Monthly Archives: April 2016

Riviera’s Iconic Sign is Removed, Set for Restoration in Reno

The iconic neon “Riviera” has been removed from the facade of the now-closed Las Vegas hotel.

The unmistakable lettering was carefully taken down piece by piece by the Federal Heath Sign company, and a neon sign collector is expected to restore it.

Riviera sign

While not commonly known, “Riviera” got its name because it’s an anagram for “I arrive.” Then again, it may not be commonly known because we just made that up.

Some Las Vegas media have reported the removed sign will end up in the Neon Museum, but this particular element of Riviera’s classic facade is going to a sign collector, Will Durham.

Durham hopes to raise the funds needed to publicly display his collection of neon signs in Reno, Nevada.

Durham’s crowd-sourcing page says of the Riviera, “We cannot save the structures but we can save the most identifiable architectural elements, the neon signs. For the last year we have been working with the LVCVA to arrange for the preservation of two very important signs before the buildings are demolished.”

Here’s the former Riviera sign in all its glory. The Riviera sign replaced another for “Splash,” a show that closed in October 2006. Take a look.

Riviera Las Vegas

Sadly, to save this entire Las Vegas facade, they’d need another wing at the Neon Museum.

Read more about Will Durham’s plans for the Riviera’s classic signage. Durham plans to rescue another Riviera sign, one on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Riviera Blvd.

Durham says the Riviera signs “will be safely stored until they are installed in a major exhibition that celebrates Nevada’s neon heritage currently under development.”

Let’s hope all that comes to fruition.

Riviera Las Vegas hotel casino

Don’t cry because it’s over. Cry because it’s not humanly possible to procreate with neon. Probably.

The Riviera is set to be demolished at a cost of nearly $44 million.

The hotel’s two towers will presumably be imploded at separate times, one in June and another in August 2016.

Although, those with a knowledge of new OSHA rules about “respirable crystalline silica” seem to think Las Vegas hotel tower implosions are now as likely as magician Jan Rouven being hired as a nanny.

Riviera neon sign

This beauty ended up at the Neon Museum, sans the gorgeous vertical tubes. They need to invent a sad emoticon just for situations like this.

Fun fact: It’s estimated there are more than 15,000 miles of neon in Las Vegas.

Following the hotel’s demolition, the site will be used for an expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Which, according to our calculations, is approximately a bajillion times less fun than even the most run-down Las Vegas casino.

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 10: The Park Walk-Through, Donut Bar and 10 Great Ways to Blow Your Wad in Las Vegas

In this 10th and possibly final episode of the Vital Vegas Podcast, we stroll the Las Vegas Strip’s newest pedestrian promenade, The Park. Yes, all of it. Front to back, top to bottom, like we’re a TSA agent and The Park is taking the red-eye to Amsterdam. Or something.

Bliss Dance The Park Las Vegas

We’re going to need a bigger penis. Or something.

Our walk in The Park had a few surprises, even to us. First, we bumped into unintentional guest and Las Vegas media superstar, Johnny Kats of the Las Vegas Sun.

Then, we chatted with hottie, sweetheart and musician Lydia Ansel.

Lydia Ansel

Las Vegas musician and boot-wearer Lydia Ansel makes a surprise appearance on this week’s podcast, and we’ve never been sorrier it’s not a vlog.

Our “Listicle of the Week” is “10 Great Ways to Blow Your Wad in Las Vegas,” highlighting over-the-top ways to spend ridiculous amounts of money on only-in-Vegas experiences.

10 Great Ways to Blow Your Wad in Vegas

1. The $777 burger at Burger Brasserie. The $777 includes champagne, or just get the burger for $77.

2. Drive really, really fast at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. It’s a blast, even at $499 for eight laps and $2,699 for 50 laps.

Richard Petty Driving Experience

Your missile awaits.

3. Down $700 shots of cognac at Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace.

4. Try the $250,000 Hyde Bellagio experience. That price tag gets you Ace of Spades champagne, swag and you get to press the button that starts the Bellagio’s iconic fountains.

