Monthly Archives: February 2015

Caesars Palace Now Has 40% Less T&A: Shadow Bar, Pussycat Dolls Party Pit Close

Woe is us. The one-time bacchanalian paradise known as Caesars Palace has lost approximately 40% of its T&A in recent weeks. Is nothing sacred in Las Vegas?

First came news Shadow Bar has closed at the Strip hotel-casino. At this longtime bastion of T&A, women danced provocatively behind back-lit screens, their silhouettes tempting customers with just enough tease to titillate, but without any actual nudity.

Caesars Palace Shadow Bar

Gone are the pulsations, the undulations, the palpitations and several other words we would not have been able to spell without the assistance of the Internet.

Shadow Bar was the last remaining shadow dancer experience in Las Vegas.

Sin City regulars will perhaps remember a similar shadow-based effect, albeit the result of projection machines rather than live dancers, at the former O’Sheas.

O'Sheas shadow dancers

When they pulled the plug on the shadow dancers at O’Sheas, we wept harder than someone forced to listen to an isolated Mariah Carey vocal track.

As if the closure of Shadow Bar weren’t dismaying enough, another T&A stronghold has fallen victim to the ongoing changes at Caesars Palace. The Pussycat Dolls party pit, complete with its sassy go-go dancers and sexy paramilitary uniform-clad dealers, has vanished.

Pussycat Dolls casino

The Pussycat Dolls broke up in 2009. Which might explain why, toward the end, the Pussycat Dolls party pit felt more like a stalker than a sex kitten.

Thanks to our friends at the Five Hundy by Midnight podcast for alerting us to this vexing news.

The closure of both Shadow Bar and the Pussycat Dolls Casino are related to a renovation of the hotel’s nightclub, Pure. The defunct Pure will reopen as Omnia Nightclub on March 12, 2015, and Shadow Bar is expected to reopen as a new night spot operated by Hakkasan Group, the nightlife and restaurant empire charged with running Omnia. The Pussycat Dolls party pit was taking up prime real estate near the nightclub, so its nine lives were all used up.

Word that Shadow Bar and the Pussycat Dolls pit have closed is insult-to-injury for T&A fans still reeling from the departure of Angel Perrino from “Absinthe” (photo below) a year ago for her high maintenance behavior.

Angel Porrino Absinthe

There was a giant balloon, tap dancing and pasties. And, yes, we realize that sentence could only ever makes sense in the context of Las Vegas.

Here’s hoping Caesars Palace will soon regain its standing as a hotbed of hedonism. Which we’re thinking would make a pretty good band name.

While we wait, we’ll have to make due with what little T&A is left at Caesars Palace.

Venus statue

Don’t lie. Venus has piqued your quarry-osity.

Find the Venus outside at one of the approximately 14 pools at Caesars Palace. Where, come to think of it, there may be an untapped supply of T&A. It’s Vegas, so feel free to tap that.

If Las Vegas is Like a Drug, Mirapex is the Drug Most Like a Las Vegas Visit

There’s a prescription drug that simulates the Las Vegas experience. It’s called Mirapex. And we’re not making this up.

Mirapex treats a range of symptoms including tremors, muscle spasms, poor muscle control and restless legs syndrome. It’s often prescribed to deal with the ravages of Parkinson’s disease.

But here’s the twist: Mirapex has some side effects. The drug stimulates dopamine, the chemical in human brains that’s related to the pleasure response, the one that reinforces behavior that provides enjoyment. What could possibly go wrong?

casino playing cards

Las Vegas has been known to enjoyment-provide.

It turns out Mirapex users often have the uncontrollable urge to gamble, for starters.

These intense urges can turn social gamblers into impulsive, problem gamblers virtually overnight. How effective is Mirapex in turning everyday gamblers into addicts? It’s believed Mirapex accounts for nearly 60 percent of prescription-related gambling problems reported to the FDA.

Compulsive behavior related to Mirapex isn’t just limited to gambling, though. Like we said, this drug is like a Las Vegas adventure.

Mirapex can also make people compulsive shoppers (there’s some of that in Las Vegas), drinkers (Las Vegas may have alcohol as well) and eaters (buffet, anyone?).

The most appealing impulse-control disorder related to Mirapex, of course, is the uncontrollable urge to have sex. For some, sexual urges are harmless, but there’s obviously the possibility of fallout like marital conflicts, as well as the potential of having really tired arms, if you get our drift.

The effects of Mirapex on libido are so serious, there have been class action lawsuits by those who became addicted to porn and whose lives have been impacted by the inability to curb their carnal impulses.

The good news is these Vegas-style urges pass when patients stop taking Mirapex, much as uncontrollable urges to gamble and binge-eat and have sex subside somewhat when return home after visiting Las Vegas. Probably.

Riviera Sale and Demolition Details Confirmed: LVCVA to Pay $182.5 Million

As we first shared weeks ago, the impending sale of the Riviera Las Vegas has been confirmed. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will buy Riviera for $182.5 million.

The Riviera Las Vegas will close May 4, 2015.

The Riviera will be demolished as part of an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Read more from the LVCVA.

Crazy Girls statue

What, we were going to share another picture of the hotel facade?

