Film Bloggers Have Better Lives Than You
Hey, I’m not sure if you guys know how The Media works, but when film companies have new movies out, they send people who write about films on these all-expenses-paid mini vacations themed around the movie so that they’ll write about it and “generate buzz.”
I get offered these sometimes but generally turn them down. This is because I don’t like many things, and as a lame mom who doesn’t believe in criticism (and therefore progress) once said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
But recently someone got in touch to see if I wanted to fly with Johnny Knoxville on a private jet to Vegas and watch Bad Grandpa. As a firm believer that genitalia, farting, and people falling over will never, ever stop being funny, I’m a big fan of “the Jackass guys,” as fans call them, so I figured this would be a great trip to write about.
Also I can’t afford a vacation this year. So here’s how my free trip to Vegas went. Enjoy!
This is the private jet we took from Los Angeles to Vegas. I’d never been on a “PJ” before (and presumably never will again). I assume you’ve never been on a private jet either (you fucking loser), so here’s a couple of differences between a PJ and a regular plane:
I assume it differs from company to company, but with the private jet company we flew with, this was the type of coffee we got.
The thought of some corporate drone chuckling to themselves as they ordered this out of the office supply catalog made me happy.
And this is what a private jet meal looks like, a.k.a. what I’m assuming 90 percent of the things Jay-Z eats look like.
Do People Care About Art in Las Vegas?
The heart of Las Vegas is subterranean. With 40 million tourists pounding the pavement searching for a hit of fleeting hedonism, Las Vegas holds a growing community of residents who build the sustaining framework that allows you to rub your face in a stripper’s tits after trading two purple chips for half a bag of bad coke in the Bellagio bathroom. But when the mission statement is debauchery, fine art and culture have a hard time making inroads with anyone but the locals. This begs the question: in a city that doesn’t organically demand an art scene, can art continue to exist? The answer came in early 2009 with the shutdown of the Las Vegas Art Museum, a 60-year-old staple of the local community. Patrick C. Duffy, ex-President of the LVAM has spent the past 14 years supporting the local arts, and personally funding and contributing to the museum. He has been working hard the last four years to restore what little cultural influence the Las Vegas community has grown to appreciate. I got in touch with him to learn the full story about what it takes to maintain an artistic presence in Sin City.
VICE: So, what’s the story?
Patrick C. Duffy: Well, when the, shall we call it, financial tsunami shook the world, it shook the cultural markets quite severely and it really hit our donor base. It also hit our audience base. So, simply put, the museum funding from outside pledges that we had, and also donors, just dried up. If there ain’t no dough, there ain’t no show. Several of our board members had very generously stepped up to really kind of bolster the prior years to get us through some spending that we were doing back then to move the institution to a larger facility. A lot of our “titty” was used for those purposes, so when we went into this financial malaise, we found it necessary to close.
How much of it was local art?
It only had about 191 pieces, and 91 of those pieces my late partner and I gave as a promise gift to begin to seed the collection, to send a message out to the community that, “Hey, if you are a collector, this is a good local community repository.” Then we were able to also mount a show called “The Las Vegas Diaspora” and it highlighted many of the UNLV students and their works that were out in galleries in the world and really doing quite well. A lot of those artists gave pieces to the museum, so we had a beautiful heritage collection. It wasn’t just a local collection. We contributed pieces from London, from Germany. My late partner was a very dynamic and well-known collector in the Bay Area back in the 60s and 70s, so I carried the collection on.
Floyd Mayweather Used Justin Bieber as a Decoration
It was just before midnight on Saturday and no one gave a shit that Justin Bieber was in the room. Less than an hour earlier, Floyd Mayweather had badly abused Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in boxing’s biggest event in years, improving his record to 45 wins in 45 paying fights. No one seemed to mind that it was a lopsided matchup unworthy of the months of breathless hype. Now the immaculately coiffed pop star who, aside from the thick chain dangling from his neck, could’ve easily passed for Pony Boy in The Outsiders, was seated on stage as the finest boxer of his generation stood at the dais, testifying to his own greatness and fielding compliments disguised as questions from the media and fans who had negotiated their way into the news conference. That scene provided a sense of perspective on the situation: Bieber is one of the most famous celebrities on the planet, but amid the chaotic aftermath of a Mayweather fight he was a decoration, not unlike a potted plant with designer sunglasses.
Truckers in the Wild, our show about food trucks and the people who love them, heads to Las Vegas.
Porn and Free Sashimi and My Wedding in Las Vegas
First we got our wedding out of the way. The AVN convention was in town and we were on the lookout for porn stars. We’d checked into the hotel at noon, eaten the sorry brunch, and now we took a cab to the Las Vegas Weddings Bureau. It was 30 minutes from the hotel. We each filled out a one-sided form. A sign above the forms said they would not marry people who were “overly intoxicated.” Three clerks were operating at five windows, and two other couples were getting married. We went to the open window and showed our IDs.
“Your name is Clancy W. William Martin?” the woman behind the counter said.
“It’s William,” Clancy said, and I added, “They made a mistake on the ID.”
“Do you have another form of ID?”
“My name is Clancy W. William Martin,” Clancy said.
The woman rolled her eyes and typed it in. She read my form. “Your father’s legal name is Mike?” she asked.
I shrugged and nodded.
I shook my head. She typed.
“Have you been married before?” she asked, and I told her no.
“Then where’s Barrodale come from?”
“It was my mother’s first husband. She and my father weren’t married.”
She typed it in and gave us our license. We’d already been married in India, in a ceremony that I thought was beautiful and perfect for me, because it was simple. We didn’t have vows or any of that nonsense. But to make the wedding legal, we needed to go through this process, so we went to the chapel of the third tout to approach us on the street outside the Weddings Bureau. He offered us a $60 package that included a limo ride back to the hotel. That cut $30 off the price. “Sold,” Clancy said.
The chapel was small and grimy. A Hispanic couple was being married before us. The man used a walker and the woman wore a traditional white wedding dress. They had about 30 guests. One of them turned to us and said, “They wanted to elope, but we found out about it. We just surprised them.”
We said those traditional vows and went back to the casino. By this time, Las Vegas was having an effect on me. I’m a grifter by nature, and I was going comp crazy. When I was younger this part of myself was expressed through stealing. I went to school at Barnard, where I never paid for a single course book or meal. Once, when my luck started to run out, I was leaving Whole Foods with food piled in my arms above my head (I used “The Purloined Letter” method) when the siren went off. I stopped, resigned to the inevitable, and turned to face the cashier. Bored, she waved me through, saying, “It always does that.”
So, what I mean is that on the day of our so-called wedding—because it was not our wedding, it was the formalities—I was dedicated to securing comps. We intend to have a reception for friends in about a year, when I am out of grad school and we live in one place, but I felt we’d had two beautiful weddings—one in a thousand-year-old Shiva temple on the Ganges and one in the Himalayas—and so it seemed to me like it was comp time. While we waited for the couple before us to complete their wedding, I emailed press departments at the casinos, introduced myself as a VICE writer, and asked for free things.
Clancy asked, “Roupus, what are you doing?”
He was resigned.
It was 4 PM when we got back to the hotel. Two heavily made-up blonds with tight ponytails and bodies were standing in the valet line. I nudged Clancy and whispered, “Porn stars.” At 5 PM, I got an email from the press director at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. She offered the buffet and drinks at their bar, the Chandelier. I had insanely told her we were in town getting married, hoping for sympathy.