“America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” Comes to Luxor

Luxor has found a resident show to fill the theater left vacant by the abomination that was “R.U.N.”

Described as “a celebration of comedy, music, danger and dance,” “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” makes its debut at Luxor on Nov. 4, 2021.

AGT live Las Vegas

We have lots of opinions about this logo, but mostly somebody’s going to put an eye out.

In case it weren’t obvious, the show will feature acts from the long-running TV series, “America’s Got Talent.”

So, it’s a variety show, and perhaps most importantly, it won’t cost $60 million to produce (as “R.U.N.” did), so there’s that.

The new show will perform two times per night, five nights a week, and will run 75 minutes.

Performances will include thrill acts, magicians, vocalists and acrobats.

The format allows producers to swap out acts both to: 1) Give guests a reason to come back, and 2) Make sure the performers aren’t getting too big for their britches or asking for too much money.

These two skaters can name their price. They’re nuts.

Some limited-engagement special guests will also appear in the show.

We trust those limited-engagement guests could include “America’s Got Talent” alumni who went on to find success after their appearance on the popular series.

Several current Las Vegas headliners came out of the “America’s Got Talent” realm, including Piff the Magic Dragon (Flamingo), Shin Lim (Mirage) and Mat Franco (Linq). Ventriloqist Terry Fator got the boot from his theater at Mirage, but is still doing a limited run at New York-New York.

Piff

Piff was on “America’s Got Talent” 2015 and is currently kicking ass at Flamingo.

“America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” will show Wednesday through Sunday at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets start at $49. A VIP package, which includes and backstage tour and meet-and-greet is available starting at $159.

At 50 bucks, “America’s Got Talent” seems a decent value, and variety shows have often done well in Las Vegas. Luxor’s a good spot for a show in this price range, as Luxor tends to appeal to value-seeking visitors.

While we were unaware anyone was clamoring for a show made up of largely inexperienced and untested performers, the hope is the “America’s Got Talent” brand will assure guests of a certain quality level, and as mentioned, keeping production costs low could make this show profitable while driving new business to Luxor and its casino.

The one thing “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” in its corner is it’s guaranteed to be better and more financially successful than “R.U.N.,” so there’s that.

July 4 Fireworks to Celebrate Return of Vegas to 100 Percent

When Las Vegas hosts a massive fireworks display on July 4, 2021 at 11:00 p.m., the occasion will not only mark Independence Day, but also a celebration of the return of Las Vegas following a year of unprecedented challenges.

Las Vegas returned to 100 percent capacity on June 1, 2021, including the option of fully-vaccinated folks to go maskless. (At this point, pretty much everyone’s maskless.)

The lifting of pandemic restrictions has resulted in a huge influx of visitors, despite ongoing travel restrictions from places like Canada, Europe and Asia.

New Year's fireworks

July 4 is “Pew! Pew!” time.

The July 4 fireworks display symbolizes a Las Vegas reboot, and Fireworks by Grucci will do most of the heavy lifting with pyrotechnics launched from several rooftops on The Strip.

Fireworks will be launched from Aria, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Resorts World (it opens June 24), The Strat, TI and Venetian.

In addition to the official LVCVA (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) fireworks, several other casinos will host displays of their own.

Downtown’s Plaza casino will have three nights of fireworks, and locals spots like Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch and Lake Las Vegas will also have fireworks.

Here’s some sweet drone video we took at Plaza.

And, yes, we even got some exclusive drone footage at Red Rock Resort. Do you know this blog at all?

It’s anticipated Las Vegas will be filled to overflowing (as it has been most weekends recently), so plan ahead if you want to check out the July 4 fireworks.

We got lots of questions about the best places to view fireworks in Las Vegas and opinions vary widely.

The thing to remember is being close to fireworks isn’t always the best way to watch them.

Circa’s rooftop lounge, Legacy Club, springs to mind as a new way to view the fireworks. The lounge has a great view of Plaza’s display and looks directly at The Strip from a vantage point that didn’t exist prior to the casino opening in Oct. 2020.

High vantage point stand-bys include the Stratosphere tower, Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay and VooDoo rooftop nightclub at Rio.

Worth noting: While the view from Rio is sweeping, it’s underwhelming due to the distance from The Strip.

Rio fireworks view

We risked infertility for this photo, so please appreciate it accordingly.

Palms is out this year, as the resort remains closed following its sale to the San Manuel tribe. It should be an option again by July 4, 2022.

We’re a big fan of catching fireworks from in front of Caesars Palace. Better yet, get invited to their private parties for players, as the view from the pool area is spectacular (see photo above).

Any rooftop or patio bar along The Strip should provide some great views, and may offer celebratory-themed packages. Prices tend to be inflated, but remember, you’re not just paying for food and drinks, it’s the experience.

