Implosions and Nostalgia in Las Vegas

Eric Leake

Texas State University

“Great Las Vegas resorts ought to be a sketch of a journey. We’re all homesick for places we’ve never been, and we want to deliver our guests to that place.”

-- Architect and casino designer Paul Steelman (Qtd. by Velotta)

I. Of First Dates and Demolitions

My first date, if a chaperoned middle school outing constitutes a date, was with Arissa. She invited me with her and her father to see the Dunes imploded. We went in her father’s pickup truck to a dirt field tucked beside a freeway off ramp. He backed up next to some palm trees waiting to be planted in a future development. Other people parked alongside us. They opened coolers and unfolded lawn chairs. Wrapped in a blanket, Arissa and I sat in the back of the truck and sipped sodas. We listened to the radio and waited for the pop songs to end and the countdown to begin, to be followed by flashes and thunder and then a cloud of ash and dust as the hotel crumbled.

The Dunes was where Sinatra sang, where my grandmother counted silver dollars in a casino cage and where she met her second husband, my step-grandfather, a retired police officer moonlighting as a security guard. The Dunes was first in a continuing series of Las Vegas implosions, brought down as people celebrated with a fireworks show and simulated cannon fire from the new—now moored—pirate ships of the Treasure Island. Since that October evening in 1993 the Dunes is utterly gone, the Treasure Island has been sold and renamed and sold again, the dirt field where we parked is something else, and I don’t know what Arissa is up to.

I start with this reminiscence because such is the odd nature of nostalgia in Las Vegas, that the sites of nostalgia are imploded to leave only nostalgia, displaced and sometimes suspect as an unattached longing. Las Vegas implodes its history, inhibiting the remembered connections to place by totally erasing the place itself. For those who live there, it is as though the city is in continual revision, major buildings gone as unfamiliar new ones take their place. This experience is not unique to Las Vegas, but like so many features of American life it is amplified there. While the attachment points of nostalgia are destroyed, that erasure simultaneously enables nostalgia by freeing it from the physical locations of the buildings and leaving only the landscapes of memory and page, where the nostalgic finally locates nostalgia.

II. A Home of Decorated Sheds

Nostalgia often is described as bittersweet because it reminds us of good times, usually with others, but it also reminds us that those times are gone (Dickinson and Erben). Svetlana Boym defines nostalgia, from the Greek nostos meaning homecoming and algia meaning pain, as “a longing for a home that no longer exists or has never existed,” “a sentiment of loss and displacement,” and “a romance with one’s own fantasy” (xiii). Other definitions do not require that the home no longer exist, only that the nostalgic should long for it. The key ideas here are a return home—be that to a time or place—and a longing like an ache. I want to focus first on the idea of home, specifically in relation to Las Vegas as a distinctive home and place, architecturally and within the American cultural consciousness.

What does it mean to call Las Vegas home? The city is at the same time a home to no one and a home to everyone as an international tourist destination. I am speaking here of Las Vegas as the Strip, as seen on television in vacation advertisements. Everybody has a claim on this Las Vegas. There is also the Las Vegas where two million people live, the Las Vegas of subdivisions and grocery stores and schools, the “everyday” Las Vegas (Rowley). These two versions of Las Vegas are inseparable as the one could not exist without the other, but they are not always experienced or seen as two parts of a whole. People are surprised when I say I am from Las Vegas, not because I don’t fit the Las Vegas stereotype, I don’t think, if there is such a thing, but because they don’t expect people to be from there. My parents were schoolteachers, I say, which normalizes me, but we lived in a geodesic dome home in the desert and I spent my high school summers slipping into hotel pools and using slot coin buckets to dump water so that my friends and I could rocket down the pool slides afterhours. (Like the hotels, those slot coin buckets are gone, replaced by printed voucher tickets and player cards.) I spent my college summers at the hotel pools, too, working as a lifeguard and pool and cabana attendant, a job that included walking the VIP pool deck and offering to spray sunbathing tourists with Evian mist from an ice-cooled bucket. The two Las Vegases, those of the residents and of the tourists, were blurred for us. For many Las Vegas is more of an un-place, an idea more than a metropolis where people actually live. The city wasn’t much at the start, mostly a watering hole for desert trekkers, Mormons, the railroad, and others who moved in on the ancestral home of the Paiutes. Then the mob arrived followed by corporate casinos. The city is now a highly improbably place of pyramids and castles, sculpted glass and concrete, and sparse water resources in the middle of the Mojave Desert. It is the largest American city born in the 20th century.

