Sorry about yesterday - I was editing and posting on the road, refreshing, correcting, and finally I said "I have to wake up at 5:40 AM. Enough." But I'd written much in advance. Ready? I'll have to hold my fire on most of the details of the trip, since I'm here on work. The boss said "send Lileks to Vegas for the Travel section" and, so dispatched, I went.


The Aria. Good Lord.

There's a Starbucks in the mall, because of course there is, because of course there's a mall. It's a gorgeous property, and like a lot of these places in America, the elegant spaces are filled with louche sorts loping around staring at their glowing rectangles. It's not a cheap hotel. It's not bust-the-bank expensive, either. Contemporary, meaning it owes nothing to any time except the one it tries to create; it has that timeless array of patterns and colors that intended to connote Class, but not in the garish gilded Trump sense. Since all these places are theater sets, you have to wonder what plot is intended here, what characters are bidden to strut and speak. At the Venetian, it's a simulacrum of faded elegance; at the Parisian, the Belle Epoque of power and grace; at Caesars, well, over-the-top Roman kitsch. At New York New York, it's Romantic Grittiness, I guess. What place flatters your sense of yourself, once the belt is loosened a notch and the second round of drinks is done?

f you're a cosmopolitan sort involved in an industry built around typing and numbers and ones and zeroes flying around the ether; this flatters you. It's the New Economy shaped into glass and steel, a playground for the connected. Put it this way: it doesn't smell like cigarettes, which is something. I remember the other places we stayed - once for the Crazy Uke's birthday party, once for our weekend getaway years ago - and the hall smelled of smoke. The public rooms were fogged with blue haze.

The couple on the plane coming down to Vegas were staying at one of the Cigarette Hotels; they were from Wisconsin. They brought nothing to read on the flight, and the husband sat staring straight ahead until his wife gave him her Sudoku book. Nice people, but when I mentioned the Aria they said they'd heard it was nice but they always stay at the MGM. They have cards or rewards or something. (Aria is part of MGM, so.) Let's put it this way: the Aria is the sort of place that looks like it has a dress code. The Cigarette Hotels have a promise of sorts: at no point will any large bald man in a nice suit step forward with an outstretched hand because you have to wear a jacket. I'm sure it's the same at the Aria, but the impression is upscale, even though the clientele does its best to suggest otherwise.

It's all relative. I paid less for this room than I paid for that dim small room in San Jose. The place with cheap thin towels. This one has towels thicker than the Sunday Times.

Well, I've nothing on the schedule but walk around tonight and soak up the atmosphere. Have to spend some time figuring out the lights and the shades; there are controls in the TV, controlled by a balky remote that stutters and overshoots. The first time I tried to turn off the lights I hit some Room Mood profile that shut everything off and closed the drapes, and I'm sitting in the dark peering at the remote trying to figure out which button to hit to get the lights back on.

More next week on the Artistic Side - meaning, pinball and neon. I'll leave you with this. My hotel:



Eight blocks from that very site:



As I've said this week: We'll put the Little Things cues aside for a while. As I mentioned on Monday, this is Lum & Abner month. Why? I've no idea. It's not something everyone likes. It's something most people forgot. But there's a lesson in the music cues.

Last week we had the theme, which seemed to change every week. I should say the secondary theme - on some shows, after the theme and the sponsor's message, they'd play some a different tune, and it changed every week. It was usually original, too. Lots of work.

This week let's take a listen to the opening. This cracks me up, and you'll see why.


On the air . . .


Let's try that again, with a different note at the end . . . .


for Frigidaire . . .


Now, proof that they only did one take.





Lum & Abner's 1935 Sponsor: Horlicks! Let's have MORE HORLICKS!



It's just malted milk, for heavens sake


Two minutes with the Conklins family. That's an interesting story! Really!


This week's Bob & Ray sketch: the meandering parody of "One Man's Family." Speed's a bit off.



One Fella's Family, again



"That's not what he means."





Sounds a bit archaic for the time; wouldn't be out of place in the 40s.

"This Love of Mine" was, in fact, a 1941 song recorded by Tommy Dorsey, vocals by Frankie. Not something the kids of '61 would have dug, I think.

That's Ray on the trumpet.




I do believe that's enough. See you around!


blog comments powered by Disqus