Thursday, June 26, 2014

ALA - A Mecca for Librarians

What a whirlwind this week has been! It's only halfway over too!
I went to my happy cabin last weekend, but just before I went,  I found out I needed to be in Lehi, UT on Monday, so I prepared for that and made the trip up and back in one day. I did get to meet up with my friend and eat SUPER good Korean food, so it was worth the trip.
Then, Tuesday, before I got to work, my boss messaged me and asked if I'd like to go to the ALA (American Library Association) conference in his place on Thursday, since he had a family thing come up. I happily agreed, having absolutely no idea what I was really in for. I mean, I had gone to ULA back in April, and loved it, but ALA is HUGE! And the trip is 5 days long!
Anyway, we got the proper paperwork setup so I could go in his place, and then today (Thursday) I drove down with the library's assistant director to Las Vegas to get the party started. The drive was nice enough, until we got to Vegas; traffic is always crazy! We also got a little lost, but my co-worker's sense of direction is impeccable, and we found our way soon enough.
I'm staying at a nice inn, where there is a full kitchen and bathroom and living area....basically it's a full studio apartment. It even has a fireplace, because, you know, Vegas is...cold...?

After we arrived, we walked over to the convention center to register and I got my swag bag and name tag (rhyme!) and went back to my room...and bought a ticket to Cirque du Soleil's KA!
After I bought the ticket online, I rode the monorail (is the monorail new? I swear I didn't know it existed until today) to MGM Grand and got my actual ticket. Then I wandered around that place for like an hour and then went over to the New York, New York to waste time there.
And finally the time came!
So, I've seen "Worlds Away" and I love the soundtrack, but actually seeing Ka was phenomenal!
As you walk in, there is no stage, just a big dark pit with fire balls bursting up into the air sporadically, and the sides of the theater look like this:
It's mesmerizing. It like a sci-fi forest or something. It was really intricate and even was used by the actors to fly from and drop down into the audience and even to pound on drums. Oh, and they shot flaming arrows onto the stage from these catwalks. 
Then there was the stage itself:
The stage was that platform sticking straight up. It could move in any direction, and the action worked with that feature. It was an amazing thing.
The costumes, as in every Cirque show, were amazing. This one below had very long feathers that did float and dance around with every step. What I'm saying is, if it were mine, I'd never take it off.
 There was a storm scene, and the boat rocked and people fell off and down into the pit, and then when the boat sank, there was a really cool scene where there was a projection of waves rising (projected onto a silk screen or something) and then the actors were "swimming" through the air/water and bubbles were projected and rose from where the actors were. It was a pretty surreal scene, and visually dazzling.
 There were countless amazing parts, but one that stands out was this:
The actors were in and on those wheels and zooming all around, and once guy had a rope and was doing jump rope tricks while the contraption rotated around and around. I actually gasped (along with most the audience) when the jump-rope caught on the guy's food and he stumbled for just a moment. Seeing these kind of things live is a rush in itself!

So there you have it. 48 hours ago I would not have even guessed that I'd be here. I'm very much looking forward to the actual ALA conference, and who knows what else I'll do while I'm here!

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