Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pictorial: The MGM Auction Pickup

On Thursday, I had to haul out to a warehouse just a bit southwest of the Strip to pick up the items that I had bought at the CityCenter auction earlier on Monday. After I blogged about the auction, a whole load of readers, seeking mid-day distraction, joined and live-blogged the online sale of more than 1,000 lots of furnishings either used or considered but never used at the various CityCenter buildings.

I joined and tweeted the first hour or so, but then I needed to meet up with Amy and head to the celebrity impersonators convention. I did a fun AOL News piece on that and Amy contributed her photo expertise for a photo slideshow. More on that in another post.

Anyhow, for whatever reason I saw this item...

...and thought they might be fun to have. They're "vanity trays" and I didn't pay attention to their dimensions, but they're real leather and there are six of them. Somehow I thought they were big enough to use as trays to bring dinner to the living room. (Please, nobody tell my mom I do that.)

Anyhow, the final price as $27.50 for the six plus taxes and a buyer's premium. It came to about $33, and I had to get to the warehouse to pick them up early Thursday morning.

That turned out to be fun. I got a look-see at some of the other stuff that was auctioned and waiting for retrieval by new owners:

It was explained to me at the warehouse that a lot of this stuff was bought or sent by vendors for consideration in the interior design of rooms and public spaces at Aria, Vdara, Mandarin Oriental and Veer. Some of the stuff, too, had already been used. Some was damaged, with cracks or missing hardware. I didn't recognize any of these items from anything in real-life CityCenter, but I'm sure they're there somewhere.

The vast majority of items for auction were of a somewhat mundane, un-Vegasy nature. For however long the auction company wastes space on its site housing the catalog, you can find it at this link and some of the items were discussed in the prior blog post on this event.

But one thing that fascinated me were these 7.5-foot-tall Kirin dragons, of which there were four. This was the image from the auction catalog:

According to @EastCoastGamblr, who stuck around and live-tweeted the whole auction, they went for $1,600, among the highest prices paid for a lot. It's unclear if they were sold altogether or individually because many of the same items were batched together despite being listed as separate lots, and the lady running the auction made an off-handed remark to me that the person who bought "them" said they actually only wanted one. (The auction results site is no longer functioning, so I can't check this.)

The auction lady also explained that those dragons cost MGM Resorts $22,000 each. When they arrived, they were made of fiberglass and that was unacceptable to CityCenter brass, who thought they looked and felt cheap, so they never deployed them anywhere. I'm not sure how they didn't know the material they were being made in before they blew some $100,000 on them, but that's her story, anyhow. Here are a couple of closer-up looks I shot in the warehouse:

Anywho, I picked up my little purchase.

I'm not sure what I'll do with them, exactly, although a listener/twitter follower has already claimed one in exchange for a show donation. And we're off to some friends' house today for the Oscar show, so I think I'll put some of my special brownies in one to bring over and then leave the tray there.

That'll leave four, anyhow. Any thoughts, people?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

LVW Col: The Monofail Files

Remember when I was surprised that the failing Las Vegas Monorail had only brought in $190,000 in ad revenue in 2010? Well, as usual, I'm right - that's weird. I asked ad experts. They're surprised, too. Enjoy. -sf

The bankrupt Monorail isn’t doing much
to help itself these days



Up until now, most of us assumed the folks operating the troubled, bankrupt Las Vegas Monorail were doing their best amid so many challenges. Its lousy location, its lack of an airport connection and its lackluster support from the resorts along the route seemed doom-making enough.

What I had never seriously considered was that the folks who run the thing had actually just given up on salvaging the mess. Until now.

Earlier this month, the system reported it lost $23.1 million in 2010, way up from $2 million in 2009, and shuttled 5.2 million riders along its tracks last year. In 2005, it had 10.3 million riders. In January 2010, the Monorail filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is now in the process of reorganizing its deluge of debt.

None of this is surprising, but one statistic did provide a shock: The Monorail raked in a paltry $190,000 in advertising revenue in 2010, down from about $2.3 million in 2007. That’s a drop off of nearly 92 percent.

To which I had one thing to say: “Huh?”

Read the REST at LasVegasWeekly.Com

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Strip is LIVE tonight @ 8p PT

It's the 1990s Tabloid Stars edition of "The Strip" tonight featuring my recent interviews with Las Vegans Gennifer Flowers and Mary Jo Buttafuoco! Plus, of course, the news of the week as mulled by us, a new trivia question, a new poll and either the Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week or a new segment we've been mulling for a while.

Watch and hear us at at 8 p.m. PT. Or you can subscribe to The Strip (it's free!) in iTunes or Zune to get the latest show and various specials.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

MGM Resorts Holds A Presidents Day Fire Sale!

It seems the fine folks at CityCenter are ready to unload a whole bunch of damaged or excess, well, crap. I spotted this tiny ad in today's paper, and it turns out the sale is 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 21, at this website.

As the notice indicates, the auction is mainly a sale of various pieces of room furnishings and hardware that were intended or have been deployed at Aria, Vdara, Mandarin Oriental or Veer. It's a Web-only event in every way, including that there's no opportunity for any on-site inspection of merchandise.

There are 1,076 lots, and you can review them here although there's no suggested auction minimum prices listed in the catalog. There's stuff like this 65-by-38-by-20-inch tub...

...or several of these 56-by-32-by-30-inch chaise lounges...

...or perhaps this 10-inch chrome, lighted, 3x-magnification vanity mirror with "no mounting hardware":

I can't imagine why this design didn't work out...

...or what good a broken mirror would be to anyone...

...or what the charm would be in buying these chairs for which "fabric needs to be cleaned, one chair has tear, one has cigarette burn."

I honestly have no clue what this -- described as an "e-tray" -- is:

But the thing I truly, truly cannot live without, is...

...a "Kirin Dragon." That beaut there is a 7.5-foot-tall fiberglass statue. I can't imagine where it was supposed to go or why, with this on hand, they threw that crappy Henry Moore into the pocket park.

Obviously, this auction isn't really intended for ordinary people, but it's fun to browse and watch anyway. Nothing, so far as I could tell, had any resort logos or branding anywhere. But if any of you "go" to this and buy something, totally let me know.