Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | 1:50 p.m.
He was cloaked in a PETA-approved faux fur coat and matching hat and, in a reference that maybe three people on hand understood, joked that he looked a lot like Omar Sharif in “Dr. Zhivago.”
Just another mayoral icing is what this was, as Oscar Goodman was chillin’ like Bob Dylan (a reference hopefully more than three people get) at the Minus 5 Experience at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place. The event was so made-for-the-cameras it could serve as a mayoral infomercial (but probably not a campaign ad if the mayor actually runs for governor, as photos and footage of him nursing his omnipresent Bombay Sapphire martini in a below-zero Vegas ice lounge might not play well in, say, Winnemucca). The news peg here was that Goodman, already deified in wax at Madame Tussauds, has now had widely celebrated image embedded in ice. Many of those in attendance were expecting a simple ice carving of Goodman, but instead a true work of art was unveiled: A color replica portrait of him in his City Hall office that brought to mind the work of Peter Max, or even Andy Warhol. The portrait reportedly took 32 hours to embed into a 550-pound ice block. The piece is actually pretty cool, in a cool sort of way, set amid icy Elvis and chilly Vegas Vicky.
Until yesterday, I’d never visited the freezing lounge itself, an icily distinctive experience. The temperature in the Mandalay Bay parking garage when I pulled in was 106, according to the KatMobile, but after five minutes at minus-5, my hands were about locked up (wouldn’t be the first time, but I won’t get into that night in Tijuana back in ’88). The camera operated by Greenspun Interactive videographer Brett McAfee was rendered nearly inoperable after 30 minutes in the place, but it was nonetheless a uniquely entertaining assignment. Goodman made the requisite “I have been waxed, now I’m on ice!” joke, and said, “It doesn’t get any cooler than this!” Given the afternoon off were his occasional sidekicks, the costumed showgirls who often attend such events, but Goodman was more than willing to carry the show himself.
“I’m coming down here every night, 24/7,” he said. “If you want to know where to find the mayor, it’s here!” At one point, he grabbed his cell phone and shouted into it, “I can’t talk now! I’m drunk!”
He wasn’t driving, we should note. He probably wasn’t actually drunk, either, but it was after 5 p.m. …
Near the end of the appearance, as the crowd started to empty away, I went to say goodbye to Goodman. I shook his hand and noticed it was fairly swollen, probably from all the gripping he’d done over the previous hour. I asked him about it, if maybe dialing down his self-imposed promotional tour of Vegas would be a good idea. He shook his head and said, “The day when nobody wants to see me is the day I hang it up.” What he’s hanging up, for this event, is just that big Dr. Zhivago coat.