Category Archives: Las Vegas

Vegas-Set Zombie Flick “Army of the Dead” Coming to Netflix

This one’s flown under the radar, but a new Netflix movie, “Army of the Dead,” features at least three of our favorite things: Casino heists, Las Vegas and zombies.

“Army of the Dead” is written and directed by Zack Snyder and stars Dave Bautista.

Army of the Dead

Fun fact: Las Vegas casinos often offer discounts for members of the military.

Snyder directed “300” and “Justice League,” among others. Snyder’s zombie cred includes his first feature film, a remake of “Dawn of the Dead.”

Dave Bautista is best known for the hilarious “My Spy.” He may have also been in a couple of superhero movies.

The film features a number of other performers whose names we don’t recognize, including Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Garret Dillahunt, Raul Castillo, Omari Hardwick, Tig Notaro, Nora Arnezeder, Matthias Schweighofer, Samantha Win and Theo Rossi.

Army of the Dead Las Vegas

Our favorite zombie movie of all time is “Shawn of the Dead,” but being set in Las Vegas could give “Army of the Dead” an edge.

“Army of the Dead” cost $90 million, or about nine times the asking price for the Artisan hotel.

The story involves a group of mercenaries who plot a Las Vegas casino heist during a zombie outbreak. Oh, Hollywood.

The twist (beyond the fact there’s a zombie outbreak) is the heist is done on behalf of the casino owner. How that qualifies as a “heist,” we have no idea, but “heist” just makes everything sound more exciting.

Zack Snyder has described the film as “fun and epic and crazy and bonkers in the best possible way.”

Snyder says, “It will be the most kick-ass, self-aware—but not in a wink-to-the-camera way—balls-to-the-wall zombie freak show that anyone has ever seen.”

Army of the Dead

Vegas connection: Las Vegas had a zombie-themed “Fear the Walking Dead” attraction until it closed in April 2019.

While “Army of the Dead” seems to be set in Las Vegas, we couldn’t find any evidence of it being filmed here.

Principal photography took place in L.A. and Albuquerque. Parts of the film were shot in the now-closed Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. What the hell, Zack Snyder?

No release date for “Army of the Dead” has been announced. Signs point to a 2021 release, but we’re hoping for Halloween 2020.

Read more about “Army of the Dead” and we’re hoping the filmmakers didn’t squander an opportunity to make Las Vegas the star of the show rather than merely a backdrop.

Just as everything’s better with zombies, everything’s better with Vegas.

Cheetah’s Strip Club, of “Showgirls” Fame, Officially Done

Cheetah’s Las Vegas strip club is officially done, confirmed by the removal of signage on the club’s exterior on Aug. 19, 2020.

Cheetah's Las Vegas closed

Cheetah’s has been stripped of its neon.

Cheetah’s is best known for being the strip club where the so-bad-it’s-still-bad classic, “Showgirls,” was filmed.

Yep, this is the place where Elizabeth Berkley licked a stripper pole, a practice frowned upon even prior to the pandemic.

Cheetah's strip club closed

The year 2020 has not been lap dance-friendly.

Big thanks to our eagle-eyed Twitter follower Alyssa A. for letting us know the signage was being removed from Cheetah’s.

We got there just in time to snap some photos of the dismantling remnants.

Vegas Cheetah's closed

Open 24 hours, not so much.

Cheetah’s was long past its heyday, so it’s no surprise the establishment would close or get a rebrand.

Cheetah's closed

Yes, we snagged a piece of neon tubing. It’s famous.

While Vegas strip clubs are currently closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, it’s expected Cheetah’s will become The Library Gentlemen’s Club when such venues are permitted to open again.

Cheetah's Library Vegas

When it’s the Library, we’ll have to check it out. If library puns are even a thing anymore.

While we can’t recall ever visiting Cheetah’s, we’ve heard quite a bit about the strip club’s colorful history.

At one time, Cheetah’s was owned by Michael Galardi. Galardi was involved in a political corruption scandal featuring a federal investigation dubbed “Operation G-String.”

