Underground Rebel Bingo Returns to Los Angeles

Bingo players study their cards after a number is called | Photo by Fresh To Death.
What comes to mind when you think of the game Bingo? A group of silver-haired seniors huddled around fold-out tables in the local community center, perhaps. Or maybe you flash back to your childhood when you Bingo-battled other kindergartners for candy prizes.

It's safe to assume that most people don't have visions of a loud, crowded bar filled with eager 20- and 30-somethings covered in marker ink.

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That's exactly what Angelenos are in for when the Underground Rebel Bingo Club returns for a series of raucous game nights on February 4, 17 and March 3 in a soon-to-be-announced location in the Hollywood area.

Freddie Fortune on the mic. | Photo by Fresh To Death.
"It's loud and emotional ... like a party with a big live game show in it. It's an attack of the senses, like Metallica-meets-bingo," explains URBC co-founder Freddie Fortune, half of the U.K. duo responsible for bringing this alternative bingo party to the masses.

Fortune and his friend/co-hort James Flames (yes, their surnames are pseudonyms) started what would morph into the URBC in 2008 when the pair stumbled upon a Bingo machine in the basement of a church, hence the name "Underground" Rebel Bingo. Nearly four years later, the pair have quit their day jobs in reality TV and moved stateside (Flames handles the URBC presence in New York) to expand their reach in the U.S.

"It's just gone nuts, we didn't really know. We never had a plan for it, we're not like
businessmen or whatever," says Fortune, who now lives in Los Angeles full-time. "We don't make any money yet, but it's enough to get by. I used to have a proper job, but I am a lot happier than I was."

The URBC Bingo wheel. | Photo by Tom Chambers
The first thing to do before attending a URBC party is to throw out everything you already know about Bingo. It's likely that the atmosphere, the rules and even the actual cards (the URBC has them imported from the U.K.) are different than any other Bingo night in the world.

"What we play isn't really Bingo, its not gambling, it's not fair. So it's like a mutant form of Bingo," explains Fortune. "It's not so much about the numbers and winning stuff." For example, in the case of a tie, it might help to be closer to the stage. "If there's a tie, the first person to come up and hug me wins," explains Fortune. "It's not fair, but life's not fair, is it?"

The URBC kicks off its first dates of 2012 on Saturday, Feb. 4 and tickets are available now at the URBC website. Once tickets have been purchased you will be signed up to receive the secret location and more details on what to expect. Sign up for the mailing list to get alerts when tickets for the Feb. 17 and March 3 dates become available. Ticket prices vary from $5.00 up to $20.00 depending on when you buy, the earlier the better.

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I live walking distance to Dodger Stadium and have little dog named Dobby.
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