Starcourt Mall : A Stranger Things 3 Pop-up

Starcourt Mall : A Stranger Things 3 Pop-up

July 6, 2019

 

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A group of us managed to get tickets for the Starcourt Mall pop-up to celebrate the release of season 3 of Stranger Things in Los Angeles this past weekend.  The pop-up was only open Friday, July 5 through Sunday, July 7, 2019.  The free tickets were for time slots spaced 30 minutes apart.  There was no description of what this pop-up was about except a mention of it being an immersive experience and photo-ops.

 

We had a total of 8 people, but we split up our for the photo ops.  We arrived 15 minutes before our appointment time, which is what was recommended by organizers.  Once checked-in and wristbanded, we could get a free scoop of the new Stranger Things themed flavor U.S.S. Butterscotch ice cream (by Baskin Robbins) from the Scoops Ahoy “boat.”  They also had free bottles of water and a large character wall for photos.  There were restrooms behind the character wall.

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Then we got into another line where we could get a free can of New Coke from a vending machine.  There was also a pressed penny machine where each person could get a free pressed penny (pennies provided) of a Stranger Things image of their choice.  In total, we waited approximately an hour and a half before getting inside the “mall.”  There was a DJ playing 80s music while we waited in line, and we were in the shade provided by the building so the wait wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

They took us in small groups inside the mall, and our group was eight people so there were only a couple of others taken inside with us.  Once inside the building, you see a central court complete with planter in the center of the room and store facades.  The first actual room you go to is the Flash Studio where they had various 80s era shirts, jackets, and accessories to get you glammed up for a Polaroid photo.  You could also take or have the staff take photos on your phone/camera.  The next room couldn’t take all of us so the others went into the Hawkins Community Pool and our personal group stayed in Flash Studio and took more photos on our phones.

Once we got into the pool, we played with beach balls and Hawkins swim tubes and took lots of pictures.  There were two “lifegaurds” in the pool to make sure we obeyed the pool rules posted on the wall, and they posed for pictures, too.

From the pool, we go into Eleven’s bedroom complete with replica props from season three.  We were only allowed to spin the bottle, play with the CB radio, and sit in the chair at the desk.  This room is small, and we took our own photos before we taken in our “photo group” into next room.

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It was a black room with a bathtub in the center.  I climbed inside the tub for the photo and wore a blindfold.  They took a photo and GIF length video and both were emailed a few minutes later to the address I provided.

 

The next room was the Russian laboratory, and there was one man inside yelling at us in Russian when we touched the controls on the consoles (which our guide, Andy, told us to do), and Andy played along, too, ordering a pizza from the phone on one of the consoles.  Two more “Russian” looking (if you’ve seen season 3, you’ll know what I mean) men walk into the room from another door and lead us to another room.  We’re now on a “hill” for a photo-op.  I got really excited to see the Mongoose bike photo prop I got to stand with.  There were a few photos taken of each photo group.  We had two in our photo group so we were given two printed copies, and we provided an email address where they would send all four photos to us.  Once you leave this room, we are back in the central courtyard area where we had entered the building.  I took more photos of the street-facing side of the building while we waited outside for the rest of our group.

This was a great immersive experience which lasted about 45 minutes, and I wasn’t too annoyed with the hour and a half wait.  They did allowed a few people in via standby, but I heard those lines were over two hours.  This is something I hope would be at San Diego Comic Con next week, but it would also really need to have reserved appointment times.

Good Omens Screening

Good Omens screening

By Veronica Nunez

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On Friday, May 17, 2019 Cinespia hosted a free screening of the first episode of the new Amazon Prime Video / BBC2 show, Good Omens.  Good Omens is based on the book of similar name (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Anges Nutter, Witch) collaboratively written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.  The television show stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen and is written by Neil Gaiman.  Miranda Richardson, John Hamm, and Frances McDormand help round out the series cast.  The series is six episodes and were released on Amazon Prime on May 31, 2019 in the United States, but it is being broadcast weekly in the UK on BBC Two later this year.  There isn’t an official date for BBC Two, but it’s been said that Neil Gaiman has said Good Omens will begin broadcasting on BBC Two in November or December 2019.

