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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR #389 †(Vol. 8, No. 36) This edition is for the week of September 3--9, 2007.

"Halloween" †by Mike Smith
Loose in Las Vegas 2007 †by ED Tucker
Book Review: "Dead Girls Are Easy" by Terri Garey †by Lisa Ciurro
Voices Silenced .... This And That .... Larry Craig †by Mike Smith
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CF Presents Retrorama

Loose In Las Vegas 2007

My never ending quest for fanboy knowledge recently lead me back to the city of sin, Las Vegas. Once you get past the obvious attractions of gambling and carousing there is a surprising amount of more subdued entertainment to be found. Due to the short duration of this visit, which was instigated by my friend Travliní Man Danny, I decided not to do too much planning and just play everything by ear. In the end though, even I canít believe all that I packed into a vacation that amounted to a mere three days. The fact that almost everything in Vegas operates around the clock didnít hurt!

Tricia Anderson (Blood of Dracula's Castle) with husband Graham.
I hit the ground running as soon as our plane landed. No sooner was I checked into the Las Vegas Hilton than I headed down to their Mexican restaurant to have dinner with Trica Anderson. Perceptive readers of the PCR letter column will remember that Tricia was one of the dungeon captives in Al Adamsonís cult classic Blood of Draculaís Castle. She sent a letter to the website after I mentioned finally obtaining a copy of the werewolf version of that film. She was kind enough to share her stories of making the movie and her long and diverse career in several different facets of show business. Her equally interesting husband, Graham, is a native Australian who restores antique cars and does work for many of the celebrities in Vegas. Needless to say, it was an entertaining dinner. Triciaís story will be part of an upcoming Retrorama column following a retrospective of the film.

Even though I was bleary eyed and jet lagged by the time I stumbled into bed Friday night, I was still up and running at first light on Saturday. I checked out the Star Trek exhibit at the Hilton which gets more impressive with every visit. This time I noted new props from the original series including a life size mock up of a Gorn alien. The gift shop had its always excellent selection of items for Trek fans and there was even a Ferengi mingling among the crowd and visiting with guests! I opted not to go on the simulator rides this year since I have done them before but they are on par with anything at a large theme park and are highly recommended.

Saturday afternoon I headed down to Ray Stecklerís store, Video Exchange, a few miles from the strip. Since I had not made any formal plans due to my schedule I was not surprised when he was not in. What did surprise me was when I found out Ray had bought back his original Mascot Video store and was in the process of renovating it. I headed over to this location and found him looking great and hard at work. Not only was he renovating this store but he had leased another space in the same strip mall and was expanding into it. Over a lunch of phenomenal Philly cheese steak sandwiches from Jersey Mikeís Subs, I got to do two things I have wanted to do for years. I finally met Rayís wife Katherine and set up plans to have a leisurely dinner with him.

Friend Danny, center.
Hooking back up with Danny, we had dinner at the Benihanaís at the Hilton and took in the Penn & Teller magic show at the Rio Casino. The show was great but it was obvious the unorthodox magicians were trying to keep it clean for a more family oriented audience. One particularly impressive segment of the performance, that proved both entertaining and educational, went to great lengths to expose how the feats of supposed psychics actually work. Penn and Teller were also gracious enough to come out after the show to sign autographs and meet and greet fans. These were true showmen who know how to entertain an audience and make them feel appreciated afterwards!

Beatle Shop
Beatle Shop.
Revolution Bar and Lounge
I was back on the run Sunday starting with the Mirage casino. There was no way I was leaving Las Vegas without checking out their Beatles area in support of the Cirque du Soleil LOVE show. The production was blacked out during the dates I was there but I was not overly disappointed. The Beatles shop turned out to be just about everything a Beatle fan could ask for and even I broke down and picked up a few items. The Revolution Lounge is a very cool design but doesnít offer much more than Beatles music and alcohol, which is by no means a bad combination. On the way out I got to see the white tigers of Siegfried & Roy in their swimming pool but none of them attacked anyone!

After wandering the strip for a few hours I boarded the new monorail system and rode it back over to the Hilton. Whoever came up with the idea of adding these is a genius and I was surprised there were not more people riding them. You get a great view of the strip, the cars are air conditioned (which means a lot when itís 108 degrees outside), and you can get to where you are going in a matter of minutes. The station at the Hilton is right at the side of their Star Trek exhibit and the interior is made to look like a space port. I was forced to take one more trek of my own through the shops and ponder if I wanted to try to carry Romulan ale back on the airplane or not!

Sunday night was my long awaited dinner with Ray Steckler and his wife Katherine at TJís Steak House in the Hilton. It amazed me that we finally managed to pull this off on my third trip and with the least amount of planning. The dinner was great but we ran out of time before Ray ran out of stories about his life in the motion picture industry. After we said our farewells I decided to call it a night so I could get an early start the next day.

Monday was my final full day in Vegas and I wanted to make the most of it. I called Ted Mikels and was able to set up a mid afternoon rendezvous at his studio a few miles from the strip. I hit the road with a list of addresses in hand to check out some of the local collectibles stores. Unfortunately, my all time favorite movie poster shop, Cinema Collectorís World, had moved from its convenient location adjacent to the strip and there was no answer at the number of their supposed new location. I was able to finally visit Record City which I had passed on my other visits. They had a very impressive selection of vinyl but the prices made me want to up my homeownerís insurance! I also managed to get in a few more comics and collectibles stores in the area before it was time to head for Tedís!

Trek PortMy second visit to Tedís studio was even more impressive than the first. He had just finished principle photography on his new film Demon Haunt and the sets were still standing. I got a great spooky tour of some of the scenery before Ted and I settled down to catch up. I had to keep this visit brief as I was on a strict time table to fit in the eveningís activities and pack one last loaded night into the trip.

Danny and I regrouped at Harrahís Casino and grabbed dinner at an Italian cafť. We went to see Jubilee, a Paris style stage show with some surprisingly impressive set designs. After the show we got a back stage tour and met with some of the performers. It was already getting late and I decided to call it a night so that we could catch the red eye flight to Florida the next morning!

The Loose in Las Vegas series will continue with detailed updates on Ted Mikels and Ray Steckler. Stay tuned!

"Retrorama" is ©2007 by ED Tucker.   All graphics this page, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.