May 01, 2009

City of Light

It's easy to get all huffy about the tawdriness and inauthenticity at the heart of Las Vegas, but immersed in the crowds on The Strip late at night, it can seem a bright and cheery sort of place (watching the Bellagio fountains do a brassy "Hey Big Spender" really did it for me), and from the 26th floor of the Flamingo, with the lights out towards Nellis twinkling in the desert heat and distance, the neon reflections in the windows arrayed around the immediate high-rise horizon, the helicopters shuttling above the strip, the lights of the planes turning final into McCarran, and the palms swaying in the breeze between the parking structures, it's easier to take Vegas at face value, an authentic sort of context for the genuinely inauthentic. Who cares whether the palms in front of the Eiffel Tower are fake or not?

But the drive in the from the desert, the long struggle to get through the traffic in suburb after suburb of huge pastel developments, empty garage Mahals, strip malls, sandy hills and clogged freeways, the permanent impermanence of everything much beyond The Strip or Downtown, the flinty Los Angelisation, the endless stream of billboards that seem to advertise only personal injury, DUI, and traffic offense lawyering, the taxis with rooftop ads for automatic weapons, the way almost every built surface looks instantly worn in the same way so many local faces do… all that's the ugly heart of Las Vegas. It's just hidden in that vast periphery that few get to see on their five-block ride in from the airport.

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2 Comments:

At 5/06/2009 7:32 PM, Anonymous Buon Gusto said...

Cycling round the base of Mount Ainslie, you could be thousands of kilometres from Danteburg, and thankfully you are,....but the prosody engendered by the vegas pulse is not distiguisable from the prosody engendered by the Mahals at the skirts, if you are thinking about it while you ride.

What must it be like to live there,...or here.

 
At 5/06/2009 8:19 PM, Blogger Jimmy Little said...

Pottery! Pure Pottery!

 

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