Monthly Archives: June 2018

“Baz” to Close at The Palazzo Las Vegas

It has not been a good week for Broadway-style musicals in Las Vegas.

First, it was announced “Marilyn” will close at Paris after just 15 performances.

Now, the cast of “Baz” at Palazzo has been informed that show, too, will close.

The final curtain comes down at “Baz” on July 29, 2018.

Baz

Don’t be too hard on yourself, “Baz,” that was a a solid run.

For a good part of its run, “Baz” was called “Baz: Star Crossed Love.” At one point, its title was “Baz: A Musical Mash-Up.”

Lately, it’s been referred to as “Baz: A Musical Tour de Force.”

The show originally opened at Light Nightclub in Mandalay Bay in 2015, but closed after just two months, in August 2015.

To the surprise of just about everyone, “Baz” re-opened at the Palazzo Theater in July 2016.

Baz Star Crossed Love

Where will we go now when we want to see lovers thwarted? There’s a definite lack of thwarting in Las Vegas shows.

In November of 2016, we got wind of lagging ticket sales and shared that the show’s days were numbered. While ultimately true, its number of days were greater than most expected.

“Baz” boasted songs and scenes from three Baz Luhrmann films: “Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge” and “The Great Gatsby.”

The show has featured any number of world-class peformers, and the closing will come as a blow to its die-hard fans.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 81: Hell’s Kitchen, Orgy Recap and Baseless Rumors Galore

It’s the podcast that moves at the speed of Vegas.

We should totally copyright that.

Anyway, we’re back with another installment of the 11th best Las Vegas podcast!

In this week’s inexcusably feeble attempt at entertainment, we share our thoughts about a forgettable dining experience at one of the hottest restaurants in Las Vegas, Hell’s Kitchen.

Hell's Kitchen Las Vegas

In a town with amazing meatballs, the ones at Hell’s Kitchen we’re really those.

We’ve also got exclusive scoop about the world’s largest orgy attempt, the winner of a $1.4 million jackpot at Golden Gate, top secret restaurants and bars planned for the Linq hotel, chatter about investors moving to bring Major League Baseball to Las Vegas and more.

There’s also juicy news about the future of Hard Rock casino as it transitions into Virgin Hotel. Among other things, we hear Mr. Lucky’s and Pink Taco are out, and it’s the last hurrah for Rehab, the hotel’s decadent pool party.

Word is the Hard Rock’s pool will be made over taking inspiration from Richard Branson’s private island, Makepeace Island.

Makepeace Island

Richard Branson is bringing a bit of his private island to his Virgin Hotel Las Vegas.

Get the latest about “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation” taping in Las Vegas and Wynn Resorts rolling back paid parking, two things we honestly never imagined we be typing in the same sentence.

Sqeeze the most from your next Vegas visit by letting us give it to you in the earholes. Which isn’t nearly as fun as it sounds, sadly.

Disastrous “Marilyn, The New Musical” to Close at Paris

Like a candle in a wind tunnel, “Marilyn, The New Musical” is being extinguished at Paris Las Vegas after just 15 performances since its official opening on June 1.

“Marilyn” closes June 17, 2018.

Marilyn musical closed

“Marilyn” is closing. Sorry, the gays.

From what we hear, the implosion of “Marilyn, The New Musical” had little to do with the talent of its cast.

Even as the show opened, there were rumors of behind-the-scenes drama, including a lack of competent direction and serious financial issues, and entertainment insiders predicted the show would have a very short run.

Few predicted the run would be this short. Oh, wait, no, there was us.

Marilyn

Look at all the fatalistic fun you’re missing on Twitter!

It should be noted we’re the one calling the show “closed,” not the show itself.

In an admirable piece of fiction, a news release says, “After launching to critical acclaim, ‘Marilyn: The New Musical’ will be going on a summer hiatus from Tuesday, June 19 through Monday, Sept. 3 in order to further refine the show and prepare for the Las Vegas-created production to launch a national tour. Performances at Paris Las Vegas will resume Tuesday, Sept. 4.”

Ah, the old “show refinement” ploy.

“Marilyn, The New Musical” won’t be resuming at Paris, or anywhere else for that matter.

In fact, we’re going to predict several others shows planned by the producer, writer and director of “Marilyn,” Tegan Summers, won’t be happening as announced, either. Las Vegas is a very small town and word gets around.

Summers was supposed to bring a series of Broadway-style shows to Las Vegas. The shows were to feature stories about Bettie Page and James Dean, with another involving EDM DJ and producer Steve Aoki.

Don’t hold your breath.

While ambitious, Broadway-style theatrical productions are hit-and-miss in Las Vegas. For every “Jersey Boys,” there’s a “Surf, The Musical.” For every “Phantom of the Opera,” there’s an “Avenue Q.”

For every “Mamma Mia” at Mandalay Bay there’s a “Mamma Mia” at Tropicana. Long story.

We trust the “Marilyn” cast and crew will find new gigs worthy of their time and talents.

Wynn Resorts Rights a Wrong, Rolls Back Paid Parking

Few saw it coming, but Wynn Resorts has bucked a trend by announcing it will give free parking to its hotel guests, as well as a way for us commoners to get free parking, too.

Your first question, of course: Las Vegas hotels make their own guests pay for parking?

Well, yes. Where have you been?

Currently, Wynn and Encore charge guests for self-park and valet, a trend that’s become the norm in Las Vegas, just as it is in other cities.

Self-park rates run $7 for the first 1-2 hours, $12 for 2-4 hours and $15 up to 24 hours. Valet charges currently run from $18 (up to two hours), to $27 for 24 hours.

Starting July 1, 2018, that all changes.

Wynn Encore

Wynn Resorts could use some positive buzz right about now. Free parking is a great place to start.

