A beautiful art history professor and I went to Las Vegas last weekend to get married.
We were both first time visitors to the strip, what one of our cabdrivers called "Vegas Virgins." Sin City at nighttime, with all its glitz and sparkling, artificial color, says much about the deepening maw of materialism and desire that is America, a long way from gray New York and the lives of two middle-aged, joyous day trippers who went there to get hitched.
Getting married is the easiest thing about Vegas and we both recommend it highly to any young lovers out there. The Clark County Courthouse is filled with happy government employees ready to do it right and quickly for the amorous couples in front of them. All you need is ID and the wherewithal to fill out a form. Cabs wait outside to whisk you to one of 87 wedding chapels, which line the old end of the strip, now as quaint with 1950s charm as Steeplechase Park on Coney Island.
An old Kentucky reverend married us in ten minutes for $40, reciting First Corinthians and wedding vows which left both of us, who spent half a century searching for each other, in tears throughout.
The Bellagio Hotel and Casino, where we spent two nights, is the equivalent to Ali Baba's cave, with sophisticated servants on 24-hour call for caviar, couples’ massages and any movie you want. Try to avoid gambling, which is difficult as the tables are everywhere and the losers legion.
We got married on Chinese New Year, and the Year of the Dog festivities surpassed any piece by Jeff Koons or Mike Kelley, with a large drooling St. Bernard, flying saucer red lanterns and a giant phallic marble needle smack in the middle of the lobby.
We didn't visit the casino’s famous art gallery, or go out of our way to see any art at all, except for the Jasper Johns Lucky 7 print on the wall outside our room.
Two days is just the right amount of time in Las Vegas, especially if you are overflowing with love and joy.
It should happen to you!
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).