Monthly Archives: July 2017

“The Miss Behave Game Show” is a Bawdy, Boisterous Bash at Bally’s Las Vegas

A new show, “The Miss Behave Game Show,” has opened at Bally’s Las Vegas, and it’s an offbeat, rowdy, irreverent evening of interactive entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip.

Miss Behave Game Show at Bally's

We probably should’ve said “Spoiler alert.”

The “Miss Behave Game Show” production is a relatively modest endeavor, with a streamlined cast of four and a no-frills set, mainly comprised of Sharpie scrawls on pieces of cardboard.

Miss Behave Game Show

We are not making this up. The entire set cost upwards of $14.

What the show lacks in Las Vegas spectacle it more than makes up for in originality, audaciousness and audience enthusiasm.

The show takes place in a little-known space at Bally’s, the recently-converted Back Room, adjacent to the casino’s Indigo Lounge. The discreet entrance is in the walkway to BLT Steakhouse, just across from Tequila Taqueria Bar & Grill.

Upon entry to the theater space, guests are split into two halves, depending upon what kind of smartphone they use. At the performance we attended, it was “iPhones” and “Everybody Else.” (Technically, the “Others.”)

Miss Behave Game Show

There’s a 90% chance you’re one of those “I don’t do audience participation” people. There’s also a 90% chance you’ll get over yourself at “The Miss Behave Game Show.”

That audience split sets the stage for a game show-inspired format where the groups complete in dozens of cleverly-themed “rounds,” vying for the most points and bragging rights.

“The Miss Behave Game Show” is hosted by a character named (wait for it) Miss Behave, played by multi-talented comedian Amy Saunders.

Saunders is brash, brilliant at improv and manages to keep the often raucous proceedings on course.

Saunders’ silent sidekick and assistant (at left, below), Tiffany, is played by Bret Pfister.

Miss Behave Game Show

Now, you don’t even have to attend to be part of the show. Careful, though, if you text this number, yours is likely to appear on a screen everyone at the show can see.

The show seems to have a large gay following (longtime Strip female impersonator Frank Marino was in the audience during our visit), due in no small part to the charismatic flair and flirtation of Pfister.

Miss Behave Game Show Bally's

We’re sitting down and we just herniated something.

While the production is a showcase for the talents of Amy Saunders, there are two stand-alone variety acts thrown into the mix to shake things up.

First, there’s Marawa the Amazing (real name, Marawa Wamp).

Her few minutes onstage don’t do her hula hoop wizardry justice, but that’s why Al Gore invented the Internet.

Miss Behave Game Show Bally's

Wamp holds the world record for keeping 200 hula hoops aloft at once. Her site says she currently holds eight world records.

Another amusing, bewildering diversion in the show is billed as the Evil Hate Monkey.

The hirsute Evil Hate Monkey is part ballerino and part stripper. It’s impossible to describe, so we won’t even try.

One of the most remarkable feats on the “Miss Behave” stage is when the tutu-wearing Evil Hate Monkey repeatedly jumps up and down “en pointe,” like it’s no big deal. It’s a throw-away sequence that shows the depth of the talent in this deceptively frivolous show.

Miss Behave Evil Hate Monkey

So much WTF, so little time.

The laughs come fast-and-furious in “The Miss Behave Game Show,” and the sheer number of “rounds” means even if one falls flat, there are other killer segments to come.

Part of the fun of the show is the fact there are no “rules,” per se. At various times, audience members just shout out requests for more points, and Miss Behave often grants their requests. Get greedy, though, and she’ll take points away.

Rounds include themes like “The Laid Lottery” (audience members stand, and sit based upon how long it’s been since they’ve had sex), “You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Selfie’s About You” (audience members take selfies and text them to a number provided), “Stand Up Last” (last person to stand gets a point for their team), “The Age Lottery” (last one standing is the oldest in the room) and “Shout Loudest” (this isn’t rocket science).

The rounds, or “games,” are inventive and the only downside is guests who have seen the show previously sometimes ruin the twists, but then again, no rules, and cheating is encouraged.

Miss Behave Game Show Bally's

Suck it, Dave Chappelle. Everybody get your phones out.

