I am born, raised and live in Las Vegas.
Anywhere on the planet I have ever gone, when I am introduced as being from Las Vegas, I am always asked what it is like to live here, or told about a trip somebody is planning or still recovering from. Waking up in a hotel room two states away earlier this month and going about my business that day was the first time the excitement in meeting a Vegas Native (yes...we are a rare breed) was met with with sorrow, sympathy and empathy. Seeing your hometown suffer a tragedy like the events of October 1st, in simple terms: profound.
Ever since Mandalay Bay opened, it has been one of my favorite resorts on The Strip. Great food, nightlife, daylife, spas, rooms, venues….you could check in Monday and check out Friday, and never have to leave the property. The two largest audiences I have ever performed for happened at Mandalay Bay. Once as a loop artist, the other as a trumpeter. Mandalay Bay has always, still continues to be a very special place to.
Years ago…..I mean years ago. I was working a job near the Strip. It was the first week of training and all week my eye had been caught by a girl who just had the certain something that made her stand out. On the second to last day of the work week, I asked for her number. On the last day, I asked her to spend the afternoon with me after work.
“Where do you want to go?” she asks.
“Howabout Mandalay Bay?” I reply.
“Perfect.” She says.
We meet. We get lunch. We walk around the casino. We check out the view from the top of the tower. Finally we walk down to the pool. Actually, thats a lie….We snuck into the pool. So there we were, two young lovers-to-be….in the middle of the summer... laying on deck chairs….wearing head to toe black. Long sleeves, slacks, boots. (It was our work uniform). We didn’t exactly blend in with all of the sunburns, floppy hats and swimsuits that lined the pool.
The afternoon was going really well. The conversation never stopped until...well it stopped. It didn’t stop because we ran out of things to talk about, it didn’t stop because things got boring. It stopped for the best reason possible.
She kissed me.
Not just, a kiss….but the kiss. The kiss that you hope in the awkward crucible of high school will one day finally come. The kind that screen writers explain and explore in prose better than my own. The kind that your write about years after it happened. It was the first time her and I shared a kiss together.
Soon after said kiss, someone took notice of the black clad couple in the pool. Room keys and numbers were requested by security and upon failure of her and I to materialize with a decent cover story: we were politely shown the door. The near-heatstroke, the sunburn...all if it was worth it. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change anything, hell, I still wouldn’t apply sunscreen.
That's my town.
That's my Mandalay Bay.
Beautiful things happen there every day. Beautiful things happen in this city all the time. Even amidst the chaos and carnage, heroic and beautiful stories surfaced. Total strangers saving each other’s lives. First responders establishing order in the thick of unheard of chaos. Watching the videos of people getting reunited can make even the saltiest person tear up and the expidience in which funds were raised for the victims and their families.
Fifty Eight people didn’t make it home that night. Fifty eight people. Fifty eight communities, families, friends, book clubs, jobs paths, flourishing careers, sons, daughters, wives.
You don’t have to go far here in Las Vegas to find someone that was either at the event, or knew someone that was...and more common than I want to admit, knew somebody that was lost.
Like anyone else in their right mind, I don’t have answers. All you have is the process that is uniquely yours to help understand Oct 1….
Last week, I went to the ‘Welcome To Las Vegas’ Sign to pay my own brand of respect to those we lost and the hundreds injured. A sea of flowers, cards, flags, candles, jerseys and hundreds of others types of mementos flooded sign area. It was incredible to see people in the local, regional, national and international community to come together and support one another.
On my way out from the sign area I stopped to take a couple of photos (all of the ones I have posted here) and a big gust blew from the east. A large piece of posterboard with well wishes inscribed was blown from the vigil and was headed for the street. I moved to get in front of it to save it from blowing away and no sooner had I moved those three steps do I turn around to five people already finding stuff to put on top of it as I set it down, helping secure it, helping it find it’s place…..helping.
A microcosm of the whole event: Unexpected events met with complete strangers helping other….and helping those that can’t help themselves, or those that aren’t with us anymore.
That’s my city.
That’s Las Vegas…
And beautiful things happen here every day.
Las Vegas, NV
October 20, 2017
Just Alliance's Blog
Thoughts, ideas and musical musings from this Silver State Loop Artist.