Monthly Archives: September 2013

Experts Claim “Sirens of TI” Show at Treasure Island “May Not Be Historically Accurate”

It’s a first for Las Vegas. A group of academics is going public with shocking allegations that the “Sirens of TI,” a free show at Treasure Island seen by millions of Las Vegas visitors, “may not be historically accurate.”

Can "Sirens of TI' stand up to historical fact? Experts say "no."

New findings have shivered the timbers of the Las Vegas entertainment community.

The scholars claim their conclusions are the result of in-depth research, including “dozens if not hundreds” of viewings of the “Sirens of TI” show.

“The show, while ‘entertaining,’ simply can’t stand up to rigorous scrutiny in the context of known facts about what’s commonly known as the Golden Age of Piracy,” said one expert.

The lead siren, seemingly unaware of the show's numerous inaccuracies.

The lead siren, seemingly unaware of the show’s numerous inaccuracies.

The group of historians has compiled its findings in a 141-page report, expected to be published in a major academic magazine in the next few months. The report underwent extensive peer review, described by one insider as “having a friend skim through it real quick.”

The flaws in the “Sirens of TI” are many, although the report focuses on the most glaring problems.

Says one expert, “First, there are no records whatsoever of an all-female crew on any seafaring vessel during the 1600s, or even the 1700s, as irresponsibly depicted in the production at Treasure Island.”

“Beyond that, the attire worn by both the ‘sirens’ and pirates in the show grossly misrepresents clothing of the pirate era,” claims another historian. “Imagine trying to perform even the simplest tasks on a pirate ship, such as hanging a jib or battening down a hatch, in such garb. Unfathomable! Which, I’m fully aware is a wonderful nautical pun, however unintended.”

This clothing would have provided little or no protection from the elements on a pirate ship.

This clothing would have provided little or no protection from the elements on a real ship such as the Jolly Roger or Black Pearl.

And speaking of puns, the naysaying scholars take particular issue with the dialogue in the “Sirens of TI” show.

“The use of modern vernacular in this show is inexcusable. Particularly distressing is the flagrant use of puns and double entendres. In the entirely of recorded history, no pirate has ever knowingly made a sexual pun. They run rampant in the sirens show, however.”

The report cites examples of such puns, including anachronistic references to “booty” and “seamen.” In one portion of the show, a pirate shouts, “Ahoy! Ahoy!” One of the sirens responds, “Hey, who you calling a hoy?” While brilliant in terms of scriptwriting, experts point out that playing fast-and-loose with historical accuracy could be misleading to show-goers.

“At one point in the production, a character makes a reference to DJs,” says one flabbergasted academic. “This is beyond the pale. DJs were not used on naval vessels until well into the 1970s, around the time of the invention of the mirrored disco ball.”

The list of historical errors in “Sirens of TI” is seemingly endless. “No functioning ship would ever have a spiral staircase as a mast. Imagine the wind shear,” says the report.

It's as if the show fabricated this staircase for "dramatic effect."

It’s as if the show fabricated this staircase for “dramatic effect.”

The scathing report also calls into question the amount of research done prior to producing the popular show.

“When prisoners were taken in the days of piracy, they were treated quite poorly. In ‘Sirens of TI,’ one of the pirates is surrounded by beautiful women during his captivity. This seems to convey the message that being a prisoner could almost be construed as a positive thing. Ludicrous!”

"The plight of real pirate captives was exceptionally more dire," asserts the report.

“The plight of real pirate captives was exceptionally more dire,” asserts the report.

“Children are very impressionable,” states one scholar. “They don’t realize sirens are mythological. They also don’t realize there were no hair dyes or breast implants during the age of pirates. Do we want our children to think pirates were constantly breaking into dance? Of course not. We owe it to them to get it right.”

Fabricated inquiries made to those involved with the “Sirens of TI” show have gone unanswered.

If you’re considering attending the “Sirens of TI” show, despite the warnings of reputable academicians, please note the show will be closed Oct. 21 through Dec. 25, 2013 for construction. Treasure Island is building a new shopping complex. Which we also suspect will ruffle feathers among historians.

