Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Strip

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Everything seems normal until it is not. While Pam Schwartz was at a museum archivists conference in Las Vegas, Nevada I explored the Strip with my sketchbook. A block from the hotel where the conference was held was a MacDonalds and I ate there each morning as I walked my way over to the strip. I got plenty of exercise on this trip hiking many miles each day. Across the street from Casino Royale and Harrah's Casino I found a recessed nook by a hotel wall where I was out of the way of the hoards of tourists wandering up and down the strip.

There was plenty to take in among the riot of color and false opulence. A huge McDonalds Arch dominated the scene between the casinos so it seemed fitting since this was my breakfast choice each morning. Other fast food choices included Outback and Panda Express. Barricades were set up all along the strip so that cars could not drive into the crowds on the sidewalks. Pedestrians were carefully sequestered from possible danger but that made no difference on October 1, 2017 when a shooter high up in Mandela Bay Hotel room fired more than 1,100 rifle rounds into a crowd enjoying a Country Harvest Music Festival. 58 people were shot to death and this became the largest mass shooting in America surpassing the 49 shot to death in Orlando just 16 months earlier. One survivor of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Telemachus Orfanos, a navy Veteran, was later shot to death at the Borderline Bar in California where college students were line dancing.12 people  including a police officer were killed at the Borderline.

My goal sketching each day was to do a series of sketches as I walked my way down to the site of the Las Vegas Mass shooting. I never actually entered a casino but Pam and I did take in one amazing Circue show. More of our time was spent seeing that ways that Las Vegas has responded after the mass shooting. The strip was crowded and back in business immediately following the shooting but locals still struggle with their new reality. Like Orlando Las Vegas has a tourist driven economy. It seems that these tourist getaways are very attractive for the insane looking to make a name for themselves by pulling a trigger.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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