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Sheila's Adventures In Las Vegas

Well, it didn't get off to the best of starts, I'll have to say that. See, when I'd originally booked my flight, I was working the Tuesday-Saturday schedule, so I figured I could get away with doing it without even spending any vacation days. Just fly out Saturday after work, see the show Sunday, fly back Monday. No problem. Then I ascended to the Special Orders position at work and discovered that I was, in fact, doing the Monday through Friday thing like most regular human beings. Luckily, I was able to swing a vacation day for Monday and all was well. Then I thought, gee, since I've got Saturday off, I'll swing by the airport early and see if I can fly standby for an earlier flight.

Three words apply--No. Such. Luck. But having checked in, I didn't feel like checking out, so I spent my Saturday in Concourse C. It actually wasn't that bad--I read all of Metallic Love, which was such a magnificent headfuck that I had to read it all over again to catch all the sneaky hints within it. So that helped while away a few hours. I also brought my laptop, which I kept plugged in happily as I chronicled my adventures in airporting and listened to my iTunes. It was sort of like having a rather cumbersome iPod, with a keyboard.

Anyway, the time passed, the flight boarded and off we were. Then we had to turn around and go back to Atlanta because one of the doors was making a hideous screaming noise that turned out to be a slow leak. We landed, I went in search of Fritos but could not find any so I settled for an extra-crunchy sourdough roll from Atlanta Bread Company. The mechanics fixed the door, we got back on and off we were to Vegas. I listened to a bunch of Nick Drake songs along the way and I will say that it was an ideal soundtrack for a starry night.

We made it to Las Vegas a little after one o'clock in the morning. The airport was eerily silent; even the slots were abandoned. I took a cab to the Motel 6 where I was staying, which was spread out like an apartment complex. It took some hiking to get to my room. I dropped off my bags and decided I needed to soak up the blingy noises of a proper casino so I'd feel like I was actually in Vegas, so I wandered over to the MGM Grand and, per my older brother's request, dropped a twenty on the number 18 at the nearest roulette table. It came up 19. Damn. My duty fulfilled, I made my way back to my room, stripped down to my Blue Underpants Of Last Resort and crawled into bed.

Morning dawned bright and I got up and pulled on my waiting-in-line dress--a black and white houndstooth check that is long and comfortable. The thought came across my mind that I'd like to actually see some of Vegas and maybe I'd skip the whole line thing. But I slathered on sunscreen just in case. Just before I left, I used the internet kiosk at the 24 hour convenience store and checked a thread I'd left on a message board and heard from wych, who said she'd be sure to meet me in line. So I decided I'd better head for the line if only so I could touch base with her.

I walked all the way to the Hard Rock. It was physically possible, but it was long, arduous and rather desolate. I went past a lot of weed-filled lots and gravel pits behind chain link fences.

My laptop had said it was about 11:30 when I'd left the room, but the line was surprisingly short for that hour. I planted myself at the end and got people to sign my book. Ran into Gdent, who'd hosted pocketduranie at one point and we ended up by each other in line. Periodically, a security guy on a bicycle would come by and say we weren't allowed to sit because they were expecting the owner of the casino that day and apparently he doesn't like people sitting on his sidewalk or something. (Vegas actually doesn't provide too many places to sit down where you aren't spending money on something.) Somebody asked what time it was and I discovered it was actually a little before 10:00--my laptop was still on Eastern Time and I had Not Been Thinking. I went to get breakfast and Gdent graciously held a place for me. I went to the 24-hour restaurant in the Hard Rock and had yogurt with strawberries. Much yum. I went back to the line and got fidgety, half of me wanting to stay for wych and the other half wanting to take a cab to the Strip and play. I told Gdent I was seriously whether to stay in the line or to sneak off so I could see the Monet exhibit at the Bellagio.

"I'd go see the Monet exhibit," she said.

So I did.