For the dislocated and the relocated, the idea of home itself is complicated by the necessity of moves for work, love, opportunities, survival, and escape. People don’t much stay in the same place anymore. Home is always someplace that a person wants to go. André Aciman writes of the inability to fulfill a longing for home because the longing is always for someplace else. “One always longs for the other home,” he writes, “but home, as one learns soon enough, is a place where one imagines or remembers other homes” (152). For Aciman, there is no way to experience a sense of being at home because that home is sure to provoke longing for another. Home is a place where people want to be home. Nostalgia then can never be satisfied. The object of nostalgia must always be unattained in order for there to be nostalgia. This emotional connection and distance are akin to Boym’s notion of being “at once homesick and sick of home” (xix). Boym writes of exiles who are not home in their own homes. These exiles may be considered nostalgics, as, in Boym’s words, “The nostalgic is never a native but a displaced person who mediates between the local and the universal” (12). The nostalgic cannot be a native because a native is already home, or should be. Instead the nostalgic is the connection between home and someplace else or, as Aciman writes, between home and other homes.

One of my favorite writers on Las Vegas is art critic Dave Hickey, who calls the city both a home and an escape, describing “this most un-homelike of cities [that] has come to function for me as a kind of moral bottom-line—as a secular refuge and a source of comforts and reassurances that are unavailable elsewhere—as a home, in other words” (19). Hickey describes returning home to Las Vegas:

Since I must regularly venture out of Vegas onto the bleak savannas of high culture, and there, like an aging gigolo, generate bodily responses to increasingly abject objects of desire, there is nothing quite as bracing as the prospect of flying home, of swooping down into that ardent explosion of lights in the heart of the pitch-black desert—of coming home to the only indigenous visual culture on the North American continent, a town bereft of dead white walls, gray wool carpets, ficus plants, and Barcelona chairs—where there is everything to see and not a single pretentious object demanding to be scrutinized. (23)

Hickey is being provocative, but I think the sense of relief is real, even though Hickey eventually left Las Vegas. He longs for a home that makes no unwelcomed demands. Home is a feeling. Not making unwelcomed demands is, of course, all the better for tourism, that there is nothing demanding to be scrutinized in Las Vegas. A glass pyramid is a glass pyramid. A pedestrian need not spend time scrutinizing it for cultural or historical significance, because there is none other than that of being a glass pyramid with the world’s brightest light at the top. The glass pyramid is not trying to fool the tourist into thinking they are experiencing Egypt. It is there only as a building to be seen and, better yet, as a place to enter to gamble because, as in Egypt, it’s hot outside, and this pyramid is air conditioned.

In their landmark Learning from Las Vegas, architects Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenhour champion the “explosion of lights” that Hickey returns to. They visited Las Vegas with a research group of Yale architects in 1970. Much of their argument for learning from Las Vegas concerns the hypocrisy and minimalism of modern architecture in contrast to the Las Vegas architecture of what they call “decorated sheds.” Comparing the architecture of the Strip to contemporary modern architecture of the time, they describe the Strip as having vitality and being inclusive, in comparison to “the deadness that results from too great a preoccupation with tastefulness and total design” (53). They write, “The Strip shows the value of symbolism and allusion in an architecture of vast space and speed and proves that people, even architects, have fun with architecture that reminds them of something else.” There is a nostalgic move made by this architecture. It is not trying to be someplace else but to serve as an allusion and as entertainment, as a journey to a place we’re homesick for but have never been.

Today’s Strip is a different place than that of the 1970s, when Venturi’s team visited. It is hyper everything, hyper stimulation, hyper marketization, hyper consumption, perhaps hyper American. Hickey offers that America “is a very poor lens through which to view Las Vegas, while Las Vegas is a wonderful lens through which to view America. What is hidden elsewhere exists here in quotidian visibility” (23). Las Vegas deserves attention not for how exotic it is but for how it exaggerates the everyday and puts it in relief. Stacy Jameson, Karen Klugman, Jane Kuenz, and Susan Willis, writing as together as The Project on Vegas, title their study of Las Vegas Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las Vegas, because in their critical cultural investigations of the Strip they are able to better understand the “so-called normalcy” of the places where they live (10). Writers travel to Las Vegas to better understand the American places they are from, for what they are, what they hide, and how they might be. That is what brought Venturi’s team to the city, too. I am not entirely sure how the Las Vegas of today compares to the one Venturi’s team examined. Most of the buildings in Learning from Las Vegas are gone, many of them imploded—the Stardust, the Desert Inn, and the New Frontier, where my sister rode the mechanical bull in her wedding dress. But I think the implosions themselves also are revealing, showing something of what it means to be in a place, in this place, and in America.

