Letter to a Friend: Vegas trip,October 13, 2016

Hi Gail,

Just wanted to take a minute or two to check in with you in between adventures. The trip to Las Vegas was great! I drove up on Wednesday, and then all day Thursday was taken up with the setup for the Circus Couture art auction. It was quite a job to try to get all of the items displayed in the space allotted, but it did get done. Friday is when the cast do their (mostly) dress rehearsals (usually have their costumes on but no makeup), and that is a great time for a cirque fan like myself to see all the acts, sometimes more than once, so I like to hang out during the rehearsals. Typically there is a last-minute crisis or two as the opening of the doors approaches, and this was no exception, but everything got done. The show was great and you can read more about it in my blog entry. Check it out if you haven’t already. I think it is one of my better pieces.

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Cheetah and Rhiann at work

Since my friend Kerry Winston Ward  (aka, fulltiltward on YouTube–check him out!) was going to be in town until Wednesday I decided to hang out until then. Most of the day Saturday was spent at Starbucks writing my blog entry on the event, and then it was off to Cheetah and Rhiann’s house for a barbecue. They are into the aerial arts and have some celebrity–they spent several months last year traveling around and getting married 58 times in 30 some countries–and moved to Las Vegas earlier this year from LA. Housing prices are quite a bit lower there; they bought a five-bedroom, 3 bath house with a swimming pool for 325K, a house that would be well over a million here.

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One of Aerial Essentials Best Customers

Vegas is also the perfect location for their business, Aerial Essentials,  which caters to the Cirque community, and they can get a lot of walk-in business there; if you are in the area they will be having an open house at their shop on November 5. Met some new friends and got to hang out with some old ones. The Linz’s were in attendance (Erika, Tom, and Mary-Mike), got to hang out with Kyle and Leah, Diane Klein was in attendance, but in true Diane fashion spent the entire time in the kitchen whipping up goodies with her able assistant Doc, met the lovely Kae, an aerialist who was also dealing with an elbow injury, and some assorted others.

We spent Saturday and Sunday nights at Cheetah and Rhiann’s. On Sunday, Kerry spent some time tending to work, I did a bit of walking, hung out in a coffee shop for a while, and then we had a debate party. Kae came over, and we ordered pizzas. Made it through the debate without misfortune and then hit the hot tub.

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Sosuke Brause riding the Wave

Sunday was an early-to-bed night as the Platt’s had to work in the morning and Kerry and I were planning on leaving at 4 am in order to drive to Kanab, UT. There is a walk-in drawing for permits to hike a geographical feature called the Wave in the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument. Access is very restricted; at 9 each day there is a lottery to give out 10 hiking permits for the next day, and we tried the lottery. Didn’t win, but that was just as well as it would have required us to stay overnight in order to use it.

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Slot Canyon on Wirepass

Instead we decided to hike into Buckskin Gulch, a slot canyon that is 11 miles long, hundreds of feet deep, and 10 feet wide. Kerry is in WAY better shape than me (he completed not one, but two, 200+ mile ultra-marathons last year), so the plan was for me to go as far as I was comfortable with and then I would head back to the trail head and he would continue to explore. We hiked down a wash (Wirepass) that fed into Buckskin Gulch until that wash also turned into a slot as well, but I didn’t get as far as I had hoped. We came to a spot where there was about a 9-10 foot vertical drop requiring some serious climbing, and in the interest of not putting myself in a situation where I could undo all of the healing in my triceps I decided to turn around at that point. The new plan was for me to hike back up, drive the car from the Wirepass trailhead to the trailhead on Buckskin Wash, and hike down until I met Kerry coming up. That all worked out fine for both of us, and probably better than our original plan.

We drove back to Henderson where we stayed the night with a friend of Kerry’s, and he hung out there all day Tuesday taking care of business while I wandered around the area, hanging out in coffee shops and getting some miles in. That night we met up again with Cheetah and Rhiann at the Penn and Teller show. Kerry knows Zeke, who is the prop manager for Penn and Teller, and Zeke got us tickets for a VIP box. Great show, Thai food afterwards, and then stayed over at Cheetah and Rhiann’s.

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It’s a Triangle! For reference, Cheetah is 6’4″.

Wednesday I helped out a bit with staging for Kerry’s event that day. He contracts with companies to do team-building events, and his event that day was also a charitable event. His company, Corporate Explorer Training, bought 25 wheelchairs, and the task for the participants was to assemble the chairs while also having to compete in some challenging activities. After the chairs were assembled they were then donated to Disabled American Veterans.

I have helped with his events in the past, but I wanted to get back to Long Beach before dark, so I headed back at about 11. I was planning on going to a variety show that is pretty crazy (see Scot Nery’s Boobie Trap), but also requires a 25 mile drive near rush hour. There were no advance tickets available, however, and it was unclear whether there were any at the door, so I decided to pass on that and go down to an open mic event at Hellada Gallery in downtown Long Beach. That turned out to be a good move as it was an absolutely magical evening of music. There was an awesome pool of performers, and they were able to spontaneously assemble themselves in various configurations and created wonderful impromptu performances. It was a very special night, and I am planning on devoting a full blog entry to it.

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Mooney Starr, Christian Jaymes, and Travis at Hellada Gallery

Today was a taking care of business day, and I did top it off with another open mic event at one of my local coffee shops. Tomorrow I will be taking off very early to drive down to Cabo San Lucas with Kerry. His wife and daughter are living down there, and they only have one car there, a Prius. Kerry likes to get out on the back roads, and a Prius is not suited for that, so he bought a Rav4 which is much better for that and which his daughter can drive.

Signing off for now,

John

2 thoughts on “Letter to a Friend: Vegas trip,October 13, 2016

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