Category Archives: Everything Else

Kiss Confirms Las Vegas Residency Rumor

Rock icon Gene Simmons has finally confirmed a rumor we floated more than a year ago. It was worth the wait for Kiss fans.

Kiss will have another Las Vegas residency. The first show is expected to be on Dec. 27, 2021, and the residency will run through February 2022.

Kiss band

Demon, Spaceman, Catman, Starchild. Imagine having to do this crap for 50 years.

As we first shared back in March 2020, the residency will be at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood.

The last time Kiss had a residency in Las Vegas, it was at the Hard Rock (now Virgin) in 2014. The show was generally well-received at the time.

The band is currently in the middle of its 26th farewell tour, dubbed “End of the Road,” and it seems Kiss couldn’t go out without a final stop in Sin City.

Here’s our original scoop of 18 months ago, one of the many things that makes us legendary, especially, and almost exclusively, in our own mind.

Kiss residency

Kiss didn’t want to miss out on New Year’s Eve in Vegas. We totally get it.

The band’s current line-up includes the aforementioned Gene Simmons, frontman Paul Stanley, lead guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer.

Let’s face it, Kiss is a little like Jabbawockeez. With their faces covered, you can pretty much put whoever’s available in the group and it’ll be a hit. Other than the tongue thing, of course, but generally speaking.

The last tour to feature the oriignal group members was in 2000.

Kiss has a slew of hits to choose from for its residency.

Recent setlist have included “Detroit Rock City,” “Shout It Out Loud,” “Deuce,” “Say Yeah,” “I Love It Loud,” “Heaven’s on Fire,” “Tears Are Falling,” “War Machine,” “Lick It Up,” “Calling Dr. Love,” “100,000 Years” and “Cold Gin.”

Oh, look, here’s “Lick It Up,” because somebody had to do it.

Gene Simmons recently purchased a home in Las Vegas for $10.8 million. Well, technically, it’s in Henderson. In rock band terms, Henderson is sort of a Las Vegas groupie.

In addition to his new Las Vegas mansion, Simmons also purchased an adjoining lot to accommodate his enormous ego.

Well, we pretty much just screwed ourself out of the Kiss afterparty. The sacrifices we make for you.

Kiss is a national treasure, and we’re happy to hear they’ll be back in Las Vegas for a residency, and not just because we love sharing news a year-and-a-half before anyone else, probably.

Update (8/16/21): Kiss has confirmed performance dates: Dec. 29, 30 and 31, 2021; plus Jan. 1, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 29; Feb. 2, 4, 5, 2022.

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas Set to Open Jan. 15, 2021

Virgin Hotel Las Vegas (technically, “Hotels,” though there’s only one) has announced its opening date: Jan. 15, 2021.

The resort, undergoing a major renovation from its previous incarnation, Hard Rock, was supposed to open in Nov. 2020, but COVID has ruined everything.

Channel 13 chastity belt

It’s hard to overstate the gloriousness of Channel 13 using our Photoshopped rendering of Virgin Las Vegas, complete with chastity belt. Because Virgin.

Hard Rock closed Feb. 4, 2020.

Hard Rock was purchased by JC Hospitality and bajillionaire Richard Branson on March 30, 2018.

The launch of Virgin Las Vegas is estimated to be costing in the neighborhood of $200 million.

In case you wondered, the push-back of an opening date for Virgin had everything with the business climate in Las Vegas due to COVID-19, not the financial state of Richard Branson or his Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Group.

Virgin recently showed off some renderings of its rooms (which the resort refers to as “chambers,” despite our best efforts), so let’s take a look.

Virgin Richard's Flat

This room is called Richard’s Flat. It refers to Richard Branson, but may also be a nod to the resort’s CEO, Richard Bosworth. Sly.

Here’s the living room for Richard’s Flat.

Virgin Vegas hotel rooms

Yes, we zoomed in on the liquor. No labels!

Virgin will have three towers: Opal, Canyon and the all-suite  Ruby Tower.

Virgin Vegas rooms

Oxymoron of the day: Canyon Tower.

Here’s the Opal tower room.

