Awakening at the Wynn

We’re so spoiled and jaded. When one goes to Las Vegas to take in a show we expect nothing but the best.  It’s getting harder and harder to please everyone. We want glitz, special effects, magic, mystery, music and story.  Which brings me to “Awakening” – the new show at the Wynn.  It’s more than all of that combined. 

courtesy of Wynn Hotel

Now THIS is a show! “Awakening” is a ground breaking state-of-the-art production in a 360-degree theatre where every seat has surround sound. This is the most technologically advanced production and stage in the world with a captivating story about finding the magic in a world where light & darkness co-exist.  Speaking of magic, the theatre is filled with a wealth of underwater creatures, an exquisite Nymph, a world of hedonism, a realm of fire and flying shadows in this powerful artistic expression of looking for hope, harmony and love.  A dynamic balance hard to obtain.

There’s never been anything quite like this before. It’s not another Cirque spectacle. “Awakening” has replaced “Le Rêve” and is only about two months old, having only opened in November/2022.  

Not only do we have Sir Anthony Hopkins narrating the storyline, it is produced and directed by three award winning masters. 

Baz Halpin is the mastermind behind iconic cultural moments ranging from Super Bowl halftime shows (the only main reason I watch Superbowl) to producing, directing and designing concerts for the world’s biggest performers (too numerous to mention here). 

Bernie Yuman is a legend in the production of entertainment.  He was the driving force responsible for Siegfried & Roy’s record-breaking 25-year Las Vegas engagement among the hit Broadway musical On Your Feet.  He also managed Muhammad Ali exclusively.

Michael Curry is known for his brilliant work on Broadway’s The Lion King (I saw it on Broadway and loved it) and countless other global productions.  He’s a sought after creator for Disney, Universal and the International Olympic Committee.

First off, the sets and costumes are nothing short of spectacular in a mystical setting. The opening line of the program synopsis states: “In a time before time, the Great Phoenix gave our world its first two beings. One was called Light and the other Darkness.  Light and Darkness lived in perfect harmony, which resulted in a world full of Magic.”  

“Over time, light became possessive of Magic and ignored Darkness, which made her grow cruel.  In anger, Darkness struck Light and he shattered.  Crystal shards of Light now resides in three different realms: the Light of Water, the Light of Earth, and the Light of Air.”

courtesy of the Wynn

There is a lot going on here to follow however, the sets depicting Water, Earth, Air are nothing short of mind-blowing entertainment.

We follow our beautiful heroine IO and her two friends Bandit and Boo as they attempt to steal Darkness’ most prized possession: Magic.

Magic leads IO and her friends on a journey to the three realms of Light – Water, Earth and Air.  They want to collect the crystals of light and place them in their settings where they belong to become whole again.  Once whole, Light and Darkness may reunite.

She and Magic are confronted with an epic choice: secure your own personal happiness or risk everything for something far more powerful.

The message is a semiological feast to do with lack of fear and the power of learning to accept what life has to offer and making the most of it. Learning to live with the light and the dark. Without the darkness in our lives, we cannot fully appreciate the light.

Sir Anthony Hopkins as narrator – “The light of the sun on its own would not give rise to life.  A seed in the dark earth on its own would not give rise to life.  Together they create the magic that makes life possible.”

 

FYI – I’ve woken up at the Wynn before and it’s pretty darn nice.

 

See below for tickets (you can watch the trailer however it’s much more powerful by far in person):

https://www.wynnlasvegas.com/entertainment/awakening/

Okanagan Wine Time

Holiday in OKANAGAN, British Columbia, Canada.

Photo: d. king

I’ve been to some fabulous wine tasting parts of the world including Argentina, California, France, Italy & South Africa.  It always seems more exotic when you’re far from home, but here in Canada one of the loveliest wine regions which can now compete with the rest, is in the Okanagan – about a four and half hour drive from Vancouver.

Summerhill Winery + Bistro. Photo: d. king

I can’t imagine driving through British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan wine valley (a top producing wine region in B.C.) and not taking the time to stop in to have a look around and do a tasting at one or two or more wineries. It’s not even all about the wine…although…it’s also the locations with magnificent views, top-notch restaurants on the premises, the art & the people and their stories.

Stone Sculpture outside Cedar Creek Estate Winery. Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

You cannot possibly visit every vineyard on one trip – there’s just too many, close at hand and far between.  There’s always new ones opening up too.  From world-class operations to family-run boutique vineyards, the Okanagan Valley wineries are rich in tradition and character, consistently ranking among the world’s best at international competitions.

