Monthly Archives: October 2013

Metropolitan Opera Calls on Las Vegas to Keep the Fat Lady From Singing

A recent episode of “60 Minutes” featured Metropolitan Opera’s imaginative new take on Giuseppe Verdi’s three act opera, “Rigoletto.”

“Rigoletto” tells the timeless story of who-the-hell-knows-what. Blah blah licentious duke blah blah curse blah blah seduction blah blah assassins.

What we do know for certain is New York’s Metropolitan Opera recently re-imagined this classic opera in an utterly fresh context. The new star of the show? Las Vegas.

Even opera snobs love them some Las Vegas.

Even opera snobs love them some showgirls.

Why Las Vegas? Well, opera doesn’t have the following it once did. “60 Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon describes opera audiences as people “who might not be around much longer.” So, if you want to reach a new audience, to keep your art form relevant, you tap into the most electric city on Earth, a destination that never goes out of style, right?

You might call it the “opera house edge.” So long elitism, hello populism.

As Simon says, “Giuseppe Verdi set his tale of debauchery, lust and vengeance in a corrupt court in 16th century Italy. This one plays out in its modern equivalent: Las Vegas in the 1960s.”

Check out some highlights of the production on “60 Minutes.” (Skip eight minutes in to get to the Vegas part.)

As they are so often in Las Vegas, the stakes are high for the Metropolitan Opera, too. New takes on shows like “Rigoletto” could help keep the art form alive.

Hey, a little credit for trying.

This being-more-hip thing is going to take some time. Baby steps!

Sometimes, people say Las Vegas has no culture. Well, this is proof it has so much, sometimes it even exports it.

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Travesty: Las Vegas Ranks Just Fourth for City With Number of Mistresses

Las Vegas has received a public slap from AshleyMadison.com, a Web site devoted to helping people have affairs.

The site’s motto is, “Life is short. Have an affair.” Which this Las Vegas blog doesn’t condone. Probably.

The site recently released its list of “Top 10 Mistress Cities,” and Las Vegas ranked a mere fourth. Somebody had a defective calculator! Or whatever tool people use to measure mistressing.

We also don't condone this awesome graphic.

We also don’t condone this awesome graphic.

Phoenix, Washington and Dallas ranked higher than Las Vegas for the number of women seeking affairs with married men, a clear indication somebody at AshleyMadison.com got the math wrong.

We demand a recount!

Related: You can't spell "casino" without sin.

Related: You can’t spell “casino” without sin.

See all the Top 10 Mistress Cities, then immediately delete your browser history so your spouse doesn’t find out what you’ve been up to.

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Holly Madison Returns to the Las Vegas Stage (Sorta)

“Million Dollar Quartet,” the top-notch, Broadway-quality show at Harrah’s Las Vegas, has had soft ticket sales since it opened in Feb. 2013. Bafflingly. It’s really good.

The underrated show has tried to up its visibility by having guest performers, like Bally’s headliner Véronic DiCaire and Paris headliner Taylor Hicks, and now the show has its sights on Holly Madison, former star of the mercifully-closed “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood.

Holly works a red carpet, pre-motherhood.

Holly works a red carpet, pre-motherhood.

If “Million Dollar Quartet” needs to resort to such marketing tactics, inviting Holly Madison to perform is one this Las Vegas blog can get behind.

Toward the end of her stint in “Peepshow,” Holly Madison took on some singing duties, so she might have some chops for all we know.

She’ll be performing “The Lady Loves Me,” a tune from a classic cinematic cheesefest, “Viva Las Vegas.”

Insipid lyrics aside (“The gentleman has savoir faire, as much as an elephant or a bear”), “The Lady Loves Me” would seem a good fit for Holly Madison’s guest appearance. Because, you know, “Million Dollar Quartet” has an Elvis in it.

Expect a flirty, Marilyn Monroe-esque delivery from Holly Madison, in a duet with the excellent Tyler Hunter.

Even when he's not onstage, Tyler Hunter is quite Elvisy.