Virgin Hotel rooms

This is the Opal Tower. If you’re getting a feminine vibe, it’s because Virgin is known for appealing to female business travelers, among others.

Virgin will be part of Hilton Honors, the guest loyalty program boasting 108 million members.

It’s worth noting, Virgin announced it will be rebranding its popular showroom, The Joint.

There’s a good amount of anticipation building about Virgin Hotel Las Vegas, including ours.

We’ve got a solid stretch of newness in the works, from Circa (Oct. 28, 2020) to Virgin (Jan. 15, 2021) and Resorts World (summer 2021), and we look forward to gambling and drinking and debauching our way through each one.

Not necessarily in that order.

Wynn Las Vegas Reveals Wynn Plaza Shopping Complex

It’s been months in the making, but it seems Wynn Las Vegas is now prepared to show off its snazzy new Wynn Plaza shopping complex.

Wynn Plaza was built at a cost of $54 million and provides 75,518-square-feet of additional luxury retail space to the resort, making the most of some previously unused land in front of Wynn.

Here’s a look at the facade of Wynn Plaza.

Wynn Plaza’s design was inspired by inspired by Avenue Matignon in Paris, wherever that might be.

Wynn Plaza is expected to open soon.

If you like construction photos of fancy new Las Vegas buildings, we’ve got you covered.

We’d have stopped to take more photos, but shopping.

Under Cover of Darkness, Bourne 5 Car Chase Revs Up the Las Vegas Strip

Jason Bourne may have tried to stay incognito during his first few weeks in Las Vegas, but he’s out in the open now.

The new Bourne movie, cleverly titled “Jason Bourne,” starring Matt Damon and Tommy Lee Jones has begun filming one of its trademark car chases on The Strip.

Bourne 5

Witness 17,350 pounds of Jason Bourne nemesis. The chase is on!

We’ve been sharing Bourne scoops since the production arrived, and now we’ve had our first legit Jason Bourne encounter.

Filming of Bourne 5 is taking place in the driveway of Aria Las Vegas (Jan. 18-19, 2016). Thanks to one of our earlier reports, picked up by local news stations, lots of fans braved chilly weather to see Bourne in action.

Fans lined the pedestrian bridges overlooking the scene.

Bourne 5

Some of the best views of the Bourne 5 filming are on The Strip’s pedestrian bridges. Please keep your hand on your wallet. Just saying.

Seeing the action being shot, pieces of the Bourne 5 puzzle are falling into place.

Earlier scenes took place inside Aria at a made-up tech convention, Exocon 2016. At the conference, speakers include CIA Director Robert Dewey (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and the founder of a company called Deep Dream, Aaron Kalloor (played by Riz Ahmed).

Accounts inside the shoot say someone is assassinated at the conference, and since it’s not Matt Damon’s character, and it’s probably not Tommy Lee Jones’ character, we’re betting it’s Riz Ahmed’s.

As happens in Bourne movies, a chase ensues.

Matt Damon Bourne 5

That’s Matt Damon in the passenger seat. Surreal.

Police and rescue units respond to the emergency, and Bourne takes off after a SWAT vehicle. That’s the scene we saw being filmed on Jan. 18, 2016, and it was awesome. And repetitive. But awesome.

The crew did many, many takes with the SWAT truck and Bourne’s Dodge Charger zipping down the Aria driveway.

Dozens of cars lined the entrance, all manned by extras. For at least six hours. Sitting in their cars. Movie making is so glamorous!

Bourne 5

Hope you have some good tunes because you’re going to be here awhile.

At one point, there was a potentially dangerous mishap between the Charger and the SWAT vehicle. The SWAT vehicle stopped short and changed lanes, and the Charger narrowly missed slamming into the back of the SWAT van. Here’s video of the tense moment, uneventful take first.

There were no injuries, other than to the bumper of the Charger, and the shoot continued into the wee hours.

All the chase scenes are being filmed at night, including upcoming sequences in the center of the Strip and at Riviera.

Here’s a list of the best places to watch the Bourne 5 chase on the Las Vegas Strip.

The chase sequence is expected to end dramatically at the Riviera. The exterior of the building has been lit for several days in preparation for the sequence’s climax.