III. Implosions as Performance Art

“Demolition is a particularly American act,” David Samuels writes, “a concise and visually compelling expression of the belief that history is transient, that a new beginning is always in the cards, that the glories of the past are only a prelude to an even more glorious, everlasting present” (37). Samuels chronicles the implosion of the Sands, an event he describes as a type of performance art. If Las Vegas is a wonderful lens through which to view America, it seems appropriate that Las Vegas would also take demolition, that “particularly American act,” to new heights as implosions. Nostalgia is about connections to places and histories. These can be difficult to maintain in a city that destroys places and focuses less on histories than on new beginnings.

After the buildings are gone, what remains of the hotels are the memories and the archives, perhaps some souvenirs and kitsch. The accounts of the implosions themselves testify to the emotional complexity and nostalgic tendencies of the events. I remember the typical news broadcasts at the closing of a hotel and at the impending implosion. Some longtime employees in housekeeping or room service would look upon the now empty hotel and reminisce for the reporter. If the occasion were closing day, they would turn around as they left the hotel one last time in uniform and look back. If it were the date of the implosion, they would be there looking in and through the dust cloud as if they could see the former hotel and the silhouettes of the people they knew there. These implosions were always good opportunities for the news, noteworthy events. Turing to the archive, then, I read in the Las Vegas Sun, where I used to work as an intern and general assignment and weekend reporter, the complicated emotional reaction of Bambi Mitchell, a vacationer from Iowa, upon the implosion of the New Frontier. “It’s kind of sad,” she says. “Sometimes I miss the old casinos, you know the ones where you can actually hear the coins coming out of the slot machines” (Benston and Samuelson). Then she adds, “But that’s the way it goes. History has to move out of the way. It’s kind of exciting at the same time. It’s not every day that you get to see an implosion.” She’s right; it is kind of sad and kind of exciting, as moving on can be.

For Mitchell and other onlookers, the implosion itself becomes an occasion for nostalgia. It elicits memories of the hotel, its era, the people there, and prior visits. The transient nature of history becomes that much more apparent as a hotel that was once in its place, where it seemingly always would be, is erased in seconds. This nostalgic experience is even more pronounced for residents, employees, and the people who have lived in connection to the hotel. “We used to love to go to this hotel. It was a fun place to visit, with great lounge acts, but I guess this is progress,” Diane McClyment of Las Vegas says with some ambivalence upon the implosion of the Aladdin (Shemeligian). The implosion is a type of reckoning for McClyment. There is the sense of inevitability in the destruction. No building lasts forever. The charges detonated in the concrete bones of the old hotels make that fact so much more obvious. This is not much of a revelation, but the implosion forces it upon people. Nostalgia mourns a loss while also accepting that loss (Dickinson and Erben). We realize that the hotels won’t be around forever because we’ve seen them demolished and they’re no longer where they used to be. We are left with nostalgia for a place and time that clearly no longer exists. In that sense, our relation to that place and time is clarified because, even if we may long to do so, we cannot return to what is so obviously past and gone. We’re given a clean break with history.

The old hotels are imploded to make way for new ones, something resembling a hotel and casino circle of life. An implosion can be costly but is fast and is done in the name of business and progress. Such a business creates an odd relationship between a city, its people, and its buildings. Reflecting upon that relationship, reporter Liz Benston writes, “Like its iconic cocktail servers and showgirls, Las Vegas remains one of the only cities in the country where buildings begin to lack, rather than gain, cachet as tourist attractions as they age.” This is not true of all hotels in Las Vegas. Some of the downtown establishments capitalize upon their history and the nostalgia for old Las Vegas, where blackjack is dealt from a single deck. For the hotels on the Strip, however, implosions fit the business model and have become themselves money-making opportunities as performance art, tourist attractions, and scenes for Hollywood. The Hacienda was imploded as part of the city’s New Year’s Eve festivities in 1996. The laser-like precision of the Landmark’s 1995 implosion served as footage for Tim Burton’s film Mars Attacks!.

