Monthly Archives: July 2014

Block Vegas: If They Build It…(Part 4-Final Installment)

As has been the trend, I left off last with a regret-filled sleep. Sunday morning brought stories of delight from my roomies and a barely masked FOMO-based depression from myself. I shook it off and we all headed down to the pool hoping to snag some lounge chairs at the early hour. Breakfast is for wimps who don’t want to get sunburnt so we skipped that and managed to plop down poolside, finally. As I mentioned, I don’t like being outside so I didn’t last long. The other girls had to scurry as well, in order to make it to the exclusive “Cruisers Only” party that was taking place that afternoon. Another event that eluded me. I didn’t have plans at all for the day, so I decided I should try and get a ticket to the evening’s performance. Obviously.

Alyson and I ran to H&M to get something neon to wear (if you glow at the show, they’ll marry you, right?), and because we hated everything we had brought. We were working on an assumption that H&M would have a plethora of neon choices and we were right. After the girls left for their mystery party, I lounged around and tried to make my pictures less blurry on Instagram. Mostly unsuccessfully. And I managed to contact an incredibly generous BH who gave me her two free “cruiser tix” for Sunday night’s show. I offered to pay her but she wouldn’t take any money. There’s a reason #BHLOVE is a thing. I texted Branson and asked her if she’d like the other and we made plans to meet up after showers for some pre-show drinks.

One more Elevator picture before the night was through.

One more Elevator picture before the night was through.

The shower in our hotel room was part godsend and part torture chamber. It was nice to be able to shower in something other than my clawfoot tub and have freedom to move without falling to my death on a slippery, concave surface. But the pressure was lethal. My nipples have never taken such a beating. Well…no, never. Once I finally escaped, most of my breasts intact, I instinctively checked my phone to find a text message from Alyson and Andrea saying that entry to the Cruiser Party required only an email. Which I could easily get. But it was starting. And I was nude. The next half hour flew by as I splattered makeup onto my face and pinned my hair in what ended up being a really strange decision of an updo. I had no time to fuss over whether or not my outfit made my arms look huge(er) or to even put in my contacts. So I ran to the elevators and to the club hosting the party. Email-laden phone in hand. When I got there, slightly out of breath and oddly alone, I panicked. Had they closed the doors? Where were the infamous security? I tentatively pulled back the curtain and saw noone still. So I continued. I basically just wandered in, unbothered. And I found my roommates in the crowd. The guys hadn’t come onstage yet so my timing was perfect. Even if I was a mess.

Five chairs soon held five boyband butts and we learned that the party would be more of a Q&A session. Which was ok with me. Most of the questions revolved around when they would tour next or put out new album material, but some were a little more endearing, asking how the “Donathon” bromance took root. One small child (who I hadn’t realized was sitting right behind me) challenged Donnie to explain why he promised her he’d serenade her at last summer’s tour and never delivered. He was appropriately sheepish and asked her if she’d like to join him on stage that night as his “Cover Girl”. It’s safe to say we all got our “awwww” fix. She took the precocious to a new level when she went on to say that they “better make it happen”, to which Donnie replied, “Do you need anything else?!” She looked around for a bit, and then said, “These ladies behind me would like some drinks!” I snorted. And I believe Donnie did as well.

The three of us left the party, laughing still and jonesing for some dinner. And then I remembered…Branson! I forgot about her again because I am a jerk. We were supposed to get dinner. I quickly texted her my apologies and she joined us at PF Changs for some asian food and the weirdest server ever.

Once finally entering the concert venue again we realized that the guys were already playing. Starting something on time is an unheard of feat for the New Kids. But, Donnie-time shifts when D-Dub has to be on the set of Blue Bloods at 5:00 am, across the country. He was in a hurry and the Sunday show reflected that. The ad-libs were mostly gone, though Joe continued to sing the wrong verse in “Summertime”. I’d be disappointed if he had gotten it right. Donnie got his words right, though he skipped them to tell us that he had gotten them right. But of course we knew. It was interesting to see the show from three different viewpoints over the weekend. I’d prefer to be in my Saturday 3rd row spot for everything of course, but at least I got to be near Joe when he briefly came over to our section during “Tonight”. I couldn’t reach through the crowd to frantically and awkwardly grab at his body, so I didn’t. I’m sure that was best for everyone.

