[Transcript of interview with Joel Bergman by Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White, August 03, 2016]. Bergman, Joel. Interview, 2016 August 3. OH-02792. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
i AN INTERVIEW WITH JOEL BERGMAN An Oral History Conducted by Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2016 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV – University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editor: Stefani Evans Transcriber: Kristin Hicks, Frances Smith Project Manager: Stefani Evans Interviewers: Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of the UNLV University Libraries. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the university for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Building Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iv PREFACE Born in 1936, architect Joel Bergman spent his childhood in Venice, California, the son of Edythe Klein and Harry Bergman, a baker who later turned to dealing in scrap metal. The award-winning designer of such Las Vegas projects as the International Hotel, the MGM Grand Hotel (later Bally's), additions to the Riviera Hotel and the Golden Nugget downtown, the Mirage, Treasure Island, Paris Casino Resort, Caesars Palace, Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Signature at MGM Grand, Rhumbar, Gilley's at Treasure Island, and the Tropicana Hotel and Casino first arrived in Las Vegas in 1968 to work on the International Hotel. In this interview, Bergman discusses his architectural career, which began with his graduation in architecture from the University of Southern California; he also discusses his work with Martin Stern, his sixteen years with Steve Wynn, and the formation of his own architectural firm, Bergman Walls and Associates. Throughout, he pays tribute to the three mentors who had the greatest influence on his work—USC architecture professor Carleton Winslow, architect Berton Severson, and client Steve Wynn—and the ways they visualized people moving through space. He acknowledges other professionals whose work he admired and talks about his wives Marlene Federman, Terrie Colston, Maria Nicolini, and Valentina Bogdanova as well as his children and stepchildren. Joel David Bergman passed away August 24, 2016, three weeks after he gave this interview. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Joel Bergman August 3, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White Preface………………………………………………………………..…………………………..iv Talks about childhood, dyslexia, the Army, and dabbling in assorted careers without success before entering the architecture program at the University of Southern California. Discusses entering employ of architect Martin Stern and coming to Las Vegas in 1968 to work on the International Hotel under mentor Berton Severson………………..……………………………1-6 Catalogs Stern projects throughout Nevada and explains why many projects do not get built; lauds younger architects Paul Steelman and DeRuyter Butler; and discusses meeting and working with Stern’s client Steve Wynn……………….…………………………………..…………….6-9 Relates how he entered Wynn’s employ and for sixteen years worked alongside and learned from Wynn; talks about clients Arthur Goldberg of Paris, Dan Reichartz and James Horvath of Caesars; discusses why he saves no drawings, and explains why he especially admires and enjoyed working with Wynn. Discusses designing the Mirage………………………..….….10-15 Talks about assembling the team for Treasure Island: Don Brinkerhoff, Jon Jerde, and Charlie White, retiring from the Mirage family, opening his own office, and in 1994 forming Bergman Walls and Associates with Scott Walls. Describing clients Caesars, Bally’s, the Barona Casino in San Diego, and Donald Trump; discusses how architecture evolves with casino games, entertainment, and nightclubs…………….……………………………………………..……16-20 Describes how Wynn makes guests feel special; talks about how architect sons Leonard and George Bergman inspired Bergman Walls to open office in Vietnam; talks about why the Mirage and Paris are his favorite projects…………….………………………………………………20-24 Talks about the houses he designed in Rancho Bel Air, building ship models, mistakes and things done well at the Bellagio. Praises the Brinkerhoffs, who did the Mirage forest, Treasure Island, gardens at Bellagio and Wynn, and median on the Strip. Discusses Treasure Island sign, his friendship with Jon Jerde, and why he does not like designing houses. ……………..………25-34 Appendix 1: Michael Scott Davidson, “Bergman, Architect of Strip Resorts, Dies at 80,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 27 August 2016, p. 3B.………………………………..…..……………35 Appendix 2: Joel Bergman resume……………………………………………...