Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Chef Arshad is convinced Von Hagens is out there Berking people in order to obtain subjects for his art. It truly is the stuff of nightmares, but there is something in his work that is undeniably thought-provoking and interesting, something more than just a macabre attraction.
I went to an exhibition of Body Worlds Koerperwelten in Germany many years ago and was astonished and fascinated. It's a remarkable feat to plasticize and and arrange corpses into sometimes beautiful poses for eternity.
I also went to the permanent exhibit inside Luxor. It's worth checking out if you're in Vegas. I'm always curious how the artists get these bodies. I'm guessing most people are like Arshad and think they're murder victims. I doubt that. Most are donated by the people while they're alive, supposedly. (bwahahahahaha)
The corpses in sexual positions are particularly bizarre and haunting. They're challenging, as all artistic endeavors pushing the outside of our sexual more envelopes are. And if art is supposed to be dangerous and thought-provoking, Body Worlds and works like it definitely delivers.
Here's a cool article about it.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
I've always really enjoyed the Fast and Furious franchise. Back before everyone called movies franchises, I loved how Universal could throw together funny movies about physics-defying cars filled with action, adventure, larger-than-life dudes, and sexy ladies. If you compare it to Universal's old monster movies or MGM's monstrous musicals, which were pretty cheap to make and brought back truckloads box-office cash, you'll quickly understand why they keep making these movies and why they insist on rolling out the Mummy's bones and Dracula's carcass every few years.
But Fast and Furious refuses to take itself seriously and aims to merely entertain. I'm personally sick of comic book adaptations pretending that their stakes are high or that we should ever be taking a man in clown makeup or bat ears in earnest. And don't get me started on Star Wars. Star Wars has morphed into a hyper-serious futuristic (?) Fast and Furious franchise.
Anyway, I still love these big dumb movies about big dumb cars and big dumb guys and gratuitous booty shots of ladies whom I doubt I'll ever see at a street race. But there's one thing that bothers me.
The extremely loose force that bonds the movies' characters to one another and, indeed, the films themselves to one another is the mantra "family," and they kind of stuck a middle finger to that in this eighth outing.
Statham is one of the only action stars around young enough and charismatic enough to appear alongside the Rock and Vin Diesel, so it makes sense they'd want to keep him around for as many sequels as possible, but he Killed Han. And his brother killed Han's girlfriend. And now they're hanging out with Statham on a rooftop in New York doing their final movie prayer scene ritual. Statham's not in the family, and shoehorning him in is less believable than a Cuban crime boss helping out or a muscle car taking on a submarine or even an EMP that can kill any vehicle except for the one driving it around.
And now they're talking about making a spin-off film with the Rock and Statham going on madcap missions to catch bad guys or something. And I'll dutifully trudge my way to the cinema to see those spin-offs just as I'll slouch toward whatever horrible new direction Disney churns out for the beloved characters of my childhood.
Maybe Kylo Ren will be a good guy by the end of the latest Star Wars trilogy, paling around with Cehwbacca, and everyone will be gasping "but he killed Han!" And I'll be there saying, "yeah, but Fast and Furious did it first."
Thursday, June 30, 2016
I have this car I love. It's a 2007 Audi A4 convertible; it's name is Nietzsche. I take really good care of it. I clean it regularly, get it serviced all the time, always park away from others, etc. Last week, someone thought it would be funny to put a knife into the top of my car.
I was pretty angry about that. But then, I thought "well I've got insurance; this isn't so bad."
I took it to the appraiser, and they said the top is worth more than my car. I've driven this thing fewer than 5000 miles in the last two years. There are only 93k on it. I've really been hoping to just pay it off and drive it for free for as long as I could. Just keep it in pristine condition, and everything would be fine. But those are just plans. The best laid plans...
Anyway, I don't know what is going to happen to Nietzsche. But the life of a car is meaningless, and so is everything else if you're into the whole nihilism thing.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
That's me next to Li'l Jon. He used to like to stop by the Lobby Bar at MGM Grand after his sets at Hakkasan to drink tequila; maybe he still does. I don't know anymore because I don't work there anymore. I miss it a lot sometimes, and this article makes me see it all with rosy glasses. It's also really cool to be mentioned in an article like this. It was a long time coming, and I wish I'd been there long enough to print it out and frame it on our wall.
Casey Childers spent a whole 24-hour period in our bar. He saw a lot. It was a slow day, so I wish he'd seen how crazy it got, but he saw enough. He talks about a lot of my team, and it was an honor to work with them.
Check it out.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
We've been doing Geeks Who Drink quiz night at Beerhaus for a few weeks now, and I think it's pretty awesome. Summer is generally the slowest time in Vegas, so to have locals show up week after week is really cool and really helpful because Beerhaus looks better when there are people in it.
We do Trivia from 8 - 10 every Tuesday night. There are prizes. Beer!
We do Trivia from 8 - 10 every Tuesday night. There are prizes. Beer!