Judge the validity of these startling revelations for yourself as you view our photo gallery of Sirens of TI at Treasure Island.

Sirens of TI

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Bruno Mars to Open the Cosmopolitan’s New Concert Venue, The Chelsea

It’s two Las Vegas news flashes in one.

First, The Cosmopolitan will open a new concert venue, The Chelsea, by the end of 2013.

Second, pop star Bruno Mars will be The Chelsea’s opening act. Mars will do two shows to mark the opening of the new music spot, on Dec. 29 and 31, 2013, and he’ll perform six more times in 2014. He’ll be backed up by an eight-piece band, the Hooligans.

Psst. His real name is Peter Gene Hernandez.

Psst. Real name: Peter Gene Hernandez.

The Chelsea will have an Eastern European glass factory theme, because nothing goes better with delicate glass than really loud music!

Look forward to the new space being decked out with high ceilings, a grand staircase and glass chandeliers.

The new venue will have a 3,000-person capacity, unless some of those people have been to the hotel’s Wicked Spoon buffet, then it will hold considerably fewer.

The Cosmo is music to our eyes. Or something.

The Cosmo is music to our eyes. (Note: Don’t think about it too much.)

Tickets to Bruno Mars will start at $150. Packages that include concert tickets and a two-night stay at the Cosmo start at $1,800.

If you can’t afford that, you might be doing progressive slot machines wrong.

Las Vegas Zoo Closes After Years of Dipshittery

The Las Vegas Zoo (official name: Southern Nevada Zoological Botanical Park) has closed for good after years of mismanagement.

The zoo’s director, Pat Dingle, a name we’re not making up, agreed to formally close the zoo after yet another complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The brilliant ploy to throw animal advocates and regulatory officials off the scent of the dipshittery.

The brilliant ploy to throw animal advocates and regulatory officials off the scent of the dipshittery.

There’s understandable concern about how, and even if, the animals are being cared for since the closure, but the public and government scrutiny should assure the animals find new homes. Animals on loan from other zoos are expected to be returned. Still others will be sent to sanctuaries and city zoos elsewhere.

The Las Vegas zoo has taken hits over the years, with guests reporting poor conditions for the animals, especially during Nevada’s hot summer months.

A zoo visitor, Diane, on Facebook commented, “That place was the worst zoo I have ever seen. I complained so often about the horrible conditions that those poor animals had to endure.”

Another commenter, Gabe, added, “The last time I took my son there, we left because he was crying because the animals looked awful.”

The closure of the zoo was preceded by all the zookeepers quitting within a two week period. Learn more here.

Update: The zookeepers are giving more details.

Hopefully, this marks an end to what has been an embarrassment for Las Vegas. Las Vegas wildlife should be limited to its nightclubs.

“Dancing Queen” at Planet Hollywood Leaves Us Confused and Aroused

“Dancing Queen,” a new show at Planet Hollywood, is described on its official site as having “20 amazing singers and dancers performing live on stage nightly…this is the biggest, the best and the most fun show on the Vegas strip.”

Well, there are five singers. They’re not amazing. The show isn’t the biggest on The Strip, it’s definitely not the best, and it’s not the most fun. But who are we to quibble with details. There are hotties!

Word of the day: Sylphlike.

Word of the day: Sylphlike.

While the singers do perform live, there’s no band, so “Dancing Queen” is basically a karaoke fest. Reminder: Some people actually like karaoke.

It's sort of like the Broadway version of disco songs. Or something.

It’s sort of like the Broadway version of disco songs. Or something.

Let’s talk about some of the positives of “Dancing Queen,” shall we? First, there’s no pesky “story” or “point” to distract us from all the dancing. (Not having a story is the only way the show could use its Abba-inspired title and songs. Read more.)

Second, there are a lot of costumes. Many of the costumes are provocative. Which only made having kids in the audience a little weird.

This is one cheeky show!

This is one cheeky Las Vegas show!

Another positive about “Dancing Queen” is there’s a lot of energy.

Also, “Dancing Queen” is extremely LGBT-friendly.

Oh, Las Vegas.

Oh, Las Vegas, you’re so you.

