Until this weekend, Las Vegas was mythical. It was a magical place where movie plots really happened, booze flowed like water and the women made the coeds at FSU look like junior prom material.
After visiting, I can honestly say that all of the above is truly mythical about Vegas, but only in that it’s either bull#### or not like that anymore.
That’s not to say Vegas isn’t fun …
… It’s just a different kind of fun. More pedestrian, less — well, read on after the jump for elaboration.
Myth: Las Vegas is all about vices.
They imply this in their “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” ad campaign. If you enjoy sex, booze and gambling (no drugs?), then Vegas is your hometown away from your puritanical, judgmental hometown.
Reality: Las Vegas is a family resort.
From the roller coasters in almost every casino to the infinite number of Cirque du Soleil acts (there are seriously about 50 of them), it’s not uncommon to see children catered to around every corner. I didn’t see any child prostitutes for them, but those sorts of things usually happen behind closed doors anyway.
On top of that, the classic casinos of old are giving way to “international locales” like Paris or Venice or New York, each with appropriately themed restaurants and clothed staff. There’s even Treasure Island, a pirate-themed birthday party disguised as a place to lose your shirt.
In short, Vegas is now Disney, but the worst kind: EPCOT Disney.
Myth: Las Vegas hosts the greatest entertainers in the world.
Elvis. Sinatra. Martin and Lewis. Wayne ####ing Newton.
Vegas was famous for drawing in the coolest acts, partially because Judy Garland’s BJs went a longer ways there.
Reality: Las Vegas hosts entertainers that are only famous in Las Vegas.
While riding the tram at the airport, I saw this billboard:
Yeah, that’s one Mr. Carrot Top, who is not only performing regularly in theaters that showcased Lucille Ball, but is also a spokesperson for the Las Vegas Board of Tourism.
Other performers in town or scheduled to perform soon include:
- Donnie and Marie Osmond
- George Wallace, who vaguely looked like someone I might have seen in a commercial on Comedy Central
- Def Leppard and Poison
And the most widely promoted act? The one, the only; you love him: Terry Fator!
The Million Dollar Voice?
He’s a ventriloquist.
No, you’re thinking of Jeff Dunham. This is another one.
This guy’s face was everywhere. Even the bowling tournament I went to Vegas for had pictures of his puppets everywhere.
Look, I don’t know which of you ladies out there decided to throw your pussy at ventriloquists, but stop it. Two of them is already too many.
Let’s encourage men to take up real endeavors, like modeling or hosting game shows.
Myth: Las Vegas is cool.
When you think of Vegas from the legends, it’s a place where you want to mind your own business. Between the gangsters and Sinatra’s temper, you want to keep cool, be cool, stay cool.
Reality: Las Vegas is not cool. (Not cool at all.)
At least, not anymore. I can’t say for sure because I wasn’t there for the glory days I keep hearing about.
All the stories you hear about comping and freebies? Doesn’t happen anymore. Even the toilet paper’s single ply. Vegas is so concerned with making money that the slot machines only take dollars now. While Vegas may have once been the cool uncle that bought you a hooker on your twelfth birthday, it’s now the cheap uncle that mails you a check for $10, hoping you won’t bother to cash it. At most, you’ll get a discount card from street advertisers.
Speaking of street advertisers and vendors, you can’t get away from those people. Every block, every store, every walkway of every casino is littered with what I can only assume is what happens if you get your marketing degree online.
One guy tried to hard sell me e-cigarettes. I told him I’ve tried them, no thanks. As I try to walk away, he gets in my way and asks, “What didn’t you like about them?”
I said, “They won’t kill me.”
That’s right: I had to go emo to get this leech off me. He wished me “good luck with that” and got out of my way.
Can you imagine a guy like this walking up to Humphrey Bogart, pulling the same act and not ending up face down on the pavement?
The only people who do leave you alone in Vegas? The homeless.
And the final evidence of why Vegas is no longer cool? It’s filled with 20-something graphic t-shirt wearing metroboys.
Everywhere you turn, there’s another extra from The Hills or someone who watched too much Growing Up Gotti. It’s basically Mecca to the children of Hollywood refuse that already ruined Hollywood and New York.
And I know this because the same magazine featuring Terry Fator also ran a feature on Kim Kardashian’s birthday party.