A Healthier Vegas Visit Is Possible With ‘Stay Well’


Unique lodging/convention experience utilizes the latest technology to protect you from infection while infusing your mind, body, and spirit with “wellness”…

I originally wrote this article in early March of 2020 for BestOfVegas.com, but it never saw the light of day. BestOfVegas remains in limbo, but now that we’ve reopened most hotels and casinos, the piece still has relevance. So, I present it to you here in its original form. 

There’s no question that traveling can have exhausting effects, both physically and mentally. Combine that with a few days of traditional Las Vegas excess and you’re likely to feel run down…or perhaps even ill. There are many types of recovery services available to counteract these symptoms. Or, you can be pro-active by booking your vacation in a Stay Well™ room at MGM Resorts.

Created by New York City corporation DELOS, the trademarked Stay Well™ concept was brought to Sin City in 2012 when dozens of fully-equipped, non-smoking rooms were introduced at MGM Grand. Since then, they’ve greatly expanded the number of rooms, introduced a Stay Well lounge and expanded the lineup to Park MGM and Mirage resorts. A select group of Stay Well protocols are also featured under the banner of “Fresh by Stay Well” at New York NY, Excalibur, and Luxor.

What makes a Stay Well™ room different from others? Everything! From the air you breathe to the water you shower in. From the sound-dampened walls and plant-extract memory foam mattress to red-spectrum circadian lighting, Stay Well enhances your body’s ability to relax, recover, rest and reinvigorate.

A Stay Well app by Cleveland Clinic allows you to maximize the available amenities and benefits. And perhaps most important of all, dangerous germs, viruses and other microbes are given the heave-ho by using non-toxic cleaning products and UV light-cleaning tools.

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Famed alternative-medicine advocate Dr. Deepak Chopra serves as an advisory board member for DELOS. He endorses the benefits of their specialized guest rooms. “Stay Well Rooms are built on many individual features, which when combined, have an unprecedented positive health impact for the traveler. Your wellness experience has been specially designed in collaboration with leading doctors, architects, engineers, and medical institutions.”

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“Amenities like purified air, healthy lighting, an allergy-friendly environment, dawn simulation, and aromatherapy increase energy, reduce stress, improve productivity and enhance your sleep quality. Our vitamin C shower infuser reduces chlorine to help skin and hair stay soft and smooth. Stay balanced, stay fresh, Stay Well.”

With all of today’s fears of contaminants within gathering spaces, Stay Well has expanded to offer its proactive health protocols to convention guests at MGM Grand by way of “Stay Well Meetings”. Air purification removes toxins, allergens, smoke and microbes from the air. Surfaces are treated with “WELL Shield”, a self-cleaning photocatalytic coating that destroys harmful organic compounds. Cleveland Clinic provides innovative menus and online tools to combat the negative effects of travel (like jet lag and poor diets).

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Stay Well amenities are clearly identified on the booking page of each hotel’s website. Every MGM Resorts property in Las Vegas (with the exception of Signature at MGM Grand) should be offering Stay Well enhancements or fully-conceived guest rooms by summer 2020. While no single program can prevent illness or provide absolute safety from infection, it’s helpful to know that options are available. So now you can reduce risk and reap the benefits of a healthier Vegas experience at the same time.

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Photos: MGM Resorts, Stay Well by DELOS

 

 

Kitchen Wizards Compete in ‘Harry Potter’-inspired Baking Challenge


Co-creator of “POTTED POTTER” at Bally’s seeks out best (and worst) baked goods…

Fans of the Harry Potter extended universe rejoiced when acclaimed live parody production “Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience” opened on the Strip last summer. My original review called it “a silly irreverent treat.”

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Now co-creator Daniel Clarkson has decided to focus on the “treats” in a wacky baking competition inspired by their hit. It’s his way of delighting fans during the pandemic shutdown while whetting their appetites for a refreshed version when the show returns soon.

If you’d like to learn more and participate, read the official press release below, then get started right away. The challenge ends on July 8th. And yes, your magical concoction can reap real prizes!

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Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff has cast its spell on Las Vegas and the world as a hit, family-friendly show. While the Las Vegas production inside The Magic Attic at Bally’s Las Vegas is temporarily shut down due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the team behind the hysterically funny parody have launched a wizardly baking challenge through their social media campaigns beginning Wednesday, July 1 and running through July 8, 2020.

One of the show’s co-creators, Daniel Clarkson will judge this magical “Potted Potter” baking competition that inspires all to get creative in the kitchen with prizes going to not only the best bake but, also to the most epic fail! Clarkson will pick his favorite bake (and the worst one too) using no criteria whatsoever, other than his opinion. Winners will be announced on July 14 and prizes will include items themed around the show – including magical sweet treats!