I'd been to the Bellagio before, Duran-chasing, a few tours ago. We got Nick to sign a picture that had been taken at the previous night's show and went walking in the conservatory with Warren. We'd walked all the way there from Mandalay Bay, me in my shiny silver shoes of utter fabulousity. I dunked my feet in the fountain there to appease them after so much abuse. I remember Joe Travers remarking on those shoes and when I told him how much hell they'd put my feet through he said "Beauty knows no pain." (I didn't realize until some time later he was actually quoting Frank Zappa at me.)

But, like I said, that was a whole other lifetime. I didn't dunk my feet in the fountain this time, but I did go over to say hello and drop a coin in.

I followed the signs to the gallery and paid the fifteen bucks (*choke!*) to get in. The fifteen bucks included an audio guide to the exhibit, which was a long black device with a small speaker on one end and a row of buttons along it, so you could punch in the number of the painting you were looking at, hold the speaker up to your ear like a phone and listen to somebody tell you about the painting. I love audio tour devices, not because I use them, but because everybody else does which means everybody shuts the fuck up. It's fantastic--all you can hear is the slight murmur of small speakers against ears, and you are free to concentrate on the art.

And such art it was. Liking Monet is like liking the Beatles--it's not terribly hip or impressive, because just about every sensible human being does as well. But, a bit like the Beatles, Monet was part of my upbringing and makes me very happy. The front room was initially a little too crowded for me, so I ended up doing the tour backwards, starting with the less occupied parts and working my way around to the beginning. I spent a little time communing with each painting, particularly one of a cathedral at sunrise that looked like a rock face up close, thick with paint, but seen from a distance snapped into focus in a way that was truly breathtaking. The thing about Monet that a lot of modern sloppy impressionesqe painters miss (I had to frame a lot of those when I worked at a print gallery) is that Monet wasn't painting the landscape, he was painting the light as it reacted to the landscape. It's why he had to change canvases every thirty seconds. And when you look at it and see that, it's like a window through time, seeing the exact slant of light of a century before, the same slant of light that the sun has beamed toward us for eons.

They also had the work of a few contemporaries in one of the rooms, including a fantastic Renoir. So, yeah, I had an artgasm looking at this stuff. Admission, cab fare there and back--so worth it. What the hell, it's only money.

I caught the tail end of the water show in the lagoon in front of the Bellagio and I felt like wandering, so I crossed the Strip over to Paris and gawked a bit. I sort of needed to come down from the high I'd been on in the gallery. I tried to get a cab back, but the line was around the block because everybody was checking out of the hotel from their Vegas weekends, so I figured I'd wait until the crowds died down a bit. I made my way back to the Bellagio and watched the water show kick off again. I perched up on the railing around the lagoon and let my feet rest. Unfortunately, I came in just in time for the show that uses "My Heart Will Go On" as a soundtrack. Gah. The water show was nice, though--the jets got higher as the music grew more bombastic and built up to a grand finale. It was like fireworks made out of water.

I took a cab back to the Hard Rock and the line had lengthened only slightly, so I put myself at the end of it and got all the newcomers to sign my book. One of the girls had the tourbook in her bag, and I sat down (bicycle guy wasn't around) and started looking through it, oohing and ahhing over the popups, the trading cards and the anime comic book.

Then a car pulled up and wych (herinafter known as Amber, because I don't feel like typing in an lj tag every time I use her name), enchantedfey (hereinafter known as May, for the same reason) and a girl I didn't recognize (herinafter known as . . . well, you'll see) came out of it. I can't remember Amber's exact words, but they were something to the effect of "You have no idea the hell we have just been through." As it turns out, their car had died in a tiny Nevada town called Gene (?) which had no mechanics, no car rental places and really not a fuck of a lot of anything useful for people with broken down cars who still have a ways to go. They did have a casino, though. It cost them an appalling amount of money to get a cab to drive them to Vegas and they had just finally arrived. Oh, and she introduced me to mystery gal--arielography.

