Caveat Emptor: Your Tape Face May Not Be THE Tape Face

We enjoyed the “Tape Face” show at Harrah’s Las Vegas a lot.

Tape Face came to prominence on “America’s Got Talent,” and his Las Vegas show is inventive, funny and highly recommended.

That’s not an unconditional recommendation given recent revelations, though.

Tape Face

The Tape Face show is a little mime, a little clown, a little audience interaction, a little oven mitt and a lot of offbeat.

We recently learned the Tape Face you’re seeing onstage at Harrah’s may not be the actual Tape Face.

See, the Tape Face who made a splash on “America’s Got Talent” is named Sam Wills.

Now, we hear there’s another Tape Face, referred to by the production as “T2.” An understudy, you might say. Although, that may not be quite the right word for it. Not a “back-up.” Double, maybe? Stand-in?

No matter what you call it, it’s another Tape Face.

When we first heard about this “Face swap” from reviewer Alex Belfield, we thought it sounded very shady. You don’t just get to replace a performer with a similar performer without letting your audience know.

Tape Face, however, or someone Tweeting on behalf of Tape Face (who knows at this point?), had a different take on what it all means and why it’s not shady.

Tape Face asserts Tape Face isn’t a performer, per se. It’s a character. He Tweets, “You do know that Tape Face is a character, yeah? I am sure if Seinfeld was a character who wore a costume with the right training and direction you could absolutely present his comedy. That’s called
acting.”

We sort of get what he’s going for. He wants Tape Face to be Blue Man Group. Lots of people play the blue man in Blue Man Group, and cast members are often swapped out without the show suffering and nobody feels deceived.

“There is no such thing as a true Tape Face as I believe that we all have a version of Tape Face in us. We are all weird,” Tape Face Tweets.

Tape Face

Not all weird is created equal.

We’re still pretty firmly in the camp that Tape Face isn’t considered a generic character, it’s the guy who was on “America’s Got Talent,” and it’s the guy we saw crush it at Harrah’s. Not another guy with tape on his mouth who knows the routines.

Tape Face respectfully disagrees. “I will have to disagree with you. As a brand, the choice was made to go on ‘AGT’ to advertise the show. Whilst an audience ‘discovers’ the show on a platform, in reality it’s been developed over 15 years to be exactly what it is. A show performed by a character.”

Tape Face goes on to say, “If the performance was bad the audience wouldn’t be happy. It’s one of the reasons we keep the show to my standards and our other Tape Face continues to receive standing ovations from Vegas crowds.”

We totally get that the T2 performance could be as good as the original. Our issue is really with transparency. While Tape Face says the show makes it known the performer onstage might not be Sam Wills, we couldn’t find a mention of that fact on any of the ticket sites we researched. Not even once, anywhere.

The official Harrah’s site is careful to say “Tape Face is the creation of New Zealand comedian Sam Wills,” without specifying he’s the Tape Face in the show.

Tape Face did confirm some performances where a substitution (our word, not his) would occur at Harrah’s.

Tape Face

Pretty sure every Vegas headliner would love to have a clone.

It’s also worth noting Tape Face and his people haven’t exactly hidden the fact there’s a T2. Here’s a Tweet from March 2019.

Tape Face Tweet

Question: How does someone who doesn’t follow Tape Face on Twitter know all this?

Given what we know, we aren’t entirely sure what to think about all this.

We can’t really get onboard with Tape Face’s assertion people just magically know this “character” is a brand and not an individual performer.

If the show’s good, the show’s good, but even if that’s the case, we feel like it’s the responsibility of the performer, the production and the venue to clearly communicate to customers who’s going to be onstage.

A “Tape Face, starring…” credit would work. Or maybe the show should be called “Tape Faces.”

As a practical matter, when we recommend a show, we really need to know which show we’re recommending.

The bottom line: Know before you go, and before you buy, verify. Yes, we just made that up.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Bait-and-switch or non-issue?

“Avengers” Attraction Set for Revamp, “Transformers” and “Jurassic World” in the Works 

Here’s a quick item about some Las Vegas attractions. Quick, because we need to get back to drinking. All due respect to superheroes and robots and dinosaurs.

None of this scoop has been officially announced, by the way. That’s what we do. We drink and we know Vegas things.

First, we’re hearing the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. attraction at Treasure Island will close temporarily in January 2020 for a major overhaul.

Avengers STATION

Three years in, this guy could use a little buffing.

