Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

“Opium” at Cosmopolitan is a Raucous Romp Around Uranus

A new show from the twisted minds at Spiegelworld, the company behind “Absinthe,” has opened at Cosmopolitan. “Opium” is an imaginative, irreverent journey through a vast expanse of WTF.

We’ve got a metric ass-ton of adjectives still to come, but let’s cut to the chase about what “Opium” actually is.

At its core, “Opium” is a comedy-variety show. The good news it’s an exceptionally imaginative one.

Opium at Cosmopolitan

We don’t entirely remember this sequence in “Opium,” but that could be related to the fact the theater’s signature drinks are delicious. Thanks to our pal Erik Kabik for all the production photos.

“Opium” is frothy and puerile and bizarre and psychedelic and LGBT-friendly and downright exuberant.

We warned you there would be more adjectives.

Perhaps we should put it this way: “Opium” is evidence weed is now legal in Las Vegas.

Enough foreplay!

Opium Las Vegas

Subtle, “Opium” is not.

The basic premise of “Opium” (we’re fairly sure they named the show before they knew what it was going to be about) is that a crew of colorful characters is traveling on a spacecraft, the OPM 4.2, from Uranus to Las Vegas.

Yes, there are a lot of Uranus jokes. Maybe you should’ve taken a moment to look up the word “puerile.”

A lot of time and creativity have been devoted to fleshing out the characters in the show, and each has a distinct subplot which unfolds during the roughly 90-minute production.

Opium Cosmopolitan

The cast of “Opium” attacks the outlandish premise with verve and gusto. Fun fact: Verve and Gusto were a popular comedy team in the 1930s.

The characters include Captain Ann Tennille, Lt. Lou Tenant, Chip, Rob the Robot and (wait for it) Leslie. Somebody clearly ran out of steam with the Leslie thing, but the cast never seems to suffer the same fate. They’re universally comedically talented and seem genuinely enthusiastic about taking part in this new theatrical effort at Cosmopolitan.

Along with the larger-than-life characters, there’s a talented singer who drops in with random musical interludes throughout the show, presumably to provide a diversion from the comedy bits and variety performances.

Think Melody Sweets in “Absinthe,” but in drag.

Opium

If they give away an award for “Torch Singer With the Hairiest Back,” this guy’s a shoo-in.

Vegas Seven has a rundown of the cast of characters.

The humor in the show, 90 percent of which orbit around sexual organs, is non-stop.

“Opium” isn’t as edgy or caustic as “Absinthe,” but it manages to hit the sweet spot for Las Vegas visitors out for a night of inebriation and adolescent humor.

And while we’re on the subject, it should be noted one might want to avoid comparisons to “Absinthe.” While a common DNA between the shows is undeniable, “Opium” is more strange
than raunchy.

“Opium” also exists on a much smaller scale than “Absinthe.” The mere fact “Opium” is in a theater with a low ceiling means it can’t have some of the more jaw-dropping variety acts that have made “Absinthe” a must-see show in Las Vegas.

“Opium” relies on well-performed, tried-and-true variety acts it can easily swap out with others if needed. You know the ones, they involve variety show classics like hula hoops, unicycles and objects being juggled.

Opium

Enjoy classic variety acts? Join the club.

While none of the acts were death-defying, some were stand-outs, like a balancing act with a trained Chihuaua. Then again, that could be because we are a dog person.

There was also a stunning woman wearing S&M garb dancing with, and inside, a giant balloon, a throwback to Angel Perrino’s tap dancing act in the early days of “Absinthe.” We asked for a photo, trust us. No luck.

A favorite of the evening was the sword swallower, Brett Loudermilk. Sword swallowing is standard variety act fodder, but the performer had top-notch material and delivered it
masterfully.

Opium

Yes, the sword swallower joke that springs to mind is exactly the one in the show. You should be in the entertainment business!

The biggest laughs of the evening were evoked by a couple who did alarming things with bananas.

