a small group of us found a few things and then met a young man that left us to fend for ourselves when THEY showed up blaring Clementine and staring at us through creepy animal masks. 

The second was an event in which small groups of participants from the search party met Jake’s friend at a bar. His sister showed up and we were given instructions to individually explore his last residence that same evening. While searching through the motel room I came across a Dream diary, books, and more. However I did not find what I was looking for (a certain book) before three of THEM in animal masks came at me forcing me to my knees and telling me to beg before I wound up facedown on the bed being told that I had indeed failed Jake and branding me with the words “Dead Dummy” across my back in marker. (For those of you that don’t know, I’m a ventriloquist.) 

Tonight Jesse called asking about my upcoming planned trip to the Magic Castle. This was my first time speaking to him throughout the experience so far. I have to say the amount of customization has been impressive. You can see the drawing SHE posted of me from their Instagram account below.


I already have my tickets for the ticketed event Therapy & Dreams next month. (Did I mention all of the interactions and events have been at no cost so far?) I’m very excited to continue interacting with all of my old friends that I am remembering and the not so friendly characters too. 

Dates also announced for the next two ticketed events: Water & Fire in February and Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow in March.

HAUNT – The Tension Experience ASCENSION – CA – 2016

THE TENSION EXPERIENCE ASCENSION

5 Stars (of 5)

Do you seek Enlightenment? The OOA Institute can help.

For the past seven months I have been part of a fascinating alternate reality game through The Tension Experience. It’s the wonderfully unique creation of Darren Lynn Bousman and Clint Sears. A community formed on the forums at the website. As the story unfolded participants chose sides between the OOA Institute and those against the OOA sided with the BOS. I have remained loyal to the OOA even though others have called it a cult.

You can read more about my early experiences with the OOA HERE as well as the event that wrapped up the first chapter of The Tension Experience called Indoctrination HERE.

As Indoctrination ended, it made way for the beginning of Ascension.

Ascension is a beautifully done event that can’t really be compared to anything else in Los Angeles. It’s a unique blend of interactive haunt, theatre, escape room, and more. It is a stand alone event so you don’t need to have any prior knowledge of the story. You will be immersed the the story whether or not you know anything at all about it going into the event.

However, if you have the time I recommend checking out the forums on The Tension Experience website. It is one of the warmest most welcoming online communities I’ve encountered. I’ve made real life friends through the forum. Actually the entire group with whom I attended Ascension were friends I’ve made on the forum.

This is a good point at which to mention I have never done an extreme haunt. To be honest I was a bit worried about Ascension because it seemed like all of my friends from The Tension Experience community loved extreme haunts and I had never done Alone or Blackout or anything like that. Well I’m pleased to say I didn’t call the safe word (I did think about it once).

Don’t get me wrong, it IS INTENSE. However it is not the type of extreme haunt where you just get beaten and humiliated, so if you watched The Blackout Experiment documentary know that this is different. The Tension Experience is so much more. It’s more psychological and less physical than I expected. It’s much more about creating an individual experience for each participant through storytelling that leaves an impression.

A little advice for your adventure into Ascension:

  • Do your best to attend with an open mind and be ready to be present in the moment.
  • Do not wear your favorite outfit or shoes as they may get dirty.
  • Leave your cell phone, jewelry, valuables at home or in the car. Believe me it felt weird not wearing my wedding ring, but I was so glad I left it at home for the event.
  • Do not be late. You will have a specific arrival time. Think of this as a performance more than a haunt. Give yourself ample time for traffic and finding the parking lot.
  • Use the bathroom before arriving and don’t drink a bunch of liquids. It is at least 2 hours without bathroom breaks.

Glory be!

The Tension Experience – Indoctrination 

The Tension Experience


Above: Hooded participants listen to Addison. Taken from Periscope 

It is with mixed feelings that I write this. Indoctrination has come to a close in order for Ascension to begin this weekend. 

How can I feel so sad and excited about something simultaneously? Well that’s Tension. The Tension Experience is masterful at flooding it’s participants with emotion and tension.

The Tension Experience in an incredibly interactive ARG created by Darren Lynn Bousman and Clint Sears that began early this year.  Over the past several months it has not only told a story, but created a strong community of participants. The participants communicate online and in real life at events organized by The Tension Experience as well as participant run meet ups. We have been encouraged to choose sides between the OOA (a group that believes in Anoch and ascending) and BOS (OOA detractors). 

