Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Opening Aria IV: The Weird & Quirky


My apologies for the blurriness of that photo, but it required some quick work once I realized what I was, unbelievably, seeing. This image was shot on Wednesday at Aria during the VIP party and, yes, that is five of the guests having CLIMBED UP THE WINDOW for unknown reasons. Here's a clearer shot after the grinning guys in suits told them to get down.


Wow, huh? If a group of kids did that AFTER the place were opened, I suspect they'd be sternly removed from the premises. But these are VIPs, so whatever. Fun times.

I know you're likely sick of hearing about the Aria opening last week, but this is the post in which I point out all the weird stuff I observed or thought through the course of the big event. Like, for instance, Sirio Maccioni, the Starship Enterprise called and...


...they want their lighting fixture back.

Oddly, take a look at the ceiling design at the CityCenter model/sales office at Bellagio:


Kinda the same, right? Maybe it's a tip off. See, Jim Murren keeps saying he built an urban environment for urban living. He just didn't mention on what planet the model for his definition of urban life exists.

I took that shot above and this one below...


...on Thursday. A day after CityCenter had officially opened. And still people just stood there for long periods of time analyzing the model. Hello? It's open. Go see the real thing. It won't bite. Well, not literally, anyway.

Then again, with these guys running around Aria...


...maybe they should wait?

One of the most amusing things I saw after the opening were these croupiers...


...struggling -- and FAILING -- to open up the box that contained the chips at this craps table. I assume they worked it out, but not before telling these folks to go find another table for the time being.

And speaking of crap, this below is architect David Rockwell chatting with Aria President Bill McBeath at the non-ribbon-cutting opening ceremony earlier on Wednesday.


I wonder if Rockwell was laying out his plans for creating a matching gigantic vagina to go with...


...the enormous phallus he built -- and inexplicably sold as a "treehouse" -- inside The Crystals.

Surprising, really, that they'd go for such a sensational piece of male anatomy -- maybe this is why Dave McKee bizarrely declared the Crystals the next hot spot for the Vegas gay crowd? -- when the one Old Vegas element that CityCenter certainly wasn't shy about were the babes.

I think these were just decoratively on hand for the big party which, again, seemed to have had an extraterrestrial theme that nobody told me about...


...but this poor thing was brought along for Murren's big mid-afternoon NYSE closing bell-ringing event because...


...nothing says Wall Street like a freezing half-naked Vegas cocktail waitress shaking a commemorative cowbell!

By and large the Aria folks pulled off cleaning up the place all spiffy but it was sort of a lost cause since, of course, the place was overrun by smoke and smokers immediately upon opening.


But hey, it's cool with the U.S. Green Building Council and MGM Mirage's green czar Cindy Ortega told me for my L.A. Weekly piece, "The air will often be cleaner than outside air.” Often, perhaps, but not evidently 10 minutes after opening. Or maybe this is a commentary on Vegas' outdoor air quality?

This design on the glass doors...


...bugged me. I kept thinking they didn't get all the sticky stuff off of some decal or something. I mean, what IS the design supposed to be?

And, not surprisingly, this drawing on the wall by one of the CityCenter trams...


...is NOT counted among the vaunted $40 million collection. What IS it? Naked people with birds? That says, "Take me to the Monte Carlo" to you?

We've all had loads of fun with the whole pocket park thing. Everyone takes a drink in the chatroom of the live recordings of our podcast whenever the term is used, double shots if it's Murren himself saying it. But the thing that I kept harping on pre-opening was that Murren would talk about sitting in the pocket park gazing at the Henry Moore and the Maya Lin just beyond that and yet there was no place to sit.

Well, I'm so ecstatic to report that there now benches! See?


Two of 'em! So now a total of about six people -- or four if they're Americans -- can sit. If, of course, they can get Murren to give up his designated seat once in a while.

Finally, I'm sure you're wondering what acerbic, geeky blogger types who make these sorts of obnoxious observations look like when they attend these sorts of things. Well, I've got the good on that, too.

There's DieIsCast.Com's Dave Schwartz trying his best to look cool in shades, Chuck from VegasTripping.Com shooting a photo of me and RateVegas.Com's Hunter Hillegas no doubt tweeting something earth-shattering.


Quite a hip bunch I run with, huh?

7 comments:

ucsb1990 said...

Steve, you know what Sigmund Freud said: "Sometimes a treehouse IS just a treehouse."

JeffW said...

Steve: best observation: "...the place was overrun by smoke and smokers immediately upon opening."

I will never 'get it'. It seems to me, in today's society, that smoker population is dwindling. That someone would go smoke free -- especially with a brand spankin' new, mega dollar investment.

Hiker said...

Thanks for the updates on CityCenter's opening. I am not tired of this at all. I have been in Pennsylvania for almost two weeks visiting family, and you have helped me keep my sanity in this god forsaken place!

Charles in Richmond, VA said...

I stayed at Wynn in November during two international conventions. Much of the high end Wynn crowd seemed to be from South America and Europe and they all smoked like chimneys. Later we were down at the Flamingo for a show and there you had more of the lower end Americans, once again, smoking like chimneys. I'm not sure you could do away with smoking with impacting the bottom line.

Jamie Smith said...

ucsb - i'm with steve here. how do you get treehouse out of that? cannon, maybe? massive penis, totally.

ucsb1990 said...

Jamie -

Trust me, I was just kidding. I thought Steve's observation was hilarious. I was so taken by surprise that I laughed out loud, and now I don't think I'll ever see the "treehouse" (maybe we should nickname it "Woody") the same way again. It has enormous commercial potential; I bet Viagra would pay real money to put that in their ads. It has artistic potential too; surely the wrap-man, Christo, would love to cover that thing in latex.

Anonymous said...

The pocket park is just a plaza. Where's the grass and vegetation? Maybe later they will add a portable coffee shop and some tables and chairs.