Weird Paparazzi Shot

Weird Paparazzi Shot

Again, during a ballad, I checked my phone to see how many likes my Instagram photos had gotten since arriving and I almost flipped over the back of my chair. Jon Knight had commented on my photo of him. As my first social media interaction with one of the guys, I was pretty damn excited to see, “I was doing aerobics. ;)” staring at me from my notifications list. I mean…it’s an epic achievement in a BH’s life. With that accomplishment tucked away in my pocket I enjoyed the rest of the show, but missed the fact that Jon had run out on stage in his socks after not having enough time to finish his wardrobe change. Oh well, there are enough pictures floating around to make sure I remember it as if I did see.

AAAGGGHHHH!!!

AAAGGGHHHH!!!

We all headed out of the venue in a slow and sad march, knowing that it was the last time we’d see our guys this year. With a vague promise of a 2015 tour, however, we knew it wasn’t forever. After some more unsuccessful sightseeing (it was STILL too hot) we called it a night. I slept for about two hours, then sprang up to catch my ridiculously early airport shuttle. The flight home was uneventful, but I did see that adorable BH family from Part 1 of this series. The dad bid me adieu and said, “maybe I’ll see you on the cruise next year!” Maybe you will, mildly creepy elderly gentleman. Maybe you will.

Look...I went outside once!

Look…I went outside once!

Block Vegas: If They Build It…(Part 3)

When I left off last, I was dead on the bed in hotel room 928 trying to reconcile my desire for other BHs to have fun at the After Party with my own seething jealousy for having missed out. And then I fell asleep.

One of my favorite shots of the night. So close!

One of my favorite shots of the night. So close!

Saturday was my day. It was the first full day I’d get to spend in Block Vegas and the night of my 3rd row seat for the show. We got up nice and early since the three of us were still on East Coast time and decided to venture out for some breakfast and a little sightseeing on the strip. The outside adventure lasted all of forty minutes and had us whining for the sweet release of manufactured air within seconds. Did you know that there are no breakfast places on the strip? Neither did we. We ended up looping around and heading back to Planet Hollywood in search of a sign we’d seen earlier boasting a “$3.99 breakfast special”. But not before having all of the moisture evicted from our bodies, eyeballs included. We were a mess by the time we fell gasping through the glass doors of the Miracle Mile Shops. The only thing that could save us was some after-breakfast poolside lounging.

Except…

There were only about 12 lounge chairs around either “Pleasure Pool” and even through the early afternoon bass thumping from one of two DJ booths, I could hear a din of confused BHs, wandering hopelessly through the concrete wasteland in search of somewhere to rest our weary bums. Or, “big asses” if Jon has anything to do with it. Which of course he does. And of course we have. Collectively. We weren’t about to spend our hard-earned cash on a cabana or a day-bed, so we trudged back onto the concrete slab between the pools for a quick bake. And then a quick dip. Followed by an even quicker bake, and yet another longer dip. And then back to baking, accompanied by a round of pool-adjacent drinks (the cost of which nearly knocked me over onto my big ass) and another dip in the bathwater-warm pool. Then I had to call it a day. My lily-white skin frowns at glaring sunlight and my belly button frowns in general. So I peaced out and watched some Food Network (napped) in the room.

Since we had a Groupon, we were pretty much obligated to trek down to Fat Bar to redeem our obnoxiously large 50 oz. frozen drinks. In case you’re considering joining the “souvenir cup club” in Vegas, don’t. Save your stomach. No human should ever consume that much sugared beverage. Wilford Brimley and I have one very big thing in common now, I’m guessing. And it might rhyme with shmyabetes.

Novelty drinks bring novelty shmyabetes

Novelty drinks bring novelty shmyabetes

After an impressively short “getting ready” period we were hot-to-trot and heading back downstairs for my second show of the weekend. I said goodbye to my roomies and excitedly scurried to my floor seat. I was in awe of how close even the third row was to the stage. I was in for a crotch-filled view and I was not mad about it. Bring on the “ten times”! I ended up sitting by yet another solo BH named Brandy. Or Branson, as I chose to call her. We had an empty seat between us but they were awfully close together so I was silently hoping nobody ended up coming in hot with another big booty. Luckily, we were graced with the presence of a tiny little West Virginian who took up almost no space between us. WV had gotten her makeup professionally done for the occasion and she looked adorable. We were all just very excited to be in such close proximity to the performance. And the “ten times”. Obviously. Having survived four or eleven confetti-bombs, I was delighted to be right in front of the action when Joe sang the wrong verse in “Summertime”, yet again. And when Donnie followed suit, yet again. But the hilarity really took off during the splicing of “Hot in Herre” when the crowd requested that Joe take off his clothes. And he answered by saying that he doesn’t believe in man-scaping. Which actually endeared him even more to me since I find hairless men pretty off-putting. Even if he was joking. (The absence of hair on Donnie’s delicious bod is a big conflict for me). The giggling guys went on to discuss how it would be all over Youtube that Joe Mac knocked out the first five rows with his bush. Donnie commented that at least we’d be happy and well-flossed. And after more giggles, they moved on to “Tonight” and ran into the crowd yet again.

