‘Scare at Town Square’ is Halloween Fun With A Twist


Two-level seasonal attraction remembers that adults love Halloween, too…

It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.” – Sheriff Leigh Bracket, John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN (1978)

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We’ve made it to the first week of October, when awesome Halloween attractions pop up all over the city. From Mandalay Bay‘s Hallow Reef and Freakling Brothers to HallOVeen at Opportunity Village, there are fun events for every family member. Adults get their share, too, by way of Fetish and Fantasy Ball at Hard Rock Hotel and various costume-contest nights at Strip nightclubs.

Alas, there is very little, if anything, that brings both of these things together into one place…until now. Scare at Town Square is an innovative and elaborate two-story concept at Town Square near McCarran Airport that’s a ground-level all-ages thriller and full-on nightclub madness on level two. Something tells me that this is where you’ll find me several times the season….because, you know, it’s freaking HALLOWEEN!

Scare at Town Square follows a tried-and-true tradition of seasonal pop-ups like Spirit Halloween and Halloween City. Utilizing empty retail spots, they breathe new life into venues that have been ghoulishly abandoned, dusting away most of the cobwebs but perhaps leaving a few spiders intentionally around…

In the case of SCARE, we’re talking about moving into the massive former NECHE Restaurant/Ultra Lounge which has been transformed into “Stage Fright” live entertainment zone, “Zoe Escape Room” and an array of “Selfie Sets.” Drink service and amazing signature cocktails are provided by Born and Raised, the official bar of the Golden Knights.

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The main level, once home to Killer Shrimp, is where you’ll find a free family-friendly pumpkin patch, Haunted Maze, Phobia Rooms and a hidden speakeasy. The entire experience encompasses 15,000 square feet of chills, thrills and fun. Yes, this is a pretty big undertaking. And it’s all done on a Hollywood-sized scale with amazing effects, costumes, actors and props. From alien autopsies to a room filled with towering clowns and a 12-foot walking jack-o-lantern, your mind will surely be blown.

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                               Mark Trevino, Bonnie Pascua and John Good (l to r)…

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                       Andrea Dupper (Sales and Marketing) and a sinister Joker…

The concept of Scare at Town Square comes from the creative geniuses at Experience Productions, a local production/management/marketing firm. John Good, Bonnie Pascua and Mark Trevino are behind a wide variety of interactive experiences, production shows, exhibitions and festivals. They’ve brought in my super-ambitious colleague (and animal-rescue activist) Andrea Dupper, who heads up SCARE‘s marketing and sales. Together they’ve delivered what should be the surprise hit of the season.

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                                Fantasy film director Joe Lujan faces his clown phobia…

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                     Heartthrob Mark Justice and “Cole” of Heartbreak Hotel in Concert…

Andrea game me a personal tour this week during a sneak peek that was attending by a wide variety of celebrities, actors, horror/fantasy film director Joe Lujan (the Immortal Wars series). Lujan was accompanied by cast members including mega-hunk model/action star Mark Justice and lovely actress/talk show host Corey Taylor.

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                                                  Myself with Ricardo Laguna…

Heartbreak Hotel in Concert’s Cole accompanied his daughter to the festivities and joined Justice for a selfie in front of the giant Jack-O-Lantern. BMX pro, philanthropist, model and all-around good guy Ricardo Laguna came by to check out the thrills. Rumor has it that Jason Egan of Saw Escape Room and the legendary Fright Dome at Circus Circus made an appearance as well.

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       John Di Domenico, Andrea, Michele Rothstein, Ricardo Laguna and Amber Ramsay

No opening would be complete without an appearance by two of the brightest smiles in the city. Award-winning Trump impersonator John Di Domenico enjoyed some fun photo ops with companion Michele Rothstein, whose Balloons With A Twist can be seen at the biggest and most spectacular events in Las Vegas. They and others enjoyed sleight-of-hand by funnyman magician Michael Mayfield.

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                             Brittni makes the best “Witches Brew” in the city…

Throughout SCARE‘s 40 days and nights of…er….scares, there should be plenty of opportunities to see celebrities. Fridays will play host to “FANTASY FRIDAYS”, at 21+ costume party beginning at 10pm. It’s one of various add-on experiences you can enjoy. Rates vary based on weekday/weekend and escape room adventures require advanced reservation.

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The attraction runs through November 10th. You can get all the details including hours and pricing by visiting ScareVegas.com. Die-hard Halloween enthusiasts will appreciate the VIP unlimited passes which deliver the entire season’s excitement for only $125.00. Buy online and save 20% by using code “1ST2SCARE”.