At Kismet. Photo: d. king

Aside from Summerhill Pyramid winery in Kelowna which I always visit because the proprietor is a friend (the wine is also great), on this most recent road trip I kept it simple and focused on only a few. Summerhill held an amazing Autumn Equinox in the Pyramid which my boyfriend and I attended.  After only hearing about it, I can now say I’ve experienced it.  It’s a community gathering to celebrate our connection to each other, the earth and the universe, with a guided group

Que Syrah, Syrah at Kismet. Photo: d. king

meditation in the Summerhill Pyramid. Followed by a vegetarian potluck dinner, and drumming and dancing around the sacred fire in the Kekuli.  It was dog friendly too so Layla also experienced it. We met some nice new friends.

At Tantalus. Photo: d. king
Lounging at Cedar Creek.  They didn’t seem to mind that I was wearing my Summerhill t-shirt.
At Kismet. Photo: d. king

The other wineries I visited on this trip were Tantalus and Cedar Creek in Kelowna, NK’MIP Cellars in Osoyoos and Kismet in Oliver.  These were over several days as we were staying with a friend in Peachland and then onto the Kootenays to stay with another friend.

Tantalus:

Photo: d. king

Tantalus is known as one of the oldest continuously producing vineyards in British Columbia.

At Tantalus Photo: d. king
Calendar at Tantalus – Dogs of the Okanagan Wineries. I had the pleasure of knowing Fortuna – RIP.  Photo: d. king

I’m a chardonnay lover and heard through the grapevine (pun intended) that they have a really good one.  Yes; they do, but I ended up loving the off-dry Riesling as much or even more so. Which is a surprise because I find most Rieslings too sweet – but this one was just right.  Overall, the view and location is fabulous, the tasting was really good and the art on the bottles is created by Tahitian, Tlingit artist, Dempsey Bob.  I must admit that I like a good label.

Cedar Creek: winner of 2022 winery of

the year award. One more breathtaking view with floor to ceiling windows that look over the Okanagan during a relaxed all-organic tasting.

State of the Art Tastings at Cedar Creek. Photo: d. king
Cedar Creek. Photo: d. king

Kismet

My tasting here, like the name, was meant to be – especially since it was not planned.  A few people have mentioned this winery to me as having unique wines. I was interested in the sparkling moscato as they use a rare orange muscat varietal which is cold fermented, resulting in a crisp refreshing flavour. I opened it over Thanksgiving and it did not disappoint.

Nk’Mip

Photo: d. king

Time in a Bottle. This is my second time at the very first Indigenous-owned winery in North America. Located in Osoyoos – the hottest and driest part of not only the Okanagan; but all of Canada.

Nk’Mip. Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

The spectacular Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre (pronounced in-ka-meep) is a state-of-the-art interpretive centre of architectural marvel sensitively constructed into a hillside. Discover the fascinating stories of Canada’s only desert and share in the rich living culture of the Okanagan people.  Websites below:

https://www.summerhill.bc.ca/

https://tantalus.ca/

https://www.kismetestatewinery.com/

https://www.nkmipcellars.com/About-Us

I hope you enjoy the photos.  Let me know if you’ve been to any of these wineries or if you have a favourite winery in your area.

Header photo: d. king

The kekuli. Photo: d. king

Flying High in Vancouver

Leading up to Canada Day which is every July 1st, I thought it a good idea to showcase some exciting & inspiring local events and businesses.I began with a little write-up on Vancouver’s “Bard on the Beach” our first-rate Shakespearean theatre group which brings tourists and local community together by filling seats to capacity every afternoon/evening until the finish in September.

Yesterday I decided it was time to do another flying trip over Canada.  In a matter of minutes not only did I experience the trip of a lifetime flying over the great rockies, Niagara Falls and more…but I also flew over the American Great Wild West.  All without leaving my seat.  Let me explain.

Gift Shop + Restaurant on Premises

Fly Over Canada is located at Canada Place – which is an iconic landmark located in the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront.  We know it as a venue for world-class events, home port to the Vancouver-Alaska cruise lines, Vancouver Convention Centre East, Pan Pacific Hotel, FlyOver Canada, World Trade Centre and more.

Canada Place

FLY OVER CANADA is North America’s leading flying ride.

Last time I was here was at least six or seven years ago where I experienced “Fly Over China.” “Fly Over Canada” experience is always showing, however they add another country or area of interest which shows for only so long before they switch it up.  If you’ve never been I urge you to go.  A bit pricey but totally worth the trip.  You’re strapped to a moving seat suspended, feet dangling, enveloped by a 20-metre spherical screen which gives you the feeling of actually being on the journey as they’ve captured thrilling, authentic footage of real locations so riders experience those locations as they truly are.

Using advanced technology to showcase awe-inspiring sights as you’ve never seen them before incorporating special effects — including wind, mist and scents.

I’ve flown and driven all over Canada as well as the American West like all the places shown on the ride…but I’ve never seen them like this before.  Totally Thrilling!

No photos or video allowed.

