3/14/2018 by Dave Brooks
The Jane’s Addiction frontman speaks with Billboard about his new immersive entertainment destination set to open in Las Vegas in 2019.
Perry Farrell wants you to see the vibrancy of Southeast Asia through his eyes and experience the magic and mystic of the region’s music, food and culture.
Farrell is one several creative forces behind Kind Heaven, a new immersive entertainment property set to open in 2019 that transports visitors to Southeast Asia without having to leave the Las Vegas Strip. The $90 million project developed in conjunction with Caesars Entertainment and Immersive Artistry’s Cary Granat combines film and holographic special effects to recreate streetscapes and holy temples in Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Hong Kong. Granat was founder and former CEO of Walden Media, which produced the Chronicles of Narnia film series and is former president and COO of Miramax/Dimension Films.
“You start the experience by boarding a train near Caesars that takes you to Bangkok at one in the morning,” Granat explains. “You’re walking through actual night markets, buying food, getting all the scents and smells. And then you go through a forest and experience the beauty of Katmandu in Nepal. It’s really the best of South East Asia combined with incredible music from 130 artists.”
Farrell, frontman for Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros and creator of Lollapalooza, is developing the audio soundscape for Kind Heaven, curating different musical experiences as visitors journey through different environments — from dark and mysterious back alleys to a forest temple and beautiful sanctuary.
Farrell has brought on visual effects pioneer Ed Jones, who worked on Star Wars’ The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Indiana Jones and E.T. to help develop the multi-sensory experience, which is part film and part theme park that’s family-friendly by day and adult’s only at night. Billboard caught up with Farrell after announcing the project at a press conference on Tuesday to learn more about his ground-breaking new venture.
Walk us through your vision for Kind Heaven.
I describe it as an immersive entertainment complex. It doesn’t have chairs like a traditional theater. We have stages within the complex for music and other types of entertainment, but you’re basically walking through a 90-minute show routed in mythology and original content. When you’re within the complex, you’re free to roam around and discover hidden alleyways, visit nightclubs and eat from Hong Kong-style street food vendors. There will be improvisational actors, musicians, acrobats and comedians, combining elements of sensuality and espionage into an experience that will be a first of its kind.
How are you utilizing wearable technology at Kind Heaven?
We’ll outfit visitors with a variety of RFID devices to create a cashless environment to shop and eat without taking out your wallet. And we’ll accept cryptocurrencies and all different kinds of payments. So you can walk into a jewelry boutique or noodle house and your wristband will keep track of purchases.
Kind Heaven is utilizing all kinds of visual effects and visual technology. Tell us about some of the things your special effects team is working on.
We’ve partnered with Ed Jones who has won several Academy Awards for special effects. There’ll be hologram and automated animals, but we will not have succeeded if you notice the technology. We want Kind Heaven to be an experience that you don’t notice anything is synthetic. Everything should feel to you like you’re actually in Southeast Asia.
How does Kind Heaven change at night?
There’s two different experiences — one for families in the day and one for adults only at night. So during the day you can learn more about the traditions and cultures of Southeast Asia, then in the evening it becomes an adults-only experience with street walkers, nightclubs and sake bombs. Anyone who has traveled to Hong Kong knows it’s a much different city when the sun goes down.
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