Monthly Archives: March 2015

Rock in Rio USA Music Festival’s City of Rock Beginning to Look Like an Actual City

The Rock in Rio USA music festival is still months away, but its City of Rock venue is already looking more and more like a city. Rock in Rio USA happens May 8–9 and May 15–16, 2015.

Virtually overnight, the supports for a massive, six-story VIP tent have sprung up. The VIP tent skin is expected to be installed soon.

Rock in Rio festival

Rock in Rio originated in Brazil. This VIP tent marks Rock in Rio USA’s first erection on American soil.

We wish we could share photos of the rest of the open-air City of Rock site, but sadly this sign says there’s “no media access.”

No media access

Suck it, The Man. Consider yourself breached.

Do you know this Las Vegas blog at all? Security breach time!

Here’s another look at the tent structure.

Rock in Rio VIP

This is where the best-smelling people will be hanging out during Rock in Rio USA.

Other features of the City of Rock have also been put up in recent days, including the facades for one of its Disney-style themed streets, Rock Street UK. Other themed streets on the 40-acre-plus site will include Rock Street Brazil and Rock Street USA.

City of Rock

These old-timey facades appear to have been shipped in from another Rock in Rio site and reassembled. FedEx has got to be making a killing.

Here’s a map of the festival grounds to help get your bearings. The whole shebang is being built next to Circus Circus, near SLS Las Vegas and the Stratosphere.

Rock in Rio USA map

Please tattoo this Rock in Rio USA map on your inner thigh for ready access during the festival.

Rock in Rio USA’s City of Rock has several stages (Main, Sunset and EDM), and will have restaurants, shopping, the world’s largest mobile Ferris wheel and a 64-foot-high zip line.

Rock in Rio USA festival

In the foreground is the groundwork for Rock Street Brazil. The Ferris wheel will be near those trees. Hang in there, trees.

Here’s another batch of buildings.

Rock in Rio City of Rock

The City of Rock is expected to be a permanent addition to the Las Vegas Strip, like slushy drinks and walks of shame.

There’s clearly a lot more to come. We got a peek at a staging area for more facades in the making. Please make note of the boob jokes we’re not making. It’s a little thing called maturity.

Rock in Rio USA

Let’s hope somebody remembered to keep the assembly instructions.

Visit the official Rock in Rio USA site for the official line-up of bands so far. Performers include Taylor Swift, No Doubt, John Legend, Deftones, Metallica, Linkin Park, Bruno Mars, Joss Stone and many others.

Ticket sales have been brisk for VIP tickets, but general admission tickets haven’t been hitting sales goals. It was initially estimated 80,000 might attend Rock in Rio USA each day of the festival, but now those estimates have been scaled back considerably.

Rock in Rio USA music festival

We could make out some storefront signs like, “World’s Best Rockdog,” “Rockin Sandwiches and Juices,” and “Post Office.” Clearly, one of the benefits of having a captive audience.

Here’s a peek behind-the-scenes of what’s expected to be one of the largest music festivals in the history of Las Vegas, Rock in Rio USA.

Rock in Rio USA Update

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IRS Boneheads Want to Cut Casino Jackpot Reporting Trigger in Half

The Internal Revenue Service has proposed lowering the reporting level for casino slot machine jackpots from $1,200 to $600.

Typically, when a slot jackpot of $1,200 or more is won, the machine locks up while players endure a time-consuming process of filling out paperwork to ensure taxes are paid on the winnings. If the IRS proposal goes through, players will get to go through the irksome practice for jackpots half that size.

slot jackpot

What’s the best way to kill the buzz of a slot machine jackpot? IRS paperwork.

The new reporting level would also apply to wins in bingo and keno. At the moment, wins of $1,500 or more are reportable in keno, the game with the worst odds in a casino, we might add.

Thankfully, the new IRS reporting rules aren’t a done deal. The casino industry has three months to respond to the regulatory changes which were apparently concocted by someone with severe head trauma.

