Wow, what a week.
Not much really happened, but it was still a doozy. Work was slow, which made me antsy, which made me apply for all kindsa crazy Craigslist nonsense that I shouldn’t have bothered with…but it’s toooo laaaaate nooooow…..once I say I’ll do something, I’ll DO IT, by Jove! I’m not a flake!
The big hubbub around town concerns the latest haunted house attraction, known as Eli Roth’s Goretorium. Now, Vegas is famous for capitalizing on every holiday known to man (I’m sure someone’s already working on Viva El Eid®), and Halloween is no exception. Every year, the venerable Circus Circus turns its entire Adventuredome theme park into the Fright Dome haunted house…so it was only a matter of time before someone took the concept uptown.
Enter Eli Roth, director of horror film classics “Hostel” and “Hostel II…” but probably most notably recognizable as the Bear Jew from “Inglorious Basterds.” Roth had the semi-ingenious idea of opening a year-round haunt on the Vegas Strip — something to get that coveted 18-35 Hot Topic dollar, complete with a wedding chapel and lounge. He hired a bunch of local nightclub-industry douchebags to run the place, then set his sights on a late-September opening…just in time to capitalize on Halloween (which, due to its symbiotic relationship with slutty costumes, has pretty much become Vegas’s signature holiday).
I’ve never been a huge fan of horror movies (although I’d like to BE in one…I’ve long fancied myself a scream queen, albeit a flat-chested one)…but I thought this might be an interesting attraction. A bunch of my Burning Man friends got jobs there, so I figured it was worth a look-see when they announced they were having an invite-only VIP grand opening party with free drinks. (Honestly, I couldn’t have cared less about the haunted house. It was the DRINKS!)
The reception went from 9-11, and I had to work til 10 that night… but having been assured that it would be worth stopping by at, I raced over there the minute I got off work. And I was immediately confronted with a HUUUUUGE line….a line that wasn’t moving AT. ALL.
Now, I *HATE* lines. Whenever I see a bunch of people standing in line to get an iPhone or to get into a nightclub or something, I am immediately reminded of the late, great Sex Pistols’ song “EMI:” “Blind acceptance is a sign…of STUPID FOOLS WHO STAND IN LINE!” Anything that has a bunch of dumbasses in line for it is usually a COMPLETE waste of time (viz. Disneyland rides, iPhones, Justin Bieber tickets). Everyone knows that the REALLY cool stuff is the stuff that NO ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT…the stuff that sits in the 25cent bin at Savers, unwanted and unloved. 9 times out of 10, that stuff is the SHIZ.
But, as mentioned, I have a bunch of friends who are working there, and I kinda wanted to support them in their new endeavor. Plus, I had a couple friends in line already, and it was fun to chat and catch up with them while we waited. Unfortunately, the line barely moved for the 75 minutes or so that I stood there. Meanwhile, some asswad busker in a kilt was braying on a bagpipe about 15 feet away, and it was starting to eat away at my fillings. I had a LOT of shit to do…why was I standing here? But every time I thought to bail, my friends convinced me that “the line is moving now! We’ll be inside any minute!”
Yeah, no. After over an hour, a bouncer-type douchenozzle came out and informed the line that the place was closed. That was it — no apology or sugar-coat, just GET OUT OF HERE. He had that arrogant douchebag nightclub bouncer mentality about him that just rubbed me the wrong way — I mean, there’s a POLITE way to say this shit! It’s not like we were doing anything wrong — we had all RSVP’d and been “specially invited” to this dumbass opening. Now I feel stupid for believing the invitation! And I don’t like feeling stupid!
I was pretty much over it already — one qvetchy Tweet, and I had it out of my system. But when I got home, the negative Facebooking began: apparently, there was a sizeable group of Goretorium employees who had quit in protest of unfair working conditions. Now, I don’t know any of these people personally, so I can only report on what they’ve written: according to these aggrieved ex-employees, they were hired as gory actors and promised “good pay;” pay that they would be “happy with.” They all quit their day jobs, began slaving away at the Goretorium…and then the sword dropped: they would only be making $8.25/hour (minimum wage). Gasp!!!
