Somewhere in Green Valley there's a pool party paradise
Locals: After you spend Saturday night at the Beauty Bar getting down with Johnny Rox and the Rawkerz crew, and after you toss back obscene amounts of rum until 3 a.m., break your friend's patio chair and explain why you did it to Metro, and after you wake up that Sunday, chug a Bud Light and have your boss pick you up, cruise to Green Valley Ranch for the "nir.va.na" pool party, cop a Heineken and lounge, baby, lounge.
I usually cringe when promoters choose monikers like "nir.va.na"; they're almost invariably hyperbolic and pretentious misnomers. But not in this case: The noon to 10 p.m. house music-fueled event is akin to breaking free of the cyclical slug and slack of workaday experience. The palatial Ranch pool area is a veritable netherworld of soft whites and blues, warm waters and sandy beaches. It has the look, design and feel of an ancient Roman emperor's courtyard -- minus the vomitorium.
More importantly for this native Floridian, however, is that it reminds me of home. Nostalgia aside, there's a good reason why "nir.va.na" exudes a Sunshine State vibe: One of the gurus behind the event, Garrick Edwards of Garrick Entertainment, was a pioneering force in the South Beach nightlife scene when, much like Vegas is today, the beachside metropolis was emerging to become one of the country's premier nightlife destinations.
Which is how Edwards views our little desert oasis. "When I came here and saw how wide-open it was, I figured, you know what? This is the last frontier of America," says the suave Londoner. "When I came to Vegas, I realized that this is going to be the next big hotspot."
Even more encouraging for gangly CityLifers and their brethren: It's not all about Botox and over-burnished skin, burly men and big tits. It's about everyone coming through to relax -- families included -- in a thoroughly comfortable and inviting atmosphere. That doesn't mean there aren't beautiful people in attendance -- there's ass galore. It does mean there's plenty of room -- literally and figuratively -- for folks of all shapes, sizes, creeds and credos to kick back and chill.
Says promoter John Lewis, a former professional fighter specializing in Brazilian jujitsu and a super-easygoing guy: "We wanted to set up a new kind of vibe to it [pool parties]. We have a really exclusive pool -- a beautiful pool. And we're going to be playing house music all day -- real vocal, sexy house."
Enter DJ Dakota, another South Beach import. Her crowd-pleasing debut set last Sunday at the Memorial Weekend party, followed by an impromptu evening set in the inner party chamber known as The Pond, pretty much assured that Dakota would be asked back for this weekend's edition alongside Miss Joy, Dimitris Mykonos, DJ Hollywood and David Garcia.
While the party goes on until 10 p.m., I snuck out around six. Through my alcohol-induced haze, I did almost believe I was in Florida ... until I saw the mountains looming in the distance from my chair by the pool, and realized I was in Vegas.