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So, get creative and maybe bake your own Muggle Muffins, Dumbledore Donuts, Mandrake Pie a “Snitch Dish” or even a Harry Potter Pound Cake! No idea is a bad idea with this one-of-a-kind baking competition. Be sure to post a photo and description of your finest bake (or failure) on social media using the hashtags #WizardingWorld and #PottedPotter to enter. And don’t forget to tag our judge, co-creator of “Potted Potter,” Daniel Clarkson (@daniel_veronica).

Though the show, along with every other production is shut down in Las Vegas due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clarkson assures us that once the show returns to The Magic Attic at Bally’s Las Vegas, there will be some fun updates.

“We’re hoping we come back as soon as possible but we want to be sure it is safe for everyone, that is our main priority,” says Clarkson. “The production is such an interactive show so, we are working on ways to make it safe and even better – so when we do return, prepare to see “Potted Potter 2.0” very soon!”

Images and video courtesy of Caprio Media Design, “Potted Potter” via Facebook

SUMMER SPOTLIGHT 2020 with Gayle Nicholson


So excited to have been today’s guest on SUMMER SPOTLIGHT 2020 with Gayle Nicholson, discussing the pandemic’s effects on Sin City…and the awesome way that Westgate Las Vegas welcomed everyone back.

 

Video link courtesy of Gayle Nicholson

‘All In Aviation’ Is Bigger, Better, and Ready for Take-off!


State-of-the-art aviation complex is a one-stop destination for first-time pilots, seasoned pros, and everyone in between…

Last fall I told you about a once-in-a-lifetime experience I had in the air. As unbelievable as it may seem, I was able to taxi, take off, swoop, soar, and land a plane…all during my very first time behind the controls. It’s an incredible activity that just about anyone can participate in at All In Aviation, a dazzling flight school/airplane facility at Henderson Executive Airport (HND).

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During my pre-flight tour that morning, All In Aviation‘s president Paul Sallach pointed out a large-scale facility that was under construction nearby. He told me that AIA would be moving there in the coming year, greatly expanding its size and adding several exclusive services. I returned last week to visit the newly-opened complex, and it’s even more dazzling than Sallach had described.

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The brand new aviation complex is located in the shadow of the massive Las Vegas Raiders headquarters. This purpose-built structure is also home to Lone Mountain Aviation, AIA‘s business partner. Together, the two highly-respected businesses provide comprehensive services, training, education, instruction, and certification for pilots of every level…along with complete maintenance and hangar storage for their aircraft…and yours.

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The partnership shares an airy, two-level lobby befitting an operation of this magnitude. Their reception desk is flanked by a Pilot Shop, the only retail space in the Valley dedicated to pilots, students, and flight enthusiasts. It carries authentic uniform apparel, handbooks, test preps, logbooks, headsets, mics, and other necessities. There are tongue-in-cheek novelty tees, polo shirts, and fun stuff for the kids, too.

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Exit the Pilot Shop and you’ll notice a fleet of “paper airplanes” guiding you down the corridor into the heart of All In Aviation. The excitement begins here with 9,000 square feet of office space designed to prepare clients for a journey into the skies. Within are five training rooms, a lounge, and a full-sized classroom. Educational areas are equipped with Apple TV connectivity and electronics to support the budding pilot.

The only Cirrus Aircraft training partner in Southern Nevada, All In Aviation is a full-service aviation company offering flight training, pilot certifications, and aircraft rental, sales, management & storage. Dedicated to growing and developing more pilots, All In Aviation is a trusted partner for aviation training, from a student’s very first flight through some of the most advanced pilot certifications.

As a Cirrus Platinum Training Center, All In Aviation’s fleet includes some of the safest and most sophisticated aircraft on the market. The best-selling aircraft in the world, Cirrus airplanes are equipped with glass panels, air conditioning, and whole airframe parachute systems. Open to anyone, private pilot training is conducted in the air and in a classroom setting, with most students certified after completing 60-70 hours of instructed flying.

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Above the classrooms, a second level boasts a spectacular conference hall. It features a custom-built table constructed atop an actual airplane wing. Impact-resistant glass windows provide an unobstructed view of the maintenance hangar directly below. This is the mechanical side of operations, courtesy of Lone Mountain Aviation president Kenny Scherando and his team. The maintenance hangar covers 22,000 square feet and includes the Lone Mountain Avionics shop, library for repair manuals, machine shop, and an extensive parts department.

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Lone Mountain Aviation is the largest general aviation FAA Part 145 Certified Repair Station in Nevada. We ensure our technicians are uniquely well suited to maintaining, repairing, and modifying the most technically advanced aircraft flown today. With sophisticated tooling and continuous factory authorized training, our technicians are incomparably well equipped to provide the superior quality of service to you and your modern aircraft.

Lone Mountain Avionics is a full-service avionics shop under the Lone Mountain Aviation Repair Station. Lone Mountain Avionics is an approved dealer for Avidyne, Garmin, L-3 Communications, Aspen, Sandel, DAC International Avionics (Heads-Up Technology), and PS Engineering.

