Las Vegas: Love it or hate it, you gotta admit - it is like no other city on Earth. It's loud, it's crass, it is up all night and baby, ANYTHING is possible. With the Grand Canyon next door, it's like the best and worst of our nation all shoved into one area. After four days of over-stimulation and bonding with co-workers, I've finally returned to the quieter environs of Colorado.
I took the above photo from the Ghost Bar at the Palms on Saturday night. My outfit was wild and crazy though it didn't match my mood, which felt like being the quiet observer. That didn't stop others from goading me onto the dance floor. Strangers even approached me, asking for a photograph - it was the outfit they wanted, not me.
The Company put us up at The Hard Rock Hotel, just off the strip. Despite the 5:00 a.m. construction outside my window, I dug the place. I was told it was the original HR hotel - before all the cafes and all subsequent HR hotels - so the rock memorabilia was outstanding. For a music nerd like myself, it was sheer heaven. The photo above shows the entrance and it reminded me that the first CD I ever bought was Stevie Ray Vaughan. Immediately, I felt at home.
There was one hallway with beautiful portraits painted on one side - all big influences in music: John Lennon, Elvis, Madonna and, of course, my man CASH.
I passed by this several times a day and it was fun to transfer a big kiss on it with my hand. It gave me ideas about my own home decor - I just have to get around to buying one ...
They also had an entire Johnny Cash section with personal letters, hand-written lyrics, awards, clothing and performances from early in his career; a great place to linger. In fact, the thing I liked most about the hotel was that music came first before all else - before the gambling, the restaurants, the pool - they were highly committed to their motif.
The carpet, for example, was a trippy design of musical notes, treble and bass clefs. The lighting fixtures were made of Zidjian drum cymbals and the elevators (which sort of resembled S&M dungeons)each featured some appropro song lyric, such as Lenny Kravitz: "Are you gonna go my way?"
There were a few folks along who had never been to Vegas - lots of sweet, smart kids in their early 20s who grew up in the East. It was fun to watch their faces as we came upon the Eiffel Tower, the New York skyline, a giant Egyptian pyramid or a pirate ship aflame - and this is all just walking down the street.
Also, there was seemingly a Fake Boobs Convention in town that week. (As someone who has been lugging around a serious rack for the past 32 years, it is easy for me to spot a new owner.) There was one chick hanging out - in every way possible - at the pool and we were convinced that 'she' may have, at one time, been a 'he.' Someone in our group was sent to investigate and discovered that 'it' was a professional fire-eater in a circus. That's Vegas, all right.
Behold: My favorite thing in Vegas - Dale Chihuly's glass installation on the ceiling of the Bellagio lobby. It always leaves me breathless, which is fitting, since it looks a lot like being underwater at The Great Barrier Reef.
I just love this place. The Gardens off the lobby are magical but less so when there is a guy on his cell phone next to you shouting to his buddies, "Dude! I'm at the Bellagio! Meet me here, we'll score some chicks and get fucked up!" Vegas is teeming with these cavemen.
In the middle of the Gardens, they even had two 'gardening sheds' full of butterflies - so amazing. It was strange and beautiful to learn about nature with craps tables only feet away.
This was my gang - my longtime homegirl, Jody, along with our new favorite fellow, Dave. He's like 23 going on 35 or something like that. Jody and I opted to stay an extra day/night just to chill and sleep by the pool. We went out for a big fancy dinner on Friday night and I even got hit on by a real live man! Woo-hoo! Ah, the many wonders of Vegas.