As per my reader's request, here's a more detailed summary of last weekend's events in Las Vegas. After a much too long drive we checked in at the ridiculous looking Excalibur. With hardly enough time to shower, let alone get a decent meal, we had to be at the Luxor for the Blue Man Group show at 9:30 to talk to the manager and get our press tickets. And the first Jack Daniels and Coke for the night.
The performance itself was unbelievably good: fun, upbeat, stunning both visually and musically. Heavy on the percussion side but with added strangeness through creative use of other instruments. Bits with audience participation kept everybody involved until the very last moment. One really has to see it to be infected and I now have the Blue Man Group virus.

After the show we met the musicians, among them Elvis Lederer who was born in Munich, came to the US seven years ago and managed to make a living as a professional musician. Yes, he is that good. He is also responsible for some of the strange sounds in the Blue Man Group music, using a Chapman Stick and also a Zither that was customized with some pick-ups from electric guitars. Elvis has a side project called Überschall, that does a very interesting improvisational crossover between instrumental drum&bass, jazz and rock-very heavy on the tribal side.

Sometime after midnight we ended up at the Double Down Saloon, a dive-bar where the punk, hardcore and rock scene meet, bikers at the bar, lesbians with mohawks and huge tattoos across their chest playing pool and groping each other, goths with humongous piercings and earlobes stretched with earrings to the size up to now only seen at some african tribes. Couples vanishing in the extremely dirty bathroom for a few minutes at a time. A definite David Lynch vibe was in the air. A little later, a girl entered - presumably high on some illegal substance - greeted some people at the bar very loudly and commenced flashing her fake breasts to everybody while yelling and giggling. We saw her and some guy a little later entering the men's room, the funny part about that being that the door was missing its lock. The guy had to hold the door shut from the inside by sticking two fingers through the hole while (again presuming, but the evidence was pretty obvious a few minutes later) being serviced orally. Later that night a scantily clad stripper and her boyfriend (or pimp), who reminded me of the crazy nunchucks guy in Ghost World, came in for a drink. We were explained that the Double Down is a hang-out for a lot of off-duty strippers, therefore a great place to pick up someone for the night...

We somehow missed the right time to go to bed, so we moved on to have an early breakfast at Club Monaco, a small and shady meeting point for late night creatures looking for some rest and food. The place including the waiter looked like they were there since the 60ies, but the pasta was excellent. On entering we saw a girl coming from the bathroom with cocain residue still on her nose. Another friend of our hosts returned from the bathroom with a Korean girl nobody knew and who wasn't introduced to us but had her hand on one of our friend's crotch as soon as she sat down. Another girl was introduced to us as Rain (cute, but totally drunk) and she started hitting on everybody in her proximity without much success. A couple more drinks before we finally went to bed.

We only slept for about 3 hours, I guess we had some kind of jet lag, and went to breakfast after getting into some fresh clothes. It's annoying as hell to have that cold cigarette smell on you after a night like that but it helps against the taste in your mouth to flush your tongue with some alcohol. Visited some friends who apparently didn't get any sleep at all, just the more reason to party harder the next night. We went with Elvis in his run-down Porsche (way too small for 4 people) to get back to the Luxor in time for the afternoon video shoot. Taking some backroads we saw Dean Martin's old place (for some reason he wasn't there) and some other parts of Las Vegas that are not on the tourist map.

After a short dinner break we went back to the theater to see Blue Man Group again. Experiencing the show for a second time within 24 hours was actually better than anticipated. There is so much going on on stage, that it really allowed us to focus on different things this time, pay more attention to the musicians and also find out about some of the tricks used-I won't give anything away.

Again we went backstage after the performance and were already welcomed as if we were part of the ensemble. Plans for the night were considered, part of the band had made reservations for The Second City comedy show at the Flamingo and that's where we went. Second City is a comedy troupe with a lot of tradition, started originally in Chicago they have a very unique blend of sketch comedy and improv theater. The guys were in a special mood, too, since it was the last night for one of them who got hired by Saturday Night Live as a writer starting Monday. So they ended their set by saying thanks and goodbye to him and throwing pie in his face. But besided the melancholic, yet happy end of the evening it was a two hour laugh fest. Of course by the end of the show new plans were already made on where to go and spend another crazy night in Las Vegas...

Going home on Sunday I took the time to write up some of the stuff here and think about the experience and what it means to me. In a way I'm really disgusted by the decadence and the way of life they celebrate in Las Vegas, by the waste of energy and resources to keep a city like that running in the middle of the desert, by the endless number of brainless, lifeless lumps in front of the gambling machines and the phoniness of it all. But there were also people I really enjoyed meeting and moments of fun that were just exceptional.

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