Chinese Acrobats

I don’t watch a lot of online videos, but I had to make an exception for this one: Swan Lake by Chinese acrobats. “Phenomenal” doesn’t begin to do it justice.

Chinese acrobats are some of the most incredible performers on Earth. I saw the Golden Dragon Acrobats perform in New York City a couple of years ago, and it just blew my mind. If you get a chance, run, don’t walk, to buy tickets to the performance.

Next to Normal, Jump

While we were in New York, we saw two completely different shows, and both were excellent.

Next to Normal is about manic depression, and while I wouldn’t have thought that a musical would be the best way to discuss such a serious subject, I thought it was a fantastic performance. The music was terrific, there were a couple of totally unexpected plot twists, and it was quite dark and funny to boot. I wish I’d managed to blog about this sooner, because it has already closed.

Jump on the other hand is for the kid in everyone. A Korean family in which every member is essentially a martial arts expert has to deal with two burglars. There’s very little dialogue – the story is told through action and mime, and every cast member is incredibly talented in martial arts, acrobatics, gymnastics, and/or dance. There are some great “special effects,” and it’s absolutely hilarious. If you like The Matrix, Jackie Chan, or the Three Stooges, you should see it. If you love all three, then you won’t want to miss this for the world.

Las Vegas, Valley of Fire, O (day 2)

Around 9am, we packed a picnic lunch and headed out to Valley of Fire, which is less than an hour’s drive from Vegas. Just before the entrance to the park, we came upon a car parked haphazardly in the middle of the road. I admit that for a second I thought it might be some sort of a scam, but in fact the couple had spotted several bighorn sheep. We watched these rare creatures for a while before continuing into the park.
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Las Vegas (day 1)

Our trip to the southwest started with a major hiccup: our flight was cancelled (see Adventures in air travel). So instead of flying to Phoenix on Monday, we flew directly to Las Vegas on Tuesday, which meant missing out on the Grand Canyon, but avoiding several hours driving. We got into Vegas around 2pm, picked up the car, and went straight to the bed and breakfast. Then we went down to the Strip to walk around a bit, have dinner, and see V: The Ultimate Variety Show. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but it was really fun – a bit of dancing, a hint of magic, amazing feats of strength and balancing, some neat juggling, and a lot of humor. I definitely recommend it.

Local Theater

I saw a wonderful play last night at our local theater: “The Foreigner,” by Larry Shue. It’s about an English guy who goes to Georgia and is so shy that he pretends not to speak any English. The people around him then proceed to confide in him, say horrible things to him, and even “teach” him English, while he gabbles away in a strange gibberish of his own invention (with the occasional French or Swedish phrase thrown in). It was very clever and extremely funny, and it reminded me how much I love local theater. The actors may not be famous, but they are very talented, the sets are invariably amazing, and we always have a great time. If you’ve never been to a play at your local or repertory theater company, I highly recommend it. Broadway isn’t the only place to see a great play.