Even when he’s not onstage, Tyler Hunter is quite Elvisy.

“Million Dollar Quartet” is loosely based upon a real event, a gathering of four music icons in a recording studio on Dec. 4, 1956. The show is really just an excuse for four talented tribute artists to perform the hits of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

No date has been announced for the Madison’s guest spot in “Million Dollar Quartet,” but our bud John Katsilometes believes it’ll be sometime in December.

The good news about “Million Dollar Quartet” having guests is they don’t try to shoehorn the performers into the show. They just show up and perform with the cast after the show’s curtain calls. Harmless enough.

Gosh, another photo of Holly Madison. How did that get here?

Gosh, another photo of Holly Madison. How on Earth did that happen?

The former “Girls Next Door” star is rumored to be eyeballing a new show of her own on The Strip. We’ll be keeping an eye on any developments.

Hey, it’s Holly Madison.

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Three Ways to Tell You’re in Las Vegas

Some day, you might wake up, maybe after partying a little too hard, and you might not immediately realize where you are. Here are three easy ways to instantly tell if you’re in Las Vegas.

1. It’s the Wigs

Other cities have bachelorette parties, probably, but bachelorette parties in Las Vegas can get truly, off-the-chart weird. Insider tip: If you see a bachelorette party approaching in Las Vegas, do not make direct eye contact, otherwise the encounter may result in stories even your closest friends won’t believe.

Like big, colorful signs pointing toward impending legal action.

Neon wigs are like big, colorful signs pointing toward impending legal action.

2. It’s the Urinal Art

It’s estimated that eight out of 10 Las Vegas restrooms have some sort of irreverent wall art in them. Related: You also know you’re in Las Vegas if your restroom has a piece of the Berlin Wall in it.

Yes, even at LVH, your grandpa's favorite hotel back in the day.

Yes, they even get into the act at LVH, your grandpa’s favorite hotel back in the day.

3. It’s the OMFG

If you go to a restaurant, and you’re 800 feet up, and you see the sign below, you know damn well you can only be in Las Vegas.

Only at The Stratosphere, and only in Vegas, baby.

Only at The Stratosphere, and only in Vegas, baby.

Yes, people jump off of perfectly good buildings.

So, what’s the one thing that lets you know you’re in Las Vegas?

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Lucky the Leprechaun Will Return With New O’Sheas

While the much-beloved O’Sheas casino will be brought back to life in a very different form at The Linq, its mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun, will return just as his legions of inebriated fans remember him. If they remember anything. It was O’Sheas!

That’s because Lucky, Brian Thomas, will again be pulling leprechaun duties when the re-imagined O’Sheas bar and beer pongery opens in Dec. 2013.

Little man, huge following.

Little man, huge fan base.

It was bittersweet when O’Sheas closed on April 30, 2012, and few were more affected by the closure than Brian Thomas. He was the heart of the place, ensuring guests got their fair share of the O’Sheas experience (specifically, free hooch).

Lucky got a lot of love when O'Sheas closed. We predict he'll be getting more when the new O'Sheas opens.

Lucky got a lot of love when O’Sheas closed. We predict he’ll be getting even more when the new O’Sheas opens.

The space formerly occupied by O’Sheas has been swallowed whole by The Quad.

The new O’Sheas is likely to have a very different vibe than the previous one, specifically, the floor won’t feel like you’re in an adult movie theater.

We never had a problem with gritty, but we'll try this to if Lucky's there.

We never had a problem with gritty, but we’ll try this, too, if Lucky’s in the house.

After O’Sheas closed, Lucky swapped his leprechaun gear for street clothes. Brian Thomas has continued to work as spokesman and party-starter for nearby Las Vegas resorts owned by Caesars Entertainment (as O’Sheas was, and is).

Thomas hosts pool parties at Flamingo Las Vegas during the summer months, and also hawks drinks at Carnaval Court at Harrah’s Las Vegas.

Brian Thomas also worked at Bill's before it closed. He gets around.

Brian Thomas also worked at Bill’s before it closed. He gets around.

