Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sheryl Crow Slated to Perform at Downtown’s Container Park

We didn’t see that coming.

Singer Sheryl Crow will perform at downtown’s awesome Container Park on April 4, 2014.

Sheryl Crow

Breaking: Not every day is a winding road, but quite a few are.

We love the Container Park, and it’s been underutilized as a performance space. How many venues in Las Vegas have a massive playground and bars in shipping containers nearby?

The performance will benefit charities Feed the Children and Opportunity Village.

Container Park

Yes, it’s weird, but just go with it.

The show starts at 6:00 p.m., and fewer than 1,000 tickets will be sold at $39 (general) and $79 (VIP).

Tickets are available online now.

The Demise of a Las Vegas Classic: Revamped “Jubilee!” at Bally’s Is On Its Last Legs

Las Vegas loves its implosions, and from what we hear, there’s one happening right now at “Jubilee!” at Bally’s Las Vegas.

An newly-overhauled “Jubilee!” recently debuted and is being savaged by audiences. It’s been so bad, we’re predicting this classic showgirl production is destined to “get the hook” within a few short months.

The show’s ticket sales have been sagging for some time now, so Bally’s brought on choreographer Frank Gatson Jr. to give the show a final, desperate once-over. From what we hear, Gatson’s efforts have been like trying to save the Hindenburg with a bicycle pump.

Jubilee

It’s difficult to screw up scantily-clad women, but “Jubilee!” appears to have managed it.

Sequined red flags went up when “Jubilee!” missed its announced opening date, March 17, 2014. After that unfortunate misfire, once it opened, audiences were quick to share their disappointment online.

The reviews on Yelp have been merciless and telling.

Stacia J. wrote on Yelp, “I went to the opening night of the new ‘Jubilee’ last night, and I’m sad to say it was hands-down the worst show I’ve ever seen.”

Among her observations: “Lights were way off. I mean blind you, deer-in-the-headlights bright. This happened several times and all I could think is someone is going to have a seizure or something. Sound was horrible. Random screens of nothing for minutes at a time. Stage curtain malfunction several times. Performers’ costumes were comically wrong a lot. Weird audience participation in the middle that did not fit. Stripper pole act as the opening act for a classic Vegas show? The Titanic sinks and turns into the Statue of Liberty for some bizarre reason. Most of the dancing and singing acts were noticeably not rehearsed enough.”

Ouch. One random, disgruntled audience member? Apparently not.

Jubilee

It’s not you, it’s us. Or something.

Yelp reviewer Anita W. added, “I’m pretty sure I’m going to run out of energy typing before I run out of complaints. The cast was 98% pasty white. Very little diversity. Does not look like the America I live in. Why were flat-chested women topless? So many technical errors. You could tell it was early in the run. I’ve never seen a better argument for audience focus groups than this show. Some of the acts were so horrible, I laughed out loud. I think I booed twice. Storylines are apparently for other shows.”

Lisa M. on Yelp agreed, saying, “This was one of the worst shows I have sat through. The mic was not functioning for many songs, the curtains would not go up and down as needed. People were running back and forth trying to get them down/up. The sound is so bad, even when the mic did function, you couldn’t understand what was being said/sung. You could see people behind the curtain, running around, and you could hear them yelling at each other. At one point, we saw a main performer do a complete costume change in the middle of the stage. I’m assuming other performers were supposed to cover her, but that did not happen. I looked around the audience, and everyone looked like they were watching paint dry. While we were at valet, we overhead other people talking about how bad it was. Apparently, this is the ‘new’ ‘Jubilee!’ Wish I could have seen the old one.”

The bad news for “Jubilee!” continues with Stephane D. on Yelp saying, “And there went nothing. I don’t know how to begin this post as I am utterly at a loss for adjectives. What has been the classiest showgirl revue in the history of Las Vegas has been ‘reinvented’ to nothing more than a trashy, discombobulated, nonsensical amalgam of disconnected dance numbers performed by a talented ensemble which seems to be lacking leadership and direction. Everyone I know comes to Vegas to see the showgirls and Elvis. The King is dead, the showgirls are in great danger.”

