I was recently hired to do one of the MOST FUCKED-UP photo shoots I’ve ever been party to!
A local artist who goes by the name Barfing Rainbows wanted to shoot some mega-disturbing scenes in a crack motel, so he rented a room at the venerable Desert Moon on Fremont Street, then had me come down in a miniskirt and an “I ♥ Vegas” shirt, put on a melting-face mask, and watch pornography on the TV while eating a melting ice-cream cone. It was SICK!
Now, I’ve been in some shitty motels in my day, but this place really took the cake: torn, stained carpet, dead roaches in the bathroom, saggy mattress and cinderblock walls. And they had the chutzpah to charge $44 a night!! WTF—you can stay at the freakin’ LUXOR for that much! I guess it makes sense if you want to be down in the heart of the crack district though, near all the best suppliers and crack hos…but still! Although now that I think about it, this place did have FREE unlimited XXX movies on the TV, so I guess that’s a big part of its allure, too. Come to find out, you have to have a special license to be able to show unlimited porn, so it’s a pretty big deal in some circles.
Speaking of unlimited porn, we made good use of that in the photos—the photographer had the TV screen in the shot, and most fortuitously it happened to be showing a scene involving a circus clown finger-banging an Asian girl with a ginormous 1980s bush! The clown even shot Silly String all over her bush! Talk about a money shot!!!
Of course, I couldn’t see much of what was going on, due to the fact that I had a full-face latex mask with no eyeholes covering my visage…and after we finished shooting in the room, we trekked out front to do some establishing shots on the corner of Fremont Street. I stood there in my melting-face mask and “I ♥ Vegas” shirt, flashing my own grossly overgrown 1970s bush to the passing traffic. Astonishingly, no one honked or whistled or even noticed!!! That’s Fremont Street for ya…they’re pretty jaded down there. It takes a lot to impress those bums.
Speaking of Fremont Street, it’s a short jog from where I live, so when it wasn’t so fucking hot out I used to go running down there. It’s a great neighborhood, full of quaint old motels that have since become flophouses, crack houses, and hooker havens—all in the great trajectory of Vegas. The history of these motels parallels the story of Vegas in general: Back in the 40s and 50s they were family-oriented motor courts, where parents could leave their kids with a sitter while they walked down Fremont St. to gamble at Binion’s or the El Cortez. Over time, urban decay set in (the Desert Moon itself even became one of those hourly rental spots for awhile)…but now a wave of hipsters are coming in, buying up the ghetto one block at a time, and gentrifying it. Before you know it, the place will be wall-to-wall Whole Foods and yoga studios…a crying shame for those of us who enjoy a little colorful grime!