Every year, I try to take a trip to Vegas in the Winter. This is usually a solo trip where I can figure out ME. Even at 35 years old, I still haven’t really discovered everything about what makes me happy, truly happy. However, this year, my trip was absolute perfection. I learned more about myself over the last 4 days than any other trip I’ve taken. Now, let me get on my soap box for a minute. Solo travel is one of those things that many people do not do. Either they think it would be weird to be by themselves. Even in every day life, a lot of people I know would not go to eat by themselves, or even see a movie by themselves. As a society, we are conditioned to do these things only in groups of 2 or more. I am of the opinion that people should do things occasionally by themselves. It forces you to get comfortable with the one person you can’t escape from…you. Ok, off my soap box. On to the fun stuff. As I was editing my pictures for this post, I realized quickly that there was no way I could fit it all into 1 post. For whatever reason, this trip was special, and deserves multiple posts. I hope you enjoy the first in the series about my Winter Trip. First up…The Neon Museum.
Now, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this place too much or not. I believe I have taken the regular day tour 4 times. This time, I decided to do a night tour. Then, I saw something incredible in my Facebook feed. It was an article about a new event at the Neon Museum. It is called Brilliant! and it is just that.
First of all…a little about the show/installation. Brilliant! is housed in the North Gallery. Ah, yes, the coveted North Gallery that is normally not open to the public. Well, now I know why. This took a long time to put together. It uses a technology called Projection Mapping. And the genius behind this is artist, Craig Winslow. So, what is the point? Well, I’m sure the artist had multiple reasons as to why he took on this project. But the most obvious and relevant reason to a visitor is to make the non-operational signs look, well, operational. And he, in collaboration with the Neon Museum, did just that.
Now, don’t think they just turn it on and you can take pictures and leave. No. Its not that kind of party. What it is, is an experience. It a) gives you a little history lesson about the fabulous neon signs of Las Vegas and b) it is set to music (good music). You are not allowed to take pictures or video while the show is going on. In our Instagram obsessed world, it forces us to go old school and actually experience something and to experience it over and over through our memory (shocking, I know). At the very end, they turn it all on and let you take pictures and video. They wouldn’t torture us and our Instagram feeds, would they? Of course not!
I’m going to get a little sign geek on you right now. I love signs. Not just any signs. I LOVE neon signs. And they don’t just have to be ones in Las Vegas. I am madly in love with the El Capitan signage in Hollywood, which is right at the top of the list with my favorite sign, the Stardust Hotel & Casino sign. The Stardust will always be my favorite. The original sign in a showable form is on the regular tour. But Brilliant! showcases the later version of the sign that we probably all are familiar with. So, to see this “lit up”, quite frankly, got me a little emotional. You see these signs in the Boneyard, just metal and glass. And you see pictures of them in their hey-day. But you may have never seen them operational, or at least not for a very long time. The Stardust was the very first place I stayed in in Las Vegas when I was 12 years old. So, to see parts of the Stardust sign shine again, was well, brilliant.
If you are in Las Vegas, I strongly urge you check it out. At the time of this post, the show costs $23. It is for sure worth it, and you get a discount if you also want to do a regular tour. The Neon Museum is very committed to preserving and protecting the city’s neon history intact. Las Vegas Neon is one of the most identifiable things about Las Vegas, and I am grateful that they stay committed. They add new pieces to their collection as the town makes way for the new and shiny. Recently, they acquired the Riviera signs prior to implosion, as well as the original Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign. They currently have a campaign to help with restoration costs of this beauty, and I look forward to seeing it in the Boneyard someday.
Visit their website here… The Neon Museum of Las Vegas.
Signs in all their non-operational glory.
Signs in the Brilliant! installation, “lit up”.