A great trick locals swear by is to view fireworks from casino parking garages, or one of the parking structures at the airport.

Security is wise to this practice, but they most frequently patrol garage rooftops, when views are great from pretty much any upper level floor. At hotel self-park garages, security is most accommodating if you flash your room key.

Parking garages may not have the same flair as other locations, but they’re preferable to sitting in traffic jams when the fireworks have concluded.

Red Rock fireworks

Red Rock Resort, about 15 minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip, puts on a great show.

Besides, if you’re in a casino parking garage, that means you’re near a casino. What fun are fireworks without a post-show cocktail? Or dozen.

Wherever you decide to view the July 4 fireworks, plan ahead and arrive early. It’s a cliche that holds up and can save lots of time and frustration.

Las Vegas is ready to party, and nothing says “party” like fireworks. And rum. But mostly fireworks.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 125: Downtown Grand, Island at Ellis, Dueling Axes and More

Podcasts are radio for the cool kids, and you know damn well you want to be cooler without paying $475 for a bottle of Gray Goose at Tryst, so check out our newest episode!

In this installment, we share our experience at the pop-up tiki lounge at Ellis Island. We love this quirky new addition to Ellis Island, and hope it becomes permanent. Ellis Island has transformed the second floor of its Front Yard venue into a tropical paradise, with stand-out food, drinks and decor.

Also, we won a handpay, so there’s that.

Ellis Island tiki

You’ve got a new place to shake your wahine, Island at Ellis. Also, please don’t shake your wahine. It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

We also touch base with Seth Schorr, Chairman of the Downtown Grand resort.

Schorr shares insights about how the downtown casino weathered the pandemic, plus what’s new and what’s next for one of our favorite places to gamble and drink downtown. Mostly that second thing.

Also, we won a handpay, so there’s that.

Downtown Grand

Try and find another place with $1 blackjack. We’ll wait.

It’s no coincidence that our “Listicle of the Week” is about how to get more handpays.

“Handpays,” of course, are also known as “taxable slot jackpots.” If a player wins a jackpot of $1,200 or more, an attendant has to pay the winner by hand.

We’ll share our tips and tricks for winning more jackpots so you can enjoy the thrill of filling out tax forms during your next Las Vegas visit!

In our ongoing quest to find fun things to do in Las Vegas, we drop by Dueling Axes at Area 15. The venue, where guests throw axes, recently got its full liquor license. You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

We also have video of one of the Dueling Axes bartenders, Misha, reminding everyone why it’s important to be respectful of bartenders.

As with every episode, we begrudgingly slap together all the latest Las Vegas news so you’re up-to-date with what’s in the works as Sin City regains its footing following a year chock full of WTF.

Learn more about the fireworks extravaganza planned for July 4 weekend, Amalfi at Caesars Palace, Soulbelly BBQ downtown, dates for Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain and Lionel Richie, Illuminarium, Las Vegas restaurant week, Kassi Beach House at Virgin Las Vegas, Hofbrauhaus, Siegel’s Bagelmania, EDC’s line-up and more.

This podcast isn’t going to listen to itself, so download, stream or feel free to insert rectally. You do you.

Mac King Moves to Excalibur After 22 Years at Harrah’s

The times they are a-changin’ in the world of Las Vegas shows, and there’s no better illustration than legendary comedy-magician Mac King moving to Excalibur after 20-plus years at Harrah’s Las Vegas.

Mac King launches his show in the Thunderland Showroom at Excalibur on June 22, 2021.

We know Mac King, and we’d bet he didn’t ask for the airbrushing. It was the hamster.

The Thunderland Showroom also hosts the Thunder From Down Under male revue and Australian Bee Gees show, one of the best tribute shows in town. Hans Klok also performed in the venue for a minute.

King’s show has been dark since the start of the pandemic, and the change of venue follows on the heels of a major entertainment shake-up at Caesars Entertainment.

Several smaller venues on The Strip have shut down, including Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace, the Chippendales Theater at Rio and Anthony Cools Experience Theater at Paris, as
Caesars shifts its focus to gambling following the merger with Eldorado Resorts.

King says the decision to move wasn’t related to the entertainment cuts at Caesars Entertainment, but that doesn’t mean there was no drama, he’s just too much of a gentleman to talk about it. Mac King is classy like that.

Mac King

We used a special lens to make Mac King less invisible.

Mac King’s family-friendly comedy-magic show is one of the best entertainment values in Las Vegas (tickets start at $44.95), and it truly is fun for all ages. Learn more and get tickets.

King’s comedic talents belie his magic prowess, but he’s known as “a magician’s magician,” respected and admired by some of the most popular and successful magicians in the world.

Beyond the quality of the show, Mac King is just an all-around good guy, and we’re happy to see he’s found a new home for his hijinks. Or possibly mischief. But definitely monkey business.

We almost said “skylarking,” but that just results in blank stares from the youths.

