I was recently headed to the Nevada Press Association banquet, so I decided it was time to come out of a six-month retirement from Downtown carousing and check in on the scene.
The event was at the new D—formerly Fitzgeralds—so we got a room. I can’t say whether I’d ever been in a room at the old Fitzgeralds, and if I had been, I thankfully wasn’t in any condition to remember it, but suffice to say the rooms at the new D are a big improvement. Down in the casino, there’s still the issue of air quality, which approximates a tobacco convention in the airport connector tunnel.
For the first time anyone can remember, there was an open bar at the banquet, which gave it the feel of a wedding. Actually, given the state of journalism, more like a wake. We were as far away as you could get from the podium, and as close as you could get to the bar. Don’t try to tell a bunch of cynics how great everything is.
The banquet broke up, and I persuaded a friend not to try carrying away four glasses of wine. “Wherever we are going, there will be wine,” I promised.
On Fremont Street Experience—one of America’s cultural capitals (elitists be damned)—a parade of inebriates and future Type 2 Diabetes patients rocked out to hair metal while street performers earned a living. A guy with Kid ’n Play hair banged some drums—empty soup or paint buckets and water jugs—while his pal used red duct tape to cover up the holes. A Michael Jackson impersonator posed for a photograph, his demeanor as weirdly hesitant and shy as the late M.J. himself.
We met Chrissy and Kizeecouture (just go with it). They moved here from Arizona because it’s boring there, and they love Vegas, despite it being “a hot f*cking mess,” said Kizeecouture, in suede boots and peroxided hair. Chrissy, the young woman, was in a leopard-spot dress and is an aspiring model. She’s also the self-described man in the relationship, and they were looking for a threesome for the night. Good luck and stay safe, kids.
We moved on, and a friend took off her shoes in the middle of the Fremont Street Experience. “I don’t care if I step in meth,” she said.
We’re at Downtown Cocktail Room, and then at the Griffin, and then back at Downtown Cocktail Room, and I’m reminded of the scene in The Great Gatsby: “People disappeared, reappeared, made plans to go somewhere, and then lost each other, searched for each other, found each other a few feet away.”
J. Patrick Coolican is a columnist for the Las Vegas Sun. Follow him on Twitter @jpcoolican or email him at [email protected] His Neon Eden radio show airs Wednesdays at 7 a.m. on 91.5 FM.