The protest group is led by one Don Henrie, a/k/a the Vampire Don…I don’t know him, but he is apparently a dedicated real-life vampire: he is a sanguinarian (i.e. drinks blood), avoids daylight (due to a propensity for sun poisoning), and sleeps in a coffin (it helps alleviate his fibromyalgia symptoms). (All this from Wikipedia.) I guess he was hired at the Goretorium as an actor, and promised “good money…” but then found out after it was too late that the “good money” was minimum wage. He says he quit a better-paying job for this b.s., and he’s mad as hell! He has a sizeable cadre of followers — fellow ex-employees who are also pissed off, plus a random assortment of fans and friends. They are one and all hell-bent on bringing the Goretorium down — with social media campaigns and live protests (in costume) in front of the Goretorium, in the middle of the Vegas Strip.
All this over a freaking haunted house!
Out of spite, I was inclined to side with Don Henrie and his peeps…but, honestly: would you EVER take a job (much less quit an already established job) for a new one without knowing EXACTLY what the pay is? I know I wouldn’t! No matter how fun a gig it is, I need to know the bottom line first, yo! (Again, I don’t know the whole story here…so if you have a rebuttal, please post in the comments! I’m genuinely curious!)
Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, everyone in town is all abuzz with pro- and anti-Goretorium sentiment. I got caught in the middle — half my friends work there (it seems like half of Vegas was hired to work this thing — but then at $8.25/hour, I guess they can afford a bunch of actors…being that the ticket price is $40, and they also sell merch & have a bar)…but now I also somehow fell in with the anti-Goretorium crowd, and am getting all THEIR wacky postings, too!
I had pretty much decided to wash my hands of all of it (remember, I hate haunted houses anyway)…when one of the anti-Goretorium peeps posted a photo of a leaked flyer that was given to employees, urging them to pimp out the company on social media. This handout advises that if you want a bonus (it couldn’t be a very big bonus, seeing as they pay minimum wage), you are expected/required to do a bunch of crazy social media crap, including make a Facebook page for your Goretorium character, have at least 100 friends on it, post on it at least 3x per week, plus have a Twitter page, plus vote for Goretorium in all the local “best-of” polls, PLUS find six different locations that will let you drop off Goretorium flyers every 2 weeks. It sounds exhausting!!!
But the worst part of it was, they ALSO expect you to write good Goretorium reviews on Yelp. If you don’t already have a Yelp! account, you are supposed to create one — then write two good reviews of other businesses first, so that you don’t get flagged or filtered when you post your glowing review of Goretorium (Yelp! has a decent algorhythm for filtering out fake reviews written by people with no previous Yelp! presence, and Goretorium management cannily figured out a way to circumvent this).
Apparently, this is standard operating procedure for many Vegas Strip nightclubs — and other businesses in general. How sad! I *love* Yelp — I use it ALL the time to find mechanics, restaurants, contractors, etc. I am such a prolific Yelper, in fact, that they gave me Elite status, and now I get free schwag every now and again (see below). But I take my Yelping very seriously, and would NEVER write a fake review — even though you’d be ASTONISHED at how many times I’ve been asked to. NOTE to business owners: I AM NOT writing a fake good review for your business — unless I’ve already been there, and liked it! Fuck off!!!
Anyhoo, seeing this bullshit in black-and-white really got my goat…so now I’m back in the anti-Goretorium fray. How sad is it to coerce your minimum-wage staff to write good reviews for you, so they can win a paltry bonus? Answer: pretty sad.
But, with that being said….I am officially withdrawing from the Goretorium fray. You’ll never hear the word escape my lips again…nor will I type the letters again. I have too much lamer stuff to focus on than worry about a $40 haunted house!
The main thing I had to focus on was my shitty birthday. As previously mentioned, I’ve never been one to really celebrate it, but this year was exceptionally shitty. It was all mostly the fault of this kooky Lebanese whackjob I met the other night when I was taking souvenir photos — he came up to me as I was selling my photos at the end of the night, and struck up a conversation. Since he was nice enough, and ESPECIALLY since he resembled a Greek/Lebanese Rod Stewart, I agreed to meet him for a drink after work. We went to a lounge and chatted for an hour or two, but he got too attached, and tried to kiss me, so I broke it off. But he seemed so lonely and miserable that for some reason I agreed to meet up with him when I was next available…which happened to be Saturday night, after work on my birthday. I had no plans anyway, so I agreed to meet him for another drink at 10pm in front of the theater. I gave him my card so he could text me, but he demurred, saying “No, I’ll just meet you at 10pm in front of the theater.”
Well, that was Wednesday. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was pretty depressed, and the LAST thing I felt like doing was hang out with a strange Englishman (he was Lebanese/Greek by birth, but lives in London) who would doubtless just try to get his hand down my pants. But he never did call or text me, and I didn’t have his info, so I had no way of contacting him to cancel.
