In The Desert Of Desire: Las Vegas And The Culture Of Spectacle

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9780874177275: In The Desert Of Desire: Las Vegas And The Culture Of Spectacle

Las Vegas, says William Fox, is a pay-as-you-play paradise that succeeds in satisfying our fantasies of wealth and the excesses of pleasure and consumption that go with it. In this context, Fox examines how Las Vegas’s culture of spectacle has obscured the boundaries between high art and entertainment extravaganza, nature and fantasy, for-profit and nonprofit enterprises. His purview ranges from casino art galleries—including Steve Wynn’s private collection and a branch of the famed Guggenheim Museum—to the underfunded Las Vegas Art Museum; from spectacular casino animal collections like those of magicians Siegfried and Roy and Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef exhibit to the city’s lack of support for a viable public zoo; from the environmental and psychological impact of lavish water displays in the arid desert to the artistic ambiguities intrinsic to Las Vegas’s floating world of showgirls, lapdancers, and ballet divas. That Las Vegas represents one of the world’s most opulent displays of private material wealth in all its forms, while providing miserly funding for local public amenities like museums and zoos, is no accident, Fox maintains. Nor is it unintentional that the city’s most important collections of art and exotic fauna are presented in the context of casino entertainment, part of the feast of sensation and excitement that seduces millions of visitors each year. Instead, this phenomenon shows how our insatiable modern appetite for extravagance and spectacle has diminished the power of unembellished nature and the arts to teach and inspire us, and demonstrates the way our society privileges private benefit over public good. Given that Las Vegas has been a harbinger of national cultural trends, Fox’s commentary offers prescient insight into the increasing commercialization of nature and culture across America.

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From the Publisher:

"As I tagged along on his zigzagging explorations of Steve Wynn's $300-million art collection, the local public art museum, the Guggenheim-Hermitage gallery inside Adelson's Venetian, through the Mirage's "dolphin habitat," out to the bare-bones Vegas public zoo and then into Cirque du Soleil's steamy stage production of "Zumanity," I felt the exhilarated giddiness of one of those long, winding nocturnal rambles through the Strip itself.... 'What's being sold?' Fox asks in his preface. He provides several answers, foremost among them 'spectacle' on a scale never before seen in history. 'You can order up whatever spectacle you can afford, a pay-as-you-play paradise,' he writes. 'Las Vegas enables you not only to gaze upon spectacle but also to sleep in its bed and have sex with it.'" --Marc Cooper, Los Angeles Times Book Review, 14 November 2005

"In a nutshell, Fox says what happens here doesn't necessarily stay here." --Ken White, Las Vegas Review-Journal

"It is an interesting and fascinating examination of the role Vegas continues to play in culture as well as an interesting travel guide with a definite point of view." --Salt Lake Tribune

"...a remarkable book. It deserves a wide readership, especially among students and scholars concerned with tourism, spectacle, and the American West. It should be required reading for those concerned with Las Vegas." --C. Richard King, Journal of the West

About the Author:

Bill Fox remains stubbornly outside the ability of critics to label him. An independent scholar, a cultural geographer, an essayist, a poet, a travel writer, Fox consistently brings together unexpected fields of knowledge in order to illuminate the subjects at hand. He has been an arts consultant, curator, and visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute. He has written widely on the nature of deserts and the role of the arts in American culture. He is the author of numerous articles and books; his work on cognition and the landscape includes time in the Antarctic as a visiting writer with the National Science Foundation and work in the Arctic with NASA on the Haughton-Mars Project. He lives in Burbank.

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Book Description University of Nevada Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 137 mm. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Las Vegas, says William Fox, is a pay-as-you-play paradise that succeeds through its collective ability to fantasize our desire for vast wealth and the excesses of pleasure and consumption that go with it. In this context, he examines how the city s culture of spectacle has obscured boundaries between art and entertainment, public and private interest, and consequently has diminished the power of unembellished nature and the arts to teach and inspire us.Available now for the first time in paperback, In the Desert of Desire offers unique insight into the increasing commercialization of nature and culture across America, and the ways Las Vegas has manipulated them to achieve ever-higher levels of extravagance and spectacle. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780874177275

