Tuesday, September 15, 2009

News Flash: Luv-It *IS* In A Scary 'Hood!

Hoo-boy! The Vegas whine machine is in full throttle now!

First, there was the Time cover story that portrayed the city's economy as down in the dumps, which brought out Whiner-in-Chief Oscar Goodman to write a defensive letter. Then there was the recent Los Angeles Times series that got one total cry-baby realtor nutjob in Vegas to send out a hysterical email asserting idiotically that the L.A. Times had singlehandedly impacted real estate prices.

And now Mindy Kaling, an actress from "The Office," humorously notes that talk show host Craig Ferguson sent her to a pretty skanky neighborhood for some Luv-It Frozen Custard. Watch for yourself:

Hoo-boy does this get the hackles up! I mean, gee, she saw a guy with no pants and a drug bust. Isn't debating this being a bad area like debating whether Kanye West is a jackass? I've seen that and worse stopping by for custard and anyone who pretends they haven't is lying.

Now there's a legion of Facebookers and Vegas "historic neighborhood" aficionados (including my pal Jack LeVine, wrong in this case) who are offended. One, Brian Paco Alvarez, is threatening a boycott of a TV show he says he doesn't even watch which is, incidentally, not going to be very effective seeing how he's abstaining from something he doesn't do in the first place.

There's even a Facebook GROUP created by Jessica E. Brown over this! It's called "Las Vegas Downtown Neighbors & Luv-It Fans against Mindy Kaling" and here's it's mission: "The insanely and inexplicably popular actress Mindy Kaling has launched a coordinated attack against one of the oldest and best neighborhoods in Las Vegas.* By joining this ultra influential Facebook group,** you will be showing Mindy who's who!"

OK. So I'm confused. Beyond the fact that Kaling is hardly "insanely" popular -- there isn't even a MindyKaling.Com and I suspect she's mainly known by viewers of "The Office" -- take a look at the Google map and the satellite image of where Luv-It is. Click on them to enlarge.

This place isn't in any residential NEIGHBORHOOD anyway! It's slightly off a major thoroughfare that's adjacent to a highly industrial area. There are all sorts of seedy businesses in that stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard. The nearest home is what looks like a quarter-mile away, if not more. Olympic Gardens is right there! Ya never hear anyone defend the honor of the OG!

On Facebook, I'm being egged on to attack the actress and defend the neighborhood's honor. And yet I have always felt unsafe there, always wanted to make quick work of getting my goods and moving on. I love Luv-It and I recommend it in my travel journalism, but to send someone there without being prepared for that environment isn't great, either, so I always say so.

What's more irksome is what babies Vegas people are. Oh, boo hoo, someone said something mean about me. So I figured it was time to fight fire with fire. I started a Facebook Group called "Las Vegas Needs To Grow A Pair." Hopefully it'll be "insanely" popular.


James P. said...

Steve, you are factually incorrect in saying, "The nearest home is what looks like a quarter-mile away, if not more." There are apartments directly across the street (25 yards, maybe?), and homes just over the wall to the east. In fact, the John S. Park neighborhood (I assume you familiar with our city's only Historic District?) is just east on Oakey - much closer than 1/4 mile.

People "expect" what they see of Vegas to be all Bellagio, all the time. It's just more of that inane "People live here?" BS. Is the area "sketchy"? I suppose - but no more than Hollywood Blvd or, frankly, San Diego's Gaslamp after dark. But the "sketchiest neighborhood I've ever seen"? This girl needs some perspective, brother.

It's one thing to spread an inane opinion to a circle of friends; it's quite another to tell the world in an insecure moment of trying to be "funny."

I've only had a "sketchy" experience at Luv It once. But, I did recently witness a homeless dude, naked from the waist down, bathing in the men's bathroom sink at Borders at Town Square.

As evidenced by Ms. Kaling's comments and Kanye's interruption, isn't about time people remember how to shut up sometimes? Or is everyone's "perception," regardless of how disconnected from the whole truth it is, worthy of being instantly broadcast to the world?

bethany said...

James: If you can't admit that Luv-It is in a gross location, you're just delusional. This woman wasn't giving a statistical dissertation on comparisons between different bad areas of major American cities. She was relating her experience at this one. If she had said that your neighborhood was the greatest ever, would you be demanding to know how she could say that when X, Y or Z areas in X, Y or Z cities are clearly just as good or better? Of course not!

The extent to which whiny Las Vegans take all of this personally and seriously is amazing. Can you imagine the people of San Francisco getting up in arms over insults of the Tenderloin? No, because those are REAL cities. This place is full of crybabies.

James P. said...

Bethany, not only did you attack me in the first sentence of your comment, and not only did you fail to address a single point I made, and not only did you assume Luv It is in my neighborhood, and not only did you make an assertion that was incorrect about my comment, but you pulled out the "real city" comment. Ugh.

San Francisco has a hundred years of evolution on Las Vegas, and yet I've certainly heard relatives who live their defend their city. And while Dotty's True Blue Cafe is one of my face breakfast spots across the nation, I wouldn't go on television in a fit of "me" and denegrate the 'hood it's in

James P. said...


You insult me in your first sentence - AWESOME! Not only that, but the entire premise of your insult is incorrect (see Paragraph 2 of my comment). Further, you fail to address any points that I made. And, finally, you resort to the hackneyed, provincial "REAL city" comparison. B-O-R-I-N-G. Are you the president of Mindy's Fan Club?

