Tag Archives: las vegas

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – AND I

Foreword by Stan Lerner: “The Phantom Of The Opera – And I” is not only the first blog of the new year 2010 for this writer, but is by definition the first blog of the new decade for this writer as well. To write about a masterpiece such as The Phantom Of The Opera is both a great honor and immense responsibility — I hope dear readers that you find that this writer has done The Phantom Of The Opera justice.

The email went something like: Sorry to bother you Rob, but I’d like to write a piece called “Dinner And A Show” so I’ll need some dinner reservations and tickets….

For better or worse, in the world of business, which I hold in moderate disdain, I am fairly well known for calling anyone. More than a few billionaires have taken my call, some have become close friends. For the record, many men of wealth and power have not taken my call—far more have not, than have, in fact. And I admit to the fact that I am offended by those who decline, for I am of an overly sensitive nature—this too is well known.

So why email such a request to the President of The Venetian Hotel and Casino for what in the grand-scheme of his day is a seemingly trivial matter…To date the vast amount of the words I have penned with respect to Las Vegas are of the 25 to 50-year-old adolescent having a vicescapade, variety. And yes, I did just invent the word vicescapade. Did I choose this voice for my stories of Sin City? No. The voice chose me as there was no serious point of origination, no anchor—stories of drinking, drugs and zombie sex ensued. And make not a mistake, all to the delight of most readers. There is no shortage of appetite for my debauchery among my faithful bibliophiles. But before leaving Las Vegas, this time, I am compelled, by some phantom, to write a story with a soul. And even if this involved only the forwarding of my email to the person in charge of dealing with someone like me—there is a point of origin at the very heart of The Venetian for all else said. The Phantom Of The Writer’s demanded this and now our story may begin…

THE NIGHT BEFORE

The desert’s clear sky insured that it would be a cold, winter night, but regardless of climate I would be cold, for I am always cold, my soul that of a lover of God, yet my blood perpetually chilled by the sins of my flesh. It was my sixtieth, consecutive, twenty- hour day of writing—usually she comes by day forty-five, oh but she is an unfaithful lover. You see there is a phantom assigned to all of the world’s tasks, but it is the Phantom Of The Writers that I am a slave to, she is the siren of sirens as there is nothing more powerful than the craft she presides over. And there is no greater ego than found in those of who practice it…

“I’ve been waiting for you,” I said looking up from the computer—today’s quill.

She walked towards me. And like a virgin experiencing love for the first time my heart trembled, my breath became uneasy. The fragrant scent of her body filled my nostrils, intoxicating she is. Her white skin, close to translucent, as she is the nearest creation to Eve—in Eve’s original state of being, before Adam demanded opaqueness from mankind. Her eyes are smoldering coals. Her lips, perfectly formed, are red and filled with life. And the most beautiful face in the Universe is framed in black hair that shines with a life unto itself. A gentle wisp across my own face is enough to cause one to want to die—happy.

“Tales of Sin City, my love,” she said sitting down in the chair next to my own.

“I think every city should have its own voice, so I’ve given this city…”

“No need to explain, people are entitled to have some fun…” She smiled, which was a more than adequate conclusion to her thought, “How banal the use of the talent I’ve given you.” Continue reading

ROAD TO NOWHERE

FOREWORD BY STAN LERNER: downtownster does not celebrate its first birthday until February, but I still feel compelled to post the TEN BEST downtownster blogs of 2009. And while I think all of our blogs have been great, these are the ones that readers read the most and gave us the highest level of props for writing. ROAD TO NOWHERE, originally posted novella style, was not only a great adventure, but a chance for some serious self-reflection. Not a bad thing to do these days… 

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“If anybody would like to join the first downtownster road to nowhere road trip I’ll be leaving Thursday or Friday,” I said to the meeting of the Marketing Round Table. “I don’t know where we’re going or when we’ll get there, but that’s the idea. And uh, you could get on or off the trip at any time or place—providing that there is an airport of course.” NO TAKERS

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Friday morning 4:30 a.m. the 1996, black, Chevy Suburban docked at the curb of my childhood home in Montebello, CA—Montebello is Italian for beautiful hills. And it is from this very spot, that I have departed for many an adventure. I am fortunate to, over an excessively well-lived lifetime, have developed a number of friends who are willing to embark on such journeys. And I should be careful to mention here that some of these individuals were mere acquaintances or even less familiar at the time of departures, but traveling and adventure make for far greater bonds than the songs of fraternity boys in their beer soaked homes.

