Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'm About Vegas'd Out

I just returned from my third trip to Las Vegas this year. One more and I'll qualify as a whale or whatever they call big-money visitors to casinos. Well, I might qualify if I had big money or if I gambled.

I haven't wagered so much as a nickel on my Vegas jaunts.

"Why go to Vegas if you're not going to gamble?" you might ask. "Isn't that like going to Sea World and not seeing Shamu? Or going to the lunch buffet at a strip club just for the food?"

Yes it is.

I don't like dropping change in a parking meter and at least I get some parking out of it. If I had even a quarter to throw away, I wouldn't be working. In my business, every dollar earned is a real tooth pull, and I can think of better ways to waste it than standing in a smoke-filled room saying, "hit me," or pushing some button on a slot machine.

If I'm going to give my money away, I'd rather give it to a charity. That way I can control exactly how much I give and feel better about it the next day. I mean, you know the odds are in favor of the house, right?

I've seen signs advertising a casino that proudly boasts something like, "Biloxi's loosest slots! 90% payout!" Really, they advertise that if you have the average experience there, you will only lose 10% of what you wager and you still go?

I can't make myself do it.

For someone who doesn't gamble, I've probably been in more casinos than the habitual gambler in your life. I've been in Indian casinos in South Dakota, redneck casinos in Mississippi and big-name casinos in Vegas. Reno, Foxborough, Los Lunas, you name it and I've probably been there.

My familiarity with casinos isn't the result of a misspent youth, but from nearly 10 years of working on the TV series "Discover America." We shot a lot of casinos -- an obscene number of casinos.

My latest casino encounter was the Red Rock Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. It's not on the strip, but about 10 miles away in Summerlin.

As casino hotels go, it's a pretty decent one. It has its own Regal movie house with a number of IMAX theaters as well as traditional ones. It has a 60-lane bowling alley and a Yard House restaurant. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I was there as a guest of Scion (more about that in a later blog). Their hospitality suite was in something called The Cherry Room. I don't think it was named after the fruit.

You walked into it through a long tubular hallway lighted in red. Finally setting foot in the room itself was like bursting out of a birth canal.

The room is set up as a disco with a bar and all.

The real attraction, though, is the co-ed bathroom. Yes, in the best Ally McBeal tradition, the bathroom is coed. In an attempt to cut down on drug use, the stalls are all made of glass. Evidently there is some way to minimize the oh-my-God-he/she-is-copping-a-squat effect, the lighting is engineered to show only shadows or some such thing.

The urinals -- I am assuming here that these are a men-only apparatus -- are also quite an attraction. I'm not sure what message they are supposed to convey, but I'd have a problem using them.

I'm shy.

So that's my latest casino encounter. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas unless you're a blogger.   

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