Say what you will about me…I am NOT A FLAKE! Even though I was severely depressed, AND it was my birthday, I *STILL* dragged my ass up to the theater at 10pm, secretly hoping he wouldn’t be there, so I could just go home and celebrate my b-day with my friends Chuck and Mary Jane. I just couldn’t make myself stand the poor guy up — I just felt sorry for him. I’m a nice person, what can I say?
Well, thankfully that asshole blew me off (he must have figured since I wouldn’t even KISS him, I would hardly let him jab a finger or worse into my hoo-ha)…so I did end up going home to see my TRUE friends (sad as that may be). And when midnight rolled around, I sighed with relief: pressure over! Another lame-ass b-day averted.
Now, that’s not to say I didn’t have ANY fun this past week! Another friend took me to an excellent vegan dinner at the Wynn — in case you did’t know, Steve Wynn is a hardcore vegan, and all his restaurant menus offer vegan dishes…so my friend took me to one for appetizers, and another for more apps and entrees. It was DELICIOUS! That reminds me, I need to Yelp about that… their vegan food is truly exceptional. You would never know you weren’t eating meat…some of it is very clever.
But all my vegan eating was ruined by my choice of beverage: Campari, a most UN-vegan drink! The red dye in Campari comes from the shells of a South American beetle — gross but true; look it up. It’s called “carmine,” or “cochineal extract.” (Actually, Campari stopped using carmine in 2004 or so, and replaced it with fake red dye…but you can still get the real Campari in Brazil, and they say it tastes MUCH better. Anyone who wants to send me a bottle of Brazilian Campari, feel free!!!) So anyhoo, my drink was technically still vegan, after all.
I couldn’t stay out too late, because I had a fully-booked schedule the next day. At noon, I did a shoot for a nudist website here at my house — the webmaster videotaped me painting nude (I painted a weeping unicorn, of course), exercising to Jane Fonda videos nude (LOL!) and then playing Strip Trivia (he had me wear the same outfit I wore when I was on Jeopardy! in 2003, which came off piece-by-piece as he asked me questions from a Trivial Pursuit game). When my nudie shoot was over, I headed straight over to the Hooters Hotel (LOL), where a photographer had hired me for a quickie one-hour photo shoot in his room.
I was a little sketched out by this second shoot, since the guy didn’t want me to bring anything and said he already had a Hooters outfit for me (??!)…but it turned out GREAT! Come to find out, the guy runs a pantyhose fetish website, and has a special predilection for those industrial-strength orange/brown Hooters hose that they wear…so he basically just had me put on one of his MANY Hooters costumes (he had them in every size), then photographed me lolling around on the bed in various states of undress. Fun!
While there, I had a few flashbacks to my own days as a Hooters girl in 2006. STOP LAUGHING — they really hired me! Apparently, they hire based on personality and not tit-size, as the giant-fake-titted girlfriend I went with did not get hired, and I did. Yay! Alas, I only lasted about 2 weeks, for two reasons: one, the money SUCKED BALLS for the amount of work (hustling wings and greasy-ass food all day for a $3 tip here, a $2 tip there…no thanx). And TWO, they won’t let you wear your hair up — you have to leave it hanging loose (hello…health code???), so that it absorbs all the grease and nastiness. Washing my hair is a long fucking process — I’m not trying to do that EVERY DAY! So I quit. But I really just did it to see if they’d hire me — and to take photos in the costume. Mission accomplished! (But remind me to tell you about it some day…it’s a GREAT story!!)
Just as I was feeling kinda gross and low-class for doing a photo shoot at Hooters (not my first, incidentally…I’ve shot in most of the hotel rooms in Vegas) — another photographer hired me for a super-classy shoot in a VIP suite at the Encore hotel. This guy was very polite and very classy, and gave me a sizeable tip “for parking” (uhh, parking is free in Vegas….but I guess I shouldn’t let that get out) but ironically, the Hooters shoot paid more! Although the Encore guy let me go early, which meant minute-for-minute, I made more at Encore. But who’s counting?!
The worst thing was, the night before the Encore shoot I went to a buffet and PIGGED THE FUCK OUT! Now, you tell me — who the hell goes to a buffet the night before a nude photo shoot? I don’t normally — but it was exceptional circumstances. One of my many part-time gigs is writing show reviews for a local tourist website, and this time they sent me to see “The Rat Pack is Back,” a Rat Pack impersonator/memory lane nostalgia-fest at the Rio. The jackass who was supposed to go with me flaked, so I went alone — figuring it would be easier that way, anyway. I mean, I only make $25 per review, so I like to just go, get the fuck out, & bang out the review.If I bring a date, then I gotta hang out and schmooze and bullshit over drinks…all of which brings my hourly rate down to G________ level (I TOLD you I wouldn’t say that word again!!!).
