11-22-07 Las Vegas
I recently visited Las Vegas, and saw that yet another indie record store has closed: Big B’s on Maryland Pkwy. I had been patronizing this store for nearly a decade, whenever I visited Las Vegas. Sorry to see it go, they always had a great selection of used LP’s and CD’s. Looks like the only player in L.V. these days is Arizona transplant Zia Records, on Eastern Ave. – absolutely huge inventory of new / used CD’s – but after looking through their A-Z, I felt like it could’ve been curated a little more carefully. There was plenty of stuff clogging up the A-Z that belonged in a “99 cent” bin. But – no complaints – I bought stuff, the staff was OK with an old guy like myself etc. Apart from this place the only other place locally that folks in L.V. can buy new CD’s is at one of the 3 “F.Y.E.” ( = “The Wherehouse” ) locations.
I also visited one of the few remaining Record City locations (on Sahara, the one in the strip mall, not the weird one in the little house). I remember when they had 5 or 6 stores in L.V.! And having been a visitor to Las Vegas for several decades, I remember fondly the Tower Records on Maryland Pkwy., Benway Records (also Maryland Pkwy.; I hear their Santa Monica location recently closed, too), J-Mar (at two different locations, at the intersection of Sahara and Maryland Pkwy.), the great big 24-hour Wherehouse on Las Vegas Blvd., the Second Spin (on Tropicana; they’re still in the phone book, however), The Underground on Twain etc. Now we have to add Big B’s to this list – in two different locations, both on Maryland Pkwy.
While we did not attend The Beatles “Love” show at The Mirage – we did go to the gift shop. I was surprised that they were selling the Dutch 2LP set of “Love” for $50! We bought some refrigerator magnets, a pair of socks etc. We wanted to go in the Revolution Lounge – but it was not open for business the days we were there.
And just like our last trip back from San Francisco, we had help from Harry Shearer, in the form of the conclusion (the 2nd 2 x CD’s) of his audio book “Not Enough Indians”. We drove to L.V. with a 160 minute V.A. MD of British 60’s artists – around town, we had yet another 160 minute V.A. MD – but this one was from the Rhino Records “In Yo’ Face” series – FUNK!
We had drinks at a place near downtown called “The Art Bar” – maybe it was that it was a rainy Sunday night, but there wasn’t a lot going on in there – and no draft beer available, and lousy classic rock on the FM radio. I got nervous when I looked in and saw a chrome poll – “When’s the burlesque start?”, I thought.
Best restaurant food: “Origin India” on Paradise Rd.; Best drinks: $3 draft beers at “Main Street Station” downtown. Best shopping: a tie between “The Fashion Show” and the shops in what is now called “The Miracle Mile” (formerly the Aladdin Hotel’s “Desert Passage”, currently attached to the Planet Hollywood complex). Best burger: still goes to the “Burger Bar”, in the walkway between the Mandalay Bay and The Luxor. Viva Las Vegas!