Saturday, November 9, 2019

E-318: Casinary

Random Vegas 
Another key moment in my life may be the moment I realized one of my favorite neon signs in Las Vegas history, a sign I accepted I would never be able to see with my own eyes, was NOT lost to the world.  And not only does it still exist, it’s been hidden in plain sight, in classic Vegas fashion.  The iconic, original Mint hotel marquee, with the swooping arch and cascading lights soaring 10 stories tall, is right where you remember it.  Except you’ve not been able to see it, because Binion’s built its signage over top of the Mint’s after purchasing the property in 1988 and expanding into the space.  Binion’s Whiskey Liquor Up project required the removal of the properties south west signage to accommodate.  So much in fact, it exposed that the former stone fa├žade and the legendary 1959 Mint signage still exists. Today, Whiskey Liquor Up celebrates their history, and the history of Fremont, by featuring this revealed section of the Mint signage along the staircase, that takes you up to the bar/restaurant. 


Twitpic of the week 


What can you say about aerial photographs of the strip that hasn’t already been said before?  Let’s see.  These shots always overwhelm me, sincerely.  It’s almost like I’m awed by the shear scope of the whole thing.  It makes you wonder if Vegas is too big to fail, setting aside that, that phrase is most commonly affiliated with the Titanic.  What I mean is, is all the gripping we do about the people running things valueless because Vegas can’t be stopped?  Is Vegas a microcosm of our planet with a built-in self-defense mode programmed to shake humans off like a bad case of fleas if we actually become a real threat, or is it a monument to human decadence that we will one day look back on and learn from the mistakes made.  Or maybe it’s just views like this, shared by @maverickheli that puts the city in an idealic state, somehow impervious to the politics below.  Either way, well done humans on the invention of the helicopter and photography. 

News

Saturday, October 19, 2019

E-317: One of those two statements is correct

Random Vegas
The signs you see in the center of Fremont East, the martini glass, Las Vegas Oldsmobile logo and the Silver Slipper are NOT restored signs.  That are all “inspired” by Vegas signs of yesteryear…and Silver Slipper is just a rip off of the restored sign out front of the Neon Museum.  They are originals created for Fremont East, installed in 2007 (vital Vegas)

Twitpic of the week



There is something to be said about signage so large, like the 65 Thunderbird frontage shared by @_GrandPaD, it reminds one just how small we all are in the grand scheme of things.  Typically, massive signage is displayed at elevated heights, but when hotel casinos were really motel casinos, resorts simply weren’t as tall as they are today.  Taking inspiration from its neighbor across the street, the Stardust.  in May of 1965, the Thunderbird began renovating its exterior frontage into a 700-foot-long sign, the biggest sign in Vegas history at the time, 3 feet longer Stardust and featuring 12-foot-high letters.  However, the new signage came at the expense of the room views in the south wing because the sign was placed directly in front of the guest room windows; replacing a view of the strip with one of circuit boards, 20 miles of electric wire and the buzz of 15,000 volts per tube.  To address complaints, management installed blackout curtains.

News

Saturday, October 12, 2019

E-316: Facebook Plus


Random Vegas
Original plans for the Stardust included a train stop at the back of the property (after hours architecture)

Twitpic of the week



It looks like a yearbook photo, if Vegas signs had yearbooks and reflected on their glory days at class reunions.  A sentiment poignantly made by Boyd Gaming’s removal of Stardust letters in the Electra Jag font to be replaced by the more subdued Helvetica.  Once you’ve soaked that in, take a look at the rest of the image, shared by @_GrandPaD.  It’s like a who’s who of the Neon Boneyard.  None of these properties exist today, except in the Boneyard, where they’ve all been put out to pasture, to a farm where they can run and play with other signs all day.  If you attempted to recreate this image today, it would look like the Riviera, La Concha, Morocco, Silver city and Stardust were all just photoshopped out, replaced with parking lots and desert landscapes.  Think about that!

News


Saturday, October 5, 2019

E-315: FUAWK KEEYAW


Random Vegas
John C Fremont, the man who created Las Vegas, ran as the Republican candidate for president of the United States in 1856, losing to James Buchanan.

Twitpic of the week


Truly an idealized version of the Luxor frontage.  The photo, shared by @classiclasvegas, shows us what it must feel like to see a mirage of an oasis in the desert.  In the early 90s, everyone was still making the effort to offer signature free attractions.  Luxor’s contribution to that end utilized this water feature to put on a laser light show. Holograms would project from the Sphinxes eyes onto the water element located in front of it, right on the strip.  Today the water feature has been turned into a parking lot.

