I finally tried Del Taco for the first time last month. My friends and I were driving to Vegas for a weekend trip and we stopped at one of the original locations in Barstow. I had their special Barstow taco and it was everything I dreamed it would be. And by that I mean nothing majorly special. But not bad!
Vegas Nuke Parties
When my friends and I were in Vegas last month, we stayed at an Airbnb which was actually a suite in a hotel on the quiet end of the strip. I’ve always stayed on the more active side (like at the Palazzo and the Mirage), and there was something charming about being in the less developed area (for now – since they tore down a few hotels and are in the process of building new ones).
I’m really fascinated by the history of Vegas, especially the seedier side of things that are now getting swept away to make room for larger, more corporate facilities. One of my favorite “forgotten” things about Vegas history is that it’s near the former US nuclear testing site, so back in the day people would gather to watch the tests and casinos would throw watch parties with dancers and atomic-influenced drinks.
Here’s a great interactive article that details the history of the test site, the Vegas parties, and the “downwinders” who suffered the consequences of it all.
There’s a museum about all this that I’d love to visit one day. I really need to plan a trip to do that and the Neon Graveyard (and to see Penn and Teller, since I’m lowkey obsessed with them).
During my trip to Vegas, my friends discovered that I had never seen the movie “Showgirls.” I haven’t seen a lot of movies, and that one has always been at the bottom of my priority list. Regardless, we made plans for a special movie night so I could finally experience it.
The most important thing about watching “Showgirls” is watching it with the commentary track on. Specifically the David Schmader commentary track. And watching it with a group helps, too. And lots of wine.
Basically, Schmader used to screen the movie doing IRL commentary all over America and ended up recording it for a special edition of the movie. I don’t think I could have sat through all 2.5 hours of it without his humor and insights and his points of additional context that illustrate how the movie failed gloriously in every way possible.
I honestly don’t care much for Vegas. I’m fascinated by it, but I generally think it’s a little creepy and I don’t have any emotional connection to the place so I’m somewhat indifferent to its changes and development.
That said, I was a little sad to see the Riviera in a half-demolished state when I was there in July. I honestly don’t know much about the history of the place (aside from what I read on Wikipedia on the car ride home), but I appreciated it for its place in pop culture and its general seediness on a side of the strip that will soon go from seedy to very sleek and developed.
Vegas is so fake. The facades, the illusion of wealth, the people (to some extent). It’s refreshing to see little glimpses of authenticity through places that are unabashedly run down. It’s why I appreciate Circus Circus even though it creeps me the hell out.
Though they are putting a Momofuku into the Cosmo and I’m psyched about that, so I guess I can’t be too mad at pseudo-ritzy newly developed Vegas.