Monthly Archives: June 2009

Random Vegas Photo: Serendipity 3

Serendipity III (outside Caesars Palace)

Serendipity 3 (outside Caesars Palace)

Since my life in Las Vegas often feels like a perpetual vacation, I’m always taking touristey snapshots.Those photos are doing nothing more than rotting on my hard drive, and I realized I might as well share them. I can only hope that you the interneter will be interested by a desire to learn about Vegas…or that you have some sort of stalker, prurient interest. I aim to please. So, without futher ado, see the above photo.

My dining buddy took this snapshot at the new restaurant Serendipity 3. According to my friend (who happens to be from Brooklyn), this restaurant is an expansion of the beloved New York institution. He said the veggie burger wasn’t as good as the ones at Serendipity I. But the hot dog (pictured above) and the famous frozen hot chocolate were still fabulous.

Bonus to tourists: Sit on the balcony and watch people walk the strip below. Also, the prices are reasonable and the portions are generous (see above photo). I challenge you to say that about any other restaurant at Casears Palace (excluding the food court).

The Many Joys of Writing a Bar Column in Las Vegas

Journalist Aaron Thompson helping me research the Red Hawk nachos.

Journalist Aaron Thompson helping me research the Red Hawk nachos.

For those of you who don’t yet know, I write a bar column for the Las Vegas Weekly. The premise is simple. Every other week, I seek out the new, the weird, the unusual and the forgotten. And alternately, the popular, the ritzy and the well-trodden. I try to mix it up, going intermittently on and off the beaten path.

Here’s the best part, the editors give me a very long rope with which to hang myself. They encourage creativity, and I, in turn, thank them by testing the limits of their leniency. For example, I think my editor nearly killed me when I turned in a recent column in the form of a movie script. Read it for yourself HERE and decide if the results are worth all the grief I put my editors through.

Or you can read this week’s Bar Exam HERE. After the craziness of writing a script, my editor kindly suggested and I graciously agreed to do something a little more normal. I wrote about a nice little bar in Henderson called Red Hawk.

What do these two articles have in common? The assistance of my friend and journalist Aaron Thompson. Sadly, he’s leaving the country in a few days. Emily, my first “research assistant” moved to Texas. Now Aaron’s leaving, too. Why does Vegas have to be so dang transient? Anybody want to help me research bars in Vegas?

My First Hundred Pages

I was recently reading an article in USA Today about author Dean Koontz. I don’t believe  I’ve ever read one of his books, but I must be missing out on something because he’s sold 400-odd million copies, as much as JK Rowling. To me, the thing that really stuck out about his interview was when he said that he’s a homebody with basically no desire to ever leave his house. As you can imagine, that frees up a lot of time for writing. Little suprise, Koontz is incredibly prolific.

On the other hand, the thought of ever missing the party, any party, just kills me. Problem with living in Vegas: There’s always a party to miss. Little suprise, I’m having trouble making the progress I would like on my first novel.

Today was the opening party of Cinevegas, our local film festival. Today I missed the party. I missed the opening film screening. I missed the red carpet. And I missed the after-party at Prive nightclub. It hurt inside. I spent all night checking Twitter and Facebook and the Cinevegas website to see what I was missing. Since I was already on my computer, I decided I might as well write. While I did miss the party, I also happened to breach 100 pages on my novel. Double spaced. It’s only 50 pages single spaced, but let’s be positive. ONE HUNDRED PAGES! Onward! Of course, the Cinevegas party goes on for a week. Will I be as productive tomorrow?

Cover Story Scope Creep

Steel Panther the way I know them best: with girls on the stage

Steel Panther the way I know them best: with girls on the stage

My latest article for the Las Vegas Weekly was months in the making. Way back in February (Friday the 13th to be exact. Thank you Google calendar), my friend Brandy took me to see Steel Panther for the first time. As soon as they finished their first set, I had a fully formed article in my head. Perhaps it’s dangerous to have a solidified idea that quickly. Or perhaps I was right on track. The world may never know. Each time the article got pushed back, I decided the article couldn’t do without the inclusion of more research. In the business world, this phenomena is known as “scope creep” and is to be avoided at all costs. The same seems to be true for the writing world. While my hours upon hours upon hours upon hours of research turned up some fascinating results, I ended up with enough vital information to write a book, which I then had to cram in a cover story. My original concept could no longer work with the vast amount of info and had to be dumped in a last-minute rewrite. Three bands I researched didn’t even make the cut because I ran out of room. And even worse, in the crossfire, I mixed up the guitarist with the bass player for one of the bands I mentioned (Sin City Sinners). For the record, Brent Muscat plays the guitar and Mike Szuter plays the bass. They are both really awesome guys and I throughougly enjoyed getting to know them. And I’m very sorry for the mistake. Oh yes, and Rob Cournoyer (formerly of Raging Slab) plays the drums.

So there ya go. If you would like to read this article, you can read it here.