Monthly Archives: August 2013

It’s Time for an Earth, Wind & Fire Las Vegas Residency

Las Vegas residencies come and go. Some are hits and have staying power, others are barely a blip on the Sin City radar. There are few sure things in Vegas, but let’s just say an Earth, Wind & Fire residency would be as close as it gets.

Enduring talents.

Enduring talents. And not in a weird, sad way like with The Rolling Stones.

The iconic group performed at The Venetian on Aug. 30, 2013, as part of a live TV broadcast to sell their new album on HSN (formerly known as the Home Shopping Network).

It was sort of an hour-long infomercial, but it also served as a dramatic reminder of what incredible showmen these acclaimed performers are. The group, infused with new talent (including talented back-up vocalists), still have what it takes to blow away an audience, even after four decades together.

Earth, Wind & Fire still knows how to work a red carpet, too.

Earth, Wind & Fire still knows how to work a red carpet, too.

There were three original members of Earth, Wind & Fire in the show, and all were in amazing form at The Venetian, even in their 60s and 70s.

Co-founding member Philip Bailey was especially mesmerizing, and his distinctive voice doesn’t appear to have diminished in the slightest since the glory days of the band. It seemed to take him a few songs to warm up during the HSN show, but once he found his groove, Bailey’s epic falsetto shook the rafters of the Venetian theater.

He of seemingly infinite octaves, singer Philip Bailey.

He of seemingly infinite octaves, singer Philip Bailey.

Bassist Verdine White has a huge stage presence, and with his flowing hair, anchors Earth, Wind & Fire with his masterful playing.

Work it, Verdine.

Work it, Verdine.

Ralph Johnson seemed to be the least enthusiastic of the performers, but we suspect he’d perk up if he knew how much resident performers can make on The Strip.

Maurice White has won seven Grammys, and he has been nominated 21 times. He's earned the right to take it easy.

Ralph Johnson has been practicing martial arts for 20 years.

A special treat for audiences at The Venetian was an appearance by the group’s longtime collaborator and record producer, David Foster.

Aside from his astonishing music accomplishments, Foster also has the distinction of being the only person who has ever run over actor Ben Vereen. No, we’re not making this up.

David Foster has worked with upwards of 94% of all recording artists who have ever existed.

David Foster has worked with upwards of 94% of all recording artists who have ever existed.

So, when will Earth, Wind & Fire have a Las Vegas residency, already? Unlike some other shows on The Strip, this show wouldn’t require filler or covers of other artists’ songs. Earth, Wind & Fire’s hits are too many to count, and they just keep on coming.

You know them all by heart: “That’s the Way of the World,” “Let’s Groove,” “September” (the group’s most-requested song, according to Bailey), “One World,” “Fantasy,” “Shining Star,” “Can’t Hide Love” (David Foster’s personal favorite), “Boogie Wonderland” and on and on. And on.

Come on, guys. The Venetian needs a reason to get rid of that chandelier from "Phantom."

Come on, guys. The Venetian needs a reason to get rid of that chandelier from “Phantom.”

Here are some more photos from the special Earth, Wind & Fire performance at The Venetian, and here’s hoping they’ll find a permanent home on The Strip soon.

Earth, Wind & Fire

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Today’s Up-to-the-Minute High Roller Ferris Wheel Update

Things are moving so quickly with the High Roller Ferris wheel, we feel like we have to drop by the construction site twice a day just to keep up! Here’s the latest.

Our mind is currently occupied with being boggled.

Our mind is currently occupied with being boggled.

At 550 feet, the High Roller observation wheel will be the tallest in the world, at least until the New York Wheel rains on our Las Vegas Ferris wheel’s parade.

Then again, giant observation wheels are easier announced than built. Ahem.

It's the home stretch on the High Roller's rim.

It’s the home stretch on the High Roller’s rim.

There are just five more rim pieces left to go.

Our extreme close-ups make us the Official Source for All Things High Roller. Patent pending.

Our extreme close-ups make us the Official Source for All Things High Roller. Patent pending.

