What happens in Vegas, stays on this weblog

In all the excitement of being unemployed and doing nothing, I forgot to mention the weekend in Las Vegas for Jessica and Jeff’s wedding. It was the awesomest. The service was at the Flamingo’s wedding chapel, with very cool comic book-style programs by Jeff. Reception and dinner afterwards: made cool by the combination of good food, Tiki mug party favors, an open bar, heartfelt and not at all drunken and embarrassing toasts from the best man and maid of honor, and being able to hear faint pounding of Kool and the Gang music from a neighboring wedding party, which reminded us how lucky we were to be among The Chosen People listening to cooler music. I was really impressed with how much they were able to make the whole thing their own ceremony and let their personality come through. I know it took a lot of work and a lot of stress, but it paid off.

And then after that was karaoke night at Fat Daddy’s, which as far as I’m concerned is what Vegas is all about: sitting inside a smoke-filled casino, drinking and watching people embarrass themselves. There was the perfect mix of semi-drunk wedding party guests goofing off (myself included), frat guy types singing Jimmy Buffet and (inexplicably) Elton John songs, Vegas “lifers” who probably spent the entire week waiting for their opportunity to get on stage and show their stuff, and atonal, wannabe lounge lizards (myself included). The good part of this trip was that I didn’t spend the entire time drinking and gambling, so I could for the most part tell what was going on at any given moment; the bad part is that it meant I was just drunk enough to get up and sing, but not enough to keep from feeling super self-conscious about it. I swear to God the DJ deliberately chose an off version of “All of Me” to mess me up and make fun of me; in the car, I can nail that song. Doesn’t matter, of course, because Jessica knocked “Words of Love” and an all-girl revue of “Like a Virgin” out of the park. The other highlight would have been the man who made his attempt to recreate the Failed Aging Lounge Singer experience, telling jokes like “The definition of marriage is: it’s one thing on top of the other” in between Frank Sinatra songs, and dedicating “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to “all the preganant women in the audience.”

I say “would have been” because of Monty. He delivered a life-changing rendition of “Memories are Made of This” that didn’t evoke Dean Martin as much as Boris Karloff. It was amazing.

I also did the whole tourist thing in Vegas, with the roller coaster at the New York New York casino (lame), and the Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton (friggin’ awesome). They’ve got a museum with all kinds of Trek memorabilia, which just made me wish I were more of a fan of Star Trek. The show itself is either the original motion simulator ride, or a new “Borg Experience 4D.” The new bit is all right for the Haunted House aspects of the pre-show, what with real live Borg wandering out of hallways and grabbing the ride attendants, but they try too hard to be genuinely cool. The original show is the bomb; the perfect combination of Vegas and Star Trek. The premise is ludicrous, the effects are competent, all the actors are completely 100% earnest, and it ends with your spaceship flying down The Strip and getting in a big shoot-out over the Las Vegas Hilton. Priceless. I almost didn’t want to leave, but I’d already been to the ST-themed restaurant and eaten my Cheeseborger, and bought my novelty T-shirts, and I knew going in that the Star Trek Experience couldn’t last forever.

And yet, it does. Deep inside my heart.