Friday, May 25, 2018

360 Vegas POV: Casino E-1


Casino is the story of Sam "Ace" Rothstein and the events that occurred while he ran the Tangiers hotel and casino in Las Vegas.  The movie is based on the real life of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal and what happened while he was running the Stardust.   

What's fun about this movie are the choices Scorsese makes, how often his story accurately mirrors the real events that inspired it and where they deviate from one another.  Not only the differences in the narrative but in the movie version of the city of Las Vegas.  Both are set in the 1970s through the early 80s.  However since the movie was filmed in 1994, without the use of modern CGI, differences between how the landscape looked during the time the story is set in and what it looked like during filming were unavoidable.  Despite that challenge, Scorsese made the conscious effort to represent the city as it existed during that time when he could, changing it when it benefited the story. 

In that spirit, lets play a game.  We want to see how close the movie storyline matches what really happenedWhile doing that, we'll compare the landscape in Scorsese's version of Vegas to the real one.   

We'll start by assuming both are exactly the same and analyze the movie to either confirm this or establish that they're different As we encounter moments that conflict with the chronological events, we'll acknowledge them, then remove them from the equation so we can move on connecting the moments in time that still match up.  We'll continue doing this until we're finally shown something that breaks the last connection we have, to the continuity of the real events. 

Regarding the landscape, we will allow it to help us progress in the timeline but not to establish a break in it.  Conflicts will simply be documented differences between the movie landscape and the real one.  That being said, one rule we will make is you can't make things up.  The Tangiers will be the only fictional landmark.  The rest of the landscape can only be reconfigured, either in location or in its evolution.  The moment something can't simply be reconfigured to explain what you are seeing, the game is over.  That includes making changes to the infrastructure.  IE, things like roads and landmarks exist exactly as they are, or were, in the Las Vegas until something is shown to force us to relocate them.  So if we are driving along the strip and after the Flamingo we see the Golden Nugget, then that's where the Golden Nugget exists in films version of Las Vegas.  It doesn't become a problem until we see the Golden Nugget shown again but located in a different geographical location 

Also, understand that an argument can be made to challenge any of this.  This is just a chance to over analyze a movie and talk about Vegas while doing it. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

E-268: Shots...In My Mouth

Random Vegas
Dunes jacket shop owner and property fanboy Jerry Pearman was given the honor of making the final throw of the dice before the property closed in 1993.  Betting $5 on the pass line, he rolled a 7 and won.

Twitpic of the week

The Silverbird signage alone may have secured the win for this week's "Twitpic of the week", once again brought to you by @TonyIlliawho has recently been dominating the designation.  I know it was a short lived incarnation for the property, originally known as the Thunderbird, but something about all the silver just captures my imagination.  I'm curious how hot that sign got with the desert sun shinning down on it, and what sort of crazy reflections that thing created, and was the real concept behind the signage an overly elaborate way to torture and kill James Bond.  The world may never know.  What we do know is that only two things in this picture still exist today on the Las Vegas strip, Caesars Palace and Circus Circus, interestingly enough, both themed resorts from the mind of Jay Sarno.  And only one of them still looks like it did in 1981, that's the Lucky the Clown marquee at Circus Circus. Caesars Palace is shown here in the dead center of the photo, still sporting the Sarno block exterior it would keep for almost another 20 year before being changed to what we know it as today.  Everything else, has literally been raised to ground and is currently undeveloped land.  But don't lament its passing too much because what the picture doesn't show you, is that in 1981, the strip located south of Caesars looked very similar to what this part of the strip looks like today. Paris, Planet Hollywood, Cosmopolitan, City Center, Monte Carlo, NYNY, MGM Grand and Luxor were little more than undeveloped land.  I'm sure there's a metaphor in their somewhere but I'm too busy enjoying the view to wax philosophical. 


360VV6 Housekeeping
Wynn Picasso Damaged
Cosmopolitan New Restaurants Announced
Sugarfina Opens
CNF Reminder

Saturday, May 12, 2018

E-267: Didn't Be Like

Random Vegas
The International (aka Hilton, LVH & Westgate) was the first Vegas property to use the 3-wing hotel design; also know as the hug concept.  The Mirage, Treasure Island and Monte Carlo all used the same concept.  Bellagio and Venetian are variations of the concept. Wynn & Encore are considered to be a further evolution of the practice.

Twitpic of the week

I've never been one to lament the virtual elimination of the small business.  I fully support property consolidation, if only so low rollers have more options while still being able to get credit for their action, as long as it's kept within reason.  Anti-trust regulations were created for a reason.  That being said, I get it.  Especially when I look at the Twitpic of the week, brought to you by @Summacorp.  It's a picture of Fremont St circa 1963.  And while all these structures still exist, in one form or another, the only one that is today, what it was in 63, is Golden Gate. The rest have been repurposed or absorbed by its neighbors.  And honestly, my real disappointment may simply be an excessive desire for more signage, or different signage.  Although, the more I look at this picture, the more I start to think, I prefer it the way it is now, minus the Fremont St Experience canopy.  Thank you, pictures, for allowing me to enjoy how things existed in the past while not forcing me to have to live with them in the present. 


Saturday, May 5, 2018

E-266: Acceptable Cuntery

Random Vegas
Since peaking in 2006 at $1.2 billion, strip properties in Las Vegas have generated the majority of their revenue, as much as 65% in some cases, from non-gaming amenities likehotel rooms, shopping, entertainment and spas. Further explaining why gaming odds have declined for the player over the last decade.

