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High school lives on: The fifth Vegas Prom

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Photo: Scott Den Herder

Las Vegas Prom 2008, dubbed “senior year,” was ostensibly the fourth and final edition of the annual party/nostalgia session. But not everyone can graduate in four years. The Las Vegas Prom committee came back this fall for a fifth year, hosting a prom-themed soirée at Wet Republic Wednesday night. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as the Bare Pool festivities last year, but prom ‘09 did prove that high school never ends (for super seniors, at least) and taffeta is forever.

Now, a look at how last night’s festivities sized up to my original prom experience…

The decision to attend…

Then

It’s been 10 years since my senior prom (let’s pretend I graduated when I was 13… yeah…). I attended nearly every school dance in my four years at the Las Vegas Academy, thanks in part to my presence being mandatory because of my involvement in student council.

Now

Attending prom in ‘09, while fun and quirky, was also somewhat mandatory because of my job.

The prom court

Then

Senior year, I somehow ended up wearing a crown at prom. While I didn’t win queen and had no idea how I even got that far in the contest (I lost to a girl who resembled a Barbie Doll), princess was good enough for me. My true motivation was a classmate named Darryl who wanted to wear the tiara, so I competed for him. And for an added bit of nostalgia, Steve Lockwood (the nightlife guru now with Light Group) was prom king. Damn I wish I could find those pictures…

Now

I was nominated for Vegas prom princess in ’08, lost, nominated again in ’09, lost. But I didn’t really campaign because I didn’t feel like harassing people via text and the Web, so it’s probably my own fault. At least Xania finally won queen this year. (Mustafa Abdi aka Moose beat Colton for king, Ariel Xaubet was honored as prince and Shannon Kelly took the princess tiara I had my eye on.)

The music

Then

The “Time Warp” and “Grease Mega Mix” were staples at every LVA dance (keep in mind it was an arts school). Songs were generally cheesy in an unintentional way.

Now

More cheesy songs, but this time it was on purpose. Unless DJ Shift really loves playing “The Right Stuff” by NKOTB. Most of the tunes were equally nostalgic and interpretative dancing ensued. Hmmm… that was pretty close to what we did at my school anyway.

The dress

Then

Thanks to my handy-dandy costuming skills in high school, I made my junior prom dress. It was liquid silver, short and awesome. Senior year I was busy getting ready for that whole graduating thing and purchased a baby blue Jessica McClintock spaghetti strap tea length dress and rocked a retro ’50s look complete with little white gloves. It still fits, by the way. Well, except for the boobs. I was a late bloomer.

Now

My attempt to be funny at Vegas Prom last year by going as the brooding token goth girl didn’t go over so well. So I decided to class it up a bit in a teal fitted strapless pencil dress and gunmetal silver pumps with matching accessories. No matter if it was high school or now, my feet have killed me at every prom.

Wardrobe-ruining hijinks

Then

When I was a freshman, part of my student council responsibilities were to help decorate for the junior/senior prom even though underclassmen weren’t allowed to attend unless they were someone’s date. Somehow, our advisor lost the list of names of everyone that had purchased tickets. She believed it ended up in the trash. So it was up to the freshmen to go dumpster diving.

Prior to prom, the venue had hosted a wedding, so there was cake and beer galore in the trash. Neil Ryan Guieb (yep, the same one from Tao) bravely climbed into the dumpster and handed us bags of ickyness to sift through. Needless to say, the list was never found.

Now

If you have prom at a pool, someone’s going in. Wet Republic’s Chad Saunders even told me there was a lone, bored lifeguard wandering around. And sure enough, two girls hopped in the water. Surprisingly, they didn’t get thrown out of the party, but were given towels instead.

Kitana Phasouvor and Rozanna Solano were the brave soles taking the plunge in formal wear. “We figured we’d be rebels at prom and the temperature was perfect,” said Solano. She said she never went to her prom, while Phasouvor went to hers, but had a crappy date, so they’re making up for it now.

The dates

Then

I went stag to my junior prom; the girl to guy ration at my school was wack, anyway. Some guys even had multiple dates just because they could. Senior year I went with my ex, but I have nothing to do with his lying, cheating face now, so I’m going to stop there before it gets too ugly. (But if he reads this: You still owe me money for all the s—t I put on my credit card. Pay up.)

Now

I didn’t even attempt to con anyone into being my date this year. As an adult and it doesn’t really matter, and it looked like the majority of us just showed up to hang without the formal “date” titles.

The Venue

Then

Juniors were responsible for most of the prom planning. I don’t think they liked us much when I was a senior. Our prom was at the Gold Coast. Yes, the friggin’ Gold Coast. In a nasty ballroom. Lame sauce.

Now

Wet Republic looked gorgeous at night, though it may have been a little too spread out for the number of attendees. The pool might actually might make a cool venue for other nighttime parties.

The Decorations

Then

Lots of balloons.

Now

Lots of balloons.

The Debauchery

Then

I was a goodie-goodie. No drinking until after graduation for me, though I know there was some hardcore boozing and toking going on.

Now

Had a few cocktails (thanks, improvised-date Colton), though I know there was some hardcore boozing and toking going on.

The Drama

Then

Dates getting in fights, someone walking off in a huff leaving the other person to beg for a ride.

Now

Ditto.

The cliques

Then

While our school was really welcoming, the theatre kids sometimes gravitated towards the theatre kids and visual artists with the like. Mostly, everyone hung out with everyone. No joke.

Now

The popular crowd, aka Holly Madison, was segregated from the rest of us in a super VIP cabana. In fact, if you didn’t wander up there, you may have not even known she was in attendance. Though she did tell me, “It’s way more fun to go to prom when you’re an adult.” I’ll have to agree with her on that one. The Oompa Loompas from Beacher’s Madhouse also seemed to stick together.

The photos

Then

Junior year, it was photography company Albert & James’ brilliant idea to take the group pictures outside. It was ridiculously windy at the Wildhorse Golf Club and the resulting photos featured girls holding their dresses down so as not to flash the camera. Hairdos were also destroyed. For senior year, the same photographers lost all the group shots after exposing the film to light and memories were lost. Needless to say, they went out of business.

Now

No lack of memories or photographers in nightlife. No less than eight different outlets were snapping shots on the red carpet and at the party, with formal portraits by Shane O’Neil, and lot of shots by the Weekly.

Overall impression? Though high school proms were memorable, being old enough to drink is always a bonus at Vegas Prom. However, I think some of the luster and shine has worn off. As always, prom is what you make of it. And I’ll drink to that.

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