In eight years in Las Vegas, I've never won any of those crazy nightclub contests I include in the Hot Spots each week. Not that I haven't tried … For Moon’s Hair Wars I donned a fur coat, red vinyl pants and channeled David Bowie with a faux-hawk/beehive. At Rok Vegas’ short-lived Merry Kissmas contest series I locked lips with one of my girlfriends. At Jack Colton’s first 9-to-5 party I campaigned for “Most likely to be caught making out in the supply closet.” And at nearly every Las Vegas Industry Prom—years 1, 2 and 3 anyways—I’ve come within a hair’s breadth (or so I’m told) of winning Prom Queen. But never before was there a cash prize on the line. So it never occurred to me that I might win Tao’s first ever Tweasure Hunt. Oh, yeah: Spoiler alert!
Thursday, August 13, 10:45 p.m.
“I wanted the clues to be accessible, but I wanted people to have to think about it,” says Tao’s Mike Snedegar. The $5,000 Tweasure Hunt, which uses Twitter and Snedegar’s Sidekick phone to broadcast the whereabouts of a certain yellow, plush Petsmart bird, is Snedegar’s brainchild, an “effective viral marketing tool in a recession economy.” Thirty-six of us will be racing around Tao, snapping Tweety’s picture in Tao security-approved locations and hoping to be first to the finish line. It’s a good-faith system, Snedegar says. The rules—or rather, Twules—say that we must work alone, which further fuels my insane competitive streak.
It’s the strategizing that appeals to me most. Where would I hide the bird? There are some major zones at Tao. The Opium Room. The elevator landing bar with its army of terracotta monks. The main bar. The side bar I call “New York.” The dance floor. The catwalk and stages. The 20-foot Buddha in the restaurant. The Lounge… Tonight could take us anywhere.
11:17 p.m. @iamtaonightclub Clue #1: Look for the large red doors and the sexy girls luring you into the party, he’s watching you.
I spin around, and there he is, adhered by his tush to the wall near the towering nightclub doors. A girl in pink flies at me frantically: Did I get a text?! Her eyes search mine for an answer. And a bird. I respond in German and wander away. For the next 20 minutes, clubbers walk right past, taking little notice of the weirdos photographing a wall.
11:30 p.m. @iamtaonightclub Clue #2: Seek out the bar with the gold “rock” top, you will find him looking at you!!
I run to every bar in Tao—even the sushi bar—before returning to right where I had started, to the smaller club bar with its golden river stone top. After nonchalantly snapping my pic of bird-on-shelf, I conceal my camera, lest I look like some overeager tourist capturing my first big Vegas nightclub experience. Perish the thought!
11:50 p.m. @iamtaonightclub Clue #3: The Dancefloor at Tao is where the party’s at, but he prefers the “stage” ...
Noooo! I’m in open-toed shoes! But there his little bird ass is, this time hanging upside down on the mural above the bustling dance floor. I cling to a guy tall enough to be stationary, shoot the photo over his shoulder, then turn and run.
12:10 a.m. @iamtaonightclub Clue #4: Within the Opium Room, this ancient counting system holds the answer and isn’t just for decoration, he’s there watching over you!
I’m already in the Opium Room, so within seconds I locate the bird, adhered leeringly over a go-go dancer’s head on a wall decorated like a giant abacus. The gal in pink races around frantically but doesn’t seem to know what an abacus looks like. Thanks to my father the math teacher, I do.
12:29 a.m. @iamtaonightclub Clue #5: Seek out the small monk statues facing you in an army, he’s thirsty and needs a drink!
Blogger Vegas Bill is all over this one, snapping and running. Aha! The penultimate birdy is perched in a forest of Grey Goose bottles.
On the balcony overlooking the restaurant, I try to guess the location of the finish line: either Buddha or the front door. But there’s still one bird left. As I look down at the Buddha in his “calling the Earth to witness” pose, I witness something myself. Snedegar walks right up to it and, so help me Buddha, slaps a bird right on him. Again, I am first to the scene.
12:49 a.m. @iamtaonightclub Clue #6: Within the restaurant, seek out the one who watches over us all, he is there waiting for you.
Only the finish line is left. But where? Back upstairs? No way, that would be a cluster. It has to be downstairs. But if I’m wrong, I’ll never make it. I instead hover on the landing mid-way between floors. And then ...
1:10 a.m. @iamtaonightclub Final Location Clue: Celebrities need privacy when they have dinner and so do I! I’m waiting for you with the prize!!!!
Can it really be so simple?? I nearly kill a pack of slow-moving tourists in my attempt to walk/trot/skip down the stairs and over to Tao’s private dining room, where a velvet rope and a familiar Sidekick awaits. I don’t know who’s more surprised, me or Snedegar! My photos checking out, I am deemed the winner on the spot! Or maybe the Twinner …
I wonder, how shall I disseminate such good news?! Well, I tweet it, of course, and keep a bird for myself.