Posts Tagged ‘las vegas

04
Feb
08

Double dose of Vegas — Part II

So where was I? Oh yes. The Palazzo opening was nice if you like that sort of thing, but in terms of color and noise and surprises and yummy-looking people drinking in the daytime, I found a far superior scene in the most unlikely of places. And that would be the Mandalay Convention Center.

 Every other time I’ve been there (more than I care to admit), it’s been full of people in suits, shiny shoes and attitude–the sort that goes “yes, my company pays me to come to Vegas, so this must mean I am important in some way, but gosh I sure don’t feel it after lugging my laptop case 10 kilometers down this random fluorescent-lit hallway.”

And there was some of that this time. There was a furniture convention going on (I heard they were very cheap tippers), and a TV conference (which sounds like it would have been fun but actually was not). Then, on the bottom floor of the convention center, there was a straight-up carnival.

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Okay, no it wasn’t. It was the annual snow sports convention, which as far as I could tell was primarily comprised of snowboarders, skiiers and the people who love them. There may have been a few lonely snowman-builders lost in the mix somewhere, but I couldn’t find them in between all the kegs and half-pipes and grommety-looking boys running around causing havoc.

Alls I really have to say after crashing discovering this convention is that I probably should go live on a mountain somewhere b/c I’ve clearly been in the wrong business all these years. Poker? Nightclubs? Tropical islands? Pshaw! It’s all a big yawn compared to what I saw in the convention center at 3PM on a Tuesday afternoon.

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 There must have been 15 separate DJ turntables set up, playing hip-hop and rock and broken-beat electronica. At least four parties going, including one that was Mexican-themed and one in this strange indoor yurt made out of recycled blocks. Then there was the Guitar Hero booth–probably my favorite, thanks to the beanbags and flat-screen TVs.

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The thing I really noticed, though, was the crowd. What an unexpected mix! In the atrium booths and the organizer area, they were older people–all natural and healthy looking in the way that only comes from not eating meat for at least two decades. The ski equipment and mountaineering booths were full of rugged-looking dudes who look like they probably almost (or did) make the Olympic team in their youth, and now hang permanently in places like Park City being “private instructors” to a parade of willing older women.

Snowboard territory was like a pick-a-mix of the finest and the scariest-looking folks I’d seen in weeks–and honestly you just did not know what you were going to get. You’d turn a corner, and there would be a bunch of boys and girls who looked like they stepped out of a sunglass ad. Then right across from them would be a pack of disgustingly filthy hairy teenagers comparing butt-cracks. Random. But entertaining.

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The Volcom booth. Bunny rabbits, fuschia lizards, fake dreads. Irresistible, in a sick way. Or sick in an irresistible way. (Take your pick.)
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Probably my favorite was the Oakley crew. I was lost, spaced out and staring, and I just backed right into one of them. He very nicely asked if I needed help, and I answered the first thing that came to mind: ‘Yes, in an existential sense.’ (That’s always the truth at the tail end of a Vegas trip.)

Then I sat and chatted with them for a few minutes, and then I realized that they were all very cute, and that one of them was indeed rather fine in a tattooed Chris Cornell-reminiscent way that your parents would not approve of. So naturally I asked to take their picture. At which point they all got shy and tried to run away. I rallied them (like herding cats) and then tried to get my phone-cam skills going, even though was sheerly caffeine-powered by then and therefore very shaky.

In the middle of it the first one asked, “What’s this for?” and I, like the compulsive storyteller I am, said, “For a porn site.”

Oops. Away they went again.

I’m KIDDING!” I said. Jeez. You Oakley kids are camera-shy. But charming! I would have liked to stay and have a few beers. But I motivated onward.

And here I am, back home again for 2.2 seconds. Catching a plane to NYC this afternoon. Sleep? Never heard of it. Sleep is for sissies.

02
Feb
08

Double dose of Vegas

Hadn’t been to Las Vegas in about a year, but made up for it by heading over there twice in the past two weeks… and as usual, the place had me begging for mercy within 24 hours each time.