“Every building begins as a dream. Destroying a building, on the other hand, is a matter for realists rather than dreamers, a slow, almost biblical reckoning,” Samuels writes, referencing the hard work and tedious process of planning and preparing for an implosion (39). The implosion itself lasts only seconds, and then the building is returned to a memory, not that different from the dream it started as, except for the difference in the emotional connection and sense of time. Hotels start as dreams of future possibilities and hopeful expectations. They are remembered as part of the past, with nostalgia for places and times that are gone, their possibilities realized and ended. The implosion acts at the intersection of these tenses and emotions. Upon witnessing the implosion of the Sands, Samuels writes, “The emotion held in these moments is a mixture of sadness and hope and awe, a confirmation that the past is behind us, blown to pieces, while the future is waiting, wide open and new” (42). The sadness speaks to nostalgia, maybe too the hope. Implosions in Las Vegas force a recognition of nostalgia for what it is, an emotion that has less to do with a place than it does with the act of longing for that place and the feeling of being there with others. The nostalgic is then free to question nostalgia as not about the past but the present, in the same way that memory itself may always be questioned with an emphasis on the moment of remembering. Even now, as I think of some of these old hotels, I cannot recall if I witnessed the Desert Inn implosion firsthand or am only remembering seeing videos of the event, memories layered with my visits there and thinking that this hotel was timeless.

IV. Dice Clocks and Fair Cheats

Nostalgia is a powerful longing. Where there is longing, there are also opportunities to make money in satisfying that longing, even if satisfaction is not entirely possible. Las Vegas may be considered part of what Boym calls “the global entertainment industry of nostalgia,” an industry of souvenirs and objects, and I would add experiences (38). She identifies the utopian or atopian elements of nostalgia that, in the case of Las Vegas, market it as an ideal place that stands apart from time. The desert doesn’t age much, and the Strip is a fractured reflection of various eras and locales and types of places. In the tag “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” the city is advertised as existing outside of history.

Nostalgia and kitsch are closely related in the tourist industry. Ruth Barton makes that connection when she describes kitsch as “the postmodern artifact par excellence,” one that “fulfills a second postmodern function, that of nostalgia” (194). Kitsch is a strategic choice for those operating in the tourist industry as it serves a consumer imperative and facilitates nostalgia. Like Boym, Barton is primarily focused on kitsch and nostalgia as qualities of objects. Las Vegas certainly has those, with each hotel and casino hosting its own souvenir shop where guests can purchase the usual fare along with kitsch more particular to Las Vegas, such as used card decks and dice clocks. Nostalgia serves dual roles in the marketing of Las Vegas kitsch. There is nostalgia for an old Las Vegas that no longer exists, the Las Vegas of the mob and the Rat Pack, as well as nostalgia for the trip that is destined to end. Tourists may want to remember their stay at the Hacienda because next time they visit that particular hotel may be gone, as it now is. Barton builds her analysis of kitsch upon the early definition by Clement Greenberg, who associates kitsch with disconnection from traditional folk life and culture, a move from the particular to the universal. As people from rural areas relocated to industrial centers for work, they left behind their homes and ways of living. Home became a place and idea they longed for, an idea of a more meaningful way of being in and understanding the world. As Greenberg describes, to satisfy this longing for home and meaning, otherwise known as nostalgia, the dislocated turned to kitsch, made possible through mass production and what some considered a devaluation of culture, craft, and art. Kitsch capitalized on their longings, on their nostalgia, even while helping to produce that nostalgia.

Locals also are not immune to kitsch. Some years after I left Las Vegas, I went on eBay to buy a set of vintage Las Vegas coasters. The ones I purchased were made of translucent brown and light blue plastic with dice, a slot machine, playing cards, and “Fabulous Las Vegas” printed in the center in gold. They looked about thirty years old, but it is hard to date kitsch. I wanted something to protect my coffee table. More than that, I wanted some tangible connection to Las Vegas, and I wanted it to look kitschy, to appear to be from a time there other than my own, a clear and deliberate embrace of the kitsch. And I did want to embrace it. The coasters were not souvenirs, I thought, because I was from there, as if one cannot have souvenirs from one’s home city just as well as from a trip. I missed home and tried to satisfy my ache to return by buying and incorporating into my life something that was not actually part of my life there. People in Las Vegas don’t usually buy their things at tourist shops. I tried to placate my longing with somebody else’s souvenir.

