Every year around this time, I get majorly bummed the fuck out. It’s my birthday today, which coincides with the first day of autumn…a/k/a the season when everything starts withering up and dying. No wonder I’m such a melancholy bitch! It’s in my blood!
The main cause of my annual malaise, however, is the fact that Burning Man is over, and I have another 340-odd days to go til the next go-round. I know my life shouldn’t revolve around a party, but fuck! I was there long enough that I started to get used to running around high and naked all day, every day, with no more important decisions to make than which bindi to wear, or what to drink for happy hour. It’s really hard to leave a magical wonderland of sunshine, drugs and freedom and get back to the “real world.” Because the real world sucks ASS!
Or, my melancholia could just be due to the fact that I dangerously depleted my serotonin levels by eating all those mushrooms. I think that’s actually more likely the case…because MY real world has been pretty fun, actually!
I mean, two days after getting home from Burning Man, I was already naked again, in a studio, being bodypainted for a reality show that will air this fall on the SyFy network. I can’t really give too many details, since I did sign a non-disclosure agreement, but suffice it to say I spent 10 hours being painted by a friend for a very small segment on a show they’re working on about Vegas bodypainters. It was fun….for the first 6 hours! But as soon as I washed off the paint, it was back to Reality again. Boosauce!
Fortunately, I have a pretty sweet reality. The next day, I was powering through a soul-killingly miserable workout at the gym — my first in 3 weeks About halfway through my workout, I checked my phone and noticed it was First Friday — the day of the monthly arts fair in Downtown Vegas. I knew a lot of my Burning Man friends would be there, so I thought I’d finish my workout, go home and put on a sort of crazy outfit, and go down there to dance my blues away. But THEN I noticed that not only was it First Friday — it was also the day of the Vegas Gay Pride parade!!
Fuck, yeah!! If there’s one thing that can chase away the post-Burning-Man-Blues, it’s a GAY PRIDE PARADE! I totally blazed through the rest of my workout, then dashed home and put on my fucked-up, playa-dust-coated Marie Antoinette ensemble, hopped on my bike (also still covered in dust and lights), and rode down the street to the parade route. I got there just in time to crash the parade, riding along with my lights blinking and flashing, and had a fabulous time. Between the lights and music and half-naked gay boys, it was basically like being at Burning Man, anyway!
That parade was really sick, incidentally — Vegas really gets behind its gay community (gay tourists have a lot of expendable income, coincidentally). There were some really elaborate floats sponsored by major hotel-casinos and shit…plus there were delegations from the Vegas Transwomen, the Vegas Furries, the Vegas Gay Rodeo and the Vegas Leather Uniform Club. Really impressive!
I ran into some friends, and we hung out until the parade was over, at which time we decided to head back down to the beginning of the parade, at the Arts Factory, for some drinks and dancing. But the cops wouldn’t let me ride my bike back up the parade route, since the street had been closed off. D’oh!! Thankfully, this one cop was amazingly bad-ass and cool, and not only lifted my bike up over the crowd barrier so I could ride on the sidewalk…he also lifted ME up and over! What a gentleman!! The cops at Burning Man weren’t that cool, I can tell you that for sure!
Anyway, after partying awhile with many fellow Burners at the Arts Factory, some kid gave me a flyer for an afterparty going down at this freaky old mansion nearby — the Hartland Mansion. I’ve always wanted to go in there, so my friend Fabian and I headed over at once to check it out. IT WAS AMAZING!!
If you’ve never heard of the Hartland Mansion, it’s this tacky monstrosity in a sort of dumpy part of town…right down the street from my own house, haha. A family of gospel singers bought it back in the day, and covered every square inch in fake jewels and mirrored tile and shit — and now they rent it out for events and weddings and stuff. You can read an amazing New York Times article about it here. It’s an incredible place, but I’d never been inside…although I’ve certainly tried! I even went so far as to attend a church picnic on the grounds once, but the interior was locked up so all I was able to do was hang out in the courtyard with a bunch of Christian kids playing in a bouncy castle.
Well, this time, the DJ for this afterparty was setting up in the same courtyard area, out by the pool…but when he wasn’t looking, my friend Fabian and I were able to find an open door and sneak into the actual mansion itself!!
