This person was curled up in a ball for unknown reasons on a Sin City street late last week - Royal Hopper

This person was curled up in a ball for unknown reasons on a Sin City street late last week – Royal Hopper

Off the Grid

By Royal Hopper

A lone person squats in the darkness by a stream of running water soaking an old shirt in the water and periodically wringing the cloth out in the water as it rushes over the black stone they squat on looking for all the world like an extra in a movie about pioneers.

The smell of oil and sand, decades old grime, alcohol and desperation is everywhere. Just where is this mysterious washer woman washing her or his soiled linens. Just a minute and I will tell you. Keep reading..

a lady taking pictures - Royal Hopper

a lady taking pictures – Royal Hopper

cityscape by Royal Hopper

cityscape by Royal Hopper

There is an entire subset of Sin City citizens that lives on the edge in between the margins like the pioneers like homeless extras in an old John Wayne cowboy movie. (Look it up) Normally they are all but invisible but if you look you can see them. Washing their clothes in the stream of run off on dark city streets.

Some like the woman seen wandering into Wal_Mart last week dressed like an extra in a Madonna music video or a really dedicated Jackie O (look them up both of them)
fan as if Camelot had been reborn at the big box store near you.

Jesus Saves says one sign on the boulevard as you make your way south away from the Sinniest part of Sin City and toward the suburbs. Hungry and homeless says another sign held by another sign holder as you drive toward the relative safety of the burbs. In another place and another dimension stumbles up the counter of an over priced casino café and throws an undetermined number of bills on its shiny stone surface and points at an item in glass shelf beneath it. His clothes are expensive _ his jewelry equally so. He doesn’t have a clue what things actually cost and looks confused when the clerk rings the item up and hands him his change.

a cityscape 2 by Royal Hopper

a cityscape 2 by Royal Hopper

There are dozens more _ but lets get back to our person by the “stream..”
They are washing their clothing in the time honored manner of all third world pioneers as the metal framed cart containing the bulk of their clothes sits close by _ partially shielding them from onlookers until the light from the crescent moon glints of the polished metal giving the washer and her dirty laundry away.

Then as the clouds pass by the sliver of moon in the sky the stream of water the lobe figure hunches over reveals the reflected neon glory of the jungle the person labors to wash their clothes in _ the urban jungle that is . The lone figure washing their clothes isn’t in some benighted third world country like Borneo or Alabama.. There are birds nearby to be sure but they are bright neon birds and neon trees and digital picture of half naked dancers and glasses of wine 30 feet tall. This is in the heart of Sin City. The back stone they squat on is asphalt and the stream is run off from one of the rare desert rain storms and the wagon that holds their possessions is a shopping cart.

a guitar man and his dog _ Royal Hopper

a guitar man and his dog _ Royal Hopper

. People live entire lives in their heads sometimes just feet away from people who live entire lives off, off grid washing their clothes in a stream on the street.
I tried to get a picture but it was night and I was driving.

That is life in the City of Sin

Take Care Sinners

Man enjoys the desert spring time sun. Spring is one of the few times a year the oppressive desert sun is pleasant - Royal

Man enjoys the desert spring time sun. Spring is one of the few times a year the oppressive desert sun is pleasant – Royal

Wearing black socks

By Royal Hopper

A man pauses for a minute suit case in one hand and mixed drink in the other as he searches for the third thing in the trifecta of things this city can legally “sometimes” legally offer. His black shorts are highlighted by black socks and black sandals.. And a ubiquitous Hawaiian shirt. Las Vegas is built on Gambling alcohol and that thing women in short skirts named Snowbunny can offer. That is not what this man is looking for and not the question that haunts the mind of every Sin City denizen who sees this man stumble toward the smell of something in the distance. What is the question stayed tuned for the answer.cityscape

As Somebody once said The City of Sin is obsessed gambling, drinking, the first two of the trifecta the city can legally offer. . . Of course it can also offer cheap or not so cheap hook ups, and illegal substances but those are you know illegal unless the purveyor is sober and gives it away for free The third part of the legal Sin City Trifecta is something we all have at one time or another . . . . It is . . . . . . . . Wait for it . . . . . . . . . Yes Breakfast.. . . . . .

