When an industry holds its annual trade show in Las Vegas, surely there will be plenty of distractions to make the experience more palatable. It was the year 2000, the turning of the millennium, when I found myself in the world's capital of broken dreams. The hotel package came with some comp tickets to attractions within the complex, the idea being that you'll “make it a night” there and then trundle up to your room with empty pockets. The Riviera was an aging casino, built when the Rat Pack was in its prime; it had become a bit faded, but it still possessed a main room, a comedy club, and an “exotic” show- burlesque that had been updated a bit, but only a bit. There were dancers- leggy, busty, with teased hair- in a flashy musical revue that was pleasant, if a bit tame (it was called The Crazy Girls.) A fan dancer emulated Sally Rand. There was a foul-mouthed comedienne who brought back memories of high-school locker room conversations.
And then, the climax. The lights dimmed, the curtain slowly opened to reveal...
...a totally nude woman, lying on a platform that tilted as it revolved. Her “artful” poses changed, depending on the platform's position relative to the audience, she was careful to keep her "bottom" concealed. This went on for several minutes. Classical music played. She looked like a piece of meat, on a slab in the butcher's shop; a plucked chicken displayed for the customer’s approval. Then the curtain closed and the lights went up.
Somehow, I had imagined that Sodom would have been more exciting. As I was herded out with the rest of the chumps, I wondered what went through the mind of the “girl on the wheel.” Fifteen years of dance lessons and this is what I get? Rolling around naked on a lazy susan, oogled by a bunch of creepy tourists?
It's a living, I guess. I’ve had worse jobs.