Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

Criss Angel Loses Consciousness During Show at Luxor

Magician Criss Angel has made national headlines for passing out during a straight jacket escape during his show at Luxor.

The medical emergency happened about 15 minutes into a performance of “Mindfreak Live” on March 10, 2017.

The illusion in question is fairly badass. Angel is suspended over the stage, upside down, in a straight jacket. Rather than just merely contorting to escape, Angel spins feverishly until he gets free.

About two minutes into the escape, the show’s crew realized Criss Angel had lost consciousness, lowered him to the stage and Angel was rushed to Spring Valley Hospital.

Criss Angel

We feel compelled to mention this photo of Criss Angel has not been Photoshopped in any way.

By the following morning, Angel had been cleared by physicians, and was released.

To Criss Angel’s credit, the magician returned to the stage the following night. He performed the straight jacket stunt without incident.

Criss Angel has performed his straight jacket escape so many times, and makes it appear so effortless, it’s easy to forget how physically strenuous, and potentially dangerous, it is.

Hanging upside down can cause a rush of blood to the head (hence the term “head rush”) which can cause dizziness and vertigo and a sudden change of blood pressure. The medical term is “postural hypotension,” which we’re thinking would make a great band name.

The effects of being inverted can be exacerbated by dehydration and certain kinds of medication.

We’re glad to hear Criss Angel appears to be fine, and trust he’ll get a bump in ticket sales resulting from this unfortunate incident. Hey, Vegas doesn’t stop being Vegas just because somebody blacks out.

While his show has been disparaged by some, and Angel is a relatively easy target for satire, his show is one of the most successful magic shows in the history of Las Vegas (and possibly the world), and success is always the best revenge.

Criss Angel casino chip

Criss Angel’s show opened at Luxor in 2008. That’s an estimated metric ass-ton of inverted straight jacket escapes.

Criss Angel performs “Mindfreak Live” Wednesday through Sunday at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The show is dark Monday and Tuesday, although that’s probably a poor choice of words given the recent mishap.

Find out more about “Mindfreak Live” at the official Web site.

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Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee Gets a Star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars at Harrah’s

Harrah’s Las Vegas headliner Pete Vallee, known to legions of fans as “Big Elvis,” has been honored with a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars.

Known for having a heart as big as his voice, Vallee was feted by friends and fans at a ceremony on Feb. 27, 2017.

Big Elvis Las Vegas Walk of Stars

Caesars Entertainment execs unveil Pete Vallee’s star. No veils, or stars, were harmed during the ceremony.

Pete Vallee has spent two decades entertaining Las Vegas visitors with his uncanny impression of Elvis Presley, and is pretty much single-handedly keeping The King’s memory alive in Las Vegas at the moment. No, really.

Vallee did a 10-year stint at the Barbary Coast, later called Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, before moving to Harrah’s when Barbary Coast closed to become the Cromwell.

Big Elvis Las Vegas Walk of Stars

Somebody got a little emotional during the star ceremony. It was us, but let’s just say it was Pete.

It’s estimated Pete Vallee performed for 20,000 people in the Harrah’s Piano Bar in 2016, and has done an estimated 10,000 shows during his time on The Strip. His show remains one of the best free shows in Las Vegas.

Here’s the Big Elvis schedule at Harrah’s: Big Elvis shows happen Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The Piano Bar at Harrah’s was recently expanded to accommodate bigger crowds, in large part because of Pete Vallee’s fervent following. We count ourself among them, by the way. We can be pretty fervent if we put our mind to something.

Pete Vallee star

Fun fact: Pete Vallee is rumored to know the lyrics to 500 Elvis songs. We did not personally know there were 500 Elvis songs.

Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee joins an exclusive club with his star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. Vallee’s ceremony marked the 81st such star dedication ceremony. Other luminaries who have received stars include Wayne Newton, Liberace, Siegfried and Roy, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and others.

Vallee’s star is made of Red Indian Granite, which we’re fairly sure should be called Red Native American Granite. The star weighs 180 pounds, mainly to prevent it from being shoplifted.

Big Elvis Las Vegas

They were going to call it the Las Vegas Walk of Regular Star Polygons, but that didn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Stars in the Las Vegas Walk of Stars can be found along Las Vegas Boulevard, from Sahara Ave. to Russell Ave. Vallee’s star will be just outside the Harrah’s entrance closest to Carnaval Court.

