Monthly Archives: February 2016

Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 1: A Podcast is Bourne

Oh, now we’ve done it.

As if doing a blog weren’t trouble enough, we’re going to give podcasting a try.

In this inaugural episode, we fumble around aimlessly, touch upon some Las Vegas news, share a metric ass-ton of “Jason Bourne” spoilers and apologize for all the episodes to come.


Bourne Riviera crash

This blog got all up inside Jason Bourne’s business. Our podcast wasn’t going to miss out on the fun.

Please be patient with our utter lack of podcasting experience and talent. We’re moderately confident we’ll get better. Actual results may vary.

You always remember your first.

A Rare Peek Inside Gordon Ramsay’s Relationship With Caesars Entertainment

One of the upsides of filing bankruptcy is some inside stuff becomes public stuff. This is some of that stuff. And it involves a celebrity chef, none other than Gordon Ramsay.

Caesars Entertainment’s bankruptcy is complex, and the company is trying to juggle its obligations and relationships as the process sorts itself out.

One of those relationships is with Gordon Ramsay. Ramsay has three restaurants in Las Vegas with his name on them, and the Caesars bankruptcy has provided a unique opportunity to get all up inside the business dealings of these two parties.

Gordon Ramsay

This Las Vegas blog loves it some Gordon Ramsay, and his BurGR at Planet Hollywood puts out some of the best burgers in Sin City. No joke.

Caesars has negotiated a new contract with chef Ramsay that should save the company $144,000 a year. That includes fees paid to Ramsay for licensing his name.

Caesars Entertainment has 10-year deals with Ramsay, with optional five-year extensions. They allow Ramsay to develop the menus at his namesake eateries, but the contracts require the food be mainly “pub-style dishes.”

The chef is required to visit his Las Vegas locations at least once each year, for at least 24 consecutive hours.

Ramsay is contractually obligated to allow himself to be photographed at his restaurants.

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay shaking it at one of his biggest Las Vegas money-makers, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, Caesars pays Ramsay’s air transportation, either in first class commercially or via private jet.

Once Ramsay arrives, Caesars is obligated to provide him with three deluxe rooms, presumably at Caesars Palace, the location of Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill.

While the rooms are contractually free, Gordon Ramsay is responsible for incidental room charges, including room service. Ramsay does get a sweet 30% discount, however.

Now, we get a look into the juiciest part of the arrangement with Gordon Ramsay.

For his Las Vegas restaurants, Ramsay gets five percent of gross sales up to $10 million. Sales in the $10-15 million range earn a 5.5% cut, and sales of more than $15 million result in a 6% windfall.

By all accounts, Ramsay’s three restaurants in Las Vegas have been very successful. He’s got another on the way with Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips, opening in 2016 in The Linq promenade.

Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips Linq

Ramsay’s new restaurant was named Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips only after an unsuccessful bid by chip to get more prominent billing.

However, Caesars can end its relationship with Ramsay if the restaurants don’t hit sales targets. His Las Vegas restaurants must gross at least $8 million a year.

Perhaps the quirkiest part of this financial dance is the fact Caesars Entertainment can dump Gordon Ramsay if his company (wait for it) files for bankruptcy.

Bourne 5 Car Chase Stunt Uses Bally’s Las Vegas Ramp as Launch Pad

Filming of the latest installment of the Jason Bourne movie franchise, titled “Jason Bourne,” is about to wrap in Las Vegas, but not before a few more awesome stunts.

The bulk of filming in Las Vegas has been a high-speed chase down Las Vegas Boulevard. The chase will appear in the action-heavy final third of the untitled film.

Bourne 5 car jump

Security was extraordinarily tight at the Bourne 5 shoot, so we’re unable to share the photo you’re currently viewing.

On Feb. 3, 2016, and the wee hours of Feb. 4 (we stayed up until 5:00 a.m. so you didn’t have to), the film’s second unit filmed a car jump stunt on the ramp at Bally’s Las Vegas.

The crew did a test at Bally’s weeks ago, and we’d heard the scene had been nixed by director Paul Greengrass, but apparently it’s back in. The more Vegas the better!

Matt Damon Bourne 5

Matt Damon’s chase car, looking a bit rough because the car’s taken some previous hits during the pursuit, gets prepped for the jump. The Bourne 5 star did some of his own driving during a sequence at Aria.

Here’s exclusive video of the stunt at Bally’s Las Vegas, as Jason Bourne, in a black Dodge Charger, pursued by police cars, attempts to stop a SWAT van (the one he’s been chasing on The Strip).

While Bourne misses the SWAT vehicle in this take, an earlier take had the Charger hitting the SWAT car, so expect that version in the film.

Bourne Betrayal jump stunt

The shoot at Bally’s involved more than 100 crew members, dozens of chilly extras (temps dropped to freezing) and about 50 cars and drivers.

