R & R Partners (the Public Relations firm that receives copious amounts of my tax dollars from the LVCVA) organized an odd promotional stunt today.
They succeeded in breaking a world record for largest bikini parade. The goal for the event was 300 girls. We did not meet the female numerical goal, enlisting only 281 women, but we did set the World Record.
The reason I say “we”, is because I paid for it. As did two million of my neighbors.
Now, before I go on to tell you that it was a fun event and that it was a very unique and interesting sight to behold, I am afraid I am going to have to kill the buzz for a moment.
First of all, none of the tourists had any idea what was going on. I actually had to yell at one lady (in retrospect I feel bad, but she was being rude). While I was busy adjusting shutter, aperture, and doing my best to frame shots with the sun in my eyes, a very attractive but very annoying young woman from another country kept shouting in my ear.
“What is this?”, she asked.
“Bikini parade”, I replied.
“Why a bikini parade?”, she asked in broken English.
“They are trying to set a world record”, I said, half paying attention to her at this point.
“What does that mean? What does it mean … world record? What is a world record?”, she asked at least three times.
At this point I could not hold it in any longer. Lady, does it say tour guide on my fucking shirt or do I just look like a guy who will drop everything he is doing to focus on you?
She sulked away from me into the crowd, and I felt like an ass — but seriously, it was overtly obvious that I was busy. There were 200+ girls in bikinis in front of me. What was my motivation to explain the concept of a “world record” to a stranger from another culture? There was none.
It was hot, I was wearing layers of clothing to keep my photo stuff in my pockets, the parade started late, and I was trying my damnest to get shots while this lady was playing 20 questions with me. I will be the first to admit that I am very short-tempered in the heat. I’m irritable, and I am generally not chatty or polite until I get back into the AC.
Dear Ms. Hot But Annoying (I just addressed every attractive female on the planet), if you happen to be reading this, accept my apologies. I am usually more tolerant, but when it’s pushing triple digits and I am trying to focus (literally), leave me alone. Thank you.
I have a greater point in this diatribe. The point is that I was approached by no less than 50 tourists in my two hours at Wynn and Fashion Show Mall who came up to me and asked “What’s going on?”.
The only people covering this event appeared to be the organizers and the local press. Not one single, solitary tourist had any idea that the parade was supposed to happen. Nobody showed up explicitly for it. Once it started, they stood by and watched with pleasant excitement, but it had to have been the most poorly publicized PR event in the history of Las Vegas.
It wasn’t just the tourists, though. I spotted one of my buddies from one of our esteemed local papers and he greeted me with “Hey, when did you find out about this? I didn’t know this was happening until this morning!”.
The fact is, this event was hastily planned, to the point that the organizers still had a Craiglist ad online over the weekend trying to put 300 girls in place mere days before the event.
I learned from a freelance photographer on-scene that the event had initially turned away any girls with tattoos, but that the restrictions on appearance were loosened as they realized that they did not have enough women. As a matter of fact, I swear a couple of the “girls” were “guys” at some point in “her” life.
I spotted at least a dozen writers/photographers/cameramen in the crowd who I knew on some level, and it was like a minor local social event. Since the parade started late (two hours late by some accounts), we had plenty of time to bitch about life in general.
I did my usual rant against R&R and the LVCVA, and I explained to one guy that each girl received $100 to participate in the event.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg”, I explained.
“Do you see all of these police cars?” I said pointing up and down Las Vegas Boulevard. “There are at least 20 of them, not counting the ones at the Las Vegas Sign. How much do you think that is costing us in overtime?”
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