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            Nobody does Halloween like the folks of Las Vegas…even after they’ve passed…

Photos: Sam Novak, Mark Justice, Ira Kuzma, John Good, Andrea Dupper, Michele Rothstein, Ricardo Laguna, Scare at Town Square

 

 

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Rule The Skies with Vegas Flight Experiences at ‘All In Aviation’


Unique flight school will have you piloting a real aircraft in just one session…

Click HERE to read this article via Best Of Vegas.

Las Vegas is the place where bucket-list dreams come true. From sunrise hot-air balloon rides over the desert to high-speed motor vehicle thrills…if you can dream it, you can live it. For those who’ve fantasized about flying over Vegas, a unique Vegas-based flight school will have you aloft and navigating in less than one hour.

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All In Aviation is an innovative flight school that offers the ultimate in hands-on lessons. This is no 3D simulation or stuffy classroom experience. In one self-contained session, you’ll take the pilot’s seat of a Cirrus aircraft, radio the control tower for clearance and rise high into the skies.

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It’s important to stress that All In Aviation is not a tour service but an actual, functioning school. They offer a variety of professional services from recurrent and emergency training to commercial pilot instruction. AIA is the only Cirrus Aircraft training partner in southern Nevada. Planes are available for hourly rental to qualified pilots and their AIA Club provides special discounts and VIP Concierge Service to members.

The only way to truly appreciate what AIA offers is to schedule a lesson for yourself. They have one location at North Las Vegas Airport and another in Henderson that will soon move into a large new facility. This writer visited the Henderson Executive Airport office where I met with President and pilot/instructor Paul Sallach. Mr. Sallach led me through each step of the personalized flight from greeting to farewell.

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Along for my inaugural flight were Tess Bridell, Director of Business Operations and Gina Yager, Head of Public Relations. The fact that these vital members of the All In Aviation team put their lives in my hands emphasizes the extreme safety protocols they observe…and the stunning features of their Cirrus aircraft fleet.

The Cirrus line is the best selling brand of private planes on the market. Built of lightweight composite material with large glass windscreens, Garmin navigation, plush leather seats and air-conditioned cabins, the Cirrus are as comfortable as they are safe. What makes them especially unique is that each plane is equipped with a parachute that can lower it back to land after an unexpected mishap or emergency.

 

My adventure began at the hangar, with Mr. Sallach taking me through the pre-flight checklist. We examined the fuel and oil levels, checked the flaps and ailerons, confirmed that the electrical, navigation and communication systems were operating within parameters….and then the real excitement began.

Mr. Sallach explained the letters and numbers of the plane and runways, how other traffic figured into our flight path and coached my radio communications with the control tower. Within minutes, we were cleared for take-off and accelerating down the runway towards a smooth, thrilling ascent.

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My instructor was always monitoring my movements and manning a second set of controls in the adjacent seat. Once we flew over the Henderson area, beyond a ridge of mountains and towards Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, my confidence grew and I was able to enjoy the stunning sights below and around us.

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My two backseat passengers recorded the take-off and subsequent landing on their cellphones (there is no additional charge for a companion or two to join you), and you’ll be able to snap some selfies and scenic shots of your own. A camera mounted inside the cabin will record everything in high definition for a permanent keepsake of your journey.

Once we passed Lake Mead and into the open desert, I was encouraged to “open her up” and attempt some daring lifts, dives and tilts. The Cirrus is almost goof-proof, allowing such maneuvers to be made with relative ease. The on-board navigation system functions much like those on newer automobiles. Automatic leveling, speed and altitude controls ensure you won’t push things too far. If you can drive a car, you can try this plane.

Soon it was time to turn around and head back to the airport. We received our landing instructions and Mr. Sallach assisted me in bringing the plane to a picture-perfect landing. Then it was back to the office to receive a certificate representing my official entry in the company’s flight log.

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The entire All-In experience lasted under two hours, but it’s one that this “pilot” will never forget.

For more information or to schedule your flight, call 702.255.4622 or visit allinaviation.com. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘ESCAPE FROM AREA 51’ BRINGS EXTRATERRESTRIAL BATTLES TO VEGAS


Las Vegas thrill-seekers have plenty of ways to stimulate their adrenaline pump. From skydiving to helicopter rides to a high-speed chase attraction with real police vehicles, the possibilities are endless. Now Apocalypse Vegas has added what may be the wildest adventure of them all – Escape from Area 51 – The Special Ops Experience.

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The timing couldn’t be better for this all-in attraction. With so much attention being focused on that secretive military base in the desert, conspiracy theorists and alien enthusiasts have been going wild over attempts to storm the area. Escape from Area 51 gives you the chance to do it in a safe, controlled environment with real members of the military. 

