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  1. #1

    • Ravenclaw
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    6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    Wednesday 22 Oct

    Arrived in Vegas at 10 AM, having got up at 6 to catch my red-eye from San Diego. Luckily Harrah’s had a room ready for me so I ditched the bags and took the monorail over to the convention centre to check in. My best friend and roommate Adam (fellow MCer Gaptoothed) drove into town a day earlier and met up with me after I got back to the room. Adam saw Criss Angel BeLIEve the night before and was, suffice to say, underwhelmed. Adam and I walked around Caesars looking for something to eat. We settled on Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. Adam had the chile relleno and I had the 3-course prix fixe lunch special- barbeque duck and blue corn crepe, pulled-pork barbeque sandwich with southwestern fries, and vanilla crème brulee for dessert.

    Adam and I went over to the Mac store at Fashion Show mall and looked for some evening entertainment options. I had my evenings filled for most nights and Adam found a ticket for Wayne Newton. That’s right, Mr. Vegas himself! I had to get down to the Treasure Island because…I had an appointment with Cirque du Soleil!
    As a part of the LDI conference I had the opportunity to spend a day at Mystére, and get a behind-the-scenes look at this amazing show. Our small group of 10 was met outside the Mystére theatre by Michael Maddox, the tech director for the show. After a brief history of the show we had the opportunity to talk with Danielle Rodenkirchen, a former Cirque artist and Mystére’s current artistic director. It was really nice to see that the Cirque leaves lots of avenues open to their artists once they decide to pursue opportunities outside of the limelight. The group got a top-to bottom tour, full of little bits of trivia: did you know that the stage is actually washed down before each show with a mix of Coke and water, or that there are over 1,000 costume pieces in the costume shop alone? Some of the views of the stage and house were absolutely amazing. Being up in the grid over 60’ above the stage was so much fun! After the tour we headed down into the green room for dinner, this time carne asada and grilled chicken tacos….mmm, que delicioso!

    Our group got split up after dinner and attached to different technicians for the 7:00 show. Some of our group got to listen to the headset calls from the spot positions, and some got to watch the show with the light board operators. I got to watch the show from the booth with the special effects and projections operator. Being all the way above the audience during the show gives you an interesting perspective on the spectacle. The newer Cirque shows on the Strip may have the awe-inspiring technological innovations, but Mystére is a reminder that you don’t need a 200,000,000.00 budget to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses, and evoke the wonder.

    After the show, we met back up and asked any final questions. All in all the experience absolutely great, and definitely worth doing again.

    I wandered down the Strip to the Bellagio, with the intention of seeing if there were any cancellations for the 10:30 performance of <<O>>. The box office had a seat open in the front row of section 104 but being so far off to the right I politely declined. Luckily, I found a seat in 103 4 rows back for Saturday!
    Being so tired, I retired to my room at Harrah’s and rested for the next day- backstage at Ká!

    **to be continued**
    Last edited by Exprmnt626; 10-30-2008 at 12:12 PM.
    Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

  2. #2

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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    Great story, I love Cirque du Soleil. How did you get to do what you did at Mystere?
    Check out my page at www.myspace.com/wheresmickey

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  3. #3

    • Ravenclaw
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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    The LDI conference offered 2 Spend a Day with Cirque du Soleil sessions. Attendees got a full tour, dinner, and got to see the first performance of the night at Ka and Mystere. More coming soon, but I'm running out of time...

    --nick--
    Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

  4. #4

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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    What does LDI mean?
    I didn't see it in your report, but the tiny print was hard to read
    Good morning, son
    In twenty years from now
    Maybe we'll both sit down and have a few beers
    And I can tell you 'bout today
    And how I picked you up and everything changed
    It was pain
    Sunny days and rain
    I knew you'd feel the same things...





  5. #5

    • Ravenclaw
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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    **sorry- LDI is Live Design International, the annual entertainment technology conference/trade show...probably should've explained that one.**

    Thursday-

    Got up kind of late and went to breakfast...um...somewhere. Harrah's has an amazing 24-hour cafe, by hotel cafe standards, anyway. GapToothed picked up tickets for the 7:30 le Reve, and I took the monorail to the MGM for the highlight of the evening, backstage at Cirque du Soleil's Ka!

    We were met by the technical director, Erik and the assistant head of lighting, Ray. The Ka theatre is a massive 200 million dollar edifice of impressive proportions. Both of the show decks (the 25' x 50', 350,000 lb. sand cliff and 30' x 30', 75,000 lb. tatami deck) dominate the playing space. Our small group of 9 got a full tour of the entire theatre, followed by an intense q&a session. After dinner we paired off with a crew member for the 7:00 show. I followed the tech director Erik, and got to see the (controlled) chaos that is the back/under/above stage operations. As technologically involved as the show the audience sees is, the set changes and prep for the next scene are even more impressive. The amount of nets and air bags that have to deploy beore the artists can go out are astounding.

