Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Thursdays have always just been rumors. I've never seen one happen in real life.
Since our kayaking was cancelled on account of wind, we didn't have any concrete plans, so we attempted to wander around the strip but the NFL Draft Weekend had started. And the center of it was behind the casino we stayed at. It was difficult to get anywhere without getting crunched by a bunch of couch-assed, jersey wearing drunks who varied from crying by the elevators because they couldn't remember where they were staying to randomly shouting the names of their favorite twenty-something who ended up on their team to drunkenly falling down flgiths of stairs.
Thursday never happened. We shan't discuss it.
Friday was our downtown day. We had to walk through three casinos to get picked up because the NFL Draft had physically shut down our area so that no cars were allowed to pick people up or drop them off. This meant walking to Harrah's which is the only casino that I would love to see burned down, its earth salted so it can't be rebuilt. Their signage is deplorable, none of their employees knew how to get anywhere. An employee who, it turned out, was Within Sight of the Uber pickup, pointed us in the wrong direction. Salt. The. Earth. (The rumor that on Thursday we had a similar problem when two employees couldn't tell us where a restaurant inside the casino was can't be verified because Thursday never happened. I will just say that we twice walked by the restaurant on Friday when we just wanted to get a Lyft.)
We grabbed brunch at a restaurant where we were mostly ignored by the staff. I already posted about it. Then we walked to Writer's Block Bookstore and Imaginary Bird Sanctuary. A well-decorated (literally, not militarily) store that had a thorough and impressive stock of poetry, horror, fantasy, sci fi, screenwriting books, scripts, cookbooks, YA books, Young Reader books, marionettes, blank books, birdhouses, fake birds, partial animal skeleton reproductions, and other things one must have when buying books. If you're ever in LV, you should go there and spend money. They also had a coffeehouse but we didn't partake.
From there we walked to Container Park. It was a little lackluster compared to the last time I was there. Not bad, but very quiet. Apart from having a delicious slushy that completely froze my throat, it was uneventful. Friday is seeming uneventful.
A quick jaunt to Fremont Street was disappointing. Like emotionally crushing disappointing. I had been warned that much of the cool stuff around Femont Street had moved down to Main Street but seeing it was just said. I don't even want to write about it. It's someone else's place to eulogize.
We took a long walk to the Neon Museum at a slow pace, as we were way early. Like way way early. Very early. But we had budgeted an hour and a half for Fremont Street, and seven minutes was six and a half minutes too long.
I had booked us for a the supposedly fancy newish tour at 7, and the usual tour at 8. (I'd never been on either but Comrade's Sister had recommended it before the pandemic when the secondary tour was Tim Burton themed.)
We were there at 5:30. At 6:15ish, after I'd read all of the poetry books I'd bought at Writer's Block, a very nice employee asked if we wanted to take an earlier tour. I didn't really want to, as I wanted to take the regular tour when it was dark. It's a neon museum. So he looked at my ticket, and Freaked Out. Apparently, they'd booked some private show for the 7:00 secondary tour, and we wouldn't be able to join in. He got on his radio, called over another employee. Soon, there were four people passing my phone around, trying to figure out how I'd managed to book the tickets that way. In the end, they offered a chance to go sit in The Boneyard (I'll explain later) until 8, take the regular tour, and then do the secondary show at 9.
We had been there since 5:30. There are only so many Pokemon to catch, and the staff very honestly let us know that the only things to do within walking distance were the Mob Museum and Fremont Street, everything else either being closed for the night or far away. So we hung out.
The regular tour of the Neon Museum is totally worth that wait. Our guide (who was moving to New Mexico the next day because ... "the fucking economy" ... according to her boss who had been chief Freaker Outer about our tickets) was excellent. The tour is beautiful because of the art and the lights but also woke in a way that will upset your shitty Uncle Donald but impress you. There was a huge focus on the women and people of color who helped shape Vegas's sign history, and a talk about how the first integrated casino was built and the shitty reasons it closed within five months. There was also some discussion about the queer clubs, the bootleggers who struggled through Prohibition, and other cool things. I loved it. One old man huffed and scoffed a few times, but he was also the guy who was getting visibly and audibly upset when one of the other dozen people on the tour walked in front of him as he tried to take shots of every sign from every possible angle. We were just supposed to wait for his private photo shoot, I guess?
Take the regular tour.
If Brilliance is the secondary show when you go. Skip it.
Brilliance is about a cool technology where someone has traced all the bulbs on dead neon signs, and programmed a computer to create a show where it looks like they're lighting up again. It was super interesting and about three minutes worth of impressive. It was a 45 minute show. First, we walked by a mural filled with some historical figures involved in the history of Vegas neon signs. Again, the focus was people of color, women, and queer men. This time, no one scoffed. But the guide was either very tired or very bad at his job. He just gave a very Over It vibe. When the show started it was .... Comrade described it as "A pretty competent middle school power point presentation." I thought it felt like watching a screensaver from 1996. The same eight signs lit up in similar ways for 45 minutes while songs about Vegas that you've heard in Every Movie About Vegas Ever Made played. Liberace, Elvis, Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra, two modernish songs that weren't but could have been The Killers. It was super boring, and a waste of the technology.
We ordered a Lyft back, forgetting about the NFL Draft. Our poor Lyft driver was stuck slowly orbiting the basic area of the Flamingo/The Linq/Harrah's before we just got out behind the promenade and walked back to our room.
We hadn't eaten. We were so hungry. But the promenade and the casino were so packed with the kind of pathetic fandom that makes poetry slam groupies seem reasonable that we didn't want to go back out. I logged into DoorDash to order a pizza. FOUR HOUR WAIT. Cancelled the order. Ordered from a much closer Italian place. FOUR HOUR WAIT. We cancelled the order. I walked down to the food court. Each place had a pretty massive line of team jerseyed fucks*. I looked to my left and to my right, saw a drunk guy hesitating at a sub place, and I just walked up to the counter like I'd been in line, definitively ordered two subs and some drinks, and paid in about a minute and a half. Nobody in line noticed. The staff did not care at all.
Then we ate our mediocre food and crashed.
* - None of the football fans were ever rude in my presence. They were just drunk, clumsy, vomity, and taking up more space than was available. They were much better behaved and better smelling than the average Comic Con attendees.