Sunday, August 30, 2015


The rest of the best...just a few descriptive comments for the ones who don't recognize what they're seeing - the Aladdin's lamp from atop the Aladdin Casino (now Planet Hollywood); the first half of the Stardust sign (another casino of Vegas "legend" now).
Lido de Paris, which was inside the Stardust Casino; Fitzgerald's golden coinage; and retro stars from the Stardust.
So much going on here, and not sure of all of it, but definitely a shamrock from Fitzgerald's; the old Riviera sign in the background; a large E that looks to be from the Frontier, at one time; and a king among men, though I didn't pay attention to where he held court before the Boneyard.
The old El Cortez sign (the hotel still operates downtown); and The Showboat (up the river without a paddle - in other words...gone, too).
The old Sahara Hotel and Casino - gone, but replaced by the SLS (referred to by some locals as the Sahara with Lip Stick).
You got me?!
One of the old motels on the outskirts of town.
Local signage - the pool player is all welded metal and rebar - pretty impressive work of art.
Self explanatory.
Wedding chapel, dry cleaners, Fox Theater, and the Flamingo; a hod-podge of business signage, including TELEMUNDO!; the old Silver Slipper and Desert Inn signs; and the last Frontier.  Gone, gone, and gone.
Silver Slipper; letters from the Desert Inn; and star from the Tropicana, I believe.
Wedding Chapel sign bottom right.
Lady Luck and Fitzgerald's.
Tropicana (still around); Moulin Rouge (long gone); and the Shamrock from Fitzgerald's.  The DUCK mentioned in the first post - a LARGE sign from a local used car dealership.  Great example of how intricate some of the neon could be - the blue channels between the features and yellow feathers, separated the different colors of neon, so it didn't all "blend together" upon viewing from a distance!
Vegas was home to "Mr. Showmanship", Liberace, for years before his death in 1987.  This hung above the old Liberace Museum in town, which is now defunct - his mansion has recently been restored to it's old grandeur.
Fun among the signs...Queen of Hearts Hotel (formerly The Casbah), was demolished in 2010.
And last, but never least, the large Silver Slipper that once stood high above the old Strip Casino and Hotel.  This stands to the side of the Neon Museum on LV Blvd., as part of the National Scenic Byways “Neon Signs” Project. The Museum (or Boneyard, as it is lovingly known around town) was established in 1996 (I first walked the lot in 95'), as a not-for-profit organization, the Museum's mission is to collect, preserve, and exhibit the classic Las Vegas art form of neon.  All proceeds from sales/"donations" of ticket prices go directly for preservation of the signs (the latest is the Desert Rose Motel sign).  In town and want to check it out?   They're serving Cosmic Cocktails among the lit signs on the evening of September 18th -

Friday, August 28, 2015


Today's the day my Mom was born, and celebrates as her own.  I miss being home for the special days, but celebrate them each and every day, in my is one of the most special!
She's our rock - our anchor.  Loved by all - envied by some - hated by the new insurance companies (HA!).  Barbara; Bobbie; Babe; Mom; Gra (as in "Graugh" - the name my 1-year-old son hung on her, that has stuck a two kids STILL call her Gra to this day); Grandma; Great-Grandma; love of our lives.  These were all taken this summer in Santa Fe, and Denver - she makes oppressive heat look cool, somehow!  She'll be here in a few weeks, and we will continue the celebration we started last month, when I was home.  Party Central's got nuthin' on us, girl!
So, here's to you, Barb - 29 never looked better!  Love you to the moon and back, Mom - XOXO

