By Paris Spence-Lang
VANCOUVER — At first glance, Here There seems charming, unique, and slightly disorienting. So what is it? Put bluntly by co-founder Lizzy Karp, “We give Vancouverites an excuse to leave their apartments that’s not brunch.”
The brainchild of Lizzy and partner Ken Tsui, Here There is a studio focused on creative direction and multi-sensory event design. The studio has worked with the likes of the UBC Botanical Garden and Bestie, and has put on events such as the Golden Dumpling, an annual dumpling cook-off and derby. By striving to create unique and different events, Here There has become as eclectic as their accolades, and it all starts with Ken and Lizzy.
“One of the things that inspired us to get together was to do something a little different,” says Ken. “We come from different backgrounds. The key to where I come from is food. Lizzy really helps develop experience and is big on storytelling. The idea of how things are experienced is really important to us, as well as imbuing design considerations into those experiences. Combining different elements, music, food, storytelling. It’s really interesting.”
This combination of strengths is most evident in one of Here There’s most popular conceptions: the Sensory Cinema, in which viewers watch a movie—Fantastic Mr. Fox is the next showing—while being served a menu designed around the film. The added dimensions of taste, touch, and smell allow the movie to come alive in an immersive cinematic experience. But it’s not just about eating chocolate while watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory; the pair claims the best experiences come from great movies that aren’t food-related.
“When we started working on Sensory Cinema,” says Lizzy, “we got excited about movies people have seen and loved and really knew, so people who’ve seen it will really enjoy a lot of the surprises we have planned.” Ken agrees. “I feel as though sometimes when watching a movie over and over again we take for granted what the experience is, so when we add a new layer, it’s a great opportunity to experience the film again.
So what films are in the works? “There’s talk about doing Spirited Away, and I really want to see a Big Lebowski movie. And—just because I love the movie—Ghostbusters.” The duo says most movies have hidden food themes that most people don’t notice—just imagine eating a toasted marshmallow as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man explodes.
Here There has taken on a lot of events, but they say the Sensory Cinema is unique. “It’s pretty interesting to do something like the Golden Dumpling,” says Ken.
Lizzy continues: “But there’s something about having an intimate, smaller group of people and watching them experience food with the scene they’re taking in. People like eating while watching things.”
So what do they want to say to Vancouverites stuck in their apartments? “Come to the show!” Lizzy laughs. “It’s a new concept but it’s important to be able to put yourself out there and say, ‘Okay, this is going to be a little different,’ and still take a chance on it”.
You can see Here There’s delicious take on the Wes Anderson classic Fantastic Mr. Fox on January 30th at the Groundswell Cafe.BC, British Columbia, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Groundswell Cafe, Here There, Wes Anderson