So handsome. I can't even.

So handsome. I can’t even.

Usually when you’re that close at an NKOTB show you can get a sense that one of them looked right at you or even sent an electric wave your way. I bore witness to a few girls next to me and their special moments but alas, mine never came. I was left with my up-close pictures and the video I took of Joe’s dramatic pelvic thrusts. What. A. Performance. The only thing I missed was the overt shirtlessness and general “Magic Mike-ness” of the Package Tour. Where was our “risque” show, gentlemen? I flew all the way to Vegas and sweat my tatas off just to sate my curiosity about what the guys could possibly mean about a “more risque show”. If anything, it was family friendly save for a few F-bombs. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it. Because of course I did. But my inner perversions and the ever-mulling beginnings of fan-fiction in my head will remain just that. In my head. And now on the internet. So there’s that.

Jordan being his usual sexy and androgynous self.

Jordan being his usual sexy and androgynous self.

 

There had been rumors swirling that Donnie was letting those who had Friday night After-Party passes into that night’s party. I of course didn’t have a pass, but Alyson had one that she didn’t need so devised a plan for me to join them at the final After-Party of the weekend. I was hoping to finally get my NK moment. The moment every BH lusts for at an event. Facetime. I was corralled into a room reserved for “Friday night girls” and sat down in my sequined skirt. Even though it was too short for sitting on the floor. I couldn’t see a thing, since my contacts had turned to sandpaper in the desert air. But for a moment I was determined to get into my first ever After Party. And then I wasn’t. Something about the listless women and the uncertainty of our fate just drained me. I was in pain and bored, so I made an executive decision and rolled over awkwardly to get up without flashing the room. And I sealed my fate by walking back to the room and falling asleep immediately. Completely ditching poor Branson in the process. Who I had promised to hang out with after the show.

My defeated and crumpled self in line for the "maybe pile" at the After Party

My defeated and crumpled self in line for the “maybe pile” at the After Party

Of course Saturday’s After Party was the one to attend. And of course I died a little inside after hearing about my roomies and their experience. Again. But it was my fault and I’ll eat it. Probably forever.

Block Vegas: If They Build It…(Part 2)

Since getting a ticket to the evening’s show unexpectedly, and since I was a little on the tipsy side from throwing back welcome shots with the walking billboard and Cali-boobs, I decided to take another New Kids ride and head up to the room to say hello to the roomies. The roomies who had just returned from snuggling up to Joe, Jon, Jordan, Danny and Donnie at their VIP sesh…might I add. Bitterness (but not inebriation) aside, I tentatively entered the room and joined the Boston girls for some story time. And boy did they have stories. They didn’t have tickets to the pool party that took place before I arrived (I know, wipe your tears) so they strategically placed themselves in the elevator bay after overhearing some security personnel walkie-talkie arrival instructions. So smooth, ladies. They stood there, loudly discussing how I had asked them to wait for me there so as not to alert any roaming Blockheads to their plan. And before long, the guys and entourage flooded out of the elevator. Donnie looked at the ladies and since he’s a smart man, asked if they were coming with him. And of course they did. They managed to follow the entourage right through security and into the roped off area to enjoy a VIP poolside Block Party. For about half an hour. Which is when security caught wind and asked them to leave. But what a half hour! I’m sure you’d like details but I blocked them all out for my own sake. You understand.

Showtime!

Showtime!