But what I didn’t realize was that this show (which was awesome, incidentally — read my Yelp review here) also came with free buffet passes! Now, I’ve never been one to shy away from free food…but going to a buffet alone? DEPRESSING! Still, I made myself sack up & do it anyway — in the interest of being frugal (plus, it was the Rio…and their buffet is pretty good). I got in line, endured the jokes and come-ons of all the mooks in line who wanted me to eat with them, inhaled 3 plates of food and then got the fuck out of there!!!!! Then, thanks to all those sit-ups I’ve been doing for the last 9 years, my ab muscles held it all in place the next afternoon at the photo shoot. WINNING!!!
Shockingly, that was not the only buffet I went to this week, either! I also got an invitation from Yelp! to attend the grand opening of the new Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace — which was *A*W*E*S*O*M*E*!!! I mean, REALLY high class. Amazing food, amazing accoutrements, amazing decor, amazing service. That place is tits for sure! Again, I inhaled about 3 plates of food…but this time I had a girlfriend with me, and we walked around the Forum Shops awhile to burn a few calories afterward. AND I had no nudie shoots the following day, so I was able to just let it all hang out.
Now speaking of shoots, I also did a REALLY fun one with one of my favorite photographers, Michael Maze. I had been wanting to do a Marie Antoinette themed-pic for a loooong time, but never had the right props or background for it. FORTUITOUSLY, on the last day of Burning Man, I found this AWESOME-SAUCE chair on the playa that some jackass had left behind…so I hauled it home, and $10 worth of spray paint later, it was an awesome throne fit for a Queen!
So I invited Maze and his girlfriend over, and we had a fabulous photo shoot party. Alas, he hasn’t finished editing any of the REALLY good ones yet…I mean, I specially made a fancy piece of cake and went to town on it in a very special way — but here are a couple. I especially like the ironing board one — it’s an idea I’ve had for a long time, since I’m flat as the proverbial ironing board. Miss Fawn Dew did an EXCELLENT job channeling a trailer-park Jerry Springer housewife in it, don’t you think???
Meanwhile, all this shit was going on and I was STILL really depressed. I think it was the fact that my birthday falls on the autumnal equinox — so just as I am getting older, the leaves are all turning brown & falling off, reminding me of my mortality. That, and I guess I’m still kinda bummed about Captain Crunch…whatever! There’s only one thing to do when I’m feeling blue — head straight down to Bell, Book & Candle, a local Magick Shoppe that sells spells, potions and candles. The great big shaggy bear of a wizard who works there always fixes me up a nice candle in a jar, with oils and herbs and glitter sprinkled atop it, and then I go home and burn it for 7 days and my blues ALWAYS go away. I’m not superstitious or even spiritual…I just like rituals. And I like the great, big shaggy bear wizard…who is ALWAYS barefoot, and whose shoppe is full of the most interesting jars of herbs and spices with hand-written labels reading “Witches’ Bane,” “Baby’s Bloode” and “Wolf Nipple Chippes,” etc. I swear, that shop has to have been open for at LEAST 100 years…I’m sure it predates even the Old Mormon Fort here. Now that I think about it, I should Yelp it! It’s AWESOME! If you’ve never been, and you need a spell or a tarot reading….head over! It’s on East Charleston, near 15th St. Fabulous place.
After that, my neighbor took me out to Ellis Island for steaks. Ellis Island is a local dive that’s been around FOREVER, and they’re mostly known for their karaoke. I used to hang out there back in the day when I worked at the MGM (in 2001-ish) because they used to let casino employees drink FOR FREE (!!!!! Can you imagine!!!! I can’t believe I didn’t get a DUI until 2010.) Then for awhile, there was talk of imploding poor old Ellis Island for another douchey high-rise condo tower — which thankfully, a little something called the Recession put the kibosh to! So Ellis Island still squats in squalor, in the shadow of the Strip (it’s on Koval Lane, for all you non-locals…check it out!).
