Thursday, August 3, 2017

My "Big Little Lies" Experience

Regular readers know I am a huge fan of Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies and—after some initial griping over the location change from a fictional beach town near Sydney, Australia to the coast of California—of the series on HBO as well. Understandable then, that I was excited to be invited— as one of a hundred or so people—to attend the Big Little Lies Experience, a special event hosted by HBO and timed with the release of Big Little Lies on DVD, Blu Ray & Digital Download. My husband was working so I brought my sister as my plus one. We always have a good time together but this event—an interactive murder mystery show that mirrored the Big Little Lies storyline—was one of the best ever.


The Big Little Lies Experience was held at The Victorian, a beautiful old home built in 1829 and refurbished as a private event venue in the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica. Just a couple of blocks from the beach, it's in the part of town where my family lived when we first came to California in the late 1960's. If you're looking for a cool, funky, beach town vibe, Ocean Park is the place. 

We checked in with the young ladies out front. As you can see everyone was in a good mood.
                                    
 
The real fun began the moment we were greeted by the hosts of the fictional New Coastal HOA fundraiser, mirroring the fundraiser where the murder takes place in Big Little Lies, getting us in the spirit right away.

Truly scrumptious cocktails helped. We both started off with the delicious looking Monterey Splash. They were so delicious, we drank them down way too quickly so we switched to wine for the rest of the evening.

The platters of meats and cheeses were followed by beautiful little sliders and the best sweet potato fries I've ever eaten. And I've eaten my share of sweet potato fries!

My sister Nancy, enjoying the warm night. Moments later we would be welcomed inside The Victorian—glasses of wine now in hand—and put into groups.

Each group of a dozen or so people spent the next part of the evening together, escorted through a labyrinth of rooms where the Big Little Lies Experience murder mystery played out. There was plenty of speculation about the missing president of the HOA, questions about who was sleeping with who and lots of laughter from the audience.

Not everything was funny. The dancers in the back of this image—Anthony Velazquez and Jazz Elise—re-enacted through dance the abusive co-dependent relationship of Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Perry (Alexander Skarsgaard) in Big Little Lies. It was a powerful performance and deeply moving to watch, so much so I wouldn't have dreamed of grabbing my camera. This shot is from another dance, later in the evening.


All the performers were really outstanding, adept improvisers—before the ‘show’ began they mingled, in character, with the crowd, teasing those of us in the ‘audience’ with the roles they might or might not have played in Bill's disappearance.

Jean Elie (Insecure, American Crime) and Trina

To be honest, part of what made the Big Little Lies Experience so special—my sister called me this morning to say it was one of the best nights of her life!—was the people we shared the experience with. Our group was lively, full of fun, totally invested in solving the ‘crime’ while having a great time along the way. Nancy and I hooked up early with this adorable couple, Jean Elie—who turned out to be an actor in the HBO show Insecure—and his girlfriend Trina, who has a glamorous fashion-based life. Jean, who hails originally from Haiti speaks gorgeous French, a skill he was able to use in an episode of American Crime


In Insecure, you'll see him this coming season playing Issa Rae's younger brother, Amal


Bad picture of me but what a night!

Beyond the actor thing though, Jean and Trina were just so real, so happy and vibrant and simply so much fun. 
Thanks HBO for a super night at your
#BigLittleLiesExperience.



Big Little Lies starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgård and Adam Scott is out on DVD and BluRay now. 

CONTEST?



As a party favor, HBO gave us goody bag with a copy of the book and the BluRay/DVD. Should I give the prize pairing away?

Here's a shout out to the actors and production team that put the show together JOB WELL DONE!


The Company

Character
Archetype
Played by
Bill Rodgers
The God/Murder Victim
Javier Alcina
Kristine
The Power Lady, Board Member
Brittney Rentschler
Bob
The Dad/Host, Board Member
Thaddeus Shafer
Andi
The Daughter
Alex Knell
Tammie
The New Money Single
Deanna Noe
Nancy
The Town Fuckup, Board Member
Kelsey Olson
Lenn
The Coordinator, Board Member
Jim Kane
Corwin
The Co-host, Board Member
Gyasi Silas
Pete
The Liar
Perry Powell
Fabienne
The Exotic/Singer
Rachel Rivera
Jion
The Zen Hubby
Kyle DeSpiegler
Woman in HEAT
Dancer
Jazz Elise
Man in HEAT
Dancer
Anthony Velazquez
Production Team
Stage Manager/Tour Leader
Jessica Richmond
Production Team
Stage Manager/HOA Volunteer
Chad Eschman
Production Team
Production Stage Manager
Niki Armato
Production Team
Experience Consultant
Tommy Honton

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