Billboard are an inescapable fact of a drive in the desert and life in the City of Sin _ Royal Hopper

It is an inescapable fact that this city grows like mad when the mood hits it but it doesn’t really evolve that much. The things that happen here have always happened and likely always will. This unsentimental place will demolish and throw away landmarks with decades of history like yesterday’s sushi with a shrug and a drink order without a second thought but the things that went on in that place will still go on and they always will…

The City is the City is the City

By Royal Hopper 

As you drive down a Sin City byway on your usual way to your usual mortgage paying endeavor you drive by one of the usual dirty corners of the ever changing ever indifferent corners of the ever changing ever indifferent city(I know its a mouth full. I was in a mood).

Only something is different this time. The little corner , the little patch of dirt that is an unfinished drainage ditch from nearby construction is empty of the ner do wells that usually occupy it.
Their chariots of charity that usually hold their scant worldly possessions and they days scavenging booty are empty and lined skletal automobiles made of stainless steel (shopping carts genius) in a dirty homeless parking lot .
It doent take long to figure out why. Parked nearby on the asphalt curb of the adjacent road are two of Las Vegas’ finest in a black and white SUV.
Are these derelict individuals scared of “Metro”? Of course they are and they should be. but the dirty corners emptiness is short lived. The next day the police car is gone and the ner do wells are back. the shopping carts have stuff in them and a man with a sign walks wearily toward the corner wiping the dirt from his hand made poster board paper plaque and preparing for a days work of asking for money. The more things change the more they stay the same…

My first month at the Mirage in 1989 just after the place opened a man won a jackpot at one of the progressive machines took the winnings and ran off with the cocktail waitress leaving his wife in the hotel room. In 2018 security at a strip hotel is called to a room ..a couple was arguing so loudly other guests complained. In the first the offender wore a suit and tie in the second he wore a white tee shirt and dreads… The clothes change the date changes the city doesn’t. The City of Sin is still a bad place for couples with issues to go. The City of Sin is still the City of Sin..


early morning in the City of Sin – Royal Hopper

There is a casino in Vegas called The Linq..Modern and upscale as a remodel gets the Linq uswed to be the Quad and before that it was The Imperial Palace a symbol of the crass over the top style of old Vegas. The Imperial had a huge collection of old cars including Bonnie and Clydes bukket ridden automobile. The Linq is a sleek art deco remodel. A slick new skin on an old Vegas gambling house. BUT…. There are still black jack tables in this old time worn Dragon of Sin, regardless of what skin it wears there is still alcohol and cheesy obvious pomotions, and ladies of the evening. People still do things they dont remember and usually regret ….a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose and Vegas is vegas is Vegas….

The City of Sin is a concept as much as a place. It will be how it is regardless of how anyone feels about it. The wrapper may change. The buildings may be bigger and the neon brighter more sophiscated looking corporate suits may replace the gangster pin stripe but it is still the City of Sin and always will be…..
Love You Sinners take care



Desert Drive _ Royal Hopper


This City has a problem with pigeons .. There is nothing worse than a bird who forgets to fly and gets in the way of your moving forward. The pigeons here have gotten lazy and crazy and have forgotten they can fly at will. Not the brightest of bird to begin with these rats with wings have recently exhibited behavior that is stupid even by bird standards some even seem to forget they can fly. This is the second time I remember seeing this which begs the question ..How many pigeons does it take to cross the street ???


You have to admire the simplicity of you are and advertising it _ Royal Hopper

The difficulty of crossing the road with wings

by Royal Hopper

You approach a Sin City intersection in your burgundy dust covered proletariat chariot on the way to work and cannot help but notice a group of pigeons huddled in the turn lane to your left trying to cross the sun baked dusty asphalt like tiny little pedestrians waiting for the Go sign to light up.


No Bob this is where we are having today’s meeting. Oh just leave the chair –Royal Hopper

One pigeon looks particularly vexed bobbing his tiny little pigeon head his tiny pigeon brain all but overloaded at the decision of which way to turn its tiny pigeon body. One moment in darts forward and left only to be cut off by cars turning the other direction in the four way intersection. The next moment it turns on its heels like a soldier in a parade stepping with purpose toward the imagined safety of its starting point only to be cut off by cars in the turn lane to your immediate left.
After ten or fifteen quick trips to the left and an equal number to the right most of the pigeons decide they have had enough. As if a light goes off in the tiny pigeon brains some suddenly realize they can fly and take a running leap at the relative safety of the raised concrete median in the center of the road ..Three quick flap pf he wings and they are resting in the median in the center of the road planning their trip and a way around the scary scary scary Sin City traffic monsters.


