Saturday, November 22, 2008

Upon the recommendation of Craig Conley, I've read Last Call, Tim Power's brilliant, mythic, noir-ish novel. Set in LA and Las Vegas and spanning several generations, the characters in this suspenseful story participate in ancient pagan rites, with life or death consequences. At the heart of Power's tale are Tarot cards; specifically, a Tarot deck with unusual powers.

I was in Vegas this past September with my son, and I found it to be a surreal experience. We stayed on the Strip, and I felt as if I were walking underwater the entire time I was there. The energy there was dense, unlike any other place I've ever visited. I couldn't figure out what it was that made Vegas so odd. I couldn't attribute it solely to the casinos, though they're certainly a factor. It was while reading Last Call that everything came together for me.

In other places I've visited, the energy flows organically from the land itself. The inhabitants and history of the place certainly add to the overall energetic signature, but it's the land itself that seems to set the tone for everything. In Las Vegas, that's not the case at all. I felt a dense layer of energy resting upon a neutral, ancient desert landscape. There seemed to be no interplay at all between the desert and the city, which contributed to the unreal, mirage-like quality I felt while I was there. The desert seems wholly indifferent to the goings on in Vegas, one reason I believe people who go there feel they have license to indulge in all kinds of behaviors they wouldn't otherwise engage in.

Whoever came up with the marketing slogan "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" hit upon an interesting truth. Vegas seems to have this self contained quality, to be a kind of hedonistic energetic biodome, where people can seek out entertainment of all kinds, then safely leave the experiences behind them.


Gordon said...

Really enjoyed your observations about Vegas. It's a strange and magical place, and it's nice to hear from someone who wants to figure out why instead of just bathing in it, or rejecting it without much thought.

Tamara said...

Thanks, Gordon!