Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Historical Las Vegas Document

On the final evening of our latest visit to Southern Nevada, January 22, we left the Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson and began to drive to the Nevada/California border. Despite the departure, it was our final evening because it took us a while to get from the mall to the border since there were stops at two Henderson apartment complexes that Mom wanted to see.

Before reaching the border, we stopped at the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Jean. Pedantically, they're not technically the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, but without Las Vegas, there would be nothing in Jean, so indeed they are the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas.

I want to include the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in one of my books, the wide-open atmosphere which is nearly no frills. This outlet mall has been quietly designed, with a few globe streetlights on inside the mall. At one of the exits of the mall is a tall model of a woman on the left side holding up a white globe and a tall model of a man on the right side holding up a globe, wearing what looks like a thong bikini. It's my favorite kind of mall, not screaming all available sales at you, no huge signs touting any stores, and not much noise. This is a mall for tourists arriving in and leaving Nevada through California. If you fly into McCarran, you could certainly drive to it if you're curious enough. But it's mainly geared toward the traffic on that road across from it.

On this night, we were there because they have a Williams-Sonoma Marketplace, which means outlet store. Discounts. Meridith wanted to see what they were selling for cheap and I was only looking for mustard, which I found, a dijon imported from France for $3.99. 12-oz. jar, and, as I found out some time later, overly vinegary, and I don't think it's because it sat for a while. It was sealed anyway.

We were also there because there's a souvenir store called Viva Vegas, where I hoped to find a bookmark. They had playing cards, and magnetic poker chips, and shot glasses, and naked lady pens (Turn it upside down and the bathing suit "melts" off), and disappointing Las Vegas t-shirts, mainly ones with "Las Vegas" emblazoned across the front. I know it's to be expected, but I would have preferred one of the Strip in an artist's rendering. And I would have worn it with pride.

Near the register was a small flatscreen TV showing footage from a DVD and Blu-Ray being sold of a half hour tour of Las Vegas. It looked like high-definition filming, and got very close to the fountains at Bellagio, to where you could see the nozzles poking out of the water and then retracting after they were done for the moment. I went back and forth on whether to get it because I know the Strip. I know where every casino is, I know what every casino offers. Why would I need a DVD of what I will soon see all the time?

I nearly changed my mind when I saw the hotel tower side of the Flamingo. They have a large wrap against the windows of the main act currently in their showroom. On the main tower, you'll find Donny & Marie. On the side tower, there's one for magician Nathan Burton. In this footage, there was Toni Braxton, which meant this had been filmed in 2007! I was looking at an historical Las Vegas document. But I didn't think of it as that at the time and left Viva Vegas without buying it.

Over the past two weeks, I've thought about that DVD. I still have space for a few more DVDs in one of my DVD binders, and besides having what I believe is the most realistic modern-day Vegas movie in Lucky You, despite a crappy script (The most realistic Vegas movie from long ago is The Las Vegas Story from 1952, starring Jane Russell, Victor Mature, and Vincent Price. I will not delete it from the Tivo until it's time to move and we have no need for DirecTV anymore), I should have Vegas as it actually was in 2007. Seeing Toni Braxton on the side of the Flamingo shows that they don't film these DVDs often, so there's obviously none for 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. No yearbook of sorts.

Plus, the footage was excellent, getting that close to the Bellagio fountains and making the Strip look as comfortable as I know. And I would have a piece of Vegas history, including my own, since we first visited Las Vegas in 2007.

I found it on a website called Las Vegas Gift Shop. And on YouTube is apparently Part One of the video. Part Four has some of the Bellagio footage, but sped up. The footage that I saw may be on the DVD or it may not, and if not, I don't feel screwed because I get plenty of Las Vegas to look at, to study, to imagine the stories that were going on while the people walking by were being filmed. It'll be continually useful.

It's not Viva Vegas again, and I'm paying shipping now in addition to the price, but I'll have it in my collection and that's what matters to me. I think I'd still watch it even living near there because there are angles in the footage that can't be seen at ground level, and certainly not that close to the Bellagio fountains.


  1. I have to admit, I find your deep interest in Las Vegas more fascinating than Vegas itself. I'm curious to see what it develops into, as far as future book projects of yours.

    Dave the Goof

    1. There are infinite stories to find in Las Vegas, in what you see right in front of you, in its history, even as you have crowded blackjack tables in your peripheral vision as you pass by. I think I'll be a better writer there than I am here.