Fun fact: S.T.A.T.I.O.N. stands for Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network. Yes, we’re using the term “fun” very loosely here, but the nerds will appreciate it.

You know who you are.

The Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit opened in July 2016. Here’s the official site.

It’s expected the “Avengers” renovation project will take several months, so the exhibit should be back online in May 2020.

Next, while the “Avengers” attraction is being retooled, a new “Transformers” attraction will be coming to the same building at T.I. This time, on the first floor.

The “Transformers” exhibit is expected to debut in March 2020, according to our sources.

After upwards of a dozen minutes of sleuthing, we found out both the “Avengers” and “Transformers” attractions are produced by a company called Victory Hill Exhibitions.

Given that the company has previously done an exhibit called “Transformers Autobots Alliance,” that’s our guess for what the new attraction at T.I. will be called. Read more.

Transformers Autobots Alliance

Don’t be sad, robot. You’re in an alliance of some sort.

Finally, we’re also hearing about a new “Jurassic World” attraction planned for Las Vegas.

The aforementioned Victory Hill has previously created “Jurassic World” exhibitions in Paris and Madrid. You can see a teaser on the official Victory Hill Web site.

The most likely place the “Jurassic World: The Exhibition Las Vegas” will land is Venetian, from what we’re told.

Jurassic World

None of that “don’t move and you’re invisible” stuff with this bad boy, sorry.

Victory Hill Exhibitions recently launched a “Hunger Games” exhibition at MGM Grand. That attraction boasts what’s touted as the world’s biggest digital touchscreen. Learn more.

All these attractions are an opportunity for fans to connect to their favorite movies and characters in a way that’s “engaging, educational and interactive,” according to Victory Hill Exhibitions.

We love the diversity of these offerings, and there’s something for everyone in this mix of exhibits. If “Avengers” aren’t your thing, there’s always “Jurassic World.” We aren’t entirely sure who’s thing “Transformers” is, but there are probably Shia LaBeouf people somewhere.

It’s worth noting these exhibits are all inspired by movies with worldwide appeal, a key requirement for such attractions to succeed financially. Las Vegas has a lot of foreign visitors.

And these licensing fees ain’t cheap.

Look forward to official announcements of all our exclusive scoops soon. Until then, cheers.

Sprinkles Cupcakes to Close at Linq Promenade

The flagship location of Sprinkles Cupcakes is set to close at Linq promenade on July 5, 2019.

Sprinkles has been a fixture at the Linq shopping district since it opened in 2014. To its credit, Sprinkles lasted longer than many of the mall’s original tenants.

Sprinkles cupcakes

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because frosting.

According to a notice posted at Sprinkles, the store will expand to “two new locations on The Strip this fall.”

Sprinkles closed

Always look on the bright side of life. Thanks to James T. for the pic.

Sprinkles made headlines for its cupcake ATM. The Sprinkles cupcake ATM was touted as the world’s first.

Cupcake ATM

Cupcakes, direct to your face.

Sprinkles opened its original location in Beverly Hills in 2005. The company has more than 30 locations across the country.

The company was founded by Candace Nelson, who we took a photo of in 2014, because we’ve taken a photo of virtually everything.

Candace Nelson

We’re a big fan of scoop.

Yes, they served ice cream, too. And cookies. But it was really about the cupcakes.

While we didn’t visit Sprinkles too often, we’re a little sad to see it go. Because whenever a cupcake store closes, an angel loses its moobs. Or something.

Speaking of moobs.

Oh, sure. Now, you’re drooling. If you’d visited more, there would still be a Sprinkles at Linq!

It seems the Linq promenade has already found a replacement for Sprinkles, Icebar. Icebar opens in November 2019. Visit the official site.

Icebar

It’s hard to be broken up about liquor replacing baked goods, sorry.

Sprinkles is being tight-lipped about the two new Vegas locations, but we trust we’ll see the return of these master bakers soon.

Oh, like we were going to get through an entire story without a single “master baker” reference. Do you know this blog at all?

Update (7/7/19): Word on the street is Sprinkles has struck deals with MGM Resorts, and the most likely candidates for future Sprinkles locations are Aria and MGM Grand (Park MGM is also a contender). For the record, Sprinkles has officially said “no comment.” Cupcake scoop for the win.

Cat’s Meow Karaoke Club Opens at Neonopolis and It Could Be a Thing

There’s something we need to communicate right up front: We are not a karaoke person.

