What Happens In Vegas… Sucks, by Michael Davis
What many of my readers don’t know is – I’m an artist, trained at some of the finest art schools in the country. I’m also an educator, having written curricula for an art school and created reading programs for high interest low-level students grades four to six. I have quite a few proclamations from various cities for my educational work and my mentor program. I even have part of a school campus named after me.
I’m not telling you this to impress you, but to impress upon you that I know a wee bit about the arts.
Education and training aside, I belong to the “I know what I like club.” I truly believe that art is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t care how big the artist is, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon because his or her last painting sold for a zillion dollars. As an example, take the artist David Hockney. I don’t like his work but I respect the career he has built for himself.
I also think that Thomas Kinkade is the luckiest man on earth. I much prefer and miss Bob Ross and his “happy little trees.” For my money, his “happy little trees” pimp slap anything done by either Hockney or Kinkade. That may be because I just liked him as a man and that translated into why I like his work so much. Truth be told, his work was more of a gimmick – but I don’t care: I like what I like. Hockney or Kinkade are huge successes and deserve to be. They create the art and let it speak for itself. Critics love it or hate it, people buy it or they don’t.
The art world is as varied as anything out there. The world of fine art is as complex as anything you can imagine. It’s not just become an artist and go try sell your work. The people and institutions involved in that world are mind shattering. Don’t even get me started about the politics. Politics endow some gallery owners with the ability to make or break a career simply by showing an artist’s work in their joint, patrons who support artists so they will have something to talk about at cocktail parties, world class museums who just so happen to have artwork “show up” on their walls from anonymous donors who attained the art by suspicious means. I could go on and on and one day I will write about this in more detail.
However, before I move on I will leave you with this. Yes, I am aware there are some in the fine art world who simply care about the art.
Me? I’m a simple guy I loathe anything that is subjective becoming something where you must have a certain amount of knowledge or understand its history for you to enjoy it. Artists and writers who reach a certain artistic level where their art stands for far more than just the image you are viewing is welcome and needed in this crazy world and I respect that. That said, I also think that if you are a person without any understanding of the process you have the right to say “I don’t like it.”
Just don’t tell me to like something because someone has decided that I should. My training has made me aware of the process, I know what I am looking at and hell no, if I had 80 million dollars to throw around I would not spend it on one Monet painting, regardless of how important that painting was in the history of art. As I said, don’t tell me to like something because someone has decided that I should. Feel free to jump on that bandwagon I’d rather walk.
And that brings me to Cirque du Soleil.
First I need to disclose something… I hate the French.
I hate them for a few reasons – but I’ll give you just one. Ten years ago I was at the San Diego Comic Con waiting in the lobby of my hotel for some friends to go out to dinner. Sitting at the lobby bar were a bunch of French guys talking about American comics. One guy, who I assume was embolden by his alcohol consumption, was loudly telling his associates that Americans comics were shit compared to French comics. This guy could have spoken in French and kept his views to his little group. No, he was speaking in English because he wanted us ugly Americans to hear.
Look, as you well know I have some issues with America, but I’m proud to be an American and I love my country. So being the guy I am, I went over to the group and proceeded to give this Frenchman a piece of my mind. I calmly told him that American comics were as varied as French comics and perhaps he should look beyond what he thought and give a few more books a try. I then told him that the French were a bunch of pussies and if not for America he would be speaking German. I also reminded him the French people smell like wet dogs and French women have hairy armpits, legs and chins.
Ah, good times…
The French think they are better than the rest of the world. Most of my other reasons have to do with my politics and France’s self-serving attitude towards the U.S. Not getting their support on the world stage is a much more mature reason, but it’s also a lot less fun. Yeah, I know I just grouped an entire people together because of the behavior of a few and I’m aware that all French people do not deserve to be called smelly wet dogs etc., but man, their attitude really burns me!
Cirque du Soleil has productions all around the world. They are a big draw and are considered one of the finest performance shows anywhere on earth.
To quote Pubic Enemy, the greatest rap band ever, don’t believe the hype.
I was in Las Vegas last weekend and went to see Mystere. I DID NOT WANT TO GO. I went because I wanted to be seen as a “team player.” The group I was with wanted to see it. I wanted to see Penn and Teller but was out-voted. I’ve only written one other review in my life. Some years ago I reviewed Oliver Stone’s Alexander. What did I say? Let’s just say that if I ever meet Mr. Stone I’m not using my real name. What follows is my review of Mystere.
Mystere has some of the most amazing feats of acrobatic excellence I have ever seen. The music in the production was fantastic.
The show itself was bullshit.
In fact, it’s not a show. There’s no damn story there. In the promotion for Mystere they give every impression that it has a story. No, no it doesn’t, It’s a bunch of acrobats in costumes that look like they were designed by Salvador Dali AFTER he was dead and sewn by adrunk Stevie Wonder while he was having a seizure, jumping around the stage.
If I wanted to see crazy looking people with fish heads and feathers coming out their asses fly around in the air I would smoke crack.
The “show” opens with a old fat man dressed like a baby in diapers and goes down hill from there. The performers (some who look like the flying monkeys from the Wizard Of Oz) are all over the place. Some of the acts take place on the ground, some high in the air. At the beginning of the show I found myself silently wishing that they would just fall. By the end of the show I was seriously considering climbing to the top of the stage and jumping myself.
The same acts are repeated over and over and over again. Then for a change of pace they bring out these two studs. These guys had on body suits so tight I could count the hair on their nipples. They go through a series of moves that involve lifting each other in seemingly impossible positions. At one point one of the guys is balancing himself BY ONE HAND on the top of the other guys head. This was I admit very impressive but somehow really creepy. Creepy because to make sure they don’t fall while holding these positions they must move really slowly. So slowly in fact that at one point one guy has his face firmly snuggled in the other guys ass cheeks. To achieve the next position one guy S L O W L Y has to pull the other guys ass pass his face S L O W L Y pass his face. What got me about this move is the thousands of people sitting in the arena ignored this as if everyday they have someone’s ass cheeks S L O W L Y caressing their face.
I mentioned that everyone ignored this – everyone but me. When the booty reached maximum snuggle on the face, I let out a loud fart noise. Childish? Maybe. But don’t judge me until you have spent a few hundred bucks on something this stupid.
In my opinion, this production is another example of what I call The Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome.
I think that so many people have been swayed by the hype of Cirque du Soleil that they go see this show and like it no matter what. Granted, if you are a child then this sort of thing is cool. However unlike Ringling Brothers who market to kids, Cirque du Soleil markets to adults. Call this what it is, an exhibition with some truly gifted acrobats. There’s no story. There is no narrative. Only flying monkeys and ass snuggling.
Is it art? Maybe, if so it sucks, if it isn’t it STILL sucks.
Then again I could be wrong. I have been before and I will be again. As I said, I reserve the right not to like something regardless of what everyone else has said. There are a lot of other Cirque du Soleil shows in Vegas and I was actually interested in seeing one. Love is a Cirque du Soleil show featuring the music of the Beatles. After seeing Mystere I dare not see Love. If they mess with my beloved Beatles I would somehow find a way to get the nuclear codes from the Pentagon and nuke France faster than you can say BOOM!
The only way in Hell I would ever pay to see another one of these shows is if they pried the money from my cold dead hands and theywere dressed like flying Monkeys.
Like the Big Bopper, Hollywood media mogul and frequent comics creator Dr. Michael Davis knows what he likes.