April 19 & 20, 2003 - 36 hours in Las Vegas
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The first two years of Viva Las Vegas (1998 & 1999), I paid for a ticket to the event and for a room at the Gold Coast. But I discovered two main things really quick - the ballroom of the Gold Coast is always dangerously overpacked, thus miserable, and I can't sleep at the Gold Coast. Now I don't pay for a ticket to the Viva Las Vegas event, I drive out on Saturday, hang out Saturday night with friends in the casino of the Gold Coast, have brunch on Sunday, and then drive back on Sunday. It makes for a much more fun and cheap weekend.
This summer while having drinks at the Holly Bush pub in Hampstead Heath (London) with Amos Clarke (no. 2 guy at the VLV org, and head web designer), I told him about my frustrations with the overpacked ballroom and my new solution. Amos, being the lovely amiable gentleman that he is, didn't get mad at me but told me that this year (2003) that Tom Ingram was setting things up so that folks could not just come and not pay for the ticket. Well, the 2nd floor was only for ticket holders, but the casino where a lot of the people are gambling and drinking was still open to the public.
Yes, I miss a lot - the bands, the car show, etc, but did I mention that it is cheaper to only go for 36 hours? Under a hundred bucks... But in that 36 hours, I saw a lot - Black Monday and the Irish Brothers at Money Plays, friends at the Casino of the Gold Coast (Lori is pregnant!!!!), late night dinner with Sin City Jimi at the Pang Ping Pong restaurant at the Gold Coast, watch Yvonne play Black Jack, some sleep at the Rio, and then brunch at Paris with Liz, Sandra, Justin, and James.
Here are the pictures to prove it, in vague chronological order.