February 2013
Las Damned Vegas 2013
There was another trip to Las Vegas in February of this year.
This one was accidental as we were originally planning to go
to Miami, FL for their Art Deco Weekend. Unfortunately, we
gave up after five days of pulling the flights and hotels
cohesively together and then watching it all pull apart. Thus,
with hands up in the air out of frustration, we switched gears
and ended up booking a Vegas trip….which took only two
hours to do.….complete with three shows that were on sale.

This was an active Vegas trip thanks to these shows.….and
yes, two of them were Cirque du Soleil shows: Ka and Love.
On the night of our arrival, I planned to see Penn & Teller,
again. I enjoyed their show a couple of years ago and they did
mention that they rotate large parts of their show every year to
keep things fresh. Well, two years afterward, I figured I’d check
back to see what was up.

Apparently, quite a bit. Mixed into their hit list of tricks, they
snuck in a newer one where Penn picks up Teller and pours
him like a tea cup and, well, out came some tea. During this
fancy foot work, Penn leads the audience into ‘I’m A Little Tea
Pot’ sing-a-long. I haven’t heard this song since my English
grandmother was around 19 years ago! The song selection
was so un-Vegas, it was hilarious.

At the end of each P&T show, they both run into the lobby and
do the meet and greet with the audience. I joined the audience
for this after show meet & great the last time, but I felt self-
conscious asking celebrities for their autograph, I only got
Penn’s signature on their program and from that I gave up and
shook Teller’s hand and left. As you can guess, I didn’t stick
around this time. An interesting detail about this part of this
post-show is that both P&T referred to everybody as “boss”.
Penn had previously mentioned that their real boss of their
“self-employed job” was the audience who pay to see them.
Pictures of Teller's box on stage that opens the
show. Sorry, no pics of KA and that Beatles
show. You know how copyright infringement
can doom society.
However, I was tempted to get a copy of the Bill Of Rights from
their gift shop. It was featured in one of their more thought
provoking tricks with a metal detector….it was a bit more of a
demonstration of how weak the detectors were in the first place
and to show it, they used a pocket-size metal copy of the Bill Of
Rights. As Penn proudly pointed out, this Bill of Rights is
guaranteed to jam up metal detectors everywhere! Oh, and P&T
are proud Libertarians, too.

As for KA? The production was so elaborate and gigantic that it
almost got lost in the plot. Visually, there’s a couple of huge
moving rotating platforms where the cast/dancers jump, dance,
pounce, toss over each other like salad. Can’t knock it! Damned
impressive. As for the plot, well, you have to guess it out as the
cast talk in some theatrical gibberish, possibly a much higher level
of the French language that Quebec citizens managed to
developed JUST to be more annoying. From what we gathered,
the plot starts off with a spoiled royal family having a joyful picnic
and then is attacked, captured and/or separated by an opposing
fraction and thus they spend the rest of the show getting back
together and getting revenge on the pissed-off party.

In the end, a fine show, but if a wandering plot and freaking
looking people bouncing around you (as they did near the start of
the show) talking gibberish into your face make the hairs fall off
the back of your neck, you might want to avoid this one.

Been planning to see Beatles’ ‘Love’ for some time but the show’s
fractured ticket web site and its persistent ‘sold out’ status wasn’t
helping! Well, we survived the stupid ticket site by by-passing it
and went straight to their toll-free number. I actually heard the
operator laughed when I happily proclaimed to my Mom that “we
got a human being!!”

As for the show itself? Wonderful. You don’t have to be a Beatle
fanboy to enjoy it. There’s no plot stringing through the
production, just slightly connected “moments” with each song
played and sampled. Plus, there was no strange language to
confuse you, just the studio chatter and singing of The Boys
pushing things along. Instead of two behemoth stages floating in
front of you, you’re sitting in a theatre in the round setting with the
floor continually shifting with amazing props and dancers climbing
in and out.
Sorry (again), but no further pictures of the
shows, so here are some oddball stuff I
snapped at.
We were so jazzed from the show that we end up getting the CD/DVD set on the way out…at gift shop price no
less!! Such prices can make one gullible, but it was a hell of a show and we didn’t care.

