Ah, Hollywood life. It’s so...Hollywood. Right now there’s a resurgence of nostalgia all over the media. Movies are being remade. TV shows are as well. It’s got mixed reviews. It brings out new viewers to join in on the experience and encourages all of the getting-older-hip-crowd that might not even identify as hip anymore or...
Limited edition pop-up style food and drink spaces are just the trending ticket item that ‘80s and ‘90s kids have been waiting for. They offer the chance to dive back into their favorite films and shows in creative ways, each catering to different types of fans with family-friendly content as well as to the “were there for the original” set. While other cities get their gulps in, there seem to be more in the land where, well, everything started.
Coming soon on May 1, there will be a “Saved By the Bell” pop-up dinner. The “Saved by the Bell” pop-up isn’t new. It’s made a cameo in Chicago already with a splash. Someone even got engaged at the last one dressed as Kelly Kapowski.
An Ode to the ‘90s
While the menu for The Max’s stay in L.A. isn’t posted yet, one can guess what you might be able to get in the ‘90s tribute. Each of these pop-ups all seem to follow a theme. They recreate a background from the original show and put in food and drink items with throwback to the show. It’s a tried and true recipe. It works. All of these events consistently sell out. Tickets go on sale and are immediately snagged and gone within a short time.
Some other events in L.A. have been Twin Peaks tributes. Fans of the show may fondly recall The Roadhouse bar regularly seen at the end of the both versions of the show. The Roadhouse pop-up experience was aimed towards the adult fans of the show. Entrance was via the Red Room through the woods and ultimately offered the smoky seductive backdrop of a dark bar and the infamous “Bang Bang Bar” sign that marked its official name. Menu for the Roadhouse featured cocktails named after characters of the show like (spoiler alert) “Killer Bob” or a “Dr Jacoby.”
Another iteration of Twin Peaks eating and dining experience brought to L.A. was a pop-up with The Double R Diner where you could get a damn fine cup of coffee or piece of cherry pie. This pop-up was brighter and a bit more family-friendly. The space that hosted this pop-up was an old Johnny Rockets. It made for an easy but perfect way to showcase the bright white and red space that Shelley and her mother worked so hard in serving cherry pie and coffee to secret agent Dale Cooper and even a Log Lady.
Celebrity spottings were not uncommon either. Cameos from the original cast popped in a few times in its run giving fans an even bigger adrenaline rush. This was something special to the “Twin Peaks” pop-ups however.
Last summer, fans from the show “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” were able to enter their favorite place to get crystal meth… erm chicken with a pop up of Los Pollos Hermanos. There were a lot of Heisenberg look-a-likes that could probably fool even die-hard fans (I got fooled by a picture someone had with one of them on Tinder) but none true blue verified.
During the holidays last year, Google also had a “Stranger Things” pop-up that allowed fans to sit on the couch in front of code lights. Like all of the other pop-ups, this was extremely Instagram-able…and not by accident.
Behind the Hollywood flair tends to be even more marketing. Show schwag and paraphernalia seems to be a given. There were plenty of opportunities for fans to get t-shirts or even David Lynch’s own brand of coffee. But there’s more than the obvious lurking in the wide open.
Usually these pop-ups are paired with another element that is being simultaneously being marketed. The “Twin Peaks” tributes were about the show coming back. The “Breaking Bad” diner was about the character Gus making his way into “Better Call Saul.” Google’s fan tribute was about the then new Pixel phone which has…wait for it…a great camera. Sounds like a perfect way to make the Gram and get noticed.
So what does this say about this generation? They’re a generation that loves nostalgia. They’re a generation that can’t get enough time in front of their cameras…and brands love it. These limited edition “magical” experiences draw in fans by the droves, revitalizing the knowledge of the show and bringing in new sets of fans. From a marketing perspective, this also equates to dollars.
Socially generated magic has continued an upward movement over the past few years. Think of it as an extension of your love for a brand. And who could really blame you? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in that world? In the online world these pop-ups serve as a way to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality. Suddenly you can be transported to the places where you learned about love, you cried about breakups, you laughed at giant phones and big hair, or even solved a mystery.
In Hollywood, you can be anything. You can be a star. Will you jump on the hype train and in the front of a camera? For a limited time, you might want to. After all, you never know if this might be your last opportunity to go to Bayside or if there’s some other magic waiting in the wings not yet announced to set the ‘90s kid soaring back into nostalgialand.
Jennifer Stavros is a #museforhire and writer who frequently flitters between Los Angeles and San Francisco. She and her work have been featured on LAist, The LA Weekly, and more. Her experiences and musings of personal growth while dual wielding cities and frequently blurring the lines of an artistic, corporate, colorful and dark world can be read about on her blog Little Girl, Big City, on her Twitter, Medium, or perhaps one of the many books inevitably being drafted.