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Scouring Las Vegas as part of a new media team

Over the past couple of months, a lot of people have been asking me, “So, what are you doing now?” and I give them the same answer, “Paper or plastic?”

Let’s see, the last time I posted a blog at LasVegasWeekly.com, the site was in its old design (which I felt was quite effective in challenging the reader to locate the information the reader was actually seeking) and I was writer-at-large for Greenspun Media Group. Then, in March, I was promoted to editor of Las Vegas Life magazine. Three weeks later the company reorganized its magazine titles, and Life was put to rest. One day I will write a novel about my experience about my days as Life editor, which will read something like this: “One morning I was busy editing and organizing the May issue of Las Vegas Life and … THE END!”

It’s been something of a thrill ride since May 2007, when I moved from the Sun to the sister pubs at GMG. Actually, since the fall of 2005, I have held five titles in the company – Accent editor at the Sun, columnist at the Sun, writer-at-large for GMG, editor of LV Life, and now New Media editor. But the outcome could not have been better, as we’re moving forward with an aggressive plan to build an online empire in the Greenspun Media Group. I am working with the dynamite New Media crew, headed by Rob Curley (get to know that name if you are at all interested in online media) and staffed by some of the brightest, most talented and hard-working people I’ve ever been around. As I’ve been telling people all over town, “New Media” will soon just be “Media,” and we’re lucky to be ahead of that trend. The most recent example of our vision is this very Web site, and there’s more to come.

I’ll still be developing stories frequently, as much as possible, online and in the Weekly print version, and performing quite a lot of editing for our great online contributors. Wherever I can find a place to be, I’ll be there. I won’t be a stranger, at all, ever. So there’s that.

Changing attire with the Sex crew

I caught Sex & The City at Neonopolis on Saturday, a noon matinee in a chilly and sparsely populated theater. The ticket-taker noted that in a Friday night screening, the audience consisted of two men and that was it (apparently Fremont Street doesn’t quite hit the SATC demo). I’ve got a couple thoughts – no, make that many thoughts -- about this film: Cut an hour from it. I don’t care where – put on a blindfold, grab a pair of scissors and get to work. This is one of the more ponderous films I’ve ever seen. My feet started to hurt after watching these women sashay across the screen in three-inch heels for 2 ½ hours. And if I wanted to watch women change clothes all afternoon, I’d hang out at Ann Taylor (check that – restraining order). Rehashing this bit of dialogue won’t spoil any of the film’s intricate plot points, but near the end of the movie Big says to Carrie, “You know what’s funny?” No, Big. I don’t know what’s funny. Please, lead me in that direction. But I will give Big (portrayed by an ever-bemused, frequently wincing Chris Noth) credit for keeping his chest hair intact, further evidence that chest hair specifically, and swarthiness in general, is making a comeback. And apparently, the film’s strong opening weekend has sparked talk of a sequel and maybe a franchise and at some point we’ll see Sex & The City – The Golden Years on HBO or Hallmark Channel or in wide release.

Onward

Still plugging away, as Neonopolis’s lone local tenant, is Johnny and Dora Del Prado of Del Prado Jewelers, on the third floor of the largely latent shopping and entertainment center. Johnny was actually busy with customers Saturday, a good sign (he’s been living rent-free for more than a year while developer Rohit Joshi enacts his plan, whatever it is, for filling Neonopolis). I’ve been hearing for months that Telemundo is planning to take over the spot occupied by the ill-fated Poker Dome on the fourth floor, but nothing has been formally announced. There is the new deli, Taste of California (which does provide free Wi-Fi service), but in a development typical of the scrambled history of Neonopolis, the sign above Taste of California still reads, “French Express,” which did indeed once occupy that spot. … A somewhat connected plug: The service across from Neonopolis on Fremont Street at Mickie Finnz is great. At least it has been for me, each time out. … Boyd Gaming and Coast Casinos have sent out promotional drink coasters with Vegas slogans that are pretty funny, and at least show more thought than most casinos promo material (which is typically coupons for club card holders). The set of four “House Rules” are: “Never Play Cards With Anyone Named After a City,” “Yes. There is a Secret Las Vegas Known Only to Locals. Tell No One.” “Have Your Coffee Anyway You Like. Take Your Vegas Straight Up,” and “Proudly Serving Locals Since They Were Tourists.” … I won $100 at The Orleans on Saturday night at the slots and, stupidly, waited in line at the cashier for about 10 minutes to cash the payment ticket the machine dispenses in place of, well, cash. When I got to the counter, the cashier says, “There are 21 machines in the casino that will cash this for you.” Yes. But what about the rare Las Vegas customer-cashier interaction, which you really can’t put a price on? … On that point, national writers need to lose the “clanging” reference when providing color for stories about Vegas casinos. It’s all paper play at the slots these days; the clanging of coins passed years ago. I’m reminded of this after reading a Los Angeles Times Magazine story about DJT at Trump International Las Vegas. It leads with, “(Las Vegas) may be home to some of the best dining in the West, but when you have to navigate through a smoke-filled casino, choking and weaving a path through flashing, clanging slot machines, a measure of gastronomic magic can be lost by the time you see your amuse bouche.” Also, I haven’t choked on smoke in a Vegas casino since the Klondike closed a couple of years ago, and never in any place you would find a high-end restaurant. Even El Cortez has installed a proper ventilation system to fix that problem. … Jackpot order at Starbucks: A peach-strawberry parfait, venti house coffee and a tin of peppermint breath mints cost $7.77. … Before buying, read the small print on the hard plastic cases for the headphones and other electronic devices dispensed by vending machine inside any of the gates at McCarran International Airport. To use the headphones or whatever gadget on the flight, you must cut the cases open with a pair of scissors. It might take a moment to figure out that illogic … A move to a different zip code sent my auto insurance rates up about $5 per month, I discovered after reporting a change-of-address to the company (which uses a lizard-like mascot as its corporate logo). I asked why, since nothing else had changed in my driving record or coverage. I was told because drivers in the new zip code were more accident-prone than those in my old zip code, though I, myself, would be less accident-prone because I now live 15 miles closer to work than I used to. But I have noticed three serious accidents near my new place since I moved (none of which involved me or the KatMobile) … Great point from the daughter of a friend about the government-issued stimulus checks: That money should have been sent, exclusively and directly, to teenage girls. … Until a few weeks ago, CineVegas program director Trevor Groth never knew there was a drive-in in Las Vegas (that’s Las Vegas Drive-In out on Carey Road, just north of Texas Station). We need to get him out there, even if it’s to see a thriller like The Stranger, which is terrible. … To put hard numbers on it, during a recent appearance on my little radio show, Our Metropolis, which airs Tuesdays at 6 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM (he plugs, multimedia-style), Vegas PBS head Tom Axtell said viewership of Mitch Fox’s panel-discussion show Nevada Week in Review ranges from 11,000 and 22,000. … Who has been described by Rolling Stone magazine as, “… not a ‘leader’ in any traditional sense of the word?’ ” Sen. Harry Reid, who, along with his Democratic colleagues in the U.S. Senate, get worked over by writer Tim Dickinson in a story titled, “The Senate Caves.” Read Dickinson’s assault here . The cover of that issue shows four smiling guitar heroes – Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, Omar Rodriguez Lopez and B.B. King. And Page is wearing a mullet. Seriously.

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