I have so many wonderful memories of The Riviera.…
When I was a kid we stayed there on our way out to California; as an adult I stayed there more times then I can remember — from AVN shows, to dancing on stage with the “Crazy Girls” for Comdex. Honestly, I have more memories of this particular hotel then any other I can think of anywhere in the world. The company that managed me at the time this photo was taken also happened to be one of the early developers of web sites so they would have membership parties there during the AVN show in January. They made really good connections with the entertainment people there, and I ended up being lucky enough to be one of the few chosen to perform during a huge summertime convention called Comdex.
For several years in a row the Riv brought in five performers from the Adult world; we would perform one of our own Feature numbers (from our dance tours) and then we all got to be in a choreographed number under the direction of Norbert Aleman. I believe the two years that I personally performed we danced to the song “My Angel is a Centerfold” by the Jay Giles Band. At the time I was taking Burlesques lesson from Tony Alisandrini, so for me it all worked out perfectly.
I did my Burlesque show in Las Vegas, actually on the strip. … I remember thinking “How frickin’ cool is this?!!” I always knew it would be an experience that I would never forget, and so far I have been right.
I’m not exactly sure how, but over the years I even learned some of the hotel history. I know that Joan Crawford was the official “hostess” of the show when it opened, and someone told me that it got its fancy reputation by simply paying more than the other strip hotels — a lot more. Something I read said that Liberace was making $750/week at The Frontier (now gone) when the Riv hired him away from some crazy amount like $50,000. I can’t really believe that was a weekly amount, but it was on the internet, so it must be true. Right?
I do know that this year we couldn’t stay there because the hotel shut down last summer. Apparently they’re going to implode it in May, and I could even make a point of being there to say goodbye to an old friend. When we ate at our favorite locals haunt next door this year, I noticed that for whatever reason they have kept the lights on the strip side still working, and they brought back warm feelings from at least one little Burlesque dancer. I thank them for that.
According to the signs, they’re going to expand the convention center into that area, and I guess that will be ok. Change is good. (Right?) … In any case, I’m happy I have many wonderful memories of this wonderful and historical part of old LV. It holds a historic place in my heart too.
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