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March 02, 1995 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-02

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It's amazing what a little sunshine
*an do for people who have seen noth-
ing but gray skies for several months.
People who usually can't go anywhere
without their planners all of a sudden
forget what day it is when the sun
touches their skin. Suddenly plans go
flying out the window and we start
living in the moment.
This is exactly what happened to
those of us I wrote about a couple
C eeks ago who traveled to Key West to
osailing. When I wrote the first col-


(And on a student budget, you can't have either)

umn, my excitement and anticipation
bubbled over into everything I did. I
spent hours imagining what fun I was
oing to have on our journey. These,
visions got me through some difficult
times and a helluva lot of work.
It shouldn't be a surprise, however,
that few of those visions actually played
out as I pictured them. This in no way
means that we didn't have a fabulous
time; it just means that is was differ-
ent than expected. From minute one
we were off schedule and nothing
ollowed as we thought it would. But
didn't make one bit of difference.
As I spentaweekfilled with weather
that couldn't have been more perfect
andthe companionship of good friends,
I felt something I don't remember ever
feeling before: Complete relaxation.
My watch was abandoned upon ar-
rival at the Key West border. I com-
pletely forgot about any papers or
projects pending back here in good
old Ann Arbor. My mind cleared and
my body relaxed.
Getting 20 people together to spend
a week of communal living on a couple
sailboats did not initially sound relax-
ing. It sounded more like chaos mixed
with frenzy. But I was pleasantly sur-
prised by the result.
To my amazement, 20 people, who
usually plan every aspect of their lives
nd work incredible hours, began to
relax. We called party fouls on our-
selves at the mere mention of work. It
was astounding. It may even qualify
for the Guinness Book.
Spring Break the way we have just
experienced it should definitely be made
mandatory. What could be better than
basking in the sun all day and partying
with friends at night? If you need a
recipe for relaxation, that is it.
0 The key to having had agood Spring
Break was learning how to go with the
flow. Suddenly someone would say
something like, "Let's all go get some
seafood for dinner." And the rest of us
would kind of look at each other and
say, "Sure." Or someone would start to
walk toward the nearest happy hour bar
and the rest of us would fall in line.
Some even decided to head for Mardi
&i ras. (Most of us felt this was going a
it too far, but they had a good time and
I won my bet.)
Spontaneity. With the pressures of
school and the responsibilities of work,
it is not often that we can actually
practice the art of spontaneity. If you
plan on taking a vacation without this
ingredient, you might as well stay home.
Along with spontaneity comes ran-
domness which results in some crazy
*xperiences. But what good vacation
doesn't have experiences which are the
makings of incredible tales. You have
to have something to talk about once
you get backto school and are forced to
face inches of snow and ice.
(I would share some stories with
you but all week I was threatened that
if certain things ended up in my column
I would regret it. That's the beauty of
Aeing a reporter on vacation; there is
always something to hold over your
friends. Some of you should be more
worried than others.)
The only bad thing about having a
Spring Break which is so relaxing is
tha it.. he to AnA Ac thn' o f nc uh

Hollywood would have us believe
that Las Vegas is the land of dreams,
a sparkling oasis in the middle of a
vast desert where you can win and
win big. From "Bugsy" to "Honey-
moon in Vegas," we are all offered
money, romance, sex and dozens of
skydiving Elvis impersonators.
Sad to say, I saw no leaping Elvi
on my recent spring-break excursion
into the modern land of rape and
honey. My own personal Hollywood
fantasy of Vegas, however, was more
like a cross between "Diamonds are
Forever" and "Indecent Proposal."
Suave and smooth British Secret Ser-
vice Agent 007, I make my way into
Las Vegas in my souped-up super-
sonic spymobile. Of course, in the
casinos, I'm a high roller with babes
on my arm, holding my thick wad (of
$100 bills!) in my pocket. Falling
madly in love with sweet little Plenty
O'Toole, we marry in the Graceland
Wedding Chapel and spend endless
days painting the town red while con-
tinually thwarting the plans of gay
assassins Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint.
Yeah, things are great between my
new wife and I until Robert Redford
offers me a million dollars for one
night of Plenty. I take the million and
split, never seeing my true love again.
C'mon, I didn't love her that much
With a million bucks, you could
certainly have a much more drunken,
festive time than you ever will on a
student budget. With such a stringent
expense-to-earnings ratio, you have
two choices -you can play the nickel
slot machines, praying for that sur-
prisingly rare triple joker, or you can
collect matchbooks from the various
resorts. Yep, call me Mr. High Roller
if you want, but I managed to handle
both. A word of advice to future High
Rollers: You can drink for free all
night as long as it looks like you're
gambling. So, pop a nickel into the
slot every time the waitress strolls by

and you can repeatedly order your
favorite alcoholic beverage until
you're ready to party hard! Then it's
time to collect the matchbooks.
Of course, with a student's budget
you can't get your fill of the Vegas
whores. Unfortunate, because in Ve-
gas. syphilis and AIDS are absolutely
legal for all those who desire to call
and intermingle with Bambi or Sindi
or Candy. Prostitutes, however. don't
mill around on the streets. Oh no. Las
Vegas has a much more enticing
method: Just pick up one of the hun-
dreds of catalogues handed out by
Gomez and Ortega (newly arrived
from Mexico) every five feet along
the sidewalk, select the number of
your favorite girl, call the brothel,
order the girl and she'll arrive dis-
creetly at your hotel room within 30
minutes. No, she's not free if she
arrives late. You will quickly come to
learn that the phrases adult entertain-
ment and adult information don't
translate as Steve Lawrence and Eydie
Gormet or the latest prices on rental
A few dollars less than prostitu-
tion, gay animal trainers/illusionists
Siegfried and Roy are the rulers of
more dignified entertainment in Las
Vegas. For 85 bucks you can catch
their scintillating act - definitely out
of the question for student funds. On
the other end of the spectrum, $10
grants you entrance to "Rob Hanna's
Salute To Rod Stewart - Da Ya
Think I'm Sexy?" Mr. Hanna isn't
really a impersonator or a sound-alike.
After all, he's not only more sober
than the Hot Rod but also sexier.
If you've ever wondered if any of
the musicians your parents listened to
were still alive, fret no longer. They're
all in Vegas. For my brief four-day
visit, I had to pick from among Johnny
MathisNeil Sedaka, Steve and Eydie,
Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones,
Tony Orlando and Bobby Vinton (on
the same b i1l!),

