Documenting The 24 Hour Show

Serving racks at the BellagioIn 2005, the Western Folklife Center turned its gaze south to one of the largest groups of people at work in Nevada – the people who staff the casino and entertainment industry in Las Vegas. Based on original fieldwork, The 24 Hour Show is a documentary project that offers a glimpse of Las Vegas through the eyes of the people who live and work in the city.

Work is a place where we develop shared experiences, where we learn the skills needed to do our jobs, and where we create an environment that is often personal and creative. Every job has its own lingo, its own tricks of the trade passed on from one worker to another, and its own unique skills and knowledge developed over years and generations of shared labor. In a radio series and exhibit The 24 Hour Show highlights this legacy of work through peoples’ stories as they describe what they do and why their work is meaningful to them. In contrast to our usual view of the city as a superficial playground, The 24 Hour Show presents a vision of Las Vegas as a diverse hometown peopled by residents from all walks of life and from all corners of the world, who bring unique and powerful stories about their work and life experiences to enrich the fabric of the city.

The 24 Hour Show is a collaborative project between the Western Folklife Center and the Nevada State Museum & Historical Society in Las Vegas.  Other partners include Nevada Public Radio, the City of Las Vegas Centennial Commission, Las Vegas Centennial Commission Logo the working community of Las Vegas, and other statewide and local groups. The 24 Hour Show has been funded in part by the Las Vegas Centennial Commission.

Listen to The 24 Hour Show radio series in our Audio & Video section.

New York New York At Night New York New York casino at night - Las Vegas: playground or workplace? Resort destination or hometown?
Vat Thompson behind the bar Bartender Bat Thompson behind the bar: At work at the LaFemme Bar, MGM Grand Las Vegas, Thompson believes that bartending is an art form, and he draws upon generations of specialized knowledge taught to him by fellow bartenders to craft the best drink possible for his customers.
Khoi Tang dealing Blackjack Khoi Tang dealing Blackjack in the casino at Bellagio Las Vegas. A well-run Blackjack game relies upon the skill of the dealer to move the cards efficiently, interpret players' hand gestures, and speak a language unique to the game. Phrases like "hit me" and "double down" are examples of the dynamic language of card playing that is constantly evolving in casinos, card houses, and home games.
Bellagio employees in line Employees in line: Hotel and casino employees in line at the Employee Dining Room buffet at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Most employees who work for the big resort properties on the Strip have access to a meal and snacks twenty-four hours a day.
Marie Baldonado in the Cage

Marie Baldonado in the Cage: Working as a cashier in the cage at MGM Grand Las Vegas, Baldonado explains to us why there are no $50 bills in Las Vegas.