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360 Vintage Vegas - The Landmark









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The Landmark existed for 34 years, 1961-1995, and during that time, sat empty and unused for a 3rd of its life.  Make no mistake, the Landmark was a great idea.  It just never had the support it needed to reach its potential.  It resembles everything that is great about Las Vegas.  Any grand idea can live here, if only here.  Want to build Paris in the desert, sure; Recreate ancient Roman decadence, why not; put a casino in the sky, give it a shot.  The sobering reality is it takes much more than a visionary idea to succeed in Vegas and there are many examples to prove that.  Rather than lament it’s passing we should celebrate the fact that it had a chance. There are literally dozens of visionary projects planned for Las Vegas that never make it beyond the concept phase.  Currently north strip is home to 3 of them in various stages of incompletion.  Regardless of it’s inability to become a financial success, the Landmark was able to literally live up to it’s name, establish itself as one of the most memorable properties in the landscape of Las Vegas history.Hughes FingerprintThe PoolGalaxy HotelFall of a Landmark

For those of you interested in more information on the Landmark, I can’t recommend the Marc Wagner book “Above the All- The story of the Landmark Hotel and Casino” as well as their companion site www.landmarkhotelmemorial.com.  Possibly the best documentation of a single property I’ve ever seen.  Others sources include

Saturday, September 28, 2019

E-314: Party Bits



Random Vegas 
In 2004, a man sold all his possessions and put his entire net worth of $135,300 on red at the Plaza. The ball landed on red 7 and he walked out with $270,600 (@factsweird cc: VitalVegas) 

Twitpic of the week 


The question, “What does it look like when a Vegas lover cums” has been long speculated about and difficult to articulate.  As only @summacorp can do, a visual representation now exists.  Not coincidental in the slightest, this is also what Vegas lovers see as they shift loose the mortal coil.  It’s also what we think about when daydreaming, eating lunch, let’s just create a bucket called ‘always’ and drop this image in it.  Interestingly enough, only 2 of the signs showcased here are still in operation, and only 1 of them is a casino.  While the casino closed in 1995, the Pioneer Club retained its name as well as Vegas icon Vegas Vic when they reopened as a gift shop.  Circus Circus is the only sign here still in use as you see it.  Flamingo scaled back the sign you see here into the corner marquee we see today.  Originally it extended out to the strip with a lit canopy reminiscent of Plaza’s porte cochere.  The Horseshoe is now Binion’s, the Mint is now part of Binion’s and Lady Luck is Downtown Grand.  Fremont, Caesars, and Golden Nugget all have new versions of their signage while everything else featured here no longer exist, except in the Neon Boneyard, but not in all cases, RIP Dunes, Mint and Silverbird signage 

News

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

E-313: #360VV9 Fall 2019



Random Vegas 
SLS was claimed stand for “Service, Luxury, Style” by owners SBE.  However the truth is it doesn’t stand for anything.  Legend has it that the hotel got its name when SBE founder Sam Nazarian pulled up behind a Mercedes SL500 and made the “SL5” into “SLS” (@VitalVegas) 

Twitpic of the week 



It’s easy to forget that Imperial Palace wasn’t always the loveable shithole we all remember it as.  Its concept was to offer an affordable resort themed as heavily as its neighbor across the street, Caesars Palace.  Not only was the concept well received, it was so popular the place couldn’t expand fast enough to keep up with demand, showcased in the photo shared by @PixVegas777 with its first hotel tower, brought on line in 1977.  5 hotel towers later and regardless of any lax in maintenance, similar to Circus Circus, the place became a cash cow.  Despite bemoaning that the place was in need of a renovation, it didn’t seem to detour anyone from staying and playing there, so why bother.  And so it did until the property was reimagined as the Quad.  That lasted less than 2 years before deciding to abandon that name in favor of leveraging the outdoor promenade branding, known as the LINQ.  No one will argue that the property has changed for the better, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop fondly recalling whatever idealized version of the Imperial Palace we choose to remember. 


Trip Report

Saturday, August 24, 2019

E-312: McLean


Random Vegas
Binion’s Horseshoe signage contained 8 miles of neon tubing and 30,000 light bulbs when it was installed in 1961 (Neon Museum)

Twitpic of the week


Have you ever had a metaphor scream at you the moment you saw a picture?  Get ready for that experience.  @classiclasvegas shared a picture of, not only a monumental time in Vegas history, but also a passing of the guard.  Showcased in black and white, add further depth to the allegory, this view of the Mirage, under construction, signals that everything is about to change, radically, in Las Vegas.  Captured off strip, the photo showcases the Sands Cylindrical tower in the foreground.  In the background, the scope of the Mirage project is so great, it seems to engulf the Sands, as if to say, I am the future, prepare for obsoletion.  What was once identified as a Vegas icon looks dated and quant in this picture as evolution happens right across the street.  