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This particular morning it was to be my old high school buddy Mike Munoz picking me up. Although he went to West Point and achieved the rank of Colonel I still refer to him as my Mexican—I find this term of endearment more special than he does.

“The 15?” he asked.

“Sure. Let’s grab breakfast in Vegas and see if Andy wants to come with…No his mom is visiting…Let’s grab breakfast in Vegas and stop by to see Andy anyway. Maybe he can meet up with us later… How many miles do you have on this thing?”

“One hundred and eighty-six thousand. Where do you want to eat in Vegas?” asked Mike, seemingly settled into our trip within minutes. Twenty-five years ago a trip in his yellow, convertible corvette took us from coast to coast…

“All these years I’ve been going to Vegas, working in Vegas, living in Vegas, and I’ve never eaten at The Egg and I. Have you?”

He shook his head. “No. Where is it?”

“On Sahara. Let’s go there.”

Forty minutes of good conversation ensued until…  “Hey that’s the 15,” I said pointing at the exit. The Suburban swung across five lanes of traffic as can only be accomplished at such an early hour on the 10 Freeway. We could have wound up in Palm Springs or Arizona for that matter, but that’s the point, it really didn’t matter.

“Hey, let’s pull off in Barstow I like the new Starbucks there—cute girl baristas.”

Mike shrugged. “Okay.”

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ROAD TO NOWHERE PART II

The black Suburban rolled down the highway with the mean rumble of a venerated work vehicle. I raised the cappuccino, which I held in my hand, to my lips and took the first soothing sip. Given the distinctly not stylish clothing being warn by Mike and myself and the rugged “Road Warrior” appearance of our vehicle my choice of a cappuccino, as my early morning sustenance seemed a strange juxtaposition—black coffee would have been the appropriate beverage of such a portrait. Continue reading

NO ENCORE FOR OLIVER

FOREWORD BY STAN LERNER: Downtownster does not celebrate its first birthday until February, but I still feel compelled to post the TEN BEST downtownster blogs of 2009. And while I think all of our blogs have been great, these are the ones that readers read the most and gave us the highest level of props for writing. Of course it should come as no surprise that “The Adventures Of Downtown Oliver Brown” made the list more than once. It was a hell of a year!!! 

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“Whooooo Shiiiiiiit!!! Look what the cat done dragged into Vegas!!!!” screamed the large, handsome, cowboy looking fellow that had come to greet us at the airport.

            I staggered off of Stan Peters’ Gulfstream V and watched as the cowboy fellow lifted Stan off of the floor in a hug that would have crushed a hearty Grizzly, no doubt. Hopefully you’ve read the last blog where the drinking binge that resulted in the flight to Las Vegas with Stan on his private jet began. Because Stan’s Gulfsream is well stocked with fine Scotch the drinking had continued unabated until the moment where our story continues:

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            “James Whiskey Peet the third, I’d like you to meet the best and possibly most dysfunctional writer in Hollywood, Downtown Oliver Brown.”

            James Whiskey Peet the third, crushed my hand with a vice like grip. “Well any friend of Stan Peters the scummiest and most powerful producer in Hollywood is a friend of mine.”

 I pried my hand loose. “Are those real six shooters you’ve got strapped on there, James Whiskey Peet the third?” 

            He pulled the pearl handled, diamond studded, beautiful instruments of death with the skill of true shootest and fired off a couple shots each into the air. “Damn right they’re real—writer boy. And call me Whiskey Peet! Now enough of this shiiiiiit hop in the car and let’s go play some cards!” Then wrapping his arm around my shoulder. “Bet you don’t have any cars like this in that faggot, liberal city you just flew in from.”