We’ve known Pete Vallee for more than a decade, and chatted him up on the Vital Vegas Podcast. Take a listen.

For many Las Vegas visitors, Pete Vallee is an essential part of their time in Las Vegas. His
warmth, wit and immense talent have helped him become a beloved fixture on The Strip and one of the most lauded Elvis impersonators in the world. (Time Magazine ranked him in the top 10 worldwide.)

He’s uniquely deserving of a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars and we’re proud to call him a friend.

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“Le Reve” at Wynn Provides an Over-the-Top Escape

We figured it was high time to dive into “Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas, and the dazzling show certainly doesn’t disappoint.

“Le Reve” at Wynn is quintessential Las Vegas spectacle, and it’s no secret nobody does spectacle better than Sin City. Or hangovers. But mostly that first thing.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

As first impressions go, this one’s impressive.

“Le Reve,” French for “The Dream,” is a water-based show performed in the round. Most of the action takes place in a 1.1 million gallon water tank. Sorry, “aqua theater,” because it sounds fancier.

It’s said no seat is more than 40 feet from the action at “Le Reve,” so there are no bad seats in the house. Unless you sit behind an Abraham Lincoln impersonator.

Because of the hat.

We’ll wait.

Many Las Vegas visitors mistakenly believe “Le Reve” is a Cirque du Soleil show. It’s not, but the show was created by Franco Dragone, the creative force behind “Mystere” and “0,” the Cirque show most likely to elicit comparisons to “Le Reve.”

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

Let the dangling commence!

There are two big differences between “O” and “Le Reve.”

First, where “O” involves lots of diving, “Le Reve” features dangling and dropping. It’s impressive dropping, to be sure. At one point, someone plummets about 10 stories into the pool below, an exhilarating thrill to behold.

The second difference is there are no “clowns” in “Le Reve.” This comes as a great relief to those of us who put “clowns” in quotation marks because Cirque “clowns” are never very “funny.”

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

There’s sort of an orgy, but, you know, the family-friendly kind.

“Le Reve” checks a number of boxes when it comes to successful Las Vegas shows, including the fact you don’t have to speak English to enjoy it. We’re fairly sure the show claims to have a plot, but ultimately any attempt at a story would distract from the non-stop, intoxicating eye candy.

Just about every sequence in “Le Reve” captures the imagination, and one can’t help but marvel at the technology involved in such a complex production.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

They’re going to need a bigger burger.

There are a whopping 90 performers in the cast, or slightly less than the number of people who live in Vermont. Each member of the cast is scuba certified, and all are extraordinarily fit. They’re also scantily-clad. Hey, it’s still Vegas.

Fun fact: Pretty much all the male performers in “Le Reve” are muscular, bald and pasty. Think War Boys in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but shimmery.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

By casting bald guys, “Le Reve” saves a ton on swim caps.

“Le Reve” opened in May 2005, and was mercilessly panned by critics. The show appears to be doing brisk business now, and recently got yet another creative overhaul.

Insiders share that the new incarnation didn’t pass muster with Steve Wynn when it was unveiled, so he essentially scrapped the retooled show at great expense.

From what we understand, some of the elements from the revamped show remain, and are probably the reason the show feels uneven in places. The best example is the closing sequence. The dramatic tone suddenly takes a hard turn into a Disney-style “Under the Sea” number even those involved with the production admit is a bit of a trainwreck.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

Sometimes, you just have to go with it.

Setting the closing number aside (and the distracting, hit-and-miss music throughout), “Le Reve” is, in fact, dreamlike, including standard things you find in dreams: Sex, mysterious characters, flying, vivid visuals and lots of random WTF.

Inverted, synchronized swimmers in red pumps spring to mind.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

There’s nothing sexier than a leggy swimmer with wrinkly toes and fingertips.

“Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas is surprising and engaging and a feast for the eyes. From the aerial feats of daring to the pyrotechnics and dancing fountains, it’s everything you could ask of a Las Vegas show. Plus, it’s at Wynn Las Vegas. Where else but the Wynn can you leave a show, and as you’re passing through the theater lobby take a selfie with a $28 million Popeye statue? The art formerly in the space, “Tulips” by Jeff Koons, has been shipped off to Wynn Palace in Macau.

