47 0 0 0 13 6. What’s a teenager Dischinger Teens hanging out in front of a Las Vegas fountain.
7, and the entire world—from Rome to Egypt—is a footstep away. These self-styled masters of illusion, with their magic tricks and fabulous animals, put on the kind of show that makes Las Vegas paradise for teenagers, especially those who understand the connection between the ridiculous and the sublime. My icons, my idols,” Justine sighs. Auntie Mame—and we’ve done a fair amount of traveling together. She’s an intrepid New Yorker, a budding journalist, a big music fan, and a connoisseur of kitsch.
In Vegas, of course, kitsch is everywhere, and so is the spectacle—in the hotels, the casinos, the restaurants, and along the Strip. In Vegas, fantasy and reality boogie together along a narrow strip of Nevada desert. Day and night, the crowds are out—tourists, locals, high rollers, ordinary gamblers clutching waxy buckets of quarters, the occasional Elvis, kids and parents, brides and grooms. From hidden loudspeakers come the come-ons of a hundred electronic barkers, luring you to girlie shows, free slots, cheap food.
I wouldn’t dream of going to Las Vegas without Justine. Who else would share my appreciation for dice clocks, or ride with me on a 905-foot-high roller coaster? And who else is so hip to the nuances of style that she sees the problem with the Hard Rock Hotel? It’s full of former frat boys in oxford shirts and nineteen-year-old girls trying to be punk-rock cool,” Justine scoffs. It’s our second trip, so we consider ourselves experts as we disembark at the vast airport that’s all spangled slots and steel palm trees. It’s a four-hour drive from Los Angeles through an immense, empty moonscape.
Then suddenly, around the bend, everything lights up. Our room at the Venetian is a disappointment: overpriced, scruffy, and with a view of the parking lot. Eventually we coerce someone into giving us a better room. But we know that unless you’re a high roller, you don’t come to Las Vegas for hotel luxury.