las vegas writer
There’s no immodest way to say this, so I’ll just come out and say it: I just had the #1 best book release party in history. Here’s the proof, courtesy of Bryan Adams Photography:
Speical thanks to Rumor Botique Hotel, Suzanne Lugano, VEGAS Magazine, Las Vegas Weekly, Paula, Kelli, Janice, Jeff, Dave, Josh, Craig, Jeremy, Barnes & Noble and everyone else who helped make the night fantastic.
From the December MAGIC magazine:
"Next month, your local bookstore will have the latest memoir by Rick Lax, FOOL ME ONCE, on its shelves. Set in Las Vegas and incorporating a cast of characters including strippers, Criss Angel, bartenders, and Lance Burton, in the broadest sense, FOOL ME ONCE is a funny, engaging, and personal discourse on deception in all its forms, magic tricks included."
(Side note: the guy on the cover of this month’s MAGIC magazine, Guy Hollingworth, is a fellow magician/lawyer. He invented one of the best magic tricks I’ve ever seen: Reformation. Reformation is not only awesome, it’s also the most difficult trick I know. If you know a harder one, I’d love to see it.)
I’m 100 pages into the Bush memoir, and I’m loving it.
When I say this to my friends, this response usually follows: “Guess he had a good ghostwriter!” Or something like that.
I can’t discount the possibility that somebody helped Bush write the book (or the possibility that somebody wrote the book for Bush). But I sure haven’t seen the evidence. Nor, really, has anybody. It’s all speculation.
I can see where my friends are coming from. After all, Bush sure didn’t have the eloquence of Clinton or Obama. But books, my former editor Scott Dickensheets points out, are different than speeches: “Speech is an improvisational act, unfolding in the moment. Writing is reflective; you have time to polish.” (I should point out: I don’t know whether Scott has made up his mind about whether Bush wrote the memoir himself; Scott was speaking in general terms.)
Bush has had two years to write and polish Decision Points. And by all accounts—his own, especially—he’s spent a lot of time doing just that. So why is it so crazy to believe the book is significantly cleaner than Bush’s speeches and debate performances?
I contacted linguist Geoffrey Nunberg and asked him these two questions: Isn't it possible that somebody who speaks, uh, as Bush speaks, would be capable of writing a good book with clean prose? Surely there are some precedents for this...(clumsy speakers writing eloquent books...), right?
And here’s what Nunberg had to say: I can't think of too many, but then Bush isn't alone. Most presidents had help—except Jimmy Carter; the question is, how much? Eisenhower was a much more fluent writer than a speaker, for example—you can tell this from his letters—but he apparently had some help on Crusade in Europe.
Maybe we can all agree on these two things: 1) It’s not a big deal if Bush got some help with this book. Most Presidents get help. 2) We’ll never know how much help Bush got.
Agree or disagree, until more evidence comes out, I’m giving the guy the benefit of the doubt on this one. And, as Las Vegas Weekly’s book reviewer, I’m doing everything I can to evaluate the book and not the politics of the guy who wrote it.
And what about my upcoming book, Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas? Who really wrote it?
Sarah Palin’s got a new book coming out, and so does Newt Gingrich, and so does Bobby Jindal, and so do I.
Am I planning to run for President under the Republican ticket in 2012 or what?
Let me be clear about this:
As of now, I have no definite plans to run for President. I’m happy writing for Las Vegas Weekly. It’s a fulltime job, and serving my reader/constituents fulfills me completely. Plus, I plan to spend 2011 promoting my book, Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas. So, no, I’m not planning on throwing my hat into the ring.
Do I think I’d make a good President?
Obviously I would. I’d be infinitely better than any of the other candidates. I’m the only guy who can turn this country around—I think we all know that. But, as of right now, I’m simply not interested in running. (So let’s get this straight: if, for whatever reason, I do run for President—which I won’t—I’ll be the one doing the favor for you.)
Does the fact that my book’s subtitle has the words “hooker” and “screwed” in it hurt my chances in the Bible Belt? Please. If there’s one thing the American votes have proven time and time again, it’s this: we vote for candidates who are affiliated with hookers in some shape or form.