According to Sallach, the new facility involved over 500 workers and sub-contractors. Four years elapsed between conception and reality. Permanent positions were created for avionics technicians, maintenance, and support staff. Highly-respected Carl May was brought on for the new position of Director of Flight Operations, and an eight aircraft (a 2016 Cirrus SR22) was added to the ever-expanding AIA fleet.

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Beyond the impressive headquarters are two massive rows of newly-constructed hangars. Nine of them are a 60-feet-wide “Executive Box Hangars”, able to accommodate mid-size private jets. Opposite of those are sixteen “T Hangars”, 49-feet wide and named after their shape. Staggered Tetris-style along the row, T Hangars store personal aircraft like the Cirrus one that I flew. All hangar rentals provide discounted refueling. Click HERE for details.

Sallach told me that all 25 hangars were leased before the project was finished and that they now have a waiting list. That’s no small feat, considering that construction (considered as an essential function) was completed after the pandemic arrived. The only thing that’s been postponed is their Grand Opening, and with luck, I’ll be on hand to share the celebration with them.

One positive effect of the shutdown has been the opportunity to learn new things. If you’ve considered taking flying lessons, All In Aviation is making it easier for you to decide. With the skies nearly empty and commercial air travel considered an uncomfortable prospect for many, now’s the perfect time to schedule a flight lesson. AIA is offering discount packages that range from short regional flights in small Cirrus craft to remote destinations in an SF50 Vision Jet.

Many people are waiting until it’s ‘safe’ again to get back on a commercial flight. With the pandemic sweeping the world, hindering travel and making the idea of commercial travel a bit scary, learning to fly can be a great solution. Becoming a pilot allows people to choose when and who they fly with, and can provide for a safer environment for you and your loved ones. – Paul Sallach, President                                                                                                                 All In Aviation

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“Learn To Fly” packages are as follows:

Bucket List Topper
Starting at $800
• Round trip flight lesson with a certified flight instructor in a Cirrus SR22
• Bring 2-3 guests (weight restricted)
• Fly to regional remote destinations such as Zion National Park or the Grand Canyon with views of Red Rock, Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam and more

Goin’ Back to Cali
Starting at $2,000
• Round trip flight lesson with a certified flight instructor in a Cirrus SR22
• Bring 2-3 guests (weight restricted)
• Fly to California’s Central Coast region of San Luis Obispo

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Starting at $2,000
• Round trip flight lesson with a certified flight instructor in a Cirrus SR22
• Bring 2-3 guests (weight restricted)
• Fly to the largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Dealer’s Choice
Starting at $1,500 PER HOUR
• Round trip flight lesson with a certified flight instructor in a Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet
• Bring 4-5 guests (weight restricted)
• Fly to any of our regional remote destinations that are also offered in the Cirrus SR22
• Stop for lunch at the destination

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All In Aviation is located at 1456 Jet Stream Drive in Henderson, Nevada. Call 702.ALL.IN22 for more information. Their second location is at North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), 2830 N Rancho Drive, near the West Wind Drive-In Theater

Photos: Sam Novak, All In Aviation, Lone Mountain Aviation, Gina Yager

 

 

 

 

 

 

Esther’s Kitchen Leads a Wave of Restaurant Re-openings


Chef James Trees and team bring “Seasonal Italian Soul Food” back to Arts District…

It’s an absolute thrill to share news that life as we remember it might just be inching towards “normal”. Of course, there will be adjustments galore for both businesses and patrons…but let’s take what we can get and enjoy the wonderful experience of dining out once more.

The following is a press release I received from Eric. C. Gladstone this morning. Eric represents some of Sin City’s finest restaurants (La Strega, Vegenation, Lotus of Siam) and food festivals (Vegas Unstripped). Continue beyond the press release to my February 2019 write-up of Esther’s Kitchen, which was also featured in BestOfVegas.com. Please note that hours, menu and prices may have changed since the original publication.

Enjoy….and welcome back to the real world!

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Chef Trees during a recent online cooking class May 6, 2020

(credit: Cyndi Graham)

(May 11, 2020) – Chef/Owner James Trees has announced the reopening schedule for Esther’s Kitchen, following the statewide shutdown for COVID-19 quarantine. Esther’s Kitchen will resume dinner service next Friday, May 15 from 5-11 p.m. and open again for the same dinner hours Saturday May 16 and Sunday May 17.

The following week, the restaurant will resume dinner service Wed May 20 through Sunday May 24, and then dinner service will resume a 7 day schedule from Friday May 29. Weekend brunch service will resume Saturday & Sunday, May 30-31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekday lunch service will resume on Monday June 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 pm.