The gutted casino’s interior will be dressed with slot machines and table games, and we hear at least one vehicle will crash into the casino. Which sounds so cool, our limited vocabulary isn’t adequate to describe how excited we are.

So, back at Aria, another sequence was being readied, a collision between a limo and another SWAT van. (It was an exact duplicate, so only one will appear onscreen.)

The production had three limos ready to go for three takes of the collision.

Bourne 5

A movie stunt is sometimes called a “gag.” “Gag” is also a term for what happens when you see the price of gummi bears at a movie theater.

The expectation was that Matt Damon wouldn’t be around for the filming of these action sequences, as those are typically done by a film’s “second unit.” But at 2:30 a.m., the “Jason Bourne” star jumped into the Charger and did a test run down the ramp with his stunt driver.

Matt Damon Bourne 5

Matt Flipping Damon. Probably not his actual middle name.

Shortly thereafter, Damon did the drive on his own. Not the most dangerous stunt, but it was pretty thrilling seeing Jason Bourne peeling out in pursuit of the bad guys.

While there are long stretches of not-a-whole-lot on movie sets, it was a blast being in such close proximity to what is likely to be a huge hit, especially for Bourne fans (this blog is that, in case that wasn’t obvious).

We’ve got more Bourne 5 scoop than most humans can handle, including spoilers and pics inside Aria and a security breach from an earlier location, the Greyhound depot downtown.

Enjoy more photos from the set of “Jason Bourne” in Las Vegas, and if you capture pics or video of the Bourne 5 production in Las Vegas, send them our way!

Bourne 5 in Las Vegas

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Lucky Cat Exhibit at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas is Both Art and Commerce

The Cosmopolitan’s pop-up space has housed a furniture store called Droog, a wedding chapel and a Liberace exhibit. Now, it’s home to a nine-foot, chrome-finished maneki-neko (“beckoning cat”), the Japanese symbol said to bring good fortune and often seen at the entrance to business establishments like Asian restaurants.

Lucky cat Cosmopolitan

The fact you read this Las Vegas blog already makes you one lucky cat.

The entire 2,500-square-foot space, prime Strip-accessible real estate, is devoted to the display, so it’s not surprising the lucky cat is doing double duty as a casino promotion, much like the free spin slot machines outside some Las Vegas casinos.

Guests 21 and older can touch the lucky cat’s paw to receive a Cosmopolitan freebie, or at least a fortune.

The fortunes won’t necessarily rock your world, but it’s a fun way to spend a few (free) minutes on The Strip, and during our visit there was a constant line for a photo op with the kitty, so it’s clearly winning over Las Vegas visitors.

Las Vegas lucky cat

Centaurs are a metaphor for the conflict between the lower appetites and civilized behavior. Fair warning: In Las Vegas, we tend to lean toward the lower appetites.

Among the fortune cards there are some pretty sweet casino giveaways, too.

Guests can win any of the following: Free one-night stay at Cosmo, free slot play ($10 or $25), two tickets to a Cosmo concert, 2-for-1 at Wicked Spoon buffet, free cocktail at Jaleo, free cocktail at China Poblano, free cocktail in the casino, free glass of champagne at Comme Ça, free cocktail at Rose.Rabbit.Lie., free coffee at Va Bene, free admission and skate rental at the Cosmo’s seasonal ice rink, free entry for two to Marquee Nightclub, free VIP bottle service at Marquee Nightclub, Marquee Nightclub gift bag, free foot massage at the Sahra Spa & Hammam, whatever that might actually be.

Cosmopolitan lucky cat

“High five” in Japanese is “go-daka.”

Oh, and our two favorite prizes? Guests might also win a “social media shout-out” or their name in lights on the ticker outside the Cosmo.

Here’s a link to all the small print of Cosmo’s lucky cat giveaway. Below is some of the large print.

Lucky cat at Cosmopolitan

This is the biggest sign in the place, so it’s likely to be enforced.

As a Las Vegas blog, we’re always fascinated by lucky talismans. Or possibly talismen. Or talispersons. Whatever. The lucky cat at Cosmo gives us an opportunity to delve further into the world of the maneki-neko, and here’s what we turned up.

