Vegas. I had been saving my first
trip to Las Vegas for a special occasion--my Dating Retirement
Party club trip (the term "bachelor party" doesn't even make
sense here, because it was never planned that way), so I
collected a group of friends who do the nightlife thing with me
for a four-day blowout in Sin City.
I won't really go into details about the
actual happenings of the four days--what happens in Vegas does
stay in Vegas--but I will say this: even though I swore I would
never go back to Vegas before I left for this trip, I would say
that now...I will probably go back.
Hi...I'm Steve Wynn
For my first Vegas trip, I wanted to
stay at a place that was considered one of the best places to
stay...so, my man Brian "Schmoove" Prenoveau (the party planner)
got us rooms at Wynn Las Vegas, owned by Vegas kingpin Steve
Wynn, who has run hotels from the Golden Nugget to the Bellagio
before opening his two signature resorts, Wynn and Encore.
If you go to the hotel's
website (and then finish laughing at how ridiculous it is
from a coolness perspective matched with the faux-sexy voice of
Wynn), you get a sense of what I always wanted to see when I
visited...the sense of scope for a getaway haven in the middle
of the friggin' desert.
Wynn has it all--in addition to a second
huge hotel (Encore), it has a five-star Mobil-rated spa,
five-star Mobil-rated restaurant (amongst at least eight
full-blown sitdown restaurants), and a five-star Mobil rated
resort; three blowout nightclubs; suites with double beds that
are 600 square feet; a good-size casino; a pool big enough to do
laps, go swimming, or have a private "European-style" tanning
area; a large sportsbook betting area; two theaters for on-site
shows. Shopping is strictly for the rich--Rolex, Vertu
(the British cell phone maker), Manolo Blahnik, Louis Vuitton,
and every other thing you'd normally expect shopping in New York
or L.A. Hell, Wynn even has a Ferrari dealership in the
Call me small-time, but I hadn't seen
all of that in one hotel before.
But then, it hits you--there are a dozen
super-resort style hotels on "The New Strip" in Vegas, not to
mention dozens more that are off the Strip. I walked into
a few other hotels, and as massive as Wynn/Encore, the Pallazzo/Venetian,
and Palms are, Caesars is stupid. I didn't even glimpse
places like Paris, Circus Circus, the Bellagio, the Luxor, or
other big names.
And then, it really hits you...there's a
reason why our super-swank rooms were about $130 for our first
night in town--Vegas is an absolute fire sale right now.
The sheer number of available rooms, the somewhat-quieter walks
down the Strip, the half-price shows at the discount ticket shop
in the mall across from Wynn...if you've got a job and even a
little bit of money right now, you don't even need to blink an
eye and you've got a hundred deals in your lap. If you are
able to go to Vegas right now on a Saturday-Tuesday trip, you
might be able to stay for damned near free at any of the
big-name resorts. Crazy!!
"What do you need...besides a miracle?"
"Guns...LOTS of guns."
There is something special about the
defining moment of "The Matrix" as well as the moment you
squeeze the trigger of a real gun for the first time...it's
almost exactly as you thought it would be, especially if that
gun is an AK-47.
Nevada is an interesting place.
Not only are "sex workers" (to quote Meg's term) 100% legal in
Nevada, banned assault rifles are good to go there as well,
given that you are firing them at a licensed firearms center.
Enter The Gun
Store and you'll see a sick orgy of available firepower all
within reach; as my man Chi (military man and lazy 5'6" Chinese
guy extraordinaire) will tell you, it's fun to shoot guns as
long as nobody gets hurt.
So, I decided that as part of this trip,
I wanted to go shoot. While firing the AK-47 was cool
(and, wow, it makes movies like "Black Hawk Down" that much
better now to see how inaccurate the gun can be in the wrong
hands...i.e., mine), and firing the SIG .45 handgun was sweet,
the two major takeaways were the MP5 (scary accurate from 10-15
feet away, even for me) and the admittedly-shady-looking
sawed-off shotgun I got to fire. Firing a handgun is fun,
but firing shotguns and automatic weapons? Really freakin'
cool. One gets the impression that getting hit by a
shotgun at close range is essentially good night nine times out
Justin fires the AK...while a fresh target is
It's also amazing how loud gunfire
is...even with headgear on to mute the noise, firing the AK was
hilarious loud. Shooting guns is also amazingly short...I
knew it would be short, but if you just squeeze the trigger
going full auto, you'll be done in a few seconds.
Thank God I Like Breasts
I don't know if I think Vegas is a good
couples destination. That's because I like looking at
breasts. So, thank the big man upstairs that from the time
I got off the plane till the time I got back on it, I didn't
have to work very hard to look at breasts. Natural,
unnatural; clothed, semi-bare, or bare; big, large or sloppy;
vein-popped or not. Damn, I saw a lot of breasts over the
course of four days.
In fact, the weirdest thing about going
to work on Monday? I didn't see anything like what I saw
One of the few clean pictures we have
Now, there is a downside to seeing all
of this breast besides Breast Overexposure. (By the way,
if you are offended by this, I know that you're not a friend of
mine, because none of this can be a surprise. Meg signed
on for this ride and she had plenty of chances to get off!)