OMG!! It was exactly as freaky as I’d imagined! Especially because all the lights were off, and we had to wander around in the dark, except for the little purple LED lights in my wig, which cast an eerie glow over the checkered floor, mirrored spinet and massive collection of Christmas nutcrackers on the imposing fireplace mantelpiece. It was fucking awesomely creepy — better than any art installation at Burning Man! But we had just started filming a creepy little travelogue video when the DJ came in and busted us, kicking us back out into the night. Boooooooooo!
So I only got a tiny taste of the mansion…but it totally just whetted my appetite to see more of it! I hereby solemnly vow that one day, I will explore the entire Hartland Mansion — if not move into it myself!!! I can think of few more fitting places to live in this fair city, I’ll be honest with you.
Aaaaanyhoo, the fun didn’t stop there! A few nights later a good friend of mine came into town, and took me to dinner at several swanky hotspots at the always-glamorous Wynn Hotel, where he always stays. (He likes it because he comes from a dusty, dogforsaken cowtown, and the elegant opulence of the Wynn is like his Happy Place.) We had quite a few drinks in his favorite bar, which is now one of my favorite bars — the Tower Suites bar, at the base of the elevators to the VIP enclave within the Wynn, where all the real ballers stay.
If you like watching nouveau-riche poseurs and douchebags get drunk, then you need to check out this bar STAT! It’s incredible!! It’s basically a lobby bar, in the finest tradition of hotel lobby bars — you can watch the VIPs come and go to their hotel rooms (Pele was just one luminary who passed by), and also hang out at the bar and enjoy the barbed, gin-soaked camaraderie of the rich and powerful…all in an impeccably genteel atmosphere. One night, I watched this boisterous, drunken redneck songwriter henpeck a trimly mustachioed black lawyer, repeatedly calling him “Sidney Poitier” with ominously fake-chummy good-old-boy gusto, as the bartender guffawed politely, dancing on the razor’s edge (as all good bartenders do) between offending either party. It was exhausting to watch!!
Speaking of exhausting, I could never work at that hotel. (I could never work any customer service job, truth be told…my 12 years as a photo girl taught me that much!!) I learned that if you work at the Wynn, you’re not allowed to so much as mention that fact on any social media — the Wynn supposedly has a dedicated staff that sits around and does nothing but monitor Facebook, Twitter etc. for any mention of the Wynn or Encore, and if it’s found out that an employee posted something, they are summarily fired! WTF! Meanwhile, the poor barback had to run around with a giant flesh-colored plug in his ear, where his earring was supposed to be…because dog forbid a barback has an ear piercing!!! That kind of behavior is enough to make a society matron vomit up her Pimm’s No.1, for chrissake!!! SHUDDER!
All of this reminded me once again of how glad I am that I don’t work for some bourgeois asshole who makes me kow-tow to convention. Although before I start tooting my own horn…if I were really a woman of principle, I wouldn’t even deign to frequent a bar that treats its employees like that. Unfortunately, however, that bar is far too fascinating for me to boycott….and I hope to return many, many times, just to see what the poseurs are up to!
Anyway, all this swankiness was a real drag, because I had to jam my nasty hippie feet back into high heels again for the first time in a month. Thankfully, my friend didn’t just want to hang around the Wynn — one night we also went out to a local pub for costume karaoke, where I was able to put on my Space Disco Babe ensemble and belt out some dreadful karaoke numbers (I did “Pussy Control,” by Prince, if you must know).
Since I had my Space Babe wig out
anyway, I made good use of it another night as well, working a gig as a cocktail waitress at this airbrush artist’s birthday party. He painted me to look like a sexy RoboCop, and I basically schmoozed around the party all night serving drinks and generally having a pretty good time. Most of the partygoers had just returned from Burning Man themselves, so as far as “work” goes, it was actually pretty sweet. They broke out the S&M gear after awhile and things got kinda hairy, but thankfully I was able to escape unmolested.
So “reality” wasn’t really as bad as I expected, and I pretty much got over my post-Burning-Man-Blues after a week or so. I even got a sunshine fix one day when I hiked down to the Goldstrike hot springs with a couple of friends — a killer hike with a lot of therapeutic soaking, down near the Hoover Dam (you can read more about it in my desert adventure guide). But I couldn’t really enjoy myself wholeheartedly, because I knew I had to get up at 4am the following day for a gig…and knowing I have to get up that kind of early always puts a damper on things for me.
