Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sex, Sweat, and Rock 'n' Roll

Kevin and I visited Hoover Dam on Saturday afternoon. Although it is only about 30 miles from Las Vegas, it took us more than an hour to get there because U.S. 93 – the main route between Las Vegas and Phoenix – becomes a two-lane choke point at the dam.

The traffic snarl has only gotten worse since 9/11. Now you have to go through an inspection station at either end of the dam. We just got waved through, but trucks and vans were getting the once-over. Big rigs are no longer allowed on the dam at all. To alleviate this mess, they’re now building a massive four-lane arch bridge over the canyon just downstream from the dam. The new bridge is scheduled to open in 2008.

Since I last visited Hoover Dam in 1995, they’ve constructed a new visitor center and parking facility on the Nevada side. The concession fees are hefty ($7 to park and $11 for the dam tour), but I suppose it’s worth it if you’ve never seen the dam before or have an interest in massive public works projects.

Upon returning to Vegas, we drove way out to the north side of town to eat at Bob’s Big Boy. With Kip’s Big Boy long departed from Texas, this was a rare opportunity to wax nostalgic about one of the definitive eateries of my misspent youth. Although the Las Vegas Bob’s is an undistinguished strip mall edifice far removed from the Googie coffee shop designs of yore, our chocolate shakes and onion rings were surprisingly good.

We spent most of Saturday night at the Rio, which attracts a younger, better-looking crowd than the places I usually wind up. They had a culturally schtizophrenic Brit-Irish themed bar there called The Tilted Kilt where sexy young female servers wear low-riding kilt-patterned miniskirts and knee-high white socks to effect a naughty schoolgirl look. I was rather smitten with the whole concept, but what really got me hot was the $3 pints of Bass Ale.

Despite my previously expressed wariness of topless production shows, we went ahead and bought half-price tickets to see something called “Erocktica” because it was either that or the Britney Spears look-alike in "American Superstars." Unlike a strip club, a topless production has to have a thematic backdrop that theoretically legitimizes the baring of breasts. I guess it helps the menfolk badger their wives and girlfriends into going. In this case, the theme was “Sex, sweat and rock ‘n’ roll.”

The show is hosted by an endearing, bandanna-headed nu-rock oaf named “Ray-J,” who sings along with track accompaniment to everything from AC/DC to Big & Rich while the dancing girls jugulate around him. In between songs, he exhorts the crowd with profane banter about “all that sexy ass” to remind you that this is a rock ‘n’ roll topless show. Female lead vocals are handled by fallen debutante “Gabriela Versace,” whose standout number was Bonnie Tyler’s archetypical power ballad, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

My favorite dance number was the faux-lesbian wedding scene in which a tuxedo-clad woman “married” another girl in a porno bridal outfit by placing a dog collar and leash around her neck while ‘ol Gabriela belted out a Melissa Etheridge tune. Despite our nation’s discomfort toward gay marriage, we have no problem whatsoever with coalesing in sticky-pantsed bliss around hot girl-on-girl action so long as it’s undertaken solely for the benefit of heterosexual male fantasies.

All I could do was chuckle profusely because nothing so highly stylized and devoid of soul could possibly turn me on. Are there really people out there in the Big Wide Middle who get off on this sort of thing? If so, why can’t I be a good American and learn to be happy with fake titties, half-pound hot dogs, and Chevrolets?

My increasing unease necessitated more alcohol than I could safely consume before driving, so we went back to the South Coast and sucked back $1 draft Budwisers in the increasingly insufferable dueling piano bar. As the pianists plowed through a wildly incongruent cover of “Fight For Your Right (To Party),” a gaggle of loutish drunken harridans-in-training hollered out for something called “The Pussy Song.” That’s always attractive.

After witnessing this gross display of accelerating decrepitude for an hour, I could stand no more. We retired to our room and flipped on The Rockford Files. I took this photo of my drunk ass self and James Garner in living plasma color. When I showed it to Kevin, he burst out laughing and spit toothpaste all over my sleeve. It was time to put this Vegas vacation to bed.

For even more obnoxious trip photos, clicker on me Flickr here.


Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly (from seeing a pamphlet brought back by a co-worker who went to Vegas), eRocktica was conceived and produced by a porn film overlord (no idea of his name, sorry) after retiring from said business. It seemed like a spectacularly bad idea from the brochure. Looks like that hunch was accurate.


snax said...

Thank goodness half my co-workers have already left for lunch, 'cause I still can't stop laughing from the pics. Split Screen caption is PRICELESS!

Anonymous said...

Ummm...I think if you have time for a trip to Vegas, you have time to do our taxes! Let's get it over with so I can see if I get a few dollars in return that I desperately need. thanks!