Michael Jackson and Yule Goats.

‘Tis the Season….

For Blue Man Group and Michael Jackson: The Immortal.

My friend Sarah Jane (the other Sarah Jane I know) was generous in giving a chance to see the Blue Man Group when it was at the Venetian. Problem was, during the beginning of December, there is some marathon that shuts down the entirety of the Strip and Downtown. It is completely blocked off, and getting in or out takes an incredible amount of backroad know-how.

But the show itself (once getting there) was a lot of fun, with lots of messiness and things happening in the audience.

I blue it.

I blue it.

Not Tobias Funke.

Not Tobias Funke.

After that, it was time for the American Country Awards:

The stage.

The stage.

I only spent the last day working on the show. The run-through before the live production later that evening. morning was spent with the country stars of the show. Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth did the hosting, and what little reaction time I had with them was entertaining. Scotty McCreery took his pre-award, hugging my two female co-presenters before going “Ah heck, man, I’ll give you a hug too” to me. And so we had a congratulatory hug, which I thought was funny. Nice kid. Good voice. But it was over and done quickly, so I had the rest of the day to myself.

And then, it was time to check out another show I had been waiting months for.

Being a fan of MJ’s music, I was pretty excited to see how Cirque du Soleil would handle the King of Pop. After all, they did a great job with the Beatles, so I was all ready to go for this one.

Gearing up.

Gearing up.

And the verdict? Not so good.

A permanent show was set up for 2013 at the Mandalay Bay, and whatever is set for that show, I hope they work the kinks out from this very uneven experience.

I needed something to cleanse my palette, so I invited my erstwhile adventure buddy Sarah Jane to accompany me to the Michael Jackson Fan Fest.

The logo.

The logo.

Finally.  Things to pose with.

Finally. Things to pose with.

Here are a few photos from the event:

The car from

The car from “Moonwalker”.

The rocket from "Leave Me Alone".

The rocket from “Leave Me Alone”.

The "Thriller" spider from "This is It".

The “Thriller” spider from “This is It”.

Various MJ outfits.

Various MJ outfits.

The chamber from "Scream".

The chamber from “Scream”.

Recreation of Michael's living room.

Recreation of Michael’s living room.

Robo-Michael.

Robo-Michael.

Can you find the hidden Michael?

Can you find the hidden Michael?

"Remember the Time" throne.

“Remember the Time” throne.

More glorious dramatic posing.

More glorious dramatic posing.

Neverland gate.

Neverland gate.

Now, as for the “spirit of Christmas”, some would say that I got ambitious in trying to make that old Yule Goat myself. Others would say it looked more like a “Yule Scorpion”.

From the back.

From the back.

But haters… are going to hate. It was my first goat, so back off.

I also recreated the “Warp Core Breach”… the signature drink from Star Trek: The Experience. The people mixing up the drinks used me as a guinea pig of sorts to make sure that the drink was accurate. And I did a lot of sampling.

Engage!

Engage!

….

A lot of sampling.

I was pretty buzzed by this point, and probably shouldn’t have been using a lighter, but well, my goat/scorpion hybrid doesn’t light itself:

Oh, the traditions....

Oh, the traditions….

Burn, baby, burn!

Burn, baby, burn!

I… woke up pretty heavy headed the next morning, and it was not a beautiful night. But the party itself was fun. The “cool kids” Museum folk also had another Christmas party, where we burned another much better looking Yule Goat. We even had a Yule Goat cake!

Nice and red inside.

Nice and red inside.

Other Christmas stuff included Christmas light looking at Opportunity Village:

I love Christmas lights!

I love Christmas lights!

Yuletide Castles.

Yuletide Castles.

Celebrating the holidays with a nice big Santa Sack.

Celebrating the holidays with a nice big Santa Sack.

Christmas itself was good.

Playing "Santa Paws".

Playing “Santa Paws”.

A few days after Christmas, I met with friends to prowl Fremont Street. Fremont Street has a number of badly costumed mascot characters like what you would see on Hollywood Blvd., but the costumes on Fremont are the lowest of the Halloween stores.

Tickle THIS!

Tickle THIS!

It was then that the girls in the group coerced me to take a picture with Elmo, but the Muppet, tickling me instead. I was then prompted to tickle Elmo, and what the Hell. I do love goofy photo ops. So I tickled Elmo, until the Muppet started Yelping “Don’t tickle my titties! Don’t tickle my tittles!”

For you see, this Elmo was a girl.

“What? OH!”, I exclaimed, immediately dropping my hands and turning as red as the fur. “In my defense”, I added hastily, “They’re a little hard to notice under all that fur.”

Elmo laughed, gave me a hug, and wished me Happy New Year all the same. And I walked away having inadvertently molested a Muppet.

New Year’s Eve, I had to work a New Year’s Eve special for the American Country New Year’s Live! Among the freezing cold winds at the Mandalay Bay beach, I got to ride another mechanical bull:

Yee-Haw!

Yee-Haw!

After rehearsal, I was planning to meet Gina and Alex on the Strip for my first New Year’s Eve on the Strip proper. I realized that once 6 P.M. hit, I would effectively be trapped in the Strip itself, a la Arkham City. And it was freaky. About 6:45, I saw someone passed out face down in a hallway between the Luxor and Excalibur, a sure sign of the night to come. Out on the street….

No cars.

Areas were walled off, casino bridges were shut down, and people could just freely walk down the middle of the street. It was like one of those movies where the all-consuming infection hit and mutated, causing sections of the city to become quarantined. Total zombie apocalypse material.

Shortly after, I met up with Alex and Gina for steak.

My buddies!

My buddies!

After dinner, things got a little more busy. Sure, there were drunken idiots, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. People seemed more into just running around and cheering. Our merry group took to photobombing other people’s photos (none more than Gina, however), and other assorted hijinks. Gina also took to petting bald people, guys with giant afros, random high fiving crowds (which actually was more fun than I would have anticipated), and just cheering and waiting for midnight. I had also taken to counting girls in SSDs (Sparkly Slutty Dresses).

And sometime during the course of the evening, midnight hit, and we watched the fireworks in front of Caesars Palace:

2012!

2012!

This is where it got a little weird. The walking around all night was actually much easier than I expected, but by CityCenter, this HUGE mob just formed, and only there. Gina, Alex, and myself had to literally form a huddled triad to keep together and from getting mobbed. It wasn’t that we so much moved as it was more spinning in place and trying not to fall over. And then as suddenly as we left that area, it was over and back to normal. And then some girl walked by and grabbed my “Wonder Bits”. Karmic retribution for molesting Elmo just days before.

And so began 2012….