I think by this point we're all VERY familiar with the pop-up "museum," "experience," "exhibition," "art installation," etc. that's taking the country by storm. And when I say country I mainly mean Los Angeles and New York. The epicenters of all things trending in fashion and fun.
The latest installation to hit the Southern California scene is Happy Place. I first saw posts for Happy Place in Facebook ads - a surprisingly effective way to catch ones attention as they're aimlessly scrolling through the Facebook - and was immediately drawn in by the bright colors, the smiley faces and the overall joy portrayed throughout the photo moments. Happy Place, go figure!
Like any of these pop-ups, they come out with teasers photos, dates, location, etc. then ticket release dates. If you're not glued to your computer the moment those tickets are open to the public you better kiss your opportunity to go through that experience goodbye! Unless of course we're talking the Museum of Ice Cream which despite it's original end date of May 2017, is STILL going strong...In December...Almost 2018.
Happy Place didn't have quite the hype as some of these other experiences - i.e. Yayoi Kusama and The Museum of Ice Cream - but nevertheless I didn't want to risk it. I snagged tickets for an evening weeknight and prepared to experience the Happy.
Located in the arts district, parking looked a little bit iffy upon arrival but the parking gods were looking down upon us favorably that evening and we were able to snag a spot right as someone was leaving. We waited in line for less than 20 minutes before being ushered to the front entrance with about 10 other people.
As we entered Happy Place, a small cartoon video played on a screen highlighting what we were about to experience (happy, happy, joy, joy). Thus far it was very much like the Museum of Ice Cream which I was a huge fan of so it was a-okay in my book.
Just like the MOIC we were ushered from room to room where you essentially wait for the opportune photo opp space to open up, take your pics and move on. Unfortunately for us we had some hardcore...Uhhh...We'll call them "photographers/models" in our group so the wait was a little bit longer than normal in some rooms.
But I mean really, how many pictures does it take to get ONE good one? Trust me, I don't judge when it comes to pictures - I know I have my moments and my boyfriend can definitely attest to that one (#aspiringbloggerlife) - but at least I know how to take a good pic and move on.
It got a bit more crowded as we moved through the experience and especially in the more notable and photo worthy rooms. God I love watching people take pictures - isn't it one of the most entertaining things?!
Anyway, it took about an hour to get through the experience, waiting in line to take pictures in a yellow bathtub in a bathroom full of rubber duckies and all.
Overall, in my honest opinion, I was not impressed by Happy Place. For a number of reasons.
First of all, some rooms were REALLY weak. A pop-up museum/experience/whatever literally called HAPPY PLACE has SO many options for rooms full of HAPPY - puppies, ice cream, glitter, sunshine, music, etc. - come on people! They really should have consulted me first in order to achieve ultimate happiness.
Second, it was DIRTY. Pretty sure Happy Place had only been open maybe 2 weeks by the time we visited but a lot of the rooms looked like they had seen better days. The yellow duck room especially. The floor looked like hundreds of people had been walking back and forth across it for days. Which, technically I guess they had but that's not something I ever noticed at the MOIC.
Last and perhaps MOST importantly, the lighting was absolutely HORRIFIC. I mean, let's think about this. For a place dedicated to taking pictures and having "shareable moments" in order to continue attracting customers you would think that the lighting would be on POINT! That couldn't be farther from the truth.
Overall I would give Happy Place a 6 out of 10. I think it had a LOT more potential and was a major let down in a lot of very important areas.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not disappointed I went, I enjoyed myself - especially in the confetti dome - but this is not a pop-up experience I would highly recommend to others.
What's been your favorite pop-up this year?
(Originally Published December 19, 2017)