Not the kind of alarming things you’re thinking of, perv. They basically bite off pieces of banana and spit them into each other’s mouths through the air. And they’re really good at it.

The duo also gets audience members to participate. Which is as hilarious and disturbing as it sounds.

Highly entertaining acts, to be sure, but we’re thinking if the show finds some success, a bigger budget will be available for variety acts with a similar wow factor to “Absinthe.” Which we’re still definitely not comparing “Opium” to, by the way.

The show’s producers have made it clear the show is still being developed, so we have no doubt the jokes are being punched up and other variety acts are up for consideration.

Opium

Hula Hoops were once banned in Japan because the hip movement was deemed indecent. Sort of a selling point for “Opium.”

Other items of note: The show’s five-piece band is top notch. One would expect nothing less in Las Vegas.

The psychedelic sci-fi costumes are eye-popping and ingenious. Nearly all are shimmery and intentionally too tight, which adds to the androgynous vibe of the production.

Opium Las Vegas

Leave it to Las Vegas to take banana hammocks to the next level.

Because we know how you are, we can confirm there is some toplessness in “Opium,” but it’s more for the sake of comedy than arousal. All due respect.

The show takes place in the Cosmo’s Opium Theater, adjacent to Rose. Rabbit. Lie. Find the box office at the top of the escalators above Vesper lounge.

A bar inside the theater offers a limited selection of liquor, as well as a signature drink menu themed to the show. Drinks include the Kiss My Asteroid, Gorgon’s Revenge, Sputnik Cage and the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.

The specialty cocktails are $18, which seems like a lot until you realize a Captain and diet at Vesper, served in a thimble, is $12. Live a little.

Opium Las Vegas

The Kiss My Asteroid cocktail. We do not recommend using Pop Rocks during your post-show intimate encounters unless you have excellent insurance. We are not kidding.

Ticket prices for “Opium” vary widely at the moment. The best deal we’ve found is a $35 ticket if you book using the promo code “MOON.” That discount should work for tickets through May 21, 2018.

Regular ticket prices are $79, with upgrades available at $99 (ringside), $119 (terrace) and $129 (Banana Zone, which isn’t really a thing, but you don’t know that).

Visit the official Cosmopolitan site to find out more.

Overall, “Opium” is a worthy genetic mutation of the highly-regarded “Absinthe” and a vast improvement over the previous Spiegelworld show at Cosmo, “Vegas Nocture.”

Opium Las Vegas

Shout-out to our favorite celestial phenomenon, the areola borealis.

“Opium” at Cosmopolitan checks most, if not all, the boxes to make for a successful Las Vegas show. Music, check. Levity, check. Visual acts you don’t have to understand English to enjoy, check.

Oh, and the occasional boob. Check. (Or boob check. See photo above.)

It’s time to gird your warp core, because “Opium” is a little bit “Galaxy Quest” and “Spaceballs,” a little bit “Absinthe,” a little bit drug trip and a whole lot of “When can we see it again?”

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Gwen Stefani Confirms Las Vegas Residency at Planet Hollywood

A rumored residency for Gwen Stefani at Planet Hollywood has been confirmed.

The singer officially announced “Gwen Stefani – I’m Just a Girl,” a 25-date residency at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, kicks off in June 2018.

Gwen Stefani

Fun fact: Gwen Stefani was named after a stewardess in the 1968 novel, “Airplane.” You remember books, those things people read before smartphones.

The 7,000-seat Zappos Theater was recently renamed. It was formerly Axis. The theater features 60 ultra high-definition projectors and LED walls.

Other regulars in the venue include Jennifer Lopez, Backstreet Boys, Pitbull and Lionel Richie.

Tickets for Gwen Stefani’s shows are set at $59. No word yet on whether there will be VIP meet-and-greet tickets for Stefani, but Britney Spears offered a three-second photo op for $2,500 during her run at Axis.

Here’s where to go for tickets.

