We have a lot of fun dorm events, like ski trip, laser tag, and broomball. These events are largely planned by the RAs in the dorm, and hopefully, they carefully consider the budget in picking activities. I cannot imagine how our most recent event occurred other than with the justification, “Screw it! Let’s blow the rest of the dorm fund on a trip to Las Vegas.”
So a part of the dorm got a heavily subsidized trip to Vegas this past weekend under the guise of an educational experience. While some might hope that we could be considering probability, doing cost-benefit analysis, and observing the effects of various substances on behavior, we actually learned about the importance of science in the arts. We listened to several presentations on sports medicine and the behind-the-scenes for Cirque de Soleil and saw two Cirque performances in Vegas.
Arriving Friday afternoon, we first watched KÀ. The show fitted around the story of two royal twins trying to reunite after an attack by another clan, though the plot wasn’t so important. The costumes and theme, however, made the experience much more complete and provided some context for the various acts. The show began with an impressive wushu demonstration and quickly moved onto more original acrobatic acts. I was most impressed with the wheel of death, which I have since wikipedia-ed and learned is a common circus act. You can probably youtube it, though the actual thrill of a live performance probably far exceeds that of a taped version.
Saturday morning, several dormmates came to our room asking if we wanted to join them for a buffet breakfast at the Wynn. Several showers later, our room left to catch up and arrived maybe 15 minutes later and many spots behind in line. Some strategic cutting got us back together, though the wait was still almost an hour. And brunch costed about 1/8th of a Nintendo Wii. Our party could’ve bought just over 1 Nintendo Wii.
They seated us almost immediately, which surprised me until I saw that the staff had left many tables open. While perhaps not optimal for quickening the line, the certainly intentionally slow seating meant that the table area wasn’t loud or crowded. In fact, we were so comfortable, we stayed for about 3 hours. The buffet offered sucker foods like oatmeal, eggs, cereal, and bagels, but it also had sushi, fruit salads, authentic Chinese food, Italian, and the most amazing dessert area in existence. Being a buffet, that meant an entire plate was dedicated to just desserts, and I think we averaged about 4 plates of food per person. We had one champ who downed something more like 10, but the rest of us were mostly done in the first hour. I’m fairly certain we didn’t beat the buffet, but $30 is a lot of food.
That evening, we went to our second Cirque performance of Mystère. This was a much more traditional circus performance, including a clown, trampolines, and trapeze. The music was great, and the show maintained a good pace jumping back and forth between shocking physical displays and comedic acts. Just like the previous performance, everyone came out amazed, and while they were both Cirque shows demonstrating amazing, artistic, physical acts, I can’t really compare them. Just see them all.
Late that evening, a group of us went to see the Blue Man Group perform as a surprise birthday celebration for a member of our delegation. They’re somewhat hard to describe, but the show is mostly 3 men covered in blue paint who never make any facial expressions. And they play a bunch of different percussion instruments and have short, funny moments. They’re surprisingly expressive for never moving their lips or eyebrows, just by looking around at each other. Their act is somewhat hard to explain, but it was absolutely fantastic, and I highly recommend seeing them as well.
So Vegas was good. Honestly, a lot of its attractions aren’t attractive to me. And I’m unhappy that some of my clothes now smells like cancer. But it’s an exciting place that really tries to appeal to everyone, and I was absolutely satisfied just to look at the hotels and see the shows. Any time a place makes you forget that’s there real life to deal with, that’s a good vacation.