Desert Companion's 2014 Best of the City issue is on its way. Included among the blurbs on the best food, culture, shopping and lifestyle amenities are a few writerly odes to superlative aspects of Las Vegas. Until the February edition arrives, here's a bonus ode to whet your appetite.
The only thing that makes the 2001 Clooney-Pitt-Damon remake of Ocean’s Eleven a respectable piece of Vegas art is the post-robbery scene in which all the bandits marvel at the greatness of Bellagio’s dancing fountains. The Debussy strings wash in as Casey Affleck and his homies share looks of peaceful wonder, and, yes, this is actually how it feels to watch these fountains, even if you’re not making out with millions. You’ve been gifted. It doesn’t matter if your relatives have forced you to take them to see this, the top landmark in the country according to Trip Advisor, on each visit for the last 15 years. It’s still an enchanting experience every time, a thunderous and whimsical representation of the healthiest part of the Vegas spirit. The Bellagio fountains offer perspective, an artfully aquatic reminder that no matter how much the Strip struggles and changes, there will always be this very singular, nonsensical beauty. These few glowing miles in the desert are, of course, all about money, but there is plenty of captivating byproduct for us all to admire. The fountains are an irresistible portal, maybe even a tractor beam sucking us into the Death Star of Vegas. They make me want to drop some money at the tables, indulge in an over-the-top dinner and drift into the night with multiple martinis, saturated in swank, celebrating for no reason. I’ve seen this show maybe 75 times, lived here more than 25 years, but it always makes feel like I’m someone else from some other place, just visiting, just having a great time.