Principal photography has ended in Las Vegas, so don’t expect to see Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmed or the other stars of the movie on-set this week.

Bourne car jump stunt

Most of the cars in the sequence had human drivers, but one car was too close to the action, so the task fell to this legless mannequin hoping to get his SAG card.

The grand finale of the weeks of shooting in Las Vegas is expected to be a doozy.

Check out all our “Jason Bourne” coverage, including more photos, video and spoilers even Variety, Hollywood Reporter and TMZ don’t know about.

Tiesto Light Show Debuts at Fremont Street Experience

Bigtime DJ Tiesto recently got his own fountain show at Bellagio, and now the Dutch import has a show featuring his hits on the Viva Vision screen at Fremont Street Experience.

The Tiesto light show debuts at downtown’s Fremont Street Experience on Feb. 3, 2016. As if we were going to wait. If you can’t do a security breach at your own job, where can you do one?

The new light show features three of Tiesto’s songs, “Secrets,” “Red Lights” and “Wasted.” The show is called “Tiesto – A Town Called Paradise,” after his 2014 album of the same name.

“Red Lights” and “Wasted” were Tiesto’s first two gold singles in the U.S., which we knew off the top of our head immediately after reading Tiesto’s page on Wikipedia.

That’s also where we learned his name uses two dots over the “e.” Which we thought was an umlaut, but the ä in bär is an umlaut, but the ë in Tiësto is a diaeresis. There are surprisingly many things to be learned from electric dance music. That doesn’t mean we’re going back and adding a diaeresis to Tiesto’s name in this story, but at least now we know the name of the thing we’re not doing properly.

Tiesto Las Vegas

Tiesto’s real name is Tijs Michiel Verwest. Good luck pronouncing that without injuring yourself.

The three Tiesto songs in the new Viva Vision show have a combined 212 million views on YouTube.

Among Tiesto’s accomplishments, he was the first DJ to play live onstage at the Olympics (in 2004) and was among the first celebrity DJs to earn what would later be dubbed a “metric ass-ton of money” doing gigs at nightclubs like Hakkasan and Omnia in Las Vegas.

Here’s a little “Secrets” action.

Tiesto’s new Viva Vision light show joins Imagine Dragons as a recent addition to the line-up at Fremont Street Experience (where this blog works in marketing as our day job). And about time. All due respect, Bon Jovi.

The Tiesto light show was created by the same Montreal-based multimedia company as the Imagine Dragons show, Moment Factory.

At five football fields long, the Viva Vision screen at Fremont Street Experience is the largest in the U.S. and second largest in the world after Harmony Times Square in Suzhou, China. Thanks for ruining everything, China.

The new Tiesto show will run nightly at 11:00 p.m. Check the official Fremont Street Experience calendar for seasonal time changes. Otherwise, come on down and dance like nobody’s watching. Believe us, everyone else is.

In other Fremont Street Experience news, we were the first to report (hey, we work there) Patrick Hughes has been named the new President of Fremont Street Experience, replacing former President Jeff Victor. Hughes is currently Vice President and General Manager of Cannery Casino & Hotel in North Las Vegas. Hughes formerly worked at Boulder Station, New York-New York, Desert Inn and The Resort at Summerlin (Rampart Casino).

Dates Announced for Life is Beautiful Music Festival 2016

The Life is Beautiful music festival has announced its dates for 2016. The event will indeed return Sep. 23-25, 2016.

Life is Beautiful 2016

The 30-second Life is Beautiful 2016 date announcement was made after a two-hour long “art battle.”

A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be made available starting Feb. 4, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

The artist line-up has yet to be announced, but the festival looking to have its first profitable (or at least break-even) year in 2016.

Last year’s Life is Beautiful festival featured Duran Duran. And possibly some other acts, but mainly Duran Duran.

Interestingly, the popular Daytime Village at the iHeartRadio Music Festival happens Sep. 24, 2016. See more.

Find out more about downtown’s Life is Beautiful 2016 at

Britney Impersonator in “Divas Las Vegas” Joins Cast of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” is an absolute hoot, and the drag queen spectacular’s eighth season features a Las Vegas performer, Derrick Barry.

Derrick Barry impersonates Britney Spears in Frank Marino’s “Divas Las Vegas” at the Linq Hotel & Casino, formerly The Quad and Imperial Palace.

Derrick Barry

We prefer Derrick Barry as Britney over the actual Britney.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” is a reality competition show and is the highest-rated show on Logo TV.

Derrick Barry will be one of a dozen drag queens vying to become “America’s next drag superstar.” Here’s the full slate of contestants.

Derrick Barry

Barry is no stranger to TV. He made a splash on season three of “America’s Got Talent.” He’s been a performer on The Strip for more than a decade.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” premieres March 7, 2016, and we’ll be rooting for our hometown favorite as he lip-syncs for his life. Or her life. It’s complicated.