Book: “Strip Cultures”

Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las Vegas

Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las Vegas, Duke Press, 2015. purchase

Authors: Stacy Jameson, Karen Klugman, Jane Kuenz, Susan Willis. 

 Photographs: Karen Klugman.

My Contribution: 102 photographs and three essays: “Framing Las Vegas ‘Reality'”, “Nature in Vegas: Cultivating the Brand” , “Ghosts of Marriages: Yet to Come”

Abstract: Strip Cultures analyzes sites and social practices on the Las Vegas Strip in relation to broader cultural and political forces in the United States. A cultural studies project grounded in interdisciplinary research, it argues that a close look at Las Vegas allows us to critically apprehend daily life more broadly in a contemporary global, consumer-driven society. Over 100 original black and white photographs embedded throughout the book are their own parallel essay and ground the theory with a perpetual sense of watching and of being watched.

"Strip Cultures" Book Cover Image of Hot Babes Truck and Statue of Liberty, Los Vegas by Karen Klugman
Family with Statue in Caesars Palace
Chris Angel and Sphinx, Las Vegas, from the book "Strip Cultures" by Karen Klugman
Rub Me for Luck, Las Vegas, from the Book "Strip Cultures" by Karen Klugman

Excerpt from “Nature in Vegas: Cultivating the Brand”: Even though most people would assume the gigantic squash on display were too enormous to be real, I live in a small town in Connecticut where local farmers showcase pumpkins at the town fair that would put up a good contest against these Nevada grandes.  The caretaker at the Bellagio insisted that the thousand-pounders were indeed the real thing, but here’s the catch — in the context of Vegas and under six-foot long glass leaves suspended from the ceiling, it is difficult to believe in super-sized vegetables.