I woke up craving Sharon’s Mexican chicken soup. It was about 10:00a.m. and Joey was awake so we wandered upstairs towards last nights leftovers expecting to be greeted by only Sharon and Tommy’s two big friendly dogs. There were cereal bowls set out on the counter, along with cereal boxes, a pot of coffee, bread and butter - anything we could have wanted for breakfast that was normal to eat for breakfast. I passed by all of these things and went straight for the Tupperware that held the delicious soup and three enchiladas - one for each of us. I put a bowl of soup in the microwave and almost jumped out of my skin when Sharon walked around the corner in her pajamas. She had decided to take a sick day and sat down at the breakfast table with Joey and me chuckling over our morning meal selection.
A few hours later Tom rolled out of bed and the three of us sat downstairs with the dogs blogging before we headed down to the strip. We had booked ourselves a hotel room on Priceline
at the Golden Nugget
so I was pretty excited to get going into town - this would be my first stay in a Vegas hotel!
We thanked Sharon and said our good-byes (…or so we thought…) then hopped in the car and headed down to the famous Vegas strip. The valet outside of The Golden Nugget took care of the car for us and we hauled our bags inside. My eyes lit up as the golden railing pulled my gaze to the reflection of the check-in desk in the wall length row of mirrors opposite it. Beyond that was the single most amazing and decadent swimming pool I have ever seen anywhere.
This is what I saw: on the very outskirts of the pool area were girls dressed in small golden outfits standing at dealer tables waiting for prospective gamblers. This was followed by rows and rows of beach chairs all facing the same way with content hotel patrons soaking in the hot Vegas rays. Directly next to these rows of bathing beauties there was the most decadent of decadent, the most Vegas of towers, a shark tank surrounded by the swimming pool. That’s right, America, a towering glass shark tank equip with live sharks circling around and around in the very center of the swimming pool. Go ahead Golden Nugget guests, take your martini into the relaxingly cool water and press your daring mug right up to the glass to see if old Jaws gives you a second glance, I dare you!
While I was distracted by this incredible sight, Joey checked us in at the counter stacked with helpful employees waiting to be the first to give each new guest the Vegas style welcome. The three of us headed up to our room to check out what luxury awaited us. But Vegas rooms are not for sitting around in – well, unless you buy one of those really expensive, extremely indulgent rooms that are meant to have you spend your whole vacation in - but most Vegas rooms are just meant to hold your stuff until you get back and have a comfy bed ready for when you want to sleep (that is, if you want to sleep). So with that in mind we headed over to stuff ourselves at the buffet and then went down to the lobby to tempt our fate at the tables. We each took a $20 bill to try our luck with. Joey and I slowly lost our money to the machines but Tom had a wild ride - first he was up, then he was down, then he was up and up some more and then he was out of money so we decided to head over to the New York, New York Casino to catch the main feature of our night - Zumanity
The show was billed as “the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil
” and promised to be spectacular. We walked through the inside of the hotel which was set up to look like the streets of New York and headed over to the will call line to pick up our tickets. We headed into the theater and were immediately greeted with pillowy red velvet walls and scantily clad actors leaning up against pillars or posing in the hallways. We made our way to our seats amid laughter- the preshow had just started so we snuck into our seats which were house left, just four rows from the stage, and we settled in for some laughs.
A man and a woman were standing in front of the stage toying with the audience members in front of them. The woman had on a poofy pink dress and large yellow hair looked like a helmet with a little pink bow on top of her head. She spoke with a Southern accent that sounded more like a bird squawking than a human talking, and the man with her had slicked back black hair and spoke with a French accent. They were just going off the cuff from what I could tell, clearly picking and screening audience members to be part of the show later. They would pull a man up out of his seat, ask his name, joke around tossing in some sexual innuendos and bring him back to his seat next to his wife or girlfriend smiling that they would see him later.
There was a live band and singers that were part of the show. They came out on stage before the event to sing like rock stars that we should turn off our cell phones and also to point out where the exits were. One of the women had black and purple hair that was spiked up on her head in large points all over the scalp. The other woman had ankle length white hair which was made up of a million tiny braids and pulled back into a pony tail. They were really good singers, but it was pretty amusing to hear them belt out “turn off your cell phone” drawing out the “o’s.”
They exited the stage and it was time for the show to begin. The lights dimmed. The band softly played. A tall, square-jawed woman with an Adam’s apple walked to the end of the stage in an elegant black dress that trailed behind her and introduced herself as our Mistress of Sensuality, our host and narrator for the evening. She told us to relax and let our inhibitions melt away. She disappeared and from the back of the stage burst forward an actual woman. The light and music seemed to slam around her as she danced and twirled forward. Her long black hair spun around, trailing her every move. She had on tight black pants and no shirt. There may have been three people all night who were actually wearing a shirt, and it definitely added to the shock of the show.
The Mistress came back out after the long black haired woman’s dance was over. This time she was accompanied by a man dressed to look like a goat. He donned stubby horns on top of his head and pants that had big furry leg warmers covering his calves. He grunted and jumped around like a goat-man and sniffed at the Mistress’ legs. He followed her off stage and a blonde haired woman in a school girl outfit dazzled us with her hula-hooping skills. She held onto a long flowing cloth that fell from the ceiling and moved first one hula-hoop around her hips as she was lifted way up in the air and then put back down, then several, then her whole body length worth of hula-hoops whipped around her as she was pulled way up in the air then dropped back down to the stage.
After this woman made her exit the Mistress strutted back up the length of the stage calling out to the women in the audience. “I know what you’re thinking ladies - where’s the beef?!?”