There is always someplace in the City of Sin you can get all these things. You can always gamble. . . . . . You can always drink and yes you can always get a plate of scrambled eggs and some unhealthy

working man at workll

working man at workll

breakfast meats in the desert city named The Meadows by a likely intoxicated Spanish explorer in the early 19th century.

Las Vegans . Both native, residents and frequent visitors . . . Who I refer to as Sinners know all these things. They don’t sweat breakfast. . . .It is every where they worry about other things. They worry if the Cowboys can pull off 10 wins next season or if the Redskins can pull of six because preseason bets have been posted and the odds are okay. They worry if Rory Mcilroy is worth the 3 to 1 odds posted in his chances to win the Wells Fargo classic. They worry about who is going to win this years fight of the century.
What is the question that haunts all Sinners as they wind their way through the day in the City of Sin.ugly sign guy

Can someone really look cool in black shorts, black socks and

You judge _ Royal Hopper

You judge _ Royal Hopper

black sandals with a suitcase in one hand and

sign guy again _ Royal Hopper

sign guy again _ Royal Hopper

a drink in the other..
Are you kidding me

Thats life in the City of Sin

Take care Sinners

Rivier sign

The first time I walked into the Riviera sometime around 1992 it was a hustling bustling beehive of activity, packed to the gills _ the little casino that could surrounded by old school casinos it was destined to outlive with names like Syardust and Westward Ho. Everybody who was anybody played at the little casino that could at one time or another. The Riv was old school and made no apologies. It wasn’t a giant work of abstract art, a pirate theme park or a shopping mall with slot machines. The Riv was a casino..It was old school and offered no apologies.

Signs are a part of the Sin City landscape. This one sits on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd directing gamblers to various useful things like parking - photo Royal Hopper

Signs are a part of the Sin City landscape. This one sits on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd directing gamblers to various useful things like parking – photo Royal Hopper

My mother worked at the Riviera briefly some 24 or so years ago for reasons that are best left to another day when we are both a little more tolerant of drama and tears. I went there when I was bored and didn’t have a date. To show you what nerd I was I went to play video games and eat at the all night Burger King and drop a roll of quarters on the Quarter mania machine.

I saw my first and only burlesque show there. I was heckled for the first time by a sarcastic comedian at The Riviera Comedy Club. I have never been to another comedy club or female impersonator show and likely never will. Old school shows are not my thing but I will never forget those dates..

There was something about the little casino that could back then. It had been punching above it weight for years. It was packed every night, a fun place to go to even if it was just to drop a few quarters in the Terminator video game or take a chance at Quarter Mania slots. Twenty years later I was working there and the four years I spent are something I will never forget.

The good old days are going fast

By Royal Hopper

Crazy Girls - Royal Hopper

Crazy Girls – Royal Hopper

When I first walked into the employee entrance of the Riviera as an employee 20 years after my first visit as a customer the first thing I noticed was the old Faux Southwest design on the walls of the narrow cinder block back hallways. The design looked like it had been pulled right out of a 1950s design catalogue for dyslexic alcoholic art students.

There were layers of white paint in these back hallways a were seemingly a quarter inch thick in spots. The paint no doubt intended to cover the smell of 56 years of cigarette smoke _ layers on layers of cigarette smoke, and something else that tickled the nose and made you pause. As a native of the Texas Gulf coast I knew that smell. It was mold.
Mold takes a long time to grow in the desert but when it sets in it is hard to get rid of and never completely leaves. It was glorious in a way _ the place was battle scarred like the moldy smell of your favorite ancient aunt who baked you cookies while she told you about her days as a flower child or your least favorite battle scarred uncle who told war stories to anyone who would listen with the kind of honesty lacking in today’s fairy tale world.Riviera corner

Inside the Riv - Royal Hopper

Inside the Riv – Royal Hopper

As you walk into the casino you notice the low ceilings creating a sense of intimacy and showing off the acoustic tiles lining the ceiling _ the same acoustic tiles once a common feature of Junior High libraries all over the world and the usual assortment of feaux gold and brass fittings.

