I haven’t been to Las Vegas since January 2020. Was there for CES, not the tables. Things were still normal then. At least as “normal” as Vegas can be. Although the massive influx of the rabid technology enthusiasts who go to the city for that event—so many people that the only amount of social distancing that occurs would be measured in millimeters, not feet—change the dynamic. Because the Uber and Lyft networks are crushed, cabs are sometimes necessary. The cabbies are not particularly happy with the tipping that doesn’t happen—or happens at an infinitesimal rate—from those who can’t wait to see the latest from Samsung or Qualcomm or companies that essentially only the employees have heard of.
I was staying at The Delano. A hotel within a hotel. A means by which the proprietor can jack the rates disproportionately by providing a modicum of upped amenities. And a separation from the gaming floor. But in order to get an extraordinarily expensive cup of coffee it is necessary to go through to Mandalay Bay, where the shops and restaurants are found.
It was necessary to pass the theatre hosting “Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil.” Given what came out about Jackson’s proclivities it seems like a strange show. Yes, there is the music. There is the man. But somehow the sale of jeweled gloves seemed strange. And the pre-show gift shop was always jammed.
But that’s Las Vegas.
One of the things that Las Vegas has become known for regarding concert performances is the “residency.” As in the individual musician or group plays at one of the multitudinous theaters night after night. Presumably they also stay at said hotel casino. But probably in a place like The Delano.
During the past few years there have been seemingly endless runs by people like Celine Dion, and shorter ones for the likes of Van Morrison (five dates at the Colosseum at Caesars). Other performers have included Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Cardi B, Britney Spears, Elton John, Cher, Mariah Carey, Billy Idol, Aerosmith, Bruno Mars, Bryan Adams Christina Aguilera, Chicago, Santana, David Lee Roth, the Doobie Brothers, Foreigner, Sting, Gwen Stefani, and, of course, Rod Stewart.
(I once met Donny Osmond in the jetway of a flight going from SLC to LAS. We chatted a bit. Yes, he was going back to perform at the Flamingo with his sister. He was (a) not surprisingly, nice and (b) taller than I would have expected.)
Know that residencies is not a new phenomenon by any extent.
Elvis rocked the Las Vegas Hilton from July 1969 to December 1976. Six-hundred and thirty-six nights of “Burning Love.”
Turns out he was a slouch compared with Donny & Marie: they had a run of 11 years, doing 1,730 shows. And Donny was still nice to some stranger on a Delta flight.
One of the other interesting things—and this is more of a new(ish) phenomenon—is that it has gone from a place where you could find lavish buffets for under ten bucks to a place where you’re going to pay dearly for a meal at a restaurant that is owned and possibly operated by a celebrity chef.
Among them are Wolfgang Puck, Guy Fieri, Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay, and Emeril Lagasse. To name but a few.
Which brings me to the Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer 360, the device you can buy for about $200 that allows you to bake, broil, toast, slow cook, air fry, and more.
The infomercial that Emeril has for the device makes it appear that anyone who can (1) work an electrical plug to get it powered; (2) can put food in the device; (3) choose from the 12 cooking presets can make food that would be fit for serving at NOLA, Emeril’s place in New Orleans (let’s face it: more authentic than Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House in the MGM Grand).
But you know, even if you are completely unfamiliar with the Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer 360, no one other than Emeril is likely to create delicious meals with the device, and that he himself probably uses devices of a less complicated nature to produce his dishes (e.g., pot, burner, oven).
An Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer 360 is not going to get you a show on the Food Network.
On December 1, guitar brand Gibson announced that it was adding a new instrument to its lineup, the Slash “Victoria” Les Paul Standard Goldtop. It is part of the Gibson Slash Collection. The guitar features a AAA maple top, solid mahogany body, Gibson Custom BurstBucker Alnico 2 pickups, hand-wired electronics with Orange Drop capacitors, and “Slash’s personal touches, including a C-shaped neck profile.”
What’s more, this guitar, like others in the Slash Collection (yes, there is an entire collection), features Slash’s “Skully” signature drawing on the back of the headstock, his signature on the truss rod cover, Slash’s Ernie Ball strings, and more.
Gibson Guitars is working its way out of bankruptcy. And one of the ways it is working to do so is through providing instruments like those that are part of the Slash Collection.
Let’s face it: there are people who are going to buy the Slash guitars not because they can play licks from GNR but because, well, it is Slash.
A Slash “Victoria” Les Paul Standard Goldtop has an MSRP of $2,999. Odds are, it will make a not-so-good guitar player as improved as an Emeril Lagasse Power Air Fryer 360 will a neophyte chef.
The Slash “Victoria” Les Paul Standard Goldtop is unlikely to get anyone (other than, say, Slash) a residency.
But we live in a world of images, which explains the existence of Las Vegas.