I was 15 in 1977 when Elvis Presley died. I had never been west of Austin or even heard of the hotel where he had spent the last eight years of his life performing. Now if you are in the City of Sin …..listen _ his ghost is every where.
Despite its reputation as a monument to cutting edge interpretation of vice and decadence Vegas is a place constantly looking to the past for inspiration..hence the old joke Las Vegas is a place where old acts go to die …..Vegas has a lot of ghosts. We have learned to ignore them.
The Front of the Pioneer Gambling House in Laughlin Nevada has many has many reminders of the past —Royal Hopper
The Ghost of the past only own you if you let them
by Royal Hopper
A couple trapped in time walks down a polished marble walkway in a Sin City casino surrounded by shops of all kinds, monuments to consumer capitalism in the modern age..
The red button down evening coat/dress worn by the woman boasts round white buttons running down the length of its front and looks fresh out of a JC Penny catalogue circa 1962.. The turtle neck and suit worn by the man reek of that early 60s male swagger although for this guy it seems mostly an act.
They look aroud almost dissapointed by their surroundings …to modern by half. The place they strut through has a touch of the same old feel to it …A 1969 vintage this house of decadedance boasts years of make overs, layers of marble and paint covering up the aura of the past it was built to honor …
Everywhere there are people holding signs – Photo by Royal Hopper
The couple other than the gray in the hair and the slight stoop in their step seem untouched by the decades. They stride past the watching shoppers in their modern casual, designer jeans, $100 tram jerseys, and generic grunge proudly wearing their anachricism like a badge of honor. In their minds they are 17 and the Beetles are a hot new group out of Liverpool…
A few days later another couple makes that ame foray into the past ..the man wearing a red polyester blazer seemingly more suited to the set of a time travel movie than modern Vegas. The woman wears a dress that looks plucked right out of your granmothers fashion catalogue.
Though days apart both couples seem to follow a script. They stop for a moment and look around ..as if trying to make a decision..Is the modern world worth the trouble ??? and for a moment look ready to shed 1962 and put on a pair of Calvin Kliens and a fashionable polo or a jersey and a Gucci hand bag or some such modernism…
Both stop and look around at the modern world but it is only a moment they stop …a moment later they shake off their questions about the wonders and demands of the modern world and stalk back into 1962 with the confused absent minded simplistic energy common to the age ….No one bothers them ..to be sure ..but no one notices them either.
They are much like the dated architecure of the place they walk through ..just there …
Understand it is not sentiment that leads the modern Vegas to ignore the ghosts pf the past even as they build monuments to them and stare in pretend awe of their spirits. It is simply not in the natur eof the City of Sin to be sentimental.
You will not find a less sentimental place than the City of Sin. There is loyalty if you look for it and are lucky …There are fortunes to be made if you are lucky and lost if you are not …. Sometime there is even love to be found and I can testify to that ..but sentiment is something for tourists and other less practical cities….. City’s less prone to drama and theater might indulge in the sentiment that allows you to embrace or reject the ghosts of the past. This is not San Francisco…This is not Alabama…Wed don’t embrace or reject ghosts… The City of Sin simply ignores them because that is our nature…
Laughlin is a lot like I picture Vegas was 50 or 60 years ago — Royal Hopper
Near the expanse of marble at one of the local hotels where both couples walked there is a bronze statue of Elvis at telling of the King’s glory days in the City when he played more than 800 shows to packed audiences before he died ..in 1977 when I was 15…..Back then that hotel was his place …Bell bottoms, leisure suits, and disco was everywhere, Led Zeppelin ruled Rock and Roll and The King of the 50s reigned supreme in the City of Sin …..The Ghost of Elvis Presley definitely stalks the city…. But that’s all it is a ghost. ….
Ghosts only destroy you ..only effect you ..if you acknowledge their power ,,,and if you pay attention and agree to live there for awhile ….In the city of Sin we don’t
That’s life in the City of Sin Brothers and Sisters
Love you Sinners