There's chills in my bones. The air is growing colder with the elevation and the creaking swing ahead in the R.V Park is rocking like a horror movie against the wind. I love little silhouettes like that. Vegas is gone, a trickled alien light board disappearing through the valley into a blue sunk dusk.
I walked past it today, finally. Went on south through the suburbs. I guess I didn't realize there were any. The desert middle class living seems lonely. Wake up, go to star bucks, manage whatever, all with those picturesque unphotagraphical mountains strung across the sky. What a sight. But what a lowly commercial spec to live in. It feels like a retirement community from Floridazona in the middle of a dry dusty valley. Nice cars, nice strip malls and shopping centers that look like strip malls and shopping centers anywhere else in the U.S. that's nice and surrounded by more chains in malls of more chains. It's a high end Baker, C.A. with gambling and gun stores. Tourists say Viva Las Vegas, these people live Las Vegas.
Parts of the west are lost so far as I can tell. Baron parodies of a glamorized time, ridden with empty casinos, hackneyed ghost tours, kitschy thrift stores and semi trucks galore. Towns are struggling for business and a purpose and enough people to actually call themselves a town. They're filled with good souls and souls sucked into screens and souls trapped in a bubbles like any other bubble. But they'll survive so long as people keep passing through. As long as vegas stands people will be passing through.
Im developing a philosophy called 'What does the Bear do?' Well, it wakes up in the morning, yawns, leaves the cave, gets a good scratch in before heading to the rest room, wanders the woods on his way to the stream where he enjoys his salmon lunch - he's watching his weight you know AND helping control the Salmon population- scares off some deer, eats a campers garbage, puts the moves on a friendly lady bear and depending on the season does all right for himself, heads back to the cave and goes to sleep. If its rainy out, screw it. The Bear will have a "me" day. And when it's cold? Forget it. The Bear sleeps through that nasty weather only to wake up in a beautiful spring and watch all the life rise back up. That's about it. Makes sense.
What does Man do? Las Vegas.
It was a tough three weeks getting to Vegas and our anticipation was ill met. Literally. A.J. began a six day vomitous romp through the Sin City lights with some unknown alien death bug while the bottoms of my feet were stripped down to red and blistering. This of course culminated on Thursday, thirty miles before the strip. Nonetheless I was excited to get there, see people, lights, buffets. I've been known to play a hand or two in my day as well. The forced rest was much needed and Ballys proved to be a very accommodating hotel-mall-bar with gambling and go-go dancers.
Our room was upgraded at check in when A.J. ran like a flaming giraffe to the bathroom cupping his mouth before being able to sign the room bill. After informing Esther, the charming korean receptionist, that we had in fact walked to Las Vegas and A.J. was just feeling the effects, she immediately put us on a twenty second floor strip view deluxe room. Thank you Esther.
Las Vegas is a tacky boozed up playground for adults who love to get drunk and relive their frat days at big state before living in the middle of nowhere and visiting a shopping mall city, a fantasy land of pricey preoccupation.
Now, if I had to guess, I would say the entire state of Ohio was given a trip to the ole city of lights this Presidents Day weekend. Midwest tourists, everywhere! With their beer funnels and funny tee shirts and coupon books and boy do they walk slow. In the casino at night there were actually middle aged women sitting in large groups with tiaras on their heads, just like the commercials, drinking champagne, laughing like wombats and having the time of their lives in the "Night Clubs" like carmel, or fromagio or the X located next to the penny slots or table games with charismatic cover bands. It's just, like, the commercials...I can't believe it.
And guys just love talking to you to to report where theyre staying or what great deal they nailed.
"Where you stayin partner?"
"Nicccce. Yep were over at the Aria. Great deal. Beautiful. Nailed it."
There are great deals everywhere. And boy do they buy, buy, buy, buy. Just stuff. A bunch of plastic souvenir blinky crap nothing stuff. That's all there is to do. Buy stuff. And It's great. It's big and stupid and fun and who doesn't like big stupid fun things and shows and cover bands and fake Sinatras and Streisands and showgirls and lights and money and roller coasters sailing through New York City. It can get tiring. The impersonators are weird. Why do people go see fake Michael Jackson....
