April 23 2014: It started off like any other day. Until I got THE Invitation. It was an e-mail from Las Vegas Weekly Magazine. I was undoubtedly on their mailing list from attending their 15th anniversary party last December. To my shock, Las Vegas Magazine and Everything 80’s wanted me and up to 3 of my ‘best buds’ to attend their Toga Party…On the Rooftop…..Of Larry Flint’s World Famous Hustler Club….on May 2…for free. That sounded like something I probably always wanted to do. I forwarded it to my gambling buddy Robin and within 20 minutes he had replied “Let’s Go. I’ll drive. You bring the sheets”. There was much to do and little time to do it. • First and foremost, I needed to convince Mrs. AlanLeroy that driving 400 miles with Robin to a Vegas Toga Party and returning in 24 hours was wise and appropriate behavior for a pillar of the community like me. • Robin and I both needed to reschedule work related tasks • We needed accommodations • We needed a plan • Last, but not least, we needed Togas…and not just any old sheet togas. I wanted real Togas…like the ones worn by the Citizens of Ancient Rome. When I first breached the subject with Mrs AlanLeroy I was a little surprised at her reaction. MrsAlanLeroy: ‘Why the hell would you want to go to a Toga Party at a sleazy Vegas strip club’…’To pick up women?’. AlanLeroy “Of course not. This is a party sponsored by Las Vegas Magazine. It’s good clean fun…and I expect the movers and shakers of Vegas will be there’ MrsAlanLeroy: ‘Do you even know what the fuck a Toga Party is?” AlanLeroy: Eh, er… It’s a party where everyone wears the ancient Roman toga?” MrsAlanLeroy: No. It’s a party where people a lot younger than you dress up in sheets, get drunk and go have sex. AlanLeroy: “I don’t think that’s what it is” April 27: It took a few days and Robins help, but the fact that I had worked about 30 straight days and really needed a break convinced Mrs. AlanLeroy that I should go to this “Damn Toga Party”…as long I didn’t do anything “Stupid”. Me? Stupid? I don’t think so. I love that woman. Robin and I had both managed to rearrange our busy work schedules. We got a great deal on a rental car and booked one night downtown at the Plaza. Of course Caesars would have been more appropriate, but rooms were $300 there. That left one major piece to this puzzle….the Togas. I did quite a bit of Toga research. From “Your own toga” http://histmyst.org/toga.html “Shape: For an average-sized man, a toga would be about fifteen feet long and seven to seven-and-a-half feet wide in roughly an oval shape with the top half more squared than oval. “ Putting it on: “Most Romans who wore the toga were wealthy enough to own a slave to help them don it….The toga was not easy to wear. As noted, one had to keep one's left arm out; one needed help to put it on.” Ok…we could work with that…even though we had no slaves to help with our togas, I thought we could probably enlist the concierge at the Plaza to help out….So I went to Mrs Alan Leroy with my toga design and asked her if she could sew a couple up for us. I wanted these togas to be special. I wanted multicolor material and pockets…lots of pockets to hold my important stuff. Like 6 pockets…zippered pockets, Velcro pockets, big and small pockets. Oh…and I wanted a Laurel Wreath Crown…made with real Laurel..not one of those fake cardboard crowns. She looked at my design and laughed. She’s a busy businesswoman. She had no time to create 15 by 8 foot multi-pocketed ancient Roman togas for us. “Honey, you better try on some sheets. That’s all your going to get at this late date.” She quipped. April 29 Undeterred, I started my Toga search. I called all of the local party supply places and checked local costume rentals. At this point, internet ordering with fast shipping was expensive and wasn’t guaranteed. Finally I drove over to my old standby Valley Novelty…a Fresno institution since 1948. In the deep dark recesses of Valley Novelty, I discovered the Gods and Goddesses collection. Inside Valley Novelty I picked out a Roman Nobleman Toga with Royal Purple Sash for Me and a Centurion with Red Cape and Kilt-Like Miniskirt for Robin. I called Robin and offered to pick his up while I was there. He didn’t like the sound of my Centurion Mini-Skirt description and thought he might just be more comfortable in a Noble Toga Like me. Wonderful….Twinsies. We felt it best to meet at Valley Novelty tomorrow with Mrs AlanLeroy to help assess the general worthiness of the emperors’ new clothes. Mrs AlanLeroy didn’t like the idea of spending 40 bucks on a toga costume when all I really needed was a sheet. Yes. She really is a CFO. I convinced her that I would wear my new Roman Noble toga at least once a year for the next three years and then sell it on e-bay for a profit; thus, it was an incredible value. April 30 Robin, Mrs AlanLery and I headed over to Valley Novelty at noon. I managed to convince Robin that he should go for the Centurion Kilt-Like Mini Skirt with Red Cape. I told him he would make a stylish Centurion. He even accessorized with a nice plastic sword. Proud New Toga Owners I was also able to negotiate a single large hidden toga pocket installation with Mrs AlanLeroy. The plan was coming together. My Customized Roman Nobel Toga…with hidden pocket. That night I began practicing my Old Latin in case it might be needed at the party: Salvete! Hello! Valete! Farewell! Perio. I'm lost. Mea culpa. My fault Habesne plus vini? Do you have more wine? Suppedisne? Did you fart quietly? Mei capilli sunt flagrantes. My hair is on fire. Friday May 2. 9:30 AM We picked up a Chevy Cruze rental car at Fresno Yosemite International. (FAT) . Then dropped off Robin’s car at his place. At 10:00 AM we were: On The Road Again! I drove. One interesting side note from the ride over….Robin found the Grateful Dead Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. I asked Robin if he had ever been to a Dead concert and he said ‘One’. I mentioned that I too had been to one Grateful Dead concert back in 1978 at UC Santa Barbara. Then I noticed the description on the currently playing song….”Live in Santa Barbara 1978”. Sirius played that concert for a full hour. Ok…That was weird….it brought back some partial memories of that day. 2:00 PM About Barstow CA, we started brainstorming our Toga Party strategy. Probably should have addressed this a bit sooner…like in Visalia, as our first common thought was ‘What the hell are we really doing?”