I am flying there tonight, to speak at www.freedomfest.com. But yikes people, this is a tough one. I never finished Walter van Tillburg Clark's The Ox-Bow Incident and what else can I think of? Wikipedia tells me that Curtis Hanson, who directed L.A. Confidential, is from Reno. Does Wayne Newton somehow enter this equation? The Killers are OK.
How about this?
1. Movie, set in: Viva Las Vegas, with a number of strong runner-ups, including Ocean's Eleven, Leaving Las Vegas, the still under-rated Casino, Diamonds are Forever, Showgirls, Austin Powers (partly, I recall), and you might even squeeze Godfather II into the category. Catch this erotically supercharged clip of Elvis singing to Ann Margaret. Wasn't Them set in Nevada?
2. Song, set in: Viva Las Vegas, with Las Vegas, by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, as runner-up.
3. Architecture book, set in: Robert Venturi, Learning from Las Vegas.
The state has excellent food, but overall I come no further.
The bottom line: You tell me. If you're wondering, I've never gambled, although I have visited the city four times. I genuinely cannot understand why so many other people find gambling to be an appealing pastime. It's negative expected value! There are so many positive expected value things to do.