Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vegas? I'd Rather Run Away With The Circus

There isn't anything that can be written about Las Vegas that hasn't been written already.  Except maybe this - I hate Las Vegas.  I don't just hate Las Vegas, I loathe it.  Crowds that aimlessly mill about staring gape mouthed at the Eiffel Tower, the statue of Liberty and the Great Pyramid of Giza all in a one square block; blue haired ladies with red lipstick and a cigarette dangling from their lips as they play the penny slots; and the constant assualt of bells ringing, machines beeping and horns honking on my ears are only part of the problem.  Apparently, I no longer consider losing money a form of entertainment.  And really?  I've seen some Vegas shows that have left me totally underwhelmed.  That is, until I saw Cirque Du Soliel's "KA." 

Holy Schnikees!  As you may recall, we were there to see Jason Zulauf perform in the show and take a backstage tour.  Well, if it weren't for bad luck, the Coltman's would have no luck at all.  The weekend we were there was the weekend of the Oscars which equals a theater with no celebrities.  Ok, I can handle that, I'm really there to see the show not see celebrities see the show.  Then, we get a call from Jason's father.  Jason is ill, he hasn't missed a show in 5 years but he is not going to be appearing.  However, he arranged for his girlfriend Cheri, another artist and one of the main stars of the show, to meet us and give us a tour.

The show itself is beyond any discription I can offer.   To try would render it just adequate. The stage is mobile and is often set vertical, perpendicular to the floor and the performers flip, dance and fly up and down the thing.  There is a story that is sometimes difficult to follow only because I was so mesmerized by the action, I lost myself in the moment.  If Vegas is sensory overload in the worst way, KA is sensory orgasm ( yeah, I said it.)

Afterward, we met Cheri and her sister at the door and she took us backstage.  Cheri plays one of the main characters in KA and is tiny.  I mean so tiny that if I were a few inches shorter and weighed alot less I would still look like an oaf next to her.  What she may lack in stature is made up in incredible talent, vast backstage knowledge and kindness.  Cheri explained how the stage moved, how the costumes are stored and how much the wigs cost ( 5 digits.)  She explained some of the moves that Jason performs and showed us the dressing rooms.  She did all of this at 11:30 p.m. while all of the other performers were changing and rushing home to begin their "weekends."  I'd say our bad luck was really GREAT luck!

And that, the whole Cirque experience, erased the fact that I smoked 2 packs of cigarettes just by breathing, collected a card decks worth of call girl cards on the street, and lost $20 in a slot machine. Cirque Du Soliel?  YES!  Vegas?  Meh.

Friday, March 5, 2010

And He Ran Away To Joined The Circus

I have spoken often of the plethora of famous people that hale for my part of Michigan. . .as nauseum.  There are, however, several people from the northern Illinois  area who have gone on to become famous as well.  There's Joan Allen, Michele Williams of TLC, William Katz and of course THE Jason Zulauf.  Who?  You know, the kid who ran away with the circus?

A few years ago Dave came home from work with a story about a co-worker's kid.  This kid had been a champion diver and gymnast in Sterling and was recognized by some pretty impressive people.  But, as Dave tells the story, . . ."Jason up and joined the circus at 16." 

"And his parents were OK with this?" I ask incredulously.
"I guess so, Zulauf was talking about it today.  Said they pay him pretty well and pay for his housing.  I guess it's pretty well known. "
I imagined Jason as one of the flying trapeze guys - living in a small trailer behond the elephants and really, I wondered what in the world his parents were thinking.  The circus?  I am a former carnie ( another article altogether!) and I know there are just too many diseases you can catch on the road with, well, clowns.  But who I am to judge?  My parents let me work in carnivals one summer.

Months - maybe years pass and Dave again comes home and says, "Remember when I told you about Jason Zulauf joining the circus?  Well, they are coming back to the states to open a show here. "

Hmmmmm, I think.  A circus that has been traveling out of the country.  A well known circus.  They pay well.  I can add 2+2+2 and get 6 so I ask, "What is the name of this circus?"

"I dunno, " Dave shrugs, "something foreign I think."

"Something foreign like Cirque du Soliel by any chance?"  I ask.
He snaps his fingers, "Yeah, that's it!"
"And they are opening a permanent show in Las Vegas, right?"
"Yeah," Dave says, "How do you know?"
BECAUSE IT'S FREAKIN CIRQUE DU SOLIEL not some rinky dink traveling circus.  Homer Simpson forehead slap and required, "DOH!"

So Jason is one of the leads in "Ka" in Vegas and we are headed there this weekend to see the show.  Afterward, we are meeting Jason and he is giving us a back stage tour.  I don't want to be a name dropper - Tom Cruise - but many celebrities attend the later show and go back stage afterward to meet the performers.  I'm not saying that all those celebs will be clamoring to have their pictures taken with me, but rest assured, I will be lurking in the background of any and all photos where celebrities gather so look for me on E!  Or not. 

I'm off to the circus!