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First time was for the Palazzo opening–I suppose everyone has heard about it by now. New snazzy grande Las Vegas hotel. Basically the Venetian’s elegant non-themey younger sister. You may have seen the celeb snaps in the tabloids, and I can confirm that the celebs were indeed wandering about, as I made the eternally embarrassing mistake of thinking I knew Margaret Cho from somewhere and asking, “Have we worked together before?” in front of a table of people.

 Apart from that a fairly good time was had by me. It was very lights-cameras-where’s-the-action: lots of spectators wandering around wondering when something fabulous might go down…but most of the time, it was all just press conferences and “official” ceremonies, though. I must say, though, I liked

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the girls dancing in the fountains,

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 the Barney’s spokesmodels on stilts, and the fact that Sheldon Adelson, the ancient multi-billionaire who owns the Sands Corp, came out to several of the opening events with barely any entourage at all–except for his wife, who is something like 40 years younger than him and apparently a doctor or similar.

(Note: I would have had lots more photos, but the photographer buddy I was with has developed an annoying habit of shooting tons of photos of me, and then neglecting to send over a single one.)

Truly, though, the real photo ops came during the following trip–which I just returned from a few days ago. Only they’re going to have to wait till next post, because this WordPress blog tool appears to be possessed, and I have neither the patience nor the technical savvy to deal with it right now. Back at you tomorrow.

06
Nov
07

Artsy Datesies — A few ideas for you

I had no idea November was such a fun and festive month. There’s literally stuff going on all over North America. Art installations, foodie fests, pop-up shopping–what happened? Didn’t November used to be kind of…lame?

Anyway, here are the fun things I’ve received in my inbox…hopefully at least one is in a city near you (or a city you’ll visit sometime soon):

Whistler: This is really late on the calendar for a harvest fest, but the Whistler Cornucopia is happening from November 8-12. The event schedule is fantastic, and includes everything from cooking demos to champagne after-parties. My faves are the House Party at Memphis Blues (BBQ ribs, beer, wine, DJs); the Artisans’ Market (showcasing farmers and producers of Slow Food Whistler ); and the Arti Gras Gala at the Hilton (Cajun music, psychics, comedians, turducken). Main event Crush! is such a crowd-pleaser, it takes place twice this year. Individual tickets for each event.

San Francisco: Always a ton of stuff in this city, but I’m most excited about the new Marie Antoinette and the Petit Trianon at the Versailles exhibit, opening November 17 at the Legion of Honor. Most of the featured artworks came straight over from the real Versailles, and have never been out of France before. If you wasted $9 to see Kirsten Dunst in that lame Marie Antoinette movie last year (which I did), then you owe it to yourself to get the real story now. Exclusively in SF–but staying through February 17.

Las Vegas:  LOVE this place. It is such an amusement park. In honor of the 2007 Beaujolais Nouveau release (happens annually, the third week in November), Paris Las Vegas is going to light up its fake Eiffel Tower in red neon. All 50 stories. At midnight on November 15th. Tasteful, classic…the French will be thrilled. Actually they won’t, but who cares? It’ll look fab!  Paris will hold wine dinners and tastings and so forth throughout the week.

Wilmington: Sure, why not? North Carolina isn’t usually a cultural hub, but with the 13th Annual Cucalorus Film Festival happening from November 7-10 at Cape Fear, it qualifies. This is a pretty big deal for the area–TIME Magazine wrote it up a couple years ago, and there are even celebs on the 2007 program. Morgan Freeman directed “Just Like the Sun,” and Ethan Hawke directed “The Hottest State”. (Note: I am not saying they will actually show up. But you can hope.)

Los Angeles: Paper Magazine is coming to the West Coast for the PAPERMAG: L.A. Project November 7-11. They’re hosting a Phyllis Diller art exhibit, a guitar shredding competition, and a “fashion outreach day” where they for once drop those East Coast pretensions that Angelenos have no style. But coolest of all, they’re putting together a 24-hour “shopping marathon” on Friday night. (In a perfect world, all shops would be open 24 hours. It just makes sense.) Apparently this is how Paper gets good material for their annual Los Angeles edition. Whatever works, kids.

