“Joel Stein enjoys the hard times in Vegas,” republished from The Movable Feast

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Photo: Sarah Gerke
Photo: Sarah Gerke, LA TIMES

The following post is from (the LA Times’) Richard Abowitz’s Movable Feast, August 20, 2009 | 4:09 pm.

“For an out-of-town reporter, Joel Stein has been a Vegas regular. He covered the Vegas boom in an earlier cover story for Time. He also profiled Steve Wynn for Time. But his current cover story for Time on Vegas has generated a lot of local hand-wringing over his portrayal of the desperate and negative times the city is going through combined with the lack of easy answers to the problems plaguing Vegas. Well, there is an easy answer — people start coming in far greater numbers and start spending far more than they ever have before. That used to happen year after year, and many people here still believe that process has been only temporarily interrupted for going on 18 months or so. Stein’s story suggests that Vegas is in many ways engaged in an elaborate bluff with its future not yet realizing or accepting just how long the Strip will remain the bargain destination it has once again become.”

[Abowitz continues:] Full disclosure: I have known Stein for years (having met him when he interviewed me on an earlier Vegas assignment), and he wrote for Los Angeles Times.

Abowitz: So, was it immediately obvious on this trip that things were different for Vegas than during your previous visits?

Stein: The weird thing was showing up at the Hotel (at Mandalay Bay). I had talked to a bunch of people and everyone confirmed the place was decimated. And I had seen photos of Echelon. And so I was expecting the worst. But when I showed up at the Hotel my room was messed up. And so I assumed that there must be 8,000 other rooms and so whatever. But the place was literally full. I walked out to the pool and it was packed. So, I guess the price cutting really worked and so the obvious things I was looking for were not there.

Abowitz: How obvious was the price cutting?

Stein: I signed up for lists and so I get all these e-mails like “$100 at the Wynn with a $50 dining coupon.” It is the same with MGM. The deals are out there.

Abowitz: Well, the hotels are doing whatever it takes to not be empty. Your experience seems to suggest it is working.

Stein: It is working. And, it is awesome if you are looking for a cheap vacation. They fill the place up.

Abowitz: So, when did you notice the recession hidden amidst the bustle?
read the rest of the story…

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Tuscany Suites and Casino in Las Vegas

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-Photo credit: LasVegasBuffetClub
Photo credit: LasVegasBuffetClub

Above – Tuscany’s pool with Platinum Hotel and Spa in the background.

Tuscany Suites and Casino
255 East Flamingo Rd
Las Vegas, Nevada 89169-4708
Main: (702) 893-8933
Fax: (702) 947-5994

Tuscany Suites and Casino is a relatively new “locals” casino on Flamingo Road, a short distance east of The Strip

The Tuscan styled complex consists of several hotel buildings and the main casino building which houses the gaming area, the bars, restaurants, front desk and more. There are four restaurants: Tuscany Gardens (Fine Italian Dining,) The Cantina (casual Mexican,) Marilyn’s Cafe (24 Hours,) and Beachfront Coffee .

Two dudes (sounding like a quartet) “Cool Change” perform six nights a week in the Piazza Lounge. This intimate lounge is jam-packed with couples dancing on the weekends.

Photo credit: LasVegasBuffetClub
click for larger image
Photo credit: LasVegasBuffetClub
click for larger image

I got in on an internet special: $19.50 per night for four nights. My room had two huge beds, a sitting area with desk & chair, sofa, sofa-chair and cofee table. Then there was a small kitchenette with table/chairs, plenty of cupboards, a sink, small refrigerator, and a coffee-maker.

Although Las Vegas hotel construction aien’t what it used to be (there’s a sense that some parts of the hotel are made of cardboard,) the room was really commodious and comfortable, and well appointed. I was completerly surprised by the spaciousness of the room, and very satisfied.

Click Tuscany’s website link for video tours and more…
Tuscany Suites and Casino – Official Website

SPUD MONKEYS headlining the Riverside Art and Music Festival, Aug 15th in Salida, Colorado

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“Once upon a time, there was a little town called Crestone CO. And in that town there was a dusty saloon called the Silver Crest Palace. It was a rough place at the end of a dead end road, filled with dropouts and outlaws. It was the kind of place you wouldn’t want to bring your kids to, but people did anyway. At one end of the bar was a jukebox and at the other end a stage, and on that stage the local talent came together to play. Out of those local performers, Keepher Pez handpicked only the cream of the crop to form the greatest band to ever grace the upper San Luis Valley. This band called themselves the Spudmonkeys, and it was good. Since their humble beginnings, the Spudmonkeys have played in as many gin joints and speakeasies as they could, honing their musical skills and blowing the minds of audience members along the way. Spudmonkeys has a large and growing fan base that travels to see them play. Their popularity is due to the word of mouth advertising that continues to pac venues the band has only played one or two times.”

