From my cushy, curvy booth in glitzy Fizz lounge, my eyes feasted on this room of high-art photographs, glass beads, chrome, gold, crushed velvet and wood.
What is this saturated vision, Elton John’s home parlor from 1977?
No. It’s the latest, award-winning “champagne lounge” in Caesars Palace where Morgan Freeman, Drew Barrymore, Nicolas Cage, Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Quincy Jones have entertained personal delights.
John Stamos escorted his mother here for champagne flutes in April to toast her 75th birthday.
Weeks ago, I dropped by Fizz and saw Matt Goss sing “Happy Birthday” to Larry Rudolph, Britney Spears’ manager.
Some time before that, I sat in Fizz with creative director David Furnish, whose love partner is indeed Elton John.
“It feels like coming into y’all’s house,” I said.
“That is the nicest compliment I could ever ask for, right down to … ” Furnish said. Then he reached over to our booth table, picked up an unlighted candle and held its seductive scent to my nose.
The candle gave a luxurious aroma hitherto unknown to my senses.
“This is a beautiful Sicilian orange we worked on.
“It’s Nest Fragrances, which is Laura Slatkin,” Furnish said. “I have scented candles in my home all the time. It’s transportative. It makes you feel special.”
Furnish told me he and business partners Michael Greco and Steven Kennedy created this space because he and Elton are in Caesars Palace often for Elton’s show, next door to Fizz.
“When I was working on the creation of Fizz, I would have friends coming through Vegas. They would say, ‘Let’s meet up for a drink.’ And I’d go, ‘I don’t know where to meet up,’” Furnish said.
So here is the very-Vegas secret thing about Fizz: Celebrities enter the back door and remain sequestered on a balcony nook overlooking normal people below them.
“If they don’t want to come into the main bar,” Furnish said, “they can go up the back stairs, sit up there and still feel like they’re part of the action but feel private.”
A regular customer in the main bar might not even look up at the balcony, which is named “the owner’s office,” and realize they’re admiring the toes of, say, previous guest Katy Perry.
Such celebrity concealing is available in concert venues, as is the case in the Joint, but not often in lounges, although the Foundation Room perfected the art of hiding famous pleasures behind curtains years ago.
If stars skip Fizz’s main room, however, they miss the bar’s surprising climaxes, framed color photographs shipped directly from Elton and Furnish’s (many) homes.
“When we decorate our homes, we always start with the art,” Furnish said.
“The art comes first, and then the art informs the lighting, and the art informs the color schemes, and informs the interior.”
So what are these photos?
“That’s a Steven Klein photograph of Brad Pitt from W magazine when he did ‘Fight Club,’ ” Furnish said.
Next, he motioned to “amazing Guido Mocafico still lifes, which are like paintings, but they’re of tarantula spiders, which are objects people normally revile. But when you see them shot with such detail and the color so vibrant, they’re beautiful.”
“David Bailey’s photographs of skulls and flowers,” he said.
“This is an amazing photographer, a Mexican girl named Denise De La Rue. She does portraits of matadors in front of classical paintings.”
I asked about my favorite photographs, as shot by Steven Meisel for a Versace ad campaign, portraits of elegant ladies, posing elegantly, among elegance.
“Elton saw them when Donatella did them. Blown away. Brought them to attention of Jay Jopling, who runs a gallery, White Cube in London. Jay did a show. He felt they were like mannerist paintings.”
There’s more from David LaChapelle and other revered shooters. Pictures of fetish footwear and an inflatable cheeseburger.
In May, Fizz, which I’m told was designed by Todd-Avery Lenahan to make us feel as though we are swimming in an effervescent champagne glass, won the club/bar/lounge category at the 10th annual Hospitality Design Magazine Awards.
“It’s like Vegas,” Furnish said. “It’s colorful. It’s larger than life.”
To me, Fizz looks as loud as a lion and as small as its sigh. Imagine its existence, for it seems imaginary.
Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.