…….Unpaginated vi 1 STEFANI: Today is August third, 2016. Claytee White and Stefani Evans are here with Joel Bergman at his home. How are you today? I'm just fine. Excellent. Why don't we start by you telling us a little bit about your early life; where you were born, your parents, siblings; that kind of thing? I was born August 20, 1936, in Los Angeles, actually a little suburb called Venice, and I lived in Venice until 1962. So I went to school there, to high school. I was halfway through USC [University of Southern California] when I bought my first independent house. I was freeloading on my father-in-law to that point, who had died and left my wife his house. I have one sister, who is four and a half years younger, Diane. My mother and father were typical working family. My dad had a bakery and my mother worked in the bakery. So I worked in the bakery. I started sweeping the floor and the like when I was about eight years old. I grew up in an environment where you worked. Nothing came for free, and as a consequence that work ethic has stayed with me through most of my adult life. It's only been recently, because of a couple of surgeries, that I've slowed down. And truth of the matter, I don't like slowing down. I think my time is about done. So I went to Venice High School. Frankly, I was a lousy student. I struggled to get a C occasionally and a lot of Ds. I even failed a class. It goes back to never having learned to read. I was in the fourth grade—or about to go into the fourth grade. I was in the fourth grade about to go into the fifth and they wanted to hold me back and my mother wouldn't have any part of it. Bad reflection on her. So I was just pushed along with everybody else. A typical L.A. [Los Angeles] City Schools education, by the way. That was not unusual. But I never learned to read. I learned to read words and I was great with a comic, 2 especially classic comics when it came to reports. And I didn't have a good comprehension. So I struggled through high school. I have the distinction of having failed in ten weeks out of Santa Monica Community College and I went off into the [United States] Army, which was a much better choice for me. I had no intention of ever going to college. I wasn't college material. Anyway, two years later I arrived back with a wife and a kid and no ability to take care of myself. By this time my dad had left the bakery business, had gone into scrap metal. And because I had worked for my grandfather during the summers in scrap metal, I had a little bit of understanding—not a lot—but I went to work with my dad. That lasted about a year and a half. I used to have to come home at night and take all my clothes off outside. They were covered with carbon dust. I was filthy. I hated being filthy. And so I thought, I'll try something perhaps a little cleaner, not much. I tried to be a plumber and that didn't work. I tried to be an electrician; that was worse. I attempted real estate. I liked real estate because I could be clean all the time. Unfortunately, in six months of real estate, I managed to make a hundred and sixty-four dollars. It wasn't exactly enough to live on. As I said, I was busy freeloading on my father-in-law, who was kind enough to take me in and actually contributed money. After the real estate debacle, he said, "I'll give you one more shot at getting into my pocket if you want to try college." Now, how much of that was my wife and how much of that was him, I'm not quite sure. I never asked the question until this very moment. In any case, I decided I'd give college a shot. Well, a funny thing happened in the almost five years from high school to college. I learned to read. I learned to pay attention. I learned to understand, and I guess I kind of grew into my nerve endings and I became an A student. It was absolutely unheard of. So I went through community college in a year and a half, making up all my high school 3 grades and, of course, the six classes I had blown, and without any other choice applied to University of Southern California. Well, if you read the book, you know what a tight-ass group that was. Anyway, for whatever reason, they let me in and I maintained my scholastic ability at USC. I went there for five years; I have a five-year degree. I did okay, and I worked. At some point, the history of architecture professor, a man named Carleton Winslow—Carleton, C-A-R-L-E-T-O-N—thought I had some ability and he gave me a job in his office. Through most of the rest of my four years at USC I worked for Carl. When there was nothing to draw—because he had a small office; he was really a professor—he paid me to paint the house, to drive his kids to school. He told me once, "Just stay here, answer the phones and do your homework." A very good guy. And that was my first mentor. Well, I graduated USC in June of 1965 without a job. I had quit my job the weekend before graduation. What was your major? By that time, by the way, I was working for another architect. I had left Carl because it was time for me to expand my horizons. So I'm sorry, say it again. Your degree was? In architecture. I'm sorry. I thought that was understood that I'm an architect. In any case, I stumbled around for a couple of weeks. Another professor at school got me an introduction and I got another job. I was going to hang out in this other job for about a year and then make some real plans. You see, while I went to school, for the first couple of years I was still working on the truck a couple days a week, I moonlighted, built a couple of apartment buildings for myself and some other folks, and I was working for Carl Winslow. In addition to working in his office, because it was only a part-time job, I was a reader for the History of 4 Architecture class. Because it taken all of this advanced stuff