Per guidelines set by the State of Nevada and SNHD, Esther’s Kitchen will reduce the number of tables in the restaurants by 50%, with no bar seating until further notice. Dining on the front and rear patios will also be available. All service staff and kitchen staff will meet and exceed all mandated safety precautions while maintaining highest levels of service. Reservations through the website and over the phone will be strongly recommended, and guests will be asked to respect proper social distancing.

The restaurant will also be debuting a new menu, featuring more new vegetable-forward dishes, more new pastas and more main courses alongside many of diners’ established favorites. “We are excited to be getting back to serving our friends & neighbors,” said Chef Trees, “and especially excited to share some of the new dishes we’ve been working on.”

Key Dates:  5/15-17: Dinner resumes, 5-11 p.m.

5/20-5/24: Dinner service, 5-11 p.m.

5/29: Dinner returns to seven-day schedule, 5-11 p.m.

5/30-31 Weekend Brunch resumes, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

6/1: Weekday Lunch resumes, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.


ESTHER’S KITCHEN TURNS BRUNCH INTO ART

Feb 15, 2019 | By Sam Novak

Sometimes the best new offerings in any city are ones that spring up in gentrified areas. For Las Vegas, the eighteen-block region now known as the Art District was once a collection of run-down warehouses and abandoned shops. These days, a new vibe of hipster-cool is drawing both young and old back to the area.

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Nestled in among the graffiti-style wall murals, art galleries and coffee shops is a grand little place named Esther’s Kitchen. While technically located at 1130 S. Casino Blvd, the cafe physically faces E. California Avenue, unit #110. So while it may be a bit tricky to find, Esther’s Kitchen is definitely worth seeking.

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Esther’s Kitchen is the brainchild of Chef James Trees, whose late great-aunt Esther bequeathed him the funds to make the restaurant possible. A protege of sorts of the world-famous Michael Mina, Trees made his mark in countless establishments on and around the Strip before venturing out on his own.

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Esther’s Kitchen is the culmination of Chef Trees’ storied career…and a wonderful reflection of his upbringing. His goal is for every guest to feel welcome and cared for. The open kitchen, whimsical decor and friendly staff may remind you of visits to a favorite relative, but it’s with the food that Esther’s Kitchen really shines.

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Esther’s boasts a farm-to-table operation. Everything is locally sourced or brought in from the best nearby suppliers. It’s worth noting that prices are far less than you’d pay elsewhere for dishes of this quality and presentation.

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The weekend brunch, for which I was an invited guest, features a variety of familiar favorites given a homespun Italian slant. My companion and I were invited to select two entrees to accompany a sampler of Chef’s choices.

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We started out with a plate of warm fluffy Biscuits with Chive Butter ($5) along with Toasted Italian Bread under layers of cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onions and capers ($11).

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Next came a bowl of Malfada Nero ($19), a dish whose dark mafaldine pasta is colored with cuttlefish ink. The unique wavy noodles are tossed with big chunks of lobster (flown in directly from Gloucester, Mass.), fennel, lemon and truffle butter, and the dish is as mouth-watering as it sounds.

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My main course from the list of “Egg Dishes” was a plate of Polenta with two sunny-side Chino Ranch eggs, mushrooms, truffle butter and frico chips ($14). My guest took a cue from the lunch menu and indulged in an enormous Chicken Parm ($13) smothered in provolone, organic tomato sauce and basil. Sandwiches are accompanied by housemade root chips and a simple salad.

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Some of the other brunch specialties include Ricotta Pancakes topped with blueberry compote and lemon butter ($12), a Breaky Sandwich with sausage, fried egg, fontina cheese, greens and potatoes ($12) and Bread Pudding French Toast Sticks served with maple and golden dipping syrups ($10).

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During weekdays, Esther’s Kitchen caters to the Downtown lunch crowd with fast counter service. Parties of six or more can make reservations for full table service. The lunch menu has a variety of delectable pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches.

Esther’s dinner menu builds on crowd-pleasers from the lunch menu, and adds a hearty selection of main courses. Market Fish with charred orange braised endive ($28), Pachamama Farm Porchetta with squash and brussels ($27) and Rye Tagliatelle with braised duck and mushrooms ($24) should satisfy your cravings.

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Despite the intimate size of the dining room, Esther’s Kitchen boasts a full bar whipping up classics, alongside Seasonal Market Cocktails. It also hosts a daily “Pasta Happy Hour” – from 5 to 7 and 9 to 11, enjoy any adult beverage and get half off a pasta entree at the bar.

Whatever time you show up, you’re sure to enjoy Esther’s Kitchen. And if you’re feeling especially appreciative of your experience, you can send a round of beers to the kitchen for only six dollars.

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Esther’s Kitchen is open for brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for lunch between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Dinner is served daily from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. For reservations, which are suggested, call 702.570.7864.