“The Spuds will be playing at the Riverside Art and Music Festival, in the lovely town of Salida, CO. We will be the headliner Aug 15th on the main stage in Riverside Park @ 6:00pm this should be a great show so I hope everyone will be there!”

Information is from the Spud Monkey’s Official Website.

Les was more: guitar master and innovator – Les Paul (June 9, 1915–August 13, 2009)

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Les Paul - Wikipedia
Les Paul - Wikipedia
“Lester William Polsfuss, known as Les Paul (June 9, 1915–August 13, 2009) was a musician and inventor. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar, which “made the sound of rock and roll possible.”[] He is credited with inventing or discovering many recording innovations including overdubbing (also known as sound on sound),[] delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects, and multitrack recording.[]” read more on Wiki

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CHARO: World’s première Flamenco guitar virtuoso

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Photo credit [copyright 2009-LasVegasBuffetClub]

Remember “The Cuchi Cuchi Girl” on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (45+ appearances.)
María Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza is also known as Charo.

Charo’s August 5th performance at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas was executed in two parts. In the first half you saw the Charo you know: the comedian, the singer, and all-around show-woman. She was brilliant, funny and spectacular. She sparkled in a red-sequined outfit, singing tunes from her CD’s, such as: “I Will Survive,” and cracking jokes about accents as well as other aspects of the human condition.

Without a doubt, the most humorous moment came when she spoke of being so poor in her youth that she didn’t have enough to eat – then after achieving success she couldn’t eat because of diets and weight watching – after saying this, she repeatedly “mouthed” the F bomb.

Accompanied by a troup of Flamenco dancers and a high-power-group of musicians, the first half of the show was fast paced, hard-hitting and well rehearsed. The show’s lighting was an artful display of color and dream imagery. Now I’ll tell you about the positive stuff.

Photo credit [copyright 2009-LasVegasBuffetClub]

The second half of the show was about guitar – Flamenco guitar. Charo displayed the mastery that earned her ‘Guitar magazine”s Readers Poll as Best Flamenco Guitarist two years in a row. Her strokes were robust, true and firm; the *”shotgun-tremelo” was flawless. (My pretention here is due to studying a-bit-of classical guitar.)

Her fingers (both hands) were moving like she was a super-human being. The little-finger, of her left hand, was – relaxed – in the precise, classical position. This is something one can only achieve after years of practice.

The “show stopper” for me was a moving rendition of Ravel’s Bolaro, of which you can hear a few bars on Charo’s website.

According to IMDb, when she was 14, María Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza won a scholarship to study classical guitar with Andrés Segovia.

Brava Charo!

Keep tuned to this page, there will soon be a link to a video clip of Charo.
*So maybe I’m using a common term…

UPDATE September 26, 2009
Here’s the video clip:

Charo’s Official Website

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Full Moon – August 5: (The) Full Harvest Moon

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Adobe Moon in the City
Adobe Moon in the City
click for larger image

Time for another Full Moon! The moon will be 100% full August 5, 2009 at 5:56 P.M. Las Vegas time.


“American Indians gave names to each of the full moons to keep track of the passing year. The names are associated with the entire month until the next full moon occurs. Since a lunar month averages 29 days, the dates of the moons change from year to year. Here are titles most closely associated with calendar months” read more from The Western Washington University Planetarium Website

According to Western Washington University, The Comanche of the Southern Plains refer to this August (5th) Full Moon as: “tahma mua” or summer moon (click the WWU link above for more information.)


Back East:
“Historically the Native Americans who lived in the area that is now the northern and eastern United States kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to the recurring full Moons. Each full Moon name was applied to the entire month in which it occurred. These names, and some variations, were used by the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior.” read more from The Old Farmer’s Almanac

The full Moon name for this month is Full Sturgeon Moon. Some Native American tribes knew that the sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon. Others called it the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon.”

Astrologically speaking:
Full Moon in Aquarius, By Molly Hall at About.com
“This year’s Aquarius Full Moon is on August 5/6, depending on your time zone, and is preceded by a penumbral (partial) lunar eclipse. The lunar eclipse is exact August 5th, at 8:39 pm EDT, with the full Moon exact at 8:55 pm EDT.” read more from Molly Hall at About.com

The [c.2009-Adobe Moon in the City] poster is available for purchase. The full moon in this poster was photographed in Las Vegas in the 90s. The image was inserted into it’s “frame” with a Photoshop type application. The poster is 24″x36″.

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