A Friday night meander through Vegas: priceless

If my Friday night were a MasterCard commercial it would read something like this:

Entrance to First Friday: $2

Crappy Mexican dinner for two at Yayo Taco: $18

Nostalgia-inducing bottle of Magic Hat Circus Boy at Freakin’ Frog: $8

Meeting Video Bob in the Whiskey Attic: Priceless.

It was that kind of Friday night – full of random, bloggable moments and characters. If the folks at the credit card company cared enough about my unexceptional evening to film it, the footage behind the monotone voice over would be full of the tiny, strange instances that make Vegas such an interesting place to live.

Entrance to First Friday: $2

The camera pans over the Downtown crowd. Hispters sidle up next to young professionals and families to watch a crew of break dancers b-boy to the sound of a drummer banging on his kit. Outside the Arts Factory a woman on roller skates wearing fairy wings holds her son’s hand as they cross East Charleston Boulevard. She looks like a maternal tinker bell or the coolest mom ever, who may soon become a source of inescapable embarrassment.

Crappy Mexican dinner for two at Yayo Taco: $18

Zoom in on thick cardboard plates holding tiny tacos and the exasperated faces above them. We’ve waited altogether too long for a meal that comes out in five-minute intervals. The tacos, which sounded so enticing on the menu, all taste similar despite supposedly containing very different ingredients. Our server apologizes for the wait, citing the kitchen manned by a single cook. Our chips, freshly fried, warm and very crisp, are delicious.

Nostalgia-inducing bottle of Magic Hat Circus Boy at Freakin’ Frog: $8

From behind the bar the camera watches me page through the binder-held beer list until my face lights up. There it is, Magic Hat, the Vermont-based brewery I helped support in college with a steady diet of their barely fruity pale ale called #9. The Freakin’ Frog is out of my favorite brew, so I order a Circus Boy Hefeweizen instead. The beer, which in Boston would normally run a standard $5 per pint, is $8 in the bottle. My boyfriend pays grumbling.

Meeting Video Bob in the Whiskey Attic…

A friend and I climb the stairs to the members only Whiskey Attic at the Freakin’ Frog to find a small cluster of people and an awesome array of whiskey, bourbon and scotch. And we find Video Bob, the eccentric charter member who gives us a brief lesson on liquor followed by a brief lesson on trains (Video Bob was a conductor), all in a rambling musical voice punctuated by loud syllables and energetic jabs with a pen light named Willie. Video Bob earned his name, he explains, directing video shoots for major TV networks. This weekend he’ll be wrangling a 10-camera crew for HBO at the Joel Casamayor fight at the MGM Grand. But he also goes by other names, like Mr. Chile (short for Mr. Chile Pepper) when he’s eating at Lindo Michoacan, where he likes his food so spicy most people would be crying for mercy, or Engineer Bob when he’s driving a train for Opportunity Village. He invites us to a tasting dinner, tells us that only cretins drink Makers Mark – it sells for a mere $6 per shot in the attic – and twitches Willie the pen light around interpreting its voice in a high pitched yelp.

“Do you ever go by just plain Bob?” my friend asks before we leave the Attic behind. “No,” Video Bob answers. “It’s never just plain Bob.”


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