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Book Description University of Nevada Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Las Vegas, says William Fox, is a pay-as-you-play paradise that succeeds through its collective ability to fantasize our desire for vast wealth and the excesses of pleasure and consumption that go with it. In this context, he examines how the city s culture of spectacle has obscured boundaries between art and entertainment, public and private interest, and consequently has diminished the power of unembellished nature and the arts to teach and inspire us.Available now for the first time in paperback, In the Desert of Desire offers unique insight into the increasing commercialization of nature and culture across America, and the ways Las Vegas has manipulated them to achieve ever-higher levels of extravagance and spectacle. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780874177275

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Book Description University of Nevada Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Las Vegas, says William Fox, is a pay-as-you-play paradise that succeeds through its collective ability to fantasize our desire for vast wealth and the excesses of pleasure and consumption that go with it. In this context, he examines how the city s culture of spectacle has obscured boundaries between art and entertainment, public and private interest, and consequently has diminished the power of unembellished nature and the arts to teach and inspire us.Available now for the first time in paperback, In the Desert of Desire offers unique insight into the increasing commercialization of nature and culture across America, and the ways Las Vegas has manipulated them to achieve ever-higher levels of extravagance and spectacle. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780874177275

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Book Description University of Nevada Press, Reno, 2007. Softcover. Book Condition: New. 208 pages. Softcover. New book. NEVADA. William Fox, is a pay-as-you-play paradise that succeeds in satisfying our fantasies of wealth and the excesses of pleasure and consumption that go with it. In this context, Fox examines how Las Vegas's culture of spectacle has obscured the boundaries between high art and entertainment extravaganza, nature and fantasy, for-profit and nonprofit enterprises. His purview ranges from casino art galleriesÑincluding Steve Wynn's private collection and a branch of the famed Guggenheim MuseumÑto the underfunded Las Vegas Art Museum; from spectacular casino animal collections like those of magicians Siegfried and Roy and Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef exhibit to the city's lack of support for a viable public zoo; from the environmental and psychological impact of lavish water displays in the arid desert to the artistic ambiguities intrinsic to Las Vegas's floating world of showgirls, lapdancers, and ballet divas. That Las Vegas represents one of the world's most opulent displays of private material wealth in all its forms, while providing miserly funding for local public amenities like museums and zoos, is no accident, Fox maintains. Nor is it unintentional that the city's most important collections of art and exotic fauna are presented in the context of casino entertainment, part of the feast of sensation and excitement that seduces millions of visitors each year. Instead, this phenomenon shows how our insatiable modern appetite for extravagance and spectacle has diminished the power of unembellished nature and the arts to teach and inspire us, and demonstrates the way our society privileges private benefit over public good. Given that Las Vegas has been a harbinger of national cultural trends, Fox's commentary offers prescient insight into the increasing commercialization of nature and culture across America. Bill Fox remains stubbornly outside the ability of critics to label him. An independent scholar, a cultural geographer, an essayist, a poet, a travel writer, Fox consistently brings together unexpected fields of knowledge in order to illuminate the subjects at hand. He has been an arts consultant, curator, and visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute. He has written widely on the nature of deserts and the role of the arts in American culture. He is the author of numerous articles and books; his work on cognition and the landscape includes time in the Antarctic as a visiting writer with the National Science Foundation and work in the Arctic with NASA on the Haughton-Mars Project. He lives in Burbank. "As I tagged along on his zigzagging explorations of Steve Wynn's $300-million art collection, the local public art museum, the Guggenheim-Hermitage gallery inside Adelson's Venetian, through the Mirage's "dolphin habitat," out to the bare-bones Vegas public zoo and then into Cirque du Soleil's steamy stage production of "Zumanity," I felt the exhilarated giddiness of one of those long, winding nocturnal rambles through the Strip itself. 'What's being sold?' Fox asks in his preface. He provides several answers, foremost among them 'spectacle' on a scale never before seen in history. 'You can order up whatever spectacle you can afford, a pay-as-you-play paradise,' he writes. 'Las Vegas enables you not only to gaze upon spectacle but also to sleep in its bed and have sex with it.'" ÑMarc Cooper, Los Angeles Times Book Review, 14 November 2005 "In a nutshell, Fox says what happens here doesn't necessarily stay here." ÑKen White, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 20 November 2005 "It is an interesting and fascinating examination of the role Vegas continues to play in culture as well as an interesting travel guide with a definite point of view." ÑSalt Lake Tribune, 25 December 2005 ".a remarkable book. It deserves a wide readership, especially among students and scholars concerned with tourism, spectacle, and the American West. It should be required reading for those concerned with Las Ve. book. Bookseller Inventory # 84415X1

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