Saturday, August 17, 2019

E-311: Hugh Grant Related



Random Vegas
The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign has 89 bulbs outlining it outer edge (@vitalVegas)

Twitpic of the week


Reflections.  As soon as they were established as a thing, writers have mused at great length about the duality of its literal and metaphorical meanings.  Reflections are distortions of the truth and yet one of the most significant ways we grow as humans.  Reflections of Las Vegas remind us to never forget to cherish the moments we have while enjoying this great city.  As dreamlike as it may appear or feel, it is a very real place and we are fortunate it was created for us.  One of the few gateways to enjoy the world beyond the looking glass, captured brilliantly, once again, by @rtphotos_

News

Saturday, August 10, 2019

E-310: Crack Shake Friend Chicken



Random Vegas
In casinos, an employee in charge of scheduling dealers and has the power to write comps is sometimes referred to as “The Pencil” (@VitalVegas

Twitpic of the week


The themed resort.  A concept to set a property apart from the pack and designed to offer an unforgettable experience.  Outside of Disney, few other vacation destinations offer you the convenience of being transported to another place and/or time, until you’ve had enough of that place and want to either come back to reality or try on another experience.  The dethemeing of Las Vegas was an attempt to find a balance between tacky and gentrification, the Blanding of concepts by those who lack the imagination to embracing and/or understand what people want, even if you don’t get it.  Make no mistake, themed resorts are what brought the masses to Las Vegas, setting new annual visitation records and in turn inspiring one of the largest building booms in the city’s history, Thankfully we have the opportunity to fondly recall those days with the visual representation of what we’ve lost, shared by @classiclasvegas 

News



Saturday, August 3, 2019

E-309: Resting Asshole Face



Random Vegas
The exterior sign for the Moulin Rouge Hotel was designed by Betty Willis, creator of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” Sign on the south strip (sincitytalk.com) 

Twitpic of the week



And you thought snow was pretty where you live.  Thank you @rtphotos_ for capturing this magic moment for future generations to discover and fall in love with.  It’s so good it doesn’t look real; snow basking in the glow of the strip at night, making it difficult to ascertain what is frozen precipitation and what are stars in the night sky.  Being a part of this vision must have be like strolling through a dream. Until you attempt to do something inspired by the illusion you are in a consequence free situation and permanently scar yourself.  An experience I’m certain is totally worth it.

News

Saturday, July 27, 2019

E-308: Under the Influence-er



Random Vegas
When receiving tips from players, the reason so many casino dealers often loudly thank the player is to encourage other players around them to do the same.  Tips account for 75-85% dealer income (@vitalVegas)

Twitpic of the week



O’ Stardust, how we miss the.  Even though your final incarnation barred no resemblance to your past, shared this week by @WisconsinSports6, it still somehow managed to capture the spirt that was breathed into life in 1955.  Stardust shares the honor of being one of a few properties to successfully evolve themselves into something that bares little to no resemblance to their original incarnation on the strip, to keep up with the Super Casino revolution.  Flamingo is the other notable name; an argument can be made for the Frontier.  Properties like Riviera, Caesars and Sahara expanded into grown up versions of themselves, but Stardust and the Flamingo piece-mailed their evolution until all that was old was replaced with the new.  It can be stated, with no exaggeration, that the closing of the Stardust was  the single largest mistaken made in Vegas strip history; or at the very least the biggest mistake in Boyd Gaming history.  

News



Saturday, July 20, 2019

E-307: The Heathers Room

Random Vegas
The 56 room Desert Rose Motel existed on the Las Vegas strip from 1953-1995.  Why do we care about a motel without a casino attached to it, because in 1995, it was razed to the ground to make way for the Monte Carlo, known today as Park MGM (Neon Museum) 

Twitpic of the week



Awe, I wanna stand on top of Luxor.  Sincerely, here is a blank check.  Write whatever number is required to allow me to have this experience.  Depending on the amount you write, you may or may not want to even bother attempting to cash that though.  Aside from the experience, here we get to see a time when properties would use a large real estate on vast parking lots.  Still fascinates me.  Thankfully they’ve learned to better utilize their space and abandon the mall parking lot concept.  Some better than others.  Once again shared by @summacorp, photo by Galen Rowell, captures a moment in time more valuable than 95% of every picture any of us have ever taken.

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