Beam Me Up, Scottsdale

Got laid off? Thinking of fleeing to another city before you devour whatever is left in your piggy bank? How about sexy Scottsdale?

Wipe that disdainful expression off your face! If it’s good enough for Jenna Jameson, Hugh Downs, Barbara Eden, Leslie Nielsen, Ricky Schroder, former Vice President Dan Quayle and Alice Cooper, it’s certainly good enough for you. I’m talking about Scottsdale, Ariz., my new home away from home, and a place that you should seriously think about adding to your could-I-bear-to-live-there? list.

Thought it was just a sleepy retirement community? Geriatric, schmeriatric! Having just returned from yet another surprise-packed trip, I am telling you, Scottsdale is one surreal and crazy town. Stylish, too.

Did you know, for example, that Ms. Jameson, the porn star, is such a big fashion shopper that she has her very own dedicated parking spot at the Fashion Square Mall? No? Thought not.

There’s oodles of high culture, as well. At the labyrinthine Westin, where I sojourned last week, I was treated to the haunting spectacle of a Scottish bagpipe player. He appears on the golf course every day around 5, performing in 100-degree-plus heat while wearing a scratchy kilt. As if that weren’t decadent enough, the cocktail bar in the Westin lobby is named the Rim.

Everything in Scottsdale is much more louche and naughty than you might expect. Even the food. One of the principal local delicacies is, in fact, totally illegal. I am talking about the notorious bacon-wrapped Mexican hot dog. (Food safety codes prohibit the wrapping of uncooked pork products around a pre-cooked item.) This addictive Sonoran snack can be purchased on various street corners for $3. The illicit frisson only serves to fuel the ardor of the locals for this wildly decadent cholesterol-busting bargain treat. Ask for it “con todos” and you won’t be disappointed.

Why Scottsdale, why now?

My focus on Scottsdale results from the fact that there’s a Barneys flagship store opening in the aforementioned mall. I have been making reconnaissance trips to prepare for the Oct. 15 opening, and am starting to make quite an impression on the locals. I might be five feet four and a half inches in New York, but in Scottsdale I am Shaq-tastically gigantic. (He lives there, too!) Last week alone I was the featured guest on two local morning TV shows. A third appearance was canceled when word reached the station that rain was in the offing. All reporters were dispatched to various corners of the Scottsdale-Phoenix area to interview the locals about how they were coping with the possibility of rain. Mention the word “precipitation,” and everyone goes to pieces.

I might be five feet four and a half inches in New York, but there I am Shaq-tastically gigantic.

Speaking of dramas: Last week, I had my first Scottsdale health emergency. Here’s what went down: A colleague and I were taste-testing mini-desserts for the opening bash. The proffered stuffed raspberry looked innocent enough. But while masticating, a strange electrical tingle exploded in my head. I assumed the worst and prepared to collapse to the floor and transition into a vegetative state.

“Pop Rocks!” shouted the chef, who had cunningly inserted the weird 1970s candy into the offending fruit. I am telling you, nothing is too wild and crazy for the people of Scottsdale.

On my next trip, I fully intend to visit one of the Arizona Indian casinos, which lie on the outskirts of the city. Local TV commercials hosted by glamorous and otherwise “slot coordinators” have mesmerized me with their tantalizing descriptions of the newest innovations, including Star Trek– and Playboy-themed one-arm bandits.

Care to join? If you get lucky at the tables, you could snap up a foreclosed real estate bargain. Worst-case scenario, you can always get a job as a slot coordinator. We can celebrate with a Mexican hot dog. Say goodbye to the Highline and the Monkey Bar and lets go party down at the Rim!

  Beam Me Up, Scottsdale