Friday, April 26, 2013

11th Anniversary in Las Vegas continues....

I'm pretty much a paranoid theater "goer" as in I like to arrive at least 45 minutes early. I start to get anxious if we haven't found our seats at 25 minutes before showtime. But, because our hotel was so close and not having to deal with parking......we still arrived about 45 minutes early. Yea, I'm crazy like that. We did take that time to browse the Zarkana gift shop. There were quite a few items I wanted to buy, but I would later edit that list down to a few items.

Finale costume for the main character. the magician.

Eric and I found it interesting that this Cirque theater opened up right into Casino. As soon as you walked in with your ticket, you are in the theater. Usually you enter their doors and find a small lobby with concession stands. The venue is massive! It gives an immediate impression that this show wants to make a name for itself. And, almost everything is bathed in red lighting down to the wall coverings. We saw red drapery, a red stage curtain, and even red chairs. All this red made it a little hard to photograph with my phone.

The sides of the theater are amazing!

I'm not going to give a scene by scene synopsis because this is only a review. Have you ever read a review and the writer lays out the whole plot/show without really giving an opinion? Annoying (IMO). Going into this experience I had no clue what the show was about. Usually we have at least heard the soundtrack, but still had not. Afterwards, I wish I had known a little information because apparently the plot was lost on me. There's a musician looking for his lost love and magic. Does he find them? You all will have to watch the show.

Zarkana is filled with great acrobatics, eye candy, haunting music, and originality. After seeing the show I learned the creative team wanted to honor the American Circus aesthetic from the 1930s. They have achieved that through the acting, sets and costumes. Cirque really conveyed the "spooky/freakshow" feeling from old photos I have seen. Zarkana has really separated itself from other Vegas shows like O, Mystere, and Love. Rather than take the audience to a fictitious world, the show takes place in an actual time period that has whimsical characters.

The following day Eric and I were taken on a backstage tour of the show. I'll get into that at a later time because on this same night we had another new experience. We were about to finally eat at Serendipity. It's located along the strip, in the Caesers Palace complex. The place isn't really known for its grand meals, but instead for dessert. Serendipity has what is called The Frozen Hot Chocolate. Up until we actually ate it, Eric and I had no clue what it was. Obviously we knew there would be ice cream, but we weren't sure how it was used. As it turns out there was a bottom layer of hot chocolate with a slushy ice cream (like a malt)over it. On top of that is a huge mound of whipped cream and chocolate chips.

Ceiling decor of Serendipity

After a long wait, with a reservation, we were seated. The service was slow, but we weren't about to go searching for another place to eat. We finally had our meals of grilled cheese/cheeseburger respectively, then had a go at the Frozen Hot Chocolate. It was an interesting texture that we both enjoyed. I'm not a food critic so I don't have a marvelous review of it other than "it was good and we would have it again". As it turns out there are many flavors to choose from. The word is out about the dessert, so it's best to arrive with a patient disposition. Maybe get there with a cocktail in hand?

What the fuss was about.

That same night, it was already nearing 11 pm, we headed to The Mirage hotel for the Revolution Lounge. A friend had us on a list for the Gay club that takes place on Sundays. We only had one other experience at a Vegas Gay club called Krave. The time had come to try another colorful night out, Vegas style! It was exciting to head to Revolution Lounge because the venue was started by Cirque du Soleil, based on their Beatles show called Love.

As I had mentioned it was getting near midnight. We thought that by then the place would be hopping with the local Gay community and vacationers. We were wrong! We obviously were there as a couple, celebrating a milestone, but we too like to dance! There were maybe 10 people in the venue and we made 12. At the door we also received a free drink each so we used that coupon right away. We weren't in a rush to leave because the music was fun and it was nice to just hang. The place slowly filled up, but it didn't reach any sort of a "crammed" capacity. We lasted until about 1:30 AM when we decided to head back to the hotel.

Although the lounge never became hugely popular that night, we still had a good time. The street as we headed back to Planet Hollywood was so empty. There were still the people out that try to sell you on the escorts and strip clubs. Eric and I joked they didn't have anything to sell that we wanted. But, it wouldn't be Vegas if those advertisers weren't out there trying to get your attention, as the smack their pamphlets against their hands. Ah Vegas....dont' you just love it? We do!! That's why we stayed a whole other day/night............(to be continued)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

11 Years of Life Together..Vegas? Heck Yea!

It had been almost 3 years since Eric and I took a Las Vegas trip. Our 11th Anniversary was a great reason to cross the desert. We ventured into the sandy, dirt filled Mojave Desert and headed to the oasis in Nevada. If I can make a "no-brainer" suggestion to you all out there, take off to Vegas on a Sunday. Traffic was non-existant and we were lucky to have some clear weather for safe visibility.

An open road!

We were on our way to Planet Hollywood Casino and Hotel. It's an ideal choice because the location is near some amazing, neighboring sights. If you get lucky, as we did, your view will be of either the Bellagio or City Center/Aria Hotel. As with most updated and newly built Vegas hotels, the rooms have a modern look. Over the last decade the hotels veered away from themed rooms. Although Planet Hollywood is themed to films, it isn't screaming at you constantly. When this hotel was The Aladdin, a strong Arabic influence was seen everywhere. The casino floor at Planet Hollywood is pretty easy to navigate and it's not huge, as you might find at The MGM Grand. Those huge layouts get annoying when you need to run back to your room for an item or change clothes.

Planet Hollywood Casino floor

Eric and I were relieved to finally get into our room and find that it was clean, spacious, and included a "soaker" tub. Our room was themed to the film Flashdance. That discovery caused quite the laugh from us because it's a 1980s film that is fun to reference. I can't say that I have seen the whole film, but there is an iconic song. It was complete with a Jessica Beals snapshot from the movie. As shown in the photo of the bed, there was a suit from some unknown character displayed, so random.

