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If classic literature’s ‘tart of tarts’ hosted a Vegas club

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Madame Bovary, Dorian Gray and Kafka’s bugman get crunk.
Kristian Hammerstad

Emma Bovary takes on wilde child Dorian Gray in Vegas

Emma Bovary, the pernicious French harlot known by gossip rags as the preeminent “tart of tarts,” was in Las Vegas last weekend hosting new nightclub, Sauce. The event, charred by contemptuous baiting and fisticuffs between celebrity attendees, had one English scribe branding it “the best of times the worst of times.” Between the hedonistic ambiance of decorated sameness and the host’s noted depravity, it was unclear which, in the age of spectator-driven public disasters, was thought “best” and which “worst.”

The night began predictably enough: Dorian Gray, who’d spent the afternoon lounging in a poolside cabana with friend Lord Henry Wotton, was now espousing eternal youth and beauty; Oedipus nuzzled his new bride; and Shug Avery, who’d performed earlier that evening, was cozying up with Celie at a small table.

But any civility was tossed aside when Don Quixote, a Spanish personality known for odd behaviors and violent outbursts, mistook Bovary for a captive woman, declared his role in freeing her and attacked the gaggle of male companions at her table. Bouncers peeled him off, while others tried to reason with Quixote, explaining that she was not “captive” (which, in turn, ignited complaints from existential French writer Simone de Beauvoir that, yes, Bovary is indeed in captivity—enslaved to a patriarchal world with a boring country doctor, on whom she must rely to survive). And everyone questioned whether Bovary should allow herself to be “freed” by a chivalrous knight anyway.

What seemed to escape no one during the scuffle were the acute similarities between Bovary and Quixote, both known to be fanciful in their imaginations.

Mr. Gray, as narcissistic as Bovary, finally spoke his mind (clearly not knowing Bovary was French): “She behaves as if she were beautiful. Most American women do. It is the secret of their charm.”

When someone cautioned that Bovary’s publicly lascivious behavior would likely make the tabloids, she retorted with a line coming out of Gray’s camp earlier in the evening: “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” The statement had everyone wondering how sound Bovary can be, for stories of Madame and her “piano teacher” were all anyone had been talking about.

Despite Bovary saying otherwise, this night wasn’t so much about public dalliances for the woman, whose finances are in the gutter. Casino nightclubs shell out big money for celebrity hosts and cameo appearances, and the pre-arranged compensation for her attendance was reportedly in the hundreds of thousands, of which every penny paid is doubled for the nightclub through the publicity it generates.

If only Tom Wolfe hadn’t been squabbling about the Maya Lin sculpture at Aria, we’d have more commentary to pile on. But someone alerted Wolfe to the Frederick Hart exhibit once held at the Las Vegas Art Museum, and he was off to investigate (apparently for some book he’s penning on contemporary art).

Fortunately, James Baldwin, the voice of reason, was in the crowd taking notes, leading us to believe that his words may carry everyone forward with integrity, douse societal myths and replace delusions with truth. If anyone can offer understanding and reason to the world, it is Baldwin.

But at Sauce, nobody could take their eyes off the sensational train wreck where Quixote, taking cues from Cyrano (a sudden plagiarist!), shouted, “Tell Wind and Fire where to stop, but don’t tell me.”

Thou hast seen nothing yet.

Bugman bound for the Strip!

Rumors are circulating that Gregor Samsa, the former traveling salesman with a rare physical condition, is heading to Las Vegas, hoping to generate income from his newfound tabloid persona. The hubbub is causing critics, particularly fellow cogs in the machine, to question Samsa’s integrity. “The misery and hopelessness of life is to be escaped only by death. The duty of death shan’t be delayed for vices and cash,” said one man on the street. “You can play the music louder, do tricks for a living, sleep all day, but will that really make it better?”

Samsa, who traveled for a living, poured all of his energy into work until he woke one morning suddenly disabled and unfit to provide for his family, which has relied on him since his father’s business collapsed. Bulbous, soft (crunchy on his backside) and moving on itty-bitty, needle-thin legs, Samsa is now unable to communicate verbally. According to a friend of a friend of Grete Samsa (his sister, a middling violinist who, like the rest of the family, seems to have lost compassion for him) says that after studying American culture through reality television, a sort of modern-day take on traveling sideshows, Samsa believes he may be able to capitalize on his condition and reverse his sudden role as an unwitting pest in the sewage of life. Meanwhile, debate is high on how this could have happened to Samsa. He’s become a sort of symbol for the worker—a man who devoted all of his time and energy to the system of life, leaving many to wonder if there’s some larger meaning behind his story.

‘Knight’ arrested for charging Excalibur registration desk

Metro confirmed this morning that the man arrested late Saturday dressed in knight’s armor and charging the front desk of the Excalibur is, in fact, Alonso Quijano, a Spaniard who goes by the alias Don Quixote.

Quijano, who was seen earlier that day making several attempts to battle marquees along the Strip while accompanied by associate Sancho Panza, had later been escorted out of a nightclub—where the controversial tabloid fixture Emma Bovary was hosting a party—for allegedly assaulting guests.

Rattling ad nauseam about a golden age, politely courting prostitutes and seemingly aloof to his failed efforts to overcome imagined LED enemies, it is assumed that he suffers from some sort of mental illness. His niece, who had arranged bail, said only that her uncle is a well-read, well-intentioned old man who is largely impressionable. It likely does not help, she said, that he’s traveled to such a quixotic place as Las Vegas, where he not only mistakes the endless streams of inns for extravagant castles, but is likely confused by the ornate and ostentatious European facades.

A Spanish tourist, unfamiliar with Quijano’s reputation back home, asserted that the very nature of Las Vegas is “an allegory of a country filled with escapists lacking the intellect and depth” to embrace the joy and suffering of everyday life, and that maybe Quijano just “lost it” in response. Another tourist noted Spain’s outrage at casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who is in the process of choosing a Spanish city in which to plant a Vegas-style casino, which critics say would increase crime and addiction.

Quijano was arrested after allegedly charging the registration desk where he’d been stopped by security for what hotel representatives have described as “peculiar behavior.” Witnesses, later wielding yard-long margaritas in mock jousting, joked about the event they’d originally believed to be part of the hotel’s themed entertainment.

When contacted by a reporter, Quijano cryptically spoke only of a woman named Dulcinea, described as a “princess,” and of his ongoing efforts in “redressing all manner of wrongs.” Reports that he was invited to Las Vegas by producers of a proposed reality television show have not been confirmed.

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Kristen Peterson

Kristen Peterson joined the Las Vegas Sun in 1998 as a general assignment reporter. In 2003, she turned her focus ...

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