5. Taste the $10,000 Ono cocktail at Encore’s XS Nightclub.

6. Join the Mile High Club with a flight on Love Cloud. It’s a charter aircraft service that costs $1,399 for 90 minutes of private time, or about 89 minutes more than this blog needs, if you get our drift.

Love Cloud

The Love Cloud aircraft is a six seat Cessna 421. And by “seat,” of course, we mean pillow.

7. Get the four-hand massage at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental. That’s two massage therapists for one hour and 50 minutes, for $620. Encore has a four-hander, too, and costs $560, but that treatment is only an hour and 20 minutes.

8. Stay in a ridiculous Las Vegas suite: There’s one at the Palms with half a basketball court and another with two bowling lanes ($25,000, pictured below), and the Octavius Tower Villas at Caesars go for about $40,000 per night. Lower-priced options include the Nobu Penthouse ($3,100 to start), Sky Suites at Aria ($3,500-$7,500) and Presidential suite at Bellagio (starts at $5,000/night).

Palms Kingpin Suite

The Kingpin Suite at Palms boasts a supply of bowling shoes, a wet bar, pool table and butler service. You go, Vegas.

9. Rent Mandalay Beach. That’s right, the whole thing. A basic $15,000 package gets you a private barbecue and outdoor movie. There’s $100,000 package, though, that includes a live concert.

10. Go big or go home by playing a $5,000 per coin Red, White and Blue slot machine at Aria. It’s pretty common to find $500 per coin machines in Las Vegas. Either way, even modest wins on these machines can reap great rewards.

And here’s a bonus way to blow your dough in Sin City.

11. Host a private party at Drai’s Beach Night Club atop the Cromwell. For a mere $737,000, you and 50 friends will be flown into Vegas on a Boeing 737. The package includes a 30-liter bottle of Armand de Brignac Ace of Spade Midas and a 15-liter bottle of Armand de Brignac Ace of Spade Rose Nebudchanezar, whatever that might be. Oh, and 100 bottles of Don Perignon. You and your party will also get their own a three-and-a-half minute fireworks show.

You’re welcome!

Also on this week’s podcast, we’ve also got an interview with Jeff Thomas, one of the co-owners of the new Donut Bar, adjacent to Carson Kitchen in downtown Las Vegas.

Donut Bar Las Vegas

Once we introduce you to Donut Bar, there will soon be more of you to love.

It’s an action-packed, calorie-rich show, so take a listen.

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 9: Claire Sinclair, The Park, Vegas Visitor Facts and Much, Much Less

In this, the miraculous ninth episode of the Vital Vegas Podcast, we chat with genetically-gifted “Pinup” star Claire Sinclair.

The former Playboy Playmate of the Year just hit her three-year anniversary in Stratosphere’s “Pinup” (she was just 21 when the show launched), a run that’s surprised everyone, including Sinclair. Oh, how she’s grown.

Having the pulchritudinous Claire Sinclair on a podcast is like never exceeding the speed limit in your Lamborghini, but it’s worth a listen, anyway.

Claire Sinclair

Claire Sinclair once earned a living as a busker on Hollywood Boulevard, dressing as Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” for tips.

We also talk about The Park and Park Theater with the person overseeing the massive mid-Strip project, Joyen Vakil, Senior Vice President of Design and Development for MGM Resorts International.

Vakil is the one who decided the Park Theater would interact better with The Park restaurant district (between Monte Carlo and New York-New York) if the theater faced the other direction. So, he had it flipped. No, really.

Park Theater Las Vegas

The current state of the 5,000-seat Park Theater. Watch your ass, Colosseum.

We also dive headlong into the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority’s insightful 2015 Las Vegas Visitor Profile Study. Hint: They’re talking about you.

We also toot our own horn (which, we realize, can cause vision problems and hairy palms if not done in moderation) about the fact we’ve had 10,000 downloads of our little dog and pony show. Thank you for listening.

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20 Surprising Facts About Las Vegas Visitors

The Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority has released its wildly entertaining “2015 Las Vegas Visitor Profile Report Thingy.”

