The Teen Verdict on Vegas: "A Skeeze-Fried Hellhole."
by Abby Margolis Newman
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" is a familiar phrase. I remember another saying from my childhood, displayed on a poster by my anti-Vietnam-war parents circa 1970: "War is not healthy for children or other living things."
I propose a new hybrid: "What happens in Vegas is not healthy for children or other living things." A few weeks ago, our family traveled to Las Vegas to see the Cirque du Soleil Beatles show, "Love." I've been a Beatles fan my whole life - what child of the 60's or 70's wasn't? - and enjoyed the non-Beatles Cirque du Soleil show I saw years ago while living in New York. The good news: the "Love" show had gotten excellent reviews. The bad news: the show is exclusively playing in Las Vegas.
I've never been attracted to gambling in general, or Las Vegas in particular - in fact, the idea has repelled me. I don't like crowds, bright neon lights, smoking, alcohol, or tacky people. And to my mind, these things personified Las Vegas. But as we planned our overnight trip from San Francisco - including our three boys, aged 16, 15 and 11 (all Beatles fans themselves) - I tried to overcome my reluctance and concentrate on the show's positive buzz.
How bad could it be? I thought. We'd be there for less than 24 hours.
First of all, when we got off the plane, it was 105 humid degrees outside. Normally, the only time I voluntarily submit to temperatures like that is during Bikram Yoga classes... and I know I can get the hell out of there after 90 minutes. This heat was relentless, endless, depressing.
We got to our hotel and were thrust into a long line at the check-in desk - well, more of a throng. As the crowd pressed in on us, I whispered to my husband, "I have to get out of here," and made my way toward the "Love" box office to pick up our tickets. On the way, I had no choice but to walk directly through the casino area: dozens, maybe hundreds, of slot machines; poker tables; the whatever-it's-called game with the spinning ball and the numbers. And hundreds of people gambling - at two in the afternoon. With drinks and lit cigarettes in their hands. Gasping, I made my way to the box office, trying not to gape at the heavily-made-up women in skintight dresses that barely covered their asses.
After a dip in the pool and an overpriced meal at one of the hotel's many overpriced restaurants, we headed to the show, which was fabulous. It was a stunningly creative, magical, unique, colorful burst of music and acrobatics - all set to Beatles songs.