Don’t get me wrong I loved this place but much like that old aunt who hung bright red curtains and pots of lavender on the windows to keep away the moldy smell of their ancient house from your youthful nose somebody had forgotten to put make up on the little casino that could and it showed. Somebody had forgotten to hang the curtains and restock the lavender for a long time and brother it showed.

I used to walk through the Versaille Theater while on patrol there as a security guard as part of my patrol through the casino. It had been closed for years and was full of dust _ books left open where they had been set, performers lunches half eaten, props from the last show that played there packed up and left on the counters where they were stored a roll of toilet paper on a table for so long that it had turned bright red from the paint that had leaked from the ceiling. I used to write dates on the dust on the tables in the theater every time I walked through the old showroom _ until I ran out of table space because all the tables were covered with dust bunny graffiti. The buffet was closed, the coffee shop closed, entire sections of the casino walled off. guy walking by Riv siign in rain
There was hope for awhile. The Versaille was renovated and two hot new shows booked for it. The old cheesy paint jobs in the back hallways was replaced with bright red and white, the old girl was packed with fans raving about the glories of the old girls charm and there were plans upon plans made to save the old place. The Riv was back in the green there were big plans for the little casino that could but it was to late.
In retrospect we should have seen the end coming. When an offer was made to turn the old school little casino that could into convention space it was just too tempting I guess.Riviera corner

The Riv smelled like age, stubborn Sin City pride, a glorious past and an air of desperation the vintage photos of its glorious past covering the lack of repairs and upgrades that had been needed for years.
In April of 1955 a long line of badly dressed men with dubious connections to dubious people in Chicago and New York posed for cameras at their brand new 9 story casino and hotel their house star Liberache standing nearby.

Monday May 4, 2015 the Riviera Hotel/Casino officially closed its doors perhaps, probably for good.
It will be missed for awhile but like the city they live in Sinners are sentimental to a point and they will move on shortly after the little casino that could is a memory.

So long old girl you will be missed.
That’s life in the City of Sin fellow Sinners

And you know it is

Vegas Baby _ Royal Hopper

Vegas Baby _ Royal Hopper

The Nerd Table

By Royal Hopper
As the ancient dance tunes filtered through the thick neon enhanced air inspiring images of leisure suits, mood rings, bell bottoms and pet rocks and side burns the size of ham hocks suddenly I felt thinner, and hipper.a trump

There was a party last week celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Riviera Hotel and mourning its imminent June demise. As the band called The Edge played an assortment of disco and Latin dance favorites I imagined myself a young Rocker long hair blowing in the rebellious breeze of the late 70s sneering at the so called dance music playing on the stereo nearby.

I imagined I was cool much like the man covered with gold chains and a faux silk button down fond of quoting pick up lines obsolete in 1995 who sat at the casino bar until the woman he was hitting on had enough and slugged him. I imagined was cool man and in those halycon days of disco lights, Rat Pack tribute bands and big hair so was the Riviera.

I could almost feel the OP t-shirt clinging to my tanned skin, black denim and leather encasing my rebellious body _ my hair felt thicker and longer. I was skinny again, good looking with a shaggy mane of auburn hair and the world was innocent and full of solar powered promise and I could imagine my casino, the last of its ancient breed still thriving and intact. A coworker said something important and I nodded pretending I understood what she said.

Then as I wandered around the room looking at all the people a few of them older but most still a gleam in their parents eye when I was trying on my first Angel Flights blazer and reveling in the rebelliousness of my Alice Cooper Flush the Fashion concert T shirt. Suddenly three things hit me like a ton of bricks.. .Three things were reaffirmed.

On the Road in Vegas _ Royal Hopper

On the Road in Vegas _ Royal Hopper

No. 1 Disco is still not real music, No 2 the grand old lady of Las Vegas was still doomed and most importantly I remembered I was still a nerd. Even with long shaggy hair and cool clothes I had been a Rock and Roll nerd.

