Viva Las Vegas 16!

It was clear last year, but it’s even clearer this year. Viva is an art form of strategy. There’s SO MUCH to do, so much to buy, so much walking, so many people…you really do have to plan it down to a science if you want to get the most out of it. Last year was like a test drive. This year, knowing what I learned from last year, went a LOT better.

First of all we went in a much larger group. Instead of two people, we were about a dozen, spread out over three rooms. This meant that no matter what you wanted to do, there was always someone around who wanted to do it with you. So we got to do a whole lot more of what we personally planned, whether it was clubbing on the strip or checking out a ton of burlesque. Here are some other tips I’ve learned.

-Don’t lose track of the time. Keep serious track of that shit. It gets away from you and then that one-time event is over. And don’t forget to make sure your phone is set to the right time zone! D’oh!

-Travel wearing your largest items, like your crinoline. It’s crazy how much space it takes up in your luggage.

-Bring a camera, or a phone that takes pictures if you’re ghetto. Like me!

-Don’t even bother with pretty shoes unless they’re also the comfiest ones you own. You’ll be miserable. The amount of walking/standing/dancing you do is beyond anything else. The foot pain can get pretty epic. The best is to find ONE pair of super comfy shoes that go with everything from a bathing suit to an evening dress, because then you also save room in your suitcase. I have some leather maryjanes with a modest heel that I couldn’t live without. I packed NO shoes, I just wore those the entire time. No regrets.

-Leave room in your luggage for all the stuff you’ll buy. Making all my crap fit for the trip back home was quite the feat.

-If you can’t stay at the Orleans, try to stay at the Gold Coast, Bill’s Gamblin Hall, or somewhere within short walking distance of these places. There’s a free shuttle to the Orleans every 15 minutes and it beats the crap out of taking the bus or paying for a cab.

We stayed at The Palms, and could see - and hear - The Orleans from our room.

We stayed at The Palms across the street from The Gold Coast, and could see – and hear – The Orleans from our room.

-Show up to the car show early. It won’t be as hot, and it makes a hell of a difference when you can quickly get around, take pictures, and get autographs without a big ass crowd in the way. And seriously, if there’s a shop doing a big sale, you’ll want to get there first. I went to the car show on just three hours sleep and nevertheless I’m glad I didn’t sleep in.

-You don’t have to look a certain way by any means, there is no competitive attitude and everybody looks very different (in the same room you might find one girl in glittery evening wear and another in a playsuit). That said, if you have ever wanted to go all the fuck out or experiment, this is the time and place.

Trinity

-You might decide that sleep is overrated. Bring a flask. Not for alcohol, but for espresso or Redbull.

-Alcohol however, you might decide is not overrated at all. If you want to get drunk on a budget (while eating some super amazing Italian food) go eat at Batista. It was crazy delicious, and your meal comes with unlimited wine. AWESOME wine.

IMG_1436

-Once/while getting drunk, drink plenty of water. This goes for all year round.

-If you plan on clothes shopping, it’s best to wear something you can try things on over. Change rooms are very scarce.

-If you decide you like sleeping more than setting your hair, do pincurls. They can last 2-4 days depending on your hair and what you do with them at night. I’m so glad I did them Friday night, because they lasted from 9am car show to 11:30pm burlesque competition easily. My hair still looks pretty good after sleeping on it, the flight, over two and a half hours in the car, and I still have curls on Monday.

-For the love of god bring a sun hat or buy a parasol if you have any plans on going to the car show. It’s the fucking desert.

-Glitter.

And now the final tally!

What we did:

-Shopping. So much shopping

IMG_1496 IMG_1497 IMG_1498 IMG_1502 IMG_1503

-Relaxed by the pool

IMG_1464 IMG_1466

-Attended a dance class, at which I was a total fail train

-Went to the car show and spent absolutely no time looking at cars. There was just too much great shopping to be had.

-Hung out briefly with Cholita and Micheline a couple times. They’re super sweet.

And people to meet

Cholita2Micheline

-Did a ton of people-watching, because absolutely everyone looks incredible.

-Took in a super fun kickoff burlesque show at a pub, a world class burlesque showcase, then burlesque competition

WontonWomen

-Took an amazingly efficient and helpful burlesque class by Miss Karla Joy

-Saw La Cholita and the Kreeps. They’re AMAZING. FYI, Cholita broke her leg in a tumble at the burlesque show on Thursday night, and kept on rocking like a trooper despite being in a wheelchair for the rest of the weekend. I fucking love her.