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            I took in Whiskey Peet’s Rolls Royce Phantom stretch limousine. It actually made Stan’s normal Rolls Royce Phantom look small. My eyes had some trouble focusing but eventually made their way down to the front of the car where they came to rest on an enormous set of what appeared to be solid silver steer horns.

            “This is a fine automobile Whiskey Peet. I take it that it’s equipped with a bar?”

            He slapped me on the back. “My boy! My boy! Get your ass in there and see for yourself.”

            Whiskey Peet shoved Stan and myself through the back door where we were greeted by a bunch of girls wearing nothing but chaps and cowgirl vests…And a guy named Dave.

            “Girls these are my boys from the coast!” The girls all said, “hi” on cue and made various comments about how cute we were. “And boys that’s my buddy Dave The Jew!” Continue reading

DISCOVERING PLEASURES AT TREASURES

It had been a long day of wine tasting at the Hilton, literally more than a thousand wines to choose from. And there was Billy O’ Rourke’s new tequila served by hot girls via cold ice luge—you get the picture. So later as I sat at the Circle Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel one can easily understand why I might be content to sit and watch Fedor knock out yet another MMA opponent. I can’t wait to see Brock Lesnar and Fedor come to blows, my money will be on Fedor who doesn’t bother with product endorsements, although his right hand might just be the cure for Brock’s foot in the mouth disorder. Anyway, I just wanted to sit, drink (more) and watch the fight.

“I have no interest in watching MMA, let’s roll to Hofbrauhaus and drink some beer and…” said my buddy Isaiah, an exec. at The Venetian.

“You go, I’m watching the fight. I’ll come over when it’s done.”

So I’m talking to Ken the dentist visiting from San Diego to my left when a kid, by kid I mean 22-year-old, pulls up next to me in the seat Isaiah had just vacated. I was hoping for someone of the female variety, obviously, but he seemed decent enough. I was slightly alarmed that he ordered a beer rather than a real drink, like Ken and I, but I reminded myself that the youth of today, well let’s face it, they’re little girls when it comes to vice. Anyway, I included him in the fight conversation with Ken and unlike my buddy Isaiah he did indeed have an interest in some good old ass kicking.

“So what is there to do around here,” he asked.

“This is Vegas, what is there not to do?” I responded. “You’re not from around here are you?”

“I’m from Sweden, I’ve been here for four hours…”

“You’ve never been to Vegas before?” He shook his head. And that’s when I notice two average looking young girls eyeing me, they had “college kids playing hooker in Vegas” written all over them—so I waved them over. I figure that I don’t really give as much money as I should to charity, but I make up for it by helping kids like these two get through school. And since I was feeling particularly philanthropic I nodded toward my new friend from Sweden, thinking that he might like to get a proper start in Vegas.

“So do you want to go up to your room and get naked, the four of us?” asked part time college hooker number one. Continue reading

A BLAST FROM THE PAST IN LAS VEGAS – NOT EXACTLY

“So you’re in Vegas staying at Fat Andy’s house?” asked Norm Rosenstein, my accountant, whom I put in charge of all of my former business interests from way back in my empire building years of insanity.

“Yeah, he has an extra bedroom,” I responded…Norm usually gives me the business about my lack of interest in the business around this time of year.

“You have fifty-seven unoccupied houses, two in Vegas, why are you crashed out at Fat Andy’s?”

Frankly, I had forgotten about the houses in Vegas. “That many houses? I didn’t realize…I get lonely, I prefer to stay with friends…”

“Stan, fifty-seven houses, one hundred and four automobiles, a G-4 and a Citation all costing money and nothing you seemingly have any interest in. Besides my fiduciary responsibility as the trustee that you appointed, some of your friends and family are calling me…”

“C’mon Norm you’re stressing me out…Why don’t you come out and have some fun?”

“I read your blog last week along with a million other people…You don’t really think that the ghost of Howard Hughes is riding shotgun with you these days?”

I looked over at Howard who was indeed sitting next to me in the Benz…Apparently he really likes my car. He mentioned, that had he not died, he would have designed this exact car.

“Norm, I was kidding about Howard…I’m delusional not crazy! Anyway, I need to pull into Starbucks and do some writing can we pick this up tomorrow?”

“Stan you have to grow up again…I mean what happened, you used to be a business machine?”

