Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beer & Loathing in Las Vegas, Part II




We actually did some stuff in Las Vegas besides eat, drink and gamble, honest!

For me, a highlight was going to the CSI: Experience at the MGM Grand. The show is an inter-active presentation based on the original CSI, which takes place in Vegas. It does cost about $30, for adults, so I’d advise you going only if you are a big fan of any of the three shows. No spoilers, but the “job” you have as a rookie CSI is to investigate one of three murders/deaths that have occurred by using observation at the crime scene. There you list or draw in as many clues as you can use a rough sketch provided on your worksheet. You are given a clipboard, pen and a two-sided sheet where you list the evidence and lab results as you find them. The various labs contain the “evidence” and computer workstations where you check the clues and view video of actual forensic scientists and the actors from the Gil Grissom era of the show. It is Gil who gives you the initial presentation and your orders. Donna, Fran and I went through and were all able to solve the crime. Just so you know we had Case #1 which involved a man killed after apparently driving his car into his own house. You even get a ‘junior investigator’ diploma after the successfully finish. Cool!!

While Donna & Fran were off to the spa on Friday, I took the opportunity to ‘preview’ and review a new TV show. Each day different television pilots are shown to small groups (about ten to twelve each showing), roughly every couple of hours. The shows vary from half-hour sitcoms to full-hour dramas, so expect to be in the viewing room for a little over an hour depending on the program. Before the show you are asked some questions about your age and where you are from. Basically, because the shows range in subject matter they need to know if you are within the acceptable range. Primarily this might limit it to older teens or adults, but most shows are of the 8-10pm network variety according to the person leading the presentation.

The ‘reviewers’ are taken to a room on Studio Walk and shown into a room containing ten computer stations, there you sign into a station with your ID and asked a few more demographic questions. You have a small box with a dial next to the terminal marked from 0 – 100. As you watch the program you indicate (with the dial) if you are bored (0) or completely interested (100) with what you are viewing.

The day I was there they were showing the pilot for PARTNERS a sit-com already on the Fall schedule of CBS. It’s from the creators of WILL & GRACE, and like that show features a number of gay characters as the leads. In this case, two life-long friends who have both become architects and ‘business’ partners in the small firm they created. The show’s title also refers to the respective partners of the two main characters, Charlie (David Krumholtz) who is straight, and his business partner Louis (Michael Urie) who is gay. Not sure if the cast will change after the pilot (given my input at least two changes should be made), but neither of them the leads. I thought Brandon Routh (who wore the blue tights in SUPERMAN RETURNS) was very, nice as Louis’ partner, a male nurse whom Louis continues to introduce as a doctor. On the other hand, I found Sophia Bush who played Charlie’s fiancĂ© was a total cipher going from sweet to harpy according to the whims of the script. There was, IMHO, no chemistry between them either. The one other character, set up as a regular apparently, was the Tracy Vilar (best known maybe as Nurse Regina on HOUSE, M.D.) who plays their secretary and is wasted in the role. I think she is supposed to remind folks of Rosario on W&G, but comes across as someone auditioning for a minor role in a touring version of WESTSIDE STORY. Not great, but a fun show I thought and one that I might watch for a few episodes to see if it improves. For our efforts, we were given some coupons for free items at the Food Court and discounts in other places around the hotel. I actually used one to get $5 off my CSI: Experience admission.

After breakfast on Saturday, the three of us were picked up by Kristina & Sarah for a trip over to the Venetian, where Fran wanted to find a shop that sold blown glass and jewelry. She had been there on a previous visit and wanted to see what they had, all items being from Italy and Venice in particular. Donna and I had been to the hotel/casino before, but had never gotten beyond the casino part. Going to the shopping/restaurant area was a revelation, as you actually feel that you are walking along a canal in Venice (or at least what we Americans believe it would be like). Donna, who has been to Venice, felt it smelled a bit better. :-)

Being who we are, of course, we had to sample some of the Italian baked goods at a small cafĂ©. Everyone seemed happy with their choices and Sarah was a good sport, sampling each of the items she had never had before. Guess cannolis and Napoleons weren’t part of her upbringing.

Went on longer than I had planned again, but wanted to give you a general idea of what we did while away. Not sure the next time we’ll get out there, but I think we might pick a bit cooler month, if that’s possible.

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