The major downside to all of the work done to all of the people
that reside in Las Vegas is that you get a lot of really
freakish sights; I'm talking nasty at times. I kept
referring back to the scene in the '89 version of "Batman" where
the Joker breaks out his girl Alysia at the art museum, the one
with the banged-up face, clearly a failed attempt at her face
There's a lot of that kind of stuff in
Vegas. It's like a vast sea of people who had some work
done, got older, and then their bodies fell apart, or...didn't,
so their chests, or their skin, or their faces just don't look
right because they haven't moved in 20 years. There were
at least a half-dozen times where I saw people that legitimately
scared me, which wasn't all that funny at the time.
Luckily, there were enough women willing
to show me enough skin that wasn't badly tainted to keep us all
(Side note on breasts and sex
workers--it almost wasn't fair, but a number of non-union
Mexican workers spent their weekend waving small plastic cards
with various strippers/whores/sex workers pictures and phone
numbers at me; mixing creative phrases like "YOU LIKE GIRLS? YOU
LIKE GIRLS? YOU LIKE GIRLS???" with catchy dialogue like "YOU
LIKE GIRLS? YOU LIKE GIRLS? YOU LIKE GIRLS???", I was almost
hooked into ordering six whores one night for myself.
Almost. And, do I know if these guys were Mexican or not?
Sorry, but yes I do. They weren't Latino, they weren't
mainland Spanish...no, these men don't deserve the respect of
being referred to the PC way...they were out-and-out Mexicans,
and that's what made the whole thing just feel wrong to me.
It reminded me of when I saw Nigerians selling cheap purses in
Rome near tourist activities...just low. These guys just
looked like they had been tricked into this work for pennies a
Let's be honest--from a stereotype
perspective, everyone who comes to Vegas looks at it like their
big weekend for the month/year, so everyone gambles, hangs out
at the pool, spends money and goes to a club or two. So,
if it's an inevitability, then why bother spending money for a
good DJ if everyone's good time index is already cresting?
At the two clubs I went to at Wynn,
Tryst and Blush (all weekend, we kept coming up with
one-syllable Vegas club names...that'll be a separate essay),
the DJ talent was miserable. At ghostbar (on the roof at
Palms), the DJ was better, but he fell victim to DJ Mistake
#2--never play a song twice during the night's set. (He
also stumbled into DJ Mistake #4--never play just one verse of a
song that everyone loves...play most of the song instead.)
Either way, I can't really blame these guys--generally, people
buy more hip-hop than any other musical form right now, and
generally, everyone loves the 80s. So, you play a mix of
both and throw the dice in the air hoping that the majority of
your clubgoers like what they hear. Otherwise, you pay to
see "top talent", like any electronica DJ that comes to do a set
in Vegas the weekend you are in town.
Throw Some Cash Away!
I don't really gamble, so for the first
time, I spent money in a casino. I ended the weekend up
$200, but I only really brought $200 in cash with me, so if that
had ever run out, I just would have stopped. However, I
saw in the eyes of both my teammates and complete strangers what
would be a problem if we all lived in Vegas--
Winning money is fun.
You can see it in the eyes of old people
tossing their pensions and social security money down the tubes.
You can see it in the eyes of legit porn stars who like burning
through cash while stacking chips at the roulette table.
You can see it in the hangers-on congregating at the craps
table, hoping for someone to hit it big. And, you can see
it in the eyes of the dealers, pit bosses and cocktail
waitresses, who are so happy to see you in town.
My policy going into the weekend was
that I would play blackjack, mainly because it was the only game
I knew how to play. If I ever lost $100 at once, I would
walk away. And, if I went up even $50, I would put the
chips in my pocket so that I wouldn't think to bet them on
future hands. And, for me, that worked out (in fact, all
of the eight people that came on this trip walked away up
something). But, many others won't leave Vegas so lucky,
and I couldn't fathom having access to gambling facilities
within an hour's drive of my house after a long day at work.
Oh, gambling is now legal in Maryland?
Well, in that case...
If there's a next time...
...what would I do, or do more of?
Well, the short version:
See a show. I didn't
put enough planning into leaving a night open for that, but
next time, I'll definitely catch a show, be it a Cirque du
Soleil type of thing, or a big comedy set, or a celebrity
Hit a pool party. We
planned to hit the one at Hard Rock on the way out of town
but ran out of time...
Spend more time in Old Vegas.
We caught a brief glimpse of the light show, and spent ten
minutes gambling at cheap tables, and saw the Golden
Nugget...I wouldn't mind spending more time there.
Get outside of town.
There seems to be a bunch of activities outside of Vegas
proper that would be worth hitting, or resorts that have
more outdoorsy activities...at a better price point.
But, for now, I'll soak in the glory of
my first Vegas experience. I guess now I have to help plan
Random Bellviews, courtesy of Bell
and Longer Community Trust:
Hangin' with Schmoove, The
Professional, Amy, Fayette, Chi, Longer and Mr. Kellam for a
few stress-free days:
The food overall in Vegas: $9.50 Show
Dumping hot and humid weather for
hot but dry weather...until my lips completely dried out: Matinee
Check-out procedures at Wynn: Rental
The drive to work that first day
back: Hard Vice