It was towards the end of the day when I was sitting at my press table here at the U.S. Travel Pow Wow meeting. I’d spent an hour and-a-half at a desk in a kind of reverse speed-dating procedure wherein tour operators or tourism types get a chance to turn the tables on the media by approaching us and asking questions or giving information, versus the other way around.
Anyway, I was nicely busy (I was afraid nobody would want to talk to me; which is a thought that probably occurs to everyone in this situation) and then, near the end, a nice woman from the Exploratorium in San Francisco approached my table and asked to have a word. After demanding five bucks, I relented and let her talk.
She proceeded to tell me how the facility – like the Ontario Science Centre but more hands-on as I recall – will be moving from the historic Palace of Fine Arts to one of the piers on San Francisco Bay; about midway between the Ferry Terminal and Pier 39. It all sounded fine, and the photos looked lovely and all that. But then she REALLY got my attention.
“We have all sorts of events,” she said. “Sometimes we do adults-only nights and serve cocktails.”
My ears perked up at that. And then came the kicker.
“Sometimes,” she said with a nonchalant voice, “we’ll dissect sex toys.”
Only in San Francisco, folks. Only in San Francisco.
FINAL DAY WRAPUP
Las Vegas is hosting next year’s Pow Wow, and they put on a great show on Wednesday at a grand finale lunch.
They had a couple of women done up in true Las Vegas style, with skimpy outfits (gee, ya hate to see that on a Wednesday) and giant hats and all that. And a couple of Elvis (natch) impersonators playing at a volume that was WAY TOO LOUD.
Anyway, the best part was a display of some truly incredible athletic performances from a couple of Cirque du Soleil shows, including Zumanity. I never thought I’d be much of a Cirque fan but I went to see the Beatles Love show a couple years ago and was utterly transfixed. A truly spectacular, colourful, wild and wonderful show filled with great music, of course, but also awe-inspiring costumes, effects and jaw-dropping jumps and swoops and aerial spins.
They’re doing a Michael Jackson show next year. Nice music, I guess, but not something I’d go to. The guy had talent but I can’t get past his creepy lifestyle…
Things wrapped up Wednesday night with a big bash at LA Live, the entertainment/restaurant/hotel complex downtown, next to the Staples Center. It was supposed to be outside in another location but the forecast called for a heavy rain so they had to shift it indoors. The show featured a deejay as well as the band Earth, Wind and Fire.
CANADA’S GREAT PLACES
The votes are in for this year’s Great Places Canada awards. Top street award went to Queen St. in Fredericton, N.B., while Osborne Village in Winnipeg was named best neighbourhood. Top public space went to the Cape Forchu Lighthouse in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
The awards are based on online voting numbers, plus a panel of experts. While Ontario got shut out of the overall awards, it did pick up two honours in the People's Choice category, which is based entirely on voting. Winning the People's Choice for best public space was the South March Highlands in Ottawa. The People's Choice for best neighbourhood was Woodfield, in London, Ontario.