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Las Vegas is an overwhelming array of impossibly overwrought boxes, so kitsch-"beautiful" they become nearly sublime, as varied as they can be within their kitsch-"beautiful" parameters, but all of them contain exactly the same horrible thing. Everything is built around the slot machines. You pass the slot machines when you go from anywhere to anywhere. They're all tuned to the same major triad, I always notice, and I wonder whether the canned pop songs that get piped into all the casinos are actually all in the same key, or whether it just seems that way. (Pet Shop Boys' "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)" harmonized nicely with the slots, I observed.)

I am generally about as culture-liberal as it's possible to be, but going to Vegas turns me into a straight-up Frankfurt School type. Everything--EVERYTHING--on the Strip is about creating an atmosphere of false plenitude. Look how much money we have! We have so much money! We replicate the architectures of people of the past who were famous for having lots of money, not because we want the same things they wanted for the same reasons they wanted it but because it signifies how much money we have! There is abundance here! Everything you could ever want to eat is at our buffet! Art by the biggest names is on our gallery walls! Everywhere in the slot rooms, you hear the kssh kssh kssh of coins hitting molded metal! Money is everywhere here! Money takes away complications! Money means nothing at all to us! Money means nothing at all here! So spin the wheel!

Rant over. Other notes: Katrina and Colin (whose wedding Lisa was photographing) got married by an Elvis impersonator, in a chapel with a drive-through option (which they didn't exercise). (He was funny and charming, and drove up in a vintage big black Cadillac.) Then there was a reception in a trailer park--"I wanna play craps in my wedding dress!," the bride announced. Also, we noticed a whole lot of people around the Flamingo Hotel with unusual hair colors/piercings/etc.; turns out there was a great big goth convention going on there, called Convergence. I really have to keep my ear closer to the tracks.

2 Comments

liz said:

There's a gambling-related phrase that I'm vaguely fascinated with:

loose slots.

It's just strange to me.

Seth said:

We are always already learning from Las Vegas. That's why I finally bought a car.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on April 29, 2003 10:31 AM.

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