Partying With the Sister-Wives!

IMGThe big news around here is……


For twelve long years, I labored as a souvenir photographer in various Vegas Strip showrooms. I got the job the very first month I moved here — I had planned to become a cocktail waitress, but at the time it was a solidly union gig…and since I didn’t know anyone in town, the prospect of working my way up the ranks of the Culinary Union sounded too shitty to even bother with. I had always liked photography, so when an acquaintance suggested I try working for Cashman Photo (see that?? Now I can name names without fear of retribution….bwahahahahahaha!!!), I thought it might be fun.

Anyway, I have a *TON* of dirt to dish about my time with that company…but I’m saving it for my next blog, which will be allllll about it. For now, let me just say that it was a decent job back in the day…but ever since the advent of the iPhone, overpriced souvenir photo sales have been on a dramatic decline, and I wasn’t making much money anymore. Worse, the owner of the company started freaking out about it and meddling in our business, making life miserable.

I fantasized about quitting many times over the years, but with increasing frequency over the last 12 months. I had all these great ideas as to how I would actually do it — like, how to go out with a bang, and really twist the knife, etc. — but in the end, I kept it classy and just fired off a polite email, with a full two weeks’ notice given. My only regret is that I never got to stick it to that GOD-AWFUL FUCKING CELINE DION MANNEQUIN! Yes that’s right; now that I’m no longer hostage to those fuckers, I can call her by her real name. No more cutesy pseudonyms!!

I have worked the shows of many, many shitty entertainers over the years, but always discreetly referred to them by fake names. For those who have been reading/following me over the years, now I can finally reveal just exactly who these awful headliners were.

  • Sally Dingdong = Celine Dion (as much as I hate her shtick and her fans, Celine herself is a sickeningly nice person, and impossible to dislike on a personal level. But I still hate that fucking mannequin)
  • Sir E.J. = Elton John (his first show, The Red Piano, was excellent. But his current show, The Million Dollar Piano, is mediocre and frankly boring.)
  • Shennany Twang = Shania Twain
  • La Bête = Bette Midler (without question the WORST show I’ve ever had the misfortune of working. The crowd was MISERABLE, and the show itself was pretty lame)
  • 70s Dancehall Diva = Cher (her show and her crowd were actually OK…I have no beef with Cher. She’s fabulous!)
  • Redneck Ventriloquist = Jeff Dunham (thankfully he only plays a few times a year…but those few times were TERRIBLE)
  • ex-British Boy Band member = Matt Goss (also super-cool in person…but his crowd sucks and I don’t much care for his show, although his band is excellent and he’s not a bad entertainer himself)

I have also had the misfortune of working the following shows on and off, but don’t remember what fake names I used for them at the time:

  • David Copperfield (I worked his show for years, and that fucker never hit on me once)
  • Rick Springfield (in EFX back in the day at MGM…met him a few times and he was CHEAP AS FUCK, never tipping me ONCE for any of the photos his wife made me comp them)
  • Paul Anka (enough fucking said)
  • George Carlin (alas, I wasn’t there the night he lit into the audience, calling them out for being losers…I would have DIED laughing and toasted him with a magnum of champagne for his honesty)
  • Engelbert Humperdinck (a lot of gypsies came to see him, oddly)
  • Jerry Seinfeld (TIP: his show is EXACTLY THE SAME, every time he plays Caesars. He doesn’t change one word! Talk about phoning it in…..GET SOME NEW MATERIAL, JERRY!!!)
  • Stevie Nicks (her show and crowd were OK, I just didn’t make much money off them)

I also had the privilege of working a very few shows that were actually GOOD.

  • Tom Jones (fanTAStic entertainer)
  • Kylie Minogue (aMAZing show!! I wish she had an extended contract in Vegas! WAY better than Shania Twain!)
  • Chris Rock (hilarious, of course)
  • Rod Stewart (astonishingly great performer; I fully expected to hate him, but was won over by his genuine appeal)

Also, now I can finally mention the name of that douchebaggy steakhouse that made me take down my Yelp! review: Old Homestead, at Caesars Palace!! The executive chef over there read my harsh (but totally fair) review, then went all the way to the CEO of Caesars to try and get me fired. FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE! I WIN!!!!!  I ended up taking the review down at the  “request” of my bosses at Cashman (if I didn’t take it down, I bet they would have figured out a way to stick it to me)…but now that I no longer wear their yoke, I put it right back up: CHECK IT OUT!!

