Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Las Vegas

Everybody knows that Americans love show business, and they are very good at show business. Also everybody knows that Las Vegas is a show and gambling capital of the world, and Hollywood is a dream making capital of the world (together with Bollywood).

By the way, we even did not plan to stay in Las Vegas. Our original plan was to drive through to Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, in a high holyday season as now there were no accommodation available anywhere in Nevada except Las Vegas, so we had to stay there.
Everything I ever heard about Las Vegas is correct: it is exactly what I thought it is. There is no point to repeat all the same stuff about glamour, glitter and sin.
There was something I have never realised, however.

Las Vegas is a city of fakes, poor style fakes of a very good quality and on an incredible scale.
Nearly every building is a fake image of something: an African village, a Venetian palazzo, a tropical island, a pyramid, an Ancient Roman palace or even New York or Paris CBD, with all the appropriate clichés and attributes of the theme. Funny enough, nobody cares about a purity of style: an Italian baroque Bellagio has Chinese lions at the entrance; Caesar’s palace has a title written in Greek fonts, etc… The Venetia Palazzo is the most stylish, probably, more or less strictly keeping late Renaissance and Baroque style.
On the other hand everything is of a magnificent quality: the materials are the best (marbles, silks, sculptures…), the artists are the best (producing art in all imaginable styles with perfection), technology involved is mind boggling (coloured fountain shows, moving sculptures, canals running through the buildings)…
Do I sound like everybody else before me by now?..
As much as I despise fakes of any kind and treat it as a cheap kitch, I have to take my hat off in honour of all those artists who invested into this city’s dazzling madness. Las Vegas offers fakes of an outstanding artistic quality (as well as real crap, forgive me my French, as some would say), art which is on a borderline with masterpieces, or actually masterpieces, original in all respects. I hope my photo album reflects my feelings till certain degree.
One downside which cannot be overturned by the impressive scale of attractions is gambling and smoking. They come together, they are inevitable. The city stinks from a cigarette smoke, because everybody who gambles – smokes, and everybody in Las Vegas gambles (Chris and myself happened to be a rare exemption).

Visiting a couple of shows in Las Vegas and Universal Studios in Hollywood also revealed something about America: if they entertain – they do it properly. Every detail is thought through, the skills are incredible, no effort spared – and the result is always at least good, and sometimes excellent beyond imagination. From time to time I watch American shows on TV – no comparison to a real thing. TV robs a show on depth and colour and real life pulse. I have enjoyed the quality and professionalism of what I’ve seen in the last few days…

Photo album

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