Ultimately, “The Miss Behave Game Show” is a wild night out, the perfect playground for tipsy tourists to lower their inhibitions and become part of the show.

As the show progresses, audience members become bolder, and because of that, no two performances will ever be the same.

The party atmosphere is amplified as entire portions of the show are devoted to simply playing iconic hit songs as the performers, and many audience members, just boogie.

The show culminates with a chaotic ball fight. No, the plastic kind. Freak.

“The Miss Behave Game Show” is a cheeky, subversive and sexy breath of fresh air, and well worth a look during your next Las Vegas visit.

See “The Miss Behave Game Show” Wednesday through Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $49.99. Find out more at the official Web site.

You may want to get your drink on before arriving at the show. Our Captain Morgan and diet at the bar inside the venue was $15. On the bright side, shots of a colorful, unknown liquor were distributed during the show for as little as a $1 tip.

Miss Behave Game Show at Bally's

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Slots-A-Fun Casino Dangles Sexy Marketing Ploy

Slots-A-Fun at Circus Circus, one of the most adorable casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, has come up with a clever marketing strategy to grab the attention of passersby.

The casino typically urges guests to “Play, Win, Drink,” but the strategic placement of a video screen on its facade conveys a different, more enticing message.

Slots-A-Fun Las Vegas

Now, that’s how you Vegas.

“Lay, Win, Drink” isn’t the typical order of our Las Vegas activities, but when it Vegas, it’s smart to be flexible.

If you get our drift.

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Fontainebleau Las Vegas Finally Gets a Wrap

The abandoned Fontainebleau Las Vegas is a pig that’s finally getting some lipstick.

After years of prodding by Las Vegas officials, the bajillionaire owner of Fontainebleau, Carl Icahn, has dispached crews to install a wrap intended to make the second tallest building in Las Vegas less of an eyesore.

Fontainebleau wrap

Our apologies to pigs.

While “Fontainebleau” is a French word (the name was inspired by a French castle), pronounced “fonten-blo,” the brand is pronounced “fountain blue” in America.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas sits across Las Vegas Boulevard from Circus Circus. You sort of can’t miss it.

The site was formerly home to the El Rancho casino, and before that the Thunderbird and Silverbird. Ever since Fontainebleau’s plug was pulled in 2009 due to bankruptcy, you might say it’s been giving us all the bird.

The structure looms large on The Strip, and was to have 3,875 hotel rooms and condo units, as well as a whopping 24 restaurants and lounges.

The mind reels at what might have been.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas wrap

Fun fact: You can get a taste of what might have been at downtown’s Plaza hotel. Plaza acquired much of the furnishings in its rooms as Fontainebleau was selling off its assets.

Fontainebleau was about 70 percent complete when construction was halted, and it’s estimated $2 billion was sunk into the building.

Carl Icahn swooped in to buy the Fontainebleau in November 2010.

While there have been repeated rumors about potential buyers for Fontainebleau Las Vegas, nothing concrete has materialized. Rumors of a sale have intensified lately, mainly because we’ve been intensifying them. Word has it there’s renewed interest in Fontainebleau thanks to signs of progress at the nearby Resorts World.

Fontainebleau wrap

Fontainebleau was going to have 48 elevators, several of which may have even worked. It’s Las Vegas.

From what we hear, finding a buyer for Fontainebleau hasn’t been the crux of the problem. The real issue is the buyer must not only have the assets to acquire the project, but must also have the resources to finish it.

In June 2016, the asking price for Fontainebleau was $650 million.

It’s been estimated completing the Fontainebleau project (or whatever the new owners would call it) would run in the ballpark of $1.2 billion.

In the meantime, Las Vegas officials (Clark County officials, technically) have badgered Carl Icahn into spending about $500,000 to wrap some of the exposed sections on the west and south sides of Fontainebleau.

Installation of the wrap commenced on July 25, 2017. We’ll keep an eye on the place as the installation progresses.

This isn’t the first time a Las Vegas hotel has used a wrap to disguise unfinished construction. Most Las Vegas visitors breeze right by the stalled St. Regis Residences at the Venetian. Take a look.

