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Viral Glasgow Willy Wonka ‘Chocolate Experience' inspires Los Angeles event

Two months after a Willy Wonka-inspired “Chocolate Experience” in Scotland failed so spectacularly that it cemented itself in internet meme history, a similar event in Los Angeles attracted dozens of people hoping to take part in a re-creation of the absurd experience.

The original event in Glasgow, Scotland, had promised ticket buyers an immersive candy wonderland only to deliver a sparsely decorated warehouse. Faced with a crowd of crying children and shouting parents, the Fyre Fest-like event shuttered just halfway through the day.

“Willy’s Chocolate Experience LA”— organized by a collective of local artists unaffiliated with those behind the Glasgow event — had a similar vibe. This time, however, attendees knew what they were signing up for.

Held in a worn-down warehouse embellished with a few candy cane props, the one-night only pop-up event stayed true to the underwhelming decor of the Glasgow event, complete with artificial intelligence-generated art. Attendees were even offered two complimentary jellybeans, just like in Glasgow.

Scottish actor Kirsty Paterson — who became known as “Meth Lab Oompa Loompa” — was a key participant in the event. Also present was a local actor donning the persona of “The Unknown” — the random and slightly unsettling masked character who went viral for scaring the children who attended.

This Los Angeles experience, however, was not catered to children. Attendees, who paid $44 per ticket, mingled and laughed with one another as they consumed THC-infused cotton candy, Oompa Loompa-themed cocktails and some not-so-PG on-stage performances.

The event also included a local touch by featuring food vendors, musicians and actors from the Los Angeles area, as well as a four-seat cinema trailer in which attendees could screen silent films.

Event organizers said they intend to donate the proceeds from Sunday’s experience to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Paterson, who went viral after a photo of her looking miserable at the Glasgow experience became a meme format, said she was excited to travel to Los Angeles to play the iconic knock-off Oompa Loompa role once again.

“The opportunities I’m getting from this are life-changing outside Oompa Loompa and the costume,” Paterson said. “I mean, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”

During the event, Paterson took the stage for an audience Q&A and emceed an array of performances — including a skit and dance number by two chocolate-covered Oompa Loompas — after posing for photos with her newfound fans.

Jacob Alpharad, 28, was among the attendees who showed up to see Paterson.

“I don’t think there’s any celebrity I could meet that would impress my friends more than her specifically,” Alpharad said. “I was just happy to be born at the same time as [the Glasgow event]. It sounds like a skit right out of a sitcom.”

Amanda Silver, 21, said she came for the laughs after seeing all the buzz online around what happened in Glasgow.

“My parents were very confused. I couldn’t explain it to them. I was like, ‘It’s a meme,’” Silver said. “They were like, ‘It’s $44.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going.’ I would pay an infinite amount of money to see that.”

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com


Source: NBC Los Angeles

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