Yeah, you gotta love the 909 and 951, but sometimes it’s perfectly OK to venture outside the two-county region and see what the outside world has to offer for summer fun. May we suggest geeking out where comic books are sacred at Comic-Con 2009 in San Diego or perhaps a little something more risqué like pool parties in Vegas. Check them both out. They’re worth the extra drive.
FREAKS, GEEKS, AND MORE—SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON!
If the release of the new Star Trek movie did anything this year, it’s to prove that dress-up is not for kids and geeks. So, for all you Trekkers out there (not Trekkies), dust off those ears and tight-fitting unitards—and hail the 40th coming of the San Diego Comic-Con, where (surprise!) J.J. Abrams makes another valiant stand for Trekdom and all of Lost. Though comics be thy name, Comic-Con has become a mecca for shameless press junkets by the Hollywood elite, a big-stage blitz for everything that is base about mass consumerism and rarely now does it touch upon the artists and writers who made Metropolis the multimillion dollar capitalistic medium it has become. So while crowds pack the San Diego Convention Center’s grand stage for a gander of the up-and-coming in Hollywood, consider taking a detour to the Artist’s Alley or even the far recesses of the Convention Center, where the real artists and writers still lurk. After all, it’s the visions of these professionals that will define tomorrow’s next movie. Yet even with the thousands of sweating bodices and chest-thumping warriors you are bound to run into, Comic-Con continues to be a blast and a defining event for the Southern California summer. (Nancy Powell)
San Diego Comic-Con International, July 23-26 with July 22 preview night, San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Dr., San Diego; www.comic-con.org.
MAKING A SPLASH—VEGAS POOL PARTIES!
Dad went here to gamble and mom for the shows, but today’s misfits know summer is all about the Vegas pool parties. For those looking for an excuse to play hooky and start the weekend early, Ditch Fridays is hopping at the Palms Pool & Bungalows —as in Bunny hopping. That’s right, this Hef-backed oasis is hosted by the 2008 Playboy centerfolds. Whether you’re tanning with Miss February Michelle McLaughlin at one of the 27 amenity-packed cabanas or sipping frosty mojitos with Miss July Laura Croft at one of the two-story bungalows, this poolside paradise is packed with reasons to skip work. There are multiple pools, waterfalls and bars and menu options from the N9NE Steakhouse. If you like Miller Lite, even better, because company reps are watching for Miller drinkers to single out for free drinks and VIP access.
Ditch Fridays at Palms Pool & Bungalows, 4321 W. Flamingo Rd.
(702) 942-6832; www.palms.com.
Looking for something lower key? Go where the locals go—DayDream at the brand new M Resort. This 12,000 square-foot space, built far enough away from the main pool to muffle the sound of screeching kiddies, features an infinity-edged pool, hot tub, cabanas, daybeds and an ice-railed bar with drinks like the John Daley, named after the famous golfer (fittingly, it’s a double-stiff Arnold Palmer). DayDream sets itself apart with prices that won’t make you feel like you lost your shirt at Black Jack and free treats like frozen grapes, fresh fruit and cucumber- and lemon-infused waters. Hate bottle service? DayDream offers pitcher service with specialties like frozen mojitos and guava daiquiris.
Daydream at M Resort, 12300 Las Vegas Boulevard South, (702) 797-1808; www.themresort.com, www.daydreamlv.com.
Okay, okay, you want the biggest pool party of all? You could try the dance party at Wet Republic, the gentlemen’s club-sponsored Sapphire Pool, the Asian-themed Tao Beach and the topless pools Bare and Venus, but for those who like getting into the hardest-to-get-into places, spend your Sunday at the Hard Rock Hotel for the celeb-backed Rehab. This is the Vegas pool party that started it all and the spot No. 1 for the richest and prettiest in town.
Pool parties generally take place on weekends (check with hotel for exact days), and the same rules apply here that apply for hot nightclubs. Guys, prepare to wait in line, especially if you’re in a dude pack, and make sure you shaved your back before coming out. Once you are inside, however, get ready to see why preachers are heralding the End Times because few summer events are as hedonistic as a Vegas pool party. (David Jenison)
Rehab and the Hard Rock Hotel, 4455 Paradise Rd., (800) 473-7625; www.hardrockhotel.com, www.rehablv.com.
The Sapphire Pool at The Rio, 3700 W. Flamingo Rd., (866) 746-7671; www.riolasvegas.com.
Tao Beach at the Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd South, (702) 388-8588; www.venetian.com.
Wet Republic at MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd South, (702) 891-3563; www.wetrepublic.com.
Venus Pool at Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd South, (702) 650-5944; www.venuspoolclub.com.