Don't ask me WHY I decided to have my birthday party at MARS2112. Just thank me! MARS2112 is one of the many theme restaurants in Times Square, but it's the only one with a ride to get in! And me? I'm a sucker for a ride.

The idea is that the restaurant is actually ON the red planet. It's a 30,000 sq foot replica of what life on MARS really is like! You know, a restaurant, a bar, an arcade, and a giftshop. And it's not so easy to get there. This is mostly because the entrance is below street level, a discrete touch in the middle of a part of town known for its flashing neon and a gigantic steaming Cup o' Noodles sign. In fact most New Yorkers dont know it's there cuz theyre busy looking across the street at the old Winter Garden theater which is where CATS lived its ninth life.

Once inside MARS2112, youll join an international galley of fellow space enthusiasts from ports o' call near and far, but mostly from the Bronx. You gotta wait in line to take the 6 minute shuttlecraft ride of course. Being purists, Bryan and I got there early to save a space in line but all of my birthday guests arrived late (as expected) and had to skip the shuttlecraft and cut through the "hyperspace" door. So Bryan and I stayed and got into our spaceship. Basically it is a home-theater version of something like StarTours. The best part though is that the fellow travellers are of the Jerry Springer audience variety and have delightfully rude comments for everything going on! When the lady flight coordinator asked if we're ready, a multitude of PuertoRican voices shouted for her to "Shut up let's go!" Pretty soon Bryan started doing his whole Maury Povich teen-gone-bad routine of "Sit Down! Sit Down! Ju don't know me. Whatevah, whatevah! Sit down!"

Before anyone could throw a chair, the nauseating filmstrip was over and we arrived at the actual MARS. It's all like a cave! A blown out cavern, all red craggy rocks with techno fixtures and biomorphic-lit structures! We went directly for the Star Bar to find our friends there all alone. NOBODY was in the bar! It's great!! A GIGANTIC rock-walled character-run bar all to yourself. On screen, fake MARS TV is showing a lady alien doing a sort of martian hula dance which is how they do the weather report on MARS apparently. The drinks have all sorts of wacky names like the "Cosmos-Politan" for example. Get it? COSMOS?

But we are beer drinkers, and guess what? The beers are totally normal price. You'd think a beer on Mars would cost more. All with the importing through the wormhole and everything. And as John quickly announced, "I've heard of Mars Bars, but THIS is ridiculous!" And he wasnt so far from wrong when "Captain Orion", one of the MARS costumed characters walked in. But our main question was.. "Was Captain Orion a lady or a black man inside?" A tall thin creature with no package. You tell me! And speaking of, they have another creature there! He doesnt have a plush doll character of himself for sale in the giftshop, but he is a real freak! Dressed in a pink latex elvis wig, and with the personality of.. Brian Boitano on crystal meth, it's... "The GAY-lien!" That damn Gaylien was going to every table in the joint but ours! He took one look and got wind of the situation and turned tail. But me and my friend Charles got up and pursued him down a flight of stairs and cornered him until we got a photo with him. Then we split cuz he was annoying.

Hey, where are those Martian bacterias I've been reading about in Omni magazine? Why they're in the bathroom of course. A class act in a sea of kitsch! The MARS2112 bathroom has a bathroom attendant! A human one, cuz otherwise I think it would be too frightening to have a costumed character handing you towels and standing around brushing your clothing off. Personally I hate bathroom attendants, and so i hightailed it outta there without washing my hands. And also I went back in later and a guy was throwing up. So if you go to MARS, you have to check out the bathroom action.

I cant tell you about the restaurant except it is huge, and there is a long wait to get a table, and it is probably not worth it. And the Starcade is not worth it either. In fact, I think this is where they make the bulk of their money. ALL the games are priced at least 2x their actual Earth arcade price. They're all like $1.50 each! Bryan and I played the skateboarding game, which came out to about $1.50 a minute. And David sucked out on "the Claw" which is his specialty game!

It didnt matter though, the whole place is like a living fairytale. Cinderella to be exact, because MARS2112 closes at midnight. Sure, you can get sushi at 3am and dance til tomorrow afternoon in NYC but you cannot get drinks past midnight on MARS. Don't worry though, contrary to NASA's reports, MARS has more atmosphere than you can take!