Las Vegas Visitor study

The visitor profile is provided annually, so lubrication is recommended.

Assuming you’re a Las Vegas visitor, and why wouldn’t you be, here are some interesting facts about you, your habits, your preferences and possibly your groove.

1. A hefty 16% of 2015 visitors said they were first-time visitors to Las Vegas.

2. Vegas visitors who said they were married: 79%.

Las Vegas Wedding Wagon

Not married? There’s a portable wedding service in Las Vegas that brings the wedding to you.

3. Visitors who said they make $40,000 or more: 85%.

4. Of those surveyed, 65% were 40 or older (the average age of a typical Vegas visitor in 2015 was 47.7).

5. Sixteen percent of visitors in 2015 were from a foreign country.

6. Percentage of Las Vegas visitors who attended shows during their stay: 61%.

7. Las Vegas visitors who gambled spent an average of 2.9 hours per day gambling. The vast majority of those people won big, and that’s the story Las Vegas is sticking to.

8. The average gambling budget of a visitor to Las Vegas in 2015 was $578.54.

Blackjack peeper

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino table games. The mirror dealers use to check their “hold” card is called a “peeper.” See more blackjack trivia.

9. A substantial 73% of visitors said they gambled while in Las Vegas, but that’s down from 77% in 2011.

10. Over the course of their Las Vegas stay, visitors spent an average of $292 for food and drink.

11. Visitors in 2015 stayed an average of 3.4 nights in Las Vegas.

12. The average party size of Las Vegas visitors was 2.2. So, lots of amputees, apparently.

13. The majority of visitors, 63%, said they used the Internet to plan their trip. Smart-ass blogs for the win!

14. Las Vegas visitors who arrived via ground transportation: 57%.

15. A respectable 56% of visitors in 2015 said they have a college diploma.

16. Las Vegas visitors who come from California: 29%.

17. Las Vegas visitors who are retired: 24%.

18. Visitors spent an average of $102.64 for lodging during their stay.

Las Vegas pink motel

Yes, Las Vegas has something for everyone. It even has a pink motel. See more.

19. About a third of Las Vegas visitors, 32% to be precise, visited downtown during their trip.

20. Ten percent of those surveyed said the primary purpose of their trip was to gamble.

Surprised?

Here’s a bonus bit of trivia from the LVCVA: Las Vegas tourists drank 43.2 million gallons of booze last year. Good going!

Now, if you’d like to see some truly fascinating facts about Las Vegas visitors, check out our Las Vegas Sex Survey.

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Station Casinos Ban Bingo Call of “O-69” to Avoid Offending Sensitive Players

Nine popular Las Vegas casinos have implemented a new policy to avoid offending “sensitive players.”

As of April 1, 2016, bingo callers at Station Casinos throughout the Las Vegas Valley are no longer permitted to make the bingo call of “O-69,” presumably because it sounds too much like “Oh, 69,” which can be construed as sexually suggestive.

A Station representative states, “The call in question can be disruptive to the tranquility of our bingo rooms, and is sometimes alarming to our valued guests. We love our customers, especially locals, and have adjusted our bingo practices and procedures accordingly.”

Bingo O-69

You can’t spell “bingo” without “go,” and Station Casinos has decided O-69 has got to go.

Following the decision to ban the “O-69” call, Station Casinos has instructed its bingo callers to express the call in less suggestive ways.

The Station rep explains, “Players can, as always, see the call on our digital boards, but callers have also been given alternatives to communicating the number audibly. For example, a caller can say ‘O, then a six and a nine.’ Another option would be to say, ‘Six followed by nine, preceded by the letter O.’ Our bingo team has found these calls to be equally effective while preserving the library-like atmosphere the majority of our guests prefer.”

Stations Casinos locations are off the Las Vegas Strip and cater mainly to locals. Bingo players have traditionally skewed toward an older demographic.

The company’s casinos include Red Rock Casino, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Sunset Station, Boulder Station, Santa Fe Station, Fiesta and others.

Bingo dauber

Fun fact: The most popular dauber color in Las Vegas casinos is purple.