St. Regis Residences at Venetian

This wrap at Venetian disguising unfinished construction illustrates things in Sin City aren’t always as they appear. Just ask Frank Marino.

It’s great to see Fontainebleau Las Vegas gussied up a bit, and not just because we’re a fan of gussying. Seriously, when was the last time you gussied something? We blame it on Millennials. Or possibly social media. Or possibly immigrants, who, we don’t have to tell you, are taking all our good gussying.

While wrapping the lower part of Fontainebleau is a welcome revulsion abatement strategy, we’re hoping rumors of an impending sale turn out to be based in fact.

Like the fact the Fontainebleau would’ve had 6,012 parking spaces, or about 2.5 times the number planned for the 65,000-seat Raiders stadium coming to Las Vegas.

Don’t get us started.

Update (7/26/17): Overnight, additional panels were added to the west side of Fontainebleau.

Fontainebleau wrap

You’d think we have better things to do than monitor Fontainebleau’s wrap. You’d think.

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 56: So Much Vegas, You’ll Need an Extra Suitcase for All the Dopamine

It’s time for another unfulfilling episode of the podcast of the eighth most popular blog in Las Vegas!

This week, we’ve wrangled all the Las Vegas news you need to get the most from your next visit.

Learn more about the demolition at 18 Fremont, the expansion of Golden Gate, the unraveling merger of SBE Entertainment and Hakkasan and more.

18 Fremont demolition

There’s a party happening at the site of the former Glitter Gulch and Las Vegas Club, and we’re the doorman. Or something.

We’ve also got stories pilfered from real journalists! They include tidbits about two new Las Vegas shows, “Revive” and “Opium,” as well as details about SLS snagging 13 Aliante executives, Otheroom opening at the Forum Shops, Ping Pang Pong revealing its expansion at Gold Coast, Downtown Grand’s new hotel tower and a slew of other gems.

Naturally, we’ve got a metric ass-ton of unsubstantiated rumors, as well as the random interruptions of a hooch-fueled prospector.

Take a listen and see why the Vital Vegas Podcast has been called “inspired,” “illuminating,” “transformative” and several others terms we just plucked out of a thesaurus. Yes, those still exist.

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No Resort Fees Rally Tops List of 10 Regrettable Las Vegas Mistakes

Las Vegas gets a lot right. When it screws up, it does it in a big way.

The anniversary of a “No Resort Fees” rally by Caesars Entertainment reminded us Las Vegas isn’t perfect, so here are some of our favorite all-time Las Vegas fails.

1. No Resort Fees Rally

On July 21, 2011, Caesars Entertainment hosted a massive rally on The Strip to promote the company’s “No Resort Fees” policy. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Not long after, though, economic pressure forced the company to reverse its policy. The awkwardness lingers to this day.

No resort fees rally

The “No Resort Fees” rally featured a bevy of “angry showgirls.” Showgirls always travel in bevies.

2. Harmon Tower

In Las Vegas, it’s go big or go home. Few Las Vegas gaffes were as big as the construction, and deconstruction, of the Harmon tower at CityCenter. The building went up in 2008, and was supposed to be 47 stories tall. Construction defects caused the building to be capped at 26, and eventually the whole building was taken down, floor by agonizing floor, at the cost of millions. See the whole demolition of Harmon Tower, beginning to humiliating end.

Harmon tower

What goes up, in the case of Harmon tower, came right back down.

3. Skyvue Observation Wheel

Las Vegas was built on big dreams, but not all those dreams come true. Construction on the 476-foot Skyvue observation wheel, which was to be located across from Mandalay Bay, began in 2012, but the project was soon abandoned due to a lack of financing. To this day, two concrete towers serve to memorialize this Sin City folly.

SkyVue Ferris wheel

A Las Vegas monument to sad.

4. Lion Entrance at MGM Grand

Las Vegas mistakes are anything but a recent phenomenon. MGM Grand originally welcomed guests through the mouth of a massive lion. Only after the resort had been operating awhile did the owners realize Asian gamblers considered the entrance bad luck. The original lion’s head was removed and replaced with a lion statue.

MGM Grand lion

MGM Grand’s lion stands 45 feet tall and is the biggest bronze statue in the country. It’s also a reminder of one of the biggest Las Vegas facepalms, ever.