When talking about kitsch and the entertainment industry, as well as nostalgia, Las Vegas and Disney are frequent sites of comparison. Both sell dreams and capitalize on longings for other ways of living, for other places and possibilities. Both are strongly identified with America. Richard Todd taps into the quintessential American character of these two places when he compares his experiences in Las Vegas and Disney World. He is gratified that Las Vegas tries so hard to entertain him with its inventive, performative architecture, noting that it is “nearly as impermanent as performance; hotels rise and fall all the time” (95). Todd’s experience with the architecture of Las Vegas is much like that of Venturi and his team. Sure, the buildings are imitations, but they are honest and fun ones. They are not trying to fool people into believing that they are anything, or any place, other than what they are. Instead the architecture of Las Vegas wants to entertain, to tap into the nostalgia for an escape from home to someplace else. Todd finds that he disdains Disney World but comes to love Las Vegas. “The big difference,” he writes, “between these two American places—both of them, let’s face it, grotesque—is this: Las Vegas just wants your money. Disney World wants more than that; it wants your belief” (96). To Todd and others Las Vegas is seen as an honest place, which perhaps is how it can say so much about America. It may be, as Hickey writes, “that Vegas cheats you fair—that, unlike the rest of America (and Washington in particular), the payoffs are posted and the odds easily calculable” (24). The odds are against you in Las Vegas, but everybody knows that going in.

It may seem surprising that Todd, a writer and editor from New England, finds that he loves Las Vegas. Todd is himself surprised and tries to understand his fondness for the city. “Las Vegas provided me a strange kind of comfort, a sense of being at home,” he writes (96). “I could not recall having felt before such an emphatic sense of being where I belonged: in America” (96-97). This is not meant to uncritically celebrate Las Vegas. The city experiences all the same social and environmental problems as the rest of the country, many of them more so. Todd recognizes the paradox of feeling that he belongs in Las Vegas, that most unlikely of cities. He describes Las Vegas as “the essential American place; but, perhaps, as a giant piece of installation art, a gloss on the country, it is not a place at all” (97). It is odd that people can feel so at home in a place that is not a place at all. It is odd for the tourists and for the locals, for whom Las Vegas most definitely is place although one in constant revision and one they cannot own exclusively themselves but must always share and occasionally lose. Art is about emotional responses, as is home, as is nostalgia. Perhaps this is one more way to understand implosions and nostalgia in Las Vegas, the way that Samuels, Venturi’s team, and Todd do. In viewing Las Vegas, the buildings, and the implosions all as part of a city of performance art, as “a gloss on the country,” they realize an understanding of nostalgia that is no longer about the physical place but our reactions to it and the ways we remember it.

V. Upon Entering the Tropicana for Perhaps the Last Time

As longing, nostalgia is concerned with time and tied to place. Las Vegas erases both, freeing nostalgia as a longing for home even as it obscures time and destroys place. The nostalgic, as Boym writes, is someone “stifled within the conventional confines of time and space” (xiv). Temporal and spatial limitations can also stifle the gambler, so Las Vegas does what it can to erase those too. Famously, there are no clocks in the casinos. There are no windows and no daylight to tell time by. Venturi’s team describes the interior of the casinos as a “big, low space” (50). Within that big, low space, the walls and limits of the casino are generally not visible. As Venturi’s team describes, “This disorients the occupant in space and time. One loses track of where one is and when it is. Time is limitless, because the light of noon and midnight are exactly the same. Space is limitless, because the artificial light obscures rather than defines its boundaries” (49). Las Vegas messes with time and space, in the casinos, in implosions, and as conditions of longing.