“Money is base Norm…It bores me. To be continued…” I hung up the iphone.

Howard gave me a thumbs-up. “I thought you handled that superlatively,” he grinned that haunting grin.

“Norm means well. And he’s made me like a billion dollars or something, but I just can’t get into it. I like to write, it’s my passion.”

“I know, I felt the same way about flying…You will be confronted with the catalyst for your change (awakening) you know—sooner or later.” Again that haunting grin.

So as I sat at Starbucks updating my facebook status it really was no surprise that the last girl I had wanted to marry, before giving up on the conventional empire building life that Norm wishes I would regain my zeal for, popped up with a comment. I don’t know how Howard knows the answers to everything from curing zombie fever and if I may digress for a moment, I don’t know what’s better, having sex with the zombie girl who keeps on biting me or the antidote of sleeping with the married midget who looks like a mini Megan Fox, but this is, in no small part, why I haven’t gone back to LA…Anyway, Howard was right again, we all have our own path, but there are circumstances that for better or worse influence how we get to where we are meant to go.

Out of kindness I’ll just call this girl G…

“Vegas baby! I’m in Vegas for my Birthday!” Read the comment on my facebook status.

Since we hadn’t spoken, but for a chance meeting ten years ago in Central Park, for fifteen years, I found this to be an incredible coincidence. But the fact that we had become facebook friends surely meant that there was still some type of closure needed…I accepted her invitation to meet her and her friend at Tao for dinner. Continue reading

HALLOWEEN LAS VEGAS no small affair

LAST BLOG

So last we left off I had just left the Michael Jackson “This Is It” premier at the Palms / Brenden Theatre. And I was feeling the terrible effects of the bite from the zombie girl that I had, had sex with in the bathroom at Mickie Finnz…And the ghost of Howard Hughes had given me some troubling advice as I drove to meet Jessie “James Super VIP Host” Gibson who was helping Nightlife Marketing Guru Alicia decorate Cherry Nightclub at the Red Rock Casino…

“This is Stan?” Alicia asked Jessie, as I strolled up to Cherry, which was in the process of getting a large pair of fangs over its entrance—to give it the proper atmosphere for the upcoming Halloween Fang Banger’s Ball.

“Yeah,” responded Jessie.

“He’s hot for a middle aged writer.”

I took her hand and kissed it. “Flattery and money will get you everywhere with me. What would you like me to review?” I gesticulated toward my own finely tailored double-breasted suit. “I was at a movie premiere thus the suit…Otherwise I’ve been dressing more casual so as to fit in and get good stories…Fly on the wall kind of thing…But it hasn’t been working.”

“You look a little pale. Are you feeling okay?” asked Jessie.

“We need to talk, I need your help.”

Jessie nodded toward the club. “We have the whole bar to ourselves.”

This of course made me forget about all of my problems!!! Moments later with a Jack and Diet in hand I tried to think of a subtle way to explain my strange pallor.

“Remember the zombie girl I had sex with in the bathroom while I was on a first date with Roxy?”

Jessie nodded. And Alicia laughed and said, “I loved that blog!”

I sighed. “Everyone did. But she bit me and now I’ve got zombie fever.”

“That’s not good,” said Jessie, probably wishing James “Hollywood Deal Maker” Westbrook hadn’t asked him to look after me while I stayed in Las Vegas indefinitely.

“It gets weirder,” I continued, “the ghost of Howard Hughes was just riding shotgun with me in the Benz and he said the only cure is to seduce a married midget—otherwise I’m a zonbie—f*ck, I can’t believe this happened. Everyone else just gets herpes and I get this.”

Alicia just giggled, clearly realizing that Jessie wasn’t’ kidding when he told her he had never met anyone quite like me.

“Stan do you think the fact that you’ve only slept nine hours in the last seven days might have something to do with all of this.”

I pulled up my sleeve and showed him my see through skin and fluorescent veins.

“Wooooo,” said Jessie, as he stared at evidence of my rapidly changing state.

“Do something,” said Alicia, no longer giggling.

“Okay, no big deal, I’m a VIP host I can make anything happen in this town. Why not this? How long did the ghost of Howard Hughes say that you have?”