After pretending for several minutes to have once been cool had found my way to the nerd section of the dance and was quietly waiting for the gift giveaway so I could go home and watch reruns on my television.

The truth is I was never one of the cool kids.. . . But I had really nice hair.. I was such a nerd my parents drove me to my first rock concert and left me there without a worry.

A party in the Penthouse party spot in a Las Vegas celebrating the 60th birthday of a Vegas casino and morning its impending demise seems like a good time to let go to forget what things have been and look forward to the future _ but as we get older we tend to revert to type. Maybe it is time to move on and just admit ..Im a nerd who once had cool hair and still likes good music .

Sunrise in the desert _ Royal Hopper

Sunrise in the desert _ Royal Hopper

In Sin City Neon is as normal as sidewalks and ice cream in other places- Royal

In Sin City Neon is as normal as sidewalks and ice cream in other places- Royal

You cant argue with a confident man,” goes a saying so old it was in a movie some 30 years ago. Vegas is about a lot of things but mostly math and attitude. If you can count cards and calculate odds you know math.
If look and act like you are a bad ass or crazy or someone who knows someone or someone down on their luck worthy of sympathy often, not always, but often people will assume you are and that can be a gift. That is the Vegas attitude ..that is Sin City confidence.

The Confident Man

By Royal Hopper

A man stands in the median of a busy Las Vegas road beside his shopping cart smiling and waving at motorists as they eye him warily. He is surprisingly clean cut for a “Sign Holding Shopping Cart Person,” and bares a short well maintained military style haircut.

Just because it looks cool and the shot came out right - Royal

Just because it looks cool and the shot came out right – Royal

The sign he carries has one word written on it in neat stylized script .“Smile,” reads the sign and he does smile as he runs into the street darting between cars as the vehicles in that lane stop for a traffic light. Despite almost being hit several times the man continued to dart into traffic and was rewarded at least once with something I could not see from the opposite lane. This is a confident man.

Later that same week

A woman sheds a tear as she explains to the security guard how she is trying to get money anyway she can.
“No not that way,” she said waving her hand in desperate dismissal assuring the guard she is not a “working girl” despite her predicament. She just needs money for her kids and needs to get home so she can be there when they wake up not even batting an eye when she adds “because” I owe it to them. She tried to make money by selling things but the person she had given the items to sell had ripped her off and .and and . . . .
That is a confidence woman.. . . . Maybe it was all true .but most likely it was a scam and you gotta be confident to run a panhandling scam on casino property with the property order keepers staring right at you .. . . confident woman. . . .

Singing in the rain - Royal

Singing in the rain – Royal


Late night in a casino a man stands on two metal disks attached to his legs just below the knee. Without his lower legs he is barely five feet tall but still a confident man very much in place in a city built around the aura of the confident man. He Mack’s on the woman standing next to him and pulls on the lever of the one armed bandit with a gusto his better equipped fellow gamblers don’t even try to match. He is barely five feet tall in with his shortened legs but he acts larger than life.

Confidence even contrived confidence is better than desperation it seems and better camouflage for the Sinners make their way through the campy, dangerous over the top 24 hour urban theater that is the City of Sin..

Take Care Fellow Sinners

Crossing the street _ Royal

Crossing the street _ Royal

waiting at corner High Roller jet and tree

Rock onDSCF7271

A father and son trip to the movies Redbox style- Photo by Royal Hopper

A father and son trip to the movies Redbox style- Photo by Royal Hopper

The City of Sin: Take it like it is or go to Idaho

By Royal Hopper 

The City of Sin has always been a place where legends say you can be yourself .however weird or out of the mainstream you are ..
“I am who I am deal with it,” the very ambiance of the place seems to say.

Cityscape in the morning - Royal Hopper

Cityscape in the morning – Royal Hopper

A man sits on a bench at a bus stop in the City of Sin. His Sienna colored tropical leisure suit fitting tightly around the equally Sienna colored vest the Italian style halter stop tshirt peering out from his leather like sun tanned skin. In contrast to his darkly tanned skin around his head sit’s a glow in the dark white IPOD of some kind. His head rocks back and forth to the music it plays. He is oblivious to the stares he is drawing as he drifts away on his version of Rock n Roll. An archetype Sinner he is who he is and just doesn’t care what others fell about who he is.