. The basic issue was that we had no idea what to expect. Was it as Mrs AlanLeroy suggested: A party where young adults donned toga sheets, got drunk and went somewhere to have sex? Was it the elite friends of Las Vegas Magazine there to network and wind down from a hectic week of moving and shaking Las Vegas? Maybe it was a Caligulian vision of Roman debauchery, extravagance, and intense sexual perversity… Larry Flint’s World famous Hustler Club was the venue after all. One could only hope. We considered making a movie: “Vegas Toga Party”. Robin would film it and I’d be the writer, director and star: “Flavious ….From Fresno”. There wasn’t enough time to plan a movie. We should have started that in Bakersfield. We gave serious consideration to just letting the party come to us. Get there early. Get a prime location. Get drunk and what happens happens. But to what end? I promised not to be “stupid”. That really limited my options. My philosophy was that witnessing a little debauchery only nudges the stupid line. Participating crosses it. Robin had no such limits, but really, what was he going to do? Meet some kinky toga woman, get her drunk and go back to the Plaza and have sex with her? Ok…well it’s nice for him to dream but the odds were against that happening….or so I thought. 3:15 PM Finally at Baker CA we hit on it. Perhaps we could study this toga party scientifically; record our results…publish our findings and add to the world’s understanding of current North American Toga Party rituals. The objectives of our study began to take form: 1. Photograph as many attendees as possible. This was in the interest of historical documentation and future analysis. 2. Meet as many attendees as possible. Get them to participle in a brief survey. Use the survey to establish a demographic profile. 3. Have Fun. Sorry. No longer an objective. Oh the sacrifices we make in the interest of Science. We were still missing something though. The scientific method demands a Hypothesis and testing and analysis with conclusion. We also needed an easy way to engage the study participants…preferably without their knowledge (No Heisenberg). With a single flash of insight, I solved both problems. Our Hypothesis: “Toga Party Participants with Roman Name Tags are ‘Luckier’ than those without”. We will simply assign a % of the party participants an Ancient Roman name and make them wear a Name Tag. Then, we’ll observe subject and control groups and record the results. The Naming process is also our opportunity to surreptitiously collect the results of our brief survey…. I know. Sometimes I surprise myself. 4:15 PM By the time we got to Jean NV, Robin had jotted down some 50 Ancient Roman Names:25 men and 25 women. He had Google’s help on it. We were in some pretty slow moving traffic on I15 as we paralleled the strip. I decided to get off on Sahara because the traffic in front of us was totally stopped and my Empty Gas Light just came on. 400 miles on a single tank wasn’t bad though. About 2 miles down Sahara, we found a Gas Station right in front of Office Depot. Filled up and then hit OD for 100 Name Tags and 3 Sharpies. We were ready for a serious scientific study. 6:00 PM Made it to Plaza a little before 6PM. There was a long line at check-in, but it moved fast. We had hoped to go to the Chart House Happy Hour for dinner, but it was too late. Up to the room for a pit stop and then out on Fremont. Let me say this about Plaza. The room was clean. The plumbing worked. They had 2 free bottled waters waiting for us. I ask nothing more in a room. We needed something quick to eat, but not too much food. Walked over to Pizza Rock. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this place. It was a good decision. We sat at the counter. Pizza Rock I had a meat and pepper Robin had a veggie. Great Crust. Tasty Pizza. I’ll be back. Made a quick stop at Golden Nugget to get our $10 free play from the contest they had. We both cashed out $10. 8:00 PM We returned to the plaza and got dressed for the big party. Robinius Hello: My name is suoivalF. I brought my 25 Ounce BPA Free Brushed Aluminum Water Bottle (AKA The Martini Bank) filled with 87% Bombay Sapphire East and 13% Martini Dry Vermouth. I filled up one plastic cup to make room for ice and then filled the bottle with ice. I figured it was about 18 ounces of Martini Goodness. Then I clipped it to a front belt loop on my cargo shorts. When the toga was in place, it was kind of inconspicuous….ok maybe it made it look like I had a giant schlong hiding under my toga. I could live with that. Yes we got stares in the elevator heading to the Valet. It’s kind of amazing the way the whole attitude changes with a little explanation…This happened many times… ElevatorRider: Thinking: “Who the fuck are these idiots?” Flavious: “I’m Flavious. We’re heading to a Toga Party” ElevatorRiderr: Thinking “Yeah right” Flavious: “On the Rooftop of Larry Flint’s World Famous Hustler Club” ElavatorRider: Thinking “Wish I was that Flavious dude” The valet was duly impressed and offered up a Hail Caesar for a send off. Bridal pictures are good luck. 9:00 PM Got lost a few times on our way to the Hustler Club. It’s right off of I15 and Russell Road, but on a frontage that’s hard to connect to. Finally had to ask the Google Map Lady. She brought us in for a perfect landing. Pulled into the parking lot at 9:05 PM. There really was a separate entrance on the side. Unfortunately it was manned by a small security detachment. I started wondering if my giant brushed aluminum Johnson would pass inspection. They did appear to be equipped with metal detectors. I had a solution for that. I quickly drank the Martini Bank. Ok. That was stupid. End of Part 1.