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Hi, I'm Steve Wynn


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, 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 lobby.

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!!

Full Auto

"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'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 of ten.

Justin fires the AK...while a fresh target is rolled out

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 in Vegas.

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 being rearranged.

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 happy.

(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, 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 day.)

Vegas DJs--Ehh

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 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 rotation.

  • 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 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 a wedding!


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:  Opening Weekend

  • 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

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 04/29/09