Mirror

Woman in red is reflected and stylized in this Las Vegas photo
Woman in red is reflected and stylized in this Las Vegas photo

Mirror

The Fashion Mall on Las Vegas’s famous ‘Strip’ provides the setting for this week’s photo. In this image the same model, is duplicated multiple times to obtain an unusual visual effect, sort of like walking through a house of mirrors.
Mirror

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Las Vegas Graphics

Marilyn and Elvis in Las Vegas
Marilyn and Elvis in Las Vegas, America's Royal Couple

Elvis and Marilyn

Elvis and Marilyn are everywhere in Las Vegas. Not only are they depicted in outdoor situations like this, but also real life impersonators may be occasionally seen along “The Strip”. Though both iconic figures have long passed into the next world, their costumed imposters make us believe that perhaps their spirit still lives on.

Holiday Motel on Las Vegas Blvd. in Las Vegas
Holiday Motel on Las Vegas Blvd. in Las Vegas

Old School Graphics

Motels like this venue on the “Strip” have been around for decades. In fact, ordinary signs like this often take on a new life after the sun sets and the neon lights start doing their thing. It seems that every motel has its own little display and art style.

Bail Bonds

Vegas Bonding Agents

For some strange reason Las Vegas abounds with bondsmen advertising their wares to those who might need their services. My guess that the per capital number is rather high, especially compared with other cities. I guess when you have such a large number of visitors, drinking gambling and having a good time, it is inevitable that somebody ends up in jail and needs a bail bondsmen. Some of their outdoor advertising, suggests that the market for customers is quite competitive.

Meoow Sign at the Cat Hostel
Meoow Sign at the Cat Hostel

Pushing the Medium

This wall construction at the Cat Hostel displays very large letters that suggest a certain phonetic sound instead of a living word with actual meaning.

Free Things To Do In Las Vegas

A Vegas Sign On the Uncovered Part of Fremont Street

Palms and the stratosphere in Las Vegas, Nevada.

About Las Vegas

There are two towns in the west named Las Vegas, which translated from the Spanish, simply means the meadows. One of these towns can be found on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Christo mountains in New Mexico, while its more famous relative occupies the arid southern tip of Nevada near the Arizona-California border. Las Vegas, New Mexico is the older settlement as it was a Mexican land grant that became a stop on the Old Santa Fe. In its heyday it was a wild town that supported gaming halls, saloons and prostitution. Some its more famous visitors include Doc Holiday, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid and Jesse James. Today it is a quiet Hispanic town with a popular hot springs.

Welcome to Las Vegas
The Welcome to Las Vegas sign is located on the south side of town on Las Vegas Blvd.

Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada

At the south end of town  on Las Vegas Blvd. (also known as “The Strip” visitors will find the famous sign. On any given day (or night) there will invariably be several picture taking tourists located right in front of this sign. And of course there will be the picture takers snapping away with their new digital cameras. It doesn’t cost anything to visit this popular site (except maybe some gas and wear and tear on your vehicle) so you might as well join the crowd and check out this Las Vegas icon.

The Luxor Resort has a distinctly Egyptian theme
The Luxor Resort on the Las Vegas Strip has a distinctly Egyptian theme

Walking the Strip

It’s a long walk from where the strip begins near Sahara Ave., but if attempted in the cool of the evening, the long walk can be a very enjoyable stroll. Incidentally, the Luxor Resort is located at the far south end near Tropicana Ave. Numerous elevated crosswalks make crossing the busy avenues much easier, as both the road surface and the sidewalks can be filled to near capacity. There is much to see along the way, not only in exterior architecture, but also in the plush interiors of the casinos, performance halls and retail outlets. Be sure to take along a comfortable pair of shoes and drink lots of water.

The Treasure Island Sirens
The Treasure Island sirens know how to really heat things up.

The Outdoor Night Shows

Two venues namely the Mirage and Treasure Island put on free nightly shows, which can easily be enjoyed by those walking “The Strip“. At the Mirage the main feature is the Volcano, a simulated replica of the real thing that erupts every hour from 8 p.m. till midnight, accompanied by some hot Tiki-techno drumming. The volcano is located on an island in the middle of the lagoon that borders the sidewalk. After watching the street show, you might to walk inside the Mirage to play a game, eat or enjoy a drink at the bar. The interior design alone  is worth the journey. At the Treasure Island Resort and Casino there is a more ambitious free performance that features some titillating conflict between a band of pirates and just as many sirens. Check out this short one act play for some lively music and clever scripting.