Here are the dates for Gwen Stefani’s Las Vegas residency, with the option to extend, we assume, should the show break the bank as it did for Britney Spears.

googie June 2018: 27, 29, 30
googie July 2018: 3, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21
googie December 2018: 27, 29, 30, 31
googie February 2019: 27
googie March 2019: 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16

Everything’s more exciting with Googie stars!

A refreshing element of Gwen Stefani’s residency is she’ll donate a buck from each ticket sold to the Nevada-based Cure 4 the Kids Foundation. The organization provides medical treatment to children with life-threatening conditions.

Just another reason to like Gwen Stefani, beyond the great music and the fact she once told a mutual friend we were cute. We are not making this up, and yes we’re going to keep telling that story until someone believes us.

All due respect, Blake Shelton.

Thanks to all the tipsters who kept us in the loop leading up to Gwen Stefani’s official residency announcement, and we can’t wait to not be invited to previews for the show because we once had the audacity to Tweet that Britney Spears lip-syncs. No, really.

All due respect, lip-syncing.

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Rumor: Aerosmith Las Vegas Residency Not Happening in 2018

Hopes were high for an Aerosmith residency at the Park Theater in 2018, but it seems those hopes have been dashed by what a reliable source describes as “internal band issues.”

Long-standing rumors about Aerosmith residency were seemingly confirmed in an interview with band member Joe Perry. Now, not so much.

Perry, 67, told a reporter the residency would “start in the fall” of 2018.

Aerosmith

Fun fact: That wasn’t actually love in the elevator.

Earlier this week, it appeared contracts were being finalized, but now it seems the deal has fallen through. It’s unknown if the band will do a residency at a later time.

The band’s eccentric lead singer, Steven Tyler, has been struggling with medical issues that have resulted in show cancellations, but the drama around the Las Vegas residency doesn’t appear to involve any of that.

Confession: We wrote that entire paragraph as excuse to say Steven Tyler is 69.

Aerosmith was slated to do 15-20 shows at Park Theater, joining a stellar lineup of talent wooed by the theater’s owner, MGM Resorts.

Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are also slated to appear at Park Theater. They’ll join Ricky Martin, Bruno Mars and Cher as regulars.

We’ll keep our ears peeled for more news related to the Aerosmith residency. Which may not be an appealing visual, but it gets you the scoop you so richly deserve, so just go with it.

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Bollard Installation Along Las Vegas Strip Decimates Las Vegas Walk of Stars

The Las Vegas Walk of Stars has always been an awkward rip-off of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but it’s our awkward rip-off of the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

The recent installation of safety bollards along Las Vegas Boulevard has resulted in the destruction of 49 stars honoring Las Vegas entertainers and other dignitaries.

Gloria Estefan


Emilio and Gloria Estefan received a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars in 2010. Their star was not affected by the recent brouhaha. It’s at the entrance to the Flamingo.

Bollards, of course, are steel posts intended to prevent morons and terrorists (which, we realize, is redundant) from driving onto sidewalks to run people over. Because asshattery.

Apparently, the stars were too fragile to relocate. Just 33 of the stars remain intact.

Of the 49 stars destroyed by the bollard installation, upwards of five belonged to actual celebrities.

Those celebrities included Wayne Newton, Liberace, Rich Little, John Stuart, Sammy Davis Jr. and Elvis Presley.

Wayne Newton’s star was the first to be added to the Las Vegas Walk of Stars back in 2004.

Visit the KTNV Web site for the full list of stars obliterated by the bollard installation.

Bollards Las Vegas Strip

No, “bollards” is not a British obscenity. Probably.

Why is the Las Vegas Walk of Stars awkward, you ask? Well, because pretty much anyone can get one if they pony up the required fee.

A donation of $20,000 is required for each star. Additional “pomp and circumstances” can add to that cost. We are not making this up.

Bob Alexander, president of the Las Vegas Walk of Fame, says each tribute costs $5,000. You do the math.

Some stars are fully earned and warranted, of course.

Our all-time favorite Elvis tribute artist, Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee, was the most recent recipient of a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars, and if they try ripping his up, they’ll have to do so over this blog’s dead body. Yes, Vallee is a friend, but he’s also worked his ass off, so to speak, to become a Las Vegas icon.