while I was at community college when I made up my grades, I got ahead of myself. So in my first year at USC I was taking third-year classes, the academic side. Well, I became a reader for those classes. So whatever it took to make a buck, I did. Anyway, I was pooped to say the least when I finished architecture school, and so I was going to give myself a year to just be a draftsman. It was going to be eight to five. That was it. It got out of hand and I stayed with this office, Robert Trask Cox in Los Angeles for two and a half years. One day I woke up, quit my job, answered an ad in the newspaper and went to work for the then dean of Las Vegas architecture, Martin Stern, Jr., AIA, and specifically for a man named Berton Severson, B-E-R-T-O-N. By the way, Bert passed away two weeks ago, so that wasn't very cool. But Bert became my second mentor. That was January 18th, 1968, obviously a date that stays with me. That changed my life forever because I found my niche, not having known what my niche was going to be. I started out as a design detailer. What that is, is a glorified draftsman for the real designers of the buildings. The Stern office, especially Bert, had designed the International Hotel [in Las Vegas]. It was about halfway constructed when I went to work there. I finished that. Martin's habit in those days was a week before the job went out he fired everybody. He didn't like to waste any money on severance or benefits. They always kept a couple of people and for whatever reason they kept me. I have a hunch it was because I wasn't paid very much. [Laughing] But anyway, over the course of the next—that lasted about six months—over the course of the next ten years, I stayed with Berton and Martin and managed to rise up and I eventually 5 got some of the office policy changed. Of course, not that it applied to me when I left, but when we would let other people go, we would take care of them. So the International was partially finished when you came. It was under construction. The concrete shell was—because the buildings were so large, they were cladding the exterior. While they were cladding it, I was detailing it. And tell us what that means. What what means? What detailing means and while they were cladding. Drawing the precise components at scale on a sheet of paper that shows the contractor how to assemble the materials. So I was scrambling. I also discovered something else. I got overtime because they had to get this thing out. All of a sudden I was getting paid for the extra time I was spending. I used to spend the time anyway, but this was like nirvana. Unexpected money. Anyway, about the time we finished the International...I don't even know how it happened, but a client came to the office and liked my style, my irascible personality, and said, "I want him on the job." Now, let's digress a little bit. While I worked for Cox, I worked on schools, and while I worked for Winslow, I worked on churches and a few high-end residences. I had never worked on a building with an elevator or an escalator in it. Until the International. Until the International. As I said, something happened to me in five years between high school and college; I don't know what it was, attitude or, as I said, my nerve endings grew. But I had never been one to say, "I don't know how to do that." If I do say it, I say it with, "And I'll learn 6 how." So I studied old drawings and, of course, I looked at the catalogs from the various product manufacturers as I had to incorporate whatever it is that we were doing into the project. So on the technical side I was terrific and I was pretty thorough and everybody liked that about me because I was beyond fast. I never have liked to do anything twice, and I do it as quickly and as efficiently as I possibly can whatever the task. But that's the technical side. What Bert Severson taught me, you can't put your arms around. You can't look at it and say yeah, not in the same way as looking at a drawing of a window detail. Bert taught me about spaces; about how they're related; about how people move through a space; what was their experience. This is what was important. It's what made our buildings somewhat exceptional for their time. Bert had been the designer on the original high-rise at the Sahara, the Fremont downtown, the Sands, God knows...hundreds of remodels on the buildings here in Las Vegas. But the Stern office also worked on Harrah's up in Reno and at Lake Tahoe. Matter of fact, I worked on the Harrah's Tahoe, supporting Berton. We worked in other parts of the country. Martin Stern designed the first high-rise on Wilshire Boulevard, West Wilshire in Westwood, owned it for years. Well, we worked in—or they did—in San Diego and other parts of Southern California, and it wasn't just hotels and residences; it was primarily anything that needed an architect. So working for Bert, we focused on gaming hotels. Now, there were some exceptions. Bert and I designed the first Little America high-rise in Salt Lake City. Did a huge complex that never got built down in Tucson for Little America. One thing I should point out, by orders of magnitude more projects go in the drawer after the initial sketches than ever see the light of day and there are any number of reasons for