Thursday, November 6, 2008

My LVW Col: Wanda's Wisdom

Please don't hold the headline against me. I don't write 'em! But this was an especially fun column, especially the bizarre twist that occurred after the jump. So enjoy this week's "The Strip Sense" installment...

What Happens With Wanda...
Notes on a complete stranger who loves Criss Angel

This column was supposed to be about Criss Angel’s new theater. I didn’t want to waste my space on a review of the illusionist’s show itself, because so many other writers have chimed in with essentially the same message, which is that it’s terrible.

So instead, I was going to write about how un-Cirque-like the showroom for Criss Angel Believe is. I even got a quote from Cirque du Soleil CEO Guy Laliberte halfheartedly defending the decision not to make this theater the transformative, enveloping venue that his other five on the Strip are. In short, the theater also is terrible.

No, this column is about Wanda.

You see, my friend Trevor and I waltzed into the showroom for Angel’s big Halloween premiere as if we do this all the time, because, in fact, we do. My partner, Miles, doesn’t like these outings, so Trevor comes along. He knows how this works: bypass the red carpet, sit in always-great seats, spot some celebs, view the show, head off to some elaborate afterparty.

Then, before the show’s start, Wanda and her daughter bounced into the seats to my left. She could not contain her excitement, which was confusing because these audiences are filled with people as jaded as we are.

“Oh, I can’t believe this,” she told me. “This is just unbelievable.”

See, Wanda had been standing around the theater entrance hoping to spot some stars when some angel walked by and asked her if she wanted a pair of free tickets. She suspected the tickets were fakes, but here she was in the 12th row.

Wanda had never been to Vegas before. She had accompanied her husband, a rancher from Midland, Texas, who raises bucking bulls and was hobnobbing at the Professional Bull Riders Association events, hoping to become a supplier. A 43-year-old kindergarten teacher with a newborn back home, Wanda is a huge Criss Angel fan and had paid the night before to see Believe. Those seats, she said, were “way, way back. These are so much better!”

Wanda asked where we were from. When we told her we lived in Las Vegas, she said, “You must see a lot of celebrities all the time, then, huh?”

Actually, we told her, she was in the presence of many right now. We’d seen Penn and Teller and Carrot Top out in the lobby; Neil Patrick Harris had just passed our aisle; Mike Tyson was gnawing on something somewhere behind us.

Wanda’s eyes widened. “Are you a celebrity?” she asked me.

I giggled at the thought. “Uh, no,” I said.

“Well, what do you do?”

Trevor jumped in. “He’s a writer,” he said. “He writes for magazines and newspapers.”

“Have I ever heard of any of them?” Wanda asked.

I felt silly, so Trevor answered. “You might have. He writes for Newsweek and USA Today sometimes.”

Wanda’s eyes got even wider. “Well, then, you are a celebrity!” she gasped.

Read the rest HERE


Bay in TN said...

WOW!!! I love that story; I love that column; I love Wanda and her bull-riders-hobnobbing husband! I'm still not a fan of Criss Angel, but I wish I could have heard a firsthand report about the skanky ho bags at the after-party. The reports sounded as if the only "cool" celeb there was Neil Patrick Harris.

So, Steve, are you going to dish for us on the next live chat for The Strip Podcast?

LinFromNJ said...

those clowns in the video look creepy.