Pete Vallee star

If you haven’t seen Pete Vallee’s free show at Harrah’s, you haven’t done Vegas.

The goofy charm of the Las Vegas Walk of Stars stretches four miles along the Las Vegas Strip between Sahara Ave. and Russell Blvd.

While the removal of the stars is bittersweet for some, we’ve been an advocate of installing bollards for quite a while and are happy there’s been progress creating a safer environment for pedestrians along The Strip.

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Gwen Stefani Residency at Planet Hollywood Nears Announcement

The rumor’s been swirling in Vegas circles for some time, but now a Gwen Stefani residency at Planet Hollywood is nearing an official announcement.

Gwen Stefani is expected to perform a series of shows at the newly re-named, 7,000-seat Zappos Theater, formerly Axis. Before that, it was the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts. Because you can never have too much useless Las Vegas trivia in your brain.

Details like a start date aren’t yet available, but compensation for the Las Vegas residency is expected to be what’s known in entertainment circles as “a metric hell-ton.”

Gwen Stefani

Fun fact: Gwen Stefani once described us as “cute” to a mutual friend. We are not making this up.

Gwen Stefani follows in the shoes of Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez who have had extremely successful runs at Planet Hollywood.

Britney Spears did 249 performances of her “Piece of Me” lip-sync extravaganza, and the show generated a jaw-dropping $130 million in ticket sales.

There’s no word yet about whether Stefani’s show will feature any of her No Doubt band mates, although the show will most certainly include all the bands hits.

The Zappos Theater is booked by Live Nation, so you can visit this page once Gwen Stefani’s show dates are announced.

We’ve heard two confirmations about the Stefani residency from inside the Caesars Entertainment sphere, and PerezHilton.com also confirmed the scoop, so we’re saying it’s a done deal with an official announcement forthcoming soon.

Word from those familiar with the Gwen Stefani deal with Caesars Entertainment, owners of Planet Hollywood, is the singer could just as easily have ended up at Park Theater, owned by MGM Resorts. The two companies got into a bidding war, and Caesars Entertainment prevailed.

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MSG Sphere Arena Details Revealed and It’s Wonderfully Weird

There’s a new, 18,000-seat entertainment venue in the works near the Las Vegas Strip, the MSG Sphere arena, and it’s pretty weird.

The new venue is a partnership between Madison Square Garden Co. and Las Vegas Sands Corp., the company that owns Venetian and Palazzo.

MSG Sphere Arena

Besides concerts, the MSG Sphere will host Carousel. Oh, just watch “Logan’s Run” again.

The arena project was announced back in May 2016, but is only now picking up steam.

According to a story in USA Today, the MSG Sphere will boast some impressive audio technology developed by a German company, Holoplot. The technology is called “beamforming audio,” which sends sound via witchcraft rather than through speakers.

Here’s another look at Sphere.

MSG Sphere Arena Las Vegas

Get used to your mouth being agape, it’s Las Vegas.

The Sphere’s exterior is a dome with 190,000 feet of LED lighting, which translates into about 36 miles of lights.

Inside the dome, guests will enjoy what amounts to a 360-degree IMAX experience, with about 180,000-square-feet (four acres) of high resolution video across the dome’s roof.

Translation: Holy crap.

MSG Sphere Las Vegas arena

Finally, a Las Vegas venue that can legitimately use the word “immersive.”

One of the best things about the MSG Sphere is its developers promise little to no sports will be hosted in the venue. Although, fights are a possibility. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

The unfortunately-named MSG Sphere arena (some people are intolerant, you know) will be located on Sands Ave., between Manhattan St. and Koval Lane.

You have no idea where that is, so here’s a photo we took. Let’s just say we used a very tall monopod and leave it at that.

Sands music venue

The future home of some awesome.

The MSG Sphere breaks ground in 2018 and the new arena is expected to open in 2020.

We can’t wait.

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