Boym theorizes two nonexclusive types of nostalgia, the restorative and the reflective (41). Restorative nostalgia is characterized by a desire to rebuild the past, to rebuild history as perfect monuments, while reflective nostalgia is better experienced in looking at ruins, contemplating time, and cherishing memories, all of these fragmented. Restorative nostalgia does not fit Las Vegas. There is no desire to recreate history and monuments in the city. The Dunes was imploded, and nobody is talking about rebuilding it. That implosion also restricted reflective nostalgia, at least in its ties to a site, because there are no ruins of the Dunes, no site to trigger the memory and reflection. There are, however, photos, postcards, and old gaming chips from the Dunes, and those facilitate reflection. There is also the Neon Boneyard, where neon signs go when they die. The Boneyard started as a fenced storage lot for the YESCO sign company. It became a setting for music videos and photo shoots, perhaps speaking to the nostalgic power of these fragments. It now is a museum that retains the look of the storage lot, the signs stacked against one another in the dirt. The Boneyard testifies to the irreversibility of time with the relocating of nostalgia—the signs are out of place, in the dirt—while freeing the hotels to escape scene entirely. Once the Dunes is destroyed, totally, it is freed from time and place to become, along with Sinatra, the mob financiers, and my grandmother’s casino cage, part of the city’s memory and mythology.

The experience of driving the Strip and entering a hotel and casino, for someone who has seen so many imploded, is that of realizing that, for all their size and investments, these are impermanent, and not in cosmic time as all things are but in chapters of a lifetime. Whenever I visit the Tropicana I think it might be my last visit there, because the Trop seems to be near the front of the line of those soon to go. Boym writes that nostalgia includes the desire to reveal the fragility of the present (23). Nothing reveals fragility like implosions. Nostalgia is associated with an “awareness of transition,” that experiences in life are transitory (Dickinson and Erben 232). I am reminded also of Aciman’s notion of the arbitrage of memory, which he describes as “firming up the present by experiencing it as a memory, by experiencing it from the future as a moment in the past” (151). Here is a paradox of nostalgia, to live in the moment as though that moment were already a future memory of a place or a time that one expects to long for once it has passed. There is a catch, however, in that subterfuge of nostalgia, because to live the moment as a memory is to never fully live it except as one temporally displaced.

Stardust sign in the Neon Boneyard. Photo by author.

VI. Nostalgia at the Site of Nostalgia

What then is left of the fragility; the egalitarian big, low spaces; and the relationship of implosions and nostalgia in Las Vegas? Turing again to Greek, Boym offers the reminder that in talking about place, topos refers to both geography and a place in discourse (77). She connects nostalgia to the site of language. Theodor Adorno does something similar but takes it further in connecting home to writing. “In his text, the writer sets up house,” Adorno states, “For a man who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live” (87). Finally, connecting both of these, Aciman locates nostalgia at the very site of writing. “The site of nostalgia is nostalgia itself. The site of nostalgia is writing and speculating and thinking about nostalgia,” he writes (141). “Ultimately, the real site of nostalgia is not the place that was lost or the place that was never quite had in the first place; it is the text that must record the loss. In fact, the act of recording the loss is the ultimate homecoming” (142-45). Implosions force acknowledgement of the loss of place and time, of how things were and how they are no longer. Nostalgia is compensatory to that loss. It enables the ultimate homecoming in the moment of nostalgia.

Perhaps then implosions are nostalgic acts also in that they dislocate the physical building, as they all must eventually be dislocated, from the Strip and leave only the page, the web video, the memory, and the emotional response. The longing to return home is emplaced in the writing of that longing, in the inscription of home. In support of this I can offer, returning to that opening reminiscence, that before writing this it had been a long time since I had thought of the Dunes and sitting in the back of that truck sipping sodas with Arissa or of so many hotels—the Hacienda, the Sands, the New Frontier, the Landmark, the Aladdin, the Boardwalk, the Desert Inn, the Stardust—all tied with specific memories and since imploded, erased other than on the page.

About the Author

Eric Leake is an associate professor of English at Texas State University, where he directs the master’s program in rhetoric and composition. His primary research focus is rhetorics of empathy. He also enjoys researching and writing about Las Vegas. His work on Las Vegas includes a vignette on locations in College Composition and Communication, a co-authored chapter in Rhetorics of Names and Naming, and an essay in Magazine Americana on the Liberace Museum.

Works Cited

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Hickey, Dave. “A Home in the Neon.” Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy. Art Issues Press, 1997, pp. 18-24.

The Project on Vegas (Stacy M. Jameson, Karen Klugman, Jane Kuenz, and Susan Willis). Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las Vegas. Duke University Press, 2015.

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