On a serious note, I will kinda miss going into Caesars Palace every night (or at least 3-4 times a week)…I basically grew up there, having worked there for around 10 years. I LOVE THAT PLACE! It will always be the #1 coolest hotel in Vegas, and believe me, I love every inch of every nasty-ass cockroach-infested hallway on the property. (I’m talking about the underground employee areas…no cockroaches in the classy above-ground guest areas, of course. But underground? Holy shit! You could put a saddle on those things and ride them!!)

The only other thing I’m sad about is the fact that I missed out on playing this amazing practical joke on the Celine mannequin. A friend gave me a remote-controlled fart device, which I had planned to stash under the mannequin’s dress…then hide behind a pillar and set it off when dumbass Frogs came to take pics with the stupid thing. Alas, Celine was on break the last few months, so I never had the chance to use it. But, here’s a link to a piece I wrote for City Life about it! 

So, anyhoo……I’M FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Trust me, I cannot WAIT to write all about the things I never could, as an employee…so look for that coming up soon on this blog! Meanwhile…I have other fabulous stuff to tell you about!

So, it was Christmastime, and since my Christmas last year was so shitty, I went balls-out this year. I put up lights and a tree and all that, and even baked fucking cookies (!!)…but aside from the traditional stuff, I also did some Wonderhussy-style XXXmas stuff. The ever-fabulous Michael Maze came over one night for a photo shoot, and during my pre-shoot brainstorming I came up with the idea for one of my most fabulous photos EVER! I was able to get most of the props at the dollar store across the street, but I needed a Santa suit. Whenever I need something, I turn to my Facebook friends — I have around 1600 wackos on there, among them doctors, lawyers, actors, musicians, strippers, prostitutes, transsexuals, transvestites, dominatrices, drug dealers and at least one bank robber. Someone always comes through!! Sure enough, within minutes I had arranged to borrow a Santa suit from one of my friends from the Strawberry Alarm Clock (here’s a link to their new video, incidentally) and I was good to go. Here’s the pic:

pic by Michael Maze

LOL!! I’m making damn sure I get what I want from Santa this year!!!

Special thanks to my long-suffering roommate, for standing in as Santa. All joking aside, I do have one of the coolest roommates of all time — he’s a chimney sweep, window cleaner, model and all-around beefcake; just a great guy all around!

Vixen, the naughty reindeerIn fact, my roommate and I were both supposed to be bodypainted together at the monthly Wonderground event — the fabulous Suzanne Lugano wanted to paint him as a Bad Santa and me as a naughty reindeer, but my roommate flaked so it was just me, shivering naked in the cold (Wonderground is held indoors at a Mediterranean restaurant, but the painting area is near the door, so I was freeeeeeezing). Still, it was totally worth it because she did a SUPER BAD ASS job! After she finished, I posed for pics with people from the show, including this pic with Kyle & Mistie Knight, this painfully adorable magician couple I know who were about to embark on a Disney cruise ship gig! In fact, those cute little fuckers are in the Bahamas as I write this!!!!! Must be nice! Now that I look at this pic, they’re like the Donny & Marie of magic — LOL!

Vegas Santa

Aaaaanyhoo, after that it was the usual round of holiday parties — friends, neighbors, family, etc. Our local neighborhood group had a party in the park down the street, and I took my dog down there to meet Santa, who happens to live two streets over from me (NOT the same Santa as in the above pic, LOL!). Forgive me if I look like hell in the pic, but I had *just* woken up after a long night partying at the nightclub where I work — and my damn phone died, so my alarm clock didn’t wake me until 2 minutes before the Santa party ended, so I basically had to throw on a wig and haul ass down the street without even having my morning coffee!!!

To make matters worse, I was supposed to go on a 1,000-mile road trip the next day, to visit my family up in Northern California…and of course, everything went wrong: I had a leak in my rear differential that had to be fixed, and my homeowner’s insurance agent refused to cover my house until I replaced 5 missing shingles that blew off the roof last week. ARRRGH!! Why does this shit always happen right before I’m supposed to leave town?!?!?! Not to worry though; I climbed up on the roof and replaced the shingles, then took my truck in for repairs at this awesome place called Dan’s Driveline, which fixed it fast and for super cheap. Yay! I was kinda concerned about the repair job, because they had a “Christian Business Directory” prominently displayed in the waiting room, and I have a Planned Parenthood sticker on my truck, plus a photo of my vagina on the passenger-side visor….but 1,000 miles later, I’m pleased to report that my truck is running fine, and I wholeheartedly endorse this business.

