Monday, November 06, 2006
Arriving in Fantasyland
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6
I have begun a long drive westward to San Francisco, California. Stopping in Las Vegas, I am amazed to find a fantasyland of theme resorts, with names like Excalibur, Tropicana, New York New York, Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Treasure Island and Circus Circus. These are buildings meant to draw crowds, and they are packed with fun-seeking people. New York New York has replicated the skyscrapers, and Paris Las Vegas has the Eiffel Tower. The Las Vegas strip teems with people, including poor Mexicans who are hired to pass out cards with pictures of naked call-girls. The sidewalks are littered with trashy cards that have been tossed. This is a city that thrives on hotels, booze, entertainment and gambling.
Cirque Du Soleil has several different acts playing in Vegas. I went to see “O” at Bellagio. I was surprised that my ticket cost 250.00, but it is an elaborate production in a state-of-the-art theater. The set is built around a deep pool of water (1.5 million gallons) that sometimes vanishes. The performers are actors and acrobats in almost constant motion—in the water, on stage and in the air. The music is live. Pure theater.