Life Is Beautiful Festival - Art Motel, Las Vegas, NV - September 25th-27th, 2015
The Mystic Midway, a non-profit community arts organization from San Francisco California, was invited by Art Motel Curator John Doffing to transform the courtyard of an abandoned 2 story motel in downtown Las Vegas as part of the 3 day LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL Festival with a highly engaging, immersive experience.
Inspired in part by the words of Life is Beautiful festival co-founder Rehan Choudhry, Mystic Midway Director Scott Levkoff gratefully accepted the challenge of transforming a derelict patch of urban decay. “Our intention was to create a bespoke, immersive, carnival-themed environment that invited festival guests to step onto a living game board of whimsy and discovery,” he said.
The Mystic Midway Art Motel immersive environment consisted of gorgeous over-sized props, carnival sets, spinner wheels and multiple paths of game board squares painted directly on the ground. This setting was brought to life by a trained ensemble of in-character improv performers, stilters and circus folks who guided thousands of delighted guests around the gameboard. Over the three days of the performance, the Mystic Midway and all the participants invoked a magical space of playful possibility that facilitated social connection and deeper engagement with themselves and each other.
A few examples of the activities the Midway Ensemble players hosted:
- In Midway Alley, the Hobo Kings invited guests to leave behind ‘something old’ by writing down something from their lives they wanted to let go of and attach it to the inner walls of shantytown shack where other guests could see them as they passed by.
- Guests were also invited by the Hobo King take a moment together to tune into the spirit of INSPIRATION and bring back something inspiring, “something gold” from the Midway; be it an experience, a discovery, or overcoming a fear.
- The Hobo Queen invited guests to go for “a spin with her” into the FUN zone as she wheeled off on roller skates.
- Bellagina, our stilt-walking Princess invited guests to give her the highest “Hi-5” in The Kingdom
- Trixie invited guests to spell out BEAUTIFUL with over-sized sparkly letters and then yell it out together.
- At the FUN Gates of The Mystic Midway, guests were challenged to do something fun, silly or bold in order to gain access inside-once inside, they were asked to spin around and choose one of three pathways that led deeper into the game.
- Down The Mystic Path - guests would encounter Lady Fortuna in her Oracle Booth and receive Story Card readings that gave them insight into their own stories and permission to dive into the magic and possibilities of their lives.
- On The Mythic Self Stage The Incredible Feelzo instigated large groups of guests to gather together to take mass ‘selfie’ photographs in flashmob moments he called “Us-iees”.
- In Mr. Nobody’s Swamp Shack our most skeletal cast member Mr. Nobody invited guests to name a fear they wanted to let go of and offer it up to him to EAT.
- If guests made it to The Temple of Secrets, they could either offer up a secret or step up onto the ornate Temple float and peer behind to glimpse a “final secret” only revealed to those that played the game!
The Mystic Midway was very gratified to work with such a stellar group of artists, musicians and event producers at the Art Motel. Moments like collaborating with Meow Wolf on a transitional environment or working with improvisational actors from Las Vegas's own Cockroach Theatre was an absolute thrill. Every square inch of the Art Motel had an incredible artistic intention to it, creating an utterly unique environment that we were privileged to be a part of.