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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki JOHN-O's Las Vegas (& Honolulu pg 8) Thread
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JOHN-O's Las Vegas (& Honolulu pg 8) Thread
TabooDan
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Joined: Jul 18, 2004
Posts: 641
From: BC, Canada
Posted: 2009-03-24 7:55 pm   Permalink

Hey JOHN-O, Thanks for the awesome post!! Just went through it from the beginning and you gave lot's of details. Easy to follow and just enough info. to make you do your own research on the specific places you talk about.

Great job and perfect for me as we will be down for Viva and will squeeze some of these places in. Some, for sure, I wouldn't have checked out if it wasn't for your post. Thanks again!
Atomic Liquor...are you kiddin me?? We will be there, up on the roof, waiting for the next bomb!!

Mahalo, TabooDan


 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-05-02 10:33 am   Permalink

More Las Vegas fun from Lissa Townsend Rodgers.

http://lasvegascitylife.com/articles/2009/05/01/eat_and_drink/crawl/iq_28398729.txt

This time the topic is noir and Las Vegas, two of my favorite subjects. I'm not sure about the "Hard Hat Lounge" though since it's located smack dab in the Naked City, one of Vegas's sketchiest neighborhoods. You might want to proceed with caution on that one.

Actually I just got back from Vegas last weekend. Here's my trip report.

1. Had drinks at Atomic Liquors and Dino's Lounge. Did not make it to Frankie's this time out. Sorry, neo-tiki takes a back seat to historic dive bars for me.

2. Rolled 6 consecutive points at the craps table at the Palms !! Later a drunken club kid in a tight black dress threw up strawberry margarita (from what I could tell) in front of me in the cab line.

3. Saw a fight break out in the middle of Binion's casino. What happens when a drunken white trash vagrant uses a racial expletive towards a corn-rowed low pants hanging gang-banger type person? I'll tell you - the fists start flying. Security sure took their sweet time to break it up.

4. Missed the Danny Gans show again. Now I'll never have that chance. I made the same mistake when I kept putting off seeing Don Ho in all my countless trips to Oahu.





[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2009-05-04 16:56 ]


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FrankieGillette
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Joined: Mar 26, 2008
Posts: 25
From: Marina Del Rey
Posted: 2009-05-02 12:48 pm   Permalink

Vegas for the most part hasn't been cool in years. Once the strip became this grotesque urbanized mall full of steroid sized Euro trash casino-hotel towers,
the strip was done. All the cool places started disappearing,the land was bought up by lowlifes like Wynn & other corporations. Quickly beauties like the La Concha, The Sands, Desert Inn (was there every a more beautiful hotel in Vegas? doubtful) were destroyed. Luckily a scene is starting to develop downtown, meanwhile the M Resort is the best looking new hotel in Vegas since the Desert Inn went away. The real creativity will be way off the strip in the future, as someone will finally decide to build hotel casinos which compliment the desert environment again, instead of these faux Disney like designs built for mass market mooches.


 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-05-04 4:54 pm   Permalink

The Las Vegas Zombie Squad....

http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/blogs/nocturnal-admissions/2009/may/03/re-animated-corpses-invade-vegas-pub-good-cause/

I think they took over the wrong bar. Zombies should drink Zombies. And we all know the best place for that.


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ThreeTikis
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 24, 2006
Posts: 62
From: Las Vegas, Nv
Posted: 2009-05-04 6:11 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-05-02 12:48, FrankieGillette wrote:
Vegas for the most part hasn't been cool in years. Once the strip became this grotesque urbanized mall full of steroid sized Euro trash casino-hotel towers,
the strip was done. All the cool places started disappearing,the land was bought up by lowlifes like Wynn & other corporations. Quickly beauties like the La Concha, The Sands, Desert Inn (was there every a more beautiful hotel in Vegas? doubtful) were destroyed. Luckily a scene is starting to develop downtown, meanwhile the M Resort is the best looking new hotel in Vegas since the Desert Inn went away. The real creativity will be way off the strip in the future, as someone will finally decide to build hotel casinos which compliment the desert environment again, instead of these faux Disney like designs built for mass market mooches.