That said, “Dancing Queen” is a little confusing. Publicity material for “Dancing Queen” says it features “all of ABBA’s greatest hits” (it can’t possibly, since they had so many) and “disco songs of the ’70s and ’80s.” The show opens with several ABBA songs, so you think it’s going to be an ABBA tribute show, but then it goes off in other directions, with not only disco music, but music from other genres, too (like Whitney Houston ballads).

Ultimately, we don’t exactly know what “Dancing Queen” is. It’s one of those shows that carries the disclaimer, “It’s good for what it is.” Feel free to grab that quote for your posters, “Dancing Queen” producers.

There's a lot to be said for enthusiasm. Probably.

There’s a lot to be said for enthusiasm. Probably.

Some shows benefit from ample portions of cheese. It’s a Vegas tradition. “Dancing Queen” halfways commits to that path. The singing is over-the-top, and a little grating at times. The choreography is a little old-fashioned, but well executed. The costumes are a little on-the-nose, bordering on the absurd.

They're not being ironic.

Sadly, they’re not being ironic.

Beyond what “Dancing Queen” is, we’re not sure who it’s for. We love disco, but we don’t love tired dance moves set to karaoke.

To be fair to “Dancing Queen,” though, you should read Robin Leach’s review, because it’s as if we saw two entirely different shows. Mr. Leach says the show “has great and colorful costumes, and fabulous and fun physical-workout choreography — and the entire harmonious and tuneful package creates a feel-good show that will leave you exhilarated.” So, the exact opposite of what we witnessed.

The one thing “Dancing Queen” has going for it is optimism. The show appeared briefly at New York-New York in a 200-seat theater it couldn’t fill. The former “Peepshow” theater at Planet Hollywood has 1,300. Good luck with that.

We didn't say there aren't bright spots.

We didn’t say there aren’t bright spots.

Whatever our mixed feelings about the show might have been, please enjoy these photos, especially the ones of attractive people gyrating in skimpy outfits. Sometimes, that’s enough. As long as you’re not paying for a ticket.

"Dancing Queen" at Planet Hollywood

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10 Things We’re Unashamed to Say We Love About Circus Circus Las Vegas

Circus Circus sometimes gets a bad rap. But this family-friendly hotel has been around since 1968, and there’s a lot to love. Here are 10 things we love about Circus Circus Las Vegas, and we don’t care who knows it.

1. The Flair

The entryway to Circus Circus is a throwback to a time when Las Vegas let its lights do the talking.

Circus Circus has one of the best does bling right.

Circus Circus does bling right.

2. The Clown

Yes, clowns are creepy, but not Lucky the Clown (pictured below).

What’s not to love about this Las Vegas icon? It was even featured in the movie, “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.” The marquees erected today are just big, square TV screens. Yawn.

Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. Get over it.

Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. Get over it.

3. The Steakhouse

It’s not just the great food, it’s the whole vibe of The Steakhouse at Circus Circus that makes it worthy of our love. Many on the waitstaff at Steakhouse at Circus Circus Las Vegas have been doing this for decades, and their dedication to old-school service shows.

Yes, it's as good as they say.

Yes, it’s as good as they say.

4. Slushy Drinks

The slushy drinks at Circus Circus are not only delicious, they’re available in a variety of collectible plastic vessels.

One of each, thanks.

One of each, thanks.

Get virgin slushy drinks for your kids, or the regular, better kind for you. Highly recommended is the Big Chill, a walk-up slushy drink counter, right near the casino floor. Hint: The more you drink, the better the value.

You thought we were kidding about the "one of each" thing? Do you know this Las Vegas blog at all?

You thought we were kidding about the “one of each” thing? Do you know this Las Vegas blog at all?

5. Free Gambling Lessons

The list of casinos still giving free gambling lessons on The Strip has dwindled in recent years, but Circus Circus covers all the bases with lessons in blackjack, roulette, craps and live poker.

Learning a casino game before you play is the best money-saving tip, ever.

Learning a casino game before you play is the best money-saving tip, ever.

6. Revolving Slot Bank and Snack Bar

This might be our favorite feature of the Circus Circus casino. It’s a two-story merry-go-round. Down below are slot machines, on top is a snack bar, called the Horse-Around Bar.

