The international adventures of a singing, dancing zombie queen.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Vegas: Bipolar Republican Wonderland Part I

All I wanted was to see the skeezy Vegas I remembered from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. At first, I didn't think that I had gotten to see what I wanted to. The streets were fairly clean, actually, and it wasn't until the third day that I actually saw some Vegas locals, that is drunks who were smelly and begging for money. I wonder if anyone really does live there. It's more like Disneyland; where everyone goes home after the lights go out, except that the lights never go out in Vegas.
You can't tell how far away things are, for one thing. The buildings are all so surreally huge, and the sky so huge and open, without sight of any mountains, that you really can't tell exactly what a commitment you are making when you think that you are going to take a quick stroll from the Luxor to the Bellagio in 110 degree heat. And each block is more like three or four, since each block holds a whole city of casino/hotel craziness.
The first night I was there, I stayed at Circus Circus, because I was secretly hoping to see H.S. Thompson himself dragging his ether-laden body off of the rotating bar. Since Circus Circus is far from the strip, or anything resembling a mini mart, I made the mistake of running out of cigarettes. Inside the hotel, I paid $6.25 for one pack. At least they had the kind I wanted, but I later discovered that cigarettes only cost $3.50 outside of the hotels.
It was after midnight by the time I found the Horse-a-Round bar, and it was indeed just below and to the side of the circus area. But, unfortunately, the bar was closed. I hopped the chain anyway, because one has to experience the rotating bar, and I had hoped that the bartender might just be on a break and I might get to partake of one of the extremely powerful drinks that I had heard they serve there. No such luck, however. The bar wasn't even open the next afternoon when I passed by. But you don't really need a bartender there; just sitting at the bar and watching the tables circle around you makes you a little nauseous anyhow, especially when you are trying to ignore them in order to watch the trapeeze artists above. So, after watching an uber-brief trapeeze show, which, I must admit, was pretty amazing with it's triple flip catches, I decided to find myself an actual alcoholic beverage, instead of straight nausea.
I had walked all over the casino and beyond to the amusement park entrance before I found an open bar. My dance teacher really wasn't joking when she warned me that Circus Circus had been directed towards children. They were swarming all over the place, and they were tall and loaded with stuffed animals that they'd won on the midway. Turns out there was a youth basketball convention going on there. The bar I finally found was called the Blue Iguana, and the bartender's name was Danny, which confused me because I kept thinking that the waitresses were all calling him daddy. After all of those kids, I figured that even the bars were family oriented.
So I chatted with Danny and had a lovely, huge frozen margharita with lots of salt around the edge and chips and salsa. A man came to the other end of the bar and sat down, having a margharita on the rocks, no salt. He was a muscular, attractive black man, older than me, and he looked over a few times before he came to talk to me. He asked what I do, and I told him, and he said that he used to also do AIDS outreach education/surveys, etc. So I was pretty pleased to have him keep me company; he was a complete gentleman. He was at Circus Circus with his son and nephew. He lives in L.A., and he and his boys had come to Vegas on impulse because their fishing trip had been cancelled due to bad weather. They had been in Rosarito, Mexico, just before that, so we bonded over how frighteningly sick and nasty the nags you can pay to ride on the beach were. They look like they've been watching Fear and Loathing in drug-synchronization mode with Hunter. Scary. The boys had met two girls down in Rosarito, who just happened to be staying in the same tower of this very hotel as he and the boys had ended up in. Needless to say, the boys had ditched him for their new girlfriends.
Since I was curious what such a generous uncle does for a living, he told me. He's Will Smith's stunt double. He did the Wild Wild Wests, the Bad Boys, the Men in Blacks and I, Robot. So, over my second margharita, courtesy of him, he told me tales of jumping in front of taxi cabs, and my favorite story, in which he was flushed down a giant toilet. I imagined a toilet six feet in diameter, but I was wrong. This toilet was as big as the whole bar we were sitting at. Bigger than my living room. HUGE.
Rather appropriate for Vegas. A giant toilet story in the land of oversized everything. I'm surprised Vegas isn't in Texas, really.
Well, drunk as I was by then, I said I was heading up to my room, and he thanked me for my company, and was, once again a perfect gentleman. Shook my hand, and didn't follow me home. I smiled all the way to my King size bed, where I smoked inside some more and watched a show about panda breeding. They're so tiny and all pink when they're born! And their tails are as long as their hind legs; sooo cute.... Meanwhile, their fathers do handstands to rub their crotches as high up on the walls and trees as possible. So I passed out with my clothes on to the cooing of pandas, which sounds like a cross between a walrus and a pigeon. And my passing out with my clothes on was the skeeziest thing there was to see in the family-oriented Circus Circus that night. I should've tried to throw up or something, just on principle.
Oh, well...
More Vegas coincidence and sketchiness to come, and lots more high priced drinks, too.....


CurlyGirl said...

oh oh!! that's good stuff :) what an interesting guy. i can't wait to read more vegas storieS!

Kari said...

what a fun experience. I'm going to have to find the circle table bar when I got Lost Wages in November

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Dance & Fitness Faculty member at San Francisco Peninsula Community Colleges, Director, Choreographer & Featured Dancer, Founder of the Living Dead Girlz, and Owner of the Steele Dance Company, which provides entertainment for festivals, corporate events, conventions and private events. Teaching private dance lessons and creating choreography since 1997, Steele graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Double Major in Dance and Comparative Literature and completed her Master of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography at Mills College. She has toured all the major cities in Germany and performed at the Cannes Film Festival as the featured dancer in TRIP -- Remix Your Experience, a multimedia exhibition of film, live music and art. Steele has also performed as a featured dancer for RJ Reynolds (CAMEL) promotional events. Steele currently manages the go-go dancers of "Poor Impulse Control," who perform frequently in San Francisco's industrial, alternative, and rock venues.