It’s been a crazy few weeks around these parts. But it’s been a (mostly) good crazy, in stark contrast to the bad crazy that’s not even a year in my rear-view. Hence why, although I feel a little bad for not posting anything here since my half-assed Prince tribute, I don’t feel that bad. Because I’ve been actually enjoying life, getting back to creating for myself, and focusing more on spending quality time with other humans (and animals).
The train pretty much left the station the last week of April, beginning with a lovely (and overly indulgent) birthday dinner for Sara at the Golden Steer, a Las Vegas institution that I had somehow never visited before. It’s one of those truly old-school Vegas joints (opened 1958) that exudes Rat Pack-era charm. Even though I don’t eat steak, I do love steakhouses perhaps more than any other type of restaurant (they usually whip up mean seafood and vegetable dishes), and if you do, too, I recommend checking out Golden Steer for your next special occasion.
The next evening, we checked out Heathers The Musical at Onyx Theatre in Commercial Center. Yes, it was a musical version of the classic Winona Ryder-Christian Slater dark comedy. And yes, it was hilarious and fun and full of catchy songs. If you’ve never seen a show at Onyx Theatre, season passes for its upcoming 11th (!) season are now on sale, and starting at just $100, you’d be an idiot not to buy them. Or just a hater of community theater, I guess.
No night off for us that week, as we checked out the Grand Tasting of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit on Friday night. The Grand Tasting brings out all of Las Vegas’ best restaurants to the beautiful Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace, where commoners (for a fee) can mix and mingle with the city’s (and therefore, the world’s) top chefs while sampling their cuisine and drinks. Lots of drinks. Like, it’s a good thing the Grand Tasting was only two-and-a-half hours, because, man, there was a lot of alcohol in various forms all over that place.
Speaking of alcohol and overconsumption: That Saturday night (yes, we’re still in the same week here), Sara and I ventured to the still-pretty-new T-Mobile Arena to see Billy Joel perform, something I will continue to do every time he comes to town until he finally gives up. We bought our tickets through Rock ‘n’ Roll Wine, which was offering a pretty sweet wine tasting-ticket package for only $99 a person. Although the seats were a bit, um, nosebleed-y (the arena’s video screens and excellent sound system made up for that, though), the wine tasting included up to about 40 ounces of various wines, so as you might imagine, there was plenty of opportunity to overindulge. We didn’t, but we’re guessing the lady who fell down four rows of seats right in the middle of the closing number probably did. (It was frightening and hilarious all at the same time.)
Things slowed down a bit last week, though we still got in some prime Vegas entertainment at Frankie Moreno’s new show, “Under the Influence,” at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Moreno is one of those multi-talented virtuosos that you really want to hate, but can’t help but love. He plays a multitude of instruments in his show, performs equally spirited versions of others’ material as well as his own songs, and he has perfected the charming-kinda-sexy-but-also-self-effacing thing. Moreno’s band is tight as can be, even while having to execute extensive choreography (crafted by Dancing With The Stars’ Lacey Schwimmer, who also performs in the show) while handling their instruments. It’s a solid entertainment option for your out-of-town guests who are tired of countless Cirque du Soleil spin-offs and hacky magicians.
Then there was this weekend, during which I joined Sara and our orange-clothed friends at MGM Resorts for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Sara’s former boss and all-around decent human Jenn Michaels has been fighting (and winning) breast cancer herself this past year, and in support of her (and in honor of those family members I’ve personally lost to breast cancer), we collectively raised more than $18,000, which made #teamjenn the highest fundraising team at the race. I think.
We rounded out the weekend participating in the annual Nevada Preservation Foundation Vintage Vegas Home Tour, which is exactly what it sounds like: A self-guided tour of old houses and apartments, most of which are located in the Huntridge area and in our own Paradise Palms neighborhood. It was cool to see what people have and have not done with decades-old homes, especially as someone who owns one of those decades-old homes. Even though we saw some very awesome restorations and renovations, perhaps the highlight for me was learning that The Rexford, a cool mid-century apartment building just off Oakey Boulevard on the periphery of Beverly Green, is actually as nicely maintained on the inside as it is on the outside. It’s actually a co-op, and features units as large as almost 2,000 square feet. We only got a look at one small one-bedroom unit that had mostly original features, but met an owner who is renovating her apartment there, and I encouraged her to aim to finish in time for next year’s home tour, for purely selfish reasons.
In between all of this, I actually started working on producing music again. No, not with MOONBOOTS, which is still on some sort of weird hiatus that we never really declared. I’m back to working solo on electronic music, something I forgot how much I loved until I started digging back into it. It’s a lot more challenging than performing as just one-fifth of an ensemble, especially an ensemble playing punk-based music, but it’s something I can dig into and focus on unlike most anything else.
Well, “most anything else” except for maybe making comics, which I always think is a chore until I actually start doing it again. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently relaunched The Utopian Foundation, and I finally started chipping away at drawing new strips last weekend. It’s definitely like riding a bike, but I’m probably not going to be popping any wheelies anytime soon.