But I like Vegas because I can sit down at a bar and order an Eiffel Tower of Margarita or a Football of beer or a Flamingo of Pina Colada. And they bring it right to you! Everywhere you walk is a moving walkway or escalator so you don't really have to walk anywhere, which is why it's incredible all those Ohioites, Ohioins? Ohiosters? People from Ohio walk so slow. Outside of Ballys is a hundred foot moving walkway that's engulfed by these continuing neon rings like a bright neon vortex. You just stand and slowly move through this gigantic unnecessary light tube from the lobby to the street. It's fun to ask the valet if he can point you in the direction of the "Tron Tunnel" as we have so aptly named it. Oh and every restaurant has scantily clad waitresses and bartenders who do tricks. Unless its the greek place I went to with the all you can eat Prime Rib special. They're waitresses are old and homely but they really know how to dish out round after round of prime rib.
So I spent most of my weekend sleeping or down in the spa or wandering the casino floor if my feet would allow me and wonder what there was to do at a casino without any money. I would wander the other Casinos too. Caesars is incomprehensible, The Imperial Palace is a dump and The Paris is lovely this time of year. I had slice of pizza inside New York New York at a stand in the cheeky hotel mini NYC located at Broadway and West Ave around the corner from 5th ave and across from Greenwich Village just past Brooklyn, next to the restrooms. The geography may have been off but the size of the fake three foot apartments located above the little shops were about right.
After an hour of wandering with no answer each time I would return to the room or the spa or the casino floor. It was during this wandering on Sunday that I got a text from A.J. who is back in the room recovering, -Dangerous Muse is playing at Krave tonight. must go.- Dangerous Muse...oh boy.
So pop sensation Dangerous Muse is playing a show at this club A.J. has been craving to go to, Krave. i pronounce it kra-vey. You can guess what kind of club it is. My friend Tom is one of two members of this electro pop group of mild fame. They're ridiculous and hilarious and great and one hell of a show. Both Tom and the front man Mike Furey went to college with A.J. And I, lived across the hall in my apartment in the bronx, and just so happen to be in Vegas when we just so happen to be walking through Vegas. So A.J. Felt miraculously better and my foot healed instantly and we put on our sunday best and went to meet them for Dinner at some french place before their show.
Tom sat hyper and joking with his oversized sunglasses and gelled half hawk red hair looking as always the rockstar while furey took in the strip from our prime outdoor table wearing his prim suit, risky business shades and looking as always the movie star. Their keyboardist was there too I think and someone's cousin. We sat and laughed and caught up and went back to the cabana that Krave put them up in, napped and headed to the venue around 1:30am. They were supposed to perform at 1:30am. Rockstars....
We sat backstage, enjoyed the complimentary bottle Jameson and cheeses and bullshitted with Tom and the keyboardist while Tyler the manager drooled over Furey, did I mention yet this was a big tacky gay club, and by about 2:30am Dangerous Muse was ready to perform some electro pop mayhem. And for nine and a half minutes they ruled. Yes they were flown in and payed and put up in a cabana to perform two songs on a Sunday night. Rockstars...
After the show Im sitting in the V.I.P lounge while Tom and Mike sell autographs and the Keyboardist pushes merchandise. The best part was that it was a Sunday night on Presidents Day Weekend and Vegas is flooded with Ohio and they're looking for a comp anywhere. So the club is filled with hundreds of awkward straight teenagers and old couples who got coupons for the concert dancing their pants off in that cheesy white person tourist kind of way with lots of finger snapping while Dangerous Muse, Logo T.V.s number one band three weeks straight, is blasting. The dance floor is surrounded by ten oily muscular men in thongs Go Go dancing on platforms and scaffolding in a fog filled strobe lit pop dungeon. In thongs. And the whole time everyone is seemingly clueless. I think the tourists just thought that this was what a night club was like.