On the road: Alcorn edition

Column by Michael Alcorn
Posted 10/20/21

Do you ever stop to think about who was first? Like, who was the first person to eat a coconut? Guy’s walking along the beach thousands of years ago, sees this fuzzy round thing on the ground, …

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On the road: Alcorn edition

Posted

Do you ever stop to think about who was first? Like, who was the first person to eat a coconut? Guy’s walking along the beach thousands of years ago, sees this fuzzy round thing on the ground, tries to kick it, and, after swearing at his own stupidity for a few minutes, thinks to himself, “Hey, let’s crack that thing open and see what’s inside.”

Or kiwi fruit. I mean, really — would you eat one if you didn’t already know that what was inside was sweet and juicy?

So, imagine one day … you’re a dancer. And some man sets up a meeting and gives you this pitch: “I have this idea that if we string you up and suspend you, oh, 30, maybe 40 feet above the ground, that the laws of physics would be temporarily suspended, and you could jete and pirouette for minutes on end, creating a spectacle of dance that the world has never seen before.”

“Wait. You lost me at ‘30 or 40 feet above the ground.’”

“Oh, it would be completely safe.”

“I’ll be in some kind of harness, or something, right?”

“Well, no, not really. The way I see it, you can hang on to the, the, rope thing by one hand. Because you’ll need your other hand to interact with the other dancer…”

“’Other’ dancer?! And we’re still, what, 30 feet above the ground?”

“Yeah. And you should see my ideas for the costumes…”

I imagine, as a dancer, I would tell that man to buzz off. And yet, a whole troupe of them did *not* tell that man to buzz off, and the world has been graced with the spectacle of Cirque de Soleil for a quarter of a century now.

One of my favorite aspects of travel is the opportunity to see things and experience things that you don’t get in the day to day life. And, while I know Cirque tours and it’s possible to watch it occasionally here in Denver, it’s different when you see it in the theater that was specifically designed for it, in the setting (Treasure Island Casino) that invites the suspension of disbelief that is required of it, and in the place (Las Vegas) that, frankly, makes it seem not quite so strange.

And, the whole time I’m watching it, with my bride sitting next to me, all I can think is “who thought of this?!?” There is beautiful dancing, there’s comedy, there’s circus trapeze acts, there’s bizarre contortionists and wonderful (live) music. There’s a tiny thread of a story line that draws imagery from a Jungian nightmare. And the flying stuff.

It is truly spectacular! If you’ve never seen it, I can’t recommend it in strong enough terms. It might (almost) be reason enough to make the trip to Las Vegas. God Bless the Innovators.

Las Vegas has changed. Once upon a time, one of the great attractions of Vegas was cheap buffets, drinks, and souvenirs. Not so much any more. And, yeah, they’re still building gigantic, beautiful buildings (as a friend says, “you think you have a ‘system?’ They build those big buildings on the ashes of ‘systems’) and you can still find about anything you want to eat (we ate at Guy Fieri’s place on the Strip — unbelievable!) But the dark underbelly of “Sin City” seems to almost be not so under any more. But it’s really expensive now.

Imagine being homeless and pitching your sleeping bag in the shadow of a fountain that cost the hotel $10 million to build. 

By the way, if you’re going to do a road trip, Autumn in the Rocky Mountains is absolutely the time to do it. Be leisurely about it. Give yourself time to stop and take pictures. Spend a night in wine country. Spend two. Marinate in the beauty of this part of the country.

Michael Alcorn is a former teacher and current writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Valkyrie’s Kiss,” a finalist in the ScreenCraft Book Competition, is available now at mjalcorn@comcast.net. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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