Take that, casinos with much less character!

Take that, casinos with much less character!

Sure, you can wander over to Adventuredome’s array of thrill rides, but this revolving carousel in the casino gets our vote as a must-ride.

Note: During recent visits the carousel hasn’t actually rotated. Come on, Phil Ruffin. Get on it!

Here’s a peek at the fun (when the thing was working). If you’re not having fun at Circus Circus, you’re doing it wrong.

7. Family-Friendly Gambling

Maybe it’s better to call them “family-friendly games of chance,” but many of the games in the casino’s Midway are sort of kid-friendly versions of popular casino games. If you love the casino classic Sigma Derby, try the Circus Downs game, pictured below.

Grooming the next generation of Sigma Derby players.

Sigma Derby players only wish their game was this big.

While the blend of casino and kids can get a tad awkward at times, the casino does make an effort to keep the worlds apart, even providing a map of areas where kids can roam and where they can’t.

There will be a quiz.

There will be a quiz.

8. The Chicken-in-a-Pot Game

Nowhere else in Las Vegas will you find a game where you hit something with a mallet, causing a chicken to fly through the air into cooking pots. Oh, and if you do is successfully, you get a prize.

That weird sensation you're experiencing? It's called having a blast.

That weird sensation you’re experiencing? It’s called having a blast.

It’s worth noting the chickens are sometimes witches. Still a blast.

9. Slots-A-Fun

The Slots-A-Fun Casino is next to Circus Circus, and functions as its own entity, but we’re still calling it something to love at Circus Circus Las Vegas because we’re rebels like that. Slots-A-Fun is known for its values-a-plenty, and is the only casino on The Strip we can think of with pool and foosball tables (in the actual casino).

It's a casino! No, it's a den!

Bonus: One of our favorite Las Vegas carpets.

Sadly, Slots-A-Fun got rid of its live table games, but there’s still plenty to do on the cheap.

Ignore the sign. The poker room at Circus Circus closed since our last visit.

Ignore the sign. The poker room at Circus Circus closed recently.

10. Circus Acts

The circus acts at Circus Circus consistently rank among the best free things to do in Las Vegas. Performances run every half hour, starting at 11:00 a.m. (going until 11:00 p.m. weekdays and midnight on weekends), seven days a week.

Here’s a look at the latest roster of talent. Please note the trapeze act is on hiatus until mid-October, due to “stage enhancement projects.”

The circus acts are the best 10 minutes you'll spend in Las Vegas, unless you have sex with this blog.

If you must bring your kids to Vegas, this is the place to bring them.

The performances are brief, about six minutes each, but they’re still a fun diversion. And did we mention how free they are?

On a related note, here’s another thing we love about Circus Circus: Drummer Joey Vespe.

Vespe has been the drummer for the live band accompanying the casino’s circus acts since 1974. He’s a living legend, and always happy to share stories about the old days in Vegas. Among them: An elephant, named Tonya, used to perform on the Circus Circus stage. She was fond of Life Savers.

Joey's as Vegas is Vegas gets.

Joey’s as Vegas is Vegas gets.

Those 10 items are just a small sampling of things to love about Circus Circus. For example, Circus Circus has the only RV Park on The Strip. Yes, there are still people who have RVs, and they need a place to park.

Here’s a bonus thing to love about Circus Circus: Parking is free!

Also, Circus Circus has the largest permanent big top in the world. And its midway was featured in the James Bond film, “Diamonds Are Forever.”

What’s on your list of things to love about Circus Circus?

Circus Circus

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At Least This Downtown Las Vegas Mural Isn’t Awkward

Outside the California Hotel, downtown, there’s a large tile mural. Yes, we took a photo, thanks so much for asking.

The art depicts things like mountains, a campfire, and some dim bulb trying to shoot a bear for no particular reason.

The public art work depicts things like mountains, a campfire, and some moron trying to shoot a bear for no particular reason. That’s not the not-awkward part.

The great thing about this tile mural is, even if you zoom in, it’s completely not awkward.

At all.

The frontier was full of surprises.

The frontier was full of surprises. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Stop by and see the mural for yourself! Note: If you can’t find it, you mustache for directions.