In keeping with tradition of our relationship, we of course had a Cirque du Soleil show to see. We had tickets to see Zarkana, playing at the Aria Hotel (just across the bridge from Planet Hollywood). Eric had seen a promo video of the show, but I didn't really know too much about it. This show had just completed a tour that went from NYC to Asia. Zarkana took residence at the hotel theater this past November. I must add that promos for tickets can always be found at under the "Las Vegas" tab. I tell everyone that we never pay full price and it's the truth! We saw at least four different shows last year thanks to our price comparing.

Ready to hit the town!

A little more silliness.
If you haven't been to the Aria you must be informed that it's a sight to behold. It has the perfect mix of elegance with a slight edge. It's as though Bellagio and Planet Hollywood had a baby. I can't say anything about the rooms. I am referring to what we saw as a non-hotel guest, the casino floor. Eric and I have a great time checking out the details of flooring, wall coverings, tile, glass, and shapes that were chosen. As you'll see with the Cosmopolitan, in a future update, the attention to detail is just as present as in the Aria.

Aria's poker room

There is a lot to cover on this trip so I'll let everyone breath and we'll continue the story this week. Still yet to be covered for this first day is the Cirque show Zarkana, and then a venture to a Gay club at The Mirage hotel. For those interested I'll be posting mine and Eric's thoughts on the show and our backstage experience. See you all soon. For now, here is a shot from our room toward the south end of The Vegas Strip.

Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, & New York-New York

Monday, April 1, 2013

Whimsical Characters Descend on Anaheim for WonderCon

An array of personalities and faithful comic followers headed to the Anaheim Convention Center this past weekend. Among them, at least on Sunday, was Eric and myself. The only type of "nerdy" convention we had attended were the last two D23 events at this same location. Although we had a slight idea of what to expect, there was also the unknown. A few goals we had for ourselves was to see a few celebrities and commission a drawing or two from a favorite of ours, Amy Mebberson.

After the easy process of picking up our entrance badges, we were glad to find out that we were  to queue up inside the exhibit hall. To compare to the D23 event, we waited outside on Anaheim's Katella Blvd in what felt like disarray. We already were seeing a few interesting costumes and a few "tossed together" as well. There was a guy behind us as we waited standing on jumping stilts, all while he wore a blanket showing the Tardis from Doctor Who. I think he just really wanted to wear the jumping stilts. Since it was Easter Sunday, there were some hopping around with bunny ears. I need to add this was the best Easter Eric and I ever had.

I was ecstatic to see Gadget of the Rescue Rangers!

I should note the Perrier bottle had wine in it.

When the floor opened, half hour early, we made a quick leap to Artist's Alley to find Ms. Mebberson. I'm glad we made it our first stop because there was already a four person queue putting in their commission orders. It must feel nice to have people rush to one so quickly for ones talents. I put in for Miss Piggy dressed as The Queen of Hearts. When Eric stepped up to the table he requested Chung Lee from the StreetFighter arcade game. Chung Lee has always been Eric's favorite character to use. And, from what I have been told, Eric used Chung Lee many times to beat all the kids at the arcade. Miss Piggy is a Muppet, which I love, and she is my absolute favorite Muppet. I even wore my Muppet shirt that day on purpose. Amy complimented my shirt, which I secretly hoped she would notice. (Amy has drawn Muppet comics and even designed Skeeter, Muppet Babies, as a grown character) We retuned later in the day to pick up our drawings she had done for us.

Check Amy out on

As mentioned before, Eric and I knew which celebrities we would want to see. To wait out the time for those panels we began the wandering up and down the main floors booths. It was a real shame that this was a week when rent was due! There were so many gadgets and toys Eric and I were eyeing. There is a Wizard of Oz comic out there we have pondered buying for at least 6 years. We almost bought two, but we showed restraint. Eric even wanted a Fin cap from the show AdventureTime! He had to ask himself if he REALLY wanted it, or was it just impulsive. He didn't buy the cap. I ended up purchasing an action figure of Rose Tyler from Doctor Who.

This Aquaman was really into cosplay

As we went to check on the wait time for the arena presentation of Nerdist Productions, headed by Chris Hardwick, we found it already started! Chris Hardwick was fielding audience questions or rather debating with the audience about various "nerd" topics (Back to the Future, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who). It really is cool to see that there are so many people out there that understand your obsession for what one person might think to be odd.

Chris Hardwick ( @Nerdist ) doing his thang!

After The Nerdist panel was over, it was time for the panel from Arrow, a show on The CW. The lead role, played by the steamy Stephen Amell, is a character seeking vengeance over the reason of his father's "accidental" death. On the television there are some great workout scenes of Amell showing off his muscular body (enhances the storyline). There was some good insight regarding what to expect within the current season and hints to next year. Eric and I were ecstatic to see Stephen Amell in person, but we were very cool about it.

Amell is center.

Eric made a good point that this convention center holds more people and vendors than the San Diego convention center. He also added to his thought that this must have been what San Diego ComicCon was like before Hollywood stormed into that event. I was even surprised to see that Disney had a VERY small presence, if at all. I do know that Disney was represented in the form of a video game, Duck Tales remastered. The main focus at WonderCon were comics, and general Sci-Fi.

Blurry pic of me hanging with Lumpy Space Princess of AdventureTime

Now that we have Member IDs and will receive SD ComicCon information, I hope we get to attend in 2014. I think it would be interesting to see what the event down there has to offer and compare it t WonderCon.
Yay! It's Coraline!!