The American Gaming Association, a trade group that represents the casino industry, is expected to dig its heels in on these rule changes. Even the current jackpot reporting threshold keeps players from playing and that downtime, beyond being an annoyance, costs casinos lots of cash (we’re talking millions of dollars here), which translates into lost taxes, which seems to undermine the Internal Revenue Service’s goal in the first place.

Wheel of Fortune

Ever see a Wheel of Fortune machine with a maximum win of $1,195? That’s to avoid the hassle of doing IRS paperwork. Now you know.

According to a Las Vegas Review-Journal story, the IRS “may not believe this is much of an administrative hassle.” Which, we’re thinking, is an indication the IRS understands casinos like the Amish understand iPads.

This IRS rule change may also have consequences beyond the obvious. One of our commenters, Andy Bruinewoud, adds, “It’s an annoyance for U.S. players. It might be a back-breaker for Canadians or other foreign visitors who don’t have withholding tax treaty protections. We pay 30% non-resident tax on winnings. If the threshold gets lowered to only $600, people will either play smaller on the machines or switch to table games. Or, of course, not come at all. Bad for Vegas, where the highest percentage of foreign tourists are from Canada.”

Here’s hoping the American Gaming Association and casinos bring all their resources to bear to make this IRS dipshittery disappear faster than a cheater at Binion’s back when Benny ran the place.

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Rewired Radio City Pizzeria is Worth Another Taste

Radio City Pizza, on Fremont Street East in downtown Las Vegas, opened back in early 2013. We tried the pizza a couple of times, found it lacking, and never went back.

Recently, though, we’ve been hearing positive buzz about the restaurant, so we had to stop by for another taste. We’re optimistic like that.

Radio City Pizzeria

If a pizza place can’t thrive in a location where hundreds of drunk people go by each day, where can it?

Radio City Pizza has transformed into Radio City Pizzeria in recent weeks, and everything we thought we knew about the place now feels like ancient history. Specifically, history we’d rather forget, like Nazi Germany or when Steven Tyler was a judge on “American Idol.”

Radio City Pizzeria

Radio City Pizzeria is about 12 steps from Fremont Street Experience. If your steps are 26 feet long.

Apparently, the minds behind a humble but popular Las Vegas sandwich shop, The Goodwich, are now managing Radio City Pizzeria, and we’re all the beneficiaries of the change.

Radio City Pizzeria

The whole place has had a makeover, from the menu to the decor. Yes, there are still TVs, but fewer than before, which is a step in the right direction if you ask us. And you should, because we know everything. Except about G-spots. Never have figured those out.

The change in management has also meant a new chef, Sean Collins. He previously worked his magic at Rose.Rabbit.Lie. inside Cosmopolitan, and the retooled menu at Radio City Pizzeria has more than a few similarities to the innovative, quirky fare at Rose.Rabbit.Lie.

Radio City Pizzeria

We’re fans of the view given all the sparkly nearby.

The menu makes up for its lack of girth with its depth. Or something.

A good portion of the menu is devoted to piattini, Italian for “small plates.” The Brussels sprouts (often mistakenly called “brussel sprouts”) are highly recommended, and could go toe-to-toe with the extraordinary Brussels sprouts served at Cleo inside SLS. Yes, this Las Vegas blog is fully admitting to liking two dishes featuring Brussels sprouts. In one lifetime.

Radio City Pizzeria

Relax, bro, there’s bacon. They call it “pancetta,” but that translates as, “Relax, bro, there’s bacon.”

There is a distinct possibility we also ordered a dish called “Winter Squash.” Because miracles never cease, that’s why. Again, scrumptious, and unlike anything we’ve ever had in a pizza restaurant. Or a pizzeria, for that matter. Assuming those are different things. We are not an Italian. If we were, we’d have more sex. And graft. Moving on.

Radio City Pizza Las Vegas

This dish was replete with butternut squash, ricotta and sage brown butter, and not just because we were looking for an excuse to use the word “replete.”