Jubilee

Please note the location of the exits. Not for safety, but in case you need to exit.

Stephane continues, “Every now and then there are numbers coming out of nowhere that have nothing to do with a classy showgirl revue. I’m talking a Justin Timberlake number, Beach Boys, Michael Jackson. All great artists, but what are they doing in the middle of ‘Jubilee’? In the middle of the show, there is a man in the audience who yells over a microphone at the performers on stage. That’s new in the show. I never saw that before, and maybe I’m missing something. The opening is a beautiful girl coming down a stripper pole! I am certain all these classically-trained dancers are ecstatic at the idea of having been reduced to a low-class and vulgar stripper level. Bring classy back.”

We were disappointed, but not all that surprised, to hear “Jubilee!” seems to have gone from campy to crappy. There truly was no other show like “Jubilee!,” and its iconic showgirls are recognized around the world, symbols of the over-the-top glitz that helped make Vegas what it is. Or more accurately, what it was.

While part of us hopes “Jubilee!” can get its act together, it may be time to just let go.

Tastes have changed. Times have changed. Three decades is a great run, but legacies are fragile things, and perhaps it’s best if the folks at “Jubilee!” pack up the headdresses and feathers once and for all.

So, what’s your take? Keep the old girl on life support and prolong the pain, or pull the plug?

Update: We’ve gotten some great insights in our comments, so we’ll share some here.

Edwin Rojas of Rojas Talent says, “There is a reason all these shows used ‘variety acts’ in the past. They served two very important purposes. One, they were there to entertain the audience as big scenery was changed, but most importantly; two, they were the “comic relief,” the “variety” to change the mood, the tempo, of the show. In a two-hour show, no matter how great the dancing and/or singing is (and I’m not saying this show is incredible!), the audience wanes, they need a diversion. They need a change of pace. Bring back the variety performers and you’ll increase the ‘Q score’ of the show by 30-40%. Trust me!”

John Colson comments, “I am so sad to hear this. ‘Jubilee!’ has been one of our favourite shows over the 10 years or so that we have been visiting Vegas. It really was a throwback to more glamourous times. We have also done the backstage tour, which is also super interesting (although when you are 5’6″ tall, being photographed with a showgirl in heels does nothing for your ego!). My personal take is that the show did need to be freshened up, but not with stripper poles and Beach Boys numbers. Hopefully, it wont disappear and the reviews just reflect them ironing out the kinks, but I don’t hold out much hope if this is what is considered to be ‘newly-overhauled.'”

Commenter Steven Brown says, “Caesars Entertainment went about this the wrong way in trying to update the show. First off, instead of hiring Frank Gatson, Jr. to update the show, they should have hired the folks that did Crazy Horse Paris at MGM Grand. If not folks from Crazy Horse, from one of the other famous Parisian cabarets like Folies BergĂ©re, Le Lido, Moulin Rouge, among others. These venues have been able to keep with the times while remaining true to their past and if anyone could modernize ‘Jubilee!’ and keep it classic at the same time, it would be someone from one of those famous Parisian institutions. Donn Arden’s productions, like “Jubilee!,” were firmly rooted in these classic Parisian shows, as were a number of other similar type shows that used to populate the Strip.”

We appreciate your thoughts!

Nacho Daddy Serves Up the Best Margaritas in Las Vegas, Delicious Mexican Food and Scorpion Shots

Nacho Daddy, a downtown Mexican restaurant, is about to nab the coveted title of “Best Margaritas in Las Vegas” in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” awards, and there’s a chance you’ve never even heard of the place. We’re about to change that.

Nacho Daddy

Foreshadowing: The scorpion isn’t merely decorative.

While the Review-Journal’s annual awards haven’t been officially announced yet, we got the inside scoop (it’s on the sign) about who’ll take home the highly-competitive (it’s Las Vegas, after all!) margarita prize this year.

