I’ve had a weird relationship with casino carpet for a long time. In my latest Green Felt Journal, I get the low-down from a real expert:
Carpets that adorn casinos look very different, but they are somehow easy to classify—a certain mixture of garish and gaudy that balances mirth with disorientation. This, perhaps, makes the public’s curiosity about them a little easier to understand.
Who doesn’t like a circus? Besides the people who stopped going to circuses because they don’t like circuses? In my latest Green Felt Journal, I explore the links between the circus and Las Vegas entertainment:
The latest incarnation of the circus to hit Las Vegas is Circus 1903, which will be performing at Paris Las Vegas beginning later this month. What makes the arrival of Circus 1903 interesting is that, nationally, circuses are at a low ebb. This May, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus held its final performance. After nearly 150 years, the “Greatest Show on Earth” ended. Shifting tastes, particularly growing concern over the plight of circus animals, led to the circus’ American decline.
Of course, the circus never really left, but that wouldn’t make a good headline. And I just realized I used “circus” five times in that paragraph alone, and that’s not even the one I mentioned Circus Circus in.
Someday, we may even seen a show based on Charles Mingus’s “The Clown:”
In this week’s Green Felt Journal, I talk about two of Derek Stevens’ latest moves in Downtown Las Vegas. How are they tied to the past?
The past few weeks have offered a good perspective on the dance between old Vegas, new Vegas and new old Vegas that characterizes our times. In particular, two incidents involving Downtown casino owner Derek Stevens that could only have happened in 2017 show just how far Las Vegas has come and why it’s important not to lose sight of its past.
I really was reminded of Jackie Gaughan when I heard about The D hosting the Golden Knights–it’s exactly the kind of thing he would have done. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stevens driving around The D’s garage with a pair of jumper cables.*
* I’ve heard from multiple people that Jackie Gaughan would do just that at the El Cortez, ready to help out any customer with a dead battery.
Vacation is supposed to be a fun time, a chance to get away from your everyday problems. And hotels are the cocoons that travelers return to, their homes away from home. A good hotel experience can make a vacation, and a bad one can break it. A recent Qualtrics survey reveals just what usually goes wrong and how guests react to missed expectations. While the survey is about hotels in general and not Las Vegas in particular, those who work in our city’s hospitality industry should heed its results.
The key to Las Vegas’s post-recession rebound (I don’t like to call it a recovery because the casino industry didn’t take back lost ground; it pivoted into slightly new areas to make up for its losses), some argue, is doing everything bigger and flashier. It’s hard to argue with that approach since many of the places that give more bang for more buck are doing well. But are there people who don’t want all that expense and pretension when they come to Las Vegas? The Stratosphere is betting yes, as I explore in my latest Green Felt Journal:
Back in January 2015, the Stratosphere launched a marketing campaign aiming to capitalize on people who miss the old Las Vegas. “Take Vegas Back,” declared a series of billboards. Since then, the casino has amplified that message, promoting an alternative to a Las Vegas that some say has lost its roots. According to Rachel Hunt, the Stratosphere’s assistant vice president of marketing, it was the right idea at the right moment.
Future Stars of Wrestling, the Las Vegas-based grappling promotion that features both local and national talent kicks off its Inaugural Wrestling Hall of Fame Ceremony on Friday May 19. Following that nod to the past, it delves into the future with night of action-packed wrestling at Sam’s Town Live.
There is nothing more fun than hearing wrestlers talk about wrestling. At least for me right now. It is a pleasure to interview people who speak concisely and vividly about what they intend to do and why people should care.
International Game Technology recently announced that it is selling its social gaming division, Double Down Interactive, for $825 million. The sale could offer a glimpse into how casinos will be working with social games in the future.
In memory of the 60th anniversary of perhaps the most famous failed mob hit in history, I wrote a blog piece for the Mob Museum:
On May 2, 1957, Frank Costello thought he had problems, but he had no idea. He was appealing a five-year prison sentence for federal income tax evasion (for which he had already served nearly a year) and decided to enjoy a dinner out with his wife and a few close friends. But befitting a man the press had dubbed the “boss of racketeers,” he had pressing business, so rather than stay out for drinks he caught a cab to his apartment at 115 Central Park West.
This was a fascinating story to write. With the growth of fantasy camps for just about everything, it was probably only a matter of time before one sprung up for professional wrestling. It has, and it’s in Las Vegas:
And that’s why you’re all in a small but professional studio in a generic industrial space off Patrick Lane this morning. You are at the latest class in Fantasy Slam Wrestling, the kind of only-in-Vegas attraction the town needs to keep its edge these days.
To research this, I hung around for a seminar with Sinn, D’Lo, and Jake. Quite the experience, to say the least. Great energy from everyone there, and I felt like I picked up a lot of valuable advice even though I’m not a wrestler and was just watching. Cool stuff, and if you like wrestling and want to get a taste of the action, this could be a lot of fun for you.
I went out to Planet Hollywood to play some skill games in the wild. The results, which I report completely candidly here, certainly taught me much about the future of gaming:
The three Gamblit games are easy to find, just off the main table games area and adjacent to a bubble craps game that had a few players. “Play video games, win cash!” advertised a poster nearby. “The future of gaming is here.”
To be candid, I went into this with no preconceptions–I was ready to love it or hate it. Instead, I found myself in a sort of purgatory. Metaphor for generational alienation? Existential, universe-defining moment? Or just some clueless guy walking good-naturedly around Planet Hollywood. I’ll let you be the judge.