“He didn’t, but I don’t think too long.”

“Look it’s Halloween all weekend. I’ll just invite a bunch of midget couples to our table at Prive…I’m sure you can take it from there.” Continue reading

PRIVE, TAO, NOIR – LAS VEGAS GRAND SLAM

Foreword by Stan Lerner: WARNING! this blog is a sexual escapade. If you are offended by promiscuity do not read any further. And for my readers who demanded some Downtown Oliver Brown salacious behavior you owe me because this really tired me out.

Roxy wanted to go to dinner—and I was confident that I could squeeze it in, drop her back off, she lives way the hell out there, and still meet Jessie “James Super VIP Host” Gibson at Prive by 10:30. And that’s how good a time I had the night before—I was going back to the same club two nights in a row—unheard of in Sin City. Oh, and then I planned on going to Toa and Noir…I call this a Las Vegas Grand Slam…I know Alec Silverman is out there somewhere waiting to correct me factually given I’ve only named three places, but a Las Vegas Grand Slam has nothing to do with places, so not going to happen old sport.

What I hadn’t planned on was a sexual encounter with a zombie. See, I decided to take Roxy to Freemont Street and enjoy some fish tacos outside at Mickie Finnz…Out of the gutter boys I really wanted fish tacos. Anyway, it turns out unbeknownst to either Roxy or myself that there was a dance of the dead going on upstairs—and a good dance of the dead is always preceded by a march of the dead, in this particular instance down Freemont Street. So there I was in the bathroom minding my own business taking care of business…

“Excuse me this is the men’s bathroom,” I said to the extremely attractive, mutilated, Catholic schoolgirl. Continue reading

TAO – NIGHTCLUB

I think I mentioned last week that I had a great dinner at Tao. What I didn’t mention was that on this one night little Vegas excursion with James Westbrook, Hollywood deal maker extraordinaire, that good old (he’s not actually old) Jessie Gibson plopped down and joined us for some vittles. Jessie “James” VIP Host as I call him is actually just that. Much like my little brother (we’re not actually brothers) Carlos “Pure” Harper, Jessie is a guy that can get you settled and all comfy with a bottle of the good stuff at Tao and or Prive. And for those not so familiar, two of the better clubs in Vegas. And so it went that Jessie and I resolved to go out and do some merry making—thus I returned to Sin City and Tao, but not before a couple of stops.

“Let’s meet at Don Vicente’s and smoke some cigars,” said Dave The Jew.

“Good idea,” said I, as I plowed down the 15 toward Sahara—completely blowing off a very important meeting with Steve Wynn. Okay, the meeting with Steve Wynn is a complete falsehood, but you have to admit the pretext makes for a funny story.

Anyway, check out my blog about Don Vicente’s Cigars—in fact I’ll repost it on Monday when I will be way too tired from the weekend to write anything. So I sat and smoked cigars, really good cigars, with the boys—Dave The Jew, Fat Andy and others. Andy and I have been friends since second grade; just to throw in an extraneous fact meant to cause an endearing feeling about long lasting friendships. At some point Jessie stopped by. He’s not a big smoker, but I lighted him up anyway and Dave The Jew insisted that he drink some good whiskey…And I did too.

Six cigars and half a bottle later I met up with Jessie “James” VIP Host and a friend of his from LA whose name I can’t remember, but I’m sure he knows everyone. At Dos Caminos, which is located in Palazzo…And last week I gave Palazzo a pretty good review. Strange that I had noticed Dos Caminos, but didn’t mention it because I hadn’t eaten there. Anyway, at Dos Caminos we chilled with Executive Chef Roberto Hernandez and ate an incredible assortment of food. Roberto is all of 28 and he’s been cooking since he’s 4-years-old or something. I’m not going to get into a review here, but seriously my new best friend knows how to make some guacamole and chips. Funny, but just a touch of lime really makes a difference apparently. This restaurant is a sleeper—it could easily be way hot one day.

