I love Saturday... a day of rest and ease and fun (usually) for me. I hope to share a bit of that feeling with you each week.
I'm so excited about today. The temperatures here in Weldon Spring are expected to soar into the fifties, and with them, my spirits. I'm definitely heading out for a nice long walk in the sunshine.
My mighty immune system (a gift from my hardy Irish/Welsh farmer DNA) has kicked in, and my case of Cabin Fever is no more than a sniffle. And a little sniffle is definitely NOT going to keep me indoors today. Not only do I plan on enjoying the warm sun and a walk around the pond at City Hall, I will also treat myself today to a manicure and pedicure in anticipation of a nice dinner with the Titan of Industry tonight in celebration of Valentine's Day. Who wants to go out to dinner on a Monday night, after all?
There I go again, veering off the subject with my tangents, the subject being Culture in Las Vegas. Really.
Yes, Vegas is merely a façade in nearly all aspects of real beauty and culture. The city is home to a fake pyramid, fake Eiffel Tower, fake Venice canals, fake NYC skyline, and all manner of fake Elvis Presleys, along with all the other...ahem, fake things in that fantasy land. I will not argue that people go to Las Vegas to capture the experience of great art or culture.
But it does exist. You just have to look for it.
Disclaimer: I've been to Las Vegas several times. My #3 son and his lovely wife live and work there. Camille works for the corporate offices of MGM, which owns seventeen resort hotels in Vegas, as well as the new City Center. Though Las Vegas is not a city of choice for my husband and me, we have found great food, beautiful nature preserves, and yes, even some culture where we've least expected it. Right in the heart of the Vegas strip. (er, no...not that strip. I refer to the street that passes from one end of the downtown area to the other.)
You've heard of the Bellagio Hotel, right? It's the one with the garish dancing fountains, which play relentlessly periodically throughout the day and night. The fountains themselves are an incredible display of engineering, and worth seeing, especially from the outdoor patio of the delightful French restaurant directly across the street, Mon Amie Gabi. But culture? Well, one song included in the fountain display is Andrea Bocelli's rendition of "Con Te Partiro," which barely qualifies, but I'll take it.
Okay, but back to real culture. I have to give credit where credit is due. In addition to the dancing fountains display, the Bellagio is also home to some pretty impressive art. The ceiling of the lobby is one immense work of art, a bouquet of glass flowers by controversial Washington artist Dale Chihuly (check him out HERE).
A gallery within the Bellagio is full of everything from original impressionist work by August Renoir, to a staggeringly beautiful life sized bronze sculpture of Rudolph Nureyev, as well as other dancers and performers, by Richard MacDonald (check him out HERE).
It also is home to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens which employs a mere 140 full time horticulturists to create and maintain some truly impressive displays throughout each season.
So, know that if you ever find yourself in Las Vegas (I do hope you don't just wake up one morning and "find yourself" there), just know that you can find some real beauty and culture there. Here's a walk through the Bellagio Hotel.
|Bellagio Hotel - Las Vegas|
|Lobby ceiling, Bellagio - standing directly under the display|
|Outside the art gallery|
|Nureyev in all his glory|
|Atrium ceiling in Botanical Garden|
|Massive sculptures (each weighing more than a ton) made of boiled, woven willow branches|
|From the Orchid House|
|More from the Orchid House|
|An 898 pound pumpkin...I guess you could say that most melons are oversized in Vegas|
|Fantasy fall creatures...|
see person watering the display on the right for scale
Today, I hope you find great art in unexpected places.
Of course, you'll have to imagine the torrents of water streaming to the music, but here is Andrea Bocelli's "Con Te Partiro" (Time to Say Goodbye). Enjoy!