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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

army 4 lyfe

with the bean's beloved BTS on hiatus, it seems that their management has been doing everything they can to make sure that their absence doesn't result in losing their immense fan base.  army is pretty rabid about their boys though, with every avenue of social media continuing to be peppered daily (if not hourly) with posts that reminisce of days past, what the individual members are currently doing, speculation about what lies ahead.  but their management company is pretty savvy about all of this, as evidenced by the pop-up exhibits and merchandise shops that they've set up on a fairly regular basis.

when they announced ticket sales for a new exhibit called "proof," named after their last album, lilcee and i were all over it.  and so, as it turned out, was the hub.  while i'd struck out during the presale, he'd somehow managed to get himself into the queue and snagged tickets for the santa monica event on father's day. and so we headed out into the june gloom on that sunday afternoon and made our way to third street promenade.

we'd arrived a little early, so we strolled through a few of the shops and then walked into the merch store (because of course, there's always a gift shop!).

the bean picked up a set of photo cards and an official hoodie, while i snagged a t-shirt of my own.

the hub, while always supportive and encouraging, was less than interested in his surroundings.  he sped through the exhibit and was done in no time, while the bean and i moved slowly through to look at all of the props and sets.

oddly, the number one rule of the exhibit was "no photos unless in a designated spot."  and they weren't kidding - there were plenty of staffers around who watched with an eagle eye and didn't hesitate to put the kibosh on anyone who tried to pull out their phone and snap a photo.  this meant that the line for the one photo op in the whole building was long and moved very slowly, which even we lost patience for.  and the only other spot that cameras were allowed was here, where there were faceless mannequins modeling outfits worn by the spectacular seven.

at $60/ticket, i was left feeling rather soured on future exhibits.  it just felt like the biggest money grab that took advantage of army's huge love and support for all things BTS-related.

of course, this didn't stop us from heading out to the west side again a couple of weeks later to check out the "space of BTS" pop-up, although this one was free to enter and was pretty transparent about the fact that it was solely a merchandise shop.

the walls were adorned with lots of posters and other band-related graphics, and their music videos on loop on a large screen in the back.

we recognized some of the merchandise from previous releases, and it occurred to me that this was basically like a nordstrom rack of BTS merch - all the leftovers in one spot for army to pick through, only at non-reduced prices.  like these slides and flip-flops from their mcdonald's collab:

we picked up a few items, of course, and then stopped for a couple of photos before skedaddling on outta there.

thank goodness for lilcee, who is also very firmly part of army and is always willing to head out for some BTS shenanigans.  woohoo!

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