Hey Frankie G, when I first read your post I was Pi$$ed, (I always get angry when someone bashes L.V.) but after I thought about it for awhile, I had to admit you do have some valid points. Sure, Vegas may not be as cool as it used to be there is still a lot of fun here to be had. And as for those old places you mentioned (D.I. La Concha, Sands), if you every visited them in the later years you would see in what sad shape they were in. Depressing. Something had to be done. I'm not sure what replaced them is appropriate but Vegas has to evolve to survive and of course not everyone will like the outcome. The M Resort is a great new addition.

Anyway, there is still a lot of fun stuff to do and see here and John-O has some really great tips. Although I miss the old Las Vegas, I do think there is plenty of coolness here, but it's a little different than it used to be.
I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.


 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-05-07 8:16 pm   Permalink

Las Vegas through the decades - COOL or UNCOOL ?

1945-1950's - Pictures of the first strip resorts (Flamingo, Desert Inn, Sands, etc) display hip architecture very much in harmony with the desert setting. Think Palm Springs, Miami, or Havana Modern. Very cool. Also the nightclub buzz of L.A.'s Sunset Strip migrates here. Very cool. Lounge acts like Louis Prima and Keely Smith are free for the price of a cocktail. Very cool. During this time however, Las Vegas is the "Mississippi of the West" where Jim Crow is in effect. Very uncool. Overall rating for the first decade and a half - COOL (Unless you happened to be Lena Horne or Nat King Cole. They are not allowed to sleep in the hotels they perform in.)

1960's - Las Vegas hits it's peak of cool between 1960-1965 with the Rat Pack performing and hanging out at the Sands Hotel. Also during this time, the Aku Aku opens at the Stardust hotel (Tiki + Mondo Atomic = Very cool). The latter part of the decade however gives rise to the counter-culture. If you're under 30, Jimi, Janis, and Jim are cool. Frankie, Dino, and Sammy are not. Overall decade rating - COOL, but this is the beginning of the slide.

1970's - Las Vegas becomes the place where "old people" and "the Man" go for vacation. Also the corporations take over from organized crime. The gangsters understood cool but the MBA's and accountants do not. The bean counters cut back to increase the bottom line on everything which takes a toll on customer service and employee morale. Overall decade rating - UNCOOL.

1980's - The bad from the 1970's just gets worse. Las Vegas is in a major rut. Overall decade rating - UNCOOL.

1990's - The birth of the "New Las Vegas" is jump started by Steve Wynn's Mirage, the first major resort in over 15 years. Lot's of new Disney-style resorts come on-line during this period. Also the decade of "Vegas is for Families". What a stupid idea. Circus Circus is already the perfect place for parents to abandon their kids while they gamble away their college educations. Also Las Vegas becomes the new Detroit where service-industry workers can live the middle-class dream. Overall decade rating - UNCOOL (but still impressive for how much the city and economy grow.)

2000's - Some of the sin comes back to Sin City with "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas". The nightclub boom makes Las Vegas a hot destination among the club kids and urban hipsters. OK, so all the young girls dress more like hookers and the guys all wear the same uniform of untucked striped long-sleeve shirt, over-priced designer jeans, and black leather shoes but at least it's better than wife-beaters, cargo shorts, tennis shoes, and mullets. Go to a place like the Palms, Hard Rock, or Mandalay Bay on a weekend night and you'll feel a young energetic buzz which didn't exist 15 years ago. Yeah I know a lot of the club guys act like privileged douche bags but they're probably just channeling Frankie who was an obnoxious bully when not performing in the Copa Room. Also all of the new resorts are focusing on modern elegance and luxury instead of the kitschy themes of the previous decade (although I'm not sure if this is cool or just boring.) One thing's for sure, there's lots of new upscale restaurants serving a variety of cuisine. Las Vegas becomes a Foodie destination (albeit an unoriginal one). Another interesting development is what's happening on East Fremont in downtown. It's still in its infancy and I hope it survives the economic downturn. Also with Frankie's Tiki Room and places like this opening -
http://www.elcortezcabanasuites.com, the future looks bright for some old-school Vegas fun.

Overall decade rating - COOL.