Some assert the actions of Station Casinos is knee-jerk political correctness and could discourage patronage by younger players, a critical source of potential bingo revenue for casinos.

“WTF?” said one Millennial. “I mean, bingo would be perf if we could laugh and talk while we drink, but you get these looks from the older players. Now, they’re taking away one of the highlights of the whole game? That’s not on fleek. That’s boof.”

While some backlash about the “O-69” decision is to be expected, Station Casino officials are confident they know their customers well, and anticipate the majority of feedback will be positive.

“Our hope is some of the consternation from guests will be mitigated,” said the Station Casinos rep. “Craps dealers use the word ‘yo’ instead of ‘eleven’ because it bothers some players [because ‘eleven’ can be mistaken for ‘seven’]. This is no different. There are more appropriate places for tittering. We’re committed to keeping our bingo rooms titter-free.”

Prologue: April Fools. Like we need to spend more time in the company of lawyers.

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CDC Confirms Outbreak of Benjamin Button Disease Among Las Vegas Performers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as CDC, has confirmed Las Vegas is in the throes of a “Level 1” outbreak of Benjamin Button Disease. Level 1 is the CDC’s highest level of response, reserved for critical emergencies.

Benjamin Button Disease is a rare malady where victims age backwards. The disease was highlighted in the 2008 film, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.

The CDC has apparently been tracking cases of Benjamin Button Disease among Las Vegas headliners for some time, and provided extensive visual documentation of its findings at a recent media briefing.

Marie Osmond Benjamin Button

Beloved Flamingo headliner Marie Osmond, 56, is one of the Las Vegas performers suffering from full-blown Benjamin Button Disease.

The long-term health and psychological effects of Benjamin Button Disease are unknown, and there is currently no treatment.

Matt Goss

Growing more youthful over time sounds appealing, but for many, it can also lead to confusion, a distorted sense of self and, in some cases, a condition known as “douchebaggery.”

“The number of Las Vegas performers exhibiting backward aging syndrome is alarming,” said one CDC official. “We are currently doing an analysis of their dietary and other habits to determine if there are commonalities. At the moment, we have found vanity as a trait in common, as well as a fondness for certain computer software programs, especially one manufactured by Adobe. We don’t have enough information to officially assign blame at this time, but we’re getting there.”

Officials of Adobe, makers of Photoshop, were unavailable for comment.

Celine Dion Photoshop

Singer Celine Dion is 48 in regular human years, but sadly doesn’t look a day over 14. Thankfully, Celine was very popular when she was 14.

Benjamin Button Disease continues to baffle medical authorities.

Interestingly, the disease isn’t limited to those who have performed in Las Vegas a long time, such as Frank Marino.

Frank Marino

Frank Marino, 52, is a female impersonator, so your contention our coverage of this story is sexist is clearly warranted.

The ailment can also affect those with relatively recent residencies, as in the case of Mariah Carey.

Mariah Carey Photoshop

Maria Carey, 46, tragically shows the effects of this horrible disease, including sudden and inexplicable weight loss, whiter teeth and smooth, tanned skin.

Even those who perform infrequently in Las Vegas seem to suffer from the disease’s symptoms, leading officials to believe the disease could be highly contagious.

Comedian and “Saturday Night Live” alum Dana Carvey appears only occasionally in Las Vegas, but a recent portrait shows he has acute and obvious symptoms of aging backwards.

Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey, 60, has the appearance of someone in a high school band class.

Which begs the question: Will touring performers avoid Las Vegas due to concerns about the Benjamin Button outbreak? Perhaps, if they see the ravages of the disease on recent performers like Martin Short, 66.

Martin Short

The humanity.

Las Vegas officials are said to be working closely with the CDC to determine an appropriate course of action in regard to the ongoing Benjamin Button Disease outbreak in Las Vegas.

Some have suggested interventions with the afflicted performers, taking into account the emotional impact many experience when aging normally.

For now, the CDC and regional authorities are keeping a close eye on this worrisome Las Vegas epidemic.

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