that. Either the owner can't come up with the cash to build it. Worse yet, the payouts. Or the project doesn't get approved and then there's a justification for it. But everybody has a dream. I call 7 them rainbow chasers. In the BWA [Bergman Walls and Associates] offices, there are hundreds of rainbow chasers. Sometimes a client would come in and a project would be so compelling, we'd start drawing right away before any money crossed anybody's hands, before the site was confirmed. It just...My God, we've got to do this. And when you say BWA, you mean Bergman, Walls and...? Bergman Walls and Associates. The firm is now BWA. I no longer own any of it. And when did you start that firm? November of 1993. We'll get there. So in my ten and a half years with Martin Stern and because, I guess, I was a better bullshit merchant than I was a designer, I began to just deal with the clients and the contractors. I would make exceptions. I would design spas, health clubs and showrooms. I was good at it. I was quick. It was easier for me to do it than to try to explain to people how the hell one of these places worked. I've never understood in all my existence—and I ragged on people for years—how anybody could go to work in a profession or a segment of the profession and not having visited the buildings that existed so that there would be a point of departure; and yet that happens all the time. It's just a job. Well, I can't remember just having a job. I had to know everything and I always looked for people like that. Two such people came into my life. One of them was Paul Steelman, who worked with me in the Atlantic City area. And we have an interview scheduled with him. A brilliant, brilliant architect and inquisitive and never settling for less than. And DeRuyter Butler, who was my assistant after Paul left me for the rest of my tenure at Mirage—we'll get to the Mirage—and who still works for Steve directly. 8 Anyway, somewhere along the way, about nine or so years into my career at Stern, I met this guy named Steve Wynn. And Steve loved my style. I was introduced to him by Gus Rapone and Kitty Rodman of Sierra Construction. When Steve first met me, he said, "Here's what I want you to do." He just accepted what Kitty and Gus had said as to my abilities. He says, "I want you to master plan this. I want you to look at this." Having to do with the Golden Nugget downtown. So I went over to a friend's office who was a structural engineer, Roger Peltyn. You have to find out something about Roger for this. He's a good guy. Anyway, I said, "Let me use a board and some trace." That's tracing paper. And in a couple of hours I massaged what Steve had asked for and I took it back to him and he thought I was a genius. I was fast. I hit on what he wanted. And so he right there and then offered me a job. CLAYTEE: So you think you liked each other because both of you thought the other was a genius? He was a genius. I just got lucky. Do you remember exactly what his visions were that you sketched up? Not for that. Not for that. Because when I look at that I see that the main entrance was moved from the corner. You've never seen that though. That's Atlantic City. But the main entrance was moved from the corner, was it not? No. No? It's still there? Yes. You don't take an entrance off a corner. I don't see it. 9 I made the mistake once of doing a building without an entrance on the corner. You're thinking about the other entrance where you drive up. That's right. Yes, you're thinking that...to the west—north or whatever it is. I never knew it. I never did remember, but I think it's west. Anyhow, so I said, "Wait a minute." I said, "I don't want to go to work for you." I said, "I need the support of the Stern office with me." He says, "Stern, I hate that son of a bitch." I said, "You know him?" "No, but I know him by reputation." I said, "I promise you, you'll never have to meet Martin; you'll only deal with me and I'll be when you need me wherever you need me." So he agreed to it. How did you get that freedom to say that? I can't imagine not having it. It's part of me. I don't know what you know about my reputation, but it's terrible. I love the title of the book. That's why the title of the book [Bergman’s memoir, Whatever You Hear About Me Is True (2015)]. There are people who hate my guts. Sheldon Adelson...I'm on a black list because I walked away from him, literally walked away from him. I thought he was a blithering idiot. I didn't like the way he did business; that's all. Anyway, but there are people who don't like the way I do business. My sons are always trying to apologize for me and I tell them, "Don't do that. I am what I am; it's done. Make your own mark." But you're the one that people kept saying, "You have to get Joel Bergman for this project." Yes. But not enough people saw that and I got tired. 