Friday, May 12, 2006

"I'm back, baby"

I daresay that line is from many movies, but in this case I was thinking of MST3K's 'The Thing That Wouldn't Die', when the satanic villain is unblindfolded. Anyway, I'm back from 4 days in Las Vegas, doing the annual reunion with Nanette and Anne. I think the hot weather is getting to be too much for me; as Mom used to say, "I'm damn near 50 years old!" And it wasn't even really that hot, for Vegas. But I would flame up as red as a beet as soon as I stepped outside - I guess I should get my blood pressure checked, but then, I've always had an inclination that way. I remember turning purple in the heat when we lived in New Delhi, though 40C is enough to kill anybody.

We went to see Penn and Teller on Monday night - a very enjoyable show, with no problems at all that I could see. There was a new piece on "misdirection" involving a duck that was quite funny, with Penn pointing out how risky a strategy of misdirecting the audience would be, since you can't rely on EVERYONE looking in the correct direction at any particular moment, when the magician is planning to do his tricky stuff. And of course, just then, there's a wild clashing of cymbals and a stage light over to the side, where a screaming Georgie Bernasek appears, being chased by a gorilla, who proceeds to rip off her dress and leave her in a bra and panties! Well, how can you not look? Meanwhile, I was vaguely aware of Penn sort of lunging over the box containing the duck, but the misdirection worked in my case, because I didn't actually see what he was doing. Next time, though.

We went backstage with Teller after the show and had a very nice conversation with him and Mike Jones, mostly about movies. We all agreed on how wonderful the Criterion collection is, and now I have to look up a very interesting-sounding movie about 4 Japanese ghost stories. I told Teller about 'Running Scared', and Penn happened in at that moment, so I did my best to create good word of mouth for it, though of course it's out of the theaters now. But the dvd is coming out soon, and I think it will become a cult movie very shortly. We discussed 'Phantom of the Opera', and how it's really just not a very good story, though the film has some impressive moments.

Other highlights of Vegas: we went to see Mac King, whose show is always delightful. There was a new piece involving a camping tent and hand shadows. I even got a t-shirt this time; Mac in the Cloak of Invisibility is one of my favourite parts of the show, and this has a picture of him floating invisibly. We went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium tanks at Caesar's Palace, which was most interesting. They have a tank of live coral, which is unbelievably bright and exciting. The cleaner shrimp didn't want to feed off my hands, though - maybe some sunscreen was still on them, and turned them off. We got an informative look at the mating habits of sharks, too - the male has been removed from the tank because he was so obsessed with mating he refused to eat, and he was exhausting the females.

This year we stayed at the MGM, which has a very lovely pool complex, including a long lazy river; we went several times, it was so enjoyable.

The return home was straightforward, except that it took 45 minutes to get through the Customs line at Dorval. I ended up apologizing to an American standing in front of me! It was just so embarrassing - typical government slovenliness. We might as well have been in the Third World. Altogether, it was an hour and a half after landing that I finally was able to leave the airport.

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