Elvis has left the building
Anthony, Chloe, Ben, Faris, Rosie, Me.
We came looking for Elvis.
Or at least the idea of Elvis, distributed in many forms, rippling through a city I’d never been to, just pieced together with haste from a few old movie fragments and the idea.
An idea that anyone could take, play with, and do with what they hell they wanted to… the spirit that Harry Shahoian speaks of, in hauntingly familiar tones…
Sure, it exists on the edges, in the old town, in the fleapit casinos where you can play $5 dollar blackjack and sit and get served free drinks all night.
There’s no such thing as free if you’re not very good at blackjack.
I’m ok, I’m up. Only just, but up is up in Vegas. The others weren’t so lucky. Though if luck has anything to do with it at all, I’d be surprised.
But Elvis in Vegas? He’s yesterday’s man.
It’s not what The New Las Vegas is about.
Sure, there’s an Elvis story. And a Frank story. And Marilyn, and the mobsters.
And the story of a nation so young that when it makes anything new, it’s has to be old in style… those without history perhaps feel its absence more keenly.
Las Vegas is on mission from God to connect with people.
At every corner, in every hotel, more cultural ideas than the brain can process, more frayed links into a celebration of the West’s entertainment culture of the past 60 years.
The Beatles, in a circus, in the biggest circus of all.
Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite, three times a night.
And more on Sundays.
The Beatles, those genius thieves, those legendary artful pick-pockets of cultures and traditions that went before.
No remix here, don’t take the spirit, don’t build your own version. There’s money in them thar hills.
But that’s not the game, not the way we play in Vegas. The house always wins. And the house doesn’t like change.
Las Vegas isn’t here to change the future, to build a better society. It’s here to turbo-charge the one that exists, to lock-down and put a price on every last piece, to burn it out before it disappears for good. Peak oil? We’ve just hit peak Vegas.
It’s the last party in town, a big “well done, lads” to the dutiful soldiers of an idealistic way of life, an economic doctrine that thought it had won when the nemesis disappeared, and collapsed in on itself in celebration.
Welcome to Caeser’s Palace, boys.
For if these truly are the last days of Rome, we’re going to throw a hell of a party.
This post is half of a blog diptych; come on over here to meet its wholesome, hard-working twin….