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The art of murder: She plans mystery events

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The art of murder: She plans mystery events

“Jozi and her Comic-kazis” put on themed murder mystery dinners each year at Minnie’s Restaurant in Modesto, with past themes including a 1960s theme (pictured), “Murder on Maui”, and old Hollywood...

Photo contributed/


POSTED September 27, 2013 10:11 p.m.

For the past six years, mysterious murders have occurred at Minnie’s Restaurant in Modesto as hundreds of people try to figure out “who-dunnit.”

These “murders” are not the works of a criminal master mind, however, but rather of Jozi Olguin – a Modesto resident and bartender who has a knack for putting on extravagant murder mystery dinners.

“I’ve been putting on these murder mystery dinners at Minnie’s for about six years now,” said Olguin. “I started doing them after I attended one while I was doing comedy in Los Angeles, and I decided I wanted to do this. They’re a lot of fun.”

As an event that requires a great deal of audience participation, the murder mystery dinners put on by Jozi and her Comic-kazis draw in every one who attends for an unforgettable evening.

“It’s similar to the game of Clue,” explained Olguin. “We have the murderer, about five suspects, and also a bunch of secondary characters. We also incorporate the audience into the performance, and they all get a name tag that coincides with the evening’s theme.”

Past murder mystery dinners put on by Olguin have included themes such as “A Murder on Maui,” “Murder on the Red Carpet” and “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.”

“We really go all out and never break character, even throughout the dinner,” said Olguin. “It’s fun to watch the audience really get into it, and you see them having a great time and being transformed into this story that we have created for them. They dress up, they get into it. It’s great.”

The evening will start off with the “victim” dying in front of the audience, who are then given “who-dunnit” cards to keep track of their clues. Going around each table, the actors begin to tell the audience of each character’s back story, dropping subtle clues throughout the evening.

“We also put out an evidence table, with different ‘weapons’ that might have been used in the murder, just like in the game Clue,” said Olguin. “The whole evening is done by the power of deduction, to guess who did it.”

After the murderer is revealed, Olguin says a question and answer period is held with the audience to see who might have correctly guessed the murderer.

“It’s just a lot of fun, and we’ll also have local talent come and sing during the intermission,” said Olguin. “We once did a pirate theme and had the Modesto’s Got Talent winners sing the theme song from the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride at Disneyland. People were dancing and just having a wonderful time.”

According to Olguin, each production is full of impromptu acting but is slightly scripted, as they begin rehearsing each performance at least two months in advance.

“We rehearse to make sure the actors are confident enough, but it’s really strongly based on their skills of improvising,” said Olguin. “It’s a lot of work for us, but it totally pays off in the end. It’s a great way for people that want to act to be able to express themselves creatively, and for the audience it’s just a really good-quality fun time.”

Olguin, who typically holds the events once a year at Minnie’s Restaurant in Modesto, said that she also puts on the dinners for those interested in having one at their own event or venue with an audience anywhere from 20 to 100 people.

“Every time we put on a production, people always ask me afterwards if our group can put one on for their own event,” said Olguin. “Which we can because these murder mystery dinners can be for either large or smaller groups alike.”

For those interested in having a murder mystery dinner put on by Jozi and her Comc-kazis, or to find out when the next one will be held at Minnie’s Restaurant, email jozi@sbcglobal.net.

— CARA HALLAM/

209 staff reporter

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