The best part of the weekender being at the Gold Coast was the Car show. Back then the car show was a lot smaller and was located at the top deck of the Gold Coast parking garage. You could walk straight out of the casino door and end up in the car show. You didn’t need a wristband, you could bring your own booze, and it was a lot more laid back. You also could see the car show from your hotel room if you were lucky. The best part was probably that the car show was open all hours of the day and night, all weekend, so you could go out there late at night with a cooler of beer and just chill. Eventually, when the car show outgrew the top deck it had to be moved to the larger parking lot behind the hotel, and then eventually to The Orleans. Now to get to the car show at The Orleans you have to take a mile long trek through scalding asphalt. That sort of takes some of the fun out of it in my opinion. But, the upside is that the larger venue and bigger crowd gets us bigger acts like Jerry Lee and Chuck Berry.
Another thing that was very different at the Gold Coast was the burlesque competition. Back then you could actually catch the burlesque competition! At that time there was only one show, and it was always Saturday night in the upstairs ballroom. There were no bands over lapping it, so it was a big event. It was standing room only, so if you waited around long enough, you could get a front row spot and hoot, holler and get glitter thrown all over you. It was a blast! When they moved to The Orleans they put the contest in the sit down theater, added multiple showings, and with bands overlapping it. It is also so hard to get a seat that you have to get a “ticket” in advance! Because of these changes, we have not been to the burlesque competition since the Gold Coast days.
Another thing I miss from the Gold Coast is the bingo! They have a bingo room at The Gold Coast, so a group of us girls would always meet up and play bingo together. Back then they didn’t have bands during the day, so you actually had time for other things, like gambling! You got to play a long time for a little bit of money, and they brought you complementary drinks, two at a time! The Orleans doesn’t have a bingo room, so I miss that. I was hopeful when they announced that they were doing Burlesque Bingo this year, until the schedule came out and I realized that it is in the theater on Saturday at 1am. 1am on SATURDAY? What are they smoking? No way I would be caught dead in a sit down theater Saturday night at 1am playing bingo. I will be watching The Caezars! If they put it on Friday afternoon I might have actually gone.
Another thing I miss is the cocktail waitresses at The Gold Coast. Back then they used to “dress up” for the weekend. They would try and wear what they thought rockabilly people would wear, but it always ended up being like cheesy 50s sock hop costumes. They all wore black and white polka dot halter dressed with full skirts and scarves around their neck. It was funny, but sweet at the same time. It made us feel welcomed like they actually wanted us there. They genuinely seemed happy too, so we always tipped them better.
Speaking of booze, in the Gold Coast there was a centrally located bar where everyone hung out. It made a huge traffic jam, and a “tough guy alley” but it was a great place to have a drink and meet people. Right around the corner there was an actual showroom, with real stage. Since there were only two music venues, there was a possibility that you could actually see all the bands that were playing the weekend. Back then you could also bring in your own drinks to the ballrooms. I liked the dance floor there better, because it flexed under the weight of the people, making it extra bouncy and fun for bopping! Back in the day they used to pass out the wristbands downstairs in the showroom and they used to have cocktail waitresses pass out drinks while you waited in the ridiculously long lines. Now at The Orleans they have a better system to get the wristbands, so the line is a lot shorter. The Gold Coast had a lounge downstairs, and during the later years of Viva, they had a surf band there playing shows all night, and you could see and hear them from all around the casino floor. And, you didn’t need a wristband to watch them. There were only a few seats though, so you had to get there early to get one.
I really miss the restaurants at the Gold Coast. Especially the Italian restaurant they used to have. They had really good food at very reasonable prices, and they gave you a free bottle of wine with dinner! It doesn’t get any better than that! The Orleans doesn’t even have an Italian restaurant! I also miss Ping Pang Pong Chinese food for late night noshes. It was soooooo good! The Port-O-Call buffet was really good too, especially the seafood buffet. The Orleans has good restaurants too, so I will do a post about them in the future.
There are plenty of things I don’t miss about the Gold Coast though, like the sucky hotel rooms. They were tiny, smelled like BO, and had horrible plumbing problems! They don’t call it the “Mold Coast” for nothing! It was so hard just to get up to the rooms, because the line for the elevator was always around the corner. I also don’t miss the ridiculously long lines for the shuttles. Sometimes you had to wait an hour to get a shuttle to the strip!