a visit from Hanukkah HarryAnyway, back to the parties. I partied hearty in California with my family, even going to various relatives’ houses to visit with my entire extended family!! It’s always weird seeing these people, since they are my Facebook friends and see all the sordid shit I post all year long. Also, come to find out, many of them read this blog (!!!), so I basically have no secrets from them. It’s always weird when your grandma greets you with “Hey you wonderhussy!” But it was great to see everyone, and everything was super cool. We even took a walk after Christmas Eve dinner to visit the area where my poor dad committed suicide by walking in front of a train in 2011, which happened to be right down the road. Awww! Then my immediate family holed up at my mom’s cabin in the woods for some real partying. My Israeli brother-in-law dressed up as Hanukkah Harry,  bringing lame practical gifts for everyone: long johns for my mom, sugar-free candy for my sugar-addict brother, a pregnancy test kit for me (!!?). Goooood times!

The EmpressThen it was back to Vegas for yet more partying. When you party professionally, one night is pretty much the same as any other — New Year’s, Thursday, whatever. The only difference I noticed at the nightclub where I work was that it took 10 times as long to get there, because of all the miserable traffic. Otherwise, it was just another night — dancing, partying, swilling champagne! Although I did get a fabulous gift from this amazing woman who comes into the club Duck Lips!!!regularly — the Royal Empress, Miss Tarah Lee. The Empress is basically a local party girl/model/milliner (she makes mini top hats) who kinda looks like a thin Marilyn Monroe, and she always rolls into the club late at night in some fabulous, glamorous ensemble involving an evening gown, fox stole and long cigarette holder. And you never see her without a glass of champagne in her hand! She is indescribably fabulous, and she loooves the nightclub where I work. So much so, that she made beautiful gifts for many of the dancers and performers there, myself included! She brought them into the club one night, all wrapped up in boxes, and it was so exciting: I got a fabulous pink fascinator for the ginormous pink wig I wear there, and she also made me this amazing white satin corset, with pink laces and a huge frothy pink bustle on the back!!! It’s incredible! I’m just afraid to wear it at work, since it’ll get drooled on by the drunken dickwads who are always grinding on my ass. So I’m saving it for a photo shoot — which I must do at once!

NOW!! Speaking of parties…I totally saved the best for last. I got a call the other day from an ex-Mormon friend (and when I say “ex-Mormon,” I don’t just mean “jack Mormon” — this guy was excommunicated from the church, and even had his degree from BYU revoked, because he published a calendar featuring shirtless Mormon missionaries that became quite successful). Anyway, he has another friend who grew up as part of a polygamist family in Arizona (you know, those wacky FLDS guys who have 12 wives and live on a compound in the desert), and this friend had invited all of us to this extravagant polygamist bash at a mansion up in Seven Hills (a ritzy golf-course community, incidentally right near where I used to shoot my breath-holding/medical fetish videos).

I couldn’t believe my luck — apparently, this friend of my friend’s is a pretty cool guy with a good sense of humor about his upbringing, and he totally didn’t mind a bunch of random looky-lous showing up at his party. I was told it was a swanky affair, so I totally overdressed, taking a page from The Empress’s book by wearing an evening gown and a fox stole (I didn’t want to offend anyone by wearing a short skirt…and all my other party dresses were pretty slutty). My friends and I rolled in around 8 — you had to take a shuttle there, as it was in an exclusive gated community — but when we walked through the grand entryway…what a freaky scene!!!!!!!

CENSORED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENTFirst of all, I’ve been invited to some “mansion” parties in my day that turned out to just be really big houses. Not so here! This was a true mansion, set on a hillside with huge panoramic views of the Vegas Strip. And the place was chock full of Mormons, eating and and dancing and partying and drinking!!! Apparently, the homeowner/party host is a man of great wealth. Aside from 15 wives, he also has a desert compound (where they live — this mansion is just for occasional parties!!!!), a Learjet… and his own vineyard, so we drank quite a bit of his own wine. It was fabulous!

The best part was the puzzling anomaly of seeing all the demurely-clad sister-wives sitting around in their long skirts and pouffy updos…guzzling wine. Weird! I’ve never seen so many wine glasses in one place…it was crazy. Everyone was drinking! True Mormons don’t drink — not even coffee, for chrissakes — but then I guess true Mormons don’t really practice polygamy, either. I guess when you’re fabulously wealthy, you make your own rules! So everyone had a wine glass, but then there was this one beautiful young chick who had an extra-ginormous novelty glass of wine — like, it must have held an entire magnum! I guess the host singled her out for it, so maybe it’s like this weird tradition where he marks his next wife by giving her the big glass.

