Viva Las Vegas

by Kathy Holmes

This is my debut post on "Pop Culture Divas" and I'm thrilled to be here. Pondering what I should write about on such a momentous occasion, I decided I should introduce myself a bit.

I grew up in southern California and after living in all four corners of the U.S., I'm now in Las Vegas - just four hours from my childhood home in Orange County, CA. Vegas was one of those playgrounds southern Californians took for granted. The first time I saw Vegas I was about 7- or 8-years-old sitting with my younger half brother in the family station wagon parked on Fremont Street (back when you could do that), working on my homework like the studious little girl I was, while my mother and step dad took turns staying with us and gambling in the casinos.

Picture this: my Elvis-like step dad in the "MadMen" era wearing slacks and sport coat throwing the dice in a craps game, thinking that keeping his hands busy at the dice table would help him quit smoking. My mother standing at a slot machine in one of those open door casinos just steps from where the car was parked, one eye on the kids and the other on the jackpot with silver dollars spilling out into the bucket just in time to take us to breakfast for those yummy silver dollar pancakes. But my strongest memory was that, in-between solving math problems, I gazed up at the giant neon lights, totally mesmerized, thinking that "bright lights, big city" was it for me. It was one of those defining moments in my life.

One writer who had moved to Paris said that when you move to Paris, you know you're serious about your writing. As for me, well, when you move to Vegas, you know you're serious about your music. With so many entertainment options, you can't help but tap into the music culture, if you're so inclined.

And if you're interested in taking lessons, there are plenty of big names here who offer them. Before I knew it, I was taking voice lessons with a Broadway star who had been performing in "Mamma Mia!" in Vegas. But I couldn't stop thinking about actually playing something. I had tried piano in the past but couldn't get past the elementary lessons. I didn't want to play scales or "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" - I wanted to play "Fly Me to the Moon" or "Crocodile Rock" or a zillion other songs that mean something to me.

So when my husband presented me with a musical keyboard for Christmas, I started off learning "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." It may not sound like the most exciting song, but it's actually quite challenging. But maybe next I'll learn to play "Fly Me to the Moon" like Diana Krall. 

But living in Vegas also inspires my writing - I've set a couple of manuscripts here. And I'm getting ready to shop one around - I'd love it if this one was "the one" - imagine all of the promotional fun I could have - tying in my music, my writing, and my "brights light, big city" home of Las Vegas. Because every time I drive down the Strip at night, I zip down the windows, open the sun roof, and play "Viva Las Vegas."

You can find me blogging on my Web Site or my Chicks Over 40: Romancing the Past blog.

Kathy Holmes


  1. Welcome Kathy! Oh what fun! Boy, you really are a Diva! Living in Vegas - singing/playing music - what about dancing? gotta add that to the mix! Make sure to keep us posted about life on the Vegas strip! I think I see a series based there - maybe a showgirl/PI who solves murders on the strip! ;)

  2. Kathy, You painted an amazing picture of the Vegas of the past. Very cool. My family stationwagon memories involve A&W drivethroughs in Montreal, more than doing homework on the Vegas strip. You win. ;)

  3. Thank you JoJo and Maureen! Dancing, well, I'll have to work on that - used to do that a lot. lol! My character, Lucky, dances, in my latest wip - does that count? Anyway, fun to post this.

  4. Kathy, such a great first post and an amazing introduction of yourself, especially your childhood. You certainly are in the heart of glitz, glam and greats.

  5. All Hail the Vegas Diva!! *grin*

    Great post. LOVE the videos. I'm now dancing with Viva Las Vegas playing in my head! What an amazing history. Along with the Vegas P.I., I'd love to see something set in the Mad Men era. Wouldn't that be too cool?

    I loved the image of a Mad Men dressed fellow shooting craps so his hands would be too busy to let him smoke. HAH!

    Nice intro, my musical friend. :-D Your world is so exotic! And I love that you're taking on Fly Me to the Moon next!! One of my all time Favorites. Yum!!


  6. Thanks, Alli, and thanks Chiron for recommending me.

    I think I have two manuscripts with that Vegas craps scene - whichever is published first gets to keep it - lol!

    The joke around here, of course, is always some form of "is that where they buried the bodies?" - with so many empty dirt fields in-between developments, you can imagine all sorts of things here. So I figured I should use what I have and run with it. :)

  7. Holy Elvis remix! I love it!

    I really enjoyed your memories of Vegas, and your defining moment, especially.

  8. Hey Kathy!

    Welcome to the Divas, and what an intro too! Loved the images of Vegas you brought up. Can just imagine you doing a CSI:Vegas-like story here, but with a quirky character a la Stephanie Plum who maybe, like you, is learning to play 'big' tunes on the piano!

    Lovely post!


  9. Love love love your Vegas images, Kathy!
    Your mom at the slot machine, the pancakes, driving down the strip with Viva Las Vegas on the stereo…. It sounds fantastic!

  10. Thank you so much - making me feel so welcome. I love the creative ideas you all have suggested, too!


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