Photos: Sam Novak unless otherwise credited

 

 

Bring the Excitement of Vegas to Your Home with ‘Virtual Experiences’


‘Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition’ and ‘Chippendales’ are just two of many Sin City favorites to enjoy under your own roof…

So, you’ve binge-watched every Netflix series and reruns of “FRIENDS” are making you want to hit the “unfriend” button. What’s a quarantined Vegas junkie to do? Well, if you saw yesterday’s article on the Mondays Dark Live Stream Telethon, you know that Sin City is doing its best to make you happy…while keeping its own artistic muscles in shape for an eventual ramp-up.

As efforts to assist furloughed entertainers are underway, you’re undoubtedly going through your own form of Sin City withdrawal. Now you can gather your fellow Vegas fans (following social-distancing guidelines, of course) and organize a virtual party for honest-to-goodness Las Vegas experiences. They’re brought to you by the same people who make your in-person visits so memorable.

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME AT TITANIC: THE ARTIFACT EXHIBIT

Followers of my contributions to Las Vegas Magazine and BestOfVegas.com know that I’ve penned several articles on TITANIC: The Artifact Exhibition. This self-guided attraction is the biggest collection of recovered articles in this world. Inside are splendid recreations of the decks, staterooms, cabins and more. Immersive special effects allow you to experience the freezing air, feel the throb of the massive engines, and listen to voices from the past.

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TITANIC: The Virtual Experience, is a newly-launched 3-dimensional tour of Luxor‘s 25,000 square foot attraction. It’s accessible on computers, tablets, and mobile devices. The virtual experience is available at two price levels – the Light Version for $5 and the Full Version for $15. Both price levels are accessible for one week and can be renewed at the point of purchase. Options include these benefits:

Light Version – $5

  • Virtual walkthrough of the 13 galleries inside the 25,000 square feet exhibition
  • Detailed information and photos of each artifact on display
  • View what life was like aboard the “Ship of Dreams” through full-scale room re-creations of the Grand Staircase, Promenade Deck, Veranda Café, and more
  • View the largest piece ever recovered, a 15-ton portion of the Ship’s hull
  • Learn about conservation and recovery efforts of the artifacts recovered from the ocean floor

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Full Version – $15

  • All offerings of the basic tour experience
  • Audio tour available in multiple languages
  • Exclusive video content
    • Dive Expedition 2010 – Video of artifacts as they are being recovered from the wreck site at the ocean floor
    • Dive Expedition 2010 – Video of curators on board the recovery ship discussing the artifacts immediately after they were pulled from the ocean floor
    • Dive Expedition 2010 – Video from Titanic’s wreck site, including underwater footage of the Ship’s bow, stern, vast debris field, and more
  • Animated timeline of Titanic from the point of striking the iceberg to the sinking
  • Additional facts and information about Titanic, the wreck site, artifacts, personal stories of her passengers and crew

For more information, visit Titanic.live.

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If you’re looking for something a little less “educational” and a lot more “titillating”, then perhaps you might want to investigate Chippendales@Home, a new interactive virtual experience. Chippendales@Home allows you and your squad to hang out and party with the world-famous hunks live in your own homes.

Chat, flirt, play games, get or give a virtual lap dance – you’ll get to know the Chippendales performers in your own intimate group setting as they host your party making sure your night is special and memorable. Each 30-minute party will feature at least two Chippendales cast members and utilizes the streaming platforms ZOOM, House Party, FaceTime, and Google Hangout.

In addition to Chippendales@Home, the brand has been cranking out online experiences as people are urged to stay inside. Recent digital offerings include at-home workouts with cast members, Instagram Live chats with alumnus of the brand, and light-hearted digital content such as one of its current cast members performing a lap dance for a 12-pack of toilet paper.

As a limited-time thank-you to those who are keeping us safe and healthy, Chippendales is offering Chippendales@Home free to health care workers and first responders. Ticket-holders whose shows were postponed also receive the experience free of charge. For more info or to arrange your own virtual party, visit this link or call 866-CHIPP999.

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If you’re a fan of the long-running SUPERNATURAL series on CW Network, you were probably excited for the annual convention at RIO Las Vegas in March. Sadly, the virus was just beginning to spread and some of you might have opted to avoid the crowds and wait for next year’s star-studded gala.

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Now in an innovative move, Creation Entertainment has scheduled a virtual SUPERNATURAL convention with the participation of three fan favorites. Beginning Saturday, April 18th and running through Saturday, April 25th, director Richard Speight, Jr. and stars Lisa Berry (Billie) and Ruth Connell (Rowena) will host a series of Q & A sessions, chats, tarot card readings, invocations and more.

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What makes this event unique is that a portion of proceeds will go to charities and non-profits like Meals On Wheels, St. Michaels Hospital (Toronto) and Random Acts. For some sessions, participants are asked to pay what they can. Auctions will be held to join in on events designed for a limited number of fans.

