Let’s start this edition off discussing the near-constant internet yakkity-yak about money, time and everything that goes (and blows) along with it. It amazes me that- for some guys- after being in the business for years, they still struggle to find their niche and, in return, cannot make the living they want/need/demand. Blame is placed everywhere but on themselves. It’s classic problem business behavior indicating an immediate change in strategy.
Rule of thumb: If you keep doing the same wrong thing again and again, always expecting a different result, you’re probably insane… Or a likely running mate for Mitt Romney. I’m sick to death of hearing about ‘the economy’ driving down business (it’s not), flakey time-wasters who email (escorts, learn from your mistakes the first time) and ad listing sites increasing their prices (laws of supply and demand hard at work). It appears to me that those who complain the loudest are also those who seem to work the least, self-promote in odd or unappealing ways and don’t focus on the core basics that create a great, in-high-demand escort.
Simply put, complain less to work more. There’s nothing sexy about someone who moans like an old lady, nitpicking and sharing every seedy, low-rent detail of their unscheduled life. If you have the time to rack up thousands of posts on a message center, then it’s obvious you’re doing little else with yourself.
Just off of a back-to-back trip to Manhattan and Las Vegas. Two very fun, very different places, but it gave me a chance to catch up on what’s new on Broadway and explore some new nightlife options just off of the Strip. Highly productive I’d say, especially since I ended up buying a life-size lamp in the shape of a horse (which I photoblogged about here). I’ve determined I’m going to charge guests in my home to have a picture with it and attempt to recoup some cost. Sometimes I wonder what I’m thinking when I buy things like this. Aye.
Evita, End of the Rainbow and Nice Work If You Can Get It were on the Broadway agenda this trip. I wanted to pick three good, but wholly different, shows. The revival of Evita poached an Eva from the last revival production in London (Elena Roger), who I saw there six years ago in the role. Ricky Martin is Che (I missed Mandy Patinkin) and Michael Cervais is Peron (he was brilliant). Roger simply didn’t have the notes to make the role exciting and her accent continues to be thick enough to not understand some of what she’s singing. While she does the seductive bit nicely, she cannot muster the power in either her vocals or acting choices to make an audience believe that Eva Peron wore the pants in that relationship and was a power-hungry, scheming bitch. Martin was a ridiculously jubilant Che, keeping a happy-go-lucky vibe from the get go and never getting to the real meat in that written role. He just seemed lost and instead of taking time to figure out his character, he just smiled like a pageant queen to the celeb-delirious audience. Somehow, I wasn’t shocked. Cervais was the only lead who understood his role. He made great acting choices and, as per usual, his vocals were clear and powerful.
Martin got a standing ovation. Broadway, in some ways, now saddens me. The obligatory standing O is something you’d never see on the London stage. After the performance, I had to pop in my headphones and listen to LuPone’s version to get that thin, reedy sound of Elena Roger out of my head. It’s unfortunate they couldn’t find an Eva who could really bite into the music. While I’m sure it will run for awhile, this isn’t a critically sound production.
Rainbow, starring Tracy Bennett, is a polarizing play for those who consider themselves fans of Judy Garland. It involves the last 6 months of Garland’s life, in London, as she was prepping and presenting one of many comeback shows at Talk of the Town cabaret. While the supporting actors (her gay pianist, her 6th husband to be) were merely window dressing within the script, Bennett’s transformation into Garland is downright eerie. While her speaking voice wasn’t always spot-on Judy (she sounded more like a Hepburn), her mannerisms and total dedication to the act were superb. You actually begin to forget you’re watching a performance at some points. She really just disappears into it. It’s horribly sad to see. The best way I can describe the show is to compare it to a train wreck you can’t take your eyes off of. There are moments of pure genius wrapped with an outer shell of something a bit seedier. A little give, a little take.
Rainbow also features 10 Garland songs, sung live by Bennett and in the context of her performing at Talk of the Town. This is truly where she shines, sounding exactly like Garland and having the vocal chops to do every number justice. Her rendition of ‘Man That Got Away’ nearly blew the roof off of the Belasco. She’s one talented lady.
