Poison singer Bret Michaels and airplanes landing in Las Vegas

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Living
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By Eric Louie

LAS VEGAS-One of my introductions to journalism was in middle school when some issue or another made my mom think I should join an afterschool club. I briefly ended up on the school newspaper, which was more stapled photocopies, writing a review of Poison’s “Open Up and Say Ahh!” Yeah, that Poison, those glam rock guys that wore makeup and partied hard.

Though some things have changed, such as decadent rock star lifestyles replaced by rehab, relationship and sex tape scandals, I found myself seeing lead singer Bret Michaels in Las Vegas this summer. It was also a chance to practice some new video skills.

I was there for the Unity 2012 convention, a gathering of journalism associations that work towards diversity. I wasn’t thinking about going, being an unemployed journalist and all. The last one was four years ago in Chicago, and I had an employer that covered registration and days off. Not this time though.

Then, with an almost cliche chance of luck, I got some help from the Asian American Journalists Association. One was from a member with a free registration she couldn’t use. I also got a $300 grant from the San Francisco chapter that paid for other costs like transportation, food and staying there. With rideshares, hostels and finding my way into receptions when not hitting cheap casino eats, I was planning to make it work.

In the end my parents decided to go too. We made it a road trip. A few days later, as the convention was ending, they asked if I wanted to stay an extra night before going to see relatives in Los Angeles. I hadn’t really been out much, and had seen mention that the Poison frontman was playing as part of a free “Rock of Vegas” concert series. It was in the city’s relatively low-key downtown. As many times as I had been to Vegas, I never really went to that part.

Still somewhat expecting a cover band, we headed there and ate at a prime rib buffet that also had some good oxtails. Then I saw the crowds and realized it was for real. I grabbed a couple 24-ounce beers, something I was far too young for when I saw Poison with Warrant opening back in my early teen years at the Oakland Coliseum. It was cool to see Bret Michaels still put on a show, and I knew it’d be something my friends would want to see. So I made this video. I didn’t get VIP passes to be in the front, but it worked out since I got a lot of other scenery in the back.

Additionally, the next morning my mom encouraged me to get some video of the airplanes landing at McCarran International Airport. It was an idea I got after we ended up staying at the La Quinta Inn. It’s actually pretty far from The Strip, but they have an all-night shuttle. My mom picked it partially because of the free breakfast. You don’t hear the planes from inside the rooms, and a lot of families were there. There’s a viewing parking lot on Sunset Road. They come in every few minutes, so the wait isn’t long. You can also listen to the air traffic controllers on 101.1 FM. Just know there is no shade, and it can be 100 degrees, like when we went.


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