Chris Wink was hired by Area 15 to furnish out-of-this-world experiences.
So the co-founder of Blue Man Group who split with the troupe a couple of years ago felt entirely at home Thursday night. The Area 15 director of cool (stuff) spun the story of aliens trekking to Area 15 after being “rescued” from the original “Alienstock” and “Storm Area 51” events in Rachel and Hiko.
A half-dozen extraterrestrial visitors tooled up to the facility in Las Vegas artist Henry Fang’s Mister Fusion skeletal street car, which has been a popular feature at Burning Man. It’s on display at Area 15.
The invite-only crowd of VIPs, the vast majority dressed in an array of intergalactic costumes, cheered this climactic event.
“Here’s the secret,” Wink said after hosting the arrival event and requisite dance party in the Area 15 welcome center. “We’re not interested, literally, in aliens. We’re interested, metaphorically, in aliens.”
Metaphorically speaking, aliens meandered around the facility until 2 a.m. for the watch party-themed event, which was hatched when the “Storm Area 51” festival began building momentum in July. Area 15, with MeowWolf art collective and entertainment conglomerate of Santa Fe, N.M. as the anchor facility, is set to open in early 2020.
The party served as a way to generate buzz, word of mouth and social media energy about the 200,000-square-foot entertainment fortress.
“We found this through a mutual friend and it is an interesting twist on things,” said Nigel Wheatstone, CEO of Full Engagement Sports of Las Vegas, who, in the late 1980s through the 1990s, worked as a club DJ in the U.K. One of his contemporaries in those days was a rising star named Paul Oakenfold. “It seems like a very nice experience and will have a really nice design. I’m excited to see what it becomes at the grand opening.”
Wheatstone’s wife, Shauney, added with a laugh, “This is a captive audience here. This fits Las Vegas, in general. We’re all a little bit alien.”
The couple said they believe in extraterrestrial beings.
“You’ve got to be a little naive to believe that you are the only thing in existence in the universe,” Nigel Wheatstone said. “There has to be other things out there. Maybe the aliens are just us from the future, coming back in time to report back in time to check out what has happened in previous history.”
Or maybe they just wanted to groove under strobe lights and meet new people and expand their cultural experiences.
“We’re interested in letting the alien out and accepting the difference and community connectivity,” Wink said. “We are good stewards of the planet here. You’re either in or you’re out, and we’re going to our best to be green, be soulful and have that vibe.
“We are going to own that. We think that is important.”
The “alien” visitors seemed to agree.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.