Indoor Performances

Live (and free) circus performances can be enjoyed at the Circus Circus Resort and Casino. A special stage and trapeze can be found inside for all types of performances which are listed inside near the stage. And for those who want to sit on yet to be released TV productions can make arrangements to do so at the MGM complex. Just be aware that giving your opinion of the show comes with the free admission.

Heart Attack Grill
The Heart Attack Grill can be found on Fremont Street just past the covered area.

Fremont Street Experience

Away from the strip is Fremont Street, which includes a pedestrian mall that serves up lots of free entertainment, including live musical performances,  after sundown. One controversial restaurant provides free meals for patrons, who weigh over 350 pounds, provided they check in with a doctor or nurse first and they don’t share their food with anybody else. The place is called The Heart Attack Grill as the name of the restaurant and most of the dishes will start you thinking about your own diet and mortality.

On a saner note, well designed light shows go off every hour from dusk till midnight. These shows only last about ten minutes, but they feature an incredible array of images and music projected against a huge overhead screen. A must see for anybody spending any time in Vegas.

Bus Trip To Las Vegas

Restored Neon sign on Central Ave. (Route 66) in Albuquerque

Leaving New Mexico

Since my winter employment at a popular New Mexico ski resort has no come to an end, I have decided on a road trip to the West Coast to find employment until next winter. First stop on my journey was Albuquerque, where I spent a night in a motel on old Route 66. This is not the motel, but it is located right next to the El Don, where I spent the night. Both places have classic neon signs, which have been restored with the aid of federal funds. El Don rents rooms to smokers and is considerably cheaper than the recently renovated Monterey Motel.

Route 66 in Albuquerque
Route 66 in Albuquerque (daytime)

April Snowstorm

My real journey began with a bus ride west from Albuquerque to Las Vegas, NM another western locale that excels in its lighted night time roadside displays. However, the big story was the mid-April snowstorm that descended on Flagstaff and the nearby Four Corners region. As my bus ride traversed the beautiful mesa of western NM, temperatures plummeted and snow filled the skies. It did not stick to the road, but quickly covered the desert landscape making for a very unusual April landscape. And once the bus arrived in Flagstaff, AZ just short of midnight, everyone was in for a bigger surprise – more snow. For here, it had been snowing all day with the white stuff covering the roads (and everything else) with a good six inches of wet snow.

View of Nevada from a Greyhound  bus
View of Nevada from a Greyhound bus

Down from Flagstaff

I fell right to sleep as the bus left, the high altitude mountain town. At that point in time it was still snowing, but when I awoke at sunrise in Bullhead City, the temperatures were quite warm and there was not a snowflake in sight. Not until the end of my journey in Las Vegas did I see any signs of snow and that was only on a few mountain tops visible in the far distance. Today, I walked around Las Vegas with temperatures being in the 60s and 70s and quite pleasant. Such is life for travelers in the western mountains.

View of the Las Vegas Strip on a busy April Sunday.
View (from a walkway) of the Las Vegas Strip on a busy April Sunday.

 

A Lesson In Screenwriting

Movie Poster for the Hangover
Movie Poster for the Hangover

Why anyone would become a screenwriter is beyond me. The competition is cutthroat, the clients have too much money and it seems like insiders always have the upper hand. The fact that a few free-spirited and successful screenwriters even exist within the politics and shenanigans of Tinseltown is sheer testimony to human perseverance and the strength of spirit.

One recent film (2009) which suggests that nespotism and in-fighting may not be as bad among Hollywood writers as commonly believed is the very funny Las Vegas romp, called “The Hangover”. If you missed the theatrical release, check out the DVD issue, for it is a great lesson in screenwriting, not to mention good entertainment.

Since the opening scene is pulled from near the end of the movie, most of the movie feature is flashback. This type of literary device has been tried before, but the skill that screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore ( Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) show in their latest endeavor is just one of the reasons to watch this entertaining piece of cinema. By now the premise is well-known, whereabouts three participants of a wild bachelor party come-to on the morning after with several complexing problems to solve besides their Mt. Everest-sized hangover. The foremost question staring them in the face is how did they get so messed up, but also of importance is what has happened to the missing groom. Compounding the issue is why is there a tiger in the bathroom and where did the baby in the closet come from. From this point on the movie becomes an epic journey through Vegas by three young males in search of what really happened.

All in all the movie is a wild, sometimes satirical romp through Vegas, filled with many surprising twists and turns. Check it out, you’ll like it.

Las Vegas Strip; Personal Photo by Kcferret of the Las Vegas Sign. June 2005
Las Vegas Strip; Personal Photo by Kcferret of the Las Vegas Sign. June 2005