Thursday, June 10, 2010
ALL THE COLORS OF LAS VEGAS
Some wonder if they dream in color but when you live in color, the dreams will take care of themselves.
Las Vegas has a past that glows brightly and has a brilliant future for sure, but here in the now, it is unimaginably colorful. The Vegas Strip is an adult playground lit up by neon that glows like electrified Crayolas. If you're ready to paint with all the colors of the desert wind, well then come on.
Las Vegas is a valley that is completely surrounded by red. From the Red Rock Mountains in the west down to the ruddy sandstone bordering Lake Mead, the edges of the cinnamon desert seem to have been splashed-and soaked- with wine. Coming in from the south, visitors are drawn to a distant emerald glow, a green so warm you can almost feel it before you see it. The far off MGM Grand calls out to a childhood memory and the shout of 'We're off," sings in your mind. The MGM has been home to some great entertainers, huge concerts and sporting events but it's Mike Tyson spitting out a fleshy piece of ear that colors my memories tonight.
The Monte Carlo promotes classy LANCE BURTON. As you pass by, your head fills with fluttering images of white doves and then, the darkly handsome CRISS ANGEL reminds us that the magicians may perform here but that magic has always been here.
Like a gentle giant, LOUIE ANDERSON appears at the colorful castle called Excalibur. That bright star to the east is GEORGE WALLACE and, to the west, PENN & TELLER perform inside the red and blue Rio.
Down on the left, well-lit liquid fireworks spray up into the desert sky. I hear 'Claire de Lune' and see George, Brad and Matt projecting their dozens of dreams onto the Bellagio's watery show.
Next door, it's the aqua glow of Caesars Palace that warms the heart. Those famous fountains bring back memories of a white hot motorcycle stunt that came to a bloody halt. Inside was the best showroom in town: Circus Maximus, where a young house pianist, VINNIE FALCONE, accompanied the greatest Las Vegas stars, notably an Italian-American singer known by the color of his eyes. Now, as the summer wind blows in, it's those midnight blue eyes that you see, that seemed to see you. You remember TONY BENNETT in white dinner jacket, doing Caesars midnight shows, DIANA ROSS holding court dressed in colorful gowns and crazy funny HOWIE MANDELL, sending quick-witted comments sparkling into the late night. ANDY WILLIAMS opened the room, in living color and STEVE & EYDIE kept it bright right up until the end. Now there's a colosseum where a Canadian singer chirps out her titanic hit and soon, NEIL DIAMOND will sing songs sung blue. MATT GOSS adds swagger to the limelight on Cleopatra's Barge but it's Sinatra's shadow we all live in.
Rat Packers DEAN MARTIN (Ol' Red Eyes) and SAMMY DAVIS, JR (Ol' Brown Eye) lit up the Bally Grand while down at the Mirage, SIEGFRIED & ROY blended every color under the rainbow during their reign, cut short by that blood-soaked white tiger.
The Riviera, opened by the dazzling LIBERACE found a new life, thanks in part to the clever and colorful producer NORBERT ALEMAN, who brought flesh back to the Las Vegas Strip. Fans are still going crazy for his CRAZY GIRLS. And after a twenty-plus year Riviera run FRANK MARINO flew the cage and is now doing sparkling shows at the Imperial Palace. Splash, the aqua force behind the Rivera's rennaissance, is now but a drop in memory's ocean, but, some of those drops still sparkle.
REDD FOXX's humor may have been blue, but his shows combined black and white in a way that left us all color blind with laughter. Comedians ruled Del Webb's Moroccan themed north end resort back in the day and today, Las Vegas royalty SANDY HACKETT still packs them in at the Sahara.
When the King was in town, the crimson neon 'H' above the Las Vegas Hilton burned brightly. Sadly, it turned out Elvis had a black belt in pharmacology. From suede blue valium to percodan as yellow as his once Flaming Star, EP's nights were all shook up for serious, high atop that Heartbreak Hotel.
Downtown Las Vegas, once dismissed as 'Glitter Gulch' will shine brightly well into the forseeable future, illuminated by millions of LED's that light up a motorcycle thunderdome, a Golden Nugget and at least Four Queens.
The green felt jungle lives by a color code all its own. Casino chips range from red ($5) green ($25) and black ($100) up to pretty purple ($500), orange ($1000) and cool $5000 hot chocolate cheques. Some of the more tony joints play with off-white $25,000 cheques and higher but, deep down, it's all about the green.
Tonight, the Las Vegas Strip's Wynn and Encore shout 'Paydirt,' thanks to STEVE WYNN's insistance on proper glass that always glows golden and, like Las Vegas itself, never loses its luster.
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