It is a valley where artesian wells create a green oasis in the middle of a rusty greyish desert. So it was called “The Meadows”, in Spanish “Las Vegas“. It became a city in 1911, gambling was legalized 1931 and The Flamingo opened 1946. To its history of course gambling, prostitution and the mob belong, Siegel and Lansky were no choirboys. But that is not all. Vegas after a kind of decline in the 70s works his way back and does an image-change from “Sin City” to “Entertainment Capital of the World”. As I read somewhere the casinos bring in a quarter of the money, the three quarters left are made with shows and any kind of entertainment.
It must be a surreal city. In my imagination, fed by pictures, it is totally artificial, neon-illuminated, always a drink in reach, hence the title of this post. Surely a comfortable place as long as you have a working credit card.
A built dream. A built male dream. The first hightimes fell together with the 40s to 70s, the time of the Cold War; atomic bombs tested in the desert of Nevada; violent times of more or less subconscious tension that surfaced in the Cuban Missile Crisis from 1962/63.
The cowboy-gangster-warrior wanted a place to relax, a modern Walhalla before death, sex gambling and drugs included. Pay and forget.
“The Mirage” as I read brought a kind of change to the run down city, 1989, how appropriate. Sin City turns family-friendly. Today smokers get shot at the strip, sex is deadly thanks Aids and fat HEMI-V-8s gulp the expensive juice faster than a European can down this American pseudo-beer … times a changing. But I am sure that Las Vegas will adapt to that too.