a.) Fabulous Las Vegas; Panorama of the Strip (and a big thank you to Chad Bates for letting me cadge this photo for my blog).
b.) Sure, Bellagio’s fountains get a lot of attention. They’re pretty spectacular but this vista of the “lagoon” and the building is far more enchanting to me. Plus, they didn’t show up in the photo, but there were two little ducks swimming in the dark, not caring one bit about the Bellagio fountain display.
c.) Moroccan-style lanterns above a bar at the Luxor. I love them. The mirrored tile on the bar beneath plus these lanterns equals instant transformation. Looking at them, you sorta forget you’re in the 21st century in a casino.
d.) Playful buoys at a seafood restaurant inside Treasure Island. I’m a big fan of colored glass and distinctive lighting (and Vegas does lights really, really well). But what I really love about this? I think it (and possibly the Luxor lanterns) are winking playfully at Bellagio’s Chihuly Fiori di Como ceiling (the primary colors, the glass overhead sculptures). If Bellagio has Chihuly, well, this restaurant has buoys in equally bright colors. I love a clever visual joke, especially when it also happens to be really pretty (although, Treasure Island? You might want to do some dusting.)
e.) One of the other highlights of Treasure Island’s interior: celestial navigation as told by the ceiling outside the Cirque show. This made me want the whole ceiling inside Treasure Island to be like this: old maps, aged brass putti, star charts. Where’s an astrolabe when you really need one?
f.) The phenomenal “volcano” show at the Mirage (on the hour from 8 p.m. on). I literally saw this thing three times and, man, oh man is it fun to watch. I like the crickets that lead up to it. I like the drumming soundtrack. And I love the mix of fire and water. Some will call it kitschy but I sure do enjoy it and if you’re in Vegas, don’t forget to look out for it. (And another huge kudos to Chad Bates, who’s super good with the camera phone. Thanks, Chad!)
g.) Did I mention that Vegas was really good at lights? This one at Caesar’s is just frosted glass and some plaster laurel leaves, but man, is it well done. It looks like an aged and interesting carving on a screen or a shell. The shape of the horses is right for the Roman Empire (thanks, Art History degree): boxy chests, elongated necks; also Hellenistic and Persian-influenced, as it would be. At any rate, you gotta love an amber light pulsing with the idea of a time you’ve only read about, especially when it’s in such a place.
Note: Again, a huge thank you to my friend and all-around good guy, Chad Bates, for the photographs for (a) and (f). He’s a worthy Twitter follow, especially if you like sports, so check him out. He’s @chadb2113.