I sat perched on the edge of the bed to listen and choke back hot tears of jealousy until it was time to head back downstairs (and go down on Jon, ironically) and get seated for the show. The lobby was littered with women, mostly in their thirties and a lot of whom were wearing vintage bedsheets and/or pillowcases they had converted into toga-like NKOTB-wear. It was a look. It was definitely a choice.  I decided to be classy and stay in my sweaty, probably smelly traveling clothes. Not because I wanted to stink up section 102, but because I had brought a finite amount of outfits and hadn’t expected to get New Kids-ified on the first night. My row-mates were another adorable family from right in Las Vegas. A mom, sister and the coolest 12-year old girl I’ve ever met. And not just coolest at age 12…she’s likely cooler than anyone reading this right now. This pre-pubescent Blockhead plays in two rock bands. She dabbles in drums, bass and sings if the mood strikes. And she knows all the words to not only the old, novelty-ridden NK songs, but to the entire 10 album as well. I was impressed. And she was super pumped to be there. But more so that her dad hadn’t joined them since the impending crotch-grabs would have embarrassed her in his presence. I was on the fence, since there was a high probability that her dad was hot. But hey, I can respect the pre-teen predisposition to mortification.

The resident "Joan Rivers" impersonator, of course.

The resident “Joan Rivers” impersonator, of course.

 

After rushing back two rows for a photo-op with a local celebrity (google Frank Marino) I settled once again into my seat only to hop back up as the lights dimmed and the screams lifted.The adrenaline rush that comes right before your favorite band hits the stage is unmatched by anything I’ve experienced. Even if you know the set-list by heart and can mirror the ad libs that come with the performance. It’s a rush of shared experience and common interest. The show began by illuminating the guys at the back of the stage, in all their dapper glory. I joined the other thousands of women (and handful of dutiful husbands and gorgeous gays) in bouncing up and down uncontrollably as the guys slid, sang and sauntered all over the stage. Finally the time came for the lights to crash off and for us to guess where the five of them might pop up. As the lights returned, we noticed them spread out just between the upper and lower sections. The girls in the cheap seats were getting just as good of a view as the VIPers in the first few rows. I was not, however. I was somewhere in between and was pouting rather visibly until I noticed Joey balancing on the ledge and coming my way. I mean, directly toward me. I looked at the girls around me and we all screamed in giddy (and nostalgic) anticipation as we watched him teeter, grabbing girls’ hands for support. When he finally appeared in front of me, I joined the others in reaching up my hand in assistance, watched him grab that of my neighbor to the left, and then my neighbor to the right. Skipping right over my out-stretched and practically pleading fingers. Ouch, Mr. McIntyre. Ouch.

I managed to recover from that blow and continue bopping to the delightful set list. I laughed out loud at Joe singing the wrong verse in “Summertime” (maybe a little out of spite) and even harder at Donnie singing the wrong verse as a result. They laughed it off, knowing that we don’t expect them to be perfect and Lorde knows I hope they don’t expect us to be. As a group, we Blockheads are kind of a hot mess. But would we have it any other way? I was looking around during a ballad and noticed a familiar face a couple of rows back. I did a double take and realized that yes, it was Andrea Barber. Better known as Kimmy Gibbler from Full House. You heard me. I saw Kimmy Gibbler at a NKOTB concert. That is literally the most 90s thing that has ever happened to me. Until I tweeted the interaction to Rider Strong, that is. And Andrea replied with a “Hell Yeah!” So I guess you could say that things with me and the 90s are getting pretty serious.

Kimmy Gibbler, in all her Blockhead glory.

Kimmy Gibbler, in all her Blockhead glory.

After trying (unsuccessfully) to remove all of the confetti from my bra, I headed out of the venue and up to the room to charge my poor, dying phone. I was jet-lagged but not quite ready for bed so I responded to a tweet from another solo BH and met her downstairs to wander the strip, making her the third new friend in Vegas. See how quickly that happens? And people say it’s hard to make friends as an adult. All you need to do is throw an aging boyband in the mix. Simple.

The strip was bright, loud and hot. And my jet-lag caught up to me quickly. My new friend and I trekked back into Planet Hollywood and I managed to lose her in the bathroom before going to bed. Like I said. Jet lag. The roommates were busy being fabulous at the official After Party, no doubt booty-shaking with Donnie or a Knight brother. And I drifted into ear-ringing dreamland.

Dead.

Dead.

Block Vegas: If They Build It, We Will F*cking come (Part 1)

As anyone who has been anywhere near social media for the past month knows, I spent the weekend in Las Vegas for New Kids on the Block: After Dark. It was originally touted as a 30th Anniversary celebration and went on to promise surprises, parties and a risque four-off performance. I ran the proverbial gauntlet to get there, hurdling over scheduling conflicts, cash-flow stoppage (and subsequent crowd-funding), polite eviction from my home and even disgruntled airline employees. But I made it. And here’s the story:

I flew out of Grand Rapids on Friday afternoon and arrived in Las Vegas at exactly the same time. The three-hour time difference is only fun on the way there. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into but I did manage to explain the entire 30-year history of the New Kids to a curious Lansing Disc Jockey who was on his way to celebrate the dawn of his 40s. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure he was more curious about what was in my pants than what the “five bad brothers from the Beantown land” have been up to. But I digress.

