What happens in Vegas, they say, stays in Vegas. Yet some things come home with you, and I’m not talking about the residual bleary-headedness of around-the-clock gambling, empty glasses and the general level of admittedly funtastic excess. Beyond the casino tables, riot of entertainment and chorus line of “seven deadly sins all in one convenient location,” Las Vegas is a city that lingers in thought for its incredible architecture, museums and art. Many Vegas visitors, it seems, miss this wondrous side of the city (beyond the biggest hotels along the main downtown streets), but I set my eyes differently a few weeks ago when I spent three amazing days in Vegas for MarketingSherpa 2016. I wanted to see what many missed, and I found a truly magical time to do it—one that I’d definitely recommend.
The streets of Vegas are almost completely empty in the dawn hours from about 7 to 10 a.m. It’s honestly like being in some movie where the Earth’s population has inexplicably disappeared. At one point, I just walked down the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard, clicking photos that I never could have taken at any other time of day. Another time, I set my camera on a small tripod at the end of one of those long, flat escalator walkways, ran to the other end and captured video of myself seemingly walking very, very fast. It was tremendous fun, but my most incredible dawn adventure happened at the Bellagio Hotel.
While wandering around the empty casino, I saw the entrance to the Cirque du Soleil theatre. I thought it was closed, but after I watched a man walk in, I followed—and found myself completely alone in a lobby filled with staggeringly beautiful Cirque-inspired sculptures. I think I stood there breathless and open-mouthed for about five minutes before remembering I had a camera—and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With no one around, I could get as up close to the sculptures as I wanted. I believe I took about 100 pictures, including this one: a close-up shot of a figure in repose, which I later blended with steel textures and called “What I Found in Vegas.”
What else did I find?
The next evening, I amazingly had the opportunity to see the Cirque show—the aquatic fantasy called “O”—and since seeing a Cirque show at least once in my life had been a bucket-list item for me for years, I spent the evening in a half-world of awe, joy and wonder.
For a glimpse of what I saw, check out “Under the Water at “O” on the Bellagio Hotel website.