5. Imperial Palace Becomes The Quad

Speaking of ticking off Asian gamblers, the law of unintended consequences was in full view with Imperial Palace was renamed The Quad. The name was meant to evoke the fun, youthful spirit of a college social space. “Quad,” though, also represents “four,” considered an unlucky number by Asian gamblers. In 2013, we were the first to share The Quad would be renamed, at substantial cost, to The Linq.

The Quad

The paint barely had time to dry before The Quad was renamed The Linq.

6. Bill’s Nearly Named Gansevoort

When Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon closed for a major renovation, it was supposed to re-open as Gansevoort. The casino owner, Caesars Entertainment, had to make a serious course correction when it was discovered by gaming regulators that a Gansevoort investor was connected to Russian organized crime. The renovated boutique hotel opened as The Cromwell in 2014.

Gansevoort

Gansevoort always sounded like the noise resulting from an intestinal disorder, so it all worked out for the best.

7. Sam Nazarian Abandons Ship

SBE Entertainment CEO Sam Nazarian had dreams of running a Las Vegas casino and seemed ready to do just that when the Sahara transformed into SLS Las Vegas. Nazarian ran into trouble when he applied for a gaming license, though. The Nevada Gaming Control Board dug into Nazarian’s past and what they found wasn’t pretty. Nazarian ended up selling his 10% stake in SLS and bailed on his fleeting plans to become a Las Vegas casino mogul. Side note: Nazarian recently announced SBE would merge with Hakkasan. We’ve heard that deal has fallen apart, so Sam Nazarian’s run of bad luck in Las Vegas appears to be ongoing.

Sam Nazarian

Fail: Gaming license. Win: Supermodel wife.

8. Stardust Imploded for Echelon Place

It’s a chapter in Las Vegas history many would like to forget, but one of our favorite Strip resorts, Stardust, closed on Nov. 1, 2006 and was imploded on Mar. 13, 2007, to make way for a $4 billion resort, Echelon Place. The economic downturn caused that ambitious project to be abandoned. On the bright side, the bones of the Echelon project will serve as the foundation for a new Las Vegas resort, Resorts World. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Resorts World crane

There’s a lone crane at the former Echelon site, so hope reigns.

9. Fontainebleau Resort Las Vegas

The unfinished Fontainebleau Resort is easily the most visible sign of an epic mistake in all of Las Vegas. That’s because while Fontainebleau never opened, it’s still the second tallest structure in Las Vegas. In an all-too-familiar scenario, construction of Fontainebleau was halted in 2009 when the project went into bankruptcy. Rumors persist a new owner has taken interest in Fontainebleau, but we’ll believe it when we see it.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas

Las Vegas is always throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Sometimes, it’s really, really expensive spaghetti.

10. Skill-Based Slot Machines and eSports

The final entry on our list of Las Vegas mistakes remains a work-in-progress. Casinos, in a desperate attempt to remain relevant to younger gamblers (especially those pesky Millennials), are betting on skill-based slot machines and eSports to save the day. This miscalculation has resulted in skill-based slots nobody’s playing and a disaster-in-the-making; Luxor recently announced its closed LAX nightclub will be turned into an eSports arena. Let’s just say we’re going to need more faces and more palms.

eSports Arena Las Vegas

Downtown’s Neonopolis already has an eSports arena, pictured above, and Downtown Grand has an eSports lounge in its former Commissary restaurant space. Unjustified optimism is utterly adorable.

If you love Las Vegas, you also have to embrace it glorious blunders past, present and future.

Have a favorite Las Vegas mistake that didn’t make our list? Please share!

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18 Fremont Update: Vegas Vickie Relocates, Last Hurrah at Mermaids and Las Vegas Club, Demolition News

There’s a lot going on at downtown’s 18 Fremont block, and we’ve got all the latest scoop you won’t find anywhere else.

The 18 Fremont block is home to the closed Las Vegas Club, Mermaids casino and Glitter Gulch. The entire block is being demolished to build a new casino-resort.

First up, the iconic Vegas Vickie sign was removed from the infamous Glitter Gulch strip club facade.