Cheetah's closed Vegas

Sadly, our car is only so big.

We trust the long tradition of lap dances and no sex in the Champagne Room (named G-Spot at Cheetah’s, by the way) will continue as Cheetah’s is presumably overhauled to become the Library Gentlemen’s Club.

Cheetah's closed

Those lips have been a Vegas fixture since 1991.

If you are interested in more reading about Las Vegas strip club culture, please feel free to feast your eyes on our useful collection of Las Vegas Strip club slang or things we didn’t know about strippers.

Cheetah's Vegas strip club

Trust us, Las Vegas topless clubs are going to bounce back!

It was bittersweet seeing all the discarded neon following the removal of the Cheetah’s signage.

Cheetah’s will always hold a special place in the hearts of “Showgirls” fans. Yes, both of them.

Checking In on the Downtown Las Vegas Archway

YESCO is making quick work of the downtown Las Vegas welcome archway. We snagged some progress pics on Aug. 19, 2020.

Downtown Las Vegas arch

We could not be a bigger fan of new and shiny things.

By the time you read this, the arches will have connected, but we figured it was worth sharing these for posterity.

Downtown Las Vegas arch

You don’t even realize how inside Vegas we get you.

The archway is at the foot of The Strat. That’s the tall casino with the thrill rides at the top.

Guests drive through the legs of the new archway to enter the porte cochere (a fancy term for “entryway”) of The Strat.

Here’s the view from valet.

Downtown Las Vegas arch

Look at all the “between the legs” jokes we’re not making. The word you’re looking for is “maturity.”

The completion date for the welcome archway is Aug. 28, 2020. YESCO doesn’t mess around.

If you’re ever asked why YESCO is capitalized, reply, “None of your business.”

If you’re every asked why YESCO is capitalized as part of a bar bet, answer, “It’s an initialism. YESCO stands for Young Electric Sign Company.”

YESCO is the same company that renovated Vegas Vickie for her return to Circa Las Vegas, so they’re permanently on our good side.

Vegas arch

The technical term is “boop.”

There’s a lot involved with this seemingly straightforward archway. We got all up in its business to illustrate.

Vegas arch

We would share details of the technical aspects of the archway, but that would involve “effort” and we all know that’s not happening.

The downtown welcome archway is about 80 feet tall. Or 82 feet in heels.

All told, the arch will cost about $6.5 million. Which is a total bargain if you consider the St. Louis Arch cost $13 million back in 1963. That’s about $110 million in today dollars.

Here’s another look at what the finished product will look like.

Las Vegas arch

Passing under an arch is good luck, irrespective of the fact we may have just made that up.

We’re about a week away from the completion of this new downtown photo op, so check back to see the finished product.

Pinball Hall of Fame’s New Strip Location Takes Shape

The Pinball Hall of Fame is one of the most beloved attractions in Las Vegas, and fans of throwback arcade games will soon have a new place to plunge, flip and bump.

It sounds dirtier than it really is.

Here’s a look at the construction underway at the new Pinball Hall of Fame on the Las Vegas Strip.

New Pinball Hall of Fame

The new home of the Pinball Hall of Fame is not only spacious, it can withstand a zombie invasion.

The new Pinball Hall of Fame is expected to open in January 2021.

The Pinball Hall of Fame will be at 4915 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, next to the Harley-Davidson dealership, not far from the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and Mandalay Bay.

New Pinball museum Las Vegas

Anticipate wall-to-wall gobble holes.

According to Pinball Hall of Fame owner Tim Arnold, “It’s within walking distance of 14 of the 15 largest hotels in the world.”

Here’s a little walk-through, courtesy of our feet.

It’s worth noting there’s a five-acre lot between Harley-Davidson and the new Pinball Hall of Fame, slated for a Dream resort.

Here’s today’s perfunctory photo of an empty lot that might be a thing someday.