He looks stern. I can dig it.

He looks stern. I can dig it.

Much like the beer I’m (not) enjoying as I type, I was traveling cheap and light. I zoomed out of the airport and right onto a shuttle bus without ever having to step into the incendiary desert atmosphere. And thank gos. The strip was 111 degrees on the hottest day and not even Body Glide could stop my thighs from chub-rubbing together with a ferocity that was sure to spark and set the air ablaze. Once the air-conditioned shuttle bus pulled into what can only be called the Planet Hollywood “compound” I started to feel the excitement bubble up. That, or I had forgotten to take my Prevacid again. The other Blockheads on the shuttle helped get my boyband blood boiling as we excitedly discussed plans for the coming weekend extravaganza and compared seats for the show. This particular group of Blockheads was so cute, it almost hurts me to talk about them. They were two sisters from the east side of Michigan and their elderly father. He had taken them to their first show in the late 80s and wanted to keep that tradition alive and join them in Vegas. He was going to the show and was looking forward to “watching all the ladies now that they were adults”…it sounded cuter when he said it. But that could have been the Superfan-euphoria clouding my creep-o-meter.

Going down?

Going down?

Walking into the heavily decorated doors of Planet Hollywood and really beginning my first-timer’s journey in Vegas was surreal. It was like a Blockhead convention and I didn’t hate it. There were posters advertising the weekend’s shows and each of the elevators had been transformed with pictures of the guys so that each time we used them, it was required to say something like, “I just went down on Donnie Wahlberg” or “I’m riding all of the guys tonight.” You know…standard fare for when your favorite adult boyband is plastered on elevator doors. After taking a few selfies in front of Donnie and Joe (the elevator versions, unfortunately) I made my way into the casino and then what appeared to be a mall to find my roommates for the weekend. They were in line for their VIP experience, those lucky betches. I had met Alyson in Boston when I went solo to the Album Release event at the Orpheum. Since BH friends are for life (which is something I just decided), we reconnected in Vegas and she introduced me to another Boston Blockie, Andrea. There’s something about a common lifelong fandom that makes it totally fine to share a bed with someone you met only briefly a year and a half prior. It’s hard to come by people in real life who want to spend time and money on this obsession, so we have to make friends in Block Nation and converge accordingly. It’s a thing. If you say “real life” to any BH, she’ll know what you mean.

Pure. Genius.

Pure. Genius.

After riding Jordan Knight up to the room (Can’t stop, won’t stop) I dropped my things, puckered up to some signature red lipstick and set out to find some trouble. My night was open. I had only planned to attend the Saturday night show and since my roomies were lucky enough to have tickets to all four nights, I was looking at a lot of alone time to kill. I decided to choose wisely and sidled up to the Halo Bar right outside the concert venue. There was a man with an enormous (and rentable) mohawk there and it seemed like an interesting place to start. He had airbrushed “NKOTB AFTER DARK” on one side, and the famous “Welcome to Vegas” insignia on the other. It was pure genius. He told me that he rakes in somewhere around $200 a day just sitting at the bar and accepting tips for photos. Pure. Genius. And it would only work in Vegas. His job is to literally sit and drink and have a mohawk. I wasn’t the only one who was drawn to his side. A California BH with the quintessential California chesticles and some disturbingly bedazzled jeans was sitting directly to my right. I silently judged her life choices but then realized that we had one important life choice in common. So we started talking and I’m man enough to admit that she was very cool. I cast my judgment aside and made my first Vegas friend. I mean…I reserved a little judgment. How could I not? But Cali-Boobs was legit.  After doing some bonding-shots and watching Mohawk-for-hire take about a thousand photos with fans, both he and Cali-Boobs helped me look for a ticket to that night’s show. It was decided that I shouldn’t miss it. Two minutes, $45 and one Craigslist Ad later, I had an amazing seat and plans for the evening. Just like that.

Me and Cali-Boobs, mid-concert selfies.

Me and Cali-Boobs, mid-concert selfies.

That’s how Vegas works, it seems. One minute you’re trying to prevent falling into a chest-chasm of cleavage and the next you’re meeting a random dude at Coffee Bean to procure your evening’s entertainment.