I think the only way my jaw could have dropped any lower would have been if Nick Rhodes had suddenly come up to me and proposed. THE infamous Mistress Ariel was back in Vegas. I've fangirled her enough online, so I restrained myself from making a scene in front of everybody. She told me she was trying to keep a low profile, which I couldn't blame her for, so I pretty much nodded and said "nice to meetcha."

The three of them had no place to stay that night, so I offered them the comfort of my modest digs. I'd booked a double, but nobody had taken up my offer to room with, so the beds would have been unslept in otherwise. They called down praises upon my head and Amber mixed me drinks from the multitude of liquor bottles that they had packed (after she and May made a quick trip to the nearby convenience store for some milk.) She mixes 'em strong, too.

Bicycle Guy came by and chided us for sitting and then gave us crap for the luggage on the sidewalk, so, firmly ensconced in the line by now, we got dressed in shifts--first Amber and May in the hotel bathroom and then Ariel and myself back at the hotel, taking the luggage with us.

We took quick showers and got dressed. I pulled out the outfit I'd been planning for some time--the red sequin dress, red glitter heels, red and black feather boa and black fishnets. I rubbed Vaseline on my eyelids and then patted red glitter on them. It held in place without too much fuss. So, in flashy Vegas style, I got ready to head back to The Joint at the Hard Rock.

We cabbed our way back, arrived and did our line time for a little while longer. Ran into Derek (aka warholboy), and we remarked on the irony that we live in the same fucking state but only actually see each other in completely different ones. He also passed on some cooking tips to May, and May nearly proposed marriage to him. Amber decided her black vinyl gloves were too hot, so I wore them instead.

It got dark, the line moved indoors, they tore our tickets and stamped our hands and finally they opened the doors and we streamed inside.

We managed to get a pretty good spot towards Nick's end of the stage. (The downside was, of course, that Andy kepts blocking the view of Nick, but I was happy just to be there at all.) Close enough to see them in detail. Ariel, being a little less tall than the rest of us, opted for the second tier section so she could see better. We got squished and jostled as people slid into position, went to get drinks and tried to return.

Clear Static were the opening act. It was my third time seeing them and my first time seeing them up close. I was getting to the point of being familiar with some of the songs and even singing the snatches I could figure out. I really like that "Sex not love" song of theirs.

When they were done, we stood about for a bit more and watched the text messages people were pinging to be displayed on the screens. Messages ranged from happy birthdays to adoration of Roger Taylor and I really do want to know who put up "I LOVE JELLYWOOD!"

Then the lights went out, the heartbeat began and the crowd went wild. I know that they opened with "Sunrise", but beyond that it's all a bit of a blur as Duran shows tend to be.

Things I do remember:

Simon grabbing John and smooching the hell out of him. The JoSi fanatics must have loved that one. I do, however, wonder what they would have made of the scrunched up face that John made after said smooch, and the fact that he wiped his mouth afterwards.

Many of the glowsticks that people had to wave around for "Save A Prayer" in memory of Wes Wehmiller ended up being waved around about one song early, as Simon dedicated "Ordinary World" to "absent friends". Something in the middle of that song set me off and I sobbed a bit. Simon did, indeed, dedicate "Save A Prayer" to Wes, though it probably helped that somebody had a big fucking sign held up to remind him.

Nick started "The Chauffeur" on stage alone, Simon came out in a dark shirt and chaffeur's hat and the rest of the Taylors crept in as the song progressed.