With that a hunky guy who reminded me of Eric
from Boy Meets World…if you ever watched that… when you were ten… anyway it was mostly because of his long hair, but he wore jeans that he pulled off in chunks and kept motioning for women to scream so he would pull off more. I could feel myself blushing as I sat between Joey and Tom, but Joey was giggling at how ridiculous the whole thing was and nudging me to join in with the other rambunctious women. Several women from the show danced out on stage as the guy got up on a pillar that gradually rose out of the stage and strategically surrounded him as he removed the last bit of sequenced thong from his body. The group sunk below the stage amid cheering from the ladies in the audience and our Mistress strutted front and center smiling widely.
There were several components to the show, but beyond the first few parts I don’t have the order exactly right - and to be quite frank I might not have even gotten the first few parts in the right order either - but for fluency’s sake I’ll just tell you about the next couple parts that I can recall regardless of order and you can just imagine the Mistress coming out in between each one to set up the mood. She talked about lust, love, pain, sensuality and a myriad of other emotions which were subsequently displayed by the dancers on stage.
The man dressed like a goat got his moment in the spotlight though he was around for much of the beginning of the show, sniffing and grunting as he followed after the Mistress. His dance was to showcase animal instinct I think, or maybe lust as a primal emotion. Regardless his dance was pretty cool. There were loud African sounding drum beats as he slammed his feet and fists on the stage and leapt and jumped around. He was a very acrobatic goat and the music was infectious making me want to groove a little bit in my seat. With him was a woman with long dreadlocks who spun herself around in circles until I was dizzy so I can't imagine how she did it, but it was very cool to watch. The two danced to the heavy beat and as they exited the stage the last bang on the drum echoed through out the theater.
There were examples of painful love as well, both physically and mentally. Physical pain was represented by a woman who twisted herself up off the stage and back down by black cloths that hung from the ceiling. She gyrated and stretched as though she were involved in tantric sex and the singers suggestively moaned into their microphones. A man with a spiky mohawk flew around in the air by a bar which also hung from the ceiling, but he held onto it by facing his back to it and tipping his head back, relying on his neck to hold his weight and balance him on the bar.
The mentally painful side of love was represented by a woman facing a group of men watching a football game. They ignored her as she ran around between them jumping on their laps, but the reception on the TV began to get fuzzier and fuzzier when she began swinging around by a stripper pole. But the sensual side of love was also represented by a woman in a blue ballerina skirt that was pointed up in the back like a swan’s tail. She danced with a man in small cloth shorts who lifted her up and held her close to the edge of the stage as she gracefully dipped backwards stretching herself towards the audience.
There was also time for a little comic relief. The woman from the preshow came back on stage surrounded by a set that looked like she was on a TV infomercial. The loud pink and yellow set behind her had a large sign tacked to it which read “Scotch Boobs.” She explained to the women in the audience that if you want to seem well endowed you should buy her innovative new kit and make yourself some Scotch Boobs. She pulled up a man she had been talking to before the show to help her demonstrate how to make these new boobs. She had him stand behind her then pulled down her top, filled two baggies up with Scotch, then had the audience member hold the bags against her while she taped them over her chest. She left herself a straw hole, inserted the bendy straw and pulled her top back over the baggies. The blushing man retreated to his glowering wife.
There was also a contortionist who made everyone go “ew!” He came to the front center of the stage and sat on a round section that gradually moved around in a circle so everyone got a good view. He twisted himself up in the most incredible ways, smiling and raising his eyebrows the whole time as if to say “eh, pretty neat, eh?”
The Frenchman and the big haired blonde from the beginning of the show came back out to teach two lucky audience members how to seduce each other and then bump uglies. The pulled up a man named Osmond and a woman named Jennifer and told them to mimic their every move. First the big haired blonde bumped her hips around looking more silly than sexy (which was of course the point) and a blushing Jennifer reluctantly followed suit. Osmond was up next. The Frenchman put his hands behind his head and with a grin moved his hips front and back while strutting forward. Osmond covered his face groaning and laughing, but then obliged and pulled off the ridiculous move with smooth rhythm. Next our preshow jokesters had the pair embrace each other and dip and finally it was time for the bumping of the uglies. A bed popped out from below the stage and the preshow pair gestured towards the bed while the band played a drum roll followed by a “ta-da.” Osmond reclined on the bed and Jennifer was instructed to throw her leg on top of him. Once they assumed the position the bed sunk back down below the stage with the pair embarrassed but giggling.
Finally the coolest part of the show (in my opinion anyway) was when a small glass pool was brought on stage. The pool was shaped like a martini glass without the stem and two women completed the most amazing flips and balanced on the edge of the pool and on top of each other. They dove into the pool at the same time and managed to slide right by each other coming up on the opposite side that they had dived in on. The whole thing was pretty wild.
Finally, to end the show, the Mistress called out to the audience asking if everyone had a fabulous time. Everyone cheered and she moved down the aisles pulling first a retired woman from Kansas or somewhere like that up on stage and then a nervous man who was sure this would make his wife mad at him by the time this was over with. All of the dancers from each section of the show were on a larger part of the stage that gradually spun around in a circle and the retired woman was kneeling on a pillow in front of the Frenchman who was having her put her hands on his backside and the nervous guy was laying on his back surrounded by women fawning over him. The Mistress also pulled up a couple in matching white pants and orange Hawaiian shirts who danced together and were very cute in their dorkiness.
All in all the show was a lot of fun to watch and was my first experience with Cirque du Soleil. We exited the theater gushing about how cool the dancers had been and headed down the new strip to check out the a few different hotels and their tables. Eventually the late night got the better of us and we decided to turn in. Our cabby whisked us down the brightly lit streets and deposited us in front of the Golden Nugget where we retired to our comfy Las Vegas beds and dreams of slot machines danced in our heads.
Until next time, America.