Guests of Wynn and Encore will be able to self-park or valet for free. Remember when free parking was a thing in Las Vegas?

Free parking for hotel guests will be included in their $39 resort fee. Wynn Resorts assures customers the resort fee won’t be increased to accommodate the new policy.

Don’t get us started about resort fees. That’s a fight for another day.

But wait, there’s more.

Non-hotel guests will also be able to park free, albeit with validation. Guests will be validated upon receipt of a $50 spend at Wynn or Encore.

That minimum can be spent at all the retail stores, restaurants, shows, nightclubs and lounges at either of the resorts.

Players will be pleased to hear even money spent gambling counts toward the $50 minimum spend to get free parking. The company hasn’t release details about how that will work, but we trust they’ll figure it out.

Wynn parasols

Sorry, gazing at the pretty things won’t get your parking validated. Buy a couple of drinks, though, and you’re good.

This change in paid parking policy is a pretty big deal in Las Vegas. Paid parking is an ongoing source of frustration for visitors, and many believe is has caused a shift in public perception of Las Vegas as a value destination.

We are one of those people.

So, what’s the motivation behind Wynn Resorts’ move?

Well, there’s the official answer, referred to as “horseshit” in public relations parlance.

Maurice Wooden, President of Wynn Las Vegas, said, “We have come to believe that charging additional parking fees is counter to the personalized service we provide. This new policy directly reflects the way we know our guests want and deserve to be treated.”

So, it suddenly dawned on them guests don’t like having to pay for parking? Right.

Wynn $5,000 machine

This machine at Wynn is $5,000 per spin. You’re covered on the parking.

Wynn Resorts has at least three reasons to change its paid parking policies.

First, its restaurants, shows and retail stores have taken a hit since paid parking was instituted. And it’s not just happening at Wynn and Encore, but at casinos all across Las Vegas.

Restaurants don’t receive the financial benefits of paid parking, at all, so they’re being hurt with nothing to show for it.

Increasingly, restaurants, shows and retail stores are letting their casino overlords know they’re suffering, and it appears Wynn Resorts is listening.

Second, it’s Wynn Resorts, so there’s an undeniable public image component.

Generously setting aside parking fees can’t hurt during a time when Wynn Resorts is trying to restore its tarnished reputation following the Steve Wynn sexual misconduct scandal.

Wynn Resorts is throwing everyone a bone. Which, come to think of it, is what got Steve Wynn in all that trouble in the first place.

We’ll wait.

Wynn funny chip

Oh, like we’d do a story about Wynn without including this chip. Do you know this blog at all?

Third, follow the money.

Wynn’s neighbors, Venetian and Palazzo, still offer free parking. That means many customers park at these competing casinos and walk to Wynn and Encore.

One of the cardinal rules of Las Vegas casinos: Don’t send customers to a competitor. Guests may intend to pass through Palazzo to gamble and dine at Wynn, but there are lots of distractions along the way.

So, the bottom line is Venetian and Palazzo deserve props for holding strong on free parking. If they’d rolled out paid parking, it’s unlikely Wynn Resorts would be changing its policies.

Palazzo

We all owe you a beer, Palazzo.

Along those same lines, let’s not forget another neighbor with free parking: Fashion Show Mall. You can bet there’s a collective sigh of relief at retail outlets inside Wynn and Encore right about now.

We can only hope the new parking program at Wynn and Encore is an acknowledgment by casinos that paid parking is an unnecessary annoyance to customers.

Paid parking is a short-sighted revenue play that hurts brands and, ultimately, Las Vegas.

Let’s hope the other big casino companies in Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts (which started this whole paid parking mess), see the light, too.

Take a Walk Along a Las Vegas Casino Surveillance Catwalk

It’s rare when you see something you’ve never seen before, but gird your loins, you’re about to.

A few years back, before Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall (originally Barbary Coast) was gutted to become the Cromwell, we got to stroll the casino’s old-school, labyrinthine catwalk.

casino security catwalk

Do you have any idea how long we’ve waited to use the word “labyrinthine” in a blog post?

Before the “eye in the sky” came along, casino surveillance guys (they were pretty much universally male) would peer down from above with binoculars to watch for dishonest employees and players trying to cheat the house.

Mostly that first thing, surprisingly.

What was it like? Here’s a never-before-seen glimpse into a bygone era in Las Vegas.

Many of the old security passageways in Las Vegas casinos were closed off years ago, but a few remain.

Given the extensive renovation of Cromwell, it’s unlikely the security catwalk in our video survived.

Casino security has come a long way since the early days of Las Vegas, of course. Now, casinos use sophisticated cameras and video analysis software to protect their assets.

casino security

In older casinos, new technology (dome cameras, left) co-exists with old. Note the one-way mirrors at right.

In recent years, Las Vegas casinos have started using what’s called “non-obvious relationship awareness,” or NORA, software. This software allows security to tell if players and dealers are colluding.

Casinos even employ cryptographers and game theorists to assist with security efforts.

Here’s a fun fact: Casino employee uniforms are designed to deter theft. Sleeves are often kept short to prevent concealing chips, and pockets are either disallowed or covered with aprons.

craps dealer

Short sleeves and no pockets. Now, you know why.

Enjoy another glimpse into the past of Las Vegas.

casino security

Even that red discard tray is a security measure! They help security detect inks, or “daubs,” used to mark cards.

There’s something thrilling, and more than a little creepy, about walking in the footsteps of those early surveillance teams.

Back in the day, casinos often didn’t hand over unscrupulous employees or cheats to the police, preferring to deal with the issues internally. If you get our drift.

While some may pine for the early days of Las Vegas, we tend to prefer our kneecaps unbroken and our eyes unpopped out.