All in all, it was a high-energy show, the crowd was really into it and my feet were in absolute agony. I spent most of the the show cradling my shoes in the crook of my arm. When they got to the encore, I went to search for Amber and May, who had disappeared somewhere in the middle of the show, and saw the last few songs from the back row, which was still a good view. They closed with "White Lines", "Girls On Film" and, of course, "Rio." I sloshed my way through spilled beer and as the crowd let out I went to the souvenir booth and paid out the ass for my own copy of the tourbook. I found Ariel and as we went out the front we found May--she and Amber had gone out for fresh air, as the heat ended up getting to them both. We hunted down Amber, sat by the closed Starbucks and they strategized what the hell they were going to do about the broken down car in Gene. We were all quite exhausted, so instead of partying, we trundled back to the hotel (with a stop to say howdy to Cin, Veebs, PopVegas and others) and grabbed food from the convenience store. I hopped on the internet kiosk long enough to post on a message board that VEGAS ROCKED and bought some dairy products and fruit juice. We trudged the eons it seemed to take (it always seems to take longer in painful shoes) back to the room, ate food and pretty much collapsed. We spent a little time in slumber party giggling before finally falling quiet and then some loud chick on a cell phone passed by our window and set us all off again for a bit.

I'd set an 8:30 wake up call, but woke up at 8:00 or so. I zonked in bed a bit and when the phone went off I picked it up and the voice informed me that I'd won ten million dollars, just kidding, it's time to get up. No, really, that's what it said. I hung up and got up to pack. Packing was trickier than it had been when I'd packed to go, since I was now packing a thicker shirt than the one I was wearing and I also had a rather cumbersome tourbook to tote with me. I ended up taking the tourbook seperately and taking out the purse I'd originally packed in the suitcase. Amber and May packed up and we caught up with Ariel, who'd gone out to get some breakfast, on the way to the front desk. I checked out, called a cab, said goodbyes and I'm sure you've all lost interest by now, so I'll just say that the trip home has been fairly smooth and the flight time and stopover in Dallas has given me time to type all this up for your reading pleasure. I'm going to wrap this up as I'm about half an hour away from Atlanta and when I get home I'll cut and paste it all into my journal. Peace.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2005 05:44 am (UTC)
Who's Ariel? *blinks*

And it's good that they remembered Wes. Although I'm sure he'd have preferred that they dedicate "Hallucinating Elvis" to him as opposed to the extremely overplayed "Save A Prayer".

I remember the Bellagio fondly. *g*
Mar. 15th, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC)
I was having the same thought...it should be Ordinary World, not Save a fucking Prayer. ;)

Mar. 15th, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC)
But only if it could have been Warren & Joe playing it. *g*
Mar. 16th, 2005 01:34 pm (UTC)
Well yeah. That's a given. :)

I guess on second thought it's better that it's SAP. We don't want Wes cringing in the afterlife.
Mar. 16th, 2005 04:04 pm (UTC)
*laughs* True enough.
Mar. 15th, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC)
Ariel is . . .
. . . the court jester of dd.com. She's brilliantly snarky, and I adore her posts.

I can't remember who decided that "Save A Prayer" should be the song dedicated. It was an organized fan thing. It seems like "Save A Prayer" has become the de facto song to be dedicated to dead people ever since they dedicated it to the late Marvin Gaye back in 1984. Though, as Ariel points out, dedicating a song about one night stands to a man who made his career singing about one night stands makes a certain amount of sense, but dedicating it to Wes just seems kind of weird. I also thought "Ordinary World" would have been much more appropriate--though if they'd done that, I bet the trickle of tears I shed during it would have become all-out bawling.
Mar. 15th, 2005 06:00 am (UTC)
You are our savior! ... one more time in case it wasn't clear enough! YOU ARE AMAZING!! Thank you again for the room and tolerating Amber and I's little giggle fest heh.

Wish I could have made it through the whole show but it ws great hearing about it from you and Ariel :)

*off to bed as Ariel and I are finallyhome and I'm still dead tired*

PS its Jean LOL... how fricken weird are those LV people to name a town Jean and only have a casino in it *rolls eyes*
Mar. 15th, 2005 01:40 pm (UTC)
You rock so hard. Thanks for all the details! I love how you're perfectly fine on your own wherever you go...that rocks.
Mar. 15th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC)
Cy does indeed ROCK!

Can't wait to hear Amber's version, lol!
Mar. 16th, 2005 01:11 am (UTC)
Sounds like it was one hell of an adventure!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )