Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 | 1:55 p.m.
You gaze at the twinkling and pulsating lights wound around the palm trees and stretched across the roof of Marc Savard’s house, and you feel like you’re lost in a trance.
It is indeed a hypnotic experience (at least, I fell under Savard's spell during a visit last week), which is only right as hypnosis is Savard’s area of expertise. He stars in his own show, “Marc Savard Comedy Hypnosis,” at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood and has taught the practice in seminars and on DVD.
But this holiday spectacular at his house on 1420 E. Robindale Road is not a professional endeavor. The display of nearly 88,000 LED bulbs strung together with 548 strings hooked into 16 power outlets, and the accompanying 19 songs played in concert with those flashing lights, represent a personal passion.
Savard spent five days in November assembling the attraction (after taking 18 days three years ago, the first time he took on the task). The display was envisioned and designed by Savard, and the tunes were chosen by Savard and his daughters to create the sort of Christmas setting the venerable hypnotist remembers from his youth in Canada.
Savard recalls, with great fondness, the festivities his family enjoyed during the Christmas season. Savard remembers visiting neighbors’ holiday displays in November (his went up on Thanksgiving), and celebrating the event through Boxing Day on Dec. 26 and not halting until after New Year’s Day.
“In Las Vegas, Christmas ended for us the afternoon of Christmas Day,” he says. “We wanted to make it a longer celebration for the girls.” Savard and his wife, Joanna, have four young daughters: Isabel, Renee, Genevieve and Lorelle. The youngest Savard girl was born in August and completes out the acronym “G.I.R.L.” She was delivered as Marc hypnotized Joanna as an aid to natural childbirth.
Thus, this is the first Christmas display for the new addition to Savard’s family. The older girls pedal around the home’s half-circle driveway each night as the production they helped develop plays out. Visitors to the neighborhood have increased, and on Friday night vehicles of gawkers caused traffic and parking problems. “It’s getting crazy out there,” Savard said Saturday.
The music used in the display includes such holiday classics as “All I Want for Christmas,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “The Little Drummer Boy” intertwined with such contemporary cuts as “Blurred Lines,” “I Love It” and "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?).” Savard is broadcasting a simulcast of the show on 101.3-FM (the signal works only near the house) and offering a number to be used just for texts (767-9052) for visitors to use to send messages about the display. Typical of these: “We love you so much! Tonight is my birthday, and my one request is to come and see your lights and hear the music. Thank you!”
As “Blurred Lines” thumped on the sound system and the lights pulsated to the song’s bass line, I asked Savard the obvious: What did he think of Clark Griswold’s fantastic Christmas lighting setup at his house in “Christmas Vacation”?
“I was jealous!” he said. “He ran everything on one 15-amp, regular plug.”
Sure. But Clark didn’t have all that music or the capacity to put people under a singularly impressive holiday spell.