Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Dunes Hotel & Casino


The Dunes is a property whose affinity for, I cannot explain.  I can easily explain some of the things I like about it, things that I think are cool and amenities I would have liked to enjoy; but that doesn’t explain why.  But let me ask you this, why are you faithful to your spouse?  Why do you love them?  I know you can explain to me what you find attractive about them, your favorite features, their personality but that doesn’t explain why.  We have no control over what we find attractive, we just do.  Perhaps that explains why I like the Dunes so much.

While it may have never be the financial success it aspired to be, the Dunes can be counted among the Sands and the Stardust as some of the most iconic in Las Vegas history.  All 3 evolved with the city, a journey that caused them to end up looking dramatically different than the original concept they opened with.  It's also fair to say that their loss was all for the greater good, not only for the city but for their legend.  The way the untimely deaths of people like Kirk Cobain cause them to be idyllically remembered so is true about iconic Vegas properties. Even if at the end they are usually only shadows of the properties they were in their prime, their legacy is their ability to be remembered in whatever incarnation we choose to remember them in, the very definition of the word timeless.

If you are interested in learning more about the Dunes, check out some of the places we sourced to write their story.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley virtually invented celebrity, as we know it.  Unfortunately, he also became its first victim.  Imagine being a shy mama’s boy who never matured past his late teens to early 20s because, at a time when most people are learning who they are from their mistakes, everyone around Elvis told him he was a genius.  He was encouraged to not let people change him, go with your instincts.  Elvis Presley not only became Las Vegas biggest draw but changed the face of music and pop culture forever.  Unfortunately his memory has become bastardized by the myriad of performers who impersonate his talent during the darkest times of his life.  While most don’t do this with malicious intent, fat Elvis has become a common caricature in Vegas representing one of the most amazing, iconic performers of all time. 

There will never be another Elvis Presley the same way you can’t lose your virginity twice.  Elvis invented, inadvertently, modern day celebrity.  Artists of the time and over the years have expressed how important Elvis Presley was in their lives.  Bob Dylan said listing to Elvis for the 1st time was like busting out for jail.  John Lennon said before Elvis Presley, there was nothing.  The fact is Elvis Presley changed everything.  A month before I began writing the piece, Elvis was nothing more than a curiosity to me.  One throwaway visit to Graceland during a weekend visit to Memphis that I thought would be nothing more than a “I’ve been to Graceland” sparked a curiosity that not only inspired me to write this piece but to explore far more about Elvis life and career than I would ever need for a 360 Vintage Vegas segment.  In short, despite all the kitch you have come to know, check out Graceland if you get the chance.  It might just change your perspective of the life and legacy of Elvis Aron Presley.

If you are interested in learning more about Elvis Presley, we would recommend Peter Guralnick's books Last Train to Memphis: the Rise of Elvis Presley & Careless Love: The unmaking of Elvis Presley.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

E Parry Thomas

E Parry Thomas

The man who helped Las Vegas develop into the #1 tourist destination in the world wasn’t a casino owner, a performer, a dealer or an architect.  He didn’t create the Neon Signs, develop any casino standard practices or build any of its properties.  However, without E Parry Thomas, virtually none of the aforementioned would exist.  An argument can be made that no single individual has done more to direct the growth and development of Las Vegas in the last half century than E Parry Thomas.  

Business Week once wrote that “Frank Sinatra Gives Las Vegas It’s Glitter, Parry Thomas gives it its gold.   In a city known for it’s neon lights, flamboyant owners and epic mega resorts, the man who helped make it all happen is virtually unknown to the 39 million people that visit it annually, and that’s the way Parry likes it.

If you are interested in learning more about E. Parry Thomas, check out the book "Quite Kingmaker" by Jack Sheehan