The story is quite complex but I will do my best to summarize it and explain how the live event on September 7th wrapped up Indoctrination. 

A young actress named Addison came to Los Angeles and got drawn into the OOA which has been called a cult by some. Her family came looking for her and showed up at a previous event. She stayed in the OOA and even took a position called Gatekeeper. Recently she started referring to herself by her name again instead of her title and seemed to want out of the OOA. The BOS have been trying to save her throughout the journey. They met a member called Sentinal prior to the last event. 

On Tuesday many of the participants that have been active in the community (myself included) were invited by Addison to a “meeting” in downtown Los Angeles. We arrived, signed in and had a hood placed over our heads to be lead into another room and stood in a circle listening to Addison speak. Several participants were recognized for their contributions to the community. All were thanked and then the big reveal…The One. We’d all been anxiously awaiting the reveal of The One for some time. The One is…all of us, the community. 

Above: I was able to meet Addison and shake her hand. Taken from Periscope

Then it was party time! Three servers came out carrying trays of finger foods and the music played. Addison walked around shaking hands with participants with a smile on her face and a sadness in her eyes.


Above: Russell giving Addison the stuffed cat. Taken from Periscope 

After a few minutes Russell (a participant) approached her and returned her stuffed cat that he had been carrying with him since an earlier event. This caused Addison to have a dramatic breakdown. She began screaming,”This isn’t real!” The servers dropped their trays, threw Addison over one of their shoulders and ran out. Then we were told to leave. 


Above: Parricipants leave after Addison is carried away. Servers made a mess dropping trays to grab her.

If you’d like to see videos of the September 7th event you can watch them at The Tension Experience’s Periscope.

Photo credit: Susie Juntarakawe

Many of the participants, including myself, went out afterward to socialize and discuss Tension. It was a sad time and felt like the end of something wonderful, but also exciting as Ascension begins.

So what is Ascension? 

To be honest I’m not 100% sure yet. It is a live event that will be some combination of ARG, Haunt, Escape Room, Interactive theatre and Choose your own adventure maze. They have been clear that you do not have to have any prior knowledge of the Indoctrination story to enjoy Ascension. Honestly I’m not sure what to expect because I’ve avoided reading press about it for fear of spoilers. I do know that I attend tomorrow and I had better use the bathroom before I get there because it’s a long experience. 

Hopefully I survive and will post about it soon.

You can get your tickets at The Tension Experience website to join in the excitement. 

Midsummer Scream  Escape Room Panel


No Way Out: Horror Escape Rooms

Saturday, July 30

Time: 11:30am-12:30pm

Where: Second Stage

Panelists: Christine Barger (moderator), Eddy Millis (13th Room), Kayden Ressel (Basement), Madison Rhoades (Cross Roads)

* 30% off General Admission tickets to Midsummer Scream.
Code: ESCAPE

Enter code at ticketing page on MidsummerScream.org

The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley HotelMy husband & I stayed at the Stanley for our anniversary this year. First of all, I thought it was the hotel from The Shining movie. I was incorrect. It is the hotel that the movie was based on. There was a newly planted shrubbery maze in the front because they didn’t actually have a labyrinth like the movie but decided to add one recently. They do however claim to be haunted. Unfortunately our ghost tour was rescheduled earlier in the day because they claimed they weren’t having the evening your that we booked (even though we saw it walking by after our tour ended) so the tour wasn’t particularly creepy. It also screwed up our evening schedule because they changed our booking which made it a bit more difficult to enjoy. We ended up exploring on our own for quite a while and still no sign of anything paranormal. We were booked in a room in the Lodge, not the main hotel. Supposedly there are pets that haunt the Lodge. I kept hoping a ghost cat would curl up on my pillow and purr me to sleep, but no luck. The room was nice, aside from the lack of air conditioning. Oddly there is a giant TV in the room that plays The Shining 24/7, but they don’t have AC because that would be too modern. Overall The Stanley feels like an incredibly expensive tourist trap. I would highly recommend visiting and even taking a tour of the place if you are interested in going because the history and building are fascinating, but I wouldn’t recommend staying there.