Once the rim is complete, temporary supports (called “radial struts”) will be removed (they’re the blue pieces on the wheel) and replaced by 112 cables.

Or, technically, “112 big-ass cables,” in engineering speak.

The cables will be what keep the wheel together. Through some sort of voodoo, we suspect.

The cables will be what keep the wheel together. Through some sort of voodoo, we suspect.

The next big development in the High Roller’s assembly process will be the passenger cabins. There will be 28 cabins, each with a capacity of 40 people (or 60, if the passengers are Russian gymnasts).

The cabins will sit on the outside of the rim.

The arrival of the passenger pods will be a fairly big deal, so expect some PR hoopla when they’re delivered.

The High Roller makes surrounding hotels look like they've shrunk.

The High Roller makes surrounding hotels look like they’ve shrinking.

Safety inspections of the wheel will begin in early 2014, and the High Roller Ferris wheel is expected to open for riders by mid-2014.

Don't laugh. Every guy understands.

This photo is not funny to guys, at all.

The High Roller will be the centerpiece of The Linq, a retail and entertainment complex between the Flamingo and The Quad. Everyone says The Linq is costing $550 million, but they’re big dopes. It’s closer to $500 million. Then again, what’s a few tens of millions when you’re building something with such a cool attraction attached to it?

Stay tuned for more updates as construction of the High Roller Las Vegas Ferris wheel continues. In fact, just keep hitting “refresh,” and we’ll probably have something new to report before you know it.

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Paris Buffet is First in Vegas With OpenTable Reservations

One of the downsides of a good buffet is it’s often also a popular buffet. That can mean lines and long waits, the exact opposite of “Fill my gullet with all-you-can-eat Las Vegas buffet goodness, right now!”

Le Village Buffet at Paris Las Vegas has become the first buffet in Las Vegas to make OpenTable reservations available to guests.

"Le Village" is French for "For your convenience, 'village' is the same in English and French."

“Le Village” is French for “For your convenience, ‘village’ is the same in English and French, you’re welcome.”

OpenTable is the self-proclaimed “world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations,” despite the fact the company apparently can’t even afford a space between “Open” and “Table.”

Nevertheless, this service is worth a look. OpenTable is free, and an OpenTable reservation allows guests to arrive and be seated immediately. Or, as immediately as it gets at a buffet, anyway.

OpenTable has seated more than 490 million diners, and boy are its arms tired.

OpenTable has seated more than 490 million diners, and boy are its arms tired.

Only somewhat related: Le Village Buffet now offers a complimentary glass of wine with each meal, during dinner.

Visit the official OpenTable site and give it a test run. Or, download the free OpenTable app (screenshot below).

OpenTable isn't for people with commitment issues. We tend to wing it.

OpenTable isn’t for people with commitment issues. We tend to like the flexibility of winging it.

Finding a day and time that’s open for reservations can be a bit hit-and-miss, based upon our intensive four minutes of testing, but if you’re into planning and getting the most out of every minute of your Vegas visit, you could save yourself some time by using OpenTable at Le Village Buffet at Paris Las Vegas.

Let us know how it goes!

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You Decide: Showgirl Sexy or Showgirl Awkward?

Sometimes, Las Vegas presents us with situations that inspire mixed feelings. This would be a case of that.

Super sexy, or super awkward?

Some buskers at the Fremont Street Experience work much, much harder than others.

Some buskers at the Fremont Street Experience work much, much harder than others for their paltry tip.

Now, before you answer, let’s take a moment to consider these young women estimate they do this leg lift 300-400 times every night when they’re on the Fremont Street Experience. We’re not sure that makes it any more sexy, or any less awkward, but it’s impressive.

This duo is apparently part of a group called Showgirls Across America. After a careful review of their Web site, we are confident in saying we still have no idea what they actually do.

We love you, Las Vegas, in all your sexy, awkward glory.

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Behind-the-Scenes of Syfy’s New Series, “Naked Vegas”

Syfy, the cable channel that brought us “Sharknado,” will soon debut a series focusing on two of our favorite things, nakedness and Las Vegas.

