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Monday, January 10, 2005

Viva! 

Life Lessons from Las Vegas:

1) If you're flying into Vegas from anywhere west of the Mississippi, and you notice gaggles of women who are rather elaborately made-up for a flight, guess what: they're strippers. These people are very friendly for a living, so you need to keep your distance. Once they smile and make eye contact, the meter is running.

2) Never put money on Auburn. Ever. Or OU, for that matter. (You know the spread on that game was 1.5 fucking points? All I can say is Fuck You, Jason White.)

3) Perhaps the coolest bar I've ever been in (and I've seen my share, in a lot of cities) is Teatro, in, of all places, the MGM Grand. Place wasn't all that busy, because it gets pretty serious competition from another bar in the very same hotel.

4) And that would be Studio 54. Which was lame. Folks, there isn't a club in the world worth a 45 minute wait. Not a one. Let me tell you what happens in every club in fucking existence: There's people dancing, right, and there's people posturing at the bar, and there's people posturing outside the door, and the drinks cost (at least) $10 apiece, and the cover will bend you over and rape you without so much as saying hello first. Going to a place like Studio 54 is more about saying you've been there afterwards than the actual in-the-moment experience.

Ah, yeah. And there's probably people doing coke in the bathroom. OooOOoooOOh. How chic.

5) If you ever wanted to lose money at just under the speed of light, play roulette.

6) It's actually hard to do badly in blackjack. Or it could be I'm a dormant prodigy. Must investigate further.

7) Never make a point to do slot machines. Spare change only, in passing. That being said, I made a fucking killing on dollar slots.

8) You've never felt so small as you will eating in a restaurant with TEN FREAKING PICASSOS hanging on the walls.

9) Never, I repeat, NEVER watch Team America: World Police when you're falling-down drunk and have been awake for something like 28 hours. It's just a bad idea. I have no idea if the movie's any GOOD or anything, it's just that the puppets are quite realistic without being real, and it just.. it does things to your head. You have a hard time accepting what you're seeing into any kind of useful reality. Just don't do it. Really.

10) Pepsi apparently owns half of Vegas. This makes a Jack & Coke a risky proposition, at best. You have been warned.

11) It's a city of landmarks. ("How do I get to the MGM Grand?" "Take the tram past the Luxor to Excalibur, take the bridge to New York New York, walk through that, and that'll take you into the Grand.") The Strip is the American Headquarters of High Concept. Every hotel is a one-sentence concept, executed on limitless budgets and wild imagination.

I took some reading with me when I went. (Which was dumb. Only reading I got done was on the flight back.) Specifically Proof of Concept. In light of the book's.. ah.. concept, the setting I was to read it in seemed appropriate.

Y'all know the deal, more than likely. A series of high concept scripts by Larry Young, some short, some a bit longer, as a test of mettle for artists and as an instruction on how to sell a story. I've talked with Larry at length, and the man is the king of the High Concept. He's the kind of guy that can zing off five compelling story ideas at the drop of a hat.

Or six, in this case. You have your dinosaur zombies. You have your time travelling cops chasing their insane captain through history in order to undo his wrongs. You have your invisible actress who takes the rollercoaster ride through the Hollywood fame machine.

And it's all pretty damn good. It's all entertaining. Some concepts beg for greater exploration (the time travellers), some pretty much can't carry more than 5 pages (zombie dinosaurs), but what's provided in Proof of Concept is an example of the Wild-Ass Ideas that it seems only comics are capable of exploring these days. What I see here is a call to arms. What I see here is a lot of Wild-Ass Ideas on display. What I see is a bunch of very talented artists. What I see is fucking entertaining.

More tomorrow. I'm working on the Garth Ennis Drinking Game.

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