This bird remembers how to fly – Royal Hopper

A few more of the more daring pigeons realize they can fly for long distances and rise up in the air flapping their wings like mad and landing in a small triumphant pile on the other side of the road some roosting on a sign some on the concrete others diving into the dusty dirt just beyond the concrete sidewalk . A few are roosting on the far side of he sidewalk to your right refusing to move forward perhaps fearing it is simply not worth the trouble. Those pigeons in the middle seem content to stay there and as you are pulling away toward you r mortgage paying endeavor the pigeons who have moved on get tired of waiting and fly off toward new and hopefully greener sidewalks… There are no pastures in the City of Sin just sand, neon and sidewalks and asphalt. .


Mr. confused pigeon is still confused as the light in your lane changes and experience and the left side of your brain urges you to take your foot off the brake and move on he is still going back and fourth unable to make up his mind up. Afraid to walk forward unable to go back and apparently he has forgotten he fly.  Perhaps he has forgotten how to try and is so busy deciding on a left turn or a right turn he is stuck in a never ending loop..perhaps but whatever the case he was still stuck in traffic a moment from being squashed and still would not take to the wing and fly forward.

The moral

The answer is they don’t their birds they can fly over it. Those who can fly (birds, people and countries) and move forward remember how to move on and forward and remember how to try generally do.

It is the way of things here. It’s is life in the City of Sin


army vet begging

Same song second verse. A sign holder at Russell and Boulder – Royal Hopper

It goes without saying that Las Vegas is a green town …. Not the Green Party kind of green or the Avacado kind of green or the gently rolling hills covered with grass kind of green.
Its about pursuit of the kind of green you keep folded up in your wallet ..The kind you use to buy new Mercedes and trips to Hawaii ..The kind you use to pay your mortgage and buy groceries … Its all about the green baby. Except when it isn’t..

The Intensity of Humanity in the City of Sin or a Drive in the Suburbs

The Mercedes Man and the POS Chevy.. Denim Mom meet in the middle

by Royal Hopper 


You can make the most intense of discoveries from the oddest most common of things in this city. Its funny how the patterns start to repeat themselves when you really look. Just the things people do on the way to their cars can tell you a lot about them
For starters you when you see two drivers one approaching a fully decked Mercedes next to a junked out Chevy held together by wires and hope.
You drive by barely noticing ..anything really. It is the way of the city. All things fade into the background as you drive. You focus on the traffic on the lights on the police cars cataloging each thing assessing its significance and then forgetting it as you pass. It is the urban way of life _ a way yo keep the myriad of ordinary sights and sounds from overwhelming your worried mind.

old guy staring out at crosswalk

An old guy on a scooter – Royal Hopper

Then a problem causes the traffic to halt and amid the torrent of muffled curses and people staring at watches and calcualting the delay you sigh and huff and look over to your right seeking a way out of the jam… a parking lot short cut to a side street maybw.
You find youself staring at the parking lot with academic intensity hoping for a way around the mass of metal, plastic and humanity stalled on the Sin City street. Theres no real hurry really. There is plenty of time to get where you are going but you dont want to wait. It is the Sin City attitude ..the way of the city. Even if all you are going to do is eat a sandwich in a restaurant you don want to wsit an extra five minutes to do it …screw that.
For some reason as you scan the large parking lot of a way around the jam you notice two cars parked next to each and catch your eye as the drivers approach.guy listeningand staring out

The Cars

One is a Mercedes spotless and perfect ..brand new and humming with status and disposable income. The other is an old Chevy. You can tell because the company logo is visible but all other signs of the car’s origins are obscured by dust, dirt and past accident damage. The paint has faded and the plastic cracked with visible dings all over its utilitarian get me to the market and the job surface.
The traffic comes to complete stop and every channel on the radio you like is playing crap songs for some reason So You return to staring at the cars. After awhile the Chevy’s driver an attractive in a girl with kind eyes kind of way walks up the the car decked out in last year’s denim and a host of free promotional give aways..You guess she is a Mom by her figure and the assorted worn out stuffed animals in her worn out Chevrolet chariot of domesticity.


