Rockabilly Weekend and Vanity Plates

It’s Saturday. It’s beautiful outside and we’re going to hit the car show at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend today. So we’ll see lots of cars from around the country and many will have vanity license plates. (Not to mention all the vanities that abound – this is Las Vegas)

So this morning, I saw this piece about a woman in New Jersey whose request for a vanity plate was rejected because it was for the word 8THEIST.

She is suing the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey: please take that money you’re spending on defending the decision to deny the plate and fix some roads, for cripes sakes.

A person who buys a vanity plate often also states his or her opinion/conviction/support of oh, their senator or president; their sexual orientation/marriage; for/against guns, abortion; organic food, zumba fitness; university/pro sports team; love of cats/dogs/ferrets; and free speech – on their car.

Cost of entry to add those messages is really cheap.

What I find odd is – that while one can spend almost nothing to paste their personal messages all over their car, and that they are willing to pay a premium to make that message [semi] permanent on their car – the government of any given state wants to decide that it is inappropriate to say it on a license plate, and they don’t want that extra money paid (usually every year unless you live in Oregon and licensing a car cost almost nothing), even though their state legislature decided that vanity plates would be an awesome way to make extra cash to repair (uh-um) all the roads.

I understand keeping all the bad words off plates. People don’t usually write f*ck you in the dirt on the back window of their mini-van. If they’re not willing to make that statement in dirt, then they shouldn’t get it on a plate. Besides, it’s rude. There’s enough rudeness on the road.

But this is a Freedom of Speech issue.

I live in Nevada. Home of Ranchers, Gambling, Legal Brothels (outside of two counties), millions of acres of Beautiful Desert, Sunshine 360 days a year, and Bars that are open 24 / 7. I’ve seen first-hand how the First Amendment is handled on a license plate.*

Another thing we have in Nevada – an awesome Rockabilly Weekend – that, I hear, will now be twice a year.

So, be free and have a great weekend. I can’t wait to see cool rides and hear Los Straitjackets.

Oh, and one last thought. If that plate you want is already taken, please don’t try so hard to make it work with numbers and such. It makes me crazy trying to figure out what your plate says.

Saturday and Live Music

So my husband and I went out last night to see The Roxy Gunn Project.


There is a lot of live music in Las Vegas. On any given night you can go to a local bar and hear amazing music. Often that guy or gal just happened to be a session player on a hit record or toured for a few years with some platinum record holder.

The level of talent is awesome. Support for live music has really waned in this recession. And we all need a night out more than ever.

I love live music, and as I’m a bit ‘older’ I tend to listen to blues, classic rock and rockabilly. I always try to get out to catch Roxy – she’s a rocker, young, and the real deal.

The band is tight; they do awesome originals and just kill covers.

So do what I say: go out tonight and support live music in your city. If you’re heading to Vegas, check out The Roxy Gunn Project.

And be sure to put money in the tip jar.

Getting Rescued in Vegas

One of my favorite hang-outs, legendary blues bar The Sand Dollar, is in the midst of a Bar Rescue.

All those things that make a blues bar ‘unique’ – like a dark, dingy interior; a stage with wiring that makes all the amps hummmm; remnants of various decorator touches – you get it. Basically the ick that has built up over time and given it a certain…ambience.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe it improvements – like fixing the toilet and making sure everything is clean. But what they’re going to change is the bigger question.

Since I moved to Las Vegas, almost nine years ago, the ‘Dollar’ has gone through several hands. Some good, some not so good.

But a few facts here – it has (barely) survived the recession; is located near the Strip – with no real neighborhood nearby which makes it a destination instead of ‘the place around the corner’; looks sketchy from the outside (HOWEVER, I ALWAYS FEEL SAFE THERE); has had no real love in years; been closed and reopened several times; and the worst part – the string of new owners didn’t re-hire Lola – the best cocktail waitress who has ever served a gin and tonic.

The place is an institution for locals. It will be interesting to see what it gets turned into. The guy doing the rescue has decades of experience turning bars around. He has a pretty standard plan, but when you fix things for a living, you know what works – or doesn’t work – usually.

But then again, this is Vegas. Off the Strip, bars here have a completely different set of challenges. All have liquor, gaming, and some have food and / or music in some form.

The challenge is, that any one of those attractions can be enjoyed in another bar, restaurant, Dotty’s, Albertson’s, CVS, or car wash. (Yes, I can gamble at my local Fabulous Freddy’s Car Wash.)

Anyway, there’s a short article in the local City Life about the changes a comin’.

I understand there was a ‘reveal’ last night. I couldn’t make it. Dang, I wanted to see what they’ve done to the place. But will surely head there tonight.

I hope the rescue included the restroom.

Beer Fridays and Music

Alright, I admit I’m old. Way back in the day, during high school, my Very First Job was in a radio station.

Doesn't seem that cool? Well, back then, AM Radio Ruled – but it was comprised of tinny songs around two minutes long. And lots of spots. For local things. Because radio was really local back then.

FM Stereo was gaining ground. People were buying very cool home equipment, but it was really expensive to put it in your car, and at that time, 4-Track Stereos were The Thing. 8-tracks followed shortly – progress!

Because life was so amazing, we’d drive around at night looking for things to do – as we switched back-and-forth from station-to-station to find a good song – and take in that two-minute version with all the guitar leads cut out so it fit on a 45 record.

So at my Very First Job after school, I worked at the first FM Stereo, Album Format Rock & Roll station in Portland. The music was safe during the day. But after 9pm, the DJs played the long versions of everything. Which, in those days was about 17 minutes.  Extended versions. With all the guitar leads. Do you know what the two-minute-version of the Allman Brothers’ Whippin’ Post sounds like? Neither do I.

That. Was. Awesome.

To complete the picture, I had a ’63 VW bug with a safari top. Adorned myself in Indian print shirts and Sea Farers. Got free tickets to concerts, and I hung out with people who were a lot older than me. It all fit so well.

It was a cool job for a teenager.

In the world, we had a war to protest, bras to burn, consciousness to raise, and music that defined a generation. I’ve heard it said that music is the soundtrack for your generation. It was true for me.

I still love the old music, hear it sampled here and there – and resurrected in a TV spot or two.

I was ‘too young’ to participate in Beer Fridays, but we had plenty of them. We were creative, hard-working and had a lot of fun – and the DJs knew how to put a set together.

The music always got us in the mood for the weekend. Glad I was there.

Happy Beer Friday! And what are you listening to?