July 11th, 2007


OtRwC Day 31, Part 1: Popovich

It used to be easy to get into free shows in Las Vegas. Not that long ago. There are still free shows that are short and performed on small stages in the middle of casinos, and there is free music you can dance to here and there and there is, of course, karaoke some places and there is the wealth of dueling pianos, all of which I have enjoyed one time or another. But most shows inside any kind of theater space now cost money. The other day Elaine and I were exploring Planet Hollywood, the new incarnation of the Aladdin.

The Aladdin was around many years, since the 60s. In 2000 the old made way for the new, a brand-new Aladdin, but just a couple of months ago the casino was "rebranded" Planet Hollywood. Usually when a casino changes names the place shuts down briefly while the remodeling is done. Not so here. All of the remodeling is being done in stages while everything remains open. The exterior of the building is incredibly blah - a white building with plain red "planet hollywood" letters, fitting for a strip mall. Inside, the casino itself has been remade in a glitzier fashion while the "Miracle Mile" shops still retain much of the middle eastern theme. Throughout the casino there is something of a duel between the old - Aladdin - and the new - Planet Hollywood.

We happened upon the Popovich Comedy Pet show while wandering in the "Miracle Mile" shops. I was intrigued by a show that includes animals rescued from local shelters. The tickets were $42 and up, however. In Vegas, $40 is now cheap for a ticket to almost anything. I guess it's easier, more respectable, to give it away than to charge less for tickets. Later, though, we thought through options for the next day and decided to check out the half-price tickets on sale near the m&m showroom on the strip. Elaine did the phone- and legwork, placing an order by phone, picking up the vouchers, then going to the show box offices to exchange the vouchers for real tickets. The top shows rarely show up at the cheap tix places but that doesn't mean there isn't anything good to see. We got tickets for both Popovich and Mama Mia! at half-price. The trick with this ticket place is that the tickets are for that day only usually, sometimes for the following day. It's good to be flexible.

Popovich, which is not even acknowledged on the Planet Hollywood website, performs in the V Theater. I think V is for Variety but I'm not sure. Hans Klok, the magician, also performs at Planet Hollywood, with Pamela Anderson, in a show called "The Beauty of Magic." We didn't think we needed to see that.

The V Theater is small by LV standards and features folding chairs, some set on platforms for greater height. Because the seats to this afternoon show are "general admission", to get the good seats one has to wait in line for about an hour. We weren't interested in doing that. We sat near the back of the theater but managed to get up on a platform that afforded a decent view.

Popovich performed a variety of acts, from juggling to clown skits. Only about half of these involved animals, usually dogs. Some used dogs, cats, rats, and birds. The show opened with the cats, with a number of them crossing the stage on thin ropes, back and forth. All of the animals appeared to be in great health and seemed to enjoy what they were doing - dogs love to please and cats only do what they want to do, so I think we can be fairly sure they were liking what they were doing. Popovich is a terrific juggler and quite athletic. For my bucks, though, I wanted more of the cats and dogs. I really enjoyed the acts featuring the pups and kits. Leave out all but the minimum people, is what I say. I also have a complaint: the music was so loud that it could not have been pleasing to those poor animal ears,which hear better than ours. We were near the back of the theater yet the music was almost deafening. Why? I noticed that just about every act or performance we saw was overly loud and I wondered why.

One other complaint: there were two large screens on either side of the stage. Instead of showing the action up close these screens played what looked like old videos during interludes, washed out and in some cases dated (Elaine noticed how young Letterman looked in a quick blip showing Popovich on his show). It occurred to me that this show has been around a while and has not been updated, at least not the video parts.

My advice to Popovich: Update! Watch the volume! More cats and dogs and fewer people!

Two more days...maybe...

I arrived in San Luis Obispo at about 2:00 this afternoon. My appointment with the escrow officer was at three. I went to the post office to claim my mail and to request a new key and lock, because my mail key was stolen in the car burglary in Las Vegas. The new lock will probably be installed by tomorrow - the guy will call when it's done. I went through the mail quickly, found a bill from the cable company, which service I had cancelled last month. So I went to the cable company to clear that up - no issue, it was sent before I closed the account and I don't owe anything. Then to the escrow officer.

I brought my packaged cat in with me. The other day I bought a cool looking bag that holds the cat and looks like just a slick bag that I might be carrying around. However, I told Shannon, the escrow officer, that there was a cat in there. She said "Bring him on into my office and I'll close the door so you can let him out." Which she did, after getting him a dish of water. Bullet prowled the office while I signed papers.

I asked when I could move in. She said not until the loan is funded. The papers have to go to Michigan and then they send the money here. She made some calls and sped it up as much as possible. It looks like it should be done by Friday. She had to fax the promissory note and then send the papers by UPS and we hope for the best. Which is why I am now at the Nautical Bean, free wi-fi, where I just made a reservation for two days at the motel 6 here in town. If you make a reservation online you can usually get a discount so that's what I did.

And I haven't even been to the house yet! I am going to stop by the motel, get my room, install the beastie, then I will go over there to see if I can get inside.