Preparing for Las Vegas

The Consumer Electronics Show takes place January 10–13 in Las Vegas.

Have I mentioned that I hate Las Vegas? My hatred for Las Vegas is juvenile and irrational and represents what is probably the last strand of my nearly resigned defiance for all things bourgeois, fascist, bogus, and generally lame. I’ve softened up a lot over the last 10 years, but Vegas hardens me anew. I hate Las Vegas. The place is soulless, hollow, utterly putrid, infested with sickness, vice, and abandon, driven by all that is dirty and unholy (I kinda like that part, actually), and, above all, fake. So incredibly fake, in fact, that one just has to marvel at its surface shine, its cardboard towers and phony waterfalls, its ridiculously realistic gondolas and Parisian skies. It’s incredible that we’ve managed to build Las Vegas at all, more incredible that we actually would: a city that’s like a bad and unnecessary cover version of so many of our truly wonderful creations. Las Vegas is Christy Baron doing “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Rebecca Pidgeon doing “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?,” Britney Spears doing “Satisfaction.”

Miley Cyrus doing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

In Las Vegas, you have to wait years before you can safely cross the quietest of streets. Who built this city, anyway? Oh, yes: Criminals. It's no surprise that Stephen King chose Las Vegas as the headquarters of evil when he wrote The Stand.

I get annoyed with Rosemarie for even liking Las Vegas. You like Las Vegas? What is wrong with you, evil woman? Get away from me, shoo. Cough, burp, belch, etc.

Ah, but I’m being unfair to Las Vegas. (You see? I’m soft.) Las Vegas is fine and home to many beautiful people. It’s just not for me. Most likely, my pathetic hatred for Las Vegas stems from the quality of time I spend there: Racing from hotel to hotel, from one smoky casino floor to the next, forgetting meals, praying against illness, attempting to cover as much as possible during each Consumer Electronics Show. It would be fairer to say that I’d rather stay home.

But my ticket has been purchased, the room has been reserved, I’ve accepted invitations to dinners and to demos. There’s no turning back now.

Each year, despite my feelings, I attend CES with the best intentions, hoping to run rings around the other reporters, to be the life of the party, to blog so hard the system crashes, to see and hear it all. And, invariably, I leave Las Vegas feeling that I’ve failed. I think, this year, I will tell myself to adhere to more realistic goals, to do only what I can, to take care of myself, to drink lots of water, to ingest my vitamins and say my prayers, and to come home feeling healthy and satisfied, while knowing that all such plans will fly out the window and land onto Las Vegas Boulevard where they will mingle in the dead, still air with those little advertisements for carnal pleasures, as soon as I check into my room at Harrah’s.

John Atkinson is aware of this thing, this mission impossible. So, he has given specific assignments to the seven Stereophile writers on hand: John will cover expensive loudspeakers, defined as those priced over $15,000/pair; Robert Deutsch will cover loudspeakers priced below $15,000/pair; Michael Fremer will cover analog; Kalman Rubinson will cover multichannel; Jon Iverson will cover digital; Larry Greenhill will cover expensive amplification; and I will cover budget-priced amplification. We will all cover those cables, accessories, and sundries that we find interesting, while Michael Lavorgna, Tyll Hertsens, and the team at Home Theater will cover their respective beats. And I’m sure we’ll converge at various intersections within our broad categories.

And we will have some fun: Jon Iverson, Michael Lavorgna, and I have decided to lead the first of what I hope will be many milkshake-drinking competitions. Publisher Keith Pray and sales coordinator Rosemarie Torcivia have gotten in on the action, too. Perhaps even John Atkinson will partake in the milkshake festivities. We plan to see who can consume the most frozen, blended milk over the course of the Consumer Electronics Show. Let the best man be lactose tolerant. As of now, odds are that Jon Iverson will come out on top; he’s been training for this for years.

Word on the AudioStream is that there will be some fist-pumping going on, too. So, we’ll see. Perhaps Las Vegas has its redeeming qualities, after all. Please keep up with us as we report from the Show. And pray for our souls.

Share | |
Comments
PBNAUDIO's picture
Hello Stephen

Hey, Itll be fun, all you have to do is pack the laptop the camera the suitcase and your ready.  Imagine making ready for one of these things as an exhibitor, that takes months of preperation.  See you there 

 

ATB

 

Peter

SeattleSlew's picture
I'll be covering the budget-priced amplification which means..?

