After a long day of conference sessions, networking, and tossing around ideas with representatives from other schools, my supervisor and some fellow colleagues met with my supervisor’s brother for dinner. We ate at the wonderful Lazo restaurant at the Palazzo hotel. It was there where I spoke with my supervisor’s brother, a hotel developer and hotel industry professional, who really exposed the ins and outs of Las Vegas.
Everyone knows of Las Vegas, and what it is about. We usually think about the city on the surface as a place of craziness wrapped up into a short stay. As the saying goes, it’s sin city.
Viva Las Vegas (Again!) - Part 1
Viva Las Vegas (Again!) - Part 1
However, rarely do we ever stop to think about the general make up of the city and the beast that it truly is. As our conversation progressed, he continually used the phrase, “city of excess” and shook his head following it every time.
Well, if you get beyond the things the typical human temptation and desires (basically the sin in which the city is named after) of gambling, gluttony, and sexual promiscuity to name a few, there are actual real live bodies in which these issues play out on.
He beautifully laid out the history of the strip, and the marketplace before and after the economic downfall, and how the economy has impacted Las Vegas. He pointed to (and you definitely notice) the stores and areas, even a midst all of the people in this crazy town, many restaurants, shops, bars, and attractions were barren. Completely empty. A clear and utter evidential sighting of an area that expanded way beyond what the economic downturn would eventually allow.
He described the certain hotels on the strip and their marketing business plans. Places like the Four Seasons and the Trump building which were built during boom periods for Vegas, now struggling to survive, and are basically losing money every year, only remaining open to simply keep from leaving a massive structure empty and un-operated.
He talked about the suburbs of Vegas, and how your neighbor could be either a prostitute, showgirl, stripper, or casino manager. Eventually, everyone’s job revolves around the strip. And all jobs on the strip are short lived.
As much as Vegas has turnovers in visitors, it has similar turnover in the people who work and live here. As he put it, strippers, casino managers, retail workers, prostitutes, and even the guys on the streets handing you as much info about the local strip clubs as they can, all will work in this town for three years max.
And the sad part, even those who make really good money, for example some bartenders who can bank up to $2,000 a night, usually spend all of it that very night.
Money in, and money then goes out. Money has no value in this town. And as you walk around, you realize how much people are willing to spend to feed urges that simply feed the beast of temptation.
And then of course, there is the women aspect. In Vegas, there are women EVERYWHERE. Women of all types, shapes, colors, and sizes. Beuatiful women as well. Classy in nature, or as common as your local call girls on the strip. Sometimes we claim, "that’s Vegas!" However, to think that this place objectifies women to a point that we somewhat accept the repulsive act of pimpin, prostitution, and other forms of sexual immorality that takes place, is unbelievable.
Many of these things are taking place on human bodies. Once again, real human bodies!
In fact, you begin to wonder that many of these women were once girls with bright eyes and passionate dreams of Hollywood and Broadway, and eventually had to settle for Vegas to keep it alive. Could Vegas have many of Los Angeles’ rejects, couldn’t-hack-its, and never had its? I’m sure there is a correlation there.
And how about the immigration aspect? As a child of two immigrants who are now US citizens, as well as an advocate for improving and reform our immigration system, it breaks my heart to see so many immigrants handing out advertisements and cards for strip clubs to simply make ends meet. However, it makes me angry that this is what they choose to do, as many of them, equipped with iPADS and iPods, seem to be doing well from the gig.
There are so many more aspects in my conversation that I could touch base on, but this would go from being a blog post into becoming a dissertation.
Overall, I learned once you get passed the glitz, glamour, and reputation of Las Vegas, you realize that it indeed is sin city, and not the cool saying.
A city filled of broken dreams, empty promises, and unnecessary excess, made to look pretty by it’s bright lights, large buildings, and shallow human desires that it offers.