Burl Barer Returns to Las Vegas!

I lived in Las Vegas for a couple years, and did extensive research for a book entitled SHADOW OF THE STRATOSPHERE about the transformation of Winchester Township between 1972 and 2002 — that's the area taking in the Sahara Hotel, Stratosphere, Country Club, and also the highest crime neighborhood in Las Vegas.  The interviews were knock-outs…. from pit bosses  and poker champs to show promoters, whores, dealers (both kinds) and they guy who started the first Cuban gang in Vegas. It was all backed up on CD of course, and multiple copies — all sadly stored in the same place…a place that was robbed and vandalized while I was in Los Angeles.  The computer, the back up discs, everything — GONE.

All that remained was the prologue which I had sent via email and was able to retrieve. I learned my lesson. Don't just back up early and often, but send the damn stuff to yourself via Yahoo and have it forever saved in outer space, Google Docs, dropbox, or SOMETHING that can't be stolen.

My favorite interview was with Mickey Ramirez, an incredibly clever and well spoken woman of "high risk lifestyle" who's memory for minutiae remained undimmed.  If I can find her in Vegas this week, I'm going to get that interview again — the story about her husband's death by gunfire on a hot Vegas night is horrific and compelling.  If I get it again, I'll share it.

Meanwhile, I'm packing up and aiming for the Sahara on Sunday and return to Los Angeles on Wednesday!


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