Saturday, October 27, 2018

RonnieAdventure #0331 - Bellagio Turns 20, Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas Review-Journal Picture
Las Vegas Review-Journal Picture
On October 15, 2018, the Bellagio Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas turned 20 years old! To help celebrate the occasion, Bellagio Pastry Chefs Yamilet Hiller and Jerome Jacob worked for four weeks to construct a six foot tall chocolate sculpture based on the "O" poster that features the Cirque de Soleil's "zebra-woman" leaping out of the water and through a golden ring.

"O" is the most popular Cirque de Soleil production in the world and has been seen by more than 16.3 million people. The show is described as "an aquatic tapestry of artistry, surrealism and theatrical romanced in the timeless production, "O". The international cast of world-class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, divers and characters perform in, on and above water to create a breathtaking experience in a magnificent theatre reminiscent of a European opera house." 

There are 77 performers in each show, 6 of which are Olympic athletes. Although not seen during the show, there are 122 technicians, 14 of which are underwater assisting the performers. The average costume change per performer is 6 per show and over 1,200 costumes and headpieces are used for each performance.   

Cirque du Soleil Poster
To make a sculpture of the "O" poster, the "zebra-woman" was constructed using crispy rice treats and white chocolate. It took Chef Hiller over 20 hours to just hand-paint the sculpture's zebra stripes and make-up.

Chef Jacob used crispy rice treats and dark chocolate to construct the "O." He then painted the "O" with a mixture of gold dye with cocoa butter. However, the biggest challenges of the sculpture were the water splashes that had to be made from handcrafted sugar so that they would stand up correctly.

The six-foot-tall sculpture is now displayed in the same room as the World's Largest Chocolate Fountain, which rises 27 vertical feet from the lower level pump room to the top of the fountain.

Some amazing statistics about the Bellagio: 
When the project opened, all new people had to be hired, and on the 20th anniversary over 2,000 of the original employees hired are still working for the Bellagio. 

The Bellagio has the highest average room rate and the highest occupancy of any hotel in Las Vegas. 

Over 15 million people have visited the Conservatory since it opened. Displays in the 13,500 square-foot Conservatory are always different and the displays are changed five times a year - spring, summer, fall, Christmas, and Chinese New Year. Sine the Bellagio has been open, over six million plants, large trees, water features, butterflies, birds, and robotics have been on display. (Some of the popular props are used more than once.) It takes 125 employees, working in three shifts around the clock for six days, to change each display. The only permanent structures in the Conservatory are the mosaic-tile walkways, concrete curbs around the gardens, and an 18-foot tall, 3,000 pound quartz-crystal obelisk. 

As usual, the current fall display is beautiful! Entrance into the Conservatory is through a golden dome that stands 25 feet high and is 14.5 feet wide. The structure was fabricated using "natural material and metal overlaid with artistic decorative iron scrolls."

This fall's theme is "Fairies." A display sign states: "As the focal point in the fall show this overwhelming artful display depicts an enchanting fairy in peaceful slumber as the animals throughout the conservatory keep watch. The sleeping Fairies overall height is 28' x 32' in length. The structure has a metal armature which is encased with over 120 pieces of eps foam before hard coating is applied. After this process the timeless flowers and leaves are added to create the dress, pillow, and headset. A tranquil waterfall rests beneath the floral pillow creating a calming sound of water as it cascades down to the pond below. Keeping guard are three fountain fairies'. These fairies have a metal armature structure and fountain built into their frame. The water acts as a skirt for each fairy."

The tiger lounging on a tree branch is 9'8" high and 21' long. A display sign indicates that "The tiger was fabricated from a tube steel frame structure encased with custom sculpted eps foam. Additional excitement to this prop is provided by the animation. The tail flicks up and down simulating the movement of an actual tiger. The outer coat is lavished with yellow lentils, red and black cargo rice, and black caraway seeds."

For people that like roses, the floral pieces "consist of a variety of timeless roses in an array of colors. Beginning with 200 orange, 150 deep blue, 175 yellow-orange, 50 metallic blue, 50 metallic green per petal for a total of 7,000 rose stems."

