Saturday, November 10, 2007
Today I got to walk around the New Frontier site and interview the owners of Controlled Demolition Inc., the Loizeauxes. This is the Baltimore family behind every implosion on the Strip since the Dunes. I'm working on a feature on them for a major national paper to run Monday in advance of the implosion early Tuesday. The sun was setting fast when I was done with my interviews, so I'm going back Sunday to shoot some inside pix. And yes, I grabbed some trinkets for keepsakes -- some pieces of glass, some old ticket-in tickets and the Associate Handbook pictured below from the floor of the vacant space.
I'm obviously very proud of the above image and its cool Wynn reflection. Below are more shots, including one of the Loizeaux family threading dynamite to stuff into pillars in the building. One surprise is how intact so much of the building is -- why didn't they take down the Frontier lettering and auction it off or give it to the Neon Museum? And the pool area still has all its grown palm trees; I would think there would be a market for those, too.
Loizeaux explained that the contractor on this job is not the same as the Stardust's and does not have the same eco-friendly approach. There are tax breaks and other perks to stripping buildings of their wood and carpet and such and recycling most of the building materials. Not this crowd. Oh well. Enjoy the pix and, if other sites or bloggers want to use them, go for it but give us credit.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Product Placement at the O.J. Simpson Trial
Of course, the setting itself, Las Vegas, is nothing less than the pop culture zeitgeist, and references to the trendy Palms, where Mr. Simpson is staying, and the Palace Station, where the football star and his group confronted a pair of memorabilia dealers, have been rife since the Sept. 13 incident.
But now that Mr. Simpson and two co-defendants are in court to determine whether they will be tried on armed robbery and kidnapping charges for bursting into the room and leaving with a trove of memorabilia, memories of how Bruno Magli shot to fame when the treads of the expensive Italian shoes owned by Simpson were pondered at his 1995 trial for the murders of his ex-wife and her friend. Mr. Simpson was acquitted.This round’s Bruno Magli may turn out to be the Sprint Katana cell phone. Memorabilia dealer Bruce L. Fromong, who said Mr. Simpson stole $100,000 in merchandise in the raid, complained loudly on Thursday that Mr. Simpson also snatched away the $280 phone that Mr. Fromong had just bought earlier that evening.
Read the rest here.
Since that piece went up, a few more products have come up, including the Essex House in NYC and Radio Shack. Fun!
In addition to that offbeat little thing, we've also posted this more formal Day Two report.
This thing is supposed to resume Tuesday and could last to Wednesday, too. All the other journalists are moaning. I'm happy for the paydays.
That said, the Wi-Fi and extra power strips are very hospitable to my ilk. And so I'm checking my email constantly and I get this press release from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority:
I have just learned, as you may also have already heard, that there is scheduled to be a Metro-led motorcade with Mr. Goulet's hearse traveling south-to-north on the Strip following the 1 p.m. funeral service at Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer. This motorcade is ESTIMATED to begin sometime between 2:30 and 3 p.m., although it is impossible to know this for a fact as there are a number of eulogies slated to take place during the service.
And at first, I thought to myself, "How trivial!" Then I realized, I'm spending as many as four days of my life on this OJ hearing and untold thousands of dollars are being spent by the international media. So I guess Goulet's motorcade down the Strip isn't so silly, huh?
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Also, don't forget my appearance tonight at UNLV at 5:30 pm. Read the info on that here.
Finally, the newest episode of "The Strip" is up, with Chuck Woolery revealing for the first time his 25-year feud with the late Merv Griffin. Hear it here or right-click here and save it to listen to whenever you wish.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Uhh, who? Fator is the 42-y/o ventriloquist who won NBC's "America's Got Talent" contest and $1 million this summer. He was promptly pegged to do a show at the Hilton in October that sold out instantly, as did the second show they added. Now he's doing a third gig in December, then New Year's Eve and then 15 dates through May.
In a rather unusual move, the Hilton released his salary, which is $1.5 million for the 15-show package. That's a nice chunk of change. Fator seemed like a very affable guy, extremely awestruck that after all these years of toiling in obscurity he's a Vegas headliner now. He gave a brief performance for a group of about seven journalists tonight and, yes, he's quite good, but I'm a sucker for this stuff. Also, he seems savvy enough to duck the answer to this question I asked: "So, just how drunk was Hasselhoff during the show?"
Did any of you watch "America's Got Talent?" Would you pay $49-$149 a seat to see him? Is he the next Danny Gans now that Gordie Brown seems to have turned out not to be?
Monday, November 5, 2007
Anyhow, our show will be live on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. with game show hosts Chuck Woolery and Bob Eubanks. Expect some breaking news from the Woolery chat. Plus, tons of Vegas news.
Disabled war veteran's activism forges onto film
Special for USA TODAY
There were people in wheelchairs who, a scant 15 years ago, wouldn't have had ramps to enter the theater. There were also people with hearing disabilities who wouldn't have had devices providing special amplification, and blind people wouldn't have been able to listen to an audio description of the Pimentel biopic Music Within.Here's the rest.
The film also stars Michael Sheen, who played Tony Blair in "The Queen," as a man with cerebral palsy. It is an amazing performance. I may put out the audio of that chat and the one with Ron Livingston (Sex and the City's Berger), none of which made it into the USAT story, on the podcast feed.
I have heard rumors that sooner or later the Mirage is going to shut down the Secret Garden as well, given that it takes up so much precious, pricey acreage. So far, though, that suggestion has been categorically denied.
Still, I suspect within 10 years, all that will be left of the Siegfried & Roy era will be the statue along the Strip sidewalk. I don't react much to hotel closures and the like, but this seems sad. I especially loved going to the Habitat and watching that cheesy video of a young, pre-injury Roy frolicking with the tiger cubs.
What goes into the space that was this free attraction? BLT Burger, a new joint from NYC chef Laurent Tourondel. It opens in the spring.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Read it here.
I'm sure by the time you read this, the moment will have passed. But right now, "Gay Vegas" is ranked #1 on Amazon.Com in the category of gay/lesbian travel, #2 in Las Vegas travel guides and #11 in all gay and lesbian nonfiction. Also, the book is at #24,593 overall. To understand the tremendous impact of Tammy Audi's Wall Street Journal piece that referenced the book, I was at #600,000ish on Friday morning. Wild. Keep it going. Buy yours now.
Now, how do we get WSJ to write about "The Strip" and "The Petcast"?