DJs & Poverty in Vegas: Best of Times, Worst of Times

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Forty-four million people live in poverty today in the Unites States, more than at any time since 1994, according to a Census analysis released today by the Associated Press. How dire is that? If those 44 million people were panhandlers, and you had enough money to help them all, it would take eight years to distribute relief.

Among the five metropolitan areas that experienced the greatest increases in poverty—Cape Coral-Fort Myers; Modesto, Calif.; Los Angeles; and Detroit—Las Vegas registered the greatest swelling of the destitute.

But try telling this grim news to Paul Oakenfold, or Z-Trip, or Scotty Boy, or so many other DJs who have been cashing in on the City’s gilded nightlife, at hotel clubs like Rain at the Palms, where they can bring down more than $10,000 per gig, illustrating a disparity in lifestyles that’s tough to ignore.

“I personally think Las Vegas is the future, I do,” Oakenfold, who takes his Perfecto tour to Rain on a regular basis, told us recently. “I got offered a residency in L.A. and I think L.A.’s great. We did Electric Daisy, which was a huge success for them and very well done. It was over 100,000 people there! But I think Vegas has more clubs than any city. The tone has changed. Vegas is very young. It’s a lot more happening than a lot of cities I’ve been to in America. I felt, what I wanted to do was put on more of a show, use elements of the show, and Vegas was the perfect place to do it—it was new, fresh and had the mentality to do that. If you look at what Ibiza was before the laws all changed, there were a lot of beach bars and music during the day. That’s what Vegas is now.”

Huh. There are more than 13,000 homeless in Las Vegas—one in eight people in the city goes hungry, according to a recent estimate, in a city once known for all-you-can-eat buffets.

“Every hotel has reinvested in its pools,” says Oakenfold. “In Vegas, you’ll get there, get up and go hang out at the pool where music’s playing. Then, you roll into the late afternoon and they have various big-name DJs playing a lot of sunsets. You can have anything up to 3,000 people at a pool, which really reminds me of being in Ibiza at the beach. Then, you go until sunset. Then you change and shower, go to dinner, and then go to bars and clubs, and the clubs go ’til 4, 5, 6 in the morning. Then, there are afterparties until 9 in the morning. Then, you can literally start again. You can’t do that in New York or L.A. Vegas very much reminds me of Ibiza. It’s a city where a lot of people from all over America and internationally come. There are a lot of clubs, but also restaurants, bars, and so on.”

VIPs for the homeless, gentlemen?