In October, 2013, the Syfy channel will air “Naked Vegas,” a show about the alluring world of body painting.

While roaming the Fremont Street Experience, downtown, as we do pretty much nightly, we saw a number of “Filming in Progress” signs in the Golden Gate, and ventured in to capture an exclusive sneak peek at what’s in store in “Naked Vegas.”

In television industry parlance, this equipment is known as "production stuff."

In television industry parlance, this equipment is known as “production stuff.”

Filming was taking place in the Golden Gate’s high limit room, with a large black drape blocking the view. For awhile, anyway.

Production stuff. Back when we were a production assistant in L.A., we spent entire days sitting and watching the stuff.

More production stuff. Back when we were a production assistant in Los Angeles, we spent entire days sitting and watching the stuff.

The production crew was tight-lipped about the proceedings, and hotel officials have been sworn to secrecy about the show.

Because, you know, body painting is right up there with the NSA’s domestic surveillance program in terms of state secrets. Well, then, we’re the Edward Snowden of Las Vegas blogs, because we got an exclusive photo of one of the models featured in the show.

Sorry if you were expecting nakedness. Just watch the show.

Sorry if you were expecting nakedness. Just watch the show, already.

“Naked Vegas” premieres Oct. 29, 2013, and will be a six-part “docuseries,” whatever that might be. The “docu” element seems to imply this new show will be a documentary, but we’re thinking not-so-much.

The show’s official release says, “Syfy will transport viewers inside the provocative and imaginative world of body painting art, set amidst the fast-paced glitter of life on the Las Vegas Strip.” And, apparently, downtown, too.

On the set of "Naked Vegas. Sorry we couldn't get a better photo. Being Tased by security tends to affect one's concentration.

On the set of “Naked Vegas.” Sorry we couldn’t get a better photo. Being Tased by security tends to affect one’s concentration.

What we do know is the show will feature five body painting artists, called the “Skin Team,” and from what we could see at Golden Gate, their work is amazing.

One of the featured artists, Nicholas “Nix” Herrera, took part in another Syfy show, Face Off, which we absolutely loved, yes, even more than “Sharknado.”

Nicholas "Nix" Herrera worked makeup miracles on "Face Off," so we trust he'll do the same on "Naked Vegas." Plus, more naked.

Nicholas Herrera worked makeup miracles on “Face Off,” so we trust he’ll do the same on “Naked Vegas.” Plus, more naked.

The Golden Gate segment will be in the third episode of “Naked Vegas,” with other episodes involving Eli Roth’s Goretorium at Planet Hollywood, Rio headliners Penn & Teller, a Playboy lingerie party and dance crew Jabbawockeez, currently appearing at Luxor.

Of course, all this begs the question “What does body painting have to do with science fiction?” Well, other than that green Orion slave woman on the original “Star Trek,” of course. Our answer: We have no idea. Although, from what we could see of the taping at Golden Gate, while the body painting aspect of the show might be fact-based, the scenarios involving Las Vegas personalities are probably more fiction than fact. You’re on your own with the “science” part.

Oh, and Syfy bills itself as providing “imagination-based entertainment,” so there’s that.

The prospect of naked people being body painted is an irresistible draw, so the show should do pretty well, even without sharks. We’ll know for sure when “Naked Vegas” airs in October.

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The Downtown Restaurant That Used to Be a Hotel Pool

Oscar’s Steakhouse, at downtown’s Plaza hotel, not only bears the name of one of Sin City’s most distinctive personalities, it also has one of the city’s most distinctive exteriors.

Oscar's Steakhouse could easily be used as a prop in "Men in Black 4."

Oscar’s Steakhouse could easily be used as a prop in “Men in Black 6.”

Oscar’s was opened in partnership with former Mayor Oscar Goodman, whose background as a mob lawyer, and 12-year run as mayor of Las Vegas, is the stuff of legend.

The restaurant itself has a colorful background, too. In fact, it used to be the hotel’s pool!

The Plaza's pool, back in the day.

The Plaza’s pool, back in the day.

So, the next time you dine or drink at Oscar’s Steakhouse, don’t forget your floaties.

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