November 1996 in Primm, USA, straddling Interstate 15 on the California-Nevada border. Outside, cracked earth as far as the eye can see. Just a hilltop on the horizon, straight out of some Western. The air unrelentingly hot, with dried branches swirling around. Inside, the cheap, rather cluttered, decor of Whisky Pete's Casino, with its row of one-armed-bandits and solitary gamblers on the ground floor. On the floor above, in a ballroom somewhat past its best, an event is being held that is uncommon for this locale and imperceptible to its habitués. Three days of meetings on the theme of chance, bringing brokers and croupiers, Butoh dancers and I-Ching experts, Indian chiefs and experimental DJs, transsexual poets and catastrophe theorists, successively to the stage. Facing them in the stalls sit trendy New Yorkers and young, careworn Angelenos, whose fashion-victim attire contrasts with the stained-sweatshirt look...

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