Here's one thing that earth lovers, political junkies, and pop culture aficionados (basically, anyone who likes anything) might agree on: Reality is getting to be a bit extra in 2020. For those of us who need to be whisked off into another dimension by way of immersive entertainment, consider checking into Elsewhere at the Madcap Motel, a multi-sensory experience opening in the Arts District starting Friday, March 13.
Fans of escape rooms, immersive theatre, and Santa Fe's Meow Wolf — as well as anyone with an Instagram account — will dig the 17,000-square-foot, '60s-inspired "motel" created by fictional hotelier J.P. Sando. As the imaginary story goes, he struggled to keep the roadside destination afloat "as the economy of Downtown shifted," presumably when freeways led DTLA dwellers to suburbia. He disappeared mysteriously disappeared 30 years ago, and his family left the property untouched—until their missing patriarch began sending strange postcards last year, inviting them to take another look at the space.
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Things hadn't been the same since the postcards started arriving. The postman delivered the letters from Elsewhere, but there was no return address. It had been over 30 years since the Sando family last visited their motel. When JP Sando vanished three decades ago the family stopped believing in his tall tales. But it was hard to ignore the growing number of postcards from JP. Were the postcards real? Where was JP? Madcap Motel's whispered secrets were growing louder, and soon everyone would find out what was happening inside its magical walls.
"What was once an ordinary series of rooms and hallways is now an expanding labyrinth of fantastical events," notes the Madcap Motel's website. Visitors can discover 19 unique spaces that'll transport them to alternate universes via secret passageways and whimsical adventures, such as room 433, where an enchanting green glow in the closet has beckoned guests. Sure, there'll be photogenic corners (like 4-D installations), but the otherworldly space also aims to spark joy and inspire creativity among all ages via theatrical performances, magic acts, and more.
In reality, Madcap Motel is the brainchild of experiental marketing pro and Good Enough Productions creative director/founder/CEO Paige Solomon, who was also behind Brooklyn's Dream Machine pop-up and has created activations for brands like Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Sony, and Uber.
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Madeline looked out the window and saw the cars whooshing by. Should she advertise what was inside the motel? Would anyone believe her? "Come Experience the 8th Wonder of the World!" she imagined the billboard saying. She knew it sounded crazy but she knew it was all real. Wasn't it?
Intrigued? Tickets for $40 for ages 12 and up, $30 for ages 11 and under, and free for kids ages 3 under; buy them online here, and don't forget to keep your eyes peeled on Madcap Motel's website and Instagram for clues that might just unlock secrets inside the retro wonderland.
Elsewhere at the Madcap Motel, 940 East 4th St., L.A., 90013; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Wednesday