Last week, we had 11 teams. The goal is 18 so Micky can get an assistant. I think we're the only one on the strip doing a trivia night like this, so I hope it continues to grow as strip-dwellers hear about it.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Interestingly, there seems to be a problem with people in Las Vegas understanding Beerhaus is a bar that happens to have some food available. Most people get it: we have an Eats Counter where, if you're drinking and want some food, you can go get some. Servers and bartenders serve drinks, and there's a place to get food if you get hungry.
But there are still a few who act like this is the craziest thing they've ever heard. We even have a cool neon sign showing them where to order. This is wasted on such people. We have pagers we give out to alert patrons when their food is ready, and they come and get it, and they are happy with our simple menu, but still there are others who throw up their hands and won't have any of it. It's strange to me.
Anyway, I've been working at Beerhaus. I work 12-15 hours a day and haven't had two days off in a row in almost four months. Everything I was doing in my life has been put on hold for this project, and it's been a crazy experience I hope to write about more as we go.
Do you like bars? Do you like beer gardens? You should check out Beehaus. You'll love it. If you get peckish, follow our retro neon illumination to a successful sating of your hunger.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Who doesn't want to propel oneself at unsafe speeds on a beautifully designed Ducati Motorcycle? Who doesn't enjoy the prickly sensation of a perfectly carbonated bottle of San Pellegrino. I think their working together to design a special edition of the bottle we all know and love is pretty cool. The design is subtle and simple and everything the Italians do well. There's a slogan on the bottom: "Share the Italian Passion."
It makes me think of Italy. That's not something I normally do when I drink a San Pellegrino. But right now, I'm drinking the glass version of the bottle above, and I'm thinking about lazy afternoons in Florence piazzas and late night walks round Trevi Fountain.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
David Bowie has influenced my life as long as I can remember. I love how his life itself was a work of art. He reinvented constantly, somehow remained relevant, and never seemed to falter under the burden of success. An iconoclast and creative force over so many decades, it's hard to imagine a time when David Bowie wasn't.
His death is affecting me more than most musicians' have because he is more than most musicians are. Bowie was a mogul of music, art, fashion, literature, film, and more. This is the guy who produced Iggy Pop. This is the guy who made the suit cool again. He could take anything and make it cool. In Young Americans, he quotes the Beatles' A Day in the Life, creating elegant intertextuality and subtle commentary you just don't find in pop music every day. He wrote Heroes in German about the Berlin wall and translated it into English so we could all partake in his emotional journey about the tension between east and west. And the way he recorded that song is insane, but simple. He was over the top and minimalist at the same time. He wrote songs about space men playing them with acoustic guitars. He was everything an artist should strive to be, and managed humility.
I'm sitting listening to Blackstar, his swan song. It was released on his birthday. Even in death, he was a transcendent artisan.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Many years ago, an American friend of mine in Germany handed me a book and told me I had to read it. I promptly ignored him but carried around the book wherever I lived convinced I would one day make good on my promise.
I'm in this minimalist mode right now. I'm going to read all the books I possess either for the first time or one last time and then cast them unto the world via Goodwill. It was finally time to read The Sheltering Sky.
I understand why my friend wanted me to read this masterpiece by Paul Bowles; I am one of those spirits who explore the world looking for an escape from the cold, a place to be warm, like the one of the three protagonists in this novel, Port. I too have searched and been tortured by the very people who told me they loved me.
This friend of mine also used to always say,"the right book at the right time." Prophetic. How could he have known I would be newly wounded and alone when I finally came to it? An omniscient narrator tells the story of three friends, two of whom are married, who travel into Africa for new experiences. Their American sensibilities become haunting ghosts, and their own selves develop into lupus. They tumble into tragedy and madness to a point that the story almost resembles Lovecraftian tales of horror.
If you read it, read it in winter when the nights are long, and the cold is oppressive. Read it when the darkness seems interminable, and friends seems sparse.
When I was a kid, I saw David Copperfield twice. His show was incredible and sparked my imagination for a lifetime. He was a childhood hero. Last night I finally got to see his Vegas show at my work.
My friend Yosuke was visiting from Japan, and we walked around on the strip, and we ended up at MGM Grand because it's on the way to my house. I live in waling distance from my work, so I kind of had to walk through the casino to get home. We stopped for a drink at Centrifuge and the Manager there, Adrian, recommended that we go see David Copperfield. I'd been meaning to see the show, and the timing was perfect.
We got seats right in the middle of the room; fantastic hook up!
Copperfield's new show isn't the daring, death-defying act that I remember from 20+ years ago, but it is still an awe-inspiring 90 minutes. His illusions are a mix of ones you've loved to see him do on TV a million times and a few that blow you away. There's a dinosaur-sized dinosaur skeleton and a spaceship-sized spaceship that leave you wondering how such huge props were built and how they got them into the theater. And where did they come from? Where were they while the illusion was staging? David Copperfield actually exclaims, "It's a god damned spaceship!" And it is! It's a god damned spaceship. How the hell did they get a god damned spaceship in here?
En bref, j'ame David Copperfield. If you're in Vegas and thinking about seeing a magic show, why not see the greatest illusionist of our time? It's a remarkable display of talent and nearly a half century's worth of experience.