End of year gymnastics show

Elanor has continued with gymnastics after our move last year. She’s been in The Little Gym gymnastics program since she was just under a year old, and this is her third gym.

Here’s her floor routine.

 

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End of year karate show

Rhi switched from gymnastics to karate this year at The Little Gym. Here she demonstrates one of the things she’s learned.

One of the best things I did when we came back was to ensure that the girls were immediately enrolled at The Little Gym. They’ve attended The Little Gym for most of their lives, and it gave them something familiar in all of the new.

The teachers have become friends and babysitters. And as you can see, Rhi adores her karate teacher.

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Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour

 

I saw my first “big’ concert in Hong Kong. Prior to that I’d only seen two concerts, both in small venues in Boston. But both the concert in HK and the concerts I went to in Singapore were indoors. I’ve never seen what a concert can look like when it’s held at a football stadium.

Cue Taylor Swift’s Reputation Tour at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

I made a point to be online at exactly the right time to get tickets to Taylor Swift’s new tour. I’d taken Elanor to the Red and 1989 Tours in Singapore and at this point it’s our tradition to go see Taylor perform. So in May, a few weeks before school ended, I took Ellie to the Reputation Tour.

By the time Elanor got into the Stadium, waited in the merchandise line, waited in the bathroom line, and waited in the food line and to our seats, the first opening act, Charlie XCX was nearly done.

BUT we were in time for the second opening act, Camila Carbello. The video above is from when she sang Havana, which has been on heavy rotation in my house for months.

Then Taylor took the stage.

She opened with “Ready For It” of course.

While I’ve seen big props on stage (Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball comes to mind), and we’ve seen performers go to secondary stages, everything was just bigger in the stadium. Here’s the giant cobra that came out for only two songs, including (of course) “Look What You Made Me Do.”

She said that there were 55,000 people in the stadium and I certainly believe that’s about right. The number of people was crazy, all screaming and dancing. The energy was amazing.

The thing about a stadium tour like this is that the special effects are crazy. Check this out for pyrotechnics, fireworks, and elaborate lights. This is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

I loved how the people behind designing how the screens worked also thought to use them for cool effects like this.

It’s an amazing tour. Currently the only stop in Asia is Tokyo if I’m remember correctly. But I’m hoping she adds Singapore to the tour–it would be great to see her perform in the new Singapore Sports Hub.

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Vegas 2018 part six

This is a post for the miscellaneous bits that didn’t fit anywhere else.

Here is my photo op in front of the fountains that was a double fail in that the fountains weren’t on, and a wind came out of nowhere and blew my hair into my face. I love the picture though, so whatever. I think it’s funny.

On our last night in Vegas I went and watched the fountains for over an hour. The shows are every fifteen minutes at night. The clip above is a short excerpt from “Luck be a Lady.”

I went to the Bellagio Spa, which was the most pampered I think I’ve ever felt in a spa. It got off to a good start when they had a robe that fit me. After seven years in Asia, it is a relief to be somewhere where robe sizes go up to mine. In fact, I liked the robe so much that I bought one. When I got home, Rhi needed to try it on.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a foodie. But we wanted to do a high end restaurant (to continue the theme of kid unfriendly), so Ravi picked Bazaar Meat at SLS–part steak house, part tapas/Spanish restaurant, all delicious. Our dinner at Bazaar Meat was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

I didn’t take a picture–I’m terrible at Instagraming food–but I tried possibly the most exotic/weird thing I’ve ever put in my mouth–cotton candy foie gras. It’s a small nibble of foie gras in the middle of cotton candy (candy floss). You eat it one bit and the combination of flavors was incredible. But not so incredible I wanted a second one.

The steak was yummy. I tried but wasn’t crazy about Ravi’s suckling pig. The picture above is half of a dessert from the dessert cart. They’re all one to three bites and there are lots of options for even the pickiest (coughmecough) eater.

It was such an amazing trip and I was so happy to reconnect with Ravi. We weren’t/aren’t having trouble or anything in the marriage, but we also just haven’t had this sort of dedicated time to focus on just us and it was like a gust of fresh air. I can’t wait another x years to do it again.