The Riviera sale will include a “lease-back” agreement that will keep the Riviera’s management company, Paragon Gaming, operating the casino as plans are made for the hotel-casino’s closure.

The sale of the Riviera has been in the works for some time. The LVCVA got a $275 million loan approval back in September 2014 for the Riviera purchase. Read more.

An LVCVA board vote is the only remaining step before the sale happens. That’s a done deal on Feb. 20, 2015. The Riviera will officially change hands in late August.

While bittersweet news, the sale and demolition of Riviera is a piece of a much bigger puzzle. According to the LVCVA, they’ve had to pass on about 20 annual trade shows (huge business drivers in Las Vegas) due to space and scheduling issues.

The Riviera land is 26.4 acres, and a key part of bringing new trade and convention business to Las Vegas. Which, admittedly, is infinitely less fun than a casino, but when money flows in, new casinos get built, and others thrive. Just trust that Las Vegas knows what it’s doing, already.

Today’s announcement made no mention about the future of Peppermill restaurant, which many of our readers seem more upset about than the closing of The Riv. The Peppermill has denied it’s going anywhere.

Interesting times ahead, and the Las Vegas Strip just won’t be the same without The Riv.

Update: On February 20, 2015, the board of the LVCVA approved the purchase of the Riviera. So, done deal.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Will Buy and Demolish Riviera Las Vegas

It’s hard to keep a secret in Vegas, and this one’s juicy. The official announcement is still a few days off, but the story behind our earlier report of the Riviera being sold appears to be coalescing. The classic Riviera Hotel & Casino is being purchased by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and will be demolished.

Update (Feb. 17, 2015): The Riviera sale has been confirmed. Sale price: $182.5 million. Read the latest.

Our friends at Las Vegas Advisor spilled the beans about the still-unconfirmed specifics of the sale, bolstering earlier rumors about the impending sale and non-gaming use of the land after the hotel’s demise. Thanks to our pal Marc at Edge Vegas for initially pointing us toward rumors of the sale.

Riviera Las Vegas

Dibs on the neon. Yes, all of it.

Details aren’t expected until the official announcement of the sale on Feb. 17, 2015, but word has it the LVCVA will demolish The Riv and expand the footprint of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

One source is reporting the company which recently imploded the Clarion hotel was also asked for a bid to demolish the Riviera Las Vegas.

Sadness at losing an iconic casino aside, this scenario makes sense given the LVCVA’s Las Vegas Global Business District project. A news release for the $2.3 billion project states, “Including public areas and service areas, the expansion and renovation expand the facility from its current total footprint of 3.2 million square feet to nearly 5.7 million square feet. Once construction begins, the entire project is expected to take 5-8 years to complete.” See details.

Riviera Las Vegas

There’s a lot of Las Vegas at the Riviera.

A potential timeline for the demolition of the Riviera has emerged following our initial reporting of the sale.

Our buddy John Katsilometes of the Las Vegas Sun writes, “According to those familiar with the transaction, the purchase of the Riviera from its current owner, lending company Starwood Capital Group, would lead to the closing of the hotel as early as May. The LVCVA would then order the demolition of the building by the end of June.”

According to one of our readers, the “entire management team” of Riviera (a company called Paragon Gaming) has already moved to the Westgate Las Vegas. Paragon Gaming provides (or provided) “oversight of the executive level management, financial, marketing, business and organizational strategy services” to Riviera.

So, assuming that’s how this is going to play out, it’s time to swing by the Riviera for a keepsake chip and one last rub of those Crazy Girls cheeks.

Crazy Girls statue

You will be ours. Oh, yes, you will be ours.

The Riviera Las Vegas opened in 1955 and has 2,100 rooms. The Riv was the ninth resort on the Las Vegas Strip, and when it opened, was included in a Life Magazine story with the headline, “Las Vegas—Is Boom Overextended?”

The Riviera was mobbed up, as many Las Vegas hotels were, in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Marx brother, on the advice of Gummo, owned about 10% of the Riviera at one time. Rat Pack member Dean Martin was also had an ownership stake in the Riviera at one time.

The hotel has played host to some notable performers and shows, including Liberace, the aforementioned Dean Martin, and shows like “Splash” and “An Evening at La Cage,” precursor to female impersonator Frank Marino’s popular “Divas Las Vegas,” now at The Linq hotel. The Riv is currently home to the last big cat show on The Strip, Dirk Arthur Wild Illusions.

Numerous feature films have featured the Riviera, including 1960’s “Oceans Eleven,” “Casino,” “Showgirls,” “Vegas Vacation,” “3000 Miles to Graceland” and “The Hangover.”

Because of its proximity to the Riviera, concerns have been raised about the beloved Peppermill restaurant and lounge being included in the deal, but a rep from the restaurant swears “no.” (Then again, front-line employees often don’t know about behind-the-scenes deal-making.) Our longtime reader Steven Brown suggests it’s possible that while the land under the Peppermill has been purchased by the LVCVA, there’s no reason to think the popular hangout will close anytime soon. We’ll see! Here’s the latest.

Riviera has been a colorful part of Las Vegas, but as we’ve come to learn, the only constant in Las Vegas is change. Well, that and sure-fire roulette systems. But mostly that first thing.

The Riviera will be missed.