At long last, I finally had set my home office up enough to move my things back in:
The month passed by with some friends moving out of town, other out of town guests stopping by for dinner, and landing my first ever modeling gig for the New York New York Casino. I had to play a geeky guy for one of their bar/party ads:
To celebrate, a lot of adventures on Fremont Street were had. everything from ziplining, to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patty’s in Vegas is a destroyer of livers. A lot of green, and a lot of every mixed drink known to humanity. Even Jell-O shots and a portable keg were mixed into the equation. How I survive these adventures at times is quite beyond my capacity.
But survive I did, just in time for Brooke to come into town. That in itself was another fun round of Fremont Street (the fortune teller there told me I would make it to my ’70′s and have a number of marriages) adventures and ziplining, and a trip out to Blue Diamond to eat at Bonnie Springs, and check out Cactus Joe’s, this awesome little gardening store/zen resort that hosts all kinds of lawn items and is a refuge for stray animals. This place remains one of my favorite places on the outskirts of Vegas to visit.
But as Brooke left, so began my next gig. To date, it remains one of the strangest gigs that I have ever done, which is precisely why I loved it.
As stated before, the city of Las Vegas loves nothing more than destroying anything old. At the time, they were already in the early stages of closing the Sahara Casino, so it was of a major surprise to me that the ailing Plaza, one of the older and worn-down casinos on Fremont Street was actually getting a stay of execution and was being renovated, as opposed to destroyed. I’m sure the anguished tears of some property developer wailed through the hallways at this development.
Not much was left open of the casino during renovation, save for a tiny portion of the gaming floor. For this gig, we ended up going into the “Off Limits” areas where the rooms are/were….
It was terrifying.
It looked like a cross between a crack house, and a video game inspired zombie apocalypse. Windows were smashed, allowing cool breezes to waft in, carpets stripped, smashed toilets in the center of almost every room, lights left ripped and dangling out of sockets. A group of cast and crew decided to take an elevator, and the elevator broke, so you could hear their screams and poundings on the doors as they tried to escape. The perfect horror film could have been made here.
This particular gig was informercial, and by God, I will continue to scour the globe in my quest to find a copy of this thing, as it was only going to be shown in China.
Shot in the abandoned Firefly Restaurant, it was for “Diet chocolate”. Some magical chocolate “guaranteed” to make people easily drop 70+ pounds in 4-5 weeks. The “progress” alone made me more than a little skeptical, not to mention the moral and ethical questioning of something so sudden and potentially dangerous.
The “success stories” were some of Vegas’s more attractive male and female models. One of which being the girl that I had piggybacked upon only the previous week before during my casino shoot. “B-but Guy”, I hear you say, “How could that be?”
Fat suits and prosthetic make-up.
The pics I saw made these people look Oompah-Loompah huge, like Violet’s bad gum-chewing experiment, or any number of Eddie Murphy’s cross-dressing fat suit films that he’s made over the years. It defied “overweight”, or “obese”, or “rubenesque”. They made them up like the Death Star had sprouted arms and legs and went mobile. And yet, when the “Miracle Diet Chocolate” took hold of them, they all became models with a fine wardrobe, perfect hair and make-up, and one of them became a “pop star”.
My jaw dropped for this one. The girl was nice to chat with and very friendly (I had to talk to this girl after what I had witnessed), but she came out to sing Cher’s “Do You Believe In Life After Love”. Not her covering the song, but lip-synching to a CD or MP3 or whatever they had playing for her. This was “her” (the pop singer’s) voice over “her” song. Why was this happening? What was going on? I watched the crowd as utterly baffled looks formed on everyone’s faces, like no one could fathom this newly turned corner of madness.
At break, I marched up to her and said: “Your vocal range is uncanny. You sound just like Cher.” She laughed, but explained her own confusion about how weird the scenarios of the whole shoot had been. It only made me jealous that I hadn’t been there the day before with the fat suits and the absurd events that unfolded. I was only a member of the guest audience, but they had us hooting and hollering like we were on an episode of Jerry Springer. And the crew loved us getting absolutely ridiculous in the audience. And nothing was “too much”. I tested this by bringing back Arsenio Hall’s “Dog Pound” gesture, and high fived my fellow audience members. The crew loved it, and were just having a great time filming the thing. It was a like a parody or a Saturday Night Live skit.
The script itself kept using plural of “hearts” and “livers”, which made me wonder if the sudden shock to the body of all the weight loss was nullified by growing new organs on the fly. Who cares if you have heart failure? You’ll have grown 12 new back-up hearts in the last few weeks that will kick in the second the current one putters out. And then yet another male model told the camera audience that he was a “real doctor” as part of the script, and there’s no disclaimer that he’s not. No wonder this is only being shown in China. The FDA would have a field day with this shoot.
It was certainly more entertaining than the flu that I ended up with, or the almost jury duty that I had to contend with.