In conclusion, I’m counting on your vote.
Now, moving to a related matter and getting serious for a moment: I’m one chapter into the George Bush memoir, and I’m loving it.
I posted that on facebook, and for the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I took so much flak from so many of my friends.
I went Hanukkah shopping at CRYSTALS MALL in CITYCENTER last week. Didn't find much within my price range, but I did find a $440 paperclip. I mean, technically it was a paperclip shaped money clip...but doesn't that just make it a paperclip? The mall was very pretty, though, and the space was unlike anything I've ever seen. Kinda reminded me of an MC Escher picture. Anyway, you can read my REVIEW OF CRYSTALS MALL by clicking RIGHT HERE.
Yesterday I got 'recognized' at this diner, by my waitress. (I.e., "Are you Rick? Don't you write for the paper?") Second time that's happened (arguably the first, 'cause the first time around it was a friend of a friend). The point is, it was a much bigger deal for me than it was for her.
And then I ordered coffee, and 30 minutes later I noticed an ant on the table, and another 30 minutes later I noticed one crawling up my saucer. But I was so pleased that she'd recognized me and I didn't want to do anything to damper her day that I didn't say anything.
Okay, look, I don't know anything about anything, so I'm sorry, but tell me this truck that was sitting outside the bookstore doesn't look like an explosion waiting to happen. Sure, I get all my knowledge about explosions from movies like Terminator 2, but still, this this is one cigarette away from destroying a city block, yeah?
Last month I reunited Carrot Top and Gallagher.
Find out whether I'm joking or being serious here.
Tomorrow, December 18th at 7pm, I’m doing a book reading in Las Vegas at the Town Square Borders on Las Vegas Boulevard. The local weekly (Las Vegas’s Village Voice) interviewed me, mostly about magic, and here’s what was said:
Q: When you say you’re here three hours a day working, are you writing, lawyering or doing magic stuff?
A: A combination of writing and magicking; no lawyering. I recently passed the bar in Illinois; I got the results as I was moving to Las Vegas. So if you’re planning on getting injured or killing someone, go to Illinois and do it.
Here, I’m writing a book about deception and Las Vegas. But sometimes I do a little magic, too. Sometimes I play with cards as I write, and people say, “Are you a magician?” and I say, “Yeah,” and show them a trick. That was my plan, for a lot of my life, to be a professional magician. Because my dad, he was an attorney and he liked it, but I wanted to be my own person, have my own life, so I pushed that away and thought magic was the gig for me.
Q: How did you get into magic?
A: The biggest step was going to my dad’s parents’ house; they had an amazing collection of David Copperfield VHS tapes. Every time we’d go over there I’d watch one. I wanted to impress people the way David Copperfield impressed my grandparents.
Q; How old were you?
A: These are my first memories. Two, 3, 4? One of my first lawyering memories, which ties into magic, was I wanted to get some doves for my act. My parents were completely against it. So we worked up this contract, and my dad helped me with all this formal contract language, that essentially said, if I get these grades, or at least work with a tutor consistently, then I could get the doves. Only a few years ago did I learn what those terms actually mean.
Q: What magicians do you admire?
A: Let me say something good about Criss Angel. I’ve read all the local reviews of his show, and aside from all that, here’s something good about him. He’s truly brought magic to a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in it. So I respect him for that. Otherwise, I like a lot of the magicians on the Strip. Penn & Teller; they have the illusions that are the hardest to figure out. Copperfield, because he stays on the cutting edge. I saw Lance Burton’s show; that was great. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of people around the world trying to duplicate Lance Burton’s dove act, and no one does it like him.
Q: Will the book you’re working on now deal with magic?
A: Magic has a much bigger element in this book. I’ve been seeing a lot of shows, talking with a lot of magicians. I’ve been asking them whether they, like me, see deception in other parts of life, whether some people are easier to fool. We’ve been talking about the psychology of deception. One of the big problems is, when you tell people you’re working on a book about deception and lying, they’re understandably skeptical. Why should I believe you? That’s a good question. I’d be skeptical, too. But usually they figure out I’m for real.