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Vegas 2018 part five

There’s plenty to do in Vegas if strip clubs and sexy revues aren’t your thing.

Another night we stayed in at the Bellagio. First we went to “O,” the Cirque du Soleil show based there. There are actually several Cirque shows in Vegas, depending on your mood. As I said before, I overdosed on The Travel Channel when I was a teenager, and another show I saw talked about “O.”

“O” is a unique show in that under the stage is a giant, very deep water tank. The stage opens and closes depending on the number, and there’s really nothing like it. So I’ve wanted to see it for ages.

Before the show starts, these two clowns make their way through the audience. They were charming, and I enjoyed their antics. They would reappear throughout the show as comedic relief among the more dreamlike and surreal acts. That might sound jarring, but it flowed quite well.

Performers dove in the water, did synchronized swimming, flew above the water, and everything in between. Even though I write for a living, I’m at a loss to describe the show beyond saying if you ever get the chance to go, you should.

After the show we stopped in the casino on our way back to the hotel room. I started with sixty dollars. I made the choice to play four hands of blackjack. Whatever I won, I won, and whatever I lost, I lost. As you can see above, I won a whopping fifteen dollars. I’ve always been the player who keeps playing to maximize winnings and always ends up with less money than I started with or no money at all. It was way more fun to just go in with this sort of plan.

That said, I’m not a huge gambler. I didn’t have the urge to play any further or on another day. It was fun, and then I moved on.

We ended up on a fairly nocturnal schedule. The night we went to the first strip club, we were out until four in the morning. Another night has us out until five am. I don’t know what night/morning I took this, but here is what sunrise looked like from our hotel room just before I shut the blackout curtains and crashed.

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Vegas 2018 part four

Being an equal opportunity kind of family, after I saw Magic Mike, we went to go see Sexxy, a topless female revue the next night.

Sexxy is at the Westgate Resort, a short cab ride from the Strip. It’s won a ton of awards, and best of all, it’s so affordable (by comparison). The room is small so it doesn’t really matter if you go general admission ($40) or VIP ($60).

Choreographed by Jennifer Romas, the numbers take you through a sensual set of burlesque numbers. Some of the more memorable included a cowgirl number choreographed to Pony by Ginuwine. (Damn you for getting that song stuck in my head again!), a pole number, and a water number with a tub.

It’s a topless show, so the girls strip down to just thongs. I found this far more sensual and sexual than Magic Mike, which overpromises and underdelivered–seriously, butt cheeks–you couldn’t even give us butt cheeks? Or maybe it’s just because I’m queer and women are really beautiful to look at, and burlesque numbers even more so, so there’s carnal appeal. Although I like dudes, too, and Magic Mike didn’t rev my motor in the same way.

I have to compare it to Magic Mike because the two shows were very similar in their marketing, and I saw them one night apart from each other. I think that there’s some amount of puritanism in creating a show of men for women–there’s still the assumption that we aren’t as visual or whatever, or that a six pack is enough. I think we women feed into that because there was LOTS of screaming women losing their minds over the men of Magic Mike (I think I’m probably an outlier). By comparison, it’s okay to sexualize women and to say that men are very visual and we should accept that as gospel. Both of these are cultural–we are taught to sexualize breasts in a very different way than we look at men’s chests. I certainly am the result of growing up in this culture–seeing breasts feels naughtier and sexier than seeing some dude’s chest.

The women are all accomplished dancers, and the choreography is tight. The only moments the show slows down are when a singer comes out and does some numbers, which I assume has more to do with the way things work in Vegas (there was one at the show we went to years ago, and one at Magic Mike, and this is a thing per my guidebook) and to provide a few moments for the dancers to change and grab a drink of water or what have you.

After the show the women will pose for (free) photos with the audience. This isn’t the best picture of me, but it’s my selfie with a few of the ladies.

