Las Vegas looks the way you'd imagine heaven must look at night.
The night before I left Las Vegas I walked out in the desert to look at the moon. There was a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high.
Las Vegas: all the amenities of modern society in a habitat unfit to grow a tomato.
There is always a sneer in Las Vegas. The mountains around it sneer. The desert sneers. And arrogant in the middle of its wide valley, dominating those diligent sprawling suburbs, the downtown city sneers like anything.
For a loser, Vegas is the meanest town on earth.
~Hunter S. Thompson
Las Vegas is sort of like how God would do it if he had money.
It's a corny old gag about Las Vegas, the temporal city if there ever was one, trying to camouflage the hours and retard the dawn, when everybody knows that if you're feeling lucky you're really feeling time in its rawest form, and if you're not feeling lucky, they've got a clock at the bus station.
Las Vegas is the only town in the world whose skyline is made up neither of buildings, like New York, nor of trees, like Wilbraham, Massachusetts, but signs.
I mean, what do you do in Las Vegas? You gamble - and you go to strip clubs.
Las Vegas is Everyman's cut-rate Babylon. Not far away there is, or was, a roadside lunch counter and over it a sign proclaiming in three words that a Roman emperor's orgy is now a democratic institution. "Topless Pizza Lunch."
It's hard to imagine a bigger desert oasis than Las Vegas.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
~Jeff Candido and Jason Hoff, advertising slogan written for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 2002
Presidents and presidential assassins are like Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Even though one city is all about sin and the other is all about salvation, they are identical, one-dimensional company towns built up by the sheer will of true believers.
In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number.
Las Vegas - my favorite desert mirage.
For me, Vegas is a vacation from being overinhibited, in the highly overinhabited yet uninhabitable city of complete uninhibition.
The difference between Las Vegas and Atlantic City is the difference between getting conned by a beautiful call girl and getting mugged by a crack head.
The secret affinity between gambling and the desert: the intensity of gambling reinforced by the presence of the desert all around the town. The air-conditioned freshness of the gaming rooms, as against the radiant heat outside. The challenge of all the artificial lights to the violence of the sun's rays. Night of gambling sunlit on all sides; the glittering darkness of these rooms in the middle of the desert. Gambling itself is a desert form, inhuman, uncultured, initiatory, a challenge to the natural economy of value, a crazed activity on the fringes of exchange. But it too has a strict limit and stops abruptly; its boundaries are exact, its passion knows no confusion. Neither the desert nor gambling are open areas; their spaces are finite and concentric, increasing in intensity toward the interior, toward a central point, be it the spirit of gambling or the heart of the desert - a privileged, immemorial space, where things lose their shadow, where money loses its value, and where the extreme rarity of traces of what signals to us there leads men to seek the instantaneity of wealth.
In the case of an earthquake hitting Las Vegas, be sure to go straight to the Keno Lounge. Nothing ever gets hit there.
Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money.