And Nacho Daddy’s margaritas more than live up to the buzz. Pun intended.

Raspberry margarita

The raspberry margarita is a certified panty-dropper.

Nacho Daddy sits about a block north off downtown’s Fremont Street Experience, on Fourth Street. Blink and you’ll miss it, but we recommend you don’t. Blink and miss it, that is. Please try and keep up.

The restaurant is cozy, and has a casual, beachside cantina vibe.

Nacho Daddy

Nacho Daddy is intimate, with seating for you and about 79 of your closest friends.

The weather in Vegas is perfect this time of year, and Nacho Daddy takes full advantage with some appealing indoor-outdoor seating.

Nacho Daddy

*Threesomes not included.

While the margaritas are exceptional, the food is also winning. All your favorites are here, and the food is fresh and consistently great.

As the restaurant’s name implies, the nachos are the star of the show, with the Buffalo Hot Nachos being the most popular offering.

Hot Buffalo Nachos

Not the hottest, but also not not hot.

The menu runs the gamut from stand-out Grilled Mexican Corn on the Cob (see below) to tacos, fajitas, wraps, salads, burritos, enchiladas and more. Bonus: Freshest cilantro, ever.

Mexican street corn

We’re not sure when Mexican street corn became a thing, but lately, it’s one of our favorite things.

See the full Nacho Daddy menu at the restaurant’s official site.

The Daddy’s Supreme Tacos are especially tasty. We had the chicken, with roasted tomatillo salsa, queso fresco and pickled red onions. We’re happy to report our enjoyment of the tacos was undeterred by the fact we have no idea what any of those things are.

Nacho Daddy

In Spanish, “taco” means “the plug or paper patch that musket balls were wrapped in before being inserted in a musket.” How have we managed to go through life not knowing that?

Nacho Daddy has a robust breakfast menu (the restaurant opens at 7:00 a.m.), and devotes a portion of its menu to vegan dishes, with offerings like the Vegan Tofu Nacho, a Spicy Tofu Burrito and Cajun Tofu Street Tacos. If you’re into that kind of thing.

One remarkable specialty at Nacho Daddy could be categorized as “whatever the opposite of Vegan is”! There’s a reason the restaurant has a scorpion sign outside. At Nacho Daddy’s bar, guests can have opt to have an actual scorpion added to any shot of liquor (mildly alarming photo below).

A manager at the restaurant noted, “Our scorpions used to be small enough to swallow like a pill, but now they’re much bigger, so you have to chew them.” Note: We are not making this up, and yes, people voluntarily order these. They would not be us, but to each their own!

Scorpion shot

Your “Aieee!” is served.

One does not live by scorpions alone, so make sure to try the award-winning margaritas like the Mango Thai Basil margarita, below.

Margarita

Basil’s a little boring after the whole scorpion thing, sorry.

Nacho Daddy, which calls itself an “American Grill with Mexican flair,” is a worthy addition to anyone’s list of must-visit restaurants in downtown Las Vegas.

The food is flavorful and fresh, the drinks, like the scorpion shot, are a notch above, and the bill doesn’t sting.

Because, see what we did there?

 

George Wallace Announces End of Las Vegas Run During Show Marking 10-Year Anniversary at Flamingo

Longtime Flamingo headliner George Wallace has announced he’ll end his decade-long run on The Strip in a few short weeks. The comedian made the announcement at a show on March 21, 2014, marking his 10th anniversary at Flamingo Las Vegas.

Wallace said his show will close in three weeks. (Update: On April 8, Wallace announced his last show will be April 26, 2014.)

He says when his stint at Flamingo ends, he’ll tour and explore doing more television and film work. Wallace is said to admire the careers of Redd Foxx and Rodney Dangerfield, performers who hit their stride later in life.

George Wallace

The phrase “comedy legend” is flung around a lot, but George Wallace actually deserves to have it flung at him.

The announcement came as a shock to those at the anniversary show, due in part, at least, to the fact his contract at Flamingo wasn’t up for another six months.