Aside from the free-flowing wine, relentlessly wholesome-looking men, women and children milled about bearing giant plates of lamb and beef, and the party host himself greeted everyone with boisterous enthusiasm. I had a glass of champagne on the fabulous deck overlooking Vegas before heading downstairs to the rec room/wine cellar. On the way down, I noted the host’s fabulous collection of nude art — paintings and photographs reminiscent of my own oeuvre, ranging from classy sepia-toned naked-cowgirl-in-a-rusty-washtub-in-a-barn prints to glossy color renderings of nude blondes on red Corvettes. Fabulous!!!!!

MARIACHIS!! Chick with giant wine glass in the middle!!After a few glasses of fantastic wine from the cellar, the mariachis arrived! Yes, a full mariachi band showed up and played all my favorites, from “El Rancho Grande” to “Cielito Lindo.” The friend who had invited us kept trying to get me to dance with him, but as mentioned many a time, I am a terrible dancer, so I preferred to stand and wiggle in place, sloshing my wine merrily. But then the mariachis left, and the host put on his favorite music — Lady GaGa! All bets were off, as I could not resist dancing to that!! Aside from GaGa, the mix included all the lame-ass current-day party hits — but no matter how much one despises the Black Eyed Peas’s “I Got a Feeling,” it is fantastic when you hear it at a polygamist party!! EVERYONE danced — men, women, kids, sister-wives, Looky-Lous — IT. WAS. AMAZING!

After the dancing wound down, everyone gathered around the grand piano for a good old-fashioned sing-along. A prim, matronly (yet wine-guzzling) woman played the music, and the host handed out binders of sheet music so we could all sing along. I figured it would be all hymns and shit, but to my astonishment it was all bizarre, old-timey cowboy trail music and whatnot! We did “The Timber Trail,” “Edelweiss,” plus a bunch of old-timey shit I’d never heard of, but sang drunkenly along with anyway. SO. MUCH. FUN!!!!!!!

I swear, I’ve been to a lot of parties in my day, but this was far and away the best. As mentioned, this mansion is used exclusively as a party house, so I hope to be invited next time they throw a bash! Apparently, the host’s birthday is coming up next week, and another big soiree is on the books already. So, who knows?! I think the host took a special shine to one of the other chicks who came with us (although not to the point where he gave her the giant wine glass), so hopefully she hooks it up and I’ll be partying on a hillside with a bunch of drunken sister-wives again very soon!!! LOOK OUT!!!!!

John Rush

After quitting your job, I’d have expected dozens of congratulatory comments and wishes of good luck moving forward. You seemed to have done well enough since becoming independent; may your successes continue.

After searching your Yelp link for several pages, I found that your restaurant review was removed for violating their terms of service, or some such. So here’s a link to what you wrote about it:

Too many reviewers gave it 5 stars, which makes me wonder if they give different people different treatment, if your service depends on your waiter, if this was their first visit to a steakhouse, if someone else paid, or what. I probably got a better meal during the early 1980’s when I lived in Dallas, and occasionally joined some people I worked with for lunch at a local steak house that had, for appetizers, peanuts in large bowls on the picnic tables (you threw the shells on the floors), and if you wanted beer, you grabbed a plastic mug when you walked in and brought it to one of the several kegs placed strategically throughout the Texas-sized seating area, which added only $1 to your tab no matter how many times you refilled it. If some guy was pretentious enough to enter the restaurant wearing a necktie, one of the employees would cut it off after he sat down. You could pay more and eat better steaks at other restaurants, but after a few beers, who cares?

Generally, your nicknames for the headliners were easy enough to figure out. I’ve only seen 2 of them, both in the 1970’s before I left Michigan: George Carlin and Rod Stewart. I drove to Cleveland when Stewart headlined some “World Series of Rock” show at the baseball stadium, and enjoyed his up-tempo rock tunes at the start of his show. But about halfway through his set, he brought out an orchestra and started singing some schmaltzy songs, so I left. The other bands, in reverse order, were Uriah Heep (they’d break up within the next year, but had a decent repertoire by then), Aerosmith (my favorite; this was after they released Toys in the Attic), Blue Oyster Cult (I knew little about them, but was impressed by their show) and Mahogany Rush (mostly a Hendrix cover band).

George was still a longhair then, and one of his routines was about “Snot: the original rubber cement”. When he asked what to do with snot after you picked your nose, the conversation with hecklers went something like,

“Eat it!”
“No, you don’t want to do that.”
“Up your ass!”
“That guy wants to write my next album.”

The City Life link goes elsewhere; the Strawberry Alarm Clock video was likewise unavailable. After these fails, I decided against trying any of the other links. Maybe you can let us know which ones still work.

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