A small crowd gathered outside Las Vegas's Clarion Hotel yesterday, which was unusual in that the 45-year-old, off-strip establishment hadn't attracted much attention in years. It's amazing what a massive load of explosives can do for a piece of reality - location, location, detonation.
When owner Lorenzo Doumani set off the 4,400-pound blast that almost leveled the 12-story, ex-marquee hotel, the Clarion became the thirteenth major Vegas establishment to meet its end in a blaze of glory. It's not the most notable of the bunch, but it was a fine example of the way Vegas has turned urban renewal into pyrotechnic theater. The building shook as the explosion ripped through it, then gave way. Only the stairwell remained standing. Spectators will be back to watch the last of it, because what's a Vegas show without an encore.