    There were so many cool moments during the show that I got to see from a perspective you'd never see from the audience...including the 30' fireballs that discharge from the 'basement' before the show!

    The show was over all too soon, and it was an experience to remember. Since I had time I popped over to the Mirage and managed to get tickets for the 10:30 performance of Love, the collaboration between the Cirque and the Beatles. I snagged a seat in the 3rd row of section 203, not too bad a seat for last-minute. As expected the music was fantastic, with the audio going around and through you! This newer cast was still working out some of the kinks but overall they managed the kind of performance you'd expect from Cirque-calibre artists.

    Post show, I grabbed a drink from the Carnaval Court bar, and went back to my room, to dream of evil archers, flying monkeys, and Walrus men...

    --nick--
    Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

  6. #6

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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    Really enjoying all of this - have you seen the shows from the audience? Just curious which was more enjoyable.

    Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!

  7. #7

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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    Nice report, very lucky. I have seen all the Cirque shows in vegas except the new one at Luxor.
    Check out my page at www.myspace.com/wheresmickey

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  8. #8

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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    Sounds like you a had a great time so far! I didn't get to attend LDI this year seeing as I'm working more in video production than production design at the moment. I had a similar cirque tour at 'O' a while back. Cirque shows are such technical marvels.
    I worked at Walt Disney World as a member of the Disney College Program in Spring 2008 and Summer 2010. Now, I build software, design live events, and frequently make the short trek from Costa Mesa to Disneyland with my Annual Passport in hand.

  9. #9

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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    I always thought LDI was held in the Orlando area or something... Oh well a pleasant surprise! Great TR, and yes, I'm very envious of anyone who got to go behind the scenes of these amazing shows.
    Class of 2005...

  10. #10

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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    Quote Originally Posted by BFJen View Post
    Really enjoying all of this - have you seen the shows from the audience? Just curious which was more enjoyable.

    I have seen all the Vegas Cirque shows from the audience, and most more than 6 times. I have fun watching the shows from the house but in case of Ka I really enjoyed the backstage show more, LOL.

    --nick--
    Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

  11. #11

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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    Quote Originally Posted by mainstreetcm View Post
    I always thought LDI was held in the Orlando area or something... Oh well a pleasant surprise! Great TR, and yes, I'm very envious of anyone who got to go behind the scenes of these amazing shows.
    LDI switches between Vegas and Orlando every year, so next year's conference is November 2009 in Orlando.

    --nick--
    Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

  12. #12

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    Re: 6 days of Cirque du Soleil, LDI, and Las Vegas!

    Friday-

    Gaptoothed and I got up early as he was going to leave today. After a quick and delicious breakfast at the Rio buffet, adam dropped me off at Caesar's and went on his merry way. I took the monorail to the convention centre for the 1st day of the exhibit hall. I saw sooo many cool things on the show floor, and met up with some of the people who were on my Cirque show groups. Oddly, I was the only person to go to both sessions, so I tol everyone what an amazing time I had.

    An interesting thing about trade show floors: You need to wear a corporate shirt to garner any attention from the vendors. When I arrived I wore my Local 122 shirt and couldn't get anyone to talk to me...when I wore my work polo (complete with logo on left chest) I couldn't get the same people to leave me alone! Handshakes and business cards exchanged, I attended a few of the student exhibits and I continue to be impressed with the advancements kids in college are making. I didn't have computer programs and automated lighting boards when I was in college, just a pen and paper and a really simple ETC board...sigh. This must be what old people feel like.

    Thoroughly defeated, I walked to the Wynn to pick up my 9:30 le Reve tickets. I must say that the Coconut Crunch ice cream at Sugar and Ice at the Wynn has become my new Vegas vice (other than Cirque shows, of course!) and eating my ice cream on the beautiful patio by the waterfalls relaxed my senses...bliss!

    On to the show- le Reve got a whole new lighting makeover since the last time I saw it, and it only serves to make the show better. The new opening sequence kind of reminds me of the opening of <<O>>, only on a smaller scale. The artistic tableaux and acrobatics remain as tightly focused as ever, which really makes the show very immersive. The staging has been re-worked so it's a little more obvious the nature of The Dreamer and the Dream in which she lives. I sat in the 2nd row but this time the 'splash zone' definitely wasn't. That may have been a function of moving the audience one row back, to make room for some new automated lighting at pool level. They added a "vip" section to the seating, essentially the last row of the theatre all the way round the edge. These guys have bigger seats, 2 chocolate covered strawberries, and a bottle of champagne for 2 (1/2 bottle in the case of solo guests). The VIP seating also has 2 monitors built into the seating area that allow the patrons to see underwater and backstage views during the show. The idea of the box seats and monitors didn't really appeal to me: why pay more to sit in the BACK ROW, and divert your attention from the stage with 2 tiny monitors?

    After the show I grabbed a drink at Revolution Lounge and headed off to bed, dreaming of babies in balloons, lakes of fire, and near-naked athletic men in very tight clothing

    --nick--
    Amnesia used to be my favourite word, but I forgot it.

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