Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Monday in Vegas

Monday in Vegas.

It didn’t take long to reacquainted with places and sights I liked in Las Vegas. A quick two hour drive around town started down the Vegas strip. The bright sun let me take in the full visual explosion that’s the result of gambling's success.

A quick trip to the Red Rooster Antique Mall had me looking over country-cute crap and over-priced Vegas memorabilia. The casinos ashtrays were catching my eye, but their prices kept me moving. $125… I don’t think so.

I did leave with a copy of the Art’s District’s newsletter and a flier for Miss Exotic World 2006. Sponsored by an former burlesque dancer, Dixie Evans owns a California ranch that houses the Exotic World Burlesque Museum with mementos and pictures of dancers from long ago. Ther are plans for the collection to be relocated to a dedicated museum in Las Vegas (how great would it be to have that one on the art installation resume). The yearly competition has girls from all over the globe coming in to shake their thing and be crowned queen of burlesque for the year. Margaret Cho will be hosting the event. Might I be going? The wife doesn’t sound totally opposed.

The arts newsletter told of a show called Obstacle Art Course”, a collection of miniature golf holes created by artists. If I don’t make it to Ms. Exotic World, I think gallery golf could tide me over if I am itching for an extra-curricular activity.

The part of the drive spent in rush hour traffic was rewarded by a short visit to the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame & Pinball Museum. The off-strip site offers none of the glamour and glitz that casinos have to offer, but with all vintage machines playable it’s a better place to put your quarters. I walked the aisles of machines, just taking them in. On the wall is the letter proudly displayed that says that the museum is recognized as a non-profit. That had been the goal of the collection’s owner for years. Now part of that dream has come true. It will be interesting to see where it can take the museum now.

The last of the drive took me past the Guardian Angel Cathedral near the Wynn Resort. Wynn imploded the Desert Inn Casino to make his new place. It was the previous owner of the DI that gave the land to the Catholic Dioceses where the Cathedral was built in the 1963 . Its architect was Paul Williams who also designed the La Concha Hotel. While only the distinctive office of the La Concha still stands, the cathedral is not in danger. In addition to its swooping lines, the stained glass inside depicts the Sands, the Desert Inn and one other casino, all gone now. The stained glass artist Isabel Piczek decided that the church should reflect its environment. The fact that I had never visited the church before surprises me only because it has all the things I love, modern architecture, and a strange quality of sacred and profane. Closed when I drove by, I plan on visiting and taking some pictures if possible.

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