…ends up on the blog, of course.
saturday: when in vegas
The last time I was in Las Vegas, B and I hung out with an old friend of hers who lived there. “Ooh, show us what the locals do!” I said, envisioning Bohemian coffee shops and funky dive bars. But that wasn’t really B’s friend’s scene—he worked for a company that distributed monogramable tchotchkes (duffle bags, ashtrays, etc.) to casinos. And so we found ourselves in a local casino. It was just like the rest of Vegas, but with less neon, cheaper games and more Gamblers Anonymous dropouts.
It was an interesting night in its own way, but I was glad that AK’s and my Local of Choice for this trip was Mike—who, besides probably being the sincerest and the raunchiest person I know, also happens to edit Vegas’ alt weekly, CityLife, and proceeded to get us into various $20 clubs for free. Right and left. He owned this town. He was a young, brown-eyed Sinatra with a shaved head.
sunday: when in paris hilton’s life
One night in college, a bunch of us were studying at Jerry’s Deli in Westwood and, because it was late and we were all hopped up on knishes, we started predicting how we’d all be famous one day, like one of those famous groups of friends. Because we were all essentially majoring in pop culture, the famous group of friends that came to mind immediately was the one that included Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser and Bill Maher. At the time, Bill Maher was the least famous among them, and I sorrowfully predicted that I would be the Bill Maher among us.
Flash forward eight years and, while none of us are Seinfeld- famous, Mike and Stephanie are at the very least Paul Reiser-famous, but in an up-and-coming way, not a canceled-sitcom way. While Mike is Mr. Perk, Steph is Ms. Voiceover. We met up with her Sunday afternoon at an anime convention. She ushered us to the green room where we shot each other with suction-cup dart guns while Steph waited for her next panel. Meaning the next panel she was on—one attended by her fans.
It was an “after-hours” panel (although I’m pretty sure that, even outside of Vegas, 7 p.m. does not constitute “after-hours”), meaning people over the age of 18 got to ask their favorite voice actors about sex, booze and industry gossip. It’s a little weird hearing strangers in cat ears ask your best friend whether she prefers penis or vagina. I will add, at this point, that maybe Stephanie is the raunchiest person I know.
Not to stereotype or anything, but at the anime convention, despite clearly being the Bill Maher, I felt kinda cool. Kinda together. Like a girl who knew about hair products and movies with live actors in them. But pride goeth before the trip to Jet, another outrageously priced club, this one at the Mirage and populated by straight people. Suddenly, I felt like I’d fallen asleep and woken up in Paris Hilton’s life. I was still wearing my pajamas (also known as what dykes go out in: wifebeater, cargo pants and sneakers), and all the other girls (except AK, thank god) were wearing push-up bras, tiny tweed shorts and high, high heels. I hadn’t even known that shorts-and-heels was a look anyone actually wore.
“They all look really uncomfortable,” AK observed. But while I probably looked way comfortable in my semi-jammies, I was worried that I was about to be on the unfortunate end of one of those movie scenes where the bouncer picks girls out of the line at a club, and doesn’t pick other girls. But we were With Mike, so we got in, in the same way that if Paris Hilton had a cousin with a harelip, that cousin would get into clubs too.
We looked around at the go-go poles and the squares of multi-colored lights on the ceiling like a reverse disco floor. “This is how I imagined clubs when I was a kid,” AK said. “It’s sort of the standard, you know?”
Mike said that this particular house-spinning DJ was probably the best in town, and this was probably the best party of the night. And despite the very Sunset Strip-esque crowd and my cramps that Advil would not quite shake, I started to get into it. Not because it was the best, and certainly not because I felt like the best being there, but because good music makes for good dancing. AK was shiny and happy after drinking a Red Bull and vodka (after not having caffeine for a month, no less), and her glee was contagious. Mike went crazy when the DJ introduced some Depeche Mode into the mix, and his glee was contagious too.
But not so contagious that I could stay awake for the after-hours party. It was truly after-hours now—after 3 a.m.—and I was ready for bed.
monday: when on root beer
AK plays it cool—one of those relaxed-and-spontaneous types—but it turns out she’s secretly a planner, or at least a reader of stuff online, who plots out awesome mini trips to places like Red Rock Canyon, to do things like ride horses at sunset.
My horse was named Root Beer, and his main claim to fame was his fondness for snacking and his flatulence. It wasn’t so bad being on him, but I felt for Beauty and her rider behind us. AK rode Coal, a big-bellied black horse who did not like to be hurried.
Even though AK had to kick her heels into Coal’s sides almost constantly to get him to move, and I half-panicked when Root Beer followed a horse named Chocolate off the trail, we both agreed later that there were moments when we wondered if we were secretly gifted riders.
“I sort of felt like, if we didn’t have to stay in line, I could really test my skills. Like Root Beer could gallop and I could totally hang on,” I admitted.
“Yeah,” said AK, “Coal and I didn’t really hit it off, but still, during the 30 seconds when I wasn’t kicking him, I thought, ‘Wow, maybe I really have a way with horses.’”
tuesday: when lounging
Neither AK nor I have a functioning DVD player right now, and I don’t even have a TV, so we were pretty excited when Mike provided an all-access pass to his DVD collection while he was at work. Forget Jet—he’s got an advance copy of Quinceañera!
(Which is a really good movie about gentrification in LA, made by real live gay gentrifiers and told mostly from the POV of the Latino immigrant gentrified. If you’ve ever used the phrase “the most rockin’ tamales in Echo Park,” you should see this movie.)
We finished the day by the pool, where AK perfected her handstand and I captured it all on film. It was one of those vacations I really don’t take enough of, where I actually rest my chronically tired American soul.