Driving east out of Las Vegas, you know you’re getting close to Pahrump when you start seeing the roadside billboards offering prostitution and other “legal delights.” And, while granted the signs have a lo-fi late-’90s back-of-the-newspaper-strip-club-ad-aesthetic (think black background, lots of fonts, prominent use of the letter “x”) complete with stock photo image of a sultry(lazy-eyed) pouty-lipped(sleepy) blonde with a generic nom-de-sex like “Mandy,” the town of Pahrump itself is going for more of an ironic, self-referential tone. Evoking less the drugged-out seediness of Taxi Driver or the genre-defining, classic portrait-of-an-era HBO documentary Pimps Up, Hoes Down, Pahrump bills itself more as “The New Old West,” and seems to be shooting for something along the lines of a kitschy Wild West saloon re-enactment, complete with swinging doors populated by straight from central-casting whisky-swiggin’ cowboys and sweet-natured high-kicking gals. Which, I have to admit, is pretty much the definition of a “rollicking good time.” But it’s all rendered in a way that makes it seem like a more nefarious,Disney version of the actual West (see: public tours and souvenirs from the Chicken Ranch), but where, you know, actual sex is happening out back and the less said about the realities of mandatory HIV testing, condom distribution, bombed-out trailer homes and wage disputes, the better. The myth of the West is played out in the realities of this best little desert town where casinos outnumber schools, the number of brothels and street lights are equal (two), muscle cars have replaced horses, and everyone goes about life with a half-concealed smile because they are in on the joke. Reminding you that southern hospitality is alive and well is a sign dripping with innuendos thanking you one last time as you ride out into the sunset. That Michael Jackson lived and home-schooled his kids in Pahrump is one of the least interesting things about it.