-Said hi to Tempest Storm

The haul:

-5 dresses

IMG_1546

-2 vintage cardigans, including one in hot pink cashmere

IMG_1512

-3 flower hair clips

IMG_1534

IMG_1477

-3 snoods

-1 tshirt

-1 little cherry print duffel bag

IMG_1535

-1 signed DVD, Modern Pinup Hair and Makeup by Micheline Pitt

IMG_1487

Self:

-About 11 hours of sleep over 3 nights

-About 2 bottles of wine, and a boot full of strawberry daiquiri

Boot

-100% foot pain

-Still feeling sore, achy, and mysteriously bruised

-No hangovers

-A tan, no sunburn.

IMG_1472

And when I got home, I found this note that had been left for me.

IMG_1526IMG_1533

Advertisements

Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend – Thursday and Friday

I already know this is going to be such a long post, it’s going to have to be a series. We only did about half the things there were to do at Viva, but it was still the most incredible time ever. Next year I hope I don’t miss anything. Now I just have to tell you about all of it, because you should totally experience this trip. That is, if you like feeling like you traveled back in time to a 1950s world that was way badass. Who the hell doesn’t?

Vegas from the plane. Turbulence makes pictures suck.

It started out pretty shitty. We had to take three planes to get there, and the first two were extremely boring, as plane rides often are. I remembered being completely enthralled by the scene below, but this time, not so much. I was just excited to be on my way. The third plane, that was different. It started out more social and fun than the others, because we were of course ALL going to Vegas. Drinks, cheering, a sexy dude from Brazil sitting with us. PARTY. TIME. But then it got windy, and the pilot warned us we were in for a rough landing. Yep. We bumped and jolted the whole way down, and then the landing…failed. It was so windy the wings of the plane were almost hitting the ground, so just seconds later the pilot was like “fuck that noise, I’m out” and did an emergency takeoff. Then all the lights went out. I don’t remember any screaming, but I wasn’t paying attention. Between the bumping, the Gs, and the tight turn back in for a second attempt, I was nauseous. I think we all were. Then it took forever to get our bags, and the shuttle ride to the hotel was a little rocky itself. Hey Vegas people: Stop running out in front of cars. Everybody else in the world knows not to do that, so catch up, will you? The rest is even more boring. I barfed, we waited in line for half an hour to check in, got dressed up for no reason, went down for food, and then decided to take it to our room and fall asleep. Thursday, over.

Hurray, I'm alive! I can drink and shop again!

Friday I felt better. I woke up at a decent hour, and let Angela sleep as much as she wanted since she hasn’t had more than 3 hours sleep since her son was born. When she got up we decided to get some room service for breakfast. Delicious food, amazing service, shit price. 45$ for two omelets and a pot of coffee. Never doing that again, nope. So while Angela was getting ready I facebooked with Mike and then we were off. To get to the Orleans where the events are held, we had to get on the Deuce, the double decker bus that goes down the strip, for 7$ for a 24 hour pass. That thing is SLOW. On the bus we met some nice local girls who explained how to get to the Orleans further. We had been told to take a cab from the end of the strip. They informed us we were being ripped off, that we should get off at Bill’s Gambling House and another bus would take us down Tropicana to the Orleans. This bus didn’t come. Finally the next one came and we got to the Orleans on day 2 at about 5pm.

We were a little overwhelmed at first. We were surrounded by awesome looking people swarming all over the casino (who suddenly made me feel VERY uninteresting) and were given a program of the events. With nothing going on at the moment but bands I’d never heard of, we went upstairs to check out the vendors.

Now this is going to sound a little sad if you’ve never been, but oh god, this was shopping heaven, and one of my very favorite parts of the whole weekend. Mix every kind of vintage reproduction, real vintage with nothing more recent than the 60s to wade through and wretch at, along with parasols, CDs, posters, hats, tattoos, a booth to get your hair done, and on and on and on. Wow. I was immediately drawn to the treasure hunt of real vintage, and scored big time. A 60s girdle, in fine condition except for a missing garter tab, in my size exactly, for five bucks. How the hell did that happen? Even the lady running the booth was surprised. But there it was. It was mine, and it felt as comfortable as a skirt, and was the most effective shapewear I’ve ever tried. So long, Spanx, you’ve been replaced, hard, and you’ll just have to move on. I also picked up two beautiful flower hair clips, also $5 (if you want to be a weirdo at Viva, just don’t wear a flower. I’m serious.), and a pretty white parasol for $15.

