Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some Items I Love About Vegas

1) Shooting machine guns is no problem (for a fee)

2) Drivers.

I love cab drivers no matter where I am, but in Vegas, those dudes have seen everything and will talk about anything.

We had a great conversation with a cabbie who explained how, after what sounded like he'd married a string of elderly women for their money, was now retiring from a life of being a kept man and becoming a plain-old gigolo. Retired is a strong word. His last wife had died of natural causes, which led me to believe she had at least twenty five years on him.

But he was pretty pumped about this new chapter in his life. In fact, he showed us the books he was reading on becoming a gigolo.

Also chatted with a driver who was amazed by the nuclear test sites near Vegas, and theorized it was that which made people who lived there too long begin to transform into "the people from 'The Hills Have Eyes'". Apparently a lifetime of cigarette smoke, drinking, desert sun and recycled air is no problem, though.

We also chatted on the fact that Vegas doesn't recycle, which, we agreed was insane. It was decided he should seek seed money and start a tire and paper recycling plant a few miles outside the city (to keep the fumes from getting the tourists).

3) Moms next to hookers.

Visitors to Vegas don't just put up with stuff they'd never have in their own backyard, they embrace the malarkey. You really can't get anywhere too far on the famed "Strip" without someone trying to get you to call a "lady of the night" by handing you a glossy card with a picture of what is surely not the actual hooker who will show up at your room (another bit of unsolicited information the drivers wanted to make sure I had in my pocket).

Its just interesting to me to see all these people who look exactly like my parent's friends having a club soda and sitting at the slots, I guess just tuning out what has to be a thriving industry in Nevada.

Most of me suspects that, when you get down to it, like most other things people pretend to be outraged by, Las Vegas is testament to the fact that the vast majority just doesn't really care all that much about what we label societal ills when they crop up in our backyard. But, you know, put them in the glitter ball that is Vegas, give some free drinks at the slots, and it's all good.

4) Celebrities you totally forgot about (some of whom are dead) have a lucrative career going on

When was the last time you thought about Bette Midler? I'll tell you: that episode of Seinfeld more than ten years ago. But in Vegas, Midler has a stunningly successful show at Caesar's Palace. So does Cher. Barry Manilow is rocking the Hilton, I believe.

Yeah, there's all the Cirque du Soleil shows, etc... but Wayne Brady has a show, and all kinds of other comedians, singers, etc... And there's even some celebrities who are there in spirit via long-running drag shows with the stars impersonating all sorts of celebrities.

And even being dead is no barrier. The mostly-dead Beatles have a successful show of people singing karaoke of their stuff, and the Rat Pack is refused the right to rest in peace as impersonator after impersonator puts on hammy versions of Dino, Frank, Sammy, etc... And certainly there's no shortage of Elvii, and I actually bore witness to a street performer getting into his Michael Jackson getup in the bathroom at a Cali-Mex place. And, heck, I passed a Liberace museum on my way to shoot guns.

7 comments:

Nathan said...

The Liberace Museum is really terrific. I've been there. Did you know some of those capes and outfits weighed over 200 lbs.?

Ryan S. said...

If it had been just me and I were not sharing a cab with four other people, I would have had the cabbie pull over and drop me off so I could go inside. However, it was not to be on this particular trip.

rhpt said...

Last time i went to Vegas, they had really calmped down on the smut peddlers. So much so that we didn't see any. I'm surprised you ran into any of them.

In a way, it's sad because the ones we used to see were immigrants (probably illegal) and some of them were women and you know, that's got to be embarrasing.

Ryan S. said...

I think they basically decided that the foray into family entertainment was bad for the other side (the profitable one) of business. There were literally 20 - 40 foot gauntlets of the guys handing out the pamphlets, brochures, cards, etc... every 100 feet or so. I'd guess many were day laborers. And I did see about four women handing out the fliers.

So, yeah, I think the "clamping down" is over with. I did tell Jamie, and this was my 4th or 5th time there, that it seemed like it had actually intensified quite a bit.

rhpt said...

Emily and I missed the smut peddlers when they weren't there. They're part of the whole experience, you know?

Ryan S. said...

If you aren't treading on discarded smut, you aren't walking on The Strip.

Jason said...

I would just like to point out that, for God's sake, we live in Texas, and I bet we could find someone to put a machinegun into our hands for a fee here, too!