I'm in Las Vegas dropping in on the Fab 5, who are shooting several mind-blowing episodes of QUEER EYE.
My Vegas threshold is usually 48 hours of entertainment before I want to throw a match on the town as I watch it disappear in the rearview mirror. Some things about Vegas are unavoidable. There are amusement park-style lines for everything, and I am not amused. There are people wearing badges with their names and the company they represent, and I don't want to know.
"The Price is Right Live" is considered a viable option for a night out at the theater, and it sounds kind of good. It costs four bucks per transaction at an ATM regardless of where you are. There is bad, multicolored, ill-advised patterned carpet everywhere and it's only a matter of time before they just carpet the streets, throw a roof over them and make the whole town indoor.
I landed at 10 pm, waited in a 40-minute taxi line, and then waited in a 20-minute check-in at the Paris hotel -- which is more like a Hilton than a city. I dropped off my bags and bolted to meet Carson, Jai, Thom and the fab Scout Productions team of Michael Williams, Linda Lea and David Collins at the Imperial Palace -- which was neither Imperial nor a Palace. What this loveable dump did have was "Dealertainment!" Celebrity-impersonator dealers lorded over each table. "Michael Jackson" ruled the roulette, "Blondie" brokered blackjack and "Marilyn" massacred the memory of Monroe.
Led by Carson (wearing white pants, Gucci loafers and a white Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater), we parked at "Gwen Stefani's" 15 dollar-minimum blackjack table. "Gwen" was on fire and I was up. She dealt for an hour before hitting the stage next to our pit to perform her number. (Dealertainment involves the dealers actually performing.) She sang better than Jessica Simpson, which is unfair to "Gwen," who really could sing.
Thom got a call from Kyan and disappeared to go direct him how to get from Caeser's to our table at the Imperial. We stayed put and ("True Blue" era) "Madonna" dealt. I was down. Thom reappeared with Kyan in tow about 40 minutes later, looking like he just survived a war and frustrated beyond belief. Though he was directing Kyan from Caeser's, which is essentially across the street, in Vegas crossing the street is not a simple equation and often involves monorails and popcorn.
It was very "who's on third," though hilarity never ensued. Tom was on the walkway above the street and Kyan was on the crosswalk below the walkway. It took them some time to realize that they were splitting hairs over the meaning of "crosswalk" vs. "walkway" because they were trying to convince each other by phone that they were in exactly the same spot. Oh, Vegas!
The sight of the Fabbers together (minus Ted) at a dumpy casino was too much for the crowd at the Imperial Palace. The guys are treated like rock stars and the people who are the most excited to greet them are the straightest of straight guys. Lumberjacks, truck drivers and jocks line up to fawn over Carson and Co., and there is something very sweet about the whole spectacle. Seeing them out in public makes you realize what an effect they and their show has had on guys who might not otherwise be stopping to shake hands with some queer guys.
The rest of the night is frankly something of a blur. I know that "Madonna" left us to perform "Like a Virgin" and "Marilyn" approached. Carson thought she was "Joan Rivers" and we all got a creepy vibe. Sometime after her set, "Madge" was back. I asked (ok, I think I begged) her to sing "Hung Up" and she said that she was wearing the wrong wig but she had a new (feathered) one at home so I should return. At some point, "Whitney" hit the stage and we flipped out for her. "Whitney" made a beeline for our table and took over. She was fierce, fast, and furious with her cards and threw a lot of attitude around.
I was on New York time and sobered up enough to realize that 6:30 am in NYC meant it might be time to go back to Paris. After all that time I came out a whopping 60 bucks ahead. I left the Fabbers at the Palace with "Whitney" and look forward to hearing what happened after I left.