[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2009-05-08 07:43 ]


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Beach Bum Scott
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Joined: Oct 28, 2008
Posts: 307
From: The Ranch in CO
Posted: 2009-05-07 10:00 pm   Permalink

While stayin at Binion's on Freemont last week I wandered down to check out the sweet Old School Neon Museum down at the East Freemont end


and stumbled on an old school style, new, Dark Bar the "Griffin". It was nice inside with low lights and dark paneling, cush seating with fireplaces friendly bar staff plus PBR on tap.


Plus alittle Tiki style at a place called Mickie Finn's on the east end.










[ This Message was edited by: Beach Bum Scott 2009-05-07 22:09 ]


 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-05-09 1:06 pm   Permalink

Nice pictures, Beach Bum Scott !! I'm glad you were able to make it past the canopy and explore Fremont East. The revival of this area is in a delicate state due to the down economy. It's up to people like TCers who appreciate mid-century and off-beat aesthetic to support the effort.

Cool that you stayed at Binion's. TLC Enterprises (who also owns the Four Queens) is really bringing this classic place back from the low-point when Harrah's had ownership. 10x craps and 3:2 blackjack are great reasons to gamble there. (Although I do wish they'd bring back the 100x).

That reminds me, although this last decade was a cool period for Las Vegas, there's one recent event which is not cool. That's 6:5 blackjack. This seems to be the norm now for the Strip and another reason to stay and play in Downtown. Besides, Downtown is the most convenient place to be when you're going to visit Frankie's.



 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-05-29 9:59 pm   Permalink

So cool, it must be shared....

http://classiclasvegas.squarespace.com/classic-las-vegas-blog/2009/5/28/classic-las-vegas-neon-memories.html

http://classiclasvegas.squarespace.com/classic-las-vegas-blog/2009/5/27/classic-las-vegas-downtown-memories.html

Even though it has nothing to do with Tiki.


[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2009-06-01 22:46 ]


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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-06-06 2:01 pm   Permalink

More mid-century Las Vegas fun to go with your Frankie's Tiki drink.

Ever admire those motels with the cool vintage neon signs along the North Strip or East Fremont? (See my previous post.) I always have but figured the accommodations were sketchy if not outright dangerous. Heck, the Ambassador Motel on East Fremont (across from Atomic Liquors) became such a haven for drug dealing LA gang bangers that the city razed it.

One place that always caught my eye was the Tod Motor Motel (1962) right next door to Dino's Lounge (1960). Doing some research into the place, I've learned it was purchased by new owners a few years ago. They've kicked out the drug dealers, renovated the rooms, and allocated part of the property as a youth hostel.

So for any of you Tiki backpackers or budget conscious travelers looking for a groovy place convenient to Frankie's (originally 1964), you might want to check it out. The Tod is not safe walking distance to Frankie's, but it is walking distance to the 24-hour diner at White Cross Drugs (1964) and stumbling distance to Dino's.

1960-1964 was a interesting pop culture period in America with the Rat Pack, Camelot (JFK era), and the peak of Tiki. The Tod is another fine time machine to relive those days old-school style. (Me, I need a craps table so you'll still find me at the El Cortez.)



http://www.todlasvegas.com

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2007/mar/30/new-life-for-tod

http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/2008/may/22/hostel-environment




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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-06-07 07:54 am   Permalink

Even more mid-century neon fun in Las Vegas......

http://www.oldschoolla.com/vegas_neon__nighttime.htm

Here's my personal favorite:







[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2009-06-07 15:30 ]


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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-06-13 12:45 am   Permalink

The new owners of the Tropicana Hotel & Casino have announced plans to bring the former "Tiffany of the Strip" back to its original glory.

http://www.lvrj.com/business/46897947.html

Built in 1957, the Trop was was styled on Havana Modern rather than the desert themes of the other major Strip properties. Its tulip-shaped fountain was a major south Strip landmark for over 20 years.



In later decades a tiki presence was added as two 35-foot Aku Aku gods were erected as part of the Trop's new tropical island theme. Also a large tiki mask, Kalanui the God of Money, was situated near the casino entrance. People would stop to touch the mask in hopes of having good luck. (Does anyone have any images to share ?)

None of this stuff exists anymore but here's some clips of the Spook Hunters in search of tiki ghosts there.

http://www.spookhunters.com/spookhunt/vegas/Tropicana/Videos/Tropicana1.htm

http://www.spookhunters.com/spookhunt/vegas/Tropicana/Videos/tikigirl.htm

The new owners plan to do the remodel with a South Beach Miami theme. Here's hoping they add some tikis to the mix again. I also hope they retain and refurbish the low-rise Garden Wing rooms from the original 1957 construction.