However, there was some wee bit o’ drama waiting for us back at the timeshare later that night as we had to fly back
home the early next morning. I spend a long time trying to print up the boarding pass for our return flight but it
wouldn’t budge. Well, I took a closer examination of our documents and discovered a small mistake. The date of our
return flight was listed as MARCH 12th, not February 12th.

What followed was frantic panic mode. Especially, when we finally got the airline on the phone and they told us our
original flight was sold out and the only flight to near where we lived that was available was three days later. We had
to jump on top of that one and one level of panic was eliminated. Now, where are we going to stay for those bonus
days here? 15 minutes later, THAT problem was solved as the desk clerk casually added those extra days in our
room.  A total disaster was more or less averted. Even though we blew the return flight back, we caught it just in
time to make some adjustments while AT the timeshare and not at the airport early next morning. It could have been

….which, against better judgment, reminded me of a much more disastrous Vegas trip from the late 80’s. It was
Christmas holidays and my sister invited herself and her family to our house for a week. For a group of people who
invites themselves on a regular basis, it was typical that they made a mess out of our house. My sister’s two kids got
flu and were puking everywhere, her and her boyfriend at the time where having sex every morning in the guest
room….right next to mine, kept leaving the front door open as to combat her kids flu (
don’t ask), etc., etc., Needless
to say, the end of her stay couldn’t come fast enough….or so we though, when on the seventh day, my sister
announced that she is planning to stay another week for New Years.

Within a couple of hours of this bold announcement, my mom and her boyfriend hatched a plan to get my sister and
her destructive clan OUT of the damned house. It was the boyfriend who had a “gift” for me and my mom….a trip to
Las Vegas! However, we had to leave as soon as possible due to the hotel reservations. Fortunately, it worked and
the clan quickly packed up and left. Once they were gone, we figured we’ll do a weekend trip to Ventura. However,
we all said ‘Screw it! Let’s go to Vegas anyways!!’ and off we went. We didn’t really know it at the time but our nice
little diversion plan had just turned into the worse idea ever as we were going to Vegas on New Years
week……without ANY reservations at all!!

I won’t drown you any further with the details here, but after seven days of hustling for ANY available motel room
once every two days (and nearly freezing in two of them) and fighting, the general mood was dead. We didn’t even
talk to each other on the long drive back.

Back to the living, more bearable present….
In one of the visits to the Emergency Arts Center in
downtown, I bought Constant Rider Omnibus by Kate
Lopresti from the zine library, which was the
appropriate book zine/book to read while riding up and
down on the local bus between the Strip and Downtown
and the long minutes at the bus stop when the tourists,
who never ride their own local bus systems, figure out
how to talk to the bus driver and the fare machines. In
a separate E A C visit, I got carted while entering a
poetry reading. Outside of the usual airport ritual, this
was the first time in 30 years I had to show the card!

I made a pit stop at the Alternative Reality Comics on
Maryland Parkway and ended up buying a Vegas comic
anthology called ‘Tales From The Boneyard’ (www.
popgoestheicon.com); a collection of stories that’s
loosely based in the Neon Boneyard that houses The
Neon Museum. I almost got the Neil Hamburger comic,
but I was in a legitimate Vegas mood than a satirical
version of it. Sorry, Neil…

In one of my urban archeology trips through the town, I
bumped into ‘Davy’s Locker’ bar and its groovy old sign
on the corner of Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn
road. For an old building freak like me, this was a real
Da Locker, Da Bar and its sign!
When I wrote this up, I forgot to mention
that the whole town was all decked out for
the Chinese New Year. What you see hear
is a special presentation as part of
Fremont Street's Chinese New Year
Part Two