That said, we’re pretty sure the new Cat’s Meow karaoke club at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas is going to make a killing.

Karaoke is a Japanese word meaning “Yeah, you did that in public.”

While Cat’s Meow is new to Las Vegas, it’s anything but new. The original location in New Orleans has been going strong for 30 years.

Cat's Meow

Pick a song and throw caution to the wind. You’re in Vegas. We specialize in caution-throwing.

We popped into Cat’s Meow Las Vegas about three minutes after it opened, and there were already signs this new venue is going to be a winner, despite what has traditionally been a challenging location.

Neonopolis has struggled for years to find the right mix of tenants, but Cat’s Meow seems a perfect fit, both for the shopping complex and Fremont Street.

Cat's Meow Neonopolis

Cat’s Meow sits atop the International Eatery. It’s fairly important you don’t eat here.

Cat’s Meow is expected to overcome one of the challenges of being in Neonopolis (access) with a shiny new escalator.

Management says the escalator has been approved and will be installed in August. It will deliver guests from Fremont Street directly to the venue’s front door. This is sure to be a godsend for another nightlife business on the second floor, The Nerd, as well.

Cat's Meow

Who cares about an escalator? Cat’s Meow, that’s who. It’s a trek without one.

Cat’s Meow comes from the owners of the Deja Vu strip club chain, so they know a little about crowd-pleasing entertainment.

Among the many attributes of Cat’s Meow: Two bars.

Cat's Meow

Cat’s Meow is determined to give your photoreceptors a workout.

A lot of time, money and thought has gone into the interior design of Cat’s Meow, including the restroom, with its unisex washroom area.

Cat's Meow karaoke Las Vegas

Destination restroom right here.

The furniture is plentiful and quirky.

Cat's Meow Las Vegas

Built for cool, not comfort.

Cat’s Meow is massive, and the karaoke club takes up only a portion of the available space.

Rumors abound a second development phase of the space is in the works, and when we asked if it might be a strip club, we didn’t get a “no.” We trust there will be some hurdles if that’s the plan, but downtown hasn’t seen a strip club since Glitter Gulch was demolished to make way for Circa Las Vegas.

Here’s a security breach of the space that’s still in the works.

Cat's Meow

Two words: Topless karaoke. Just saying.

But back to the karaoke!

Even minutes into Cat’s Meow being open, the energy was palpable. This probably has to do with the DJs in the booth and the emcee on the stage.

The emcee keeps the flow of the show going, livening up the performances of even the least talented karaoke participants.

Cat's Meow Las Vegas downtown

There’s a good chance this guy gets Red Bull intravenously.

As with any karaoke venue, you occasionally get singers you suspect must be ringers, but aren’t. They’re just the right kind of singer with the perfect song and liquid courage to spur them on.

From what we can tell, the staff at Cat’s Meow were auditioned for their singing chops, because they frequently jump onstage between songs by guests.

This keeps the overall karaoke quality high, and seeing one’s server onstage belting one out makes the whole experience more fun and interactive.

Cat’s Meow provides a curated song list. This helps the energy level, too, as it prevents unfortunate song choices that can be a buzzkill.

Here’s a look at the Cat’s Meow song menu: Part one and part two.

Note the ingenious $50 “cut the line VIP pass.” Pricey, but we get the feeling Cat’s Meow knows its customers and their priorities. When you’re on vacation, time is valuable, so it’s a relatively small price to pay to expedite one’s moment in the spotlight.

Costumes and music props add another level of silliness to the proceedings and help differentiate Cat’s Meow from the competition. Although, in Las Vegas, there’s not a lot of competition. For karaoke on The Strip, it’s Ellis Island. Downtown, it’s pretty much Cat’s Meow.

We’re not telling you about anywhere else as it might encourage you to sing in public.

karaoke Cat's Meow Las Vegas

Choose your warbling accoutrement.

As you might expect, the libations are plentiful at Cat’s Meow. The pours are a little strict, but we suspect bartenders were following the rules closely during the soft opening.

The official grand opening of Cat’s Meow is July 18, 2019.

Our lone criticism of Cat’s Meow is a service charge tacked into drinks. Nuisance charges are a hot button topic in Las Vegas at the moment, so we weren’t thrilled to see this one.

Cat's Meow karaoke club Vegas

Just a dozen more Captains and diet and we’d have been up on that stage!

To the credit of Cat’s Meow management, we heard back from them immediately about our concerns.

