Latest GFJ: The Power of Twitter

My much-anticipated Green Felt Journal piece about casino tweeting–which inspired me to finally claim @unlvgaming and get to work–is out, in today’s Vegas Seven: Casinos are always looking for new ways to reach customers. So it’s no surprise that they’ve embraced Twitter, the popular social networking application that lets anyone tell the world, in 140 … Read more

Book review: Super Casino

Re-reading after seven years, I’m struck by two things: I’m not entirely comfortable reviewing books that I don’t like, and the general quality of writing about Las Vegas has not much improved.

Let me explain: as a writer, I absolutely hate saying negative things about other writers. I know how hard it is to find the discipline and vision to write a book, then go through rounds of revisions and editorial haggling. To do all this and then see your work ripped to shreds is just heart-breaking.

But sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, I’ve heard, and sometimes the writer isn’t the victim, the reader is. Maybe the writer took a nice advance then realized that he didn’t have anything meaningful to say on the topic. In that case, I’ve got no pity: I’ve been offered projects that I didn’t feel I could do justice to, and I’ve turned them down, even though it meant passing up a payday. Before I start writing, I feel an obligation to the reader to approach the topic in good faith.

And the more crap that’s out there, particularly the more well-marketed crap, the less room there is for real writing in the book ecosystem: it’s literary kudzu, or snakeheads, or whatever invasive species you can think of. Theodore Sturgeon was probably right when he said “ninety-five percent of everything is crap,” and in regard to Las Vegas/gambling that’s probably a generous estimate. But since for whatever reason I’m in a position to have some influence, I try to encourage good writing. I’m not saying I practice it or anything, I’m just saying I can recognize it and, like a soused undergrad seeing that guy from his o-chem class across the haze of a frat party, say, with an equivalent nod of the head, “Dude!”

As you’ll see, I’m not saying “dude” for this book.

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Luxor getting darker?

The Tropicana’s woes might be the Luxor’s gain. The pyramid on the Strip is picking up two exhibits that as Columbia Sussex’s flagship is taking on water (allegedly). From the LVRJ: Luxor is picking up two nongaming attractions from the Tropicana. Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions announced Tuesday it signed a 10-year agreement with the Luxor to … Read more