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As We See It

Just because big ideas should work in Vegas doesn’t mean they will

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Illustration: Chris Morris

There’s a term used in corporate brainstorming: “everything sticks.” It means all ideas are welcome and valid, at first, eliminated one by one until only the best remain. That also describes how tourist landscapes develop, though in heavy-hitting cities like New York, Miami and Hollywood, the scenes are so established that not much sticks. That’s why Las Vegas is so awesome! Sexy imports to one-offs you can’t picture anywhere else, big dreams are attracted by the Strip’s no-holds-barred culture and captive audience of 40 million fun-hungry visitors per year. Thing is, visitors come for the Vegas experience. Maybe that’s why Beso (imported from Hollywood) and Club Nikki (Miami) failed, or why Broadway hits like Avenue Q and Hairspray didn’t sell enough tickets. But it can be just as rough for stuff that plays to Vegas’ signature out-there vibe, like Priscilla Queen of the Desert (which got raves before its planned run was cut short after “analysis of ticket-sale trends”) and Goretorium (which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy). Even Jay-Z, who sold 1 million copies of his new album before anyone heard it, isn’t immune. His Vegas version of the NYC-based 40/40 Club lasted eight months. All of these ideas should have worked in Vegas. But making it easier to open your doors doesn’t make it any harder to close them.

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Erin Ryan

Erin got her first newspaper job in 2002 thanks to a campfire story about Bigfoot. In her award-winning work for ...

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