Long live the old-school !!



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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-06-22 5:46 pm   Permalink

Based on my recent find of the "Tiki Archeology" DVD at Burbank's 8-Ball, I decided to make the drive out to Soap Plant in East Hollywood to see if any new Tiki/Mid-Century/Pop Culture books were out. If you're ever in the vicinity of Tiki-Ti, check this place out, it's in walking distance. It's like a Wal-Mart of pop culture and contains an art gallery showcasing the work of "low brow" artists (Shag, Coop, Mark Ryden, etc.) They have lots of tiki-related stuff. http://www.soapplant.com

Now usually I plan a visit to Tiki-Ti when making the drive out to the Eastside from SaMo, but this time I ventured further on Sunset towards Echo Park. (Actually "Eastside" is really east of the LA River which this is not, but that's the popular term these days). I first wanted to pay a visit to a bar steeped in Los Angeles neo-noir history, the Short Stop.

The Short Stop was a long-time hangout for the LAPD Rampart Division, but the police corruption scandals of the late 1990's made the place off limits. For those of you not familiar with the "Rampart Scandal", this is where officers of Rampart's CRASH (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) anti-gang unit were implicated in crimes like planting evidence, false arrests, stealing and dealing drugs, bank robbery, and carrying out hits for local gangs. If this sounds like the TV show "The Shield", that series was based on these events.

The Short Stop was purchased in the early 2000's by the lead singer of some popular alternative rock band (that I'm not familiar with). The Short Stop with its black bunker appearance still contains the wood gun lockers of the LAPD era, but is now a trendy watering hole for "hipsters" rapidly gentrifying this barrio area. Why should tiki fans care about this? Because with the Short Stop and all the other hipster bars of Silver Lake and Echo Park to drink at, that's hopefully less people waiting in line at Tiki-Ti. Also I'm thinking about doing a new post - "JOHN-O's Guide to the Eastside when Visiting Tiki-Ti".

Already buzzed from several G&T's at the Short Stop, I decided to bypass Tiki-Ti and go straight to Soap Plant. Checking out their tiki section, I saw nothing I haven't already seen before. The thing I did notice was what was missing. When was the last time you saw the "Book of Tiki" at any bookstore? With the neo-Tiki movement really picking up steam, this indispensable bible is now out of print. Afterward, I checked Amazon, and saw that "like new" copies are being sold by 3rd-parties for $170 each !! Anyone want to sell theirs ??

I did find one really cool book that was recently published (and the reason for posting on this thread). "Mid-Century Vegas, 1930s-1960s". This books presents a visual chronology of the original Las Vegas hotels & casinos using postcards from the era. Yes, I did a quick scan to see if I could find any pictures of the Aku Aku or Don the Beachcomber. Sadly no vintage tiki was to be found. Still a fun book showing a mid-century style that for the most no longer exists (just like tiki).



Afterward I had a chicken Mole burrito at Yuca's (2nd location) just down the street on Hollywood Blvd (east of Vermont).

Mmmm....



[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2009-06-22 21:54 ]


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mrsmiley
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3174
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2009-06-23 10:59 pm   Permalink

Good stuff, John-o. I recommend you place the LA stuff in a new LA thread! I love city (or area) related travel (bar, restaurant) recommendations.ZAZZ!
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-06-24 9:55 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-06-23 22:59, mrsmiley wrote:
Good stuff, John-o. I recommend you place the LA stuff in a new LA thread! I love city (or area) related travel (bar, restaurant) recommendations.ZAZZ!




Yup, been thinking about doing that. Thanks Mr. Smiley. BTW, I noticed you did a Yelp review on the Hard Hat Lounge. I guess you made it out of the "Naked City" alive so I'll have to check it out as well.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-hard-hat-lounge-las-vegas#hrid:BdAjjDavUkzN6Ioe7UKXBw

Based on your Yelp profile, I'm sure you miss Original Joe's as much as I do. I hope it reopens again. My friends in SF were always horrified when I chose that as my dinner pick. I didn't care, I loved the place.



[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2009-06-24 22:32 ]


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