A group of drinking buddies stumble through a casino each wearing a different decade of decadence .. . . The 80s Goth Punker striding side by side with the Chic Hippie look, grunge boy looking confused as his friends push the mid 70s hip length leather coat bushy mustache and print rayon button up dude. Okay maybe I had a closet full of 70s shirts but I never had the cheesy mustache .. . . Mine was cool.

a Biker - Royal Hopper

a Biker – Royal Hopper

Ahole report:
Ahole season is just around the corner and the aholes are polishing up their condescending attitudes .. .practicing not tipping and displaying the labels on their $80 T shorts as they push their way to the front of the line for the free give aways and 2 for 1 buffet specials.

Jogger Report .. . . . It is this time of year when the sun begins to shine the day long in the desert that most species of Sinners begins to make their first appearance. This week the pale people of winter started appearing on Las Vegas Boulevard perhaps realizing that they look really bad in shorts with that layer of winter fat caressing their silicon skin they try for all the world to pretend jogging is something they do all the time.

Try one - by Royal Hopper

Try one – by Royal Hopper

Drama Queen: It is a fact that you have to do a lot to get attention in the City of Sin. We have seen it all and most of the time just don’t give a rats gluts why you are dressed like alien Elvis from the third Elvis eats LA on rye with mayonnaise movie.
That in the City of Sin baby

Take Care Fellow Sinners

A very nice Sin City cityscape - Royal Hopper

A very nice Sin City cityscape – Royal Hopper

Bike guys meet at the corner - Royal Hopper

Bike guys meet at the corner – Royal Hopper


Ferris Wheel - Royal Hopper

Ferris Wheel – Royal Hopper

Question of the Day ?? What do you call a man who sits down at a slot machine that has been disabled for hours and tries to claim he hit a jackpot and had not been paid. Many called this man a DWEEB but the definition of DWEEB is often debated on theses pages and never completed defined.


Dweebs, Dogs and Dudes in the City of Sin


by Royal Hopper
Define Dweeb,

Morning in Sin City - Royal Hopper

Morning in Sin City – Royal Hopper

Drunk Winos Entertaining Entropic Bottoms??????
Dangerous Windows Exit Ending baseball ????

There is something about the City of Sin that makes the hidden issues people bring with them jump into full alcohol enhanced view.

For whatever reason if you have a weakness for gambling it shows in the City of Sin. If you like to drink now and then landing in the City of Sin suddenly turns you into a sloppy annoying should not be allowed to breed or be out after 10 p.m. drunk.

Its kind of like what one casino patron said when she realized another casino patron was using bad pick up lines on her dog..

Neon in Sin City _ Royal Hopper

Neon in Sin City _ Royal Hopper

“ I think that guy just asked my dog to see his bottle cap collection,” she said sounding both confused and a little jealous. The woman one of the thousands of dog owners in the City of Sin for the annual City of Sin Dog Show. You may snicker now and make with the bad jokes.

The man asking a woman’s dog out after a few drinks is definitely a dweeb as is the dog owners who replied that his dog was too sensitive to poop where other dogs poop when he was told his dog could not do his business where people walked and sometimes slept.

A Dweeb

Also in the City of Sin it is an established fact that having an argument with an invisible person is not a good way to introduce yourself to a casino crowd on a busy Saturday night. Asking same invisible friend advice on what to say is not a great way of picking up women.

Urban canvas - Royal Hopper

Urban canvas – Royal Hopper

Lastly there is no doubt that everybody loves their dogs but how much snap does it take to understand that setting them at a slot machine and demanding a drink for both of you not a cool thing ?????

Ahhh well. That is lifer in the City of Sin

Take Care Sinners
I love you all




cityscape _ Royal Hopper

cityscape _ Royal Hopper