That’s right, friends, it wasn’t all fun and hi-jinks — I have been working quite a bit lately, socking away cash toward my next adventure! In less than two weeks I’ll be cruising up to San Francisco for a few days, heading up into the forest near Lake Tahoe for an insane psytrance rave in honor of legendary psytrance DJ and electronica pioneer Goa Gil’s birthday! I can’t wait. The forest is sure to be chock-full of crazed Israeli kids whacked out of their minds on acid, and I can’t wait to join them. So I gotta make some cash for that.
Toward that end, I put my nose to the grindstone and got to work. First, I had a What’sYourPrice? date with a very personable TV producer who runs a sort of Home Shopping Network for womens’ sex toys (women feel more comfortable ordering that stuff from the privacy and comfort of their own home, you know). He took me to this amazing old-school Italian restaurant called Piero’s, right across the street from the convention center — a place I had long wanted to visit because it seemed very mobster-y. Well, I’m ecstatic to report that it turned out being less Rat-Pack mobster-y, and more ’80s mobster-y — like if Sophia from the Golden Girls ran a mob joint, and let Blanche and Rose decorate it. Fantastic!!! I will most definitely be coming back here — not only is the vibe to die for, but the food was amazing, too. And wait, there’s more — Pia Zadora just started doing a lounge act in the bar!! At this rate, it’ll be the most amazing place in the entire world in no time!
I had another What’sYourPrice date lined up for the following week, but the dude cancelled on me. I didn’t sit around and cry about it, though — ain’t nobody go time for that. One afternoon, I went over and modeled for an art class at the Veterans’ Village Thrift Store, and then I also had a bunch of liquor store samplings to conduct, pouring shots of that delicious girly liqueur I wrote about in July, only this time I was able to drink some myself. It is delicious, just as I expected!! I tried not to drink too much, though, because it’s a cream based liqueur and very high-calorie, and I’m trying to stay fit and trim here.
Then another day, I got a gig as a production assistant. I didn’t get many details for the shoot, other than that it was a 5:30am calltime, and that I was supposed to dress “sexy.” Sexy??! At 5:30am?!!! The guy who hired me assured me that “When you see who the talent is, you’ll be glad you did.” HMMM! Now I was really curious, and got up at 4am to make sure I looked halfway decent for this momentous occasion.
Again, I can’t give too many details away…but suffice it to say the gig ended up being a bunch of press interviews with the star of a new action drama that was premiering that very night. This star is widely considered to be a heartthrob and sex symbol, although I’ve never personally been a big fan of his…and besides, as a lowly PA I didn’t have any real interaction with him, anyway. I pretty much just hid in the corner, fetching coffee and whatnot…although I’m glad I wore makeup and stuff anyway, just because I like to look my best at all times, even when hiding in a corner of a conference room at a hotel at 8am, ya know? Besides, one of the co-stars of the movie, an up-and-coming wacky black guy, kept calling me “hot chick,” so I guess I made a good impression on someone.
The best part of the whole 14-hour day was that evening, when they shot the red carpet interviews at the actual premiere. I’ve never been to a premiere of a major Hollywood movie before, and it was amazing. All the schmoozing and elbowing and ass-kissing and fake laughing and shouting and flashbulbs popping and fans yelling…it was nuts! I was right up in the thick of it, too, assisting a cameraman for one of the cable networks, just inches from all these major A-list stars.
But what really made the whole thing fascinating was, under friendly duress from one of my employers, I’d had a split of champagne and a puff or two on a joint just an hour before…so I was high as a kite and in kind of a dreamlike state throughout the whole experience!! I’m here to tell you, you haven’t LIVED until you’ve watched some monkey-faced anorexic hag from EXTRA! interview a bewildered Meat Loaf on a red carpet. Incroyable!!!!! It was like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Hollywood Edition.” WEIRD!!!
Another interesting thing was noting the mechanics of the whole red carpet experience: they hand out these “tip sheets” to all the paparazzi, with photos and descriptions of all the major players who will be on the red carpet, so you’ll know whom to badger with questions. At this particular event, there were three or four legit A-list stars…and then the usual roundup of D-list Vegas losers they trot out for every half-assed Vegas premiere: Holly Madison, Carrot Top, Marie Osmond, Meat Loaf. It was interesting to note who made the cut for the front side of the tip sheet (Marie Osmond and Meat Loaf, astonishingly) and who was relegated to the back side (Holly Madison et. al., of course). How embarrassing to end up on the B-side, eh? But even more embarrassing were those poor saps who meandered down the red carpet, smiling hopefully….but weren’t really important enough so no one bothered to take their photo or interview them at all. OUCH!