10 No, a lot of people said that. Yes. And I want you to talk more about Steve and those projects. I will. Off and on I work doing little remodel things and the like for Steve. Steve knew my work habits. One Saturday morning I get a phone call from him. "Bergie, I'm on my plane coming back from Atlantic City. I just bought two pieces of property. Stop the bullshit, you're coming to work directly for me." And he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. And this was what year? Was this after the MGM fire? It was July of '79—no—seventy-eight. Seventy-eight. So before the fire. Oh, yes. Over the course of time that I worked for Steve, which was off and on for sixteen years, give or take, we designed many projects, but very few of them got built. But Steve was willing to put his money where his mouth is, always has been. He doesn't just want to talk about something. He wants to see something. Steve was my third mentor. I can tell you that there is nobody in the gaming business—I'm not sure in any business—that has his ability to verbally describe what his mind sees. He has always understood what people wanted before people knew they wanted it. What made it exciting working for him is that we talked about this and I drew and then we talked some more and I drew some more. And when we thought it was terrific, we signed it, five of us one night coming back from a rented condo in North Carolina. It was perfection and we were going to build it. By the time we got home, "Let's do it again." He never settles and that's an important consideration. People want to know, why he's successful? It's because he doesn't settle. And he takes risks and he does it with his own money. We would build something, it would turn out lousy, and he'd say, "Let's do it over," and quick. So when did that happen? Where? 11 It happened at the Mirage. We built a terrible appendage on the original high limit and cage area as a bar and it was just terrible. So we tore it out and we redid it again. Downtown at the Golden Nugget, we were forever remodeling. But it wasn't just a remodel; it was an improvement. If you take an old building, a western theme, quasi-cowboy, and you say, "Okay, let's lighten the place up; let's paint it white," you don't just paint it white. When Roger Thomas picked the colors for that, yes, it was basically white, but if you look carefully, there's three or four different whites. It's a texture and a feeling. And Steve drove us to that. He wouldn't settle for anything less. Well, for some people it's maddening and even on occasion it was maddening for me. But in the end I knew there would never be another one like him and I got as much of him as I could. So we did the Mirage. We did Treasure— I'm sorry. Did you think you did your best work under Steve? Not necessarily. The work I have done has always been as good as I could do at that moment. Was I supported differently under Steve? Absolutely. But I've had other clients who were equally magnanimous. Arthur Goldberg from Bally's when he asked me to do Paris, one hundred percent supportive all the way down the line. He didn't hold anything back. He wasn't afraid to pick up the phone and tell me to do something else in this area. He was just looking for the same excellence that Steve Wynn was able to get. Caesars through the early days of working there when I personally was involved, I had a lot of support out of Dan Reichartz and his team. Now, we've continued to work on Caesars and Caesars was my first client in 1993, my first independent client, and they stayed with us. I phased out, my partner Scott Walls phased in, and we now have James Horvath. We've always had a quality person the top of the team. Caesars has generally provided us with exceptional talent on their side, giving us program and 12 advice and counsel and critique. That's an important consideration. That's what makes a great project, not some stick-in-your-ass "starchitect" who ends up with crap like CityCenter. He said it. But that's a valuable judgment on CityCenter. So on something that is— I'll give you more later. But in the meantime, so let's talk about the Mirage. We did the Golden Nugget of Atlantic City. I stayed in Atlantic City for a year and a couple of months, not working for Golden Nugget. I liked living there. I had married a girl there, my second wife. It was home. I didn't feel like coming west. Well, Steve gave me a buzz fourteen months after I initially left and suggested I might want to come back, made me an even better offer I couldn't refuse. And the snow. But it was more than that. I missed his level of excellence. I missed the interaction because when you work for Steve Wynn, you work with Steve Wynn; there is constant interaction. I had a very long drawing board on one wall with two stools and he sat there with me ass to ass. We drew together. But while he was drawing he was talking. So he was actually drawing as well— Yes. —or talking? Yes. Because he had this vision and he had to convey it. Now, did he draw as well as I did? No. Didn't matter. It's because he was talking while he was drawing that I understood what he said and was able to transliterate it. Do we still have those copies? I have no drawings. I have been loathe in my career for that. What do I have? I've got a church 13 I worked on in Hollywood, St. Thomas, and that isn't the reredos we put in. I got a picture of Le Corbusier Church in France. Correspondence? No. I saved nothing. I just walked out of my office after twenty-plus years. You know what I took? This is what I took. [Pause] Huh, I guess I didn't take anything. Yes, actually I did. It's a canvas bag with some drawing tools in it. That's