Tag: Suite

Day 998: Crossing Abbey Road

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This Friday marks the 45th anniversary of what I believe to be the greatest album of all time.

Before you flick lint in my beer or pelt me with wads of Big League Chew for not designating this title to Pink Floyd’s Piper At The Gates of Dawn or Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ Too-Rye-Ay, allow me to point out that there are many albums that are flawless – sometimes in spite of a number of actual flaws. Nary a wayward note blemishes Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key of Life, and Paul Simon’s Graceland is among the few utterly perfect slabs of 1980’s vinyl. For me, “the greatest” combines not only artistic and technical brilliance, but the subjective distinction of having served as the soundtrack to many of the most fantastic moments of my life. Your results may (and probably do) vary.

The story of Abbey Road is one of pure, primal mirth, flecked with auburn specks of encroaching melancholy. It is the last glorious and romantic trip to Maui for an otherwise doomed marriage. It marks the greatest rock band in history (an assertion I’ll stand by as wholly factual) producing one final brushstroke upon their legacy before heading their separate ways.

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This is not a happy group.

In January of 1969, the Beatles were moving in four different directions, and had been for over a year. Their plan was to return to the studio, record a back-to-their-roots album, perform their first concert since the summer of 1966 (the Pyramids in Egypt were a proposed locale, as was a barge adrift in the Atlantic), and film it all for posterity. This attempt to reconnect resulted in a cavalcade of arguments, the grandiose concert reduced to a noon-hour gig on the roof, and the temporary quitting of George Harrison. Read more…

Day 474: Disney’s Hidden Corners

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Anytime someone uses the term ‘Mickey Mouse Organization’ to denote a company or government that is inexperienced, ineffectual or somehow incompetent, I wonder why such a saying exists. The real Mickey Mouse organization – in particular the theme parks with Mickey’s trademark ears plastered all over the place – is about as slick and capable a machine as you’ll ever see.

Every facet of the theme park experience is engineered and monitored, from the admin buildings and garbage cans being painted to blend into the landscape, to the meticulous litter monitoring and hidden camera setups.

Oh and there are secrets. Crazy, amazing secrets. Tiny corners of the park that you can’t wander into as a tourist, but with the right connections, you can witness for yourself.

Club33

High on my bucket list of places to visit is the mysterious Club 33, located in the New Orleans Square district of Disneyland, not far from the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride. You can approach the door with the number ‘33’ beside it, but unless your name is on the list, you aren’t getting in. Read more…

Day 416: A Minor In Adultsville

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In honor of this week marking the anniversary of my first visit to Las Vegas as an adult – for a romantic post-Valentine’s weekend with my wife, who at the time was simply this chick I was shagging (hi, honey!) – and possibly as a testament to the fact that I haven’t left this city in over a year and a half, I have decided to pay tribute to Sin City for the rest of this week. This will no doubt make me yearn for escape, to taste the stale peanuts of liberating air travel, to feel that flaccid foam of a WestJet complimentary pillow, to watch a ten-month-old Hollywood blockbuster on a six-inch screen on the back of some belching redneck’s seat in front of me, all while sipping bubbly Sprite from a plastic cup.

So why Vegas?

Because no other city has packed so much activity into a mere 72 years of history as a vacation spot. Because nowhere else can you cram a weekend vacation into a two-hour layover. Because it’s Las Vegas: tacky and touristy, a gambling mecca, a city-wide den of debauchery, and a cultural inferno. You can make the biggest mistake of your life, marry the girl of your dreams and watch a Cher impersonator vomit on a duck beside an enormous man-made lake, all within the course of an hour or less.

Riviera

The first time my retinas were seduced by the come-hither flash of Las Vegas lights was Christmas, 1985. I was eleven years old, and my father was producing a show at the Riviera Hotel. It was called the Hollywood Game Show, because my dad’s astute marketing mind knew that the word ‘Hollywood’ would pique the interest of the geriatric Bermuda-shortsed keepers of the nickel-slot torch. Playing slots gave out credits for ‘Riviera Dollars’, which could be exchanged for valuable prizes at the show. Or maybe you’d win Riviera Dollars at the show, to be used in their slot machines. I honestly don’t remember. Read more…