I highly recommend Sexxy if you’re looking for a topless review. I know that Fantasy is the most booked on, and I can’t compare this to that show as I haven’t seen it, but I don’t feel like I missed out on anything by seeing Sexxy instead of Fantasy. The space is intimate, the dancers are talented and it was a fun evening. If you don’t mind the taxi ride (I think it was like 15 dollars each way from Bellagio?) you’ll appreciate this show.

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Vegas 2018 part three

Having done the kid friendly Vegas trip in 2012, Ravi and I were pretty determined to do a lot of kid UNfriendly adventures on this trip. One of the things I did was go to the Magic Mike show at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

There are many male reviews in Las Vegas–Thunder from Down Under, Chippendales, and Magic Mike among them. It looks like Magic Mike has some of the best reviews, so I bought a ticket. Ticket, singular, not tickets, plural, because the website said it was for women only. However, there were men at the show, so I could’ve brought Ravi. (Yes, he totally would’ve come). I don’t know how strictly other shows police the “women only” policy, but next time I’d probably buy two tickets and assume I can bring him.

Magic Mike Las Vegas is, of course, capitalizing on the Magic Mike movie franchise. It brings together a diverse cast of male dancers (and two women) to perform twice a night (8 and 10:30) every Wednesday-Sunday. I want to take a moment and highlight that the cast is genuinely racially diverse, something that is extremely rare, which gives it bonus points in my book.

“Club Domina” is set up as a 360° stage with seats ringing it, and some balcony seating as well. There’s variation in what the seats actually look like–I was on a couch, others were at a traditional table and chairs, there were arm chairs–I just looked at Ticketmaster’s site and it looks like it’s hard to tell what sort of seat you’re signing up for, but I don’t think there are really “bad” seats.

In terms of dress, there were a lot of low cut tops and dressy clothes, but lots of jeans, too. I went for a little of both. Not shown–once I got to the show and saw the girls near me, I discreetly pulled my shirt down a bit more to display my cleavage better. Shown–I have resting bitch face.

Prior to the start of the show waiters (mine was super hot–I was kind of hoping he was also a dancer) come around to take your order. Two small drinks cost more than one large drink, so they encourage you to buy the XXL drink for (assuming my somewhat fuzzy memory is correct) 28/30 USD (drinks are expensive in Vegas). I ordered an XXL amaretto sour (my drink of choice) and it was as big as my head. However, it was also chock full of ice, so it’s not as much alcohol as it looks like.

The show starts with the dancers in costumes like Fireman, Cowboy, etc. I was kind of sad these didn’t make much of a re-appearance (one dance number at the end), but they were sexy. The frame of the show is that Mike (get it? get it?) needs to learn how to be a dancer, interspersed with other numbers. At various points, the guys came into the audience in various ways (entering via the big staircase, coming off the stage) and interacted with us. Worth noting, though, that unless you’re a twig, you won’t end up on stage. The guys do various moves with the women, and carrying them etc means really skinny (like REALLY skinny) women are the ones usually chosen. However, when they’re dancing in audience, they’ll interact with anyone. There was a slow dance number where a guy was pointing at either me or the girl next to me to come and dance–we both pointed to ourselves quizzically and then she got up first (neither of us were/are skinny).

For me the highlight of the show was a water number that begins with an “audience member” is brought on stage and ends the way shown below. Not to complain, but if you watch, you see what the guys usually end up in. It’s not the manties of Hunk Mansion, but I’m not seeing as much skin as you get at the female reviews. Equal opportunity nudity people–I want to see butt cheeks! That said, this number is very hot and most of the numbers have a burlesque element, which elevates the quality of the show.

My one real complaint is that there is a VIP meet and greet you can add onto the cost of the ticket. However, although I bought the upgrade, this never happened. There were no special instructions, no one hung back–the audience just exited back into the hotel. I stuck around a little to see if I was just supposed to wait or what. So I paid extra for nothing. Don’t buy it. Below is the closest I got to a meet and greet, when a dancer posed for a selfie with me and other girl I was sitting next to.

 

We also went to several strip clubs. If you’re interested in reading about strip clubs in Vegas, you can read this post.

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