I just got back last night from a fantastic little trip to Las Vegas with the family. Definitely my best trip there ever. The excuse occasion was the wedding of my cousin Emily to her long-time boyfriend Sean, which was being held at the Luxor Casino Hotel on the strip. As soon as mom and I found out about it, we were both super excited to go. Apparently much of the rest of our family was also excited, because we all started booking hotels and flights immediately.
Here's me with my mom waiting to get on our flight from Oakland.
Here's a quick photo tour of my trip…
Emily and Sean's wedding was tasteful and elegant, at least much as it can be for a 25 minute whirlwind ceremony in the chapel of a casino. The officiant was sufficiently dignified and personable, despite having to probably officiate several weddings that day. The bride was glowing and the groom knock-kneed nervous throughout the ceremony. So it was probably best that it was short.
Here's the wedding party celebrating at the end.
After the wedding and reception, my closest cousins and I headed out to celebrate some more at the Cat Club dancing spot in the Luxor. I love going out with my cousins, who share my love of both pop music and old skool hip-hop and R&B.
Of course you have to run into a pack of Elvises at some point. Clichéd, but always entertaining.
The number one baller of the whole lot of us was my cousin Nick, who we convinced to get a temporary Mike Tyson tattoo on his face, ala "The Hangover." The lady who applied it said that it can last at least a week and up to five weeks! Nick just got a promotion at work, so we are all hoping this doesn't get him fired. It certainly got him a lot of attention around town.
One of the best parts of the weekend was an incredible tapas feast that my cousins and I shared at Julian Serrano's elegant spot near the lobby of the Aria Hotel. Each dish was a work of art and full of unique and rich flavors. The standouts for me were the black rice with seafood, the ceviche, the roast pork over toast, grilled octopus, and the coconut rice pudding. But really everything was fantastic.
This is me with Joey, Zan and Jen, toasting with buñelos.
But the true highlight of the weekend was getting to see the Jabbawockeez live show at the Monte Carlo. I have been wanting to catch this show ever since I heard about it last year. The Jabbawockeez are perhaps the best hip-hop crew in the country, and one my all time favorites. My awesome cousin Zan actually had the hookup and got us choice seats in the middle orchestra.
I'll write more about the show in another post, since I am still kind of processing it. But suffice to say it was the best hip-hop dance show I have ever seen, bar none. More later…
I don't gamble, but stuff like this almost makes me wish that I did.
Instead, I actually had a great time just walking around and marveling at all of the ridiculously excessive, but sometimes also quite beautiful, architecture and decor everywhere.
Like the Bellagio courtyard…
And the New York New York fake skyline…
The falls at the entryway of the new Aria Hotel…
My favorite casino by far was the Cosmopolitan, in the center of the strip. An elegant, chic, understated (for Vegas) entertainment spot, the Cosmopolitan wowed me with its decor and style.
I loved all of the chic places to lounge around on every floor, the amazing crystal chandelier showcase piece at the center, the video art installation in the lobby, and all of the small artsy touches everywhere.
We also discovered this gentleman passed out on the couches on the second floor. I'm hoping he wasn't the groom, a la "Hangover."
One of my favorite little details was this "Art-O-Matic" vending machine that dispensed little works of art by various artists. You put in $5, choose an artist, and pull the plunger to discover what bit of emphemera comes out. Neat!
I had a hard time choosing, but in the end I had to get the somewhat risqué "Fine Art Bag Tag" by William Gentry II . Not sure if I will be putting this on my check-in luggage, but it's really swell!
All-in-all, a fine quick, and relatively inexpensive holiday with the family. It had a bit of everything — love, dancing, responsible hedonism, and art. What more could you ask for?
You can see the rest of my pics from Vegas here, if you haven't seen enough.