Holographic monkeys wrestling. A-list music superstars dropping in to jam with a Cambodian punk band. As a cloud passes over the moon, Shaolin monks duck past you in a spice-scented back alley, nearly knocking the glass of soju out of your hand.
It’s all part of Kind Heaven, an interactive experience planned for The Linq. “I couldn’t think of a better place to bring Kind Heaven to than Las Vegas, because Las Vegas goes for broke,” says musician Perry Farrell, one of the masterminds behind the project. “Liberace could only happen in Las Vegas; Kind Heaven could only happen in Las Vegas.”
Kind Heaven will drop guests into a multilevel Southeast Asian world. It will be an interactive, immersive experience—not AR, not VR, but an enormous space containing multiple environments for guests to roam through. The project is a collaboration between Farrell—leader of the band Jane’s Addiction and creator of the Lollapalooza festival—and Immersive Artistry, a visual effects and production company whose leaders have worked on films from The Empire Strikes Back to The Chronicles of Narnia. Farrell and Immersive Artistry CEO Cary Granat revealed the details of the project at a press conference in The Linq.
Kind Heaven’s vision is one Farrell has been developing for a while. “This all came from a very vivid, powerful dream,” he explains. “I was looking down on a city in Southeast Asia, and the people down below were scurrying about as if there was turmoil, insurgency. People pickpocketing [those] who were asleep and taking out their liver and going out onto the street where there were prostitutes and he-shes and denizens of the underworld. … So I jotted down the dream and I started storyboarding. Then I started to hear music to go with the storyboard.”
Farrell was already considering the concept as something he could do in Las Vegas when a mutual friend introduced him to Granat. Kind Heaven will open in the shadow of the High Roller in the summer of 2019, employing more than 600 people in positions from barback to robotic bird wrangler.
Guests will enter a ticket booth, buy a ticket and catch a train in a Blade Runner-esque station. They’ll arrive in the Night Market, which Granat describes as “the best of the night markets of Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok,” with clubs, music and food. The Forest will be a green, junglelike space with “our version of Angkor Wat.” The Sanctuary and the Shrine will round out the journey.
Music will be a major part of Kind Heaven, with Southeast Asian artists playing genres from trance to punk to K-pop—sometimes with special guests from closer to home. “We’re using certain types of projection and visual technology to represent major artists who you will feel are really there, playing with Southeast Asian artists. At other times, those [major] artists will be there and we’re never announcing when that is,” Granat says. And those holographic monkeys they’ll be wrestling, with little monkey trainers and monkey refs. “When we talk about monkeys, those are the things that are more holographic, but in our forest, there will be a 20-foot robotic snake. Or in the night market, you might walk by hundreds of chickens that are talking to you—those are robots,” explains Granat.
During the day, Kind Heaven will be family-friendly; at night, it will become an edgier, over-21 experience. But Granat stresses that there will be something for everyone—and at a reasonable price. “Especially for the daytime market, we really want it to be affordable for everybody,” he says. “We want to overdeliver on the value for people and give [them] something that they really haven’t had that much, which is, ‘I can’t believe I got to do all of this for this amount of money.’”
Farrell will be moving to Las Vegas to oversee the details of Kind Heaven. “Every square inch is exciting. There’s not a square inch that doesn’t have thought and some type of symmetry and balance to it. Even the alleyways have original music that we’ve produced. Maybe there’ll be a hardcore acrobat jumping over you, acting as if he’s a thief who’s going to steal your wallet. Nothing that’s expected,” he says. Ongoing changes will be part of Kind Heaven’s appeal. “You can go in January and by the time you return in December, different things are happening,” Farrell says. “It’s not one story that you read and you go, ‘That’s cool’ and it’s over.”