Anyway, once the stupid-ass movie started I got the hell out of there, home to pass the fuck out in preparation for the next day’s gig. This was a hum-dinger, too: a group of guys were coming in from back east to celebrate a birthday, and had hired a girlfriend of mine as a sort of event planner to set up the whole crazy shindig. She rented a sick mansion, hired a bunch of chicks to come hang out and party with them, arranged for a caterer and some DJs and party favors and even rounded up a goat to hang out onsite (the guys are obsessed with that Robin Thicke video for “Blurred Lines,” where the naked chick is cuddling a goat).
Knowing I’m a shameless hussy, my girlfriend had hired me for a couple specific roles. First, I was to surprise the one guy whose birthday it was by waiting in his bedroom topless, with a tray of party favors, to welcome him to Vegas. So I headed over to the mansion on Thursday morning, and basically spent most of the rest of the weekend there, in one capacity or another.
This mansion, incidentally, is amazing!!! They call it the Parisian Palace, and it’s even more incredible than the Hartland Mansion, if you can believe that: an 8-bedroom, 9-bath party mansion that looks to have been decorated by Gianni Versace on crack! Everything is gold-plated or bejeweled in some way, and every ceiling and wall is painted with gaudy murals and frescoes in a fake-Renaissance Italianate style. Chandeliers, gold-lamé settees, marble tile floors…it’s ridiculous. There’s also a resort-style swimming pool, an indoor “cold” pool, a bowling alley, nightclub and theater.
Charmingly (in my opinion), the place is kinda run down and tacky — not all the lights work, and the a/c is kinda fucked up, and some of the gilt shit on the walls falls off at the slightest touch — but I loved it! It’s the kind of place I should live in, I tell you. Over-the-top and fabulous, in a totally awesome Miss-Havisham-goes-to-Vegas way!
Anyway, I waited in the master bedroom with my tray of favors and a stuffed pig (to stand in for the goat, who had to stay downstairs), and surprised the birthday guy with an enthusiastic “WELCOME TO VEGAS!!!” The others sort of shoved him into the bedroom and slammed the door behind us, so it was kinda awkward, like, what am I supposed to do next??! But the guy was a total gentleman, and just sat on the bed with me and chit-chatted as he enjoyed his party favors. Super nice man. But then he goes, “Can I ask you a favor?” Uh-oh!! But it turns out, all he wanted to do was enjoy his party favors off my asscheek…harmless enough, when you consider the other shit I’ve done in my day. Why not?!
After that, I mostly just hung around the pool and in the nightclub, boozing and dancing and entertaining and whatnot. I had to leave here and there for other gigs, and to go home to sleep, but for the most part I was there all weekend. Friday we all took a monstrous Hummer limo over to the MGM for the iHeartRadio concert, and then Saturday I was booked as the naked sushi model in the formal dining room. I lay on the giant dining table, naked except for a thong, pasties and some banana leaves, and the sushi chef covered me in delicious sushi. YUM!!
I had just spent an hour lifting weights before the gig, so I was starving the whole time I was laying there. Thankfully, it was a pretty relaxed party so no one cared if I ate sushi off myself — and I ate a lot!! Guests fed me quite a bit, too — so that by the time I got off the table at the end of dinner, I was stuffed. But they were having an ’80s theme party in the nightclub that night, so I had to stuff myself into my skintight zebra-print leggings and legwarmers and shit and go dance — which was actually the best thing for me, in my bloated state. Ugh!!!
I’m here to tell you, that girlfriend of mine who planned the party really knows what she’s doing, though. She did an amazing job with that whole thing — she even made little legwarmers for the goat to wear at the ’80s party, lol! She had amazing DJs and a sick laser light show, professional go-go dancers, specialty acts, bartenders, live music, and a model dressed up as a Baywatch babe who popped out of a giant birthday cake! If you’re looking to set up a sick-ass birthday party, look no further — she’ll hook it up! I don’t know how she did it, though — I was exhausted after just spending part of my weekend with those guys. She must really be a wreck!!!
Anyway, I was so tired out after all that craziness that I spent the following day, my birthday, in bed. I didn’t do SHIT…except run 5 miles at the gym, and write this blog. I guess when every day’s a party, a birthday is really no different. Unless you’re a baller, that is, and can afford to hire my girlfriend!!! Maybe next year……………..