Tickets to “Le Reve” start at $115.

For $175, you’ll get “Dream Seating,” with plush seats, more leg room and a monitor providing live backstage and underwater video during the show.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

It’s not an extra $60, it’s memories, so just pony up.

Enjoy more exclusive photos from “Le Reve,” below. Oh, and did we mention audience members are encouraged to take non-flash photos during the show? For a Las Vegas blog, that is indeed a dream come true.

Le Reve at Wynn Las Vegas

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Comedian Jeff Civillico On the Move, Won’t Return to Flamingo Las Vegas

Comedy-juggler Jeff Civillico is making moves again, and that includes ending his headlining gig at Flamingo Las Vegas.

Civillico was supposed to return to Flamingo after a brief hiatus, but he’s moving his “Comedy in Action” show to Paris Las Vegas starting April 5, 2017. The new show will happen at 7:00 p.m. in the Anthony Cools Experience showroom.

Jeff Civillico

Weird fact: Jeff Civillico claims to hold a world record for bungee jumping off a cliff in New Zealand while on a unicycle.

Civillico has been in Bugsy’s Cabaret at Flamingo since 2015. Before that, he headlined at the Linq hotel after building a fan base at the Planet Hollywood restaurant in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

There’s no word on what might replace Civillico’s show at Flamingo.

Civillico is keeping his performance schedule light at Paris, just one night a week, as he focuses on a burgeoning TV hosting career.

Civillico currently hosts “Weekend in Vegas,” formerly “Las Vegas Good News,” a weekly entertainment and news show taped live at Linq promenade. We chatted up Jeff Civillico about it on an early episode of the Vital Vegas Podcast.

Las Vegas Good News

Civillico’s TV show was produced in a re-purposed shipping container which straddled the Linq’s fountains. Oh, yes, there was straddling.

He also helms a TV effort called “Backline,” a show featuring musical guests such as Blues Traveler, Smash Mouth, Eddie Money and others. “Backline” launches in fall 2017.

His TV shows are just a couple of the plates Civillico is keeping aloft at the moment. It was recently announced his successful nonprofit, Win-Win Entertainment, an organization that connects other nonprofits with Las Vegas entertainers, has gone national.

“Jeff Civillico: Comedy in Action” is one of the best, family-friendly values in Vegas, so we’re glad to hear it will find a new home at Paris. Given the brutal string of Las Vegas shows that closed in 2016, we’ll take a “moved” over a “closed” any day.

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“Pin Up” to Close at Stratosphere After Four-Year Run

Despite the hotel’s statements to the contrary, it’s been confirmed “Pin Up” will close at Stratosphere on Mar. 4, 2017.

“Pin Up,” a topless revue featuring Claire Sinclair, has been at Stratosphere for four years.

Pin Up Stratosphere

We’d list all the things we like about “Pin Up,” but it’s hard.

The official announcement about the show closing appeared on the “Pin Up” Facebook page, stating, “It is never easy to deliver sad news, even if you know that you will have to face it one day. The entire ‘Pin Up’ production team is saddened to inform you that our 4th year anniversary show on March 4th, 2017 will be our last one. It was incredible for-year run with over 1,000 shows, many wonderful friendships and thousands of fans all over the world. Thanks to all of you, we made the world little sexier.”

We’ve always had a blog crush on Claire Sinclair, so we’re saddened to hear this news, despite the fact rumors had been swirling for some time about the show coming to an end.

We were lucky enough to chat with Claire Sinclair for the Vital Vegas Podcast, so take a listen.

Pin Up Stratosphere

Las Vegas is about to get a little less schwing. Thanks to “Pin Up” for the pic.

While Sinclair’s run in “Pin Up” is at an end, we’ll all be able to keep a collective eye on her via her Instagram account, perhaps the best thing to happen in Las Vegas since the invention of comps.

No official announcement has been made about the show replacing “Pin Up,” but it’s rumored to be “Men of the Strip” from Jeff Timmons, a founding member of 98 Degrees. We hear from a source close to that show it’s not landing at Stratosphere.