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As mentioned above, we attended a free screening of the pilot episode hosted by Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  I hadn’t been to a Cinespia screening prior to Good Omens, but absolutely look forward to attending another screening this summer, scheduled permitting.  Cinespia usually hosts screenings of movies during the summer.  The films are projected onto the side of the mausoleum, and there is usually a DJ playing music before the film and a photobooth or two.  Bring a low chair and blankets, pack a picnic or you usually can buy food and drinks there, and watch a movie under the celestial stars near dearly departed Hollywood stars.  Check out Cinsepia.org for more information and this year’s scheduled films.

Because the Good Omens screening was free, it was especially crowded, but we were also given free concessions, and there were plenty of photo booths and photo ops around the area.  There was a large section at the front and center of the mausoleum reserved for VIP, and there were security there.  I recognized the security staff from red carpet events around Los Angeles, so I knew this was a section for invited celebrity guests.  I did manage to spot Josh Groban arriving to that area.  They had seats and blankets along with large baskets of goodies supplied.  They also had a dedicated bar in their section.   Neil Gaiman came and gave an introduction to the show prior to the screening.  I was a bit surprised they only showed the first episode as screenings for television series usually consist of two episodes, but with only 6 episodes for the series I can understand why we only got to see the pilot.

I enjoyed the episode, but I won’t go into detail since it hasn’t aired in the UK, yet.  I haven’t watched the rest of the series, yet, either.  It was really funny, and I love the friendship between the demon Crowley (portrayed by David Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (portrayed by Michael Sheen).  (Note: There was a full moon the night of the screening.)

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EW PopFest : Supernatural Panel

EW PopFest 2016 : Supernatural Panel

By Veronica Nunez

 

Entertainment Weekly’’s PopFest was held at The Reef and the parking lot is where most of the events were happening. The main stage was located outside as well as various activations and food trucks. There were some panels held inside The Reef building itself. More on EW PopFest here.

The Supernatural Panel was held on Saturday, and though I’ve only watched a few episodes of Supernatural my youngest niece is a huge fan so I went to the panel to take pictures for her and make her jealous. She was away at school at the time so she couldn’t go. I texted her a few photos I took on my phone, and I mailed her all of the photos from my camera on a flash drive. 

I’ll probably get around to watching Supernatural after the series completes its run in 2020. I thoroughly enjoyed the Supernatural panel at EW PopFest, because Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are hilarious together. At one point Jared goes to do a mic drop, and Jensen gives him shit because microphones are expensive. Jared had tried to catch the microphone with his foot and it hurt his foot. The whole panel consisted of them teasing each other, and it was great. They clearly have a lot of fun together and we got to laugh along with them.

EW PopFest 2016 – Recap

EW PopFest Recap – October 2016

by Veronica Nunez

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Entertainment Weekly hosted their own pop culture convention in Downtown Los Angeles the same weekend, and only a few blocks from where Stan Lee’s Comikaze was happening at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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Creator and Cast of SuperGirl, Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow

EW’s PopFest was held at The Reef and the parking lot is where most of the events were happening. The main stage was located outside as well as various activations and food trucks. There were some panels held inside The Reef building itself.

On the Friday before PopFest officially began, they held an early screening of Doctor Strange at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood for the first 250 or so VIP weekend badge purchasers. There was a Q&A with Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson.

Some of the panels at the main stage included Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash, and Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. The only panel I saw inside The Reef was for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but I also went to the preview screening of the pilot episode of Good Behavior (at which they had t-shirts on the chairs for the attendees.) They also had author signings where I had my 20th Anniversary edition of Outlander signed by Diana Gabaldon.

Some of the outdoor activations included photo ops for M&Ms and for Ash vs. The Evil Dead. The Ash vs. the Evil Dead activation also gave away foam chainsaw “hands” and t-shirts. There was also an activation to compete in Survivor skills. They had trivia, too, where you could win prizes and a Lip Sync Battle stage. There was a beer garden near the main stage, but I’m not much of a drinker and I hate beer so it wasn’t something I was interested in.

It did rain a little bit throughout the weekend, so that was a bit of a downer for the outdoor events, but it was light and sporadic so everyone was able to have fun. The event seemed pretty well run given that it was the first event of this size Entertainment Weekly held. They had a smaller activation called ConX during Comic Con 2016, which I had visited but hadn’t seen any of the panels or live music performances. I think the event would have had more success had it not been held the same weekend as Stan Lee’s Comikaze (now Los Angeles Comic Con).