A quick trip to The Cosmopolitan, which is "just the right amount (ahem, plenty) of wrong" because all it is is da club with a pretty bead curtain and this shoe. We left right after this.

At 7, the vendors closed for a two-hour break, and we wandered back down to check the place out. We went to the gift shop, where I got another flower, and took pictures of all the Viva merch. I would have bought a poster, but it was 30$. Sad. Then we got gigantic daquiris in souvenir cups and checked out the pool. The Hula Girls were playing, and for the first time it really felt like we were on vacation. I don’t remember a ton else we did before we sat down to share some Mexican. I caught a sighting of Micheline Pitt at the same place. She looks like a doll.

Then we headed upstairs for The Jive Aces, the only band I’d ever heard of, unfortunately. They were goddamn amazing. In Winnipeg there are two kinds of music shows besides the concerts that come through on tour, which I only very rarely see. There’s mellow jazz, and grungy metal. I like the mellow jazz but it’s just so… mellow. The grungy metal I can easily do without. I have enough anger in my life already, thanks. So The Jive Aces were an entirely new experience, and completely blew me away. Here’s a bunch of older guys in bright yellow matching suits, with incredible showmanship, telling hilarious jokes and dancing their faces off on stage like they each just drank a case of redbull. And the audience was just as good. Here’s a room full of people in 50s clothes swing dancing, so hard you could feel the floor bounce. And holy crap, they were GOOD. I have the feeling that either they didn’t need that jive class being offered, or it was the best jive class of all time. So the whole room had essentially been turned into a 1940s/1950s dance hall, and it was completely surreal. Now it makes me incredibly sad that there’s no such thing as this back home, and I’m going to have to wait another year to experience it again.

The garden in the Bellagio

Once Angela got bored we went and found a second room full of vendors. The Stop Staring! booth was there, and who should we find there but Alicia Estrada herself, founder of the company and designer of all those gorgeous dresses. We really hit it off, we instantly got along famously. Alicia offered Angela a deal on a stunning dress, the sexy one shouldered red dress I have but in a metallic aqua color that went amazingly with her natural red hair. I told her she had to buy it, that every girl needs a stop staring dress, something high end that makes you feel incredible every time you put it on. Besides, when the hell are you going to get something like that for that price? I was thrilled that she did. And then she opened up the prospect of possibly modeling for the company one day. We were not humored, and I mean that in a good way. Now this is my kind of lady.

Next came the Layrite booth, and believe me, they’re getting a review as soon as I’m done yammering about my trip. I was going over the products, fine classic men’s grooming products, and mentioned that Lisa Freemont Street swears by the pomade even though it’s marketed to men, so of course I had to get it. So the guy beside me suddenly pipes up and says “Lisa Freemont Street? That’s my wife!” O_O He went and got her so I could meet her, and I immediately proceeded to make a gushing fan ass of myself. It was totally embarrassing. Ashley, I’m sorry, but you’re just damn cool. Because you’re not a real celebrity, because you’re just a super nice, approachable lady with entertaining videos who makes my hair boss. And that fucking rules. She was of course just as nice in person as she is on youtube, and she and Angela talked about being moms and going on vacation, so she made her feel a little better about taking some time away for herself. She even remembered my blog, from the post I made about her. I squealed like a little girl.

So finally it was time to go, and we ran around on the desolate street trying to find a bus stop. Thank god a nice lady kindly informed us that Tropicana is hooker street, and while waiting for the hooker bus we would get harassed because people would think we were hookers. So we promptly returned to the hotel, and took the shuttle back to Bill’s Gambling House on the strip, and explored a little before taking the Deuce back. It rained men in the Bellagio. We didn’t get back until probably 4am. We didn’t however act like hookers from hooker street, and avoided all roofies. Although we did wake up still drunk the next morning.

The ceiling of the Bellagio lobby. Yes, the ceiling.

To be continued!