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April 17, 2014

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Blue Man Group offers indescribably great time

You leave Luxor Theater after attending a performance of Blue Man Group and wonder what the heck you just saw.

But whatever it was, it was great.

"Blue Man Group: Live at the Luxor" is an enigmatic show that has been delighting fans in Las Vegas for three years.

But how do you describe it to someone who has never seen the production?

How do you describe the art of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock?

Blue Man Group is abstract expressionist performance art.

It forces you to look at entertainment differently. Three guys in blue makeup, expressionless except for their eyes, doing bizarre things that make you laugh, but when you try to describe it, something gets lost in the translation.

One catches a marshmallow in his mouth, tossed by one of the Blue Men across the stage.

Then he catches another, and another as the marshmallows are thrown more rapidly. Ten. Twenty. Finally, his mouth filled with 25 marshmallows, the performer pulls out the white glob to reveal some sort of weird formation that is an impression of the inside of his mouth.

The weirdness begins quickly, as fans are taking their seats -- with those in the front five or six rows donning plastic covers, a la Gallagher.

An electronic message board gives the crowd instructions -- "Wish John happy birthday," "Say hello to Steven Smith."

Everyone joins the fun. Miles of crepe paper, rolled like toilet tissue, flows over the auditorium, beginning at the back of the room and passed forward by people who suddenly find themselves in the middle of a tidal wave of paper.

The Blue Men appear onstage wearing welders' masks as they stand behind tall drums and paint spews forth from tubes that protrude from their shirts at chest level.

The luminescent paint lands on top of the drums and the trio take turns pounding the surface, causing the paint to erupt and spray in every direction like a volcano erupting.

It is a display as colorful as any Pollock painting -- reds, yellows, oranges.

The Blue Man Group goes through its routine looking like aliens who have crash-landed on a strange planet where they think everyone else is abnormal.

Though they never speak, their gazes (blank most of the time) sometimes seem to transmit emotions and feelings -- frustration, humor, smugness.

For the most part, the trio lets its actions do the talking.

How intriguing were the sounds that came from the PVC pipes.

A circle of statues on a pedestal, each statue standing in a slightly different position, suddenly begins to dance as the pedestal rapidly turns.

"Blue Man Group: Live at the Luxor" is a masterpiece of creativity, a brilliant display of sight and sound that for 90 minutes takes you out of the mundane real world and lifts you into an ethereal universe where your senses experience new sensations that challenge you not to have a good time.

This unusual production was born in New York in 1987, a creation of Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink.

Since then Blue Man Group has been cloned, with shows in production in Vegas, Boston and Chicago, as well as New York City.

On May 18 a touring Blue Man Group hit the road, scheduled to perform concerts in nine cities. The shows are in conjunction with the release of their latest album, "The Complex."

But the Vegas chapter should be here for a long time, delighting adults and children alike.

In a city where venues are flaunting adult entertainment ("X: An Erotic Adventure" is performed at the Aladdin; the Hard Rock has a poolside nightclub called Sex on the Beach), Luxor's "Blue Man Group" is something the entire family can enjoy.

What family wouldn't share a laugh at a small television camera being stuck into someone's mouth and watching their tonsils on a big screen?

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