it. No sketches, no renderings. And none of that is at the office still either? Some of it is at the office. But that's my style. I believe that you draw and [keep] the last thing on a piece of paper...And get rid of all the other junk. If you keep the old junk, you keep wanting to go back to it. I don't want to go back to it. I want to go forward. And so when I was all done, I had one piece of paper that had my design on it. Now, the truth is I'm a better space planner than I am a third-dimensional architect. And that's why I say I've been lucky; I've always had people with me who could make the third dimension and do it well. And so there's nothing I'm ever going to point to, except maybe some remodel I did fifty years ago, and say, "That was me." It was all collaborative. But with Steve Wynn the collaboration was limited; it was Steve and me until we got what he wanted and then he invited the rest of the team in one by one to look at it. And it worked. You can't make that wrong ever. But there's only one Steve Wynn. Does he know how you feel about him? Probably not. Here is the best part. He doesn't give a damn. I'm yesterday. He's got his team. Roger [Thomas] and DeRuyter [Butler] take very good care of him. You know he can't see worth a damn. In my time he could still see. It made my job a little easier. I remember when the Mirage was—I don't think it was open yet. But I remember you 14 were experimenting with paint colors on the side near Spring Mountain, paint colors with the shutters being a different color. We had shutters on Treasure Island. So then it was the Treasure Island. It was the one near Spring Mountain. Yes, that's the Treasure Island. The Treasure Island. But I remember seeing different colors of paint. Yes. You have to be sure what you do. You ain't going to do it by picking a color out of the catalog. It just doesn't happen that way. All right, so let's get to Mirage. As I said, in Atlantic City we designed several projects, none of which got built, after the Golden Nugget. A business opportunity presented itself for the company. And that's another aspect of Steve; he's a brilliant businessman. And he made a choice, good choice. He gave us the money to come west and do Mirage. By this time I was ready to move west and so I came with them and started working in an attic at the Golden Nugget downtown. We brought in some serious talent with us. We brought in Don Brinkerhoff of Lifescapes. He's a landscape architect and he's done too many of the buildings here in town. You should be talking to him. Don's older than I am and he'll know the (48:33/Bug and Bennett). Is he here in town? No, he lives in Newport. I can give you his phone number if you want. Thank you. That would be great. I owe him a call anyway. His daughter Julie can also answer most of the stuff. She's very active and she actually is the president of the company. We brought in Henry Conversano of San Francisco for the interiors. Henry had done the 15 interiors for the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City as well as Bill Harrah's work for many, many years. Roger Thomas was involved, of course, and did some spectacular stuff there. Tony Marnell was one of our true contractors and Tony is also an architect and so he was the support architect, the architect of record. Steve didn't want me doing construction drawings. He just wanted me doing design. So can you explain for the tape the difference between the design architect and the architect of record? How about the design architect designs a building; the architect of record prepares the construction documents And isn't there a project architect as well? Nah, they work for us. But Tony and I were the mainstays. He obviously had a terrific team behind him, as I had behind me, and we all agreed to agree. We created wonderment. Oh, you did that. But the impetus was always and would forever be Steve Wynn. Pushing, second guessing, never settling. You see, the goal is excellence. You can't have perfection; it doesn't exist. But you can sure as hell have excellence and we got excellence. But we wouldn't have done it alone and I'll tell you another story about that in a minute. So then Treasure Island came up. And by the way, along the way we had looked at various other projects, either existing projects in other parts of the country that might have value and then new ones, and the truth was there was nothing. Creating it ourselves was the answer and so Treasure Island came to be, initially conceived as additional guest rooms for the Mirage, but taking on a life of its own over time. I was the master planner for Treasure Island. We had other architects. We had Jon Jerde, 16 another son of a bitch that died on me. JJ was...Unfortunately, he was my classmate at USC, because without him I might have had the second highest grade point ever to go through. [Laughing] Brilliant, brilliant designer and good guy. We had maintained a friendship off and on over the years. We actually worked together when we were in school. That's what I said when I said I was lucky. There were opportunities. I got to work with some really fine people. There are tertiary designers that come into play, a man named Charlie White who created the base façade of the pirate island at Tr