Note to reader: This week’s column is best read with a Texas accent.
You know you’ve had enough to drink when you find yourself on a rock in the middle of the desert early in the morning, staring down a cow with orange spots. And I haven’t even visited this week’s bar yet.
It just so happens that a pardner of mine is doing the PR for the opening of Dixie’s Dam Country Bar, the newest addition to the Hooters Hotel & Casino. The publicity includes a stunt involving cows—or rather, people in orange-spotted cow costumes—hitchhiking from the Dixie’s locations in Southern California to the Memorial Day grand opening in Las Vegas. To express this stunt in televised B-roll, my friend has gathered a film crew on the outskirts of Primm, Nevada, and asked me to sub in for one of the actors. As it turns out, the folks in Primm don’t take too kindly to folks in cow costumes, and in true country outlaw fashion, we’ve drawn the attention of local law enforcement. Sheeeee-iiiit.
To sum up the encounter, we fight the law, and … the law wins. Being true guerrilla filmmakers, we gather our gear and head away from these parts, off to the next illegal filming location, up north, off the freeway near Mt. Charleston. My job is to put on a butcher’s apron, drive a pickup truck (what else?) up to the hitchhiking cow and then urge him to hop in, while I subtly reach for my butcher’s knife, which rests on the passenger seat next to a copy of The Joy of Cooking. The cow turns down the ride, so I reckon I’ll be eatin’ soy burgers tonight. That’s a wrap. Who needs a drink?
There ain’t no cows to be seen when I arrive at the grand opening of Dixie’s on Saturday, which is just as well, since a fella can no longer chew on a cow’s ass and smoke his Marlboro at the same time in a bar in Las Vegas. Thank ya kindly, Question 6.
The place is pure country. The interior is almost entirely wood, and by wood, I mean you can see the nails holdin’ the joint together. There are wooden pillars decorated with rusted horseshoes, and the walls of the bar are covered with all the country/Western accoutrements one would expect: rustic pistols, metal stars, critter pelts and cattle skulls. A bit of non-wooden brick wall advertises dance lessons for 10 cents a two-step.
I sidle up to the bar, and my PR friend tells me that our B-roll got snubbed courtesy of all the bad weather in California that’s been grabbin’ the media’s attention. Damn weather. I reckon that means God’s a little bit rock ’n roll. But the folks in here are more than a little bit country. About 10 percent of the 200-plus patrons are wearin’ well-trained cowboy hats, and there are more than a few fellas sportin’ impressive handlebar mustaches.
I grab the attention of one of the well-endowed bartenders, sportin’ a cleavage-revealing pink top, short Daisy Dukes and a pink belt with silver studs, and I order myself a beer (what else, ’sides sarsaparilla?). Country superstar Joe Diffie takes the stage to the fans’ delight and belts out tunes like “The More You Drink, the Better I Look” and “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die).” The crowd eats it up, while my friend and I joke that many country ballads are inspired by the family dog and the pickup truck dyin’ on the same day.
After the concert, I pass below the exit sign (which reads: “Y’all Come Back Now”) and meet the Las Vegas Weekly photographer, who’s busy snapping pictures of the Rack Pack—three Hooters girls in matching shirts and straw hats who were recently featured in Playboy. She admits that she isn’t a huge country fan, but loves the energy of a country bar.
Well, it’s hard to beat Dixie’s Dam Country Bar as far as energy is concerned, and with any luck, I’ll wake up tomorrow on a rock in the desert, staring down an orange-spotted cow. Only this time, it won’t be for real.