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The Riviera: Your Experience Is YOUR Experience

I love finding out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall places. I love going to places that have a sense of history – it’s been there. Most of these places are worn down a bit, but the experience is worth it. Sometimes, just walking where an historic figure walked or ate is awesome — sharing the same space and imagining can be exciting.

I’m sure that you’ve found some dingy, backwoods barbeque place that serves amazing, smokey-sweet ribs that are to die for and you’re treated like a cousin. You hear lots of laughter and clanking and “Mmmmm Mmmm!”

Yeah. THAT’S what I’m talking about.

One such hole-in-the-wall old place was in Oklahoma. We stumbled upon it by accident. When Rebecca and I were traveling by RV to teach mobile DJs the MarBecca Method, we would intentionally travel from place to place on state and U.S. highways instead of Interstate highways. In 2007, we were making our way west and decided to drive along the panhandle of Oklahoma instead of taking the more traveled route that generally goes through Texas. We thought it would be fun to drive along that little strip of land over the top of Texas. And it was!

Our course took us to a place called Roman Nose, where we spent the night. We had never expected to find such beauty in Oklahoma! Rolling, green hills with wooded areas and wild turkeys strolling about. It was so beautiful! The resort at Roman Nose was old. It was run down. You could tell that it was spectacular at one point. The golf course, restaurant, rooms, camp sites, and teepees all harkened back to the glory days of this once high-end resort. Rebecca and I loved staying there and walking the grounds imagining what it must have been like at the height of its existence. I felt a certain privilege being there and was glad that it hadn’t been destroyed and replaced by something newer — much the same way I feel when I visit Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel, which opened in 1927.


McSorley's Old Ale House

In New York City, if you travel to the east village, you might stumble in to McSorley’s. We did. It is something we have never forgotten. It was simply an amazing experience! It’s been there since the mid-1800’s and none of the memorabilia has been removed from it’s walls since 1910. The barmen are rude. It’s dingy and dank and loud and old and smelly… and packed with people. We drank beer — two at a time. We sat at tables, resting our elbows naturally in indentations that were literally created by thousands of elbows before ours. We ordered “appetizers,” which was a plate of sliced cheese with raw onions and saltine crackers that we smothered with the hot mustard that was in the crusty jar on the table. We could see in the “kitchen” where our barman shooed the black cat from the counter to frisbee the cheese, onions, and crackers on the plate. To this day, we revel in that experience and reminisce with the friends who shared it with us. You just can’t get that kind of experience at a newer, upscale “Old Irish Pub.”

When you go to an historic place, you have to get in the right frame of mind. It’s NOT going to be tidy and new. You can’t go there expecting it to be. You must embrace the history and the dingy smell. You must imagine yourself walking the halls with people who have gone before you. Indulge in the retro decor. Slow down and look at the memorabilia on the walls and get a sense of how cool the place is.

The Riviera is one of the last, old-school Las Vegas casinos and hotels. It’s been there for almost 60 years! Dean Martin and two of the Marx Brothers had ownership in it, and The Riv has been used as a location for at least 10 motion pictures including Austin Powers. You must imagine yourself walking the halls with Frank and Dean and Sammy. Indulge in the giant retro whirlpool tubs and bathrooms. Slow down and look at the black and white pictures on the walls and get a sense of how cool the place is. It might not be there forever. You might have just one chance to stroll along its historic hallways.

Mobile Beat Las Vegas is the original show that’s exclusively for mobile DJs. Go for the experience. YOUR experience. Your experience will be shaped only by YOU. You own it. The Riviera. It sucks. Or does it? That really depends on who YOU are, now doesn’t it? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a dirty old, hole in the wall place that they love. It’s not the place. It’s what you decide it is that matters.

Some people seem to take some glee in bashing both Mobile Beat and the Riviera. What they don’t realize is that it’s more of a reflection of who they are than what Mobile Beat and the Riv are. Your experience is based largely on who you are.

I’m really looking forward to hanging out one last time at the iconic and historic Riviera for Mobile Beat Las Vegas.  I’m looking forward to hanging out with YOU in the hallways and LIVING LARGE – having a beer and bein’ somebody like the Rat Pack was. Let’s go there and enjoy it because we can – before they implode it for some upcoming movie. Let’s make memories and make it a happening – instead of a bashing. It’s a decision; just a decision; that YOU make because of who YOU are. Your experience is YOUR experience. Rebecca and I want to share it with people who want to have a POSITIVE EXPERIENCE.

And… You can quote me on that.

©2014 Mark K. Ferrell


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