Saturday, July 14, 2018

E-273: Totally Watching My Dick

Random Vegas
In 1949, Nat King Cole experienced first hand the racist duality that existed in Las Vegas at the time.  Despite being a the headliner at the Thunderbird, he was not allowed to stay or play at the property when he wasn't performing.  Instead, he was required to reside in less than adequate accommodations in a part of town known as Dustville, west of Fremont St, on the other side of I-15.  It would be another 6 years before the Moulin Rouge, the first fully integrated hotel/casino would open in Las Vegas in 1955 and another 11 years before the Moulin Rouge Agreement was signed desegregating all casinos on the strip in 1960

Twitpic of the week

It's a view askew of a place left of center, exuding a surrealism that doesn't fade from a distance, only contextualizes the experience.  The tradeoff of staying off strip is having an epic view of the action you are currently not amidst of...but what a view. I feel sorry for those who don't appreciate the theming of Las Vegas because the awe of views like this must be totally lost on them.  It must be what its like to lose one of your senses and not be able to enjoy the aroma of a loved one, the taste of secret pizza or views of the strip from a distance, like this one, shared by @JenniferTilly.  Yes, according to twitter, that one, aka Bonnie Swanson.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

E-272: Blood Content Level

Random Vegas
During Luxor’s grand opening in 1993, ATM machines dispense over 4m in its first 12 days. (Super Casino)

Twitpic of the week

For almost 25 years, THIS occupied the space currently home to the Mirage.  This is what Steve Wynn was looking at when he parked his car across the street at the Sands in the late 80s and allowed his imagination to wander, seeking inspiration for a plan for his recently acquired real estate on the strip. This would be the first ground up project on the Las Vegas strip for the owner of the Golden Nugget and the thing that would either take him to the next level or destroy him. What he came up with was an idea so huge, not only would it accomplish the former, it would revolutionize Las Vegas. The Mirage would reinvent what peoples understanding of what a hotel/casino could be, setting new records in the market in just about every category a record had been previously established.  Fun Fact: The Castaways font used on the properties marquee, not the one used on the building frontage, is the font this show uses to watermark the twitter handled of each week's "Twitpic of the Week".  This week, that handled belongs to @BinionsLV


Friday, June 29, 2018

360 Vegas POV: Casino E-2

Movies are a heightened sense of reality. Mix that medium with Vegas and even bad movies are somehow made better, because at least it’s in Vegas.  360 Vegas POV, or Vegas Point of View, is our opportunity to look beyond the narrative of a film and see the filmmakers vision for the city of Las Vegas.    

In this installment of 360 Vegas POV, we continue our analysis of Martin Scorsese's movie Casino by breaking down two scenes that will help to establish the geographic layout for the movie's version of the city of Las Vegas.  While we do that, we'll compare the films version of Vegas to the one that actually existed at the time as well as today.  But before we do that, lets reestablish the rules.

We want to see how close the movie storyline matches what really happened.  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 only reconfigure, 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

Saturday, June 23, 2018

E-271: Vancouver Bay

Random Vegas
It costs a Vegas hotel about $35 to "turn a room" (housekeeping).  So if the room is competed but you still have to pay a resort fee of at least $35 per night, the cost is recouped (VitalVegas)

Twitpic of the week

A motel on the strip; that's an experience I would've liked to try. The thought reminds me of childhood vacations in the south with my family and that magical feeling I got when stepping out of my room into warm air still lingering before the sun rises or after it sets.  I wouldn't dare even contemplate staying at one of the dens of STD available in modern day Vegas but back in the 60s, staying at some place like the La Concha, showcased in this week's winner, shared by @TonyIllia, would have been fun...if only it had a casino.  That single amenity is the ultimate determining factor when planning any Vegas trip for me.  Why would I stay at a place without a casino attached to it when I have options available that do?  With all the "only in Vegas" experiences available, why would you voluntarily do anything in Vegas that you could do someplace else. I even struggle with something like Delano which doesn't have its own casino but is connected to one internally so it's deemed an acceptable option, albeit not a preferred one. Vdara and Mandarin aren't even options in my head.  Idiosyncrasies aside, the La Concha will always have a special place in my heart, if only for capturing my imagination and that conch shell-esque lobby


Saturday, June 16, 2018

E-270: The Howard Hughes of Podcasting

Random Vegas
When it first opened, one of the selling points for the Desert Inn was individual thermostats in all guest rooms (Vital Vegas)
Twitpic of the week

Thanks to the unbreakable rules I've made up in my head to govern the "Twitpic of the Week" selection process, I've known who this week's winner was going to be for about two weeks.  Even though I could break one of said rules and almost no one would know, considering I'm the only one who's knows what the rules are, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that doing such a thing would be unthinkable.  Let me explain.  The 1st Twitpic of the week awarded after a 360 Vegas Vacation is actually the "Twitpic of the TRIP".  A photo, usually taken by me, that best encapsulates the spirit of that 360 Vegas Vacation & inspired a monolog.  After the trip report, all candidates nominated since the last "Twitpic of the WEEK" was awarded are reviewed.  That means a photo has to stand out 2-3 times longer than usual to earn, and in some cases retain, the right to the designation, which in some cases reaffirms the reason it is eventually awarded the honor.  This week's winner was one that was able to pretty easily hold off potential usurpers.  Captured in the air, on approach to McCarran, official 360 Vegas Vacation photographer @japluto09’s photo of the strip over the wing of a plane creates a coastal beach illusion causing those familiar with the desert landscape surrounding the strip to do a double take to comprehend what they're seeing. As if the view wasn’t ethereal enough, placing the strip in the distance over said wing inspires correlations to stories of afterlife accession. This shot embodies peace and tranquility amidst chaos and disorder,wrapped in mathematical probability. An equation that most certainly always equals an epic adventure on the horizon.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

E-269: 360 Vegas Vacation 6 Summer 2018

Official 360 Vegas Vacation Photographer

Random Vegas

In the (6) 360 Vegas Vacations we've had to date, planned events have had to be aborted at the last minute 4 times, 2 of them have happened at Tropicana, at 360VV2, 3 and 6. The other two events were the meet and greet at Bellagio's Baccarat Bar and the Spa @Aria, both at 360VV4.

Twitpic of the week

360 Vegas Vacation 6 Summer 2018

It's one of the most commonly shared, stunning views of Las Vegas, unarguably one of the best in the city.  If you've never experienced it in person, as we had not before VV6, I state my regret.  It is truly mesmerizing.  For me, an awe-inspiring view of a city that changed my life in ways I could have never imagined, brought to you via the bucket list of one 360 Vegas Tony.  If you've never visited the Skyfall Lounge at Mandalay Bay, Delano to be specific, make a point to change that on your next visit.  I submit that you will NOT state regret.  You're Welcome!

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