Share This



a subbing in by Michael Gutenplan

[Ed. Note: Dear Ryan will be back next week, but meanwhile please enjoy Michael Gutenplan’s tale of going to Vegas alone. Yes, alone! And show him lots of comment love.]

You Should Fiercely Anticipate (This trip for yourself!)

Las Vegas

Michael chose Vegas. Photo Credit: Thomas Dwyer

Michael chose Vegas. Photo Credit: Thomas Dwyer

Las Vegas is an amazing town and there’s something to do every single minute of the day.  Of course you can gamble, but you can also see a Broadway show, a magic show, a concert, go to a wax museum, an art museum or shop ‘til you drop and you can do it on your own and not feel like a loser!

The drive to Vegas from Los Angles is actually pretty easy.  There’s always going to be a little traffic here and there and for some reason, no matter how fast or slow I go, the trip always takes four hours but with my Sirius Radio turned to the Broadway channel and a healthy amount of ice tea, the trip feels felt like no time at all.

You should want to do this — it’s awesome!


Photo Credit: Heather F

Before I arrived I had arranged for tickets to KÀ, the Cirque du Soleil show at the MGM Grand and dinner at a restaurant on the walk from my hotel (the Palazzo) to the MGM Grand.  It seems that if you want to open a hotel in Las Vegas you need to do three things:

1. Get a gaming license so that you can put a casino inside.

2. Get a big name chef from the Food Network to open a restaurant, and

3. Build a theater for a Cirque du Soleil show.

Walking to the theater from my hotel, which happened to be from the north end of the strip to the far south (where the MGM Grand is located) is actually a great walk.  If Vegas is good for anything it’s people watching.  With no exaggeration I witnessed 2 midgets dressed in ball gowns; a gaggle of young girls- drunk as skunks – buying more booze; and three men wearing feather boas singing to people as they passed by — oh! and who can ignore the hundreds of Latinos flicking and handing out small business cards with the name and number of escorts and strippers.  I wonder if anyone actually calls these numbers? Based on the amount of cards that littered the strip I would say no.

My dinner reservations were at Mon Ami Gabi, a French bistro restaurant in the Paris Hotel that overlooks the fountains at the Bellagio. The hardest thing to do when you are alone is eat at a nice restaurant. The urge to skip a meal or just eat a burger is too strong because it’s hard for most of us to sit by ourselves at a restaurant.  Restaurants are social places and, at least to me, it feels awkward to be alone, not able to share the experience with someone else.  But I have to say, despite being alone, dinner was great… and I got a great table to watch the fountains at the Bellagio across the street.

You Should Book Your Tickets Now!

Alright, let’s talk about Cirque du Soleil and KÀ.  I have seen a few Cirque shows before and never really enjoyed what I saw.  Sure the feats of strength were amazing and the acts were death-defying, but the air of snooty sophistication and well, French clowns, just didn’t do it for me.  Still, upon the advice of Mr. Ryan Dixon (the man who usually writes the Fierce Anticipation article for Fierce and Nerdy) I chose to see KÀ at the MGM Grand.

kaperformersI’m not sure if it was the amazing theater, the quality of the production itself, the performers giving it their all or the truly amazing and awe inspiring mechanical stages (there are 2 of them) that made the show so enjoyable, but this show was awesome.  From the moment I entered the theater until I left, the show kept my attention with a clear storyline (something I had not experienced with a Cirque show before), amazing feats of death-defying acts of acrobatics and a honest sense of adventure.  The show is a bit of Crouching Tiger mixed with, well, I don’t know what… but it’s great. I can honestly recommended seeing KÀ to anyone who wants to be amazed and entertained.  Even if you have an aversion to Cirque du Soleil shows, take my advice and try this one.  It is like nothing I have ever seen and sadly, I suspect, nothing like I will ever see again.

I have but one complaint.  For some reason, the people sitting around me could not shut up during the show.  I am a good audience member –I don’t talk and I sit still and enjoy the show, but I am easily distracted by those around me.  I’m not sure if it’s that people are so used to watching TV in their own home or just don’t care, but people… please be aware that when you speak, I can hear it!

What cracked me up though was the little girl sitting behind me.  She was so excited about the show and when it actually started and the music got louder, instead of becoming quiet she just started yelling so that her father could hear her.  The father did not, as you would expect, tell his daughter to be quiet but yelled back to her, answering her every question, for all to hear.  Shame on the father for not teaching his daughter proper theater etiquette but good for the girl for having an honest excitement and love for the theater.

After the show it was time to walk around the strip, gamble and hit the sack.  Being alone wasn’t so bad… in all honesty; it wasn’t much different from being with someone in Vegas.  I played blackjack, having conversations with whoever would sit next to me and enjoyed the various sights of drunkenness around me.

So after a nice long restful sleep it was time for me to wake up and explore Vegas during the day.  My first stop was Caesars Palace with its amazing mall – the Forum Shops.  Yes, I know, you don’t go to Vegas for a mall but this is a truly amazing place.  There are statues that talk, the streetscape is pretty cool and the shopping is top notch. After getting lost and walking around the shops I ventured outside where it surprisingly wasn’t terribly hot. I grabbed a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3 (it was SOOOOOOO good), watched the pirate show at Treasure Island (you can skip it!) and checked out the Bellagio fountains one more time (this time close-up)

I needed to waste another hour before I left (I didn’t want to drive into the sun, and I was waiting for it to set before I drove back), so I decided to check out the Champagne bar at the Bellagio.  Walking into the bar I saw a woman with a bottle of champagne, sitting by herself. She looked at me and I looked at her and I said “Are you alone? Mind if I join you?”  And with a wave she invited me to join her.

She was already a little drunk when I got there, she had after all, just polished off a bottle of bubbly by herself. Still while her husband played high limits blackjack she and I had a great conversation, but the kicker is that she was a dead ringer for Bette Midler… don’t believe me?  Throughout our conversation people kept staring and pointing at her, a few even came up to us and told her how wonderful she was.  She kept telling them she wasn’t Bette until I jumped in and told her to go along with it- why break everyone’s hearts? Now they can go home and say “I met Bette Midler and her really cute redhead friend, and I now have a great story to tell…”  The lesson is don’t break peoples illusions — let them see and think what they want!

Wouldn’t Go If You Paid Me!

This time Michael chose Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Miss Shari

This time LA was chosen. Photo Credit: Miss Shari

Driving back to LA I had some time (four hours, two minutes to be exact) to think about this trip.  I lost every penny I came to gamble with but I was relaxed and rejuvenated.  I smelled like smoke and my throat was dry but I was happy.  What was it that made me so happy and relaxed?  I believe it was my little mini vacation– alone.

In 24 hours I was able to leave Los Angeles, escape to do my own thing without anyone bothering me or holding me back.  I watched a great show and had a yummy dinner.  People always say “I hate Vegas… I wouldn’t go if you paid me” but that’s just it — if you win at blackjack, or whatever game you’re playing you might actually get paid to go on your vacation.  I couldn’t not go if you paid me… if that makes sense.

I love Vegas and feel like a king when I walk around that town, because I can have had anything I want at any time. From all-you-can-eat crab legs to — well, crabs if you sleep with the wrong girl (or boy). Vegas has it all!  (that was gross)

Vegas may be a great place to go with friends and do things you can’t do back home, but it can also be a great little escape. So, if you’re looking to get away, do yourself a favor, leave the friends at home, hop in the car and enjoy 24 hours in Vegas like I did!