In November 2014, Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction and the rock festival Lollapalooza told me of a new entertainment fortress he had in mind for the Strip.
“It’s nothing like Lollapalooza. It’s immersive entertainment, and it’s something you’ve never seen before, I can promise you that,” he said back then. “You’re going to freak out. You’re going to love it.
“It’s music-centric, and it’s everything that we are into these days: Technology, music, lifestyle, food, women, drinking, gambling. … You’re going to go there, and you’re going to want to drag your buddies back.”
Last week, one of Farrell’s partners in that very project — Kind Heaven at Linq Promenade — was asked about the Farrell forecast.
“It’s 99-percent accurate,” said Cary Granat, chief executive office of Immersive Artistry, teaming with Farrell and Caesars Entertainment in Kind Heaven. The Southeast Asia-themed attraction replete with live entertainment, restaurants and a technologically advanced, 360-degree walking tour set to open in August 2019. “What Perry pitched is going to come to life.”
That 1-percent distinction is there are no plans — yet — for gambling at Kind Heaven, but gaming is not being ruled out as one of its many amenities. That strategy will need to coexist with Kind Heaven’s cash-free environment, where RF technology takes the place of cash purchases for food, beverage and merchandise sales.
The “spiritually enlightening,” using Farrell’s term, entertainment fortress will cost nearly $100 million to complete. Kind Heaven will be split into two segments: Family friendly by day (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) and adult at night (8 p.m.-3 am.). Kind Heaven will face the Strip from the upper levels of The Linq Hotel, taking up the space once occupied by the sports book and, currently, the Vortex special-event venue. The entrance will be on the west side of the of Linq Promenade. Prices are not set, but expect somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 during the day, and $65 at night.
One of the project’s lead creative forces, Granat is a producer and executive who has been behind such successful films as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Scream,” “Scary Movie” and “Spy Kids.” His Immersive Artistry company takes such ambitious and adventurous concepts as Farrell’s vision for the Strip and brings them to life.
The venue will present live music of all genres on four stages, with Farrell himself heading up the booking. Its walking tour will focus on Southeast Asian cuisine and culture.
Highlights of a phone chat with Granat on Friday, leading to today’s formal announcement at Linq Hotel:
We have monkey wrestling: Not real monkeys, mind you. “We will have really fun stuff inside our location, like monkey wrestling with cute, hologram monkeys that you can bet on and things like that,” Granat said.
How hologram monkeys wrestling fit into Kind Heaven’s entertainment lineup: “Our world is a world that transports you, in all of your senses, everything, fully immersing you into Southeast Asia,” Granat said. “You are going through an entire night market or day market, with all the incredible food, drinks, and experiences and into music and entertainment destinations and forests and rivers and waterfalls and then you’re going to go through an area like Katmandu and Bhutan.
“We have a very cute bar, a fun bar, that has both live music and performance and it does have monkey wrestling. The monkeys come out and they have monkey trainers and managers. It’s a whole experience that you get to watch.”
An unbroken path: “When you come in to Kind Heaven, you are entering a continuous loop or movie that has six or seven different story lines,” Granat says. “If you don’t want to do that and just come to experience great music, you can bop around from stage to stage and hear great rock, great jazz, new Southeast Asian reggae, new Southeast Asian ska, new types of EDM and hip-hop. You’ll be able to just be a music appreciator.”
Luring the artists: “We will have performances that start at 11 a.m., with more family-friendly artists that will be curated by Perry,” Granat says. “He’s found some incredible performers in Southeast Asia and he’s already started to match them up with great producers and other artists that he has worked with over the years at Lollapalooza; it’s less Jane’s Addiction and more Perry. Of course, Jane will play and Porno for Pyros will play, and he’s putting together a super-group of him and some of his friends from other bands that will play on our main stage.”
In all, in a given night there might be 10 different artists playing on the Kind Heaven’s four stages.
High-end eating, and a lot of it: “We are going to have over 30 different competitive high-level, almost Michelin-rated level street food; the type of food you would get in Singapore and in the best locations in Bangkok and some of the places in Cambodia where you’re trying foods that are genuinely just cooked, fresh with the spices and herbs and preparations that you’ve never had before,” Granat says. “We are going for something that, at times, will be very exotic, certainly in the VIP rooms, but as you are going through you will be able to have things that just aren’t offered right now in Vegas.”
Humans — famous humans — will also be portrayed as holograms: “I can’t say yet, but there are going to be some major artists throughout the experience that will be depicted in holographic form,” Granat says. “One large stage that we call the Dynamo Stage, is really meant to evoke a USO stage. That stage will have both live performances and holographic performances.”