Archive for the ‘leisure’ Category

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WHAT A LUCKY MAN I WAS-EMERSON AND LAKE ON TOUR

May 22, 2010

 The original Moog Synth

Many moons ago when vinyl reigned and concerts cost $6.50 for a ticket that included at least one opening act, a complex fusion of classical, jazz, rock, and modern mash-ups emerged that sold out stadiums and arenas. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer were back there in the late sixties merging Bartok, Bernstein, Brubeck, and Beethoven into a style of rock that few could come close to duplicating. They were considered one of the ultimate “supergroups” selling over 40 million albums.

The concert at the Las Vegas Hilton tonight was in an intimate setting of less than 800 seats and billed as Emerson and Lake-no Palmer would be present. As many know Greg Lake was also a member of King Crimson in its heyday with Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford, but that’s another story. The monstrous nine foot stack of oscillators complete with old rotary potentiometers from the “Apollo 8” era stood tall beside a Hammond B-3 with hundreds of 1/4 phone patch cords to audio adaptations such as now defunct terms as envelopes, sawtooth waveforms, graphic filters, porting and expansion controls, and others too obscure to mention. Unlike the relics usually brought onstage just for show by other bands, this monstrosity was fully functional and used to palpitate your aorta and buzz your sphincter as Keith Emerson dialed his way to the sounds of yesteryear that encompassed the lowest lows and the highest highs.

The stage setting was at “Manticore” recording studio with just the two of them playing to tracks already laid down, talking about each piece, how it was conceived and the little bits of trivia surrounding each. With the “unplugged” atmosphere the talents of these men became more than apparent as each note could be heard precisely without the echoing of a vast stadium turning magnificent runs into a dopplerish muck of indistinguishable muddiness.

“From the Beginning,” was the first song. It was clear Lake (62 years-old) was up to the task. Emerson’s different arrangements kept it all fresh. They wasted no time going into King Crimson’s “I Talk To The Wind,” which was a beautiful rendition. After a chat about Lake throwing stones across a lake drawing inspiration for the next song “Take A Pebble” began and morphed into what amounted to the first side of Tarkus. There was one point in the show when Emerson (65 years-old) paid tribute to Brubeck’s Rondo from his old group “The Nice” years but changed the 9/8 time signature to 4/4 and included “America” from West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera theme-played backwards from the other side of his keyboards, Rondo of course, and then slid into a the sound of the legendary organist Jimmy Smith’s B-3 groove.

They opened up the concert for questions from the audience and there were more than a few chuckles about their breakups and egos. For the record, Lake declared, “to be passionate about one’s music requires strength of conviction and the band never argued about anything but the music, which if we all are passionate is a healthy thing. Don’t forget we were together constantly over ten years and needed to take a break from the touring and recording together. There was no ill will, ever.”

The “studio engineer” mixed the drum, bass, percussion, and layered tracks from a “recording booth” behind them and all in all it was a magical evening. Would Carl Palmer have made a big difference? Yes, but then the entire show would have been louder, less intimate, and the showcasing of these incredible musicians would not have been in the forefront.

They ended the show and came back for an encore with “What A Lucky Man He Was.” I was the lucky one to be there to hear their top ten hit that blared through the radio speakers of my car while driving through the youthful nights. The backstory on that song was that Lake had written it when he was 13 years-old and when they recorded their first album they needed one last song to finish it. Lake played it for Emerson who wasn’t impressed with it but told Lake to go ahead a lay some tracks down. When Emerson returned, the brand new monstrous Moog had been setup in the studio and Emerson began to improvise to “Lucky Man” not knowing that Lake had the recording button on….hence the infamous solo captured on the first take and forever associated with that old folksy song electrifying it and propelling it into the top ten.

The most amazing thing is that they have yet to be included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “When I look at some of the other people who’ve been inducted, there should be a place for the contribution that ELP and King Crimson made to the world of modern music,” Lake said. “Why ignore that absolutely stark reality, you know?”

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Las Vegas-CitiCenter Design

February 11, 2010

CitiCenter in Las Vegas is an 8 billion dollar sprawing complex that has and is still under construction. Three towers opened by New Year’s 2010 and I toured the area that is banking on the futuristic architecture and design to draw a new generation of tourists. Here are some pictures taken one afternoon. The above shot is a picture of a tiled floor from a balcony.

The spired entrance to Aria.

The monorail between towers.

Reflection of a tower within a tower.

Part of a massive waterfall.

A full wall advertisement in the Crystals Mall.

Crystals in the Crystals Mall

Steps detail

Partial front view as it is impossible to get all of CitiCenter in one picture.

Claes Olderburg’s Eraser

Ceiling detail.