An unprecedented number of Las Vegas shows closed during 2016, and we hoped the carnage would end in 2017. Good going, Capitalism.

Shows tend to run their course in Las Vegas, even the ones starring someone as charming as Claire Sinclair, who we are completely open to consoling about “Pin Up” closing. We’re selfless like that.

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“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” is the Best Las Vegas Show You Haven’t a Seen Yet

“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” may not be the easiest Las Vegas show name to remember, but the show itself is absolutely unforgettable.

This inspired, captivating, idiosyncratic show at Planet Hollywood is nothing short of a revelation. And we’re just getting started with the superlatives.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Forget what you know about Las Vegas magic shows. Xavier Mortimer turns all that on its head.

“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream,” which we’re going to shorten to “Magical Dream” to avoid developing carpal tunnel, sounds like it’s probably a magic show, and it does have a lot of magical elements.

But “Magical Dream” isn’t entirely magic. It’s not entirely anything, other than awe-inspiring.

“Magical Dream” is, ultimately, a Cirque du Soleil-style show, but performed by one guy (Xavier Mortimer) and his co-star (Lauren Metter) who serves as a romantic interest and dance partner.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Xavier Mortimer will make you feel like a kid again. And make your kids feel like embryos. Or something.

The Cirque influence isn’t a coincidence. Mortimer was previously a Cirque performer, including a stint in “Michael Jackson One,” and this is the first time a Cirque performer has launched a headlining residency on the Las Vegas Strip.

The breadth of Mortimer’s talent is stunning. The show is equal parts music, dance, juggling, clowning, mime and mentalism. And that doesn’t begin to do it justice. Oh, and Mortimer is also a masterful quick-change artist. Just for kicks.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Just when we thought we were over magic shows, Xavier Mortimer and his evil twin pulled us back in.

“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” delivers what many shows claim to inspire, but too few actually can: Surprise and wonder.

Each sequence of the show is inventive, meticulously rehearsed and flawlessly performed.

Mortimer is so talented, we’re not entirely convinced audience members fully grasp how difficult his feats actually are.

From close-up magic to levitation, Mortimer’s performance is so effortless, he makes the miraculous look like no big deal.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

We didn’t forget you, Lauren. How could we?

What’s miraculous is that “Magical Dream” takes place in a theater roughly the size of your living room. The Sin City Theater, on Planet Hollywood’s mezzanine level, is intimate to say the least. Mortimer fearlessly performs his illusions just feet away from the front row, and overcomes the challenges of a tiny stage and peculiar sight lines to give audiences a show so good, it’s a crime it hasn’t gotten more buzz.

How good is this show? About halfway through, we wept.

Well, maybe not a full weep, but we welled up. It was a definite well. We welled up because as each sequence unfolded, we realized we were in the presence of something incredibly rare: Sheer creativity.

Some of the sequences in “Magical Dream” feature props and illusions that seem familiar at first. In one case, it’s the diabolo (see below), sometimes called a “Chinese yo-yo.” As the routine progresses, though, you see things you’re fairly sure are impossible. Every sequence defies and surpasses all expectations.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Just when you think you know what’s next, you’re Mortified. Which Xavier Mortimer should totally steal to use in his advertising.

“Magical Dream” flies by, running just over an hour long. By the end, you’re left breathless and baffled and in disbelief. Unlike too many Las Vegas shows, this one leaves you wanting more.

If we have any quibbles with the show, it’s the sometimes awkward patter between the vignettes. To his credit, Mortimer says he believes a show isn’t great until it’s been performed 100 times, and he’s constantly striving to make it better, even tweaking the show during the show. While performing in the show. Seriously.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

Both silly and sublime, “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” is an hour-long exercise in whimsy.

“Magical Dream” is family-friendly fare, and tickets are $49 general admission, $69 VIP. Find out more at the show’s official site.

After the show, Mortimer and Metter invite guests to take part in a free meet-and-greet, the perfect opportunity to gush over these gifted performers.

Have we talked up the show too much? Possibly. We love what we love. Here’s the thing. See it, and let us know what you think. Especially if you agree. We love when that happens.

If you’re looking for an ingenious, fresh, spellbinding departure from the average Las Vegas magic show, “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” is truly a dream come true.

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