ABOUT:

THE REAL WILD WEST

Monument Valley, Arizona

Experience the West at its wildest. Glide over vast prairies and towering peaks. Dip into valleys where untamed rivers rush, and buzz through electric urban spaces pulsing with energy. Limited Showing: April 21 – June 26

FLYOVER CANADA

Soar across Canada from coast to coast to coast. Sweep over Niagara Falls, vast prairies and massive mountain peaks to see Canada like never before.

https://www.flyovercanada.com/

Fleur Noire

I love stepping into a place that takes my breath away.  If there’s rosé to go along with it – all the better.

Here’s another little boutique oasis in Palm Springs that I had the pleasure of visiting.  Have a peek at a few photos I took when Chris Pardo, the owner, took me on a little tour.  

A Tall Tale (taken from their website):

While traveling in France searching for vintage furniture we happened upon a roadside cart selling flower seeds. Not being fluent in the language we believed we purchased a vintage lineage of seeds. Once back in Palm Springs we planted seeds on property, unbelievably the flowers kept blooming black. Dismayed we had one horticulturist after the other come evaluate the phenomenon with no success. Finally after researching the small town near where we purchased the seeds we came upon an obscure landscaper who we believe they called an expert, the French man named Jacque Cousteau (no relation to the famed underwater explorer). After months of negotiating his travels to the states, he immediately identified the problem was with not the soil but the seedlings which were the fabled fleur noire. The only antedote… Rosé all day.

To Book:

https://www.fleurnoirehotel.com/

 

 

 

The Charm of Old Town La Quinta, Ca.

It’s like Night and Day. photo: d. king

We spent the better part of the day/evening in this amiable little town which is only about a 35 minute drive from Palm Springs and had dinner at a chic Mexican restaurant called…

La Quinta is a small resort city in Coachella Valley, known as one of the leading golf destinations in the States. Known for incredible year-round warm and dry climate and superb shopping, world-class golf at more than 20 golf courses, biking through the valley among the orchards and vineyards, and dining at a number of first-class restaurants.

Summing it up: elegant boutiques, gourmet dining, wine and olive oil tasting bars, art galleries, and charming cafes. Upstairs are offices and businesses, creating a fine balance between work and pleasure. There is always something going on in Old Town La Quinta, such as music on weekends, the Art Under the Umbrellas art show, Taste of La Quinta, and very popular Sunday Certified Farmers’ Market.

Summing it up: vacationidea.com sums it up best with the best of the best:

11 Best Things to Do in La Quinta, California

All photos: d. king

PioneerTown, CA.

True Grit!

Sometimes you’re in the mood for glamour and sometimes you’re in the mood for something a bit more gritty, or something you didn’t even know you were in the mood for…something like the wild, wild West…which has its very own style of glamour.
Way out in the desert, on our drive back from Joshua Tree, we came across an enchanting Old West Town that was built in the 1940’s and used as a film set throughout the 40’s and 50’s.

a few of the movie posters from what was shot on location here

from the little museum – a rotating display of many movies that were shot in this area.

In 1946, Pioneertown was founded by a group of Hollywood investors, including actors Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. They dreamed of creating an Old West set that was actually a town worth visiting, with 1880s-style false-front façades but interiors that had stuff for visitors to see and do too. Up went (from the outside) frontier stables, saloons, and jails; inside, they housed ice cream parlours, bowling alleys and motels. More than 50 films and television shows were filmed here in the 1940s and ‘50s.

 

 

 

 

 

These days Pioneer Town is no longer used to make Old West movies. Instead, it’s a real town with a few houses, restaurants and all the remains of the movie set that you actually walk around.  If you’re an old John Wayne and Western movie buff you’ll probably find it quite worthwhile and exciting.  At the very least you feel what it was like to live that lifestyle.

While location shooting and businesses here have dwindled, you can still see mock gunfights on Mane Street (pun intended). But the most happening place by far is Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, with surprisingly good live music (Robert Plant and Leon Russell have played here) in a seemingly unlikely setting. This must-see desert find also serves up awesome ribs, plus classic Santa Maria barbecue, burgers, sandwiches and salads.

Day Trippin’ Joshua Tree

We enjoyed the newly expanded outdoor market/fair and shops in downtown Joshua Tree.  I’ve narrowed down from the plethora of pictures taken.  

Starting with “THE END” – that’s the name of the boutique.  Art by owner Kime Buzzelli.
Beauty Bubble” – an operating beauty salon and museum.

This unique vendor-run weekly outdoor artisan market is located in downtown Joshua Tree right off Highway 62 at the Hi-Desert Cultural Center. Started Labor Day weekend and runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4pm.  We had so much fun perusing the showcase of locally handmade goods, arts, clothing, and many more awesome desert creations as only Joshua Tree can bring you!

