Gay Travel: Viva Downtown Las Vegas
It’s Friday night and Las Vegas is buzzing, but not from the sounds of slot machines or the spinning of roulette wheels. It’s a different kind of buzz that fills the Arts District. A man stands at a microphone with the light of a neon sign serving as his spotlight. Passersby walk through the Arts District, taking in the various vendors’ stalls. A boy picks up a vegan chocolate bar, and the man, like a Greek stentor, shares his spoken-word poetry. A woman browses local artwork and as she moves on down the street she proclaims loudly, “I’ll have to pick that painting up later.”
Nearby, a group of gay boys files out of a local bar holding inventive sugary cocktails that each deserves its own PANTONE color. The poet continues to speak, creating a vibrant urgency, and people dance through the stalls to the beat of his trochees. The neon lights of Las Vegas’ Arts District are nearly drowned out by the illuminated vendors who have completely transformed the outdoor 18-block district into a creative amusement park of art and local culture.
The rumba of salsa music has old and young locals twirling under the disco-ball twilight. Clouds of smoke from the freshly deep-fried zeppole waft across the dance floor and mix with spray paint fumes puffing like a chimney from a young boy creating a mural.