Neon Vegas

The original photo of the Slipper in front of casino (center). Left, is one slipper on Fremont, with other neon, this one moves. Right, another, on the strip down from the Natural History Museum.

Lois, Marlene’s cousin said, “Take a picture of this, cause the next time you come back it will be gone.” Even in the late 80’s, they were telling the days of the old Vegas were gone. The days when you could lose everything, including your plane ticket back, and the hotel owners would put up the money to send you home. Lois, now a pretty 80s cocktail waitress, had shocked her Jewish aunts in those golden days, by baring her boobs at the Lido as a showgirl. So going back to Vegas would be something else after 20+ years or so.

Judging by the photos the slipper in the center is the one on display on the right. The other must be the one Howard Hughes hated, that moved. I was quite shocked trying to shoot this as I was driving in the car, duh. The last time I was in Vegas, it was a world of low buildings with big spaces from parking lots. The old North section was old. But there was all that neon. And my heart broke, as I expected the Flamingo to still have all that red neon! I expected Caesars to still have those goofy legions and the long glass walkway into the hotel and casino. It had all become concrete.

The Westward Ho, a pretty light venture and the Stardust, with its 60s design were gone. The Sahara had closed, it’s marque announcing an auction.

I don’t think I have any pictures of the Flamingo. That is sad, because it was all neon. It was something else to see all red. They have kept the idea with the stylistic flourishes, but it is all concrete, and glass. But concrete is almost everywhere. The Wynn hotel is further up, but all brown glass, I was not inside, but from the outside it could be any city.

This crappy shot, shows how airy it was in the Paradise area. Everything went into this massive scale. On the strip, the air was gone, the mountains were gone. You could kind of see the desert, and there was space. If you wanted to see something you had to travel along Frank Sinatra Boulevard. Otherwise, the Strip further south turned in upon itself.

I have a fondness for these light constructions. Perhaps they hark back to the old palace theater days, when lights gave the illusion of movement. The Fremont Experience and the Circus Circus marquee, which I will cover in another blog, still have a lot of this going on. And south yet they are not dead. Having been adopted commercially for products.

Signs like Pepsi Cola do a lot of fun things with color and movement. Harking back at NY/NY to the old sign seen along the East River Drive.  Harley harkens back to the bad old days, strange shapes and tending towards the garish. The Hard Rock makes itself be known.

My real favorite being the dread capitalistic tool, which satisfies thurst, but does not do away with world hunger.

UPDATE: Nice blog on the signs and what happens at the boneyard:



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2 Responses to “Neon Vegas”

  1. Ultimate Vegas « Thinkvisual's Blog Says:

    […] clown peered out from behind the Westward Ho signage in Neon Vegas. Year ago, I may have missed shooting the old Flamingo, but at least I got this vestige of older […]

  2. Cheri Lucas Says:

    Hi there–
    Thanks for linking to my Neon Boneyard post.


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