 

Escape from Area 51 is anything but a hastily-designed tie-in. It’s the latest offering from Apocalypse Vegas, a top-rated attraction that’s been in operation for more than four years. Housed in a massive warehouse facility near Palms Casino, it contains a full-scale mock-up of a town under siege by alien forces.

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             Brett Sullard does his best “Col. Dutch Schaefer” from the film PREDATOR…

In order to save the citizens…and the planet…you’ll be trained in the use of military-style Airsoft firearms, learn how to collect intel, kick through doors, secure perimeters and retrieve an element that’s the key to winning the battle. But the aliens aren’t about to give up their power source willingly, so prepare to use force!

 

What gives Apocalypse Vegas its extreme realism is that your Operations Team Leaders (OTL’s) are genuine veterans of Special Forces. Members of the Green Berets, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and Delta Force operations guide you through the assault from mission briefing to the actual attack.

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The 90-minute experience is fully immersive, enhanced with Hollywood-style sound effects and explosive lighting, full-scale sets and a scenario that places you at the center of a big-budget action film.

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                          Susie Q. joins us to celebrate after saving the planet…

Event coordinator Susie Q. Munoz is proud that Apocalypse Vegas provides military veterans with a new way to use their talents and skill sets:

Click HERE to continue reading…

Photos: Apocalypse Vegas, Sam Novak, Brett Sullard

UV Beach Club – A Pool Party with a Purpose


Unique weekly event offers a safe haven for all…

Have you ever seen the ads for Planet Fitness gyms? They boast a “Judgement-Free Zone” to entice members who don’t normally feel confident inside health clubs. Too bad they contradict that very philosophy with a “Lunk Alarm” that shames those getting too intense with their workouts. 

The creators of UV Beach Club promise no such mixed messages. Everyone is welcome to their veritable safe haven under the sun…one that promises frivolity and entertainment, food and drink in a welcoming atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance. Located at the NoMad Pool inside Park MGM Hotel, UV Beach Club is part of JEMAA, winner of Las Vegas Weekly‘s “Best New Pool Party 2019”.

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From the UVBC website:

We are proud to make UVBC a party environment that welcomes people of ALL identities. Our party is a safe space where you can come and let your true colors shine! Come enjoy our specialty cocktails, hand crafted food, music from top DJ’s, and the hottest staff and entertainers providing you with world class service. UVBC – Beyond the rainbow!

Co-creator Garrett Pattiani stresses that UV Beach Club isn’t a copycat of gay-themed pool parties you may have attended in the past. He and partners Andrew Lignelli and Russ White (of QLife Media) have dreamed up a concept that’s as timely as it is unique.

This isn’t a gay pool party. It’s meant to be expansive. LGBTQ+, allies, people of color, feminists, etc. Every week we will partner with nightlife & day-life staff, local show casts, birthdays, and influencers.

The premiere on July 26th will celebrate birthdays of two popular gentlemen – aerialist Brandon Pereyda and photographer Frankie Tabares Sanchez of Piranha Nightclub.

UV Beach Club is held every Friday from 11am to 7pm. Admission is $10 which includes a voucher for one cocktail up to $20 in value. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, visit the UVBC website by clicking HERE

Photos: UV Beach Club

 

 

Top 5 Reasons To Visit Rio’s ‘Star Trek Convention’


Official event returns to Las Vegas for the tenth big year…

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This summer, Rio Hotel Casino is once again playing host to the world’s largest Official Star Trek Convention. Celebrating a decade in Sin City, the annual gathering is expected to lure over 15,000 fans from around the globe. Packed with attractions, concerts, meet-and-greet’s, celebrity panels and a massive vendor hall, this year’s Trek Con promises to be the biggest and best yet.

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There are plenty of great reasons for you to freshen your Starfleet uniform and head to Rio’s Convention Hall. Here are the top five:

  1. Meet Celebrities Face to Face – Star Trek conventions bring famous actors up close and personal. Aside from panel discussions and Q & A’s, celebrities pose for photo ops, sign autographs and have personal conversations with you. In addition to cast members from all of the Trek movies and series, you can hobnob with actors like  Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law), Wesley Eure and Kathy Coleman (Land of the Lost), Jeffrey Combs (the Re-Animator films), Doug Jones (Hellboy, The Shape of Water) Clint Howard (Austin Powers, Apollo 13) and dozens more.  Attra_004-large
  2. Cosplay is Halloween for Grown-ups – You don’t have to wait until the end of October to dress up and have a blast. Trek Con fans are famous for their elaborate get-ups. Keep in mind that this isn’t limited to Starfleet attire. Fantasy characters from Mad Max to Chewbacca, Captain America to Frodo Baggins are likely to make appearances. So make sure to bring your camera (or an back-up charger for your smartphone) and snap away. Better yet, join in on the fun and enter the official Costume Contest and Parade. Emergency costume repairs will be available to all participants for free.Attra_029-large
  3. Memorabilia of Every Kind – In 2019, it’s absolutely cool to collect those lunchboxes, posters, comic books and trading cards that you so desperately wanted as a child. Better yet, add to your existing collection or replace something you lost through the years. The Vendor Hall is massive, and the celebrities will be right there with you, scanning through collectibles or manning their own booths of merchandise and photos. Bring the kids and share your love for science fiction with them. n-event_005-large
  4. The Fun Carries On Well Into The Evening – Fans will be entertained long after the stars come out. Eccentric actor Brent Spiner (Independence Day and its sequel) will present a concert with his band on Saturday. There are fan gathering, dinners, wedding packages, “Klingon Karaoke”, a Star Trek Rat Pack show and after-hours dance hosted by ST: Voyager actor Tim Russ. Attra_001-large.jpg

Click HERE to continue reading this article as BestOfVegas.com.

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The Official Star Trek Convention takes place at Rio Las Vegas July 31st through August 4th. The event is family-friendly. Tickets are available at www.creationent.com or at the door. Hours are Wednesday and Thursday 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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Images/banner by Creation Entertainment, used with permission

Must-Visit Vegas: Q & A with Golden Tiki’s Branden Powers


It’s Disneyland for grownups at Chinatown’s throwback lounge…

Tucked away in charming Las Vegas Chinatown is a magical little place. Fairly hidden between a jewelry store and a Korean BBQ restaurant, the quaint little storefront is deceptively unobtrusive. But one step inside the heavy wooden doors leads you to a world of wonders. Welcome, explorers, to The Golden Tiki.

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Under a fiber-optic sky replete with shooting stars, a three-sided long bar serves visitors a vast array of specialty cocktails from a delightfully-endearing line-up. Bamboo, palm fronds and trickling water enhance the Caribbean-inspired stylings. Behind a team of costumed bartenders, video loops from vintage films will make you feel like you’ve embarked on a three-hour tour of the islands.

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Explore a little further into the dimly-lit corners, behind the giant seashell and beyond the cave-like private booths. There you’ll discover a stunning collection of curiosities, memorabilia…and a cabinet filled with the shrunken heads of numerous Vegas celebrities.

There’s never a cover charge at The Golden Tiki. Nightly live bands fill the air with frivolity like a Don Ho Tribute Happy Hour. Humorous themed events like Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving Dinner have fans returning time after time.

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   Powers (right) presenting the late Robin Leach with his own “shrunken head”…

How Branden Powers‘ salute to kitschy Vegas came to be is a story unto itself. He was more than willing to share the journey in a recent interview:

When did you first come up with the concept for Golden Tiki and how long did it take from inspiration until opening day?

One day in 1992 I stumbled upon a wonderful tiki paradise inside Islands Restaurant and Lounge at the old Hanalei Hotel in Mission Valley San Diego (now home to the yearly Tiki Oasis gathering). I immediately fell in love and began to promote two weekly events under the name “Taboo” and my production company Cocktail Nation. I had thousands of people each week, all dressed to the nines with aloha shirts, Fez hats, smoking jackets and cocktail dresses.

The events, some of the first in America, were instant hits. One day I’m called in for a meeting. I enter to the remnants of what was once paradise to find that all of the priceless artifacts were removed, the walls painted white and the fish that had been there for forty years gone! My heart sank.

Three years ago I was approached by Jeff Fine, Joe Cain and Seth Schorr. They owned a bar that needed help. I wasn’t even thinking tiki. That part of my life died in the 90’s. I was wanting to call it Madame Wongs and make it a punk rock bar. Jeff said “How about tiki?” I thought it was a brilliant idea but only if I could build it the right way.

It needed to have multiple layers and a strong back story. I wanted an “adult Disneyland”, so I hired a team of hardworking Tiki tradesmen and we went to work nonstop. Sixty days later we opened our doors to a packed house and a broken air conditioner.

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It was a success but not without the blood, sweat and tears of many GM’s, bartenders and servers who helped mold The Golden Tiki into what was recently awarded The Best Bar in all of Las Vegas. I owe all of them and my patient wonderful partners a debt of gratitude.

