Sunday, November 11, 2012

Be It Ever So Humble...

So, my whirlwind trip to Los Angeles has finally come to end and except for a fairly miserable flight home (more on that, in a bit), it was actually quite good. The Day-Job event was quite successful and Uncle P found himself quite busy during it (unlike my last business trip to Miami, where I spent most of the event twiddling my thumbs). 

We stayed (and held the event) at the famous Millennium Biltmore Hotel, the sight of many Academy Awards ceremonies in the 1930's and 1940's, a history of which the hotel is rightfully proud. Alfred Hitchcock shot scenes from Vertigo there and it has been used in plenty of other Hollywood classics, including Ghostbusters. I found the place a bit reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining, with its maze-like layout and decidedly creepy basement Regency Room, where our event took place. One the bartenders told me that the hotel's "Gold Room" still had a secret passage left over from the Prohibition era and I couldn't help but wonder who might have stayed in my room (828) in the past. 

Of course, the highlight of my weekend was something I've been blathering on about for weeks, now: Cirque du Soliel's Iris at the Dolby (formerly the Kodak) Theatre. Simply put, the show is nothing less than breathtaking. A stunning riot of color; Steampunk aesthetics; plays on light and shadow; astounding feats of strength; graceful physical prowess, acrobatic thrills and technical genius, Iris is most certainly the best of the many Cirque shows I've seen, and that's saying a lot. I found myself with my mouth agape in awe, grinning like an idiot and even crying at it's often stunning beauty. 

Trying to describe the show in mere words is an exercise in futility. It is something that must be seen and experienced to be fully appreciated. The young woman seated to my right often exclaimed "So pretty!" which doesn't even come close. From the opening aerial act featuring two perfect young men (who later spend the 2nd half of the show as half-naked Gladiators) to the finale, Iris (pronounced in the French - "ear-REESE") is the kind of show one never forgets. From the hysterical 'clowns' (don't worry D, these aren't 'evil-you-know-whats') to the astonishing set pieces that seemingly appear from nowhere; from Danny Elfman's amazing score to the slightly disturbing Steampunk robots; from the gorgeous costumes to the outrageous lighting and projections, Iris is the perfect example of Cirque du Soleil's 'Circus as Theatre' philosophy. I cannot recommend this show highly enough. If you are a Cirque fan or just a lover of movies; if you love (as I did) Martin Scorsese's Hugo or any of the surviving films of Georges Melies, you owe it to yourself to see Iris, if you can. 

On a side note, while waiting for the Metro back to my hotel after the show, I found myself face-to-face with the young man who played the show's lead 'Buster," sitting on a skateboard, his sweat-run makeup still on, waiting for his own ride home. I couldn't help but approach him and tell him how wonderful I found both the show and his performance. He looked rather surprised, but shook my hand and thanked me. Personally, I was more excited to meet him, than any "star" in Hollywood.

For now, I'm just glad to be home and to get to sleep in my own bed tonight.

More, anon.


Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I'm glad you made it safe home. I love visiting L.A. We had one hell of a victory week last week didn't we Prospero? I am disturbed though that so many people are talking secession from the union after their stunning loss. I guess the conservative republicans expect us to go along with their agenda when we lose (and go along quietly) but when they lose it's time to talk military action. Such a strange way to approach the idea of democracy.

Prospero said...

Michael - I couldn't be happier about last week's election. And all this talk of secession is just that, 'talk.' The religious brainwashing that goes on in this country is so disturbing, and by pandering to the brainwashed, the GOP hoped win the election through fear tactics. There will always be loonies, but thankfully there are still enough sane people who really know the difference between right and wrong.