You’ll also want to try the Crudo, or “old-style sashimi,” with bergamot, extra virgin olive oil, roe and micro radish. See more small plates.

Radio City Pizzeria

Roe is the fully ripe internal egg masses in the ovaries of a fish, but almost nobody describes it that way on a menu, for some reason.

Clearly, this is not your average pizza joint. Still, the pizza has to hold its own, and we’re happy to report the new Radio City Pizzeria leaves the restaurant’s previous pizza in the dust.

The menu features “NYC Pies” and “House Pies.”

On the NYC Pies side, guests have the option of red, white or green. Those also happen to be the colors on the Italian flag. They’re also the colors of the flag for the Republic of Abkhazia, but that seems less relevant for some reason.

Once you choose the color of your pizza, you can add veggies, cheese and meat in various combinations. (For an extra buck, you can get a 14-inch gluten-free crust.)

The House Pies are 12-inchers, and are anything but your run-of-the-mill pizzas. There’s the Chicken Oyster, Pork Pie, Winter Squash and Duck.

We opted for the Hearts & Flowers, mainly because we’re a hopeless romantic. That, and we saw the pizza on another table and it looked adorable. Our pie had beef heart, rose water and basil pesto, wildflower honey and mozzarella. Yes, we ordered it, anyway, and it was tasty as all get-out.

Radio City Pizzeria

Dibs on Wildflower Honey as a future band name.

Our only gripe with anything at Radio City Pizzeria had to do with the amount of flour used during the pizza-making process. Excess flour on the outer edges of the crust gave it a powdery texture and less-than-ideal flavor. Easy to fix. Just use less.

While Radio City Pizzeria doesn’t currently serve desserts, it’s just a matter of time. The manager says the whole menu is a work in progress, so there are likely to be more additions soon.

If you crave something sweet, we’d suggest one of the spiked egg cream drinks. Egg cream drinks have a fascinating history, so we obviously won’t be including that here because if it’s one thing this Las Vegas blog refuses to be known for, it’s fascinatingness.

Radio City Pizzeria Las Vegas

If this egg cream drink hadn’t been spiked, we’d be much better equipped to identify which egg cream drink it is.

With the food handled, Radio City Pizzeria has taken some real care in putting together its beverage menu.

The draft beer selection seems diverse and plentiful. We would not know, however, since we’ve never had a beer. Here’s the list. If you do know beer, you’re likely to lose your “noble rot” over Radio City Pizzeria’s selection of rare and aged beers. The full list.

The wine selection is surprisingly good for a pizza joint, even an elevated one.

There’s a selection of cocktails, from “Classics” like the Gen/Gen Mule, NY Sour and Bronx, Improved. There are also Spritz Aperitivos. We would not know an aperitivo if we fell into one. Here are your options.

Anyway, here’s another look at the place.

Radio City Pizzeria Vegas

There are plans to spruce up the restaurant’s patio. We have high hopes for another charming outdoor space like at The Park next door, or on the second floor of Commonwealth, or the upstairs patio at Carson Kitchen.

We’re not wrapping up this blog post until we give a shout-out to the clever overhead lamps pictured below. When tables are separate, for two people, the lights hang individually. But when tables are pushed together to make a four-top, the lights are stuck together.

Radio City Pizzeria downtown

Cleverness is even better than dessert sometimes.

If you’re not up for the full dining room experience, Radio City Pizzeria was also nice enough to install a walk-up window for slices. While the restaurant is open 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., the window for slices will be open late into the night.

Radio City Pizzeria

Your drunchies are about to be schooled. Slices run $3-4.

Overall, the revamped Radio City Pizzeria is a dramatic departure from the restaurant we previously came to know and ignore. It’s a worthy addition to the likes of the aforementioned Carson Kitchen and Downtown Container Park’s Perch, among others.

Thanks to our BBFFs (like “BFFs,” but between blogs) at Vegas Chatter for tipping us off to the rebranded Radio City Pizzeria. We’re glad we gave it another shot, and look forward to seeing what surprises the bar-restaurant have in store. Emphasis on bar, of course.

