Saturday, February 26, 2005, 1:37 a.m.
Cloaked in an opaque white fog, giggling wildly, my hands stab out, touching arms, hair and faces of friends and strangers. Light pulsates—fast at first, then faster. Robbed of sight, each of us is left alone in this big blank, with elevating sounds coming from the towering columns of speakers. “Washing over me ... washing over me ...” Soon I make out heads, cigarette glows, then arms stretching in the air. There is a medicinal tickle in the back of my throat from the cold mist, but delicious chills run up and down my legs. Slowly, the fog dissipates, the beat drops, but the mayhem continues. In the confusion, friends have wandered out of the confines of our booth while passersby have stumbled in.
That was the first paragraph of my first column, about DJ Sandra Collins’ set at the now-defunct Ice Metaclub. I was assigned just 400 words—the sum total of the Weekly’s nightlife coverage at the time—but turned in 800 words with an apology. It came out, fully intact and touted on the cover, the one with the giant pancakes, on Thursday, March 3, 2005, exactly five years ago.
From time to time (and especially when I need a chuckle), I’ll call up one of those old columns and immerse myself in one crazy, endless night in 2006 at the Foundation Room, or a cloudless, summery day in 2008 by the Cherry pool. Five years later, I can laugh about the drippy, enchanted, wide-eyed way in which I captured, swallowed and digested what was going on around me. I nearly fall out of my chair when I experience my embarrassments all over again or read who my wingmen or women were that day or night. I wonder where some of them are today.
I’ve been moved to tears during DJ sets, no drugs necessary. I’ve tripped, fallen, and broken glasses; lost phones, keys, friends, love; put my foot in my mouth, laughed so hard I snorted and, oh, that’s just the tip of the iceberg ...
In the line of duty I have:
• Met porn stars, models, actors, singers, artists, performers, contortionists, freaks, drag queens, magicians, Chippendales, athletes, DJs, transvestites, transsexuals, exotic dancers and politicians.
• Taken shots of Patron in lieu of seeking a doctor’s care.
• Gone without sleep for inexcusable stretches of time on the maxim that “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
• Kissed two girls (that I recall; thus far).
• Driven the wrong way on Paradise.
• Never peed anywhere that I ought not to have; only thrown up when necessary, and in the comfort of my own home. (And at Green Valley Ranch.)
• Seen the sun rise almost as often as I’ve watched it set.
• Been body-painted at Studio 54.
• Danced on the bar at Hogs & Heifers.
• Nearly been thrown out of one club. Yes, only one ...
• Been named President, Prom Queen, a Woman of the Night, a Queen of Clubs, “Queen of Nightlife” (thank you, Robin Leach), and earned an honorary Masters in Nightlife Entertainment (thank you, Light Group).
• Developed a taste for Negronis, Speckled Hen beer, gin, absinthe, and rye.
• Joined the United States Bartenders Guild.
• Bartended at Ra Sushi to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
• Judged innumerable mixology competitions, one air-guitar competition, two karaoke competitions and a go-go competition.
• Discovered I love rockabilly and pin-up culture and I’m never looking back.
• Learned how to apply false eyelashes, bronzer, wear Spanx, and pose for photos like a showgirl.
• Followed Las Vegas nightclubs, bars and bartenders to cocktail competitions, the Sundance Film Festival, Winter Music Conference, and Tales of the Cocktail.
• Gotten three lap dances. Given one.
• Flashed one boob in the bar at Smith & Wollensky, two at Krave.
• Rocked a faux-hawk at Moon for Hair Wars on behalf of Globe Salon.
• Salsa’d, line-danced, ballroom-danced, swing-danced, done the Robot and bounced on every banquette they’d let me up on.
• Walked red/black/blue/pink carpets; walked a catwalk with a dog.
• Woken up at 6 a.m. and gone to Empire Ballroom.
• Bedded bartenders, tourists, my elders, one psycho, one vegan, two Republicans, a handful of swingers, too many atheists, a military officer and one married man (I didn’t know!). Eek ...
• I’ve “had the time of my life.”
• I’ve been honored to have known some wonderful people who tragically passed away.
• I’ve celebrated as clubs were born and have been pained to watch some die.
• I’m still daily and nightly awestruck, humbled to be a scribe, a documentarian, and to play even the slightest role in Vegas’ historical timeline.
I’ve been lucky to have had this; I am lucky to have this still. And I thank you. Now, where’s the party at?