To register for the SUPERNATURAL Virtual-Con, click HERE. Participants should create user accounts on the platforms ZOOM and StageIt in advance. Creation Entertainment also brings the official Star Trek Convention to Rio Las Vegas each year.

Whitney Phoenix Strikes a Chord at Bellagio Las Vegas

In addition to these large-scale offerings, there is a wide variety of concerts, intimate performances and live chats being broadcast, as well as the at-home workouts and dance classes I told you about right here.

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Bellagio‘s beloved lounge pianist Whitney Phoenix and singer/actress/comedienne wife Marianne LeMoine Phoenix (50 Pounds From Stardom) shared this marvelous evening recently.

Whitney also took to the keyboard for a solo set while Marianne fielded requests from viewers:

The smooth and classy Craig Canter has been giving regular performances from his own virtual lounge that he calls  “The Piano Room”:

Westgate‘s favorite crooner Mark O’Toole brought us some big band highlights. He sent video clips and updates from the cruise ship he was “stranded” on for an extended time, hoping for a port to disembark at and return to the States. Combine that with canceled flights and missing luggage, and it’s safe to say that poor Mark endured the kind of adventure that movies are made about.

Despite weeks of madness and uncertainty, Mark took a break from relaxing to assist in beloved artist Neal Portnoy‘s efforts to raise funds for out-of-work performers. Portnoy created a collection of custom mugs, each featuring a local entertainer immortalized in the artist’s unique style. Get yours by clicking here, and check out this extremely funny video:

The marvelous David Goldrake, whose IMAGINARIUM magic production at Tropicana garnered my “Best New Show of 2018”, has been entertaining internet audiences with a series of tricks and lessons:

If you know of any other Vegas virtual experiences, online entertainment or events that you’d like to be added to this article, please leave a comment or email me: Sam@VegasUnfiltered.blog

‘Señor Frog’s DRAG BRUNCH’ Extends Performance Schedule at Treasure Island


Trendy hit adds weekday performances to accommodate capacity crowds…

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Click HERE to get discount tickets and read this article via BestOfVegas…

It’s bold, outrageous and one of those experiences that you just can’t wait to tell your friends at home about. It’s Señor Frog’s DRAG BRUNCH, the wild adults-only hit at Treasure Island. Presented by Voss Events, Drag Brunch is delicious food, shocking comedy, crazy dance numbers, and audience interaction, all served with a heaping helping of sass. And after four successful years, it’s one Sin City production that just keeps growing.

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The recent launch of RuPaul’s Drag Race Live! at Flamingo (also by Voss Events) is the latest cherry on that bright, sugary confection known as “drag.” A longtime Vegas institution, female impersonation goes back several decades in legendary shows up and down the Strip. From “Boylesque” at the Silver Slipper Casino to “Frank Marino’s DIVAS” and the current incarnation of Tropicana‘s “LEGENDS IN CONCERT,” drag continues to become more popular with each passing year. It’s also changed with the times and evolved from “fringe” to “mainstream”.

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Senor Frog’s DRAG BRUNCH was way ahead of the craze when it launched in 2016. The late-morning experience was already a hit in cutting-edge cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Toronto. But the unpredictable nature of audiences led Drag Brunch Las Vegas to start off slowly with only one scheduled performance per week. Fortunately, capacity crowds resulted in the addition of a second same-day performance, then an expansion to both Saturdays and Sundays.

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Now you can channel your inner diva eight times a week as Senor Frog’s DRAG BRUNCH is taking over a few weekdays, too. Hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race alumnus “Shannel”, the show features a rotating cast of top-tier talent, many familiar to fans of the hit TV series. Their current performance schedule is Thursday through Sunday at 11:30am and 2:30pm. A large unlimited buffet featuring breakfast favorites, lunchtime selections, and delicious Mexican specialties, is provided by Senor Frog’s Restaurant.

Admission price to DRAG BRUNCH includes seating, show, brunch, and bottomless mimosas. There are upgrade packages for VIP seating, full open bar, and photos with the cast. If you’re a newbie and uncertain about “transitioning” into the world of drag entertainment, an inconspicuous standing-room option at the rear bar ($10) allows you to enjoy the insanity from a “safe” distance. Chances are that once you discover the wonderful world of drag, your concerns will fade away and you’ll soon join in on the fun.

With chart-topping dance hits, classic impersonation and lots of naughty innuendo, Senor Frog’s Drag Brunch is a top-notch smorgasbord of sights and sounds. So grab your friends, leave your inhibitions at the door…and make sure the little ones stay at home.

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Photos: Sam Novak, Senor Frog’s Drag Brunch

 

 

 

 

THE BEST VEGAS SHOWS FOR $59 (OR LESS) TO SEE NOW


Click HERE to read the BestOfVegas version of this article and buy tickets to these shows and more at sale prices of $59 or less…

BestOfVegasEveryone loves a bargain, especially when it comes to stretching your entertainment dollar. Those deals become even better when you know how to get the most bang for your buck. Fortunately, we at BestOfVegas are constantly attending the latest and greatest productions and can help you choose the best shows, all at a discount that will make you say “Cheers!”.

