"For a cautionary tale, everybody cites Paul Bradley Carr" - THE SUNDAY TIMES

Month: May 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

The Strip Diary, Epilogue: We’ll Meet at the End of the Tour

Day Thirty Three: Mandarin Oriental (Comped)

8 am, London time and I’m sitting in the ‘bite.’ coffee shop in the arrivals hall of Heathrow airport, eating an egg and cress sandwich.

It’s a little more than 17 hours, including the New York layover, since I left Las Vegas. I’m tired, disorientated by the time change, and the portion sizes here are weird; like going back to your childhood classroom and finding all the chairs have shrunk.

My final few days on the Strip were a curious whirl of press — TV, radio, magazines, newspapers of various stripes — all of whom asked the same question in a different way: how has 33 days in Las Vegas changed my opinion of the city? Read more...

The Strip Diary, Day Thirty Two: The Last of the Vegas Hotel Reviews, in Haiku Form

32 nights in 32 hotels; the finish line is so close I can almost bite it. Just one night still to go, at the Mandarin Oriental, and my month-and-a-bit in Las Vegas will be over.

Of course, technically speaking I’ve failed in my stated goal: to stay a single night in every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. For reasons I’ve already written about — and talked about — at length, I skipped out of the Palazzo, replacing my night there with one at the M Resort. I mean, I could argue a technicality: the Venetian (where I did stay) and the Palazzo share a check in and booking process, and an entrance, so technically I could argue that they’re the same hotel. But I won’t. I don’t care. What I care about is that I made it through 33 nights, staying a single night at a different hotel. And I lived to tell the tale. Read more...

The Strip Diary, Day Thirty One: Enough Has Been Written On the Awfulness of Criss Angel, So Here’s a Video

Day Thirty One: Vdara ($109)

The last thing the world needs is another person writing about how terrible Criss Angel’s Believe show at the Luxor is. Instead, then, I’ve decided to do today’s diary entry as a video. In which I talk about how terrible Criss Angel’s Believe show at the Luxor is.

If you’re looking for a snappy rant, this isn’t for you. Instead it’s twelve and a half minutes of me venting my frustration at everything that’s wrong with bad Las Vegas magicians, and everything that’s right — by contrast — with Penn & Teller’s show at the Rio. Read more...

The Strip Diary, Day Thirty: The Las Vegas Natural History Museum Has Outlived Liberace

Day Thirty: The Bellagio ($144)

I can’t even make payroll from admissions fees”.

Marilyn Gillespie isn’t complaining; simply acknowledging a fact. Gillespie is the Executive Director of the Las Vegas Natural History Museum and, in the world of Las Vegas museums, her’s constitutes a success story. “We had a Guggenheim, but that’s gone,” she says, “even the Liberace Museum had to close.”

Seriously — Vegas couldn’t even support a Liberace museum?

“It’s a generational thing. An Elvis museum might have universal appeal, but Liberace isn’t so interesting to people any more.” Read more...

The Strip Diary, Day Twenty Nine: The Oscar Goodman Show Must Go On

Day Twenty Nine: Monte Carlo ($76)

Oscar Goodman doesn’t approve of my new shoes. “You always wear sneakers?” he asks, peering across his over-ornamented desk at my bright orange Chucks. “I only own one pair of shoes,” I explain. And I do: the price of living permanently out of hand luggage. But Goodman isn’t satisfied: “You can’t dress up for the mayor?”

“I can’t dress up for funerals.”

I could have picked a better comeback, and a less well-connected person to be snarky to. This is, after all, the man who once suggested that an unsympathetic news producer should have her legs broken, and who sat by as a columnist critical of one of his friends was chased from a Four Seasons by the mob. Read more...

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