Twitpic of the week

While I love the Fremont St Experience, I prefer the landscape without it.  There's something exceptional about all that signage, densely concentrated, set against a black night sky.  No single location or landmark says Vegas like the neon strip.  That being said, this week's winner, once again brought to you by @TonyIllia, says something else to me.  Something I've never noticed before.  It says in 1990, Fremont was tired.  I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but it all looks like it was feeling every bit its age.  Maybe it was bad idea to let Binion's and the Golden Nugget absorb its neighbors so they could expand.  Maybe it's the excessive use of the orange hue lettering in the Golden Goose and Coin Castle signage.  Whatever it is, something was clearly off.  And now that I'm seeing it, it's hard to fault those that acknowledged Fremont St needed something to shock the area back to life.  Fast forward four years from this moment, and Fremont St, meet your defibrillator in the form of, what else, bright signage to recapture the imagination and patronage of the Las Vegas visitor.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

E-265: Fun Cunts

Random Vegas
Ralph Engelstad, owner of the Flamingo Capri before it became the Imperial palace, was once offered a contract to play for hockey professionally for the Chicago Blackhawks.  He turned it down to build his own construction company.

Twitpic of the week

Based on the landmarks pictured, its a little before my time. But it still captures the essence of the city as it was introduced to me in 2004.  It wasn't by design but there was magical transition that used to exist just beyond the northern curve of the Las Vegas strip.  It felt almost like traveling back in time at a leisurely pace. The Mirage kicked off the next generation of Vegas resorts on the strip to be built around and south of it, while the elder statesmen of the market continued to do their thing to the north.  However just like a mid-life crisis corvette, the desire to feel young again eventually took hold.  And just like a pick up game of basketball with people 20 years your junior, at some point you realized you can't keep up.  Best intentions to improve on a proven formula returned the majority of north strip to the desert.  What was once densely populated by the icons of yesteryear, showcased in the picture shared by @tonyIllia, are now mostly giant undeveloped parcels of land again.  Glass half full, they're prepped and ready for the next visionary to make their mark on the city. 


Wynn Resorts Rundown
Las Vegas Convention Center Expansion
Podcasters After Dark Tickets
Vegas Golden Knights News
Icahn Sells Tropicana

Saturday, April 7, 2018

E-264: Savory Yogurt

Random Vegas
In 1995, a monorail was built to connect the MGM Grand to, fittingly enough, the former MGM Grand, now known as Bally's.  It would later be incorporated into the Las Vegas Monorail, making MGM Grand one of its anchor bookend properties
Twitpic of the week

Neon, signage and history are just a few of my favorite things about Las Vegas.  The concept that is Brilliant! at the Neon Museum takes the "dream come true" metaphor to another level.  If Nightmare on Elm St has taught us anything, it's that a person can be aware that they are in a dream, while in a dream.  I'm pretty sure other movies have said that as well but I'm going with Nightmare on Elm St.  Write your own fuckin monolog.  One of the ways one can help the subconscious recognize that they are in a dream is by identifying the things that are just slightly out of place from the way they are in reality.  Take the Stardust sign, shared here by @RaisingLasVegas and brought back to life by the Brilliant! light show @Neon Museum and such an experience can be described as a "dream come true" to some. But take a step back on the "come true" part and look closer at what you're seeing.  Yep, there it is.  Those are two different fonts being used.  The A is from the original font used at the property known as Electra Jag. The rest is the Futura Typeface font that replaced it in 1991 (some argue Helvetica, whatever).  And that's when you realize it; this isn't real, this must be a dream because these two fonts never existed together in reality.  Hold on, don't freak out, this a cool thing. You're aware you're in a dream. Try doing something cool like flying or something without consequences like playing triple zero roulette. Write a random sentence, and read it during the show, in a cadence that sounds like, your wrapping up this monolog.


Zorkfest Individual Events Announced
Promocode - Zork360Insane
MGM Explores Wynn Acquisition
Yogurteria Coming to Palazzo
 Aria Esports
Park MGM Pool Price Points
Kind Heaven Coming to LINQ
Chocolate Chair Coming to Grand Bazaar
Knights Vow

Saturday, March 31, 2018

E-262: Now I Know Why We Drink

Random Vegas
In 1909, Nevada criminalized gambling, specifically to play or deal in social card games, games of chance like craps and slot machines.  However almost as soon as the law passed, it started to be chipped way at 
  • Two years after it was made illegal, in 1911, prohibition on virtually all social card games, except Poker, was relaxed
  •  In 1913, all social card games including certain slot machines were allowed as long as the payoff was for drinks, cigars or sums of money less than $2
  • 1915 saw pari-mutuel betting legalized at race tracks
  • 1919 brought back state licensed card rooms
Ironically, it was the passing of prohibition in the 1920s and the great depression that followed, that encouraged the movement to re-legalize wide open gambling in Nevada, although it wouldn't be successful until 1931 (The Book - Roll the Bones: Casino Edition) 

Twitpic of the week

Continuing to bland up the market, Monte Carlo continues its death march to becoming the forgettably named Park MGM.  Yes it was a rich theme for the poor man and yes the name Park MGM isn't as bad as the Las Vegas Hotel (aka LVH) but that doesn't mean we aren't going to lament it's passing.  Dethemeing has its documented successes and failures since the concept was introduced to the market, i.e. Imperial Palace into LINQ and Sahara into SLS, but honesty those examples probably have more to do with their locations than execution on the concept.  This week @MeltzVegas showed us another instance of history in the making as the name Monte Carlo is no more on display at the least not on the hotel tower. We are told the plan is to renovate into high end.  Here's hoping the concept skews more Cosmopolitan than pretentious elitism.