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Here are our top five selections in Las Vegas entertainment, each at $59 or less. Reserve your tickets now while sale prices are in effect!

Top Comedy – Carrot Top at Luxor ($49)

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Luxor‘s “King of Laughter” has been packing them into the pyramid for over 15 years…with no end in sight. The fuzzy orange funnyman with a penchant for props skewers musicians, pop culture, airline travel and NASCAR fans in a nonstop barrage of gags, guffaws, and sidesplitting characterizations. If you haven’t seen Carrot Top, you’re missing a true Sin City institution. (adult audiences only)

More Comedy Top ChoicesJohn Caparulo’s MAD CAP COMEDY ($51), Mike Hammer Comedy Magic ($30)

Top Family-Friendly – CELESTIA at The STRAT ($40) 

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CELESTIA may be one of the best bargains in Las Vegas right now. An epic circus of wonders without the lofty prices of its better-known counterparts, CELESTIA presents amazing feats, dancing, and acrobatics under an incredible tent that’s equal parts “old school Big Top” and “hi-tech amazement”. A large cast of talented athletes, physical comedians, and musicians will leave you gasping, laughing and cheering long after the final bows.

More Family-Friendly Top ChoicesWOW – The Vegas Spectacular ($49), Popovich Comedy Pet Theater ($39)

Top Adult Production – Atomic Saloon Show at Venetian ($48) 

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Atomic Saloon Show is the lastest (and maybe greatest) treat from Spiegelworld, the team that brought you ABSINTHE and OPIUM. Set in a wild west brothel overseen by the villainous madame “Boozy Skunkton”, Atomic Saloon Show invites you to a bottle-smashing bar brawl that will have you blushing, laughing and questioning your own powers of sight. To tell you any more might spoil the surprises, but don’t miss this nuclear blast of high-powered fun.

More Adult Production Top Choices – Zombie Burlesque ($49), Sex Tips ($40)

Top Concert – The Bronx Wanderers at Harrah’s ( $59)

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The Bronx Wanderers is a family band with a penchant for the music of Jersey Boys, Stray Cats, The Beatles, and Neil Diamond. Their expanding popularity has necessitated moving into ever-larger theaters. Now featured at Harrah’s main showroom, the multi-talented troupe is overseen by patriarch Vinny Adinolfi. Dad’s recording-industry background provides the backdrop for a marvelous collection of hits both classic and current. A must-see production that touches the heart, The Bronx Wanderers will lift you higher and send your soul dancing into the streets.

More Band/Concert Top ChoicesTenors of Rock ($43), The JETS – ’80s and ’90s Experience ($44)

Top Sexy Revue (tie)Chippendales at Rio ($38), FANTASY at Luxor ($43)

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We’ll split this category right down the middle and give both Chippendales and FANTASY our top rating. The daring pair of skin-baring revues is considered to be the gold standard in their class of provocative entertainment. Delivering equal parts titillation, elegance, style, and sass, the one-two punch of Chippendales and FANTASY is all you’ll need to satisfy your thirst for sexy guys or girls. It’s worth mentioning that both genders are equally welcome at these shows, so don’t leave your other half behind…unless that’s part of your plan.

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More Sexy Revue Top ChoicesCrazy Girls ($45), Australia’s Thunder From Down Under ($50)

For discount tickets to all of these shows and more, follow THIS LINK to BestOfVegas.com

 

New ‘AUSSIE HEAT’ Show Debuts at MOSAIC ON THE STRIP


Top-rated male revue brings the fun closer than ever at new venue…

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Click HERE to read the BestOfVegas version of this article on their awesome site.

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They’re fun. They’re flirty. And they’ve never been more within reach. That’s because Aussie Heat, the sizzling hands-on dance revue from Down Under is now delivering their wild, sexy production directly to you…right on the Las Vegas Strip.

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Aussie Heat‘s new location is MOSAIC ON THE STRIP, a historic venue directly across from Park MGM Resort‘s EATALY. Formerly known as the Tommy Wind Theater (and Empire Ballroom before that), MOSAIC ON THE STRIP is an entertainment fan’s dream. The lush, classy venue is ushering in its next era with significant modern upgrades thanks to new management.

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Easily accessible from both sides of the Strip via a brand new pedestrian overpass, the independently-owned MOSAIC is a departure from the ordinary performance space. MOSAIC offers multi-level seating options to complement a nightclub-style vibe. A full-service bar/lounge welcomes guests before the curtain rises and hosts a free meet-and-greet party after every performance. There’s also a dedicated parking lot for easy in-and-out access.

