Monday, February 19, 2007

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Sunday.Game day. After getting back to the hotel around 5 am, of course we slept through the morning and into the afternoon. By 2 pm we were awake but not officially up. By 3 o'clock we were dressed and ready to hit the strip. From our hotel, the Westin, we walked to Paris Hotel and Casino for a late lunch. As we walked, I noticed most of the usual crowd on the strip had thinned out. Even old people were out and about. Since our arrival Thursday, the Vegas strip had been packed with mostly young loiters dressed to kill in ghetto fabulousness. Not since Freaknic had I seen so many young black people literally take over a place. As we approached the Paris, Perry received an invitation from an associate to watch the game in his suite at the Bellagio Hotel. We weren't going to the game anyway, so after enjoying a good buffet we walked over to his hotel. Our intention was only to stay for minute, then leave. This was our last night in Vegas, so we were determined not to spend it sitting in a hotel room. Once inside the Bellagio lobby, our host greeted us and led us up to his suite. Surprisingly, we were the first guests to arrive. Damn, our plans to hit and run were null and void! The suite was very nice, complete with a flat screen television. A great view overlooking the city took over one side of the living room. Snacks and plenty of alcohol were on a small table on the other side. Dude was a good host, and once we began talking the notion of leaving early left our minds. After about an hour his friends came by and we enjoyed chilling with them. Everybody was from the east coast—Jersey, DC, Baltimore, and of course North Carolina. Once the game was over, we left his hotel and headed back to ours to get dressed. On they way, Perry received another invitation. This time it was to get into club Rum Jungle, one of many hotel clubs on the strip. According to her source, we could get in for free and chill in VIP. Cool!

The set up of the club was really nice—plenty of places to sit in VIP, a large bar, and a sizeable dance floor. A mirror on the back wall gave the impression there was more space than there really was. As her club tradition, Perry checked out the place for exits and then led me back to VIP. While sitting with our new associates, we observed a female dancer being lowered into one of the many cages hanging from ceiling by a rope. Soon after, we were given another show above the bar. Two women performed a trapeze act without a safety net. I tried to get a picture, but of course the batteries were dead and using my cell didn't occur to me. And since I was already looking up, I noticed too there were giant congo drums stationed beside the dancefloor. On the top of one drum was a drummer and on top of the other, a percussionist. No matter the music, they kept up with the beats the DJ was spinning, giving every song a live music feel. Around 2 am, popular rapper, Jim Jones, gave a performance. Since it appeared everybody was up in the club getting tipsy, he had an enthusiastic crowd. He performed on a thin platform above the dance floor surrounded by his boys for about 30 minutes. I had heard his name mentioned on the radio and wondered if he knew about the crazy white preacher with the same name that convinced his flock of nearly 900 followers—most of which were black—to commit a mass murder-suicide in Guyana. It happened in the late 70s and it was one of the most shocking and sad events of my childhood. Does the current Jim Jones have any idea about the history attached to his name? I guess for this generation of Hip-Hoppers it doesn't really matter.

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