Rivers Are Damp

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Hey, long time no blog.

For once, there’s a good reason, too.  Last Friday, I realized that—through the combination of Columbus Day and a couple of leave days—I had five free days ahead of me.  And no plans.  So I jumped on Travelocity, looking for someplace to go, someplace I could get to both cheaply and easily.  One destination stood out: Las Vegas.

I’ve been to Vegas at least once a year for several years in a row (and I’m headed there again in December for the National Finals Rodeo).  I’m comfortable there; there’s always something to do; I know I’ll have fun.  So I booked the trip.  Woo hoo!

That’s how I found myself, on Sunday night at 10 p.m., at the Luxor for Cirque du Soleil’s new show, CRISS ANGEL Believe.

(Yes, that’s how Cirque spells it.  Creative capitalization and boldface, huh?  [Insert eyeroll here.])

If you know me well, you already know I’m a big, big fan of Cirque du Soleil.  In fact, after this visit to Las Vegas, I’ve seen all six Cirque shows currently playing there (and I think I’ve seen five of Cirque’s traveling shows).  I don’t have to be sold on Cirque shows.  I go into them convinced, already, that I’m going to have fun, be entertained, see something different.

But CRISS ANGEL Believe let me down.

I guess I should issue some disclaimers.  First, and most importantly, I got bird poop on me—on my face!—at the show.  Really. Now, I don’t think I would’ve liked the show even if I’d gotten through it bird poop-free, but let me be clear: Getting bird poop on your face, at a fancy show, at a fancy show you paid $100+ to see, is absolutely unacceptable.  It’s disgusting.  It’s something you never forget.  Hmph.  Cirque du Soleil, you owe me a refund—at a minimum.

And I can’t believe that Cirque hasn’t figured out the problem of the bird poop on its own.  It must’ve occurred to someone that if the show has dozens of birds fly over the audience, every single night, there are going to be some, well, waste issues from time to time.  These birds are well-fed, I’m sure.  They’re probably stressed, too—or, at least, not thrilled to be indoors with hundreds of people.  And, well, even if they weren’t stressed, they’d still have to poop once in awhile, wouldn’t they?

And when the birds flew over the audience on Sunday night, about 15 minutes into the show, I got slammed in the face, on my left cheek right below my eyeglasses, with a little chunk of nasty detritus.  Ewww.  Ewww city.  It stung, and it was foul.  I couldn’t believe it.  What if it had hit me in the eye?  Won’t it eventually hit someone in the eye?  Can you imagine having to leave CRISS ANGEL Believe because you’ve gotten bird crap in your eye?  If these birds fly over enough audiences, it’s bound to happen, right?  Maybe it has already happened….  Gee.

Anyway, there I sat, in the middle of a row, in a dark theater, wondering how the hell I was going to get bird poop off my face, wondering if I could get some bird disease right there at the Luxor, wondering how Cirque du Soleil let something this stupid happen.  For a minute, I was stunned.  I didn’t see how I could get out of my seat without disrupting the show for a dozen people….  I calculated, reevaluated.  When I looked around, I realized that I already had what I needed.  I had a napkin and a special $12 Cirque du Soleil mixed drink, apple-y and tasty.  I hated to sacrifice the drink, but, of course, I hated having bird poop on my face even more.  So I dipped my napkin into the drink and got to work on my face.  The drink had alcohol in it, right?  And it was wet.  It would get my face clean and, I hoped, kill any bird germs on my face.

As I said, I don’t think I would’ve liked CRISS ANGEL Believe even if I’d had a poop-free evening.  And maybe my second disclaimer helps explain why: I just don’t know Criss Angel’s work.  I gather he’s a well-regarded magician, with a TV show…but I’ve never seen his work, and I didn’t even know about his TV show until I was sitting in the theater.  He seemed to have a lot of fans in the audience.  Maybe they were prepared to like the show, despite the incoherent plot, despite the lack of any impressive illusions, despite the lack of any Cirque-quality acrobatics or spectacle.  Maybe all they needed to see was Angel’s innocent face.  Maybe they just needed to get close to his rock’n’roll vibe.

But that wasn’t enough for me.

Truthfully—and this is my final disclaimer—I’m not even particularly interested in magic.  Or illusions.  Or whatever it is exactly that Criss Angel trades in.  But I absolutely think I could’ve enjoyed some good magic, especially if it had been integrated into a high-quality Cirque spectacle.  Instead, my audience got some birds produced out of thin air, Criss Angel (er, should that be CRISS ANGEL?) suddenly appearing ten feet from where he seemed to be, and Criss Angel split in two (temporarily, of course).  That’s not enough magic for a magic show.

We also got a ridiculous plot line (why did there have to be a plot at all?), some good—but not great—dancing, and plenty of exposure to Criss Angel’s impressive pecs and hair.

Oh, and I got the bird poop on my face.

No thank you, Cirque du Soleil.

Written by Jimmy

October 21st, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Posted in Art,Travel

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