You can experience DELUSION after Halloween, and every spooky activity should do the same

I have never understood why Halloween activities have to end on October 31st. Halloween is glorious. It has spawned an entire season of inherently-good delights. An excuse to wear costumes. Candy. Cozy-not-bulky clothing. Pumpkin everything.

And so much effort goes into Halloween events open to the public that it is a shame October coincides with a tidal wave of busyness for most people. Midterms need to be prepared for, flu shots need to be booked, and for some reason, it seems like 90% of professional conferences across industries happen in October. Oh, it is also college reunion season and “cute fall wedding” season, especially now that Labor Day weddings are a fool’s errand due to climate change-induced fires.

Luckily, while you may have lifted your head from your piles of work and decisions to make only to realize that hayrides and Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights have passed you by, the very best event in Southern California for Halloween is still going strong. DELUSION, an immersive indoor/outdoor haunted house/mystery/theater experience is still scaring and inebriating people in the community of Pomona, California.

Before you start hemming over the distance, know that DELUSION is held in a real mansion, repurposed and filled with costumed actors and a bar. Some of the actors drive long distances to get to their creepy gig, which has VIP and regular ticket options .

(The following is based on the 2021 experience, Reaper’s Remorse. Now I just have remorse that I didn’t know about the versions of the play that happened over the last decade every Halloween)

You begin in the elegant mansion where you are escorted into a room with a group (10 people, and you can’t have your phone), and the mystery of the mansion is explained. You make your way through the house and may end up in tiny passageways, outside in a graveyard with spooky shocks, or in the SECOND house in the rear. Be ready to be touched or asked to help or solve something! Wear comfortable shoes and something warm–maybe something that you can run in….and a rain jacket. I was definitely on my hands and knees at some point getting through one of the houses.

I don’t want to give away too much, but DELUSION was thrilling and satisfying, and the story line changes every year.


Tickets are here, run by a new Santa Monica ticketing agency called TIXR. Ticket prices range from 90-$120 and the show runs from Thursday-Sunday through Nov. 20, 2022. The Philips Mansion is located at 2640 Pomona Blvd, Pomona, CA 91768 Parking is easy and free.

Again, no phones, and they had food trucks outside and people stayed after to mill about and chat about the spooky experience.

IMPROVEMENT: Pomona is far, I wish they would set up some kind of carpool app. Also, Mr. Braver, please add a media gallery with actual JPEGs to your site !

What VIP gets you:


  • Access to the secluded 2nd Floor offers a truly psychedelic experience. The featured dark maze of Hell’s Hollow captures the mind of those passing through. 
  • The intimate Dark Arts Private Bar offers themed drinks, 70’s cult movies adorn the walls, and the only resident of the mansion, an eccentric magician and researcher, bends reality and offers hints as to the source of the darkness that has fallen over Miss Phillips Estate.



Jon Braver

Executive Producer

13th Floor Entertainment Group


David Brzozowski

Production Manager

Spencer Williams

Stage Manager

Sati Thyme

Assistant Stage Manager

Andrew Flory

Assistant Director

Guadalupe Garcia

Stage Crew

Omar Gutierrez

Margo Saba

Madison Mojica

Paige Taylor

Lauren Jordan

Veronica Cortez

Jasmine Leung

Amanda Enriquez

Tamla Quipse

Marieann Real

Production Design

Cryptic Industries

Art Director

Gillian Chance

Art Crew

Tony Prado

Tyler Posada

Denise Alec

Eric Haviland

John Haviland

Chris Baab

Liam Rose

Specialty Prop Fabrication

Michael Ribigin

Special Creatures

Jim Beinke

Paul Palos

Sound Design & Engineering

Victor Mathieu

Lighting & Sound

Diablo Sound

Hell’s Hollow Dark Maze Design

Jesse Kirberger


Cat Elrod

Casting Director

Aleeycia Hollman

Stunt Coordinator

Jon Braver

Stunt Ops

Payton McNamee

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SPEAK: Rina Mehta and Rachna Nivas Do Chitresh Das Proud with Kathak, Tap, and Jazz

Somewhere, during the Saturday night performance of SPEAK at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, the reincarnation of kathak master Chitresh Das was drinking a mango la ssi and smiling.

Das (d. 2015) was the Baryshnikov or Balanchine of India; a dance master revered for his mastery of the art in performance but also for his massive contributions to dance education and propagation of the form. But he was also a risk-taker and an innovator. I was lucky enough to see Das and virtuoso tapper Jason Samuels Smith perform together twice in the span of nine years, in an award-winning show called India Jazz Suites. SPEAK is a tornado of kathak and tap, presented by female dancers from Das’ dance company, and a testament to Das’ groundwork—no pun intended—in marrying the two dance forms.

The evening began auspiciously, with the first act, “Maya”. Two sets of musicians flanked the stage, the Hindustani musicians on the left, the Westerners on the right. Kathak performance music can be predictable; the tal rhythm structures the work of the table drums, sitar, and harmonium as a vocalist utters syllables mimicking the sound of the drums themselves. The dancers then perform either a predetermined choreographed sequence or an improvisation matching the called-out syllables, not unlike Eminem’s rap-battle retorts in “8 Mile” albeit with makeup and ankle bells (ghungroo).

This performance was different, arresting, full of personality and not just a really good School of Kathak dance recital. SPEAK - Photo by Margo Mortiz

Vaibhav Mankad quickly arrested the audience with his seductive vocals, pitch-perfect even when a cappella (he’s been a professional singer since the age of 15). Impressively coiffed Satyaprakash Mishra (think pre-haircut The Weeknd, but Indian) commanded his tabla while calling out his tes and tas to the dancers.

Rina Metha and Rachna Nivas, both former principal dancers with the Chitresh Das Dance Company, maintain ambitious goals for kathak dance; that it will be a bridge to social change and human empowerment. Fitting, then, that “Maya” centered on Durga and Kali, the warrior mother goddess and goddess of destruction; fitting that before and after the performance, the production declared its support for that day’s March For Our Lives, led by the school-shooting survivors of Parkland, Florida.

Metha radiated calm and power as Durga, while tap diva Michelle Dorrance skittered and leapt around her as the furious, energetic Kali. The Western musicians, with Tabari Lake on bass, Carmen Staaf on piano, and an equally charismatic percussionist on the drum kit (Allison Miler) melded their sound effortlessly with that of the traditional musicians. It was an ice cream sundae of art.

Nivas, though trained by Das as well, is an entirely different dancer; dynamic, energetic, playful, and a master of the arched eyebrow so important in this style of dance. In her traditional Kathak showcase solo, she introduced Das-level irreverence and whimsy; power spins and turns punctuated with seductive looks and playful midair ankle jiggles to make her ghungroo tinkle.

Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, a tap veteran who was…Michael Jackson’s tap instructor, strutted out incredibly complex rhythms while looking from the waist up like a blissful yogi describing her book club’s latest choice. Her ability to focus her energy and isolate her feet was mesmerizing. This contrasted sharply with Dorrance’s full-body, fiery delivery. Sumbry-Edwards’ traditional tap solo brought the house down. I wished I’d seen her in Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk when I had the opportunity.

The production permutated every possible combination of the four styles of artistry on display. Tap dancers grinned as they tapped to a tabla. Nivas and Metha spun and slapped their feet to jazz. Both sets of dancers improvised with both sets of musicians, unable to suppress huge grins. The piece “Chalan” an instrumental with all the players, meandered a bit, but “One” with all the dancers and musicians, fully  exemplified Das’ vision; that kathak should be powerful, that it could fraternize with other art forms, that it could change the world.

Any future SPEAK performances will be noted here.

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