Wallace has recently been in the news because of a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Bellagio.

The anniversary show at Flamingo featured Wallace’s longtime friend Jerry Seinfeld and Mirage headliner Terry Fator. Singer Gladys Knight also made an appearance, performing “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

Wallace’s show has, for a decade, reigned as one of the funniest shows on the Las Vegas Strip. Do yourself a favor and follow him on Twitter for some of the best free comedy on the planet.

We’re a huge fan of the self-proclaimed “New Mr. Las Vegas,” and this blog even wrote one of the jokes Wallace has used at the end of each show at Flamingo. (“I appreciate you coming out to my show tonight. You have a lot of entertainment options here in Vegas. You could’ve gone to see ‘Blue Man,’ but I’m glad you came to see a black man.”)

George Wallace will be missed, and we wish him all the best during the next phase of his amazing career.

Tag Lounge and Bar Opens at The Quad Las Vegas, Nails It

We loved the new Tag Lounge and Bar at The Quad before it even opened, so we had to visit again to check it out.

In a world exclusive, which makes it sound far more impressive than it is, we uncovered the inspiration for Tag’s name: It’s an acronym for “Totally Automated Gaming.” (Since it’s an acronym, we should probably capitalize it, but shouting puts us on edge, so nevermind.)

Yep, automated. In other words, all the games in Tag have no live dealers. The name also came about because “tag” can relate to social media, as in “tagging photos,” or as shorthand for “hashtag.”

Tag Bar at The Quad

Tag lends The Quad a splash of much-needed color.

Tag’s seductive decor goes a long way toward silencing those who say The Quad’s interior is bland. (Also, as we’ve been saying for some time, The Quad’s casino renovations aren’t done. Patience!)

Returning to Tag we found more things to like, including tabletop touch screens, like those at iBar at Rio Las Vegas. They’re like giant iPads, but without the monthly service plan. The tabletop screens have games and Internet access, making them fun diversions and conversation-starters.

Touch screen table

It’s weird having a machine in a casino that doesn’t accept bills, but we could get used to that.

Even on its first day of operation, Tag was doing brisk business.

Here’s a video walk-through of our new favorite bar that we haven’t actually had time to hang out in but we think you’ll like it, anyway.

Tag also features self-serve beer taps. You pre-pay your server, and the beer comes out cold at your table, at your convenience. Much better than ordering a pitcher that gets warm as you work your way through it.

Tag bar

We’d tap that.

The beer selection at Tag is extensive, and we understand they have hundreds of beers to choose from. Hint: Start with 20 and slowly work your way through the rest.

Tag has dozens of TVs, because everywhere has to. Tag has a bit of a sports bar vibe, but not annoyingly so.

Tag Bar

We’ll be back, so stock up.

The only aspect of Tag that’s sort of a miss is there’s a large portion of the bar devoted to what’s touted as a “hologram dealer.” Yeah, not so much. It’s pretty much just a projection of a dealer onto a screen. The quality’s fairly good, but there’s no real hologram aspect.

Tag bar

It’s our only small gripe about an otherwise stellar new bar center-Strip.

We’ve become fans of these unmanned video slot machines, as they allow for beginners to learn the games at their own pace and without the fear of being reprimanded by other players or dealers if they make a dumb bet.

So, make sure to add Tag to your list of things to do when you’re in Las Vegas.

While the nearby O’Sheas is a smashing success, it’s a tad too loud for us, so Tag is a worthy alternative, and we’ll be stopping by again soon.

Next up at The Quad? On March 28, another new offering is expected to open. Squeeze Bar will be a new fresh juice bar, near Tag, but opening up out onto The Linq shopping promenade. Which answers the question of what’s behind this construction wall.

Squeeze Bar at The Linq

Squeeze Bar is going to have a prime location, just inside The Linq, a few steps from Las Vegas Boulevard.

This new offering should provide a healthy alternative to all the liquor-laden slushy drinks available on The Strip and in The Linq.

There’s never a dull moment in Vegas, baby! More news to come.