I’ll be at the Paper thing, and will give you a full report on 24-hour shopping. If you hit up any of the others (or anything else fun), send me pictures.

05
Nov
07

Love Boat? Well, sort of.

I just got the seasonal schedule from Singles Travel International, and there are like a zillion cruises on it.

Okay, exaggeration. There are five, departing from now through the end of February. But still, that’s rather a lot.

Cruises have traditionally been the favored lazy vacation option for families or couples. My friend Nadia just went on a Carnival cruise with eight friends, and hated it. (In fact, her exact description was, “boring, full of Mid-Westerners, and the best thing about it was the 24-hour buffet.”) I couldn’t agree more. The only agenda on value cruise lines, in my opinion,  is to eat and eat, buy souvenirs, and then eat some more.

Singles Travel International cruises are a different story–mostly for the obvious reason that not everyone on the ship is married with kids. The way they work, to the best of my knowledge, is that the company reserves their singles a certain number of cabins aboard a Royal Caribbean ship, and also organizes a bunch of special singles’ events. The cruises are usually organized by age bracket, which is awesome unless you’re a dirty old perv looking to score with someone 20 years younger. Guests can share a cabin or book their own for slightly more $$.

 I can  kinda-sorta understand the appeal of this. The only downside is, if you decide early on that you don’t like anyone on the ship, then you’re out of luck for the duration. It’s back to the originally scheduled programming: food, food, sunbathing, souvenirs, self-hatred, more food…

Then there are the booze cruises that depart from Cabo, the Bahamas and every other touristy port in the Northern Hemisphere. These hardly count as cruises; they’re really just two- to six-hour forays into ocean-tossed madness. The whole point is to get really wasted, which makes no sense because there’s nothing worse than being really wasted and stuck on a freaking boat. I would know. I’ve done it twice–the first time I passed out on a speaker, and the second, my sister stripped down to a thong in the breakfast room at 8AM.

I absolutely despise booze cruises, but would never try to stop you from discovering their glory for yourself. It’s a rite of passage. And Dramamine will not help.

Because I receive about 30 nightlife emails every day, I recently discovered the next evolution in singles cruising–something I might actually want to attend, although it’s three days long and therefore a MAJOR commitment in Lena-cruise terms. It’s called the Kandy Kruise, and it offers 10 times more eye candy than Singles Travel and 10 times better entertainment than the average booze cruise. It’s brought to us by the Los Angeles promoters who throw the Kandyland parties at the Playboy Mansion.

These boys not only understand the importance of an amazing sound system and really plushy soft furnishings, they also have a truly winning formula for drawing beautiful women to a party: Let them in for free. They apply this very same theory to the Kandy Kruise, God bless ’em. Girls who want to try to hook up a free room send in their hottest photos, and a select number (approximately 10%) get free berth (two to a cabin) in exchange for dressing up in little outfits and parading around the ship, promo model-style. Apparently cabin size is irrelevant, since you only use them to pass out for an hour or two in between club-hopping, suntanning, massages, etc.

I got all these details from Michael Fuller, who runs marketing for the Palms in Las Vegas, and also helped promote the first-ever Kandy Kruise.

“”It was crazy,” he told me. “Really fun.” Coming from the guy who runs events at the Palms, this means a lot. Mike reports a 3:1 girl-to-guy ratio, great food, “clubs going every minute of the day” and all kinds of delights that I don’t want to mention because you’ll get all over-excited and the next cruise isn’t till March, 2008.

So start saving your money. Because boys, boys, boys have to pay, pay, pay. Not as much as for the Playboy Mansion parties, but still a hefty chunk of change for the average Joe–probably $800 minimum per person. Not sure whether girls have the option of paying their way in and not parading around in little outfits–I will check.

Disclaimer: Yes, I realize this scene isn’t for everyone. It typifies all things shallow and hateful about Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Unless you can go–in which case it’s really rather fun. So I’m just putting it out there.

In the meantime, go here to look at pictures from past Kandyland parties including the Kandy Kruise…because it’s Monday and you need a treat.




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