Floral strip in Crystals Mall

Mandarin Tower

Showroom detail.

Water tornado garden.

Underside Restaurant detail.

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ASH MEADOWS – DEATH VALLEY

January 12, 2010

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE BUT NONE TO DRINK

Ash Meadows is located on the Nevada side just in the shadow of Death Valley and administered by the same Park Service. It is an immense valley of water that is just below the surface and shows itself in the many springs that dot the landscape in a valley located next to the driest place in the nation, the middle of the Mohave Desert. In 1978, the Supreme Court ordered that no one could utilize this water mainly due to the handful of tiny pupfish that were found in Devil’s Hole, a subterranean, thermal-fed spring, and thus declared an endangered species. At one time, 10,000 years ago, this was a vast lake and through those thousands of years the water evaporated. The only evidence of that water are these visible springs that remain and the water just below the surface that is part of an immense ancient aquifier. (All photos by Nick)

http://www.stateparks.com/ash_meadows.html

The Ash Meadows

The blue shift from the setting sun.

Prehistoric veins of a time long gone.

Granite crumbling creating a cave.

The Sentinels keep watch

A lava outcropping.

A can dating from the 30’s originally from India.

A dry desert mountainside looms above the aquifier.

A bush gives evidence to water just below it.

Nature’s upthrust millions of years ago.

The sun sets on a lovely afternoon………..

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THE LAST SNOWSTORM OF THE SEASON

March 24, 2009

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NIGHT AND DAY THROUGH THE STORM’S EYES

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SNOWFALL AT “LITTLE FALLS” IN MT. CHARLESTON

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THE SNOW SQUALL MOVES IN

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IT APPROACHES CATHEDRAL ROCK

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THE HAND OF THE SQUALL COMES FROM BEHIND

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IT OVERWHELMS AND CONQUERS THE MOUNTAIN

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THE WHITEOUT FINALLY ARRIVES

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THE MIGHTY SUN BREAKS THROUGH

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Death Valley 20 Mule Team Day Trip

February 23, 2009

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The Yaga Labyrinth is named in honor of the indigenous Paiute people who inhabited the area near Death Valley, now known as Tecopa, California. The labyrinth is built on an elevated space offering spectacular views of mountains, deposits of glacial Lake Tecopa, and a riparian habitat of the Amargosa River, which is a stopping place for migratory birds, and home to the endangered Amargosa vole. -Tecopa Website  http://www.tecopahotsprings.org/

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The new GM bailout model coming to your dealership soon………

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And here’s the new Jeep bailout model…….

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On the Road to Furnace Creek………….

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Near Furnace Creek

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Everybody Must Get Stoned

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WELL THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL……

December 15, 2008

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IT’S SNOWING IN VEGAS! 

HERE ARE SOME PICTURES FROM ACAPULCO TO WARM YOU UP!

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THAT OLD MAN RIVER KEEPS FLOATIN’ ALONG

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LIFE’S A BEACH

ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET

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I SEE DEAD CELEBRITIES….

September 27, 2008

On the 56th floor of The Palms Casino on Flamingo Road, the Ghostbar has become the ultra-slick social spot for celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson, the Kardashian family, Mario Andretti, Kid Rock or Pam (never at the same time), Avril Lavigne and more.  The modern furniture outside and the incredible view of the city from all points is breathtaking.  If that’s not enough, walk over and stand on the glass floor and look 55 stories straight down.  It’s a rush whether you’ve had a few or not.  The fun part is you, yes little old you, can go there and hang with your friends and enjoy yourselves drinking the special “Ghostini” to prepare you for an enchanting experience. 

The name of the joint derives from the ceiling over the lounge by the bar, that has an intended ghostly appearance.  You might see Bruce Willis or Halley Joel Osment without a ‘sixth sense.’  It’s a hip place that fills up on the weekend so if you are not into crowds go during the week, however the ‘stars’ come out at night and one will never know who you will see.  Across the street, the Rio’s Voodoo lounge was the hotspot years ago, but the change in ownership years ago turned a hot property with many firsts (first dance club, first wine bar, first ‘Show in the Sky,’ and many others) into a ho-hum sorta place.  The Palms is the new hot spot, but no matter where you go here in Vegas, there are so many deals with vouchers for food, gaming, and hundreds of dollars for return trips, the time to come here is now while they are discounting everything because of the credit crunch.  Just go online to Vegas.com and they are all there. If you’re in for a vacation no matter what the economy is doing, this is the place for value for your dollar.  And one last word; if it really is the end of the world, well this is the place to party into oblivion.  Hopefully, it will just be fun and worth the trip without the angst of reality.

It the words of Jeff Spicoli;   Party on, Dudes!