Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Field Trip: Las Vegas!

Big Bird at the Vegas sign.
Pablo Picasso, 'Pitcher and Bowl with Fruit.'
Nerd alert! This is a nerd's tour of Vegas. I visit family in Vegas several times a year, and have discovered many nerd-appropriate activities when my kids are at UNLV or working.
What's a nerdy, goody-two-shoes like myself to do in Sin City? I found some excellent pastimes that do not involve any of the seven deadly sins; in fact, I've found some good clean fun and intellectual stimulation just like a real cultural center! Who knew?

Pablo Picasso, 'Woman' ceramic
One of the first things I found was that Vegas has world class art museums and rotating exhibits. There's the Titanic, Luxor, Nuclear Museum, and, of course, fine art. I viewed my favorite Picasso, 'Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit,' at the now closed Guggenheim Museum at the Venetian. Pablo Picasso communicates in a very intellectual manner to me. Almost mathematical. Maybe its the cubism thing. The Bellagio had a great exhibit of his sculptures, and video of him painting on plexiglass.

Van Gogh, Mountains at St. Remy
Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh has also visited 'The City That Never Sleeps,' at the now defunct Guggenheim and the very popular, and very open, Bellagio Museum of Fine Arts.

Van Gogh, Fields at St. Remy 
These works of art communicate best in person--it's the difference between a live performance and a dvd. I can't really explain how aesthetics affects our minds, souls and emotions. But Van Gogh is like the artist version of Beethoven. Vibrant, real, emotional. Van Gogh somehow communicates a personal compassion for the viewer. His works have a very warm presence. Not to get all mystical or anything.

Rouen Cathedral in the evening, Monet
Rouen Cathedral in the morning, Monet
 Right now, a new exhibit at the Bellagio features Monet. This is a once in a lifetime presentation and later today I'll take my daughter and grandchild, who is a fourth grader and a very good artist himself.

Bellagio Museum of Fine Arts
I viewed an Impressionist exhibit in Vegas at the Bellagio about seven years ago, and there were two of his paintings of Rouen Cathedral side by side. It was a profound, even spiritual experience and with my season pass, I could visit every day I was in town. Almost like going to daily Mass.

Monet in his Giverney garden @1920.

The new Monet exhibit will be in Vegas til January 2013, 'Haystacks' and all.

Great musical compilation!
You say its your birthday? My daughter took me to enjoy the amazing Cirque du Soleil, Beatles-supported production of 'Love" as a memorable gift a few years ago. George Martin and son Giles worked a miracle by messing with the Beatles' music and not ruining it. Its an awesome merging of their remarkable accomplishments. My favorite was 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,' enveloping the entire theatre in dreamy fantasy. I took exception to the production of 'Blackbird,' I think our French Canadian cousins missed the point. It is not comic, but a civil-rights-inspired folk song.
The Fab Four and two birds (MzTeachuh and daughter.)

Get back, JoJo!

Lots of collectibles.

Need something cool to read while you're cruising down the Strip? How about a unique store with comic books and on the edge toys? This is a little way from the Strip, but it is interesting and if you are a true nerd, you will enjoy the retro and hot- off-the-presses books and art.

So many comics, so little time.
Visit Forsaken Toys and Collectibles! You can get items online, but its always more fun to go in person. The tactile feel of comic books on your fingertips is so soothing. Look for a blog soon about using comic books to enhance literacy. And here's your cool Vegas source.

You can be Forsaken Toys FB Friend, too. Every nerd's dream.

Michael Jackson fans have a Man in the Mirror.

I'm looking for 'Duck Tales' comic books. One of my first literary memories. If needed, I'll special order.

Something for the mantelpiece?

I'm going to hit the store tomorrow, and browse the comics.

Being a nerd, I am a Star Trek fan, and am also partial to Spiderman.
Nerd Nirvana!

The production of 'Phantom of the Opera' in Vegas is also worth seeing. There's a dynamic chandelier, though it didn't seem the theatre enhanced the singer's voices.

Cool corset; steampunk all the way.
By the way, the cool corset my daughter is wearing is from a Las Vegas fashion designer, Travis Lilly, of Lilly's Workshop, who was recently interviewed by CNN.

A cool steampunk experience in this town.

Every season the Conservatory at the Bellagio changes its display. Its sort of like a static Rose Parade display, but better. Serendipity comes seldom to me, but these displays always have something delightful; above the fact that floral displays are eternally marvelous. And this is free, just wear shoes and shirt, I'm guessing its required. It will be difficult, but I will just choose a few of my all time favorites. The flowers are always fresh and so fragrant and lovely. The creativity is invigorating. I love the pretty surprises.

Fall: topiary horses, and working river mill.
Summer: Ferris wheel full of sunflowers, and greenhouse with butterflies
Winter: sometimes the penguins iceskate

The Conservatory at the Bellagio actively engages  all your senses--
  • smells like a flourishing garden, 
  • sounds like a water massaging your hearing, with a variety of water features
  • feels like 72 degrees on a spring day (I'm sure it is 72 degrees), 
  • looks like living Impressionist paintings we move through in three dimensions
  • tastes like chocolate because Jean Phillippe's Chocolate and Pastries is just around the corner.
Spring: working windmill, Dutch clogs with Tole painting, and 1000's of tulips

This is my favorite of the Bellagio fountain dances (which is also free.) The Pink Panther--the water does undulate like a feline tail!

The Bellagio Fountains--I am now convinced this is art