Dream site Las Vegas

Let’s hope Dream isn’t just a fantasy. The Pinball Hall of Fame could use the foot traffic.

At 28,000-square-feet, the new venue will be three times larger than the current Pinball Hall of Fame, which boasts an eclectic collection of vintage and rare arcade games.

The existing Pinball Hall of Fame (at 1610 E Tropicana Ave.) is open and operating, and has about 250 games. The new Pinball Hall of Fame will have more than 700.

Pinball Hall of Fame Vegas

You can never have too many wall holder thingys.

Many of the games being dusted off for the new location have been in storage for 30 years, so even Pinball Hall of Fame regulars can expect lots of surprises when the new location makes its debut.

Tim Arnold says there will be a lot more games from the 1940s and 1950s. “Everybody in the artwork will be wearing hats and women will be wearing dresses.” Wait, that used to be a thing?

While classic machines are awesome to see and play, they’re a bear to maintain.

Arnold says, “We have a dedicated staff of volunteers that both live here, and some of them fly in for periods of time, that have been fixing this stuff for years.”

Arnold picked up truckloads of videogames “when the whole thing collapsed in the ’80s.”

“Right now, we’re running things like Centipede and Pac Man, but we’re going to get back into the earlier black and white games—Pong, Computer Space, Rip Off, Star Castle,” Arnold says. “You can get simulations of these games on the Internet, but it’s not the same as playing on a tube monitor. The flat screens do not give you the same visual experience as a tube.”

Pinball Vegas

We’ll just keep showing construction photos until you stop looking at them.

We’ve always touted the Pinball Hall of Fame as “family-friendly,” but Tim Arnold clarified.

“A lot of people think they can bring their kids, turn them loose, they can run around and have a good time and scream, we do not tolerate that at all,” says Arnold. “We’ve offended a lot of parents by speaking to their children in a loud, firm voice.”

Tim Arnold Pinball Hall of Fame

Tim Arnold is like the Willy Wonka of arcades, but with even less patience for poorly-behaved children.

Yeah, Tim Arnold is awesome.

We knew we’d like him when he told us, “We can do an interview, but there are two requirements. You must never refer to a ‘cacophony of sound’ or a ‘melange of color.'” Done and done.

Clearly, this isn’t Arnold’s first rodeo.

Arnold also came up with the de facto slogan for the Pinball Hall of Fame: “If you can’t find something to play in here you like, there’s something wrong with you.”

Pinball museum Vegas

With all this space, and all the games to come, we really need this coin shortage to be over.

Here’s a little insider scoop. As Arnold planned for a new location, he considered changing the name of the place. The proposed name: The Last Real Arcade in America.

The new venue will have free parking and be rideshare-friendly. It will also be non-smoking.

Interestingly, the Pinball Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization.

Pinball Hall of Fame Vegas

The new Pinball Hall of Fame will be this, times a metric buttload.

The parcel for the new location cost $4.5 million (the same lot once sold for $18 million), and the building cost about the same. All in, the project will cost about $10 million. That’s a lot of quarters!

Arnold says, “The building will be mostly paid-for when we open. Our debt to equity will be under 20 percent…so, we’re definitely penny-pinchers. We’re going to work on paying down the debt, then we’re going to get back to doing charitable work.”

If you shake a pinball machine too much, it “tilts.” This construction method is called “tilt-up.” Ah, the circularity of the universe.

Construction on the new Pinball Hall of Fame has progressed despite the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and a temporary shutdown of the Hall of Fame’s original location.

As Tim Arnold puts it, “Right now, Las Vegas is flat on its ass, but it will come back.”

Arnold adds, “The only reason we’ve been able to pull this off so far is we realize the fans of fun things count for something, and that’s what we’ve always worked on, rather than just throwing advertising at something and hoping somebody shows up. What we’re doing is being fanatical about games…we keep our prices low and our fans engaged.”

We’ll be watching the new Pinball Hall of Fame and expect to see our initials under “High Scores” on Asteroids when the place opens in January 2021. Hey, it’s not our first rodeo, either.