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Proposed Glitter Gulch Bar Could Mean the End of Iconic Golden Goose Sign

There are still a good number of hoops to be jumped through, but a proposed outdoor bar at downtown’s Glitter Gulch strip club could result in the demise of a vintage Las Vegas sign, that of the former Golden Goose casino.

Here’s a look at the proposed bar.

Glitter Gulch Bar rendering

The best thing about renderings is you can use Photoshop to erase the WTF.

The proposed bar would preserve the famous Vegas Vicki sign, but would appear to replace the old-school Golden Goose sign with a video display.

Here’s the current space involved with the Glitter Gulch proposal.

Golden Goose bar

There’s some serious Vegas happening up there. Let’s leave it unmucked with.

Since we work at Fremont Street Experience as our day job, we won’t weigh in on whether this bar should be allowed (it shouldn’t), but we will weigh in on pulling down one of the most fabulous signs on Fremont Street. Specifically, it would suck harder than a black hole that’s been held underwater for eight minutes. Or something.

Golden Goose

“The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs” is a famous fable. Another is “The All Net Arena’s Financing is Nearly in Place.”

The site of the Golden Goose sign has a long and storied history, most of which we’re likely to get wrong because we’ve been drinking.

Originally, the State Cafe stood at the Golden Goose location. After that, it was Buckley’s casino, then it became the Mecca Casino. Golden Goose opened in 1974, the same year “The Six Million Dollar Man” premiered. What that has to do with anything, we have no idea. It’s obvious you skimmed over the part about us drinking.

We’re a little protective of our home away from home (downtown Las Vegas), so we’ll be watching the progress of the proposed Glitter Gulch bar with great interest. We may also have to watch the progress from inside Glitter Gulch. The sacrifices we make for you.

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Rare Las Vegas Fail, Harmon Hotel Tower, is Officially Half Disappeared

The Harmon Hotel Spa and Residences at CityCenter Las Vegas was supposed to be 49 floors of luxury rooms and condos in the center of the glorious Las Vegas Strip. It turned out to be a rare Las Vegas fail of epic proportions. Now, it’s being torn down, floor by earthquake-vulnerable floor.

Ah, what might have been. Behold, the “before” photo.

Harmon Tower

The Las Vegas hotel that never was. On the bright side, no resort fees.

The defective building’s proximity to other buildings meant it couldn’t be imploded, so it’s being dismantled, and the dismantling process has cut the ill-fated Harmon tower down to half its original height.

Harmon tower Las Vegas

Blame it on the crane.

It’s a story that will live in Las Vegas infamy.

The Harmon is the only hotel in the history of Las Vegas that was unceremoniously pulled down, piece-by-piece, before it hosted even one guest or “direct to your room” dance party. Not that we have those in Las Vegas, of course.

Harmon tower Las Vegas

This photo was taken during an early stage of the demolition, just after the building began taking prescription drugs to help with its self-esteem issues.

The unconventional demolition of the Harmon tower is expected to cost $11.5 million plus gratuity. (Hey, it’s a Las Vegas.)

Harmon tower demolition

The Harmon hotel debacle could’ve taken years to resolve in court, but all the parties came to a settlement and now vacation together, sharing backrubs, long walks on the beach and bottomless frozen cocktails. No, wait, that’s the lawyers involved in he case, sorry.

So, as the Harmon disappears before our eyes, the saga of this unfortunate chapter in Las Vegas history is coming to a close. But not before we memorialize the Harmon with this awesome photo we had to wait 20 minutes to take because the Aria digital sign didn’t realize we have better things to do.

Harmon Tower demolition

Reading recent trends in Las Vegas, we predict the Harmon space will be filled with a nightclub, sports arena, pedestrian promenade or burger restaurant with a cult following on the east coast.

Here’s to wrongs righted, to FUBARs rebarred, to buildings being unbuilt and multi-million dollar projects summed up in one simple word: “D’oh.”

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