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
(looking very new wave); Wayne
Newton, Keely Smith, Marilyn
McCoo, Debbie Reynolds and Sam
Butera. Whew! How can you pick
from that herd? Only having enough
money for one show, I went all out
and chose "Legends In Concert,"
where I got more stars for less dollar.
Of course, they were all imper-
sonators, but you really couldn't tell
... well, except for the Hank Williams
Jr.... and the Blues Brothers ... and I
guess the Liberace wasn't that great
(imagine a Liberac6 that's too gay) ...
come to think of it, the Cher, the
Sammy Davis Jr. and the Elvis weren't
too hot either. But the Neil Diamond
was brilliant. Actually, to divert your
eyes from the impersonators, "Leg-
ends" utilized scantily clad male and
female dancers at every possible mo-
ment, that actually did make me for-
get that I just spent one month's gro-
cery money on the ticket.
Other fine entertainment that you
won't be able to afford in Las Vegas
includes "EFX," a science fiction,
Broadway-style production starring
Michael Crawford: "Mystere." a
freakish, avante-garde dance/acrobat
routine from the Cirque Du Solei the
mystical David Copperfield and his
overblown mirror tricks; and Andrew
Lloyd Webber's "Starlight Express,"
the ad for which offers you a photo of
three futuristic American Gladiators
and the slogan "The Most Powerful
Musical on Earth." Yawn. Don't you
wish Copperfield could make Lloyd
Webber disappear?
If you're bored with the glitzy
entertainers and you've already
gambled away your education, you
can always take in the sights and
lights of the hotels and casinos. The
most startling is the Luxor, a sprawl-
ing, black pyramid with an ancient
Egyptian-themed casino and its rooms
surrounding thecasino. Reportedly.
two people who lost everything
jumped from the highest floor of the
hotel, splattering over the casino in
one final melodramatic act
of vengeance. Grim,.

A bit older, but equally entertain-
ing is Circus Circus, a circus-themed
hotel/casino (duh) with a gigantic neon
clown at the front doors, free circus
acts under a big top, a carnival mid-
way and a 17-ride amusement park.
Briefly featured in the aforementioned
James Bond film, "Diamonds are
Forever," Circus Circus no longer at-
tracts the glamorous patrons it once
did and is now home for lower-class
families. Circus Circus' slogan:
Excalibur Hotel and Casino, de-
signed as a castle, is a more recent
resort attempting to reap the same
family environment, offering a carni-
val midway and numerous video ar-
cades for the kids to fritter their own
money away. The Excalibur also of-
fers a dinner show called "King
Arthur's Tournament," a medieval
joust between knights while you dine
on prime rib - "Epic Action! Mod-
ern Magic! Medieval Price!"
Las Vegas' largest hotel and ca-
sino, the MGM Grand, features the
land of Oz amusement ride and the
entire cast of "The Wizard of Oz"
including Toto. Caesar's Palace, the
most glitzy casino offers a shopping
mall and art galleries. Together, the
MGM Grand and Caesar's Palace
bring in close to $2 million a day. Ha!
They only managed to rip me out of
100 measly bucks.
Yet with all its money, Las Vegas
can't cover up the fact that for all its
glitz, there's an equal amount of piss,
grime and crime. Oh yeah, you see the
prostitution, but you also see a sur-
plus of homeless people (former pa-
trons of the resorts perhaps?), va-
grants who offer to slice you up (no
thanks, I'll pass) and a practically
destitute downtown area that boasts
the original casinos, now
separated by more than 10
miles from the more
popular resorts on
"The Strip."
Whereas the
casinos on the

strip politely steal your money, some
of the downtown establishments at-
tempt to viciously rape you for all
you're worth (which in my case comes
to about two bucks). In one instance,
I was lured in by an offer to spin the
giant slot machine for free. I pulled
the crank and was told that I won
fifteen dollars. Yes! I finally won
something in this evil town! When I
went to claim my prize, however, I
was informed that I had "won" the
opportunity to buy 15 dollars in slot
coins. At that noment, I was ha-
rangued to buy a drink from a wait-
ress who more resembled the Wicked
Witch of the West from the MGM
Grand. After I was done screaming in
fright, I fled the tourist trap with my
funds intact. Efforts are being made
to clean up the downtown area and
modernize it like the rest of Las Ve-
gas, but until that's accomplished there
won't be as many visitors to that dark
With Michigan currently contem-
plating the legalization of gambling
in its own dark carnival, Detroit, this
trip to Las Vegas convinced me that
casinos will not clean the city up- at
all. Yes, the venture might bring in
much needed money, but crime, slime
and decadence will persist. They have
in Las Vegas, and who will want to
take a vacation in sunny Detroit? Well,
at least the trip might be a bit more
affordable to University students.

., '--::_ ' ...:..fix> " :..::.. ... ... "........ ". :: ".,

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