Hilly and Nilly are quarantine experts. They are also not real. They are the rubberized alien mascots for the Area15 entertainment complex in Las Vegas.
But Chris Wink, Area 15’s director of content and cool (stuff), has summoned the wayward couple from nearby Area 51 to star in a video explaining how to quarantine in the desert.
Wink, a founding member of Blue Man Group who broke with the company in 2017, called in Nate and Hila, a rap tandem out of New York, to create the piece. Find it on the Area15 YouTube page.
Nate and Hila say they specialize in comedy and philosophy to advance social consciousness, with an “emphasis on ecology and sex.”
Thus, an alien rap video is entirely within their sensibilities.
Working with life-size (we surmise) alien puppets, the duo raps through the clip, reciting such lyrics as, “You’re stuck inside your crib. Is it lonely? Is it nice? Is it existential dread, or a potential paradise?” And, “Take an alien’s advice, take your pair o’ dice and shake ’em. Make your quarantine into a Planet Earth staycation.”
Some of the suggestions — maybe all of them — make sense. Bake bread and play cribbage. Read Jane Austen, and James Baldwin. Perform yoga. Plant basil.
“They have been quarantined since the 1950s,” Wink said Monday during an Instagram Live chat on my @JohnnyKats1 IG page. “If anyone knows how to survive, it would be them.”
Area15, with MeowWolf of Santa Fe, New Mexico, as its anchor entertainment tenant, has been planning to open this summer. Events have thrown off that timeline, with Wink saying, “We’ll be ready, but also thoughtful about opening when it makes sense.”
The video captures Area15’s vision, and its collective personality.
“In all seriousness, we happened to be talking about what we really are, beyond immersive entertainment and retail,” Wink says. “One thing was, we want to bring light to the world but also create some context around what is going on and show we can work with each other.”
Wink does have a long-term vision, too.
“We’re getting ready,” he says. “When we’re on the other side, we’ll have a hell of a party. Maybe 20.”
The Piff show
On the topic of groovy stuff on YouTube, Piff the Magic Dragon is hosting a twice-daily show titled “Piff’s Golden Hour,” posting at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on his PiffTheMagicDragon YouTube page. Showgirl sidekick Jade Simone and Mr. Piffles (a real scene-stealer) join the dragon-costumed Flamingo headliner.
Piff launched on Thursday with Howie Mandel, whom Piff got to know during his “America’s Got Talent” run in 2015. Penn Jillette and Colin Cloud have also been guests, and Piff has unveiled his much-hyped Mr. Piffles ventriloquist puppet.
Tucked into an episode is a lengthy discussion of how to properly pronounce “squirrels.” This back-and-forth is funnier than it sounds.
MGM summons stars
Magician legend David Copperfield, the great comic/actor Brad Garrett, A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces, Jonathan Scott of “Property Brothers,” comedian Kathleen Madigan, Shin Lim, star chef Roy Choi and Brian Newman of NoMad Restaurant are featured in MGM Resorts International’s latest social media campaign.
Find them all on the #TogetherAtHome Twitter hashtag. Expect this to be a series.
The collective message is, these folks miss the Vegas audiences as much as they miss them.
Newman is also featured in his own two-minute clip, playing trumpet in his garage in Brooklyn, New York, while his wife, Angie Pontani, and their daughter, Sistilia, groove it up (bonus points if you can name the classic vehicle parked in the driveway).
Virtual Cool Hang Alert
Daniel Emmet, 2018 “America’s Got Talent” champ — and we believe, eventually, Harrah’s Showroom headliner — is hosting “Live (at Home) From the Desert” at 6 p.m. Saturday on his Facebook and Instagram Live pages. Emmet can sing in multiple languages, multiple genres and, evidently, multiple platforms.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.