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January 06, 2007 07:00pm
Bill Margold's "Cinema Seen" Column From Tomorrow's LA Xpress
Source: Bill Margold
by: William Margold

By the time you are reading this…I will be in Hell.

No, I won’t be dead (I don’t get that experience until the Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl, which is whole other version of Hell to be discussed at another time), but, for most of this time, I damn well will be wishing that I were dead…because between Tuesday, January 9 and Saturday, January 13…I will in Las Vegas---a neon hole with virtually no soul.

Not only does Las Vegas epitomize man’s addiction to the fool’s folly of gambling, and his suicidal willingness to sacrifice virtually everything in his present in a desperate attempt to secure an economically easy future, the torturous town is also a place, where, when trapped in the confines of one of its horribly unfit for big crowds convention halls, because of smoking being tolerated (anything to keep the stupid public happy), and inadequate air filtering machinery, as I will be handling the fundraising affairs of Protecting Adult Welfare (www.pawfoundation.org) during the Adult Entertainment Expo, that the chances of my contracting a dreaded malady known as "Las Vegas Lung"---wherein I inevitably start coughing up grotesque amounts of black gooey material, is guaranteed. And I really, really, REALLY do try and fight back with thousands of units of vitamin C, and by drinking enough water to irrigate Death Valley. But my health always loses out to the callousness of Las Vegas’ pursuit of wealth.

Back in the a-bomb testing days, the government missed doing mankind a Big favor by not choosing Las Vegas as its primary site, instead of taking its act to White Sands, New Mexico.

But since the town unfortunately still stands, I can only reiterate my eternal feeling that "The best way to see Las Vegas in the rearview mirror!"

Yeah…I know that the preceding is not exactly what you expect when you excitedly flip over the latest issue of the LAXpress, but if you are truly a faithful fan/reader of my Cinema Seen page, by now you should have come to realize that my weekly column more often than not lives up to the motto: "expect the unexpected…and accept nothing but the unusual."

And richly maximizing every iota of that sentiment is the exceptional entertainment featured here---the Vice Guide To Travel (www.viceland.com).

Think of what these guys have come up with as "Mondo Cane Today"---and then sit back, although not too comfortably, and watch in disbelief, as parts of our planet unfold before your eyes with the impact of grenades going off in your mind.

Sort of a "60 Minutes" for those who like to walk on hot coals, chew on light bulbs, and sleep in a nest of tarantulas, "The Vice Guide To Travel" is journalism in the raw…and rare!

However if I were younger and more carefree, I’d be honored to hang with these guys. But I’ve always been aware that I am about as cool as drafty toilet (and, in fact, was once referred to in Hustler as being "The Square’s square"), so all I can do is live vicariously through their actions, as they whisk me along on a magnetic magic carpet ride to places that truly give the vice-saturated Las Vegas a run for its money…and the misery that it creates therein.

Now it isn’t enough that the back of the box comes with a warning: "The Vice Guide To Travel contains nudity, guns, drugs, cussing, assorted other heaviness. If you are easily offended, put this DVD down and walk away now." Further caution is posted inside the nice little booklet housing the DVD with the following statement: The news is all bad. Sitting in our Western comfort, it’s easy to forget that most of the world is hell. War, disease, famine, genocide, and poverty dot the globe like chunks of cancer. Basically humans are fucked. We thought we already knew something about current international events, but we didn’t really know shit until we set out and started doing some serious traveling. These aren’t vacations to Disney World, Paris, or even some Outward Bound safari. These are trips to places that you see once in a while on Tv and think, "no way in hell am I ever going there." Well, we went so that you never, ever have to go for yourself as long as you live. We went, and we’re glad that we did. Here are the stories to prove it…!

And with such segments as "Down at the Gun Bazaar," "Jurassic Jungle," "The Third Reich Goes South," "A Ghost Town Called Chernobyl" and "City of Oh-My-God"---the proof is powerful, painful…and paradoxically pleasurable…obviously because, as they have proudly pointed out…you don’t have to be there. Maybe the creators of Vice should think about turning their talents toward "hidden horrors of Las Vegas" next. But I’d only be willing to watch if the segments were akin to Hiroshima then…and Chernobyl now. Just think…the cover shot could be Charlton Heston looking up at remains of the Stratosphere Tower.

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