As former contests of Australia’s Got Talent, the boys of Aussie Heat began their Vegas experience in a humble Downtown production called “Aussie Hunks”. Through the ensuing four-plus years, they’ve had a name change, amped up the excitement and outgrown their previous home at Miracle Mile’s V Theater. With hundreds of steamy performances under their loosened belts, Aussie Heat has deservedly earned great reviews and top rankings on both TripAdvisor and Yelp!. 

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Host (and show owner) Adam Barr is excited about the next big step in their quest to be Sin City’s top male revue. “The props and sets are better. The costumes are hotter. Our cast has expanded to take advantage of a bigger stage. We’ve added fantastic new acts and even an aerialist or two. And it’s still all about the audience having fun in ways they can’t at other shows. Thunder From Down Under is great, and Chippendales paved the way for this type of production. But we’re the only show of its kind where all of the members began as trained dancers first.”

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As an independently-produced show, Aussie Heat has the luxury of specifically tailoring sequences to the talents of individual performers. Muscular six-foot-four stuntman Simon will be featured in an action-packed new movie-themed number. Former castmates from Cirque du Soleil have come aboard to show off their gravity-defying skills. And pop-and-lock king Lennie adds his signature moves to the latest chart-topping hits.

As always, Aussie Heat remains interactive, “hands-on”, and trend-setting in their embracing of male guests…and the LGBTQ community as a whole. Unlike at competing shows, guys are encouraged along with the ladies to participate in onstage games, outrageous group photos, and of course…lap dances.

So brace yourself and hang on for a very wild ride through the outback. As Barr succinctly says with a laugh “If you don’t like attention from male dancers, you just might be at the wrong #%!& show!”.

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MOSAIC ON THE STRIP is located at 3765 Las Vegas Blvd. Aussie Heat performs Thursday through Monday at 10pm. Ages 21 and over. Tickets start at $54.99 (plus taxes/fees).

Photos: Sam Novak/Aussie Heat

 

 

 

 

THE JETS BRING NOSTALGIC ‘80’S AND ‘90’S FUN TO V THEATER


The unforgettable 80’s family band brings their own top hits and many more to PHo’s V Theater…

Click HERE to read this article and purchase tickets through the awesome BestOfVegas site.

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UPDATE 6/9/20 – I’ve received word from band member Vannessa Naeta that The JETS are planning to return in July, possibly August of this year. Follow Vegas Unfiltered Blog on Facebook for updates. 

No matter what era you grew up in, chances are that you’re a fan of 80’s and 90’s music. Even today’s teens know how great the era was, thanks to the lasting influences of Tina Turner, Queen, Elton John, and boy bands like NKOTB. Now you can groove, funk and jive through the greatest years of pop music with the breakout band that made it real…The Jets.

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Now playing at Miracle Mile’s V Theater, THE JETS – The 80’s & 90’s Experience is a fast-paced jukebox of the songs you know and love. Original members LeRoy, Haini and Rudy Wolfgramm are joined by sister Etivise Haunga, cousin Vannessa Naeata, LeRoy’s 18-year-old son Evan and keyboardist Mychael Pollard.

The Jets were originally comprised of the eight eldest of seventeen siblings from the Wolfgramm family. They were the first breakthrough entertainers from the island kingdom of Tonga. Gifted with natural talent and great looks, their incredible family dynamic shines through every set. The group pumps out memorable covers of dance, rock, pop and that unmistakable Minneapolis funk made famous by Prince and Morris Day.

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The 80’s and 90’s Experience opens with a lengthy medley of The Jets‘ own favorites and those made famous by C + C Music Factory, Grammy winner Jody Watley and Madonna. Barely pausing to catch a breath, they dance through the material of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, TLC, Fugees, Will Smith, Destiny’s Child…even Vanilla Ice.

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Of course, the show truly shines when The Jets revisit their own smash singles. With eight top-ten hits and three certified Gold and Platinum albums, the music of The Jets seemed to be everywhere at their peak. They appeared in the soundtracks for movies like Beverly Hills Cop II, Karate Kid Part 3 and Whoopi Goldberg’s Burglar, and their songs continue in rotation on many Adult Contemporary stations today.

It’ll be hard to believe that three decades have passed when The Jets deliver such classics as “Cross My Broken Heart”, “You Got It All”, “Make It Real” and of course “I’ve Got A Crush On You”. Decked out in colorful outfits that evoke the 80’s, they provide their own musical accompaniment, playing drums, guitar and keyboards while dancing across the stage and up and down the aisles.

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The boundless enthusiasm The Jets maintain during their performances is absolutely contagious. If there really is a fountain of youth, it exists back on those Polynesian islands of the Wolfgramm family tree. And you’ll feel like a teenager, too, when you see The Jets – The 80’s and 90’s Experience. It’s a soaring time capsule you’ll want to open again and again.

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The Jets perform Tuesday through Saturday at 7pm. Save up to $50 on tickets now with Best of Vegas.

Photos: Sam Novak, The Jets