Various other flowers are used as trim and boarder pieces.

The Fountains of Bellagio are described as: "There is nothing like seeing them in person. The Fountains of Bellagio were destined to romance your senses. Take in a spectacular show of thoughtfully interwoven water, music and light designed to mesmerize its admirers. It is the most ambitious, choreographically complex water feature ever conceived and it's absolutely free for any visitor to enjoy. Step back, or find a comfortable perch to sit, and watch the dynamic performances set against the backdrop of the Las Vegas lavender sky. Each performance is unique in expression and interpretation so no matter how man times you have seen the Fountains, they always have more in store to wow you with. Fall in love with this unprecedented aquatic accomplishment as you enjoy an enchanting concert of opera, classical, Broadway and pop tunes."

The Bellagio 8.5 acre lake contains 4,792 bulbs lighting the fountains, 798 mini-shooters that send water 100 feet high, 208 Oarsman that spray water 77 feet high, 192 super-shooters that send water 240 feet high, 16 extreme-shooters that send water 400 feet high, and 183 speakers that project the synchronized music. 

Experience the Art: "Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is Las Vegas' premier exhibition space - where great art goes on vacation. BGFA is committed to presenting intimate exhibitions featuring works by some of the world's most compelling artist. Organized in partnership with museums and foundations from around the world, past exhibitions have included "Picasso: Creatures and Creativity," "Faberge Revealed," "Painting Women: Works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," " Warhol Out West," "Figuratively Speaking: A Survey of the Human Form" and "Classic Contemporary: Lichtenstein, Warhol and Friends." The art museum is temporarily closed for refurbishing, but scheduled to reopen in time for the holidays. However, there are art pieces and flower arrangements located throughout the hotel/casino.

And, for those people that have more money than they know what to do with it, there is always high-stakes gambling and shopping!

Friday, October 19, 2018

RonnieAdventure #0330 - Barrett Jackson Auto Auction 2018, Las Vegas, NV

For a long time it has been on my bucket list to attend the Las Vegas Barrett Jackson Car Auction, so this year I actually made it.

Before we arrived at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, we could hear the roar of high powered engines, the screeching of tires, and the smell of burning rubber filled the air. As it turned out, for $75 you could take a Dodge Thrill Ride around a small closed course in the front Convention Center. I asked my friend if he wanted to take a ride, and he responded: "No. That's okay. I had my thrill ride for the day when I rode down here with you." I don't know what he was referring to by that remark, but at least I save $75.

When I walked into the Convention Center, the first car I noticed was a Ford GT-40. I knew that it was my destiny to buy that car, so I asked my friend if I could borrow his credit card. Unfortunately, I found out that it wasn't my destiny -- it was just a dream. But, I still liked the car!


The giant size of the Convention Center was unbelievable and there was every type of vehicle imaginable that was going to be auctioned. However, I was surprised to find that the vehicles were just randomly parked in long rows; so there may be a Ferrari parked next to a Volkswagen. Thus, in order to make this blog more understandable, I have tried to group the pictures of similar type vehicles together.

I did not take a lot of pictures of pre-1950 vehicles (excluding hot rods and custom cars), since I did not find them too interesting. But I did like the Model T pickup that was used in the Godfather movies and the Model A that was so typical of its day.

The hot rods and custom cars were much more interesting. Reminded me of building hot rods when I was in my youth.

However, I could really relate to the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s vehicles.

I also liked the sports cars, but most of them were out of my price range.

And the race cars were way out of my price range!

There were also some movie cars, including five cars from the estate of the late Burt Reynolds and also a Steve McQueen Bullet car; but if you read the fine print it said "replica." There was no sign on the Batmobile, but it may also have been a replica.

For people that like unusual vehicles, there were some foreign cars, including a Japanese funeral vehicle.

They even had the Birnam Wood Band transportation vehicle! Well, maybe not - this  one was too new and in too good of condition! But, it brought back many memories.

And there were off-road vehicles for the more adventuresome people.

All-in-all it was a fun day, but I just wish that I had worn my hiking boots and had my friend's credit card.