las vegas as carnival tourism as play n.
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  1. LAS VEGAS AS CARNIVAL, TOURISM AS PLAY

  2. THE LAST RESORT: HELL • Ad Slogans: “Go to Hell,” “You’ll be Dying to Get Here,” “Damned Good Fun” • Spectacles: Ever-flaming Fire & Brimstone, Ferry ‘Cross the Styx’ • Rides: Drop of Doom, From Here to Eternity, the Bottomless Pit • Costumed Employees: Croupiers from Hell, Cocktail Waitresses from Hell, Pit Bosses from Hell; His Royal Satanic Majesty

  3. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE • Shops: • Needful Things • Hellmark Cards • Save My Sole Shoes • Rosemary’s Baby Shop • Devil May Care Clothing • Paradise Lost Luggage • Inferno Hot Tubs • Purgatory Pete’s Pets • Beetlejuice Julius

  4. PLUS FOOD, DRINK, & ENTERTAINMENT • Souls on Fire Discotheque • Hellraiser’s Bar • Club Limbo • Deathwatch Dinner Theatre (Featuring the “Corpses on Parade” Musical Revue) • Faustus Follies • Hard Rock and a Hot Place • Beelzebubba’s Soul Food

  5. SATIRE IS DIFFICULT IN A TOWN LIKE THIS • “This is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted” (Hunter Thompson, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas) • Kaleidoscopic (Jean Baudrillard) • Like Thee-Dimensional Television • Like a Postmodern Shopping Mall • An Uncoordinated Theme Park • Fantasy Pseudo-locales Drawing on Myth, Magic, the Exotic, Carnival, & Hollywood

  6. Liminal spaces • Places on the Margin • Liminality: • "moments of discontinuity in social space...moments of 'in between-ness', of a loss of social co-ordinates... Liminality represents a liberation from the regimes of normative practices and performance codes of mundane life...” (Shields, 1991: 83-4)

  7. A BRIEF HISTORY • Organized Crime Beginnings: Sin (Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth), Transgression, Dystopia, Excess, Inversion, Carnivalesque -- a place at the margin

  8. Enter Howard Hughes:The Buyout of the Mobs; Corporatization; Megaresorts • Mainstreaming/Theming:Hospitality Industry, Hollywood, Franchises, Family

  9. LAS VEGAS AS FAMILY FARE?: EFFECTS OF CHANGES • More & More Diverse Tourists • But Not the Family Market of Disneyworld or Even of Los Angeles • People Don’t Come To Las Vegas to Gamble (anymore)

  10. THE INFANTALIZATION OF ADULTS IN LAS VEGAS • Belk: “…people wandering from slot machine to slot machine with their cups full of coins…like children in a candy store with their coins clasped hotly in their hands. Those who are dressed in sweatsuits…taking on the look of children in their pajamas. …This looks more like a playpen for the middle class and middle aged than the city of broken dreams.”

  11. WHY INFANTALIZE ADULTS? • Infantalization Fosters Willing Suspension of Cognitive, Rational, Adult Control • We are open for experiences • We succumb to a dreamworld of possibilities (lost to an adult) • Thus, Once Infantalized by Magic, Fun, & Fantasy, Adults Make Better Tourists • Games Adult Infants Play: Dress-up, Pig Out, Stay up All Night • Liminoid Freedom & Transgressive Desire

  12. The Las Vegas Effect • Indulgence & Hedonism • Some Gamblers Compulsive/Addicted • An Invitation to Excess/Gratification • Tacky, Shallow, Passive Materialism

  13. But also • Childish play nourishes imagination, hope, & unapologetic fun • Consumers have a deep need for Magic/Fantasy

  14. CONCLUSION: Consuming the Cityscape • City as Theme Park • Commercial and corporate production of Carnival. • Intense and guaranteed “experiences at the margins” • The artificial as authentic urban tourism experience