Luxor getting darker?

The Tropicana’s woes might be the Luxor’s gain. The pyramid on the Strip is picking up two exhibits that as Columbia Sussex’s flagship is taking on water (allegedly). From the LVRJ:

Luxor is picking up two nongaming attractions from the Tropicana.

Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions announced Tuesday it signed a 10-year agreement with the Luxor to covert 50,000 square feet of the resort’s atrium level into exhibition space for “Bodies … The Exhibition” and “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.” Both shows are now on display at the Tropicana. No dates were announced as to when the shows would be relocated.

Since last year, MGM Mirage, which owns Luxor, has been renovating the pyramid-themed resort named for the historic Egyptian city, adding several restaurants and nightclubs. Luxor President Felix Rappaport said last year the atrium level would also be remodeled. – Business – Two nongaming attractions now at Tropicana will be displayed at Luxor

My biggest misgiving about the Luxor (besides my “we were slaves in Pharaoh’s Egypt” heritage) has always been the funereal aspect of the place. Themed casinos are supposed to be about fun, something that Jay Sarno absolutely nailed: ancient Rome (in the popular imagination at least) is decadent and fun. A circus is fun. An Egyptian king’s tomb…not exactly my idea of good times.

When I go into the Luxor, I often think of Rorshach in The Watchmen talking about his reaction to Ozymandias’s Egyptian-themed headquarters–he’s overpowered by his morbid surroundings, by the Egyptians’ death obsession. From chapter 10:

Recognize dog-headed Anubis bust. Anubis, watched over dead. Whole culture death-fixated, obsessively securing their tombs against intruders…
Ancient pharaohs looked forward to the end of the world: believed cadavers would rise, reclaim hearts from golden jars…Understand now why always mistrusted fascination with relics and dead kings…in final analysis, it’s us or them.

But people come to Las Vegas to concentrate on life, on the here and now. That might be one of the reasons for the success of the Mirage, way back in 1989. A volcano is dynamic. A rainforest is always changing. It’s a celebration of life continuing. I think that, on some psychological level, many visitors identify with that. A pyramid, on the other hand, is unchanging, and a reminder of our own mortality.

It seems like the latest round of renovations and additions have been designed to make the pyramid more fun, more carefree. So adding two exhibits focusing on death and tragedy seems to be a step in the wrong direction.

I’m sure that there are great business reasons for bringing them in…it will get bodies in the door (pun, unfortunately, intended). But could this be a missed opportunity? If they are really trying to take the Luxor away from its museum-with-slots roots, are these exhibits really the answer?

Spread the love