The Latest Gamble in Vegas

Earlier this month I had a chance to spend a few days in Las Vegas with a dear friend who was celebrating a birthday. He and his wife wanted a long weekend with no kids and a group of D.C. friends who had dispersed over the years. I went and had a blast. While I’m not much of a gambler, I always enjoy Vegas — mainly because of the fine dining, the nice hotels, and the shows.

One thing I wanted to check out on this trip was the new City Center complex. At $8.5 billion, it’s reported to be the priciest real estate development in U.S. history. I got to tell you, I was taken by the architecture and art of the complex. Though I skipped the $15 a head admission ticket to the show by the same name at the Bellagio Museum of Art, I will say the collection of public art at City Center is one of the best I’ve seen in a while.

If you have a moment the next time you’re in Vegas, wander over and check it out. I found Cesar Pelli’s designs, the Henry Moore sculpture and an ice sculpture called Glacia especially appealing.

From a PR point of view, I sympathize with the PR team at MGM Mirage Corp. who are pitching the complex to architecture critics, art criticstravel media and the like — to get reporters to write about a building opening, you have to be doing something important inside the building. (That’s what the real news is — not the architecture or art itself.)

Since gambling, excuse me —  gaming —  isn’t particularly newsworthy, they have to rely on the strength of the architecture and art to capture the imagination of writers. Fortunately, that’s pretty strong.

Check out this video I shot.


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