Vegas Vickie removal

We trust those feelings you’re having are nostalgia. Freak.

Vegas Vickie was installed in 1980, the brainchild of Las Vegas character Bob Stupak. She was the counterpart to another great neon sign, Vegas Vic. The duo were symbolically “married” in a ceremony in 1994 to mark the construction of the Fremont Street Experience.

While Vickie’s name has been spelled in a variety of ways over the years (Vicky, Vicki), Vickie is, indeed, the proper spelling.

Vegas Vickie

Seriously, what is wrong with you?

It’s been widely misreported Vegas Vickie was originally called Sassy Sally. First, the Sassy Sally’s casino was half-a-block away (where Mermaids now sits) from Vickie’s perch. Second, Vickie was installed a year before the Sundance West casino became Sassy Sally’s.

Vegas Vickie’s suffered a good deal of damage over the years, so it looked like she might be demolished with the surrounding buildings. The new owners of the sign, Derek and Greg Stevens, decided to invest in safely removing her, anyway.

Removal of Vegas Vickie alone is said to have cost in the range of $11,000.

The plan is to keep Vegas Vickie in storage so she can be restored and mounted again, all due respect.

Vegas Vickie's leg

Vegas Vickie’s once-kicking leg left on its own truck. The leg stopped kicking about six months after she was installed. It was never repaired.

We’ve heard estimates for Vegas Vickie’s restoration are around $125,000.

One of the biggest mysteries has been where Vegas Vickie will ultimately end up.

Early in the design process of the 18 Fremont project, it was thought Vegas Vickie might be integrated into the resort. Her imposing size, 25 feet tall, made that impractical.

Vegas Vickie

‘Til we meet again.

One of the options considered was the site of a “Welcome to Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas” sign that was destroyed by a reckless driver. That location, at South Fourth Street and Las Vegas Boulevard North, is a fairly crappy one and would make for a poor, and potentially dangerous, photo op.

Here’s a look at Vegas Vickie as she rides off into the sunset. For now, anyway.

Any number of entities have shown interest in Vegas Vickie, but we’re hearing the most likely scenario is she’ll return to Fremont Street.

We’ve got exclusive renderings of where Vegas Vickie is most likely to end up, on a landing platform for the SlotZilla zipline, just a few feet from the new resort at 18 Fremont.

Vegas Vickie

This is one of two possible positions for Vegas Vickie when she makes her return to Fremont Street. The new resort will be in the direction her leg is pointing.

In another rendering, we can see how Vegas Vickie will look if she’s positioned to jut out over Main Street.

Vegas Vickie

Vegas Vickie will soon be back, alive and kicking, at least metaphorically.

There’s no timeline for when Vegas Vickie might be back, but casino executives are working with the City of Las Vegas and Bob Stupak’s son, Nevada Stupak, to bring her back to Fremont.

As for the other classic signs on the site, like the Golden Goose and Glitter Gulch signs, their fate will lie in the hands of the demolition company. They will ultimately decide if the signs can be salvaged, and can give them away or sell them at their discretion.

It’s believed the facades of these buildings will stay up throughout the demolition process. They’ll keep the street from looking like a construction site, as well as helping to block dust from the demolition.

18 Fremont demolition

Dibs on an egg.

See the photo gallery at the bottom of this story for more photos of Vegas Vickie’s removal.

While Vegas Vickie has grabbed much of the spotlight at 18 Fremont lately, there’s a lot more going on.

While the Las Vegas Club and Mermaids casinos closed back in June 2016, a quirky gaming license regulation resulted in them opening up again recently. For eight hours each.

Las Vegas Club temporary casino

Eight hours of casino is better than zero hours of casino.

That’s right, both Las Vegas Club and Mermaids opened for a few hours on June 27 and June 28, 2017.

To satisfy the gaming regulation, and maintain the gaming licenses for the sites, the casino hired a third party vendor, United Coin Machine, to set up 16 slot machines inside the physical footprint of each casino.

Las Vegas Club temporary casino

Enjoy. It’s the last time you’ll get to see inside the Las Vegas Club.

It’s hugely expensive for a casino to go through this silly exercise (think five times more than it took to remove Vegas Vickie), but rules is rules.

