The last time I was in Vegas with Toni Pickett was just before I got married. Ellie had hosted a beautiful baking themed wedding shower at her house, which sparked my passion for relieving stress and spreading joy through delicious baked goods. After the shower, Toni and my friend Claudia decided I would need a more wild and crazy send-off if I was to "make it" through married life. So a bachelorette party in Vegas was planned and perfectly executed. Of course, we all know now that the Vegas weekend wasn't enough to "make it" through married life either.
Toni and I met while working at the Maui Film Festival a few years ago and quickly realized we are pretty much the same person. Toni is the Asian version of me and I'm the Swedish version of her. Our birthdays are close together, and the cool thing about that is that whenever one of us struggles with something, anything, the other will come to the rescue and understand like no one else in this world. That, and our big shoe collection. We wear the same size which means we both have access to Jimmy Choos, Dolce & Gabbanas, Stuart Weitzmans, Givenchys, Pradas, Christian Louboutins, and on and on.
We piled in the car and headed for Vegas with the Red Hot Chili Peppers on and started to play a game that I had invented a few days earlier while having dinner with my friend Hailey. The idea is to give everyone you know a Native American type of nickname. I apologize in advance if this is offensive to anyone. But it's pretty fun. Ours were "She who runs from love," and "She who expects too much from love."
Toni and I had a lot of catching up to do with mutual friends and separate ones, so we talked about "He who sleeps with a mask," "He who will always cheat," "He who will never grow up," "He who rubs me the right way," "He who deleted us both off Facebook," "He who can't settle down," "He who drinks too much," "He who smokes during sex", and after hitting up a creepy rest stop bathroom where they sold condom extenders in a rusty old machine, a dear someone was nick named, "He who doesn't need an extender."
The last few miles before arriving we switched to the Ratpack which was way more Vegas appropriate and gave me the opportunity to do something I love; SCAT with Sammy Davis Jr. in the background. I could tell Toni was barely tolerating it, but kept on doing it anyway. We finally arrived, checked into the Palms, had a bite to eat, a nap and got ready for the show. We're both big Elvis fans so we were happy, excited and hopeful as we headed over to Aria where Viva Elvis lives.
Viva Elvis. I'm at a bit of a loss for words. Not because it was so super fantastic that I cried my eyes out, which is a common occurrence for a Forty By Forty adventure. But because we were a bit disappointed and that's a first for this blog. Of course, there were some GREAT numbers. There was the giant blue suede shoe for that song, some great acrobatics during "Jailhouse Rock," fantastic costumes for "King Creole" and incredible bar tricks during "Return to Sender," which all made me warm and fuzzy.
But all in all, the show was uneven and definitely had some weird moments. There was a lot of mediocre dancing, and singing by a girl we quickly named "She who thinks she duets with Elvis," after reading her interview in the program. It read, "If someone told me I'd be singing a duet with Elvis 5 years ago, I wouldn't have believed them." Guess what? You're not singing with Elvis. Because he is dead.
There was also a pretty morbid interpretation of what Elvis' relationship with his twin brother would have been like, had the brother not died in childbirth. It had two similarly dressed guys climbing and playing inside a giant guitar hanging in the ceiling, which ended with one of them (the brother) falling into a big black hole. Weird.
After the show, we quickly headed to the overcrowded Elvis store to remedy our disappointment by investing in an Elvis-type cape for me to wear when I perform at the Forty By Forty Party, but the only one they had was $20,ooo AND you had to sign something promising you won't perform in it. Needless to say, I settled on some Elvis guitar picks, hoping those will work to channel the King instead.
"Whoever invented this is a GENIUS!"
Next up, dinner at Lemongrass, where I found the most delicious drink of all time. Anyone who knows me knows that I am always looking for the perfect chai, so imagine my surprise when I found it in Las Vegas. Called the Spice Chai, the surprise ingredient was rum! Not surprising? That after a few sips of my new favorite drink on an empty stomach, I felt I had to announce its power to everyone at the restaurant. I did, which solidified our Native American nickname as "The Drunk Duo" to the rest of the patrons at the restaurant.
Haze...and after a while it all was...
After a delicious dinner, we went club hopping, something I don't do a whole lot of in LA, but I love to dance and the music was really good so it was really fun. All the club names in Vegas have one syllable - Haze, Rain, Pure, Crown, Blush, Jet, Krave - so it's hard to keep track of where you are... but I suppose it doesn't really matter. And the funny thing is, no matter how slutty you think you look, or how drunk you are, there is always someone way sluttier and more drunk, so you don't ever have to feel bad or weird about yourself.
I'm torn as to what to write next. I was hoping I wouldn't need to invoke the old Vegas slogan "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" because Toni and I used that one in Maui already, years ago. But I think it's for the best. In my defense, the music was really loud and I was sure he said he was 34, not 24. And yes, Toni was quick to give him a Native American nick name. Something simple that says it all. "He who was born in 1986."
We did finally get to sleep after using our matching capped tooth brushes and mini toothpastes. I have to say, there ain't no snuggle like a Dreamweaver snuggle. That's what I call Toni and that's the ring tone I have for when she calls me. And vice versa. I'm not explaining that either.
The next morning we had a delicious breakfast, some much needed coffee, braided our hair, and hit the road. The drive home was a bit subdued as it always is when you leave Vegas. It was my turn to drive so I did, jacked up on candy and with Simon and Garfunkel on. No scatting but plenty of sweet harmonizing and some re-capping of the night before, followed by hysterical laughter. A great trip all in all.
In conclusion; Thank you. Thank you very much. To Vegas and to my sweet Asian counterpart Toni who makes everything and anything fun, especially when Cirque de Soileil disappoints. And finally, ladies and gentlemen... Marika has left the building...