Nice Work is a new book show with tinpan Gershwin standards inserted throughout. Much like ‘Crazy For You’ some years back (another great tap dancing musical), Nice Work revolves around the tried and true ‘boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy loses girl, boy and girl reunite’ plot, leaving plenty of room for large production numbers, intricate sets and, most importantly, beautifully sung Gershwin classics. Thankfully they didn’t over-orchestrate the show, leaving the show’s two stars, Matthew Broderick (The Producers) and Kelli O’Hara (South Pacific), a chance to put their own stamp on the material while still honoring the original creations. For fans of Tony award winner Judy Kuhn (the original Carlotta in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera), she has a supporting lead role in this show and gets to show off her considerable comedic talents.
The rest of NYC was typical, but fun: Spent a day going to old haunts on the Lower East and SoHo, cried a little over the closing of Totonnos Pizza, ate my way through Economy Candy (with a quick, calorie-laden stop at the minimalist new Laboratorio de Gelato), picked up my seemingly always non-functional watch from Chanel and generally spent as little time as possible in Times Square. The older I get, the less I enjoy being shoulder to shoulder with really obnoxious tourists. And what’s with everyone taking flash photos of their food now? Does society really have this little amount of consideration left for others around them? Yikes.
From there, I had a quick day at home and then back to Vegas, where I was booked in a suite at the nearly new Mandarin Oriental (in City Center). I’ve been meaning to trip report this property since it opened, but the lure of the Wynn has kept me a loyal client. It wasn’t until my last trip to Encore that I decided a change was needed: Steve Wynn is turning his two properties into a cesspool of drunken stupidity, thanks mainly in part to opening two new clubs and adding a massive beach aimed at competing with the Hard Rock Rehab crowd. What it’s inviting into the hotel is killing what makes the property a class act. While Mandarin is a non-gaming hotel, at only 300 rooms, it’s truly a luxe boutique property in the heart of the Las Vegas strip.
From the Mercedes S600 pickup at McCarren (it’s their house car) to the personalized check-in inside of your room, the Mandarin brings service to a whole new level in Sin City. While other properties promise luxury and don’t always follow through (that’s you I’m talking to SkyLofts at MGM), MO brings that true Asian service aesthetic of privacy, calm and attentiveness, without going over the top. I especially liked the hot tea and warm towel at check-in, housekeeping who showed up when you wanted them to (and as often as you need them) and staff who somehow seemed to know your name from the moment you stepped inside. They made it feel effortless and for that, I will call Mandarin Oriental my new favorite spot whenever I’m in Las Vegas.
Their rooms are done in rich earth tones, sporting total touchscreen tech control, natural light floor plans, dead-silent soundproofing and gigantic bathrooms. It was my first stay at a Vegas hotel that made me feel I wasn’t in Vegas. I had the insanity of the strip if I wanted it, but knew I could cocoon myself in the hotel as well. It was perfection.
Click above pics for full-size versions.
The next month is what I’m calling ‘travel insanity,’ leading me to mainly rely on photoblog postings, twitter and private emails. I’m happy to be booked solid, but it leaves me little time to sit and compose a full edition of 15mm. I much appreciate those who are longtime readers, lurkers, stalkers (and your very obvious IP addresses), as well as the newbies who somehow stumbled onto this 9-year old labor of love. While the scope of it has changed quite a bit over time, I hope the entertainment value has not. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this industry, it’s that you can move much more freely when you don’t have a spotlight on you all of the time. I’ve quite enjoyed pulling back from the PR machine of ‘keeping my name out there’ and giving the internet something to chatter about. Gossip is all well and good, but eventually, it’s a tiring thing attempting to keep in the loop.
It’s just as well, considering the state of affairs: Everytime I see who’s new in the pipeline, I cringe, remembering the names and the very different work ethic of those who gave me my first shot (and tons of advice). For the very small percentage of us that can call ourselves courtesans, there are far too many out there now who are practically just giving themselves away. That’s unfortunate and shows a real lack of business sense.
Wishing everyone a most excellent April. Stay tuned, as always,