But Brian Thomas is truly in his element as Lucky.

It takes a special kind of impish magic to whip guests into a frenzy, giving them permission to misbehave and make some epic Sin City mistakes, many requiring apology notes and penicillin.

It falls to Lucky to restore O'Sheas to its former glory. No pressure.

It falls to Lucky to restore O’Sheas to its former glory. No pressure.

So, which camp are you in? Will you bemoan the fact there’s no way O’Sheas will be even remotely like it was? Or will you rejoice in the fact there’s, well, no way O’Sheas will be even remotely like it was?

Will you pass on by, or will you belly up to the bar and get obliterated for old time’s sake?

You can bet this Las Vegas blog will be stopping by O’Sheas at The Linq when it opens. Wherever Lucky goes, we go. Liver be damned.

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Five Recently-Extended Las Vegas Shows Worth Seeing

Las Vegas shows are always claiming to have been “extended due to popular demand,” and in some cases, it’s actually true. Here are some recently-extended Las Vegas shows worth your time and money.

1. Boyz II Men at The Mirage

Boyz II Men is one of the most popular, successful R&B groups of all time, and their stage show exceeds all expectations. These guys are truly talented vocalists, and their timeless hits are irresistible. If you’re sitting down when they break into “Motownphilly,” you may be a cyborg.

Not too hard and not too soft. Also known as middle age.

Not too hard and not too soft. Also known as middle age.

Boyz II Men has been extended through spring on 2014 at The Mirage.

2. Donny & Marie at Flamingo

Their relationship may not be a lovefest offstage, but Donny & Marie are a powerhouse duo when they’re on one. These siblings have been performing for a mind-blowing 50 years, so they’ve pretty much got it down. A showroom at Flamingo was recently named after them, and while they don’t actually perform together much during their show, they don’t need to. The hysterical banter alone is worth the price of admission.

Donny & Marie tickets are a little pricey, but you're paying to see music royalty.

Donny & Marie tickets are a little pricey, but you’re paying to see music royalty.

Donny & Marie’s show at Flamingo has been extended through the end of 2014.

3. Veronic DiCaire at Bally’s

Singer Veronic DiCaire is billed as a singing impressionist, claiming she impersonates 50 female artists in her show, “Veronic Voices.” Well, it’s not exactly that, but the four or five she nails are spot-on (her Celine Dion is uncanny), and the rest of the show is run-of-the-mill spectacular singing. The velocity of the show is exhausting, but in a good way, and ticket prices are low, making this a great value on The Strip.

Veronic occasionally hits notes that haven't even been invented yet.

Veronic occasionally hits notes that haven’t even been invented yet.

Veronic Voices has been extended through January 2014.

4. Jeff Civillico’s “Comedy in Action” at The Quad

Jeff Civillico’s show at The Quad is a family-friendly show with non-stop laughs. Our only criticism of his show is he should make his juggling feats look more difficult, because they are. Some incredibly. Civillico’s charm and wit are irresistible, and we hope he gets the crowds he deserves as The Quad finishes its renovations and The Linq opens up next door.

Jeff Civillico is the king of loveable goofballs. Emphasis on balls.

Jeff Civillico is the king of loveable goofballs. Emphasis on balls.

Jeff Civillico celebrated his first anniversary at The Quad in May 2013, and this 4:00 p.m. show has been extended for two years, to May of 2015.

5. Carlos Santana at Mandalay Bay

Sometimes, people are called living legends when they’re not really legends, and when you see their shows, you’re not entirely sure they’re living. But Carlos Santana is both living and a legend, and his residency at Mandalay Bay’s House of Blues was recently extended accordingly.

This is the only photo in this blog post we didn't personally take. You can tell because it's in focus.

This is the only photo in this blog post we didn’t personally take. You can tell because it’s in focus.

Carlos Santana’s show, “Greatest Hits Live: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow,” has been extended through Feb. 1 of 2014.

The shows mentioned here aren’t just great Las Vegas shows, they’re great shows, and attending any or all are sure to illustrate why Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world.

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