From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Here comes the NHL? There goes the Riviera? And Chumlee is hitting the decks? (Of course he is …)

Illustration by Jon Estrada

Illustration by Jon Estrada

In terms of Las Vegas landmarks, we seem to be at a crossroads. And not, uh, Paradise Road and Convention Center Drive, where the actual Landmark used to be.

On the one hand, we’re on the verge of seeing the demise of the Riviera, the last of the great Rat Pack-era casinos. The Riv, which is set to turn 60 on April 20, is going to be sold to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which plans to level the property in order to extend the Convention Center out to the Strip.

As tragedies go, this doesn’t sting quite as much as losing the Sahara name or its six-pound burrito to the sands of time. Still, shouldn’t we at least hang on to one spot in which Dean Martin could have conceivably woke up through a savage hangover fog? Will the new spot at least open up a corner of the new Convention Center for tables on loan from the Pinball Hall of Fame? Will there be a plaque commemorating where the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was filmed? Will the ghost of Harpo Marx, an original investor in the Riviera, haunt the new convention space? Hey, at least it would be a relatively quiet haunting.

On the other hand, the $350 million, 20,000-seat arena going up behind New York-New York is looking like it has every chance in the world to be a major player on the Vegas landscape. Bill Foley’s season-ticket drive to convince the NHL to put a team in the arena is boasting that it already has at least 5,000 deposits in hand. That’s halfway to the magic number of 10,000 that Foley thinks will convince Commissioner Gary Bettman to become the first major professional sports league to plant a flag in Las Vegas.

Helping to push ticket sales as members of the Founding 50—essentially, the big-money fans who have committed to high-priced ticket packages—are DJ Max Vangeli and poker pro Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu is Canadian, which makes sense. Vangeli was born in Moldova, which could be part of Canada. For all you know.

Some poker players, though, aren’t as accommodating when it comes to things that go in incongruous places, like a hockey team in the desert … or a vagina on Bruce Jenner. Legendary poker champ Doyle Brunson tweeted, “Bruce’s transition to a woman was confirmed today. He may still be some people’s hero, but not me.” Naturally, this kicked off a mini furor, but the man is 81. And a Texan. Save the true outrage for when it’s surprising. Like when the Duck Dynasty guy came out against gay marriage.

There’s still hope, though, for older dogs learning newish tricks. Ghostbar Dayclub announced that the DJ for its season finale February 28 will be … Chumlee. Come on, like you wouldn’t shell out more money to watch Chumlee spin Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet tunes at Hakkasan than you would to see Tiësto play the same trance tracks for the millionth time. You can try to convince us otherwise, but we’ll be too busy getting pumped up for the “Saturday Night Special”/”Flirtin’ With Disaster” mash-up to care.

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