Have you ever seen seven people fly up into some weird boat like thing and then simultaneously backflip into a giant pool of water 50 feet below? I got to see I got to see exactly that when the other day I travelled to Las Vegas to conduct some research in an attempt to figure out why Cirque du Soleil amazes so many people. The amazement of Cirque was expected, but the big surprise from the trip was realizing how Las Vegas amazes on the whole. Honestly, I love that town.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of rough and tacky things about Vegas from “Roman” architecture to people that charge an hourly rate. It’s not always the most family-friendly destination, but at its core, I firmly stand behind it now more than ever.
It’s because Vegas is just so real. Every part of it. Everything one does there is person to person. You go to a bar to hang out with friends. You look across the poker table and try to gage whether your opponent is bluffing. The performers are so alive and so real and only feet from you. Pools and shops and restaurants and cigarette smoke all provide tangibly palpable experiences. There exists a magic in human interaction that is so rare today. I love that.
At home and college and other places you may be stuck everything is so digital and inhuman. You entertain yourself through Netflix and texting and Instagram. More and more of what we do lives on a screen and the painful impersonality of it all puts us on track to create a Wall-e world.
But Vegas… It’s beautiful. Walking back to my hotel after the shows I watched as couples strolled together, hand in hand. Drunken buddies frantically tried to wave down the passing cabs. The Bellagio’s water show put on a display rivaled only by Disney. Cards were handed out to gentlemen as they walked past. Yes, much of it was trashy, but at least it was alive.
At Princeton Tonight and the greater Princeton Studios, we hope everything we do can make you feel that same way: alive. Sure no one is plunging into giant pools of water, but through our live-events we want you to witness the sweat on Art Garfunkel as he belts out The Sound of Silence. As you view our documentaries and sketches, we hope they inspire you to bring a little more knowledge and comedy into your day to day lives. Ultimately, we want you to feel. And when you feel, and when you think, and when you be all there, I think that’s about as alive as you’ll get.