Contrasts

OK, so I have failed at keeping this blog updated in order to prove to my boss that I can maintain an internet presence. But I have been busy in the real world while I was neglecting the electronic one.

This past weekend I was in Las Vegas with a friend whose son runs the World Juggling Federation–more about them here http://www.thewjf.com/. We stayed at the Riviera hotel, which is where the first Ocean’s Eleven movie was filmed. When I first wandered around trying to go from my room to the breakfast joint. I thought it was confusing and overwhelming. Then I walked the Strip and saw all the other casino hotels and realized that the Riviera was tiny and simple with it’s sweet flashing neon signs and light bulb chases.

The Strip was a full bodied sea of humanity pressed flesh to flesh seeking simulation and ways to spend money. It made my mouth gape in awe like the silly tourists in mid-town whom I was forced to endure during my childhood in Manhattan. I was amazed, not at the number of people but at the visuals–video wall after video wall lined the sides of the street, and inside the decorations and drapery… well they weren’t subtle.

There is no quiet anywhere. The noise from one building, spectacle, or casino machine runs right into the noise from another. There is not one tiny bit of negative space anywhere, except in the desert that surrounds Las Vegas. In the desert it is quiet and empty and still and your eye can travel for miles unimpeded by anything but scrub brush and gentle smooth mountains.

It seems to me that mankind often strives to balance extremes, and I wonder if the loud crowed buildings of Las Vegas ended up where they are to balance the quiet solitude of the desert.

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