Ironically, despite the cost, the owners of the casino don’t get to keep the revenue generated by the “pop-up” casinos. It doesn’t amount to much, but still.

Mermaids temporary casino

Ditto Mermaids.

We had to try our luck at each of the pop-up casinos, of course, and are pleased to report we bucked the odds and hit four-of-a-kind at the Las Vegas Club.

Las Vegas Club four of a kind

Mojo is mojo, no matter how brief.

In the words of our attendant, “You’re the last person to ever win money at the Las Vegas Club.” Immortality ensured. (Although, it was arguably already ensured when we had the very last deep fried Oreos ever served at Mermaids.)

If you’re a Las Vegas casino nerd, you’ll be interested to know the temporary casinos don’t use a TITO (ticket in, ticket out) system, but rather accept cash and pay jackpots in cash.

Mermaids temporary casino

Our last fling at Mermaids.

This practice of temporary casinos is a time-honored, masturbatory ritual in Las Vegas. It’s sort of like smog checks. Everyone knows it’s a racket, but nobody seems to know how to make it stop.

Up next at 18 Fremont: Demolition.

We recently laid out the way the demolition will happen, in phases, with the entire block eventually being leveled, including the Las Vegas Club’s two hotel towers.

18 Fremont demolition

Destruction will take place in this order: 1. Granite Gaming office. 2. Mermaids, Glitter Gulch. 3. Las Vegas Club casino. 4. Parking structure. 5. Old tower. 6. New tower.

The first building to be demolished in this phase of the process is the former office of Granite Gaming (see below), the previous owner of Mermaids and Glitter Gulch. That demolition begins July 17, 2017.

Preparation for the demolition has been in the works for months, including a key step recently, as utilities were capped off. You can see traces of that work on the street between Binion’s and the Granite Gaming building.

Bid farewell to that little building on the upper right.

Demolition of the block actually began back in February 2017, but now the project begins in earnest.

In case you missed it in the photo caption above, each building on the 18 Fremont block will be meticulously taken down, with Mermaids and Glitter Gulch next (late July), then the Las Vegas Club’s casino (early August), the parking garage (late August), then the two hotel towers (starting in early September). It’s expected the demolition will be complete by the end of 2017.

Sorry, no implosions. All the structures will be taken down with demolition equipment, including the largest crane of its kind in the world.

Update (7/17/17): Demolition crews wasted no time in taking down the Granite Gaming building.

18 Fremont demolition

Given the time it took for this building to disappear, we predict this demolition is going to be way ahead of schedule.

Here’s a better view of the demolition on July 17, 2017.

Update (7/19/17): Crews appear to be ahead of schedule, as Glitter Gulch has already bitten the dust.

Glitter Gulch demolition

The demolition of Glitter Gulch strip club is the Silkwood shower we’ve all been looking forward to.

While we’re in the neighborhood, it’s probably a good time to check in on the expansion at Golden Gate, just across Fremont Street.

Golden Gate has announced the expansion to its casino, in the former La Bayou footprint, will debut on August 25, 2017.

Golden Gate expansion

The expansion at Golden Gate will blend seamlessly with the existing building, the oldest hotel in Las Vegas.

We’ve heard some juicy details about the Golden Gate expansion, including the fact the new space will feature a chandelier made up of dozens of video screens.

(Update 7/20/17): Here’s a first look at what the Golden Gate’s new facade will look like, including a peek at the video chandelier.

Golden Gate casino expansion rendering

Golden Gate is going to need to hire someone just to keep track of all the remotes.

The first floor of the expanded space will add another 100 slots to the casino. Golden Gate currently has 361 slots. The second floor of the expansion will be used for storage and distribution of liquor to the casino, expected to save the casino about $100,000 a year.

Golden Gate expansion

You thought we were going to do this entire story without a security breach? Do you know this blog at all?

There’s a metric hell-ton going on downtown, and the demolition and construction of the new resort at 18 Fremont will be fun to watch.

And watch we will.

Check this blog often for all the latest news. It’s not like you’re all that into your job, anyway.

Vegas Vickie Relocated, More at 18 Fremont

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