Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las Vegas

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9780822359678: Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las Vegas
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On the Las Vegas Strip, blockbuster casinos burst out of the desert, billboards promise "hot babes," actual hot babes proffer complimentary drinks, and a million happy slot machines ring day and night. It’s loud and excessive, but, as the Project on Vegas demonstrates, the Strip is not a world apart. Combining written critique with more than one hundred photographs by Karen Klugman, Strip Cultures examines the politics of food and water, art and spectacle, entertainment and branding, body and sensory experience. In confronting the ordinary on America’s most famous four-mile stretch of pavement, the authors reveal how the Strip concentrates and magnifies the basic truths and practices of American culture where consumerism is the stuff of life, digital surveillance annuls the right to privacy, and nature—all but destroyed—is refashioned as an element of decor.  

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About the Author:

The members of the Project on Vegas are Stacy M. Jameson, Instructor of Film/Media at the University of Rhode Island; Karen Klugman, photographer and Chair of the Art Department at the Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut; Jane Kuenz, Associate Professor of English at the University of Southern Maine; and Susan Willis, Associate Professor of Literature at Duke University. 

Review:

"Bringing fresh perspectives to our understanding of the Las Vegas Strip, the authors offer a compelling set of observations that speak not only to the over-the-top world of the Strip, but to larger trends in American culture. They allow readers to catch a brief glimpse of another Vegas, the one occupied by those who keep the city's economic wheels of gaming and tourism turning." (Lynn Comella, University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

"Rabelais does Las Vegas." (Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles)

"[T]he chapter on surveillance and 'security aesthetics' is downright chilling. This study may not expose all of Las Vegas’s secrets, but it still feels like someone pulling back the curtain for a peek at the Wizard." (Publishers Weekly)

"Strip Cultures explores all aspects of Vegas from the perspectives of art, photography and the visual, from the sensory experience to nature and technology, and brand and image. Every facet goes under the microscope, which makes for diverting reading in itself – viewing this city, its culture and its bizarre mix of inhabitants for the sheer theatre it is." (Sam Marsden Jackpot.co.uk)

"[A] book of often startling richness and complexity, often very finely written. ...Strip Cultures is an admirably even-handed and non-judgemental account, for the most part, of a city whose openness allows its authors to experience it in some new ways. But as they make clear, it’s also a city whose pleasures come at a human cost. Without hectoring or harangue, but instead by steady accumulation of data and anecdote, that is the disturbing conclusion this book leaves." (Richard J. Williams Times Higher Education 2015-10-01)

"This book is an excellent travelogue with pictures and commentary of the experience that is Las Vegas and American culture." (Brad Eden Journal of American Culture 2017-03-20)

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9780822359487: Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las Vegas

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Publisher: Duke University Press Books, 2015
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