Either way, I’m here to tell you that they have an AMAZING steak special — around $8 or so for a big-ass (8 oz or so) filet, with salad, green beans and a baked potato. PLUS a beer is included…but I hate beer, so I had a glass of wine (which cost extra). I thought the $7.77 steak special at Mr. Lucky’s in the Hard Rock was good (and it really is)…but if you like beer, Ellis Island is the better deal. (If you like fake tits and poseurs, then Hard Rock is the better deal for you.)
After that, I felt a LOT better — plus, I embarked on a new project, which has served to take my mind off my malaise: I am tired of trying to cram all my clothes and costumes into my shitty-ass 1943-era closet, and have finally decided to turn my guest bedroom into a dressing room!!!! Like one of those old-school Hollywood starlet ones, with a lighted vanity and all! Alas, I am perpetually broke, so I’m trying to do it on the cheap — I bought a vanity on craigslist, and am gonna try and attach strip lighting to this mirror I bought at Savers. Next I need to rig up clothes rods and shelves, and before you know it I will have a FABULOUS dressing room, fit for a diva. Anyone have any tips or advice, please let me know…I *SUCK* at carpentry!
So now I feel better. I did manage to have a few hi-jinks these past several days, including this fantastic bike parade they had as part of Interbike, the bicycle industry trade show at the Sands Expo. It was sort of like Critical Tits at Burning Man…only we all wore clothes, and rode down Las Vegas Blvd. to downtown Vegas, where there was an afterparty at the Downtown Cocktail Room (a slightly pretentious bar that I am ambivalent about). The party was pretty good, and I met some cool bikers — plus they were silkscreening this cool old-time steampunk-y bike logo onto koozies as souvenir giveaways. I don’t use koozies (remember, I hate beer), but I REALLY wanted something silkscreened!!! I remember at Burning Man, one of my campmates made a silkscreen logo of the Roller Disco and was making shirts for people, but I hadn’t brought anything that would hold a silkscreen design. I’m still pissed about that — so this time, I vowed NOT to miss out, NO MATTER WHAT! But my shirt was black, and I had nothing else to put the logo on….except my underwear!! I was wearing a pair of those ugly-ass 100% cotton briefs my gynecologist had recommended I wear, to prevent yeast infections, so I stepped out into the alley behind the Downtown Cocktail Room, slipped off my shorts and panties, and just as the bouncer was screaming at me “HEY! HEY! HEYYYY!!!!” I whipped my pants back on and had them silkscreen my panties!! They came out GREAT!!!! Although, I’m not sure if they are gynecologist-approved any more :/
In other news, speaking of my friend Mary Jane, my medical marijuana prescription is about to expire in November…so now I get a letter from the Department of Health & Human Services advising that I have the PRIVILEGE of renewing for another year… for the LOW, LOW price of $150 — PLUS the cost of another doctor’s note ($80), PLUS notarizing two documents ($10). So basically, if I want to take my medicine — and it was VOTED by the citizens of Nevada to be recognized as LEGAL MEDICINE — I have to cough up $240!!! WTF! Is there any other medication that one has to pay $240 just to get a LICENSE for — and then PAY FOR, on top of it??? It’s bullshit! Imagine if you had to pay $200/year to be allowed to take penicillin — or Prednisone — or Viagra??? I hate that this is such a bullshit gray area — either it’s LEGAL, or it’s NOT…make up your fuckin’ minds, assholes. (Once Pfizer figures out a way to patent THC, it’ll be legal all right…mark my words. Fuckers.) But as a friend said, what we marijuana users really need are some EFFECTIVE LOBBYISTS! I hate the idea of lobbyists, but I guess that’s what it takes to get shit done in the U.S.A…eh?? So, I guess I should start some kind of fundraiser, so we can afford to hire some annoying asshole to go to Washington and toss congressmens’ salads or whatever, to get ‘em to legalize it. Arrrrgh!
Oh P.S., if you’ve ever wondered how to clean a bong….here’s a tutorial I made one recent afternoon:
Speaking of funds, another friend (the same one who took me out for vegan food at the Wynn) recently hired me to do some word processing for him. I’ve never done any remote office work like this before, but have found it to be enjoyable and easy — so if you have any typing, editing or other office work that I can do from my home office, let me know! For a small additional stipend, I’ll even do it naked! As you may have noticed reading this blog, I have impeccable attention to details and excellent spelling and grammar…so keep me in mind. Just saying!
Finally, one of my photographer friends made this calendar of my nudie photos…if you’re interested in ordering one, here’s the link!
Now I gotta get to bed — it’s late, and I have a party to attend in the morning. Sayonara, friends!
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