Tao—Jessie “James” VIP Host whisked us through the line. Continue reading

PALAZZO

Why in the middle of writing a script, “Downtown Oliver Brown”, I would hop into James’ Hummer and road trip to Vegas I don’t know. I miss the “Road To Nowhere”, gypsy, just irresponsible, need change of scenery, all of the above—whatever, I’m in Vegas.

So why not a travel blog? This qualifies as work. But what to blog about? I called the Wynn PR department, no spa reviews on such short notice, I was notified. Too bad because I could have used a day at the spa to go along with not writing. Of course I jest! Somewhere around Barstow, James decided we’d be staying at Palazzo. And I’ve never written about this still new hotel…UNTIL NOW!

Now my regular readers know that the style of my writing varies upon my mood, the full moon, cash or lack there of, and on and on….Admittedly, I’m in peculiar mood today, so let’s call this, yet another innovation to the craft of writing, my fast and loose style. Frankly, this could be dangerous to anyone or anything that falls or in this case, past tense, fell into my bull’s eye…So watch out Palazzo!

Actually, I’ve strolled through the Palazzo a few times since it first opened and to be fair, I held off writing about the new addition to The Venetian because it opened its retail in phases and in general I garnered that it opened a bit sooner than optimum—and in a terrible economy. But there’s been plenty of time to get it together so…

 Next Day—Tired In A Good Way From Vegas

I liked the Palazzo. Continue reading

ROAD TO NOWHERE

Foreword by Stan Lerner: the numbers came in last week “Road To Nowhere” was downtownster’s most read blog in September 2009, which at least to this author merits a reposting on the homepage. New readers enjoy! Longtime readers, enjoy again!!!

“If anybody would like to join the first downtownster road to nowhere road trip I’ll be leaving Thursday or Friday,” I said to the meeting of the Marketing Round Table. “I don’t know where we’re going or when we’ll get there, but that’s the idea. And uh, you could get on or off the trip at any time or place—providing that there is an airport of course.” NO TAKERS

Friday morning 4:30 a.m. the 1996, black, Chevy Suburban docked at the curb of my childhood home in Montebello, CA—Montebello is Italian for beautiful hills. And it is from this very spot, that I have departed for many an adventure. I am fortunate to, over an excessively well-lived lifetime, have developed a number of friends who are willing to embark on such journeys. And I should be careful to mention here that some of these individuals were mere acquaintances or even less familiar at the time of departures, but traveling and adventure make for far greater bonds than the songs of fraternity boys in their beer soaked homes.

This particular morning it was to be my old high school buddy Mike Munoz picking me up. Although he went to West Point and achieved the rank of Colonel I still refer to him as my Mexican—I find this term of endearment more special than he does.

“The 15?” he asked.

“Sure. Let’s grab breakfast in Vegas and see if Andy wants to come with…No his mom is visiting…Let’s grab breakfast in Vegas and stop by to see Andy anyway. Maybe he can meet up with us later… How many miles do you have on this thing?”

“One hundred and eighty-six thousand. Where do you want to eat in Vegas?” asked Mike, seemingly settled into our trip within minutes. Twenty-five years ago a trip in his yellow, convertible corvette took us from coast to coast…

“All these years I’ve been going to Vegas, working in Vegas, living in Vegas, and I’ve never eaten at The Egg and I. Have you?”

He shook his head. “No. Where is it?”

“On Sahara. Let’s go there.”

Forty minutes of good conversation ensued until…  “Hey that’s the 15,” I said pointing at the exit. The Suburban swung across five lanes of traffic as can only be accomplished at such an early hour on the 10 Freeway. We could have wound up in Palm Springs or Arizona for that matter, but that’s the point, it really didn’t matter.

“Hey, let’s pull off in Barstow I like the new Starbucks there—cute girl baristas.”

Mike shrugged. “Okay.”

ROAD TO NOWHERE PART II

The black Suburban rolled down the highway with the mean rumble of a venerated work vehicle. I raised the cappuccino, which I held in my hand, to my lips and took the first soothing sip. Given the distinctly not stylish clothing being warn by Mike and myself and the rugged “Road Warrior” appearance of our vehicle my choice of a cappuccino, as my early morning sustenance seemed a strange juxtaposition—black coffee would have been the appropriate beverage of such a portrait. Continue reading