Anonymous said...

I've been a Vegas resident for 30 years, and I just found the Ferguson/Kaling interview pretty amusing actually. (With a touch of 'playing-up the situation' involved on both sides for a little extra comic effect)
That area IS a bit 'sketchy' however. Simple as that. It may be a bit more on the side of 'interesting' sketchy.. than 'hardcore sketchy' most nights certainly, but then I wouldn't exactly call it a Prius car-commercial ad either.
But what I find even more amusing is all the attention this woman who I hardly knew a thing about before is getting via all this 'righteous indignation'.. over what should have been a funny (but forgettable after a few minutes) little skit. Heck, If this keeps up? - I may even need to check out her show sometime. Certainly would beat imagining that Vegas is composed entirely of Golden-Spires resplendent with clones of smiling George Clooneys. The town, like it or not, has it's share of ups as well as downs. 'Sketchier' neighborhoods and areas certainly being a fairly common one.

Pj Perez said...

I couldn't care less about her comments one way or the other. I just don't understand why the people who appear to be SO offended by something the rest of the world likely greatly ignored hold a non-local actress to some sort of arbitrary standard, as though its HER responsibility to fluff up the struggling urban core of Vegas.

Listen, when I go to San Francisco, I walk past hundreds of drug-addled, wall-pissing, passed out homeless people going between my hotel and Union Square. And if someone asked me about my trip on national TV, yeah, I'd let 'em know about it.

So whatever. Luv-It isn't going to be hurt by this, only helped. Its core customer base is made up of those of us who take the good with the bad anyway.

Its all about you, Steve Friess said...

Irony has been dead a long, long time but nowhere is it deader than with Steve Friess.

Speaking of whining, this is a guy who regularly goes on a generally unwatchable TV show supposedly about local news but generally an exercise in self-indulgence for self-declared local media celebrities, and what does he spend most of his time doing? Whining about his home values.

Brother, you bought an overpriced house in the suburbs 'cuz thats what you wanted. Live with it. Us downtown "whiners" -- also known as people with a sense of humor, as should be evident -- are by and large sitting high and dry since we bought undervalued homes, renovated them, and are already seeing median home prices in our zip code go up, while the rest of the value sinks lower and lower under water.

And we've got better custard.

Jessica said...

Facebook is only about whining. Do you know nothing about Web 2.0? Do you not read your own blog? ;)Whining isn't just for Summerlin anymore!

Anyway, the Facebook page is tongue and cheek people. An inside joke among the neighbors. Here's the entire description:

The insanely and inexplicably popular actress Mindy Kaling has launched a coordinated attack against one of the oldest and best neighborhoods in Las Vegas.* By joining this ultra influential Facebook group,** you will be showing Mindy who's who!


**This group is made up of literally tens of people in a loose coalition of Downtown LV neighbors including, but not limited to, Luv-It fans, praetorian artists, urban hipsters (aging and otherwise - that includes you, feminist drinkers), Joe Sacco's publicist, Joe Sacco's documentary film maker, bohemian university professors, cranky lawyers (you know who you are), anyone who takes Mad Men scenes as the basis for a personal design aesthetic, bar owners, those who've been yelled at by the homeless folks in Baker Park ("I wouldn't bring *my* dog to *your* yard!"), the homeless folks in Baker Park, the Orthodox Jews at Congregation Shaarei Tefilla Forman-Glick (L'shanah tovah, yo!), Bay Area refugees, anyone who eats at the Huntridge Pharmacy, White Cross Drug, Heidelberg Cafe, or Lotus of Siam and fans of Craig Ferguson. We only have one question for Mindy: was the custard good?

And just so you know, my neighborhood rocks and my home is awesome. I know all my neighbors, I have a huge back yard, I'm within spitting distance of a MOMA artist, and I have two huge trees that shade much of my house. You don't get that in Summerlin. So suck it! ;)


Whoa. I don't live in Summerlin and have always lived on the near-east side of town. We own in a 30-year-old-plus townhouse development and I'm not whining about home values so much as observing them and giving voice to thousands of Las Vegans who have had similar experiences. Also, as my recent USAT piece showed, houses in the "historic neighborhoods" are being foreclosed on like mad, too, whichis why so many are so inexpensive now. Boffo to ya if you bought at the right time, but those houses were not immune to the housing bubble.

Finally, this comment reflects the reason why you need to grow a pair. An actress observed that a custard stand is in a bad area. This is not debatable. That says nothing of the entire region or your personal abode which I'm betting does not border this site. It's about those few blocks around it. But the Downtown Elite Mafia takes it as an affront on every inch of the area and, as cheeky as Jessica was in her description of her Facebook group, these sorts of overly defensive knee-jerk responses are not fake or intended ironically. They're real. You people really are easily upset by minutae.

Pj Perez said...

Well said, Steve. Well said.

Come on everyone, let's all chill the f*ck out and have a cold one. It's only Vegas, baby. We ain't gonna have any water left in three years anyway and all of our homes will be worth diddly no matter in Winchester, Desert Shores or Enterprise. :)

Anonymous said...

Downtown Elite Mafia? I'm really not sure what this is supposed to be about, but I suspect its members are probably also high on the list to serve as judges on the Obama Death Panels.