Photography by Brian To In the ‘70s, the clubs on the Sunset Strip had girls dancing in cages. Today, the clubs have girls dancing in holographic form. Or they might, if they follow the lead of the Hologram USA Theater and Club on Hollywood Boulevard. On Friday, the Hologram USA Theater officially debuted its new […]
Photography by Brian To
In the ‘70s, the clubs on the Sunset Strip had girls dancing in cages. Today, the clubs have girls dancing in holographic form. Or they might, if they follow the lead of the Hologram USA Theater and Club on Hollywood Boulevard. On Friday, the Hologram USA Theater officially debuted its new hologram lounge on Friday, combining the theater’s hologram stage with a club-like atmosphere and amenities.
Since it opened in 2016, the Hologram USA Theater has offered Hollywood a little taste of the past. Throughout the week, the theater would play holographic performances by artists like Billy Holiday and TK. The visuals were created using proprietary camera technology and filming lookalikes for the singers who lip-synch along with previously recorded tracks. The theater’s owner, billionaire Alki David, had bigger plans, though.
“We’re trolling the entertainment industry,” David says, gesturing to the stage where two dancers are joined by Tupac and a dragon—all holograms.
Just like the strange melange of elements on stage, David’s vision of his hologram technology is either eclectic or chaotic, depending on who you ask. While much of the entertainment industry has turned increasingly to the internet and away from physical, brick and mortar infrastructure (just think Netflix and Hollywood’s rush to streaming), David doesn’t see the two as mutually exclusive.
While people may not go to the movies as often as they used to, they still go out to bars, clubs, and musical performances. So David took out the rows of chairs all facing the stage and he brought in plush leather love seats, cocktail tables, a bar, and a DJ booth.
“I wanted to create an interactive experience,” David says. The holograms appeared to complement the action inside the club, not disrupt it. In Friday’s case, dancers conducted Q&A’s with the audience in between dancing.
The future of entertainment should’t be more isolation. There’s enough Netflix and Chill, according to David. In his business model, all you have to do to get people out of their houses is to give them something they can only do outside. Guests on Friday lounged, danced, smoked some of the complementary weed passed out in hulking pre-rolled blunts. While some attendees gathered around couches and sipped on drinks, others clustered in dance circles for mini dance-off’s. Still others hung out in the lobby and sampled the CBD products, which are produced by another one of David’s companies, SwissX.
But according to David, this is far from the last stage of his plan. In slightly over a month, David says that the next Hologram USA location will open at the Sofretel Nightclub in Beverly Hills. After that, six other sites will join the first two. Between those eight, David intends on having multi-city live shows where musicians, comedians, and other performers can put on live shows in multiple venues simultaneously.
“This is the next thing in entertainment,” says David.
Photography by Brian To The technology and entertainment company Hologram USA marked its foray into original content production with its upcoming series, Hologram Karaoke Battles, which began taping on Thursday. The series revolves around the lounge’s highly competitive twice-weekly karaoke contests and is hosted by comedian and actor Andy Dick, who attended Thursday’s event […]
Photography by Brian To
The technology and entertainment company Hologram USA marked its foray into original content production with its upcoming series, Hologram Karaoke Battles, which began taping on Thursday. The series revolves around the lounge’s highly competitive twice-weekly karaoke contests and is hosted by comedian and actor Andy Dick, who attended Thursday’s event and served as the night’s hologram emcee. The forthcoming reality series will appear in November on the online streaming service FilmOn.com, which shares with the theater the same owner, billionaire Alki David.
“We’ve repackaged the whole nightclub experience to be secure in the way artists perform and a safe, managed environment for audiences,” David says about the business.
Even on the heels of Halloween, the Hologram USA Karaoke Club managed to draw scores of participants and observers from all across the city. Contestants faced off in an American Idol-style competition with an $1,000 grand prize awarded to the singer with the best hologram karaoke performance. As has been the case at earlier contests (there have been two other so far), audience members expressed awe at the whole experience.
“Which one is real?”, one man asked a friend about a crowd of dancers on stage upon entering the theater. (None were real, it turned out. The troop of West African dancers had been filmed months before using proprietary cameras).
Even Dick seemed dazzled by the hologram technology, threatening to join the contest himself and take home the winnings.
“I’m not a judge or anything, so I can just beat all of you and take the money,” he said from the green screen room, a retrofitted projection booth that now beams out holograms instead of movies.
The TV show isn’t the only big plan for Hologram USA. David unveiled plans for not just one new hologram site, but seven. The first new location to open up is at the Sofitel Nightclub down the road in Beverly Hills, which David expects to be open in the next 30 days.
David highlights how his hologram technology promises to change the live performance business for both audiences and performers. The growing number of sites will all be linked up in order to host live events simultaneously, so that an artist could hypothetically perform in multiple locations at once.
“Andy Dick can get 200,000 seats from a small stage in Hollywood,” he says.
Dick himself seemed eager to test out the technology, hopping onto the green screen with contestants and, at one point, with David. The comedian seemed more than happy with a rum and coke in one hand and a microphone in the other, working the crowd with a tight-ish five. The audience, for their part, responded warmly to Dick, despite the corporeal distance. (If anything, they appreciated the space between their ears and Dick’s tongue—a privilege not all attendees enjoyed).
Even with Dick and the camera crew present, Thursday’s event was only a soft opening to finish working out the kinks. The official grand opening will be tonight starting at 8 PM, with another chance to win $1,000.