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


What better way to start off vacation photos than with a trip through my "backyard".  A nod, right off the bat, to the latest Las Vegas iconic casino to close (just this past week) - the old downtown Las Vegas Club Casino.  Disclaimer up front, these have all been color enhanced a wee bit - these old signs screamed "circus sideshow feel" to me the other day, so I breathed just a tad of life back into them.  Beautiful on their own, these faded beauties made me smile with the added "oomph" to their old colors - I do love color!  This will be a two-part post - "Field Trip Friday" will follow...on Friday, of course.
If you're in Vegas (or you live here and don't get out much), this is one of the BEST attractions outside of the glitz and glamour of the casinos - the signs that lead many TO the glitz and glamour INSIDE the casinos. Two acres (it's all outdoors, so plan accordingly - umbrellas and water are HIGHLY recommended) and 150+ old rescued neon signs, ranging from the recognizable Las Vegas landmarks, to restaurants, to a duck from a used car dealership.  It's where old signs go to die...and hopefully find new life at the hands of some great restorative workmanship.  The giant Silver Slipper is one of eight, so far, placed at various spots along downtown Las Vegas Boulevard.
The lobby from the original La Concha Hotel was moved in 2006, from it's location on the Las Vegas Strip, to serve as the museum's Visitor Center.  Originally built in 1961, it's the perfect example of the space-age/atomic craze of the time (THE "Bomb" had its beginnings here in the Vegas desert. Vegas also houses The National Atomic Testing Museum, which is quite something to see, too).   Tours are all docent guided, and all start through these doors. The upper right neon sign was from the original facade at Binion's Horseshoe Casino.
One of the original downtown casinos - the Golden Nugget, built in 1946.
It is thought that the 1905 reference above the big golden nugget is to the year Las Vegas was incorporated as a city.
The La Concha sign traveled with the original lobby.  Large pink feather from The Flamingo, resting in front of the old Fox Theater sign. The remaining letters from the Moulin Rouge Casino are bottom right.
So many memories down this lane - Stardust, Showboat, Sahara, Sassy Sally's - all visible remnants. The City Center Motel sign leads me to wonder if the NOW City Center complex wasn't named for this, exactly! And the lower right is, obviously, the "money shot"!
Sassy Sally's
Two of the more "old school" memories - Binion's Horseshoe and The Stardust signs.
In addition to the "big guns" of Las Vegas neon, are the smaller motels and restaurants.  It's amazing to me just how much of the original neon tubing, and how many of the light bulbs have actually lasted, intact, over all these years (and moves).
The Minima sign was in front of a roadside truck-stop - offering free aspirin and "tender mercies" for those leaving town (the amount of free aspirin given away was staggering).  The "Color TV" sign made me smile - SUCH a big deal in the motels at one time...something we take for granted now.
Neon letters - I go back in a few weeks, and have promised myself an entire alphabet.  This was my third trip through - ten years ago were the first two treks.  Ten years ago, this was housed in a LARGE, fenced, vacant lot with knee-high weeds, broken glass, and a seriously different vibe, though WAY fabulous.  Today, you walk with your head up and not looking down at what you are stepping on, through some seriously well thought-out display areas.  My fine-arts grad daughter even commented on the great shadows being cast by the structures that day, along with the obvious visual overload.
This trip was spent with two of my favorite daughter Jaci (pronounced "Jackie"), and her cousin (my niece), Jessi.  Lots of photo ops here, along with some great history on the signs AND the town itself - the docents are well versed.  A little more about the park itself on Friday, but you can click here
If you want to go, and are facing incredible daytime heat (we are STILL in triple digits - I was watching last night, and at 9:00 p.m., it was 99 degrees), shoot for the morning hours.  If the heat doesn't bother you (it's not this hot ALL year round - just most of it), you're "in like Flynn! Take that water - take that umbrella - make your reservations in advance, as they are selling out weeks in advance - yes, it's that cool!

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Happy belated 58th 59th(!) Anniversary to two wonderful parents, who I was lucky enough to spend a few months with this summer, just bummin' around.  You make 59 years look easy and youthful! Love you to the moon and back.

Spent the last few months in the Southwest; hiking through ancient spots in Colorado, wearing a pair of well-loved Cowboy boots; wore those same boots to a special wedding in the mountains, that I got to photograph, and just plain enjoying myself - too bad the husband person hates to travel, but so happy I get to enjoy my parents at this point in my life.  Lots of photos to show, starting next week.  Yes, I am BACK!