It seems you are in a great position to represent the 99% :)  I for one would really love to hear some old school reporting..  Look at it as an opportunity to occupy :)

SS 

MrGneiss's picture
Milkshakes!!

I do hope you will keep us updated on all things milkshake!! :-D

JR_Audio's picture
Fake and surface shine

 

Very nicely written Stephen. I found parts of myself in it.

 

But anyway, looking forward to seeing you there.

 

Juergen

FSonicSmith's picture
  While the poor people sleep

 

While the poor people sleep with the shade on the light
While the poor people sleep all the stars come out at night
While the poor people sleep with the shade on the light
While the poor people sleep all the stars come out at night

After closing time at the Guernsey Fair,
I detect the El Supremo from the room at the top of the stairs
Well I've been around the world, and I've been in the Washington Zoo
And in all my travels as the facts unravel, I've found this to be true

[chorus]

They got the house on the corner, with the rug inside
They got the booze they need, all that money can buy
They got the shapely bodies, they got the Steely Dan T-shirts
And for the coupe de grace, they're outrageous
Honey let me tell you

[chorus]

Show bus'ness kids makin' movies of themselves
You know they don't give a fuck about anybody else

You know you go to Las Wages, Las Wages, go to Las Wages

John Atkinson's picture
Re: While the Poor People Sleep...

You gotta go back, Jack, do it again, FSonicSmith, wheels goin' 'round and 'round.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

The Continental's picture
While the poor people sleep

Dude, that is perfect.

Paul Luscusk's picture
I Feel your pain

After 16 years of CES shows as a Rep I know where your coming from. Vegas is a lot of hard work,I've been out of the show since 2007 and I only miss  my industry friends that I only got to see at CES or different shows or rep meetings .Other than that you can keep Vegas, Have fun.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I feel your pain! +1

Thank you for writing that, Stephen, my thoughts exactly, saves me from having to write it myself.  I'll just point to your take in my InnerFidelity show intro and move on.

Vegas sucks.

Stephen Scharf's picture
I hate Vegas, too

I'm with ya, Stephen. I hate Vegas, too. Personally, I think the place is a dump. 

What's worst are the casinos, not with respect to what goes on there (gaming, as they say...) but the fact that people are allowed to smoke and there are no windows. 

Denver and RMAF are much more to my liking...plus there's Twist and Shout Records to go shopping for vinyl! smiley

Regardless, have a good show. 

larrylgreenhill's picture
inepensive amps

Stephen:
You said it so well -

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
My pathetic hatred for Las Vegas stems from the quality of time I spend there: Racing from hotel to hotel, from one smoky casino floor to the next, forgetting meals, praying against illness, attempting to cover as much as possible during each Consumer Electronics Show. It would be fairer to say that I’d rather stay home.

But my ticket has been purchased, the room has been reserved, I’ve accepted invitations to dinners and to demos. There’s no turning back now.

Each year, despite my feelings, I attend CES with the best intentions, hoping to run rings around the other reporters, to be the life of the party, to blog so hard the system crashes, to see and hear it all. And, invariably, I leave Las Vegas feeling that I’ve failed.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 Everyone must have their own Vegas story. I'll never forgot Las Vegas 2000, when I got the flu and spend a day unable to get off the couches in the lobby of the Alexis Park. After a few hours, I developed angina, and, upon my return to New York, ended up at Milstein Hospital getting a shunt placed in my right coronary artery. And with my health turning sour, I felt I hadn't cranked out enough photos and copy.

 I'm glad that this year JA carved out the blogging. You and I divide electronic amplification. I'm assigned expensive amplification. Can we agree that amplifiers costing more than  $5,000 for two channels will be the expensive range?

 Larry

The Continental's picture
You nailed it!

Stephen, that is the best summary of the CES Las Vegas experience for professionals that I've ever read. Sad and hilarious--and superbly written. Nicely done!

Stephen Scharf's picture
Analog coverage

Anything fom Fremer?

Have yet to see one post from him regarding analog....where 's the analog coverage?

Stephen Mejias's picture
Analog Corner

Michael Fremer will give us his CES report in his "Analog Corner" column.

Drtrey3's picture
Well I've never been to Vegas

But I kinda like the glitter.

Take some respiratory cocktails with you is all I can suggest.

 

Trey

Site Map / Direct Links