I’ve seen almost every Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show now. I think the only one I haven’t seen is Zumanity, which is the naaaaughty naughty one. And I have loved them all. Something about mixing theatrics with street performance with acrobatics just floats my boat, you know?
So anyway, MGM put me up in Las Vegas last weekend to celebrate my new life changes and give me a weekend away from the stresses of it all. They wanted me to stay in their New York New York Hotel so I could tell you all how fantastic their newly remodeled rooms are. They were pretty nice. But who spends time in their rooms while in Las Vegas? Let me rephrase. What single person spends time in their room while in Las Vegas? Let me rephrase. I was alone, and didn’t want to be the only loner alone in my room in Las Vegas. There I said. it. There are things to go and people to do and places to see. Er, you know what I mean.
They also gave us tickets to ride the roller coaster at New York, New York. I gave those tickets to a homeless man because he had much warmer clothes than I did and it was something like twenty degrees outside. Plus he had a 40 in his hand, and alcohol warms you up. I’m sure had I ridden it, the ride would have been epic, I just didn’t want them prying my frozen cheeks off of the seat when it was over. And, who’s to say homeless people don’t deserve a little thrill now and again as well.
MGM got us VIP seats at the The Bar at Times Square where they had dueling pianos going on. If you’re ever down there on a Saturday night, I highly recommend it.
The only problem with that is that I’m not a VIP kind of a guy. I don’t really like sitting down when everyone else is standing up. I want to be up there swaying like a drunk mad man, singing at the top of my lungs with all the lowly common-folk. I don’t know why.
Oh that’s right, it’s because I am a lowly common-folk, too.
Back to Cirque de Soleil.
There’s this new, uber fancy casino/hotel that MGM recently built called Aria. When you walk in, you can feel your pockets begin to implode. And no matter how hot you felt walking into the joint, you suddenly realize that you’re just an average unhot Joe with an average sports coat and a below average pot belly. That’s why I like gambling at hole-in-the-ground casinos. You don’t lose your shirt. And the shirt you’re wearing can be a K-mart clearance special and you’d still feel like a prince walking through the place.
Anyway…. Geez. Why do I keep going off on tangents?
There is a new Cirque show in town (if you’re as awesome as me, you just call it Cirque) at the Aria. It’s called Zarkana. I watched a video before I went. I was a little skeptical that it would be as good as the others I’ve seen. But I also knew that I felt that way before watching video previews of the other ones as well. You just can’t capture on 600 pixels what you see in person.
Still, they gave me and Tobi awesome seats (thanks AJ for lending me your girlfriend). Center stage, 12 rows back. I wasn’t complaining. I mean, we were chilling on a sofa watching Cirque for crying out loud. For free. I live such a rough life sometimes.
And then, the curtain was drawn, and they had me hooked clear until it came back down again.
I have a new favorite Cirque show in Vegas. And I never thought anything would dethrone “O” which I’ve now seen three times.
First of all, their stage is state of the art. Massive screens surround it adding haunting and affecting graphics to the performances on stage. There was a creepy feel to so much of the show. For example, this much too real animated six armed grown-up baby with floating eye balls in the background:
It had me on the edge of my seat for much of it. Their transitions were mostly flawless. The clowns were hilarious. They brought people from the crowd into it. The music was gorgeous.
But nothing had my heart going as much as the Wheel of Death (say it the same way the Princess Bride torturer says “pit of despair”). These two guys manipulated this giant swinging two-sided pendulum thingie dingy, doing crazy leaps and flips fifty, maybe sixty feet, off the ground. At one point the guy almost lost it and I almost lost my lunch in anticipation. This one stunt made the entire night worth it.
Throughout the show, they incorporated all sorts of creepy crawlies including snakes, and spiders, and did I mention the six armed grown-up baby? Yeah, I did. I’m still haunted by that one.
Another must see in the show was the lady doing sand art. For about ten minutes straight, she made these masterpiece drawings with only sand and her appendages. When it was over, I got on Amazon and ordered a bag of sand. I’m sure it couldn’t be that hard.
Anyway, the show was great. And no, MGM didn’t make me say that. They didn’t care what I wrote. I could have written some crappy review and they’d probably be pleased as punch. But I did love it, so if you find your way to Las Vegas, do yourself a favor and go see Zarkana.
Thanks MGM. It was a great getaway.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing