Las Vegas is building a museum about some of its founding fathers and most influential figures — dudes like Bugsy, Lefty and Meyer Lansky.
The museum will stand as frank acknowledgment of the major role mobsters played in developing Las Vegas into the gambling capital of America and giving the city its rakish glamour during the 1940's and '50s.
"Let's be brutally honest, warts and all. This is more than legend. It's fact," said Mayor Oscar Goodman, a former defense attorney whose clients once included Meyer Lansky and Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro (Joe Pesci in Casino). "This is something that differentiates us from other cities."Let me be brutally honest by saying I hate the term "warts and all". It is wickedly vile. Couldn't it be "scars and all" or something like that? Warts are gross. And so is the word.
Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman had a cameo with Robert DeNiro in "Casino" and has pushed the idea of a mob museum from the time he was elected mayor in 1999. What a hard-on.
The museum project has gained the support of the FBI and is ironically guided by a retired FBI agent.
They say they are involved because you can't tell the stories of Bugsy Siegel, his banker, Lansky, casino boss Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal and others without telling the story of the lawmen who pursued them. I guess they've got a point there.
"This is a way to connect with the public and show the results of our work," said Dan McCarron, a spokesman for the FBI in Washington.Your work? What work?! The mob were the ones who decided to turn a random desert into a goldmine and then you guys came in later and reaped the benefits; literally.
Organised crime was driven out of Las Vegas in the 1970's and '80s by the FBI, local police and prosecutors. State crackdowns made way for the casinos to be purchased by corporate interests. Thanks, fellas!
It was Bugsy Siegel who pioneered the transformation of this one-time desert stopover into a glittering tourist mecca, opening the $6 million Flamingo hotel on the fledgling Las Vegas Strip in 1946 with financial backing from Meyer Lansky.
The museum hopes to open by 2010 in an old brick federal building! Ha!
Dennis Barrie, the dude who designed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland said he will design the as-yet-unnamed Las Vegas museum to show how organised crime and the fight against it shaped modern life.
"Whether it's running the casinos in Las Vegas, or controlling cigarette sales or numbers or trash collection in any city, organised crime is part of the American culture," Barrie said. "Everybody has a mob story or a brush with the mob world. Or they at least say they do."
I bet this museum is gonna be hella gay. Put that on red for me.
DeNiro as Sam "Ace" Rothstein aka Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal in "Casino"