Mac King shower cap

We once did a story about alternate uses for hotel shower caps. Mac King and his goldfish helped.

Anyway, Mac King’s new show at Excalibur happens at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., dark Sundays and Mondays.

Mac King’s longevity in Las Vegas is a testament to his talent and work ethic. We’ve never heard anyone speak ill of him, and that’s extraordinarily rare in Las Vegas entertainment circles.

Long live the King.

Mac King is on our short list of must-see Las Vegas shows.

If you’ve seen it before, now’s a great chance to check it out again. If you’ve never seen it, you really need to question your life decisions and get your ass to Excalibur.

Mac King is going to be skylarking the hell out of the place.

Wynn Buffet Returns July 1, Encore’s Dog-Friendly and More

There’s a lot going on at Wynn and Encore, including the return of the resort’s popular buffet.

The Wynn Buffet reopens July 1, 2021, according to the company.

Wynn Buffet

Let’s just say The Buffet at Wynn isn’t your typical Las Vegas buffet.

Following an extended closure due to the pandemic, Wynn tried reopening the buffet back in June 2020, but the effort was short-lived.

Guests didn’t take to a served buffet, preferring a “traditional buffet experience” (serving themselves), so Wynn closed up shop again in Sep. 2020.

Now, the buffet will be back as self-serve, the way Mother Nature, in all her bloated glory, intended.

Also up at Wynn and Encore, valet parking services will be back in mid-June.

The resort’s new restaurant, Delilah, opens July 14.

Delilah is a “modern-day supper club,” and will feature a “troupe of female dancers moving to the sounds of a live jazz band.”

Delilah is in the former Alex space.

The menu for Delilah isn’t available yet, but if you’re into the supper club thing, feel free to visit the official Web page and hit refresh until it appears.

Delilah Wynn Las Vegas

Delilah’s dress code will be “smart casual.” Translation: No clothes that attended public school allowed.

Finally, Wynn Resorts announced Encore will now be dog-friendly.

Guests can now bring up to two dogs, and the pampered pooches will get a doggy bag of welcome gifts including a neckerchief with the Wynn logo, a toy and dog treat.

The hotel will offer canine guests “Bone Appetite, the new room service doggy dining menu.”

Dog-focused clothing and accessories (like Wynn-branded leashes, collars and bowls) will be available for purchase, and there will even be a Wynn Resorts signature robe, an exact replica of its human-sized counterpart.

Happy dog

We took this photo at the Animal Foundation shelter, and are always looking for an excuse to share it again.

Wynn Resorts recently shared it has maintained its Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards for 2021. The company holds the most Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards of any independent hotel company. This distinction is all the more impressive because it was earned during a flipping pandemic.

Company officials say the resort’s hotels have had 90-98% occupancy on weekends of late, a strong sign Las Vegas is back, even before international travel (a significant source of business for Wynn Resorts) resumes.

It’s worth noting that while other Strip resorts are bringing back paid parking (including Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts), we’ve heard about no such plans at Wynn and Encore. Parking remains free.

Wynn parking

The best kind of parking machines are the ones where there’s no place to stick in your credit card.

Now, you know what’s up at Wynn and Encore.

We can’t wait to hit the Wynn Buffet again, and we’re happy to hear all the buffet employees will be back to work to deliver one of the best-reviewed buffets in Las Vegas.

Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas Reopens After More Than a Year

Gird your cheeks, Hofbrauhaus is back.

The off-Strip beer hall and restaurant reopened June 1, 2021.

The lively venue has been closed since March 2020. That’s because medical experts agree the leading causes of COVID-19 spread are spankings and Austrian sing-a-longs.

Top tip: When you enter Hofbrauhaus, familiarize yourself with the location of the restrooms.

Hofbrauhaus, of course, is known not only for it brews and schnitzel, but also for the paddling.

Hofbrauhaus guests can receiving a spanking by a “Spankstress” with a shot paddle upon request.

In related news, what in the hell is wrong with people?

Then again, people voluntarily order sauerbraten, so the answer is “a lot.”

Welcome back, you beautiful hangover-maker.

Hofbrauhaus is located just across the street from Virgin Las Vegas, formerly Hard Rock, at Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue.

The popular venue has been in operation for 17 years.

Hofbrauhaus hours of operation are: 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday.

While we are not a beer person (we’ve never had one, actually), whenever we visit Hofbrauhaus, people seem to be having an absolute blast.

Honestly, it’s all about the bigass pretzels.

Hofbrauhaus pretzels

Skip the salt, heavy on the mustard.

Fun fact: It took the owners of Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas two years to negotiate a license with the original Hofbrauhaus in Munich to replicate the iconic tavern.

The return of Hofbrauhaus is another long-awaited symbol of a return to normalcy in Las Vegas.

So, bottoms up. In more ways than one.