“Le Reve” to Close Permanently at Wynn Las Vegas

The inside word is the popular show at Wynn Las Vegas, “Le Reve,” will close permanently.

“Le Reve” is water-based, Cirque-style show (no association with Cirque du Soleil) and has been closed for several months due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

Performers in “Le Reve” had dozens of holes drilled in their shoes to let the water drain out.

We quite enjoyed “Le Reve,” and the closure of the show is yet another blow to the Las Vegas entertainment community.

“Le Reve” means “The Dream” in French, but the COVID-19 crisis has become a nightmare for Las Vegas theatrical productions, including their casts and crews.

The show employed about 90 performers (all SCUBA-qualified) prior to the shutdown, as well as 140 technical staff members, including a team of about 16 divers (who spent the entire show submerged).

The “Le Reve” theater features a 1.1 million gallon water tank.

Le Reve closed

Up to 1,000 towels were used each day at “Le Reve.”

“Le Reve” opened at Wynn Las Vegas in May 2005, but it’s been “re-imagined” a time or two since then.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

Sorry, no snark this time. Even our photo captions are bummed about this.

The future of the $75 million “Le Reve” theater space is, well, fluid.

Here’s a look at “Le Reve” in 2015.

We received this statement from Wynn Las Vegas: “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent physical distancing requirements for which an end-date cannot be predicted, but are necessary to keep our guests safe, we have been forced to close the award-winning show ‘Le Reve — The Dream’ at Wynn Las Vegas. ‘Le Reve’ has performed more than 6,000 shows since it was launched in 2005 and has been voted ‘Best Production Show’ in Las Vegas for nine consecutive years, a record number, by the Southern Nevada Concierge Association.”

She’s Back: Mirage Resort Announces Reopening Date

An iconic Las Vegas resort, Mirage, has announced it will reopen August 27, 2020.

Mirage has been closed nearly five months due to the COVID-19 crisis, and we never realized how much we’d miss her.

Yes, Mirage is a her.

Mirage

Vegas isn’t Vegas without the Mirage.

We can actually only think of a few Las Vegas casinos that aren’t a “her.” The Strat, for example. If you get our drift.

Caesars Palace is a “he.”

Also on the male list: The D. No-brainer on that one.

We look forward to a long and heated discussion about the gender designations of Las Vegas casinos sometime, but right now let’s get back to the great news Mirage is reopening!

Mirage volcano

Of course, everyone misses the Mirage volcano show. Drawing crowds isn’t in the cards at the moment.

There are definitely some androgynous casinos. Bally’s. Excalibur. Harrah’s. Linq. Westgate. Slots-A-Fun.

Paris is a tough one. It looks masculine (paging Dr. Freud), but feels feminine.

Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower

Talk about mixed messages.

It’s interesting so many Vegas casinos have a feminine vibe, because all the ones we can think of had male architects.

Also, women weren’t really the target customer of casinos back in the day. Casinos wooed male customers (“real gamblers” who played at the tables), while wives and girlfriends were relegated to playing slot machines. Women were almost an afterthought.

In time, slots became the biggest moneymaker in Las Vegas casinos, and women got the woo they so richly deserved.

Now, several Las Vegas casinos exude feminine energy. Cromwell. Wynn and Encore. Bellagio. Cosmopolitan. Venetian.

Venetian, of course, is right across the street from Mirage, which is reopening August 27, 2020, according to MGM Resorts.

Mirage

When Mirage reopens, we finally get our good luck charm back!

While news about the reopening of Mirage was welcomed by employees and visitors, it was bittersweet because we also learned another MGM Resorts hotel, Park MGM, has no reopening date.

Still, Mirage! If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we need to stop taking all our favorite Las Vegas things for granted. Related: The Killers’ new album, “Imploding the Mirage,” will be released on August 21, 2020.

Mirage isn’t going anywhere, The Killers, and we can’t wait to see the old gal again.