With the throttle down, Jesper Grønkjær rode his red Harley Davidson
through Nevada’s hot desert headed to Las Vegas.
In one of the most impressive hotels in the world, Grønkjær participated
in a magician conference with 300 of the best magicians in the world.
AND NOW TO THE FAIRYTALE...
The sorcerer's apprentice – Jesper Grønkjær in Las Vegas
When I got my first magician set as an adolescent, not many
thought that magic one day would lead me to Las Vegas. But so far I have
experienced two stays in this insane city in the middle of the Nevada Desert.
The first time I visited the city after attending a
get-together in Los Angeles with entertainers from all over the world. We were
three Danish participants, and for several days we lived in Disneyland, where
we did tricks, entertained, danced, sang and played. Because entertainment is
at the same time a mix of seriousness and fun and games. If anyone thinks, that
a present magician lives like Harry Potter with secret formulas and potions,
owls and really wizards learning tricks at an ancient castle, they can think
We were 300 entertainers from all over the planet. On one
side we were completely different with different backgrounds and cultures –
there were great Texans with cowboy hats, there were dark people from South
Africa, little yellow people from China, Taiwan and Japan, short-tempered
Europeans, boasting Russians, excitable Americans and us five, pale
Scandinavians. But all in all we were alike in the field of entertainment, and
especially within this exact genre that tied us together.
With the rest of the “Magic School” we received education
from some of the best instructors in USA, and we participated on stage by
showing tricks and telling about experiences.
Our education took place in Disneyland in LA, and when we
were not on stage, we went to see our “co-workers” Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse
and Pluto among others. The park was one huge money-making machine, but
nevertheless it was nothing compared to what was to come.
After the course we – the three Danes – drove on to
Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and ended up in Las Vegas.
In the middle of the neon-orgy, we swept ourselves in this
over-the-top-chaos. Everything took place in a pace, that was far faster, than
anything, we had ever experienced. Millions of dollars changed hands every hour
in the casinos, grand shows rocked the hotels, lights from the giant buildings
and the grand commercials lighted the city, giant limousines drove down the
streets with people, who for one night wanted to taste life as a star.
Everything took place in the middle of the Nevada-desert,
where a giant city suddenly appeared out of nowhere, when one drove along the
long, endless highways. A lot of the hotels on the main street “The Strip” in
Las Vegas had their own themes. We looked out the window with our heads as far
back as we could at the the most famous buildings and skyscrapers in New York
and Manhattan, while others resembled Egypt with copies of the pyramids and the
sphinx, Venice with real canals in the middle of Vegas, Rome with a huge copy
of the Colosseum, Sahara with tents and camels, Paris with a 140 meter copy of
the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe. Another place in the street was the
background for a great fight between pirates, who fought bloody duels with
cannonballs flying about the street.
In the centre of all this the biggest tower in USA is
placed. From the top of Stratosphere you have a clear view of the giant circus.
And off course you could try a few rides on top of the tower, which meant, that
you could shoot yourself directly up into the air from the 400 meter top of the
tower. Or you could try an insane carousel spinning you around and around above
the giant casinos below.The
street was so far below, that the cars resembled ants. Me and a co-worker tried
the “shoot”, and when we were waiting for the ride to begin, I could feel my
heart hammering in my chest, and I was afraid I might s*** my pants!
Faster than lightning we flew into the air, and the loud
screams from the other daredevils reached our ears. We had the chance to see
all of Vegas from an even better view – if we had had the courage to keep our
I come from a small town in Denmark with about 4500
inhabitants. My hotel was one of the biggest in the world with the capacity to
house 10.000 guest. This is more than twice as many as in my home town!
The first time I visited Vegas was after the course in
Disneyland. Since then I have participated in similar courses in the city
itself. My first visit didn't leave me with a great impression. I didn't like
the city. It was to big, to wild, to American. Now that I have been there more
than once, I can tell that the city should not be taken to seriously. It is all
a show, just as my work, and now I look forward to getting back and enjoy that
it is okay to have fun even though you're all grown up.
Jesper Grønkjær travels in Nevada
Since I had travelled thousands of kilometres across tha
Atlantic Ocean and the final show was over in Las Vegas, I decided to continue
the adventure somewhere else. So we each rented a motorcycle and drove through
the heat of the Nevada Desert and some way into Arizona to get to Grand Canyon.
But when you are in God's own country this journey must be done on a Harley
Davidson-Bike, which is the essence of the American biker-culture. This should
be a fun alternative way of travelling like my expedition down the Amazon River
on a raft.
Even though it had been years since I had last steered a
two-wheeler in traffic, I was boasting with confidence, but it didn't take long
before I realized, that there is a difference between wishes and reality. On
the 12-track highway with rapid traffic on both sides in the large city Las
Vegas I felt quite unprotected and close to the asphalt, when large trucks and
limousines roamed by. And in between all of them we tenaciously tried to
orientate and follow traffic. I felt I might had gambled a bit more than money
The neon lit hotels and casinos of the gambling city were
quickly replaced with a plane view of the desert, which extended as far as the
eye could see. Along the endless highways we first crossed the Hoover Dam,
which crosses the Lake Mead – one of the largest human-made lakes in the world.
From there we went through the desert of Nevada to the state of Arizona, where
we reached the legendary Route 66, which was one of the most preferred roads of
the Easy Riders in the 60s. In the desert the temperatures could easily hit 60
degrees and it would turnequally
cold in the mountains. But nevertheless it was amazing to ride through the
breathtaking landscape at top speed all by yourself – the only company was the
bugs, I had swallowed.
On one hand it was rough nature at it's toughest, but on
the other hand it was incredibly beautiful, especially when we reached the rear
of the gigantic Grand Canyon. The canyon is part of a gigantic formation of
mountains. Through millions of years the Colorado River has created a canyon,
that is more than 2 kilometres deep. We drove on our Harley's through the Grand
Canyon National Park , but we chose to rent a helicopter to really get a sense
of this miracle of nature, and for a momentwe lost our breath, when we flew over the steep edge of the
canyon, hanging like a small marble in the middle of the giant mountains.
Seeing the great canyon from above made me realize, that
magic truly exist. It is not the kind of magic which unfolds on stage, but the
kind of magic that happens, when we seek it in nature.