Date: Sat Nov 13

Place: Club Hollywood (16716 Aurora Ave N)

Time: 10 pm

Club Hollywood may be garishly aglow with neon signage designed to entice customers to step inside for a little gambling, but legal blackjack isn't the only attraction. There's a vintage Cadillac in the lobby, a steak and sushi restaurant, a piano bar, and a sprawling collection of random celebrity memorabilia scattered throughout the two-tiered venue. The overall effect is very '80s, very disorienting, and absolutely hilarious, making me glad I've brought along my hedonistic friend Hollis, also known as the glitter-covered drummer in the Re-bar's most recent production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The piano bar is packed with a boisterous crowd waiting for a cover band to start, so we take the elevator down to the casino where the '80s ambience extends to the drink menu, a hysterical assortment of "Hollywood Martinis" each named after a Regan-era movie including Caddyshack, Blue Lagoon and, most perplexingly, Summer Rental. I approach the bar, where I'm immediately accosted by a squat, slimy little fellow who demands to know where I've been all his life, a line so clichéd I'm too stunned to do anything other than stare at him in disbelief. Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" wails over the sound system and Hollis heads for the blackjack tables, while I chat with a group of friends loudly celebrating a recent win at the tables. Talk quickly turns to the failure of Tim Eyman's pro-slot machine initiative. "A lot of dealers here actually voted against it," confides one off-duty employee. "We don't want to see slot machines just anywhere. Hopefully another initiative will be written that allows slot machines--but only in specialized casino environments like this." I turn around to see a widely smiling Hollis clutching a handful of chips. "Let's go drink somewhere else--I just won $90!" HANNAH LEVIN

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