So Veg AS strong ….Royal Hopper

You instantly have empathy for her amd realioze few likely would a kindred spirit perhaps a fellew outsiders dealing with the world as best she can.
She spots you staring at her and doesn the oddest thing ..She doent cringe or frown and flip you the bird she smiles and waves at you with a familar smile. Not knowing what elese to do you wave back at her slightly and manage a small smile. She has decided you are not dangerous and apparfently feels flattered that you are staring at her in her Mom jeans and free give away shirt and jacket. She even surprises you by turning her hips a little toward you so you can get a better glimpse and what she figures you are staring at which makes you smile even more. She seems to be happy someone was staring at he behind as she figures you were doing.

gir striding in parking lot

Hey Dude – Royal Hopper

You see people desperate for something to do bored by life and plenty and desperate for recognition
Then as if by some divinely ridiculous sitcom script planning the driver of the Mercedes stumbles out to his $100,000 monument to excess and glares at the woman as he fumbles for his keys. Your not sure what his issue is but he looks wierd in that Sin City weird rich guy kind of way.
Denim Mom looks back nervously at Mercedes man breaking the spell between you and the woman clad in Mom denim and give away shirts and jackets…She knows him from somewhere and isnt happy to see him.
Mercedes man stares at her and takes a few steps toward her. It is impossible to tell what he wanted but the glare in his eyes and frown on his face dont speak well for the ending to this tense standoff. The intentions could have been harmless but Denim Mom was not happy about his approach and looks over at you for a moment before beginning to fumble for something in her front seat which she had patially opened. Perhaps it is a can of pepper spray or a pipe or a loud speaker. Who knows in this city. She could have a .45 stuffed under the seat. girl staring.JPG
While part of you Wants to defuse the situation your Sin City survival instincts are screaming stay out of it.. In a sudden burst of inspiration you pop your horn a little. Not a huge blast just a little hey girl whats up with you kind of thing and you wave again this time big enough for both to see ..and say ..”Hey whats up,.” Neither probably heard your words but they both look up at you.
The man glares at your travel worn pick up truck with the support the troops magnet on the back and then at you like an Doberman or a scrawny looking wolf staring at the sheepdog wondering if the shepherd and his horse is nearby.

With practiced Sin City Security guard style and bluff you just stare back and smile slightly before turning back to the woman and waving your hand again and unbuckling your seat belt a little just in case you have to open the door for her to climb in or grab the pipe behind your seat.

For what seems like 10 minute but was probably a few seconds ..You all stand there staring at each other. Then Mercedes Man gets bored or worried or both rolls his eyes and gets in his car pulling away his $1,000 a piece tires screaming with the effort and leaving a smoke trail of synthetic rubber and expensive Brazilian reefer (I don’t actually know what kind of weed it was but it sounded good)
Denim Mom waves at you again this time with a smile of genuine warmth and gratitude ….then gets back in her tired old proletariat chariot and turns on the ignition of its tired worn out engine.
As the old Chevrolet rumbles to life straining with age and long needed repairs as it pulls away out of the parking lot, as if by the same almost comic B Movie timing the traffic begins to clear up. You replace your seat belt turn your eyes back to the street wondering if you would have actually had the guts to smack the Mercedes man …then you the music up on your favorite Metal Station and move on toward your destination fading back in the neon jungle just as quickly as for that one brief moment you exited it and became a person interacting with another person.sreet scape.JPG

You see many extremes in this city ..You see obscene wealth that spends hundreds on a sandwich and a cup of tea and makes sure everyone knows it . You see hand to mouth poverty where every dollar earned is dedicated to survival or placating whatever demon or angel you have managed to acquire in your travels …You see $500 a pop slot machines and $ 1 beer and hot dogs.
The obsession with that feeling of winning the big hand of filling the inside straight ..of chasing that empty feeling of arbitrary triumph, the false notion that being wealthy or being good at football or hustling somehow makes you more important in the cosmic scheme of reality than the person who is struggling to pay the bills and hold themselves up with some dignity … It is as potent as any drug ever made. It fills the night sky in this city. It is in the air and water and make no mistake about it in the end you are both just specks in the dust storm….Gotta stop watching dystopian sci fi before bed .
That is life, love and karma in the City of Sin.
May the muse bless your waking and dreaming hours and may your demons stay silent and your angels sing like a stack of four story amps at a grand metal reunion.
Love You Sinners