The company says the service charge is, in effect, a bonus for employees. Per Nevada law, service charges must be distributed to employees and can’t be retained by the employer, according to the club rep.

Management also says service charges aren’t subject to Nevada sales tax since they are distributed to employees, thus saving the venue money. Management of Cat’s Meow felt the service charge “would allow employees to share in the success of the business.”

We don’t get it, but we’re also not investing a bajillion dollars in a new business venture. We figure if it’s akin to a 10% auto-gratuity, we’ll adjust our tip accordingly. Management says they’ll be posting signage and training staff to explain the service charge to help avoid confusion.

On the bright side, a specialty cocktail menu is in the works. The Cat’s Meow in New Orleans is famous for its 3-for-1 drink specials, so expect that to be offered during the happy hour at Cat’s Meow Las Vegas.

Overall, Cat’s Meow looks and feels like a concept tailor made for the circus that is Fremont Street.

Cat's Meow Vegas

What happens in Vegas gets streamed live, so fair warning.

The party atmosphere at Cat’s Meow hits all the right notes, giving guests permission to check their inhibitions and unleash their inner Gaga.

Because, as we once said in our incredibly popular Twitter feed, “Las Vegas isn’t just a place to go, it’s a vacation from ourselves.”

Yes, we just quoted us.

If you hit Cat’s Meow karaoke club at Neonopolis, tell us what you think.

Cat's Meow Las Vegas

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 99: Stop, Inebriate and Listen

It’s time for another installment of the supremely skippable Vital Vegas Podcast.

We cover the whole gamut of Las Vegas news, several gamuts if we’re being completely honest.

We talk about the Caesars and Eldorado merger, of course, including the wild speculation and poorly researched opinions for which we have become so well known among residents of correctional centers.

Caesars Palace fountains

By the time you listen to this podcast, Caesars Entertainment could be a very different thing.

There’s also talk about Vic & Anthony’s at Golden Nugget, tons of news at SLS (soon to be renamed Sahara), Apex and Kaos at Palms and an upcoming partnership between Virgin Hotel and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. See more.

Our listicle of the week floats “10 Great Gifts for People Who Love Las Vegas.” Fair warning: At least one of the gifts can be used as a murder weapon.

Ready to get pumped full of Las Vegas in a fully consensual context? We’ve got this!

Hard Rock/Virgin Las Vegas to Partner With Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment

There are lots of rumors swirling about an increased tribal presence in Las Vegas at the moment. We know, because we’re the one who’s been swirling them.

Tribey

Just because a word doesn’t exist doesn’t mean you can’t use it.

From casino purchases to other high-profile investments (give it a couple of weeks and we’ll be sharing more huge tribe-related scoop), it’s clear sovereign tribal nations have their eye on Las Vegas in a big way.

The first big move by a tribe in the Las Vegas market looks to be a partnership between Hard Rock Las Vegas, which is transitioning into Virgin Hotel Las Vegas, and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.

Mohegan Tribe Virgin Las Vegas

Vegas is full of surprises.

We’re told reliably the Mohegan tribe will be managing the casino at Virgin Hotel Las Vegas (technically, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, but there’s only one planned at the moment, so we’re keeping it singular).

No official announcement has been made about this partnership, but when has that ever stopped us from spilling some tea?

As this news hasn’t been made public yet, there’s no concrete timeline. We do know Hard Rock will close after the Super Bowl (about April 1, 2020) for about four months (through July 2020) as the resort completes its changeover to Virgin Hotel. We trust Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment will be in place managing Virgin’s casino operations by that time (August 2020).

This is a huge partnership both for the Mohegan tribe and the owners of Hard Rock resort, JC Hospitality and Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels.

Virgin hotel Las Vegas

Adios, Hard Rock. Hello, Virgin.

This gives the tribe a foothold in Vegas, and gives Virgin Hotel a whole new pool of potential customers who have played at the popular Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment manages Mohegan Sun. Read more.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) owns and manages resorts throughout the U.S., including in Connecticut, Atlantic City, Washington and Louisiana. Oh, and in South Korea. See more.

Interestingly, MGE owns the Connecticut Sun, a WNBA team, and the New England Black Wolves, a professional lacrosse team in the National Lacrosse League. In case you haven’t heard, sports is sort of thing in Las Vegas at the moment, despite our best efforts.

Join us in getting a crash course on Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.

Expect official confirmation of this scoop in the next few weeks, and look forward to an influx of tribe-related headlines in the months to come.