Girls Gone Crazy on Treasure Isle
A Sailor's Delight in the Desert Heat
A few years back my employer “made” me go Las Vegas for a business meeting, and, looking at a map, I sulked, realizing that I would be spending a week in an arid place that was as far away from the Great Lakes as you can get in the US. Between the exciting meetings I shuffled up Las Vegas Blvd., looking for a pool or even a fountain to ease my pain.
Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across the Treasure Island Hotel and its full-sized square-rigged ship in a three-acre pond. At 5pm the tourists gathered, the camcorders rolled, and the lights went up as the battle of buccaneer bay began.
The original version was a Disney-like spectacle that featured a pirate ship caught in the act of unloading its contraband by an 88-foot British ship of the line that sneaked up on it from the far side of the hotel. After some macho blather by the captains they exchanged fiery broadsides that singed my eyebrows and the Brits sank; the captain stoically saluting as he went down with his ship. For a full 30-seconds, he stayed underwater before emerging to thunderous applause. I went back three more times; my week was saved.
Fast forward to this year when I was again in Vegas, meeting friends for a few days in the desert. I dragged them all to the TI, as it’s now called, promising them a classic naval engagement that would make them forget about their blackjack losses. Imagine our surprise when instead of the Pirates of the Caribbean, we were confronted by the Sirens of Sin City.
Apparently the original pirate battle was axed in 2003 when the casino realized that twenty-something males gamble and spend a lot more than families. They “upgraded” the show to appeal to these younger, stroller-less customers by losing the Redcoats and replacing them with lusty “Sirens” who battle the bare-chested pirates with bump, grind, and pre-recorded dance music. Up & down the ratlines they go with seductive hip swinging routines that lure viewers not onto the rocky shore, but through the doors of the casino. This time it’s the pirates who get the worst of it, but I won’t spoil the ending.
Despite some negative responses to the salacious nature of the Sirens, it has been a tremendous hit. So far 9.6 million people have packed the docks four-times daily to see the best free show in Vegas, located at the corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Spring Mountain Rd. Doubtless, they have brought in some serious booty for the casino.