The maneki-neko dates back to the 1870s, during the Meiji era in Japan.

In English, maneki-neko is also known as welcoming cat, money cat, happy cat or fortune cat.

Many people mistakenly believe the lucky cat is of Chinese origin, but as we’ve said, it’s Japanese. The cat depicted in maneki-neko figurines is a calico Japanese Bobtail.

While the Cosmo’s fiberglass lucky cat is chrome-finished, they most often come in white, black, gold and red. Black cats, by the way, are traditionally considered lucky in Japan, said to ward off evil or cure illness in children. You can just imagine how confusing this is for people who think children are evil.

Lucky cat at Cosmo

Maneki-neko at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, sponsored by Windex, we presume.

Lucky cats are often seen waving (as below). Westerners sometimes incorrectly think the lucky cat is waving goodbye, when actually it’s beckoning. That’s due to the differences in body language between Westerners and the Japanese. The Japanese beckon by holding up the hand, palm out, then repeatedly fold their fingers down and back up.

The maneki-neko made for export to America and other countries beckons by showing the back of its hand. Cats made for Japanese consumption beckon by showing the palm, as is customary among the Japanese.

Lucky cats beckoning

So much good fortune. Don’t say we never gave you anything.

About 70% of lucky cats sold have both paws raised (representing good fortune and money), 20% have the right paw raised (good fortune) and 10% have the left paw raised (money).

The lucky cat at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas is pretty streamlined, but the ones you see in businesses and homes often carry “koban,” or gold coins.

Some lucky cats wear a collar with a bell, inspired by the custom of affluent Japanese women adorning their cats with red collars made of hichirimen, a red flower. Small bells were attached to the collar to help the owners keep track of their pets.

Lucky cats sometimes have characters on their legs, often a Chinese phrase that translates as “the source of money spreads widely.” One of the most common symbols is the Japanese “fuku” character, which means “good fortune” or “happiness.”

Lucky cat at Cosmo

Casino chips are made from the same kind of clay used to make kitty litter. Ah, the circularity of the universe.

There’s a whole realm of lucky cat lore and superstitions, especially related to the origin of the maneki-neko. One is a Japanese superstition that says when a cat washes its face and paws, company’s coming.

Many think the custom of the lucky cat got its start from a Chinese proverb, “If a cat washes its face, it will rain.”

There’s a sexy reason the lucky cat is so popular, according to some sources. During the Meiji Period in Japan, brothels had a “good-luck shelf” where lucky charms were displayed in the shape of the male sexual organ. In 1872, the Meiji government was trying to clean up its image, so the phallic charms were banned. Maneki-neko statues filled the void, and some claim the cats represent women of ill repute beckoning to potential customers. Read more.

Lucky cat at Cosmopolitan

We’re fairly sure we could have skipped this entire blog post by just sharing this up front. So sue us.

So, now you know!

The lucky cat exhibit at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas is free and open to the public, 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Find out more on the official Cosmopolitan site.

Always interesting to see what the Cosmo might be up to next.

Our Most Useful Las Vegas Tip, Ever

We’re full of it. Las Vegas information, that is. But there’s one tidbit we consider the most useful of them all.

Las Vegas visitors and locals alike have wasted untold hours doing one thing: Searching for their cars. Casino parking lots are vast and labyrinthine, and locating your car after a day, or days, of revelry can be a challenge.

So, here’s what you do. Valet!

Actually, we almost never valet park. Here’s how we solve the parking issue. Every single time we park in a self-park garage in Las Vegas, we take a photo of the floor number with our smartphone. Then, when you emerge from your Las Vegas stupor, you’ll be able to find your wheels without wandering helplessly around a parking structure larger than most Third World countries.

parking

This simple exercise has helped us avoid wasting time, gray hair and high blood pressure.

As you might suspect, there are smartphone apps which claim to help find your car, but they tend to only work if you’ve parked in a one-level lot, which almost never happens in Las Vegas.

So, snap a pic and rest easy in the knowledge you won’t have to beg a security guard for a drive-around or become the subject of a sitcom someday.