The City Without Foreplay pg108–109

Colorful companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic

Three Dancing Figures c1998

Vegas was a very different place back in the 70s. There weren’t many rules to slow you down. It all changed in that one quick year. The Las Vegas Strip of yore — the era from Bugsy in 1947 through to Elvis in 1977 — was thirty years of free for all, celebrated in the songs of Frank Sinatra and the ravings of Hunter S. Thompson. Syndicates of ‘Families’ owned various hotels, and the rules were simple and easy to understand. Cavorting in unruly rat packs was tolerated as long as,

  1. You were dressed to at least a moderate standard of glamorous excess,
  2. No guest was inconvenienced, and
  3. Nothing was stolen. At all. From anyone… but most especially from the casino. Even counting cards was considered a form of theft. — From Chapter 5

Sketching from undraped models is a creative discipline akin to a musician practicing scales, an athlete stretching or a writer composing a daily blog. Most life drawing sessions begin with a series of one-minute warm-up poses so everyone can loosen up quickly. To save paper I would sketch the model three times fast with charcoal and erasers before turning the page. Many turned out awkward or were lost in discarded sketchpads over time. This little trio captured a rhythm not unlike my youth. This energetic artist’s model survived to be digitally stored, and now broadcast globally… where she’ll be archived in a random server until pixels go poof with the eventual collapse of modern civilization.

A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at

Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.