Reminds me a little bit of Nelson, B.C.

I bought a hand painted linen blouse & soft hoodie from this vendor.

My neighbor Mindy here in Palm Springs owns this unique boutique – “Kama Clothing.”

Joshua Tree Coffee is the best in the West.

Feel-good Friday: the Comeback Kid

Proof of Life in Palm Springs with the Diva herself; acutely misplaced for so long…and the Marilyn sculpture above.  

Sunny Days are here again.  Photo: Paul LeMay

Some consider her a “Work of Art“; others “a Piece of Work.”  Maybe she’s a bit of both.

It’s so nice to be back.  I took a break from blogging in order to get organized before leaving Vancouver and setting up house here in Palm Springs.  First time in years having missed a season however I’m not the only snowbird who was unable to make it until now.  So….making up for lost time for what was completely out of our control takes being a little out of control patient.

El Jefe with a Chai Latte, Palm Springs.

There were a lot of firsts this time around.  First time flying with my dog instead of driving.  My boyfriend and I tried to make it as smooth a transition as possible for Layla who had never been on a plane before.  We couldn’t get a non-stop from Vancouver to Palm Springs for dates we wanted so we took Air Canada to Los Angeles and rented a car from there – a two hour drive with little traffic. Emphasis on “little.”  No one told us that Layla would be in another terminal on arrival and it would take us for what seemed like forever to find her.  When we finally located Layla she was all by herself in her crate alongside a homeless person who set up house inside the terminal.  Remember the movie “The Terminal” with Tom Hanks? – exactly! It’s sadly become a reality.

Anyway we got her and let’s just say her crate was a mess.  Guess she doesn’t like flying.

These photos are after grooming.  No; I don’t mean that she looked like this right after grooming.  I had her groomed…then she ran through sprinklers in a park (completely out of control) and before I knew what to do she rolled in the dirt – her attempt to dry off.  Didn’t work!

Look at that smug face!  Can’t get upset. 

Ordered a pet trailer to attach to my cruiser so she could ride behind me and now she’s as happy as ever and also oblivious to whatever distress she’s caused.

Another first was coming back to a broken kitchen window and realizing that someone had crawled through and took personal belongings – yes; it was a break in!  Not only that; it must have been a skinny woman on top of it.

I’ve known other people who’ve had their homes broken into before and it always sounds invasive and awful but before it happens to you, you really have no idea how horrible it feels.  The window is being repaired and I’m dealing with insurance.  Stupidly I left a few valuables here not knowing how long it would be before being able to come back.  Whoever broke in knew what they were looking for. That’s why I know it was a woman.

Giant art Installation by Salinas artist John Cerney.

Then I was sending a text when all of a sudden a little robot showed up out of nowhere on my screen going around and around with a message that kept saying “erasing“….so I shut off my phone.  But then when I turned it on again it was blank.  I had to borrow someone’s phone to call Samsung support to walk me through a total “reboot” which included changing passwords, etc….I ended up losing more than half my contact list and photos from the past six weeks.  Of course it could’ve been worse – it always can.

That took oh; about 3 hours in total.  I owe that guy a case of beer and dinner.

There was one really good first though…

Halloween here was a blast!  It’s obviously over now and I had absolutely no idea on what large a scale people (Hollywood industry and the gay crowd inparticular) would go to all lengths to dress up and I mean dress up!  There was excellent live music, tons of people in the streets with the most amazing costumes.  Okay; I’ll post one photo out of many, many just to give you an idea.

Pee-wee with wee-wee     You bad, bad boy!

Okay, okay; a few more but Halloween is over.  I’ll spare you all the Marilyn look-a-likes and the contest from which all the Marilyn’s got up on stage.  There were many.  All dressed alike and wearing wigs as in the photo of sculpture.

My friend Tammy with a faux police officer. Maybe he was real – so hard to tell!

Dame Edna

Nice looking couple

So I will leave you for now with a wink and a smile…until next time.  Promise it won’t be for too long.

 

 

 

 

Have a fantastic weekend!

Summerhill Estate House

There are plenty of good reasons to go wine tasting in the Okanagan in October.  For starters:

The wine is always good no matter what month you decide to visit, but come October and over the Fall/Winter in general it’s much easier to book accommodation as the wineries are less busy with everyone back to work and back to school.  So may I suggest a not so little gem of a place to stay…Summerhill Pyramid Winery Guest House (shown in photos on this page).  Not only is it amazingly spacious with a view to die for, but the winery + bistro is adjacent to the guest house.  A hop, skip and a roll home away.

That’s what I’m talking about!

For booking availability please contact:

estatehouse@summerhill.bc.ca

In the meantime…

Thanksgiving Wine-Care Pack

Five wines to pair with your feast plus an extra-special bottle for dessert!
Thanksgiving Wine-Care Pack