We’re celebrating our 3-year anniversary August 26th but we really opened in June 2015. Once we opened we’ve never closed. There are no locks on our doors.

Have you always been a collector of the curiosities that you proudly display there?

I have been. My love is collecting street art, outsider art. A few years ago I gave away over 100 pieces of art on the streets of Las Vegas in what was a city side scavenger hunt. I’m also a huge record collector, but I mostly collect interesting people. I have the most awesome group of friends.

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Did you deliberately model the atmosphere and service to replicate “old Vegas”?

Yes. I have been coming to Vegas since I was a kid in the 70’s. I loved that era. My star-filled ceiling at The Golden Tiki was inspired by my love for Benihana and their ceiling at the former Las Vegas Hilton (now Westgate).

I moved here in 1999 and was saddened that so many icons were shutting down only to be replaced by soulless glass boxes that looked like airports. Our company’s goal is to open many themed environments that bring back the early Vegas visionary magic of Jay Sarno and Steve Wynn.

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I am the creator and managing partner of The Golden Tiki. I have three partners in this venture (Jeff Fine, Seth Schorr and Joe Cain) and our main parent company is High Horse, which we’re changing to Food Fight Inc. 

Tell us about the specialty cocktails that make up your drink menu?

We’re very proud to announce that we just brought on an award-winning USBG mixologist Adam Rains who will be taking our cocktail program to the next level. We want to compete on the world stage. Adam is assembling a team to do just that.

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Do you have a personal other favorite Tiki lounge, past or present

My heart will always be with the Islands Restaurant and Lounge. My giant clam waterfalls are an homage to that tiki bar. I honestly appreciate all tiki bars. I’m a lover of escapism. People try and pit Frankie’s Tiki Room against us but honestly I love them.

We’re two different experiences. They call us Disneyland and that’s okay by me. I think they’re small and dive-y but that’s equally as awesome. Their drinks are great and people should definitely explore them. Why limit yourself or the good times and adventures you can have?

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Who would be your dream celebrity to present with their own shrunken head?

If I could present anyone alive or dead. It would have been….

Click here to continue reading via BestOfVegas.com…

The Golden Tiki is located at 3939 Spring Mountain Road in Chinatown. It never closes. For more information call 702-222-3196.

All photos courtesy of The Golden Tiki

 

 

 

 

My Day as a “Terrorist” at Primm’s Fashion Outlets


…or “How To Chase Away Your Final Remaining Customers”…

There’s a wonderful moment in the 1981 film On Golden Pond in which a young boy asks Katharine Hepburn’s character “Ethel” why her aging husband (played by Henry Fonda) is so prickly. “Norman’s like an old lion. Sometimes he has to remind himself that he can still roar”.

Well, imagine that you’re an aging security guard in a forgotten shopping mall where most of the stores have closed down and you can count the number of customers on one hand. Surely you’d have to find some purpose to justify your continued employment, right? Well, this Mother’s Day I found myself in the cross hairs of old Security Guard “Norman”. And I’m guessing that after what went down between us, he’s wishing he’d have taken the holiday off to be with his wife.

Back in the summer of 2013, I was a brand new writer for VegasChatter.com. After a successful trial article, I was welcomed aboard and proposed ideas for my follow-up piece. One suggestion was on taking a day trip to Primm, Nevada at the California State Line. I’d grown an affection for that little collection of casino hotels and the Primm Fashion Outlet at its center. The drive through the desert to get there was very scenic and a pleasant escape from the hustle and bustle of the Strip.

This morning, after a miserable week on the couch with a cold, I awoke feeling somewhat better and desiring to get out of the house. With families undoubtedly about to fill the restaurants and buffets for Mother’s Day brunch, I decided to hop on the interstate and revisit that place from long ago. I could stroll through Buffalo Bill’s Casino, grab a quick breakfast at their value-priced buffet, perhaps ride the spectacular Desperado hyper-coaster and pick up some bargains at those awesome outlets.

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                  Seven Magic Mountains  south of the Strip in the desert…

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                        The former Gold Strike Casino Hotel got a little TLC…

As expected, the morning drive was pleasant and pretty. Traffic was minimal and I got a nice view of the Seven Magic Mountains art exhibit along the way. I also noticed that the aging and suffering Gold Strike Casino in nearby Jean had gotten a fresh coat of paint along with a new name – Terrible’s Road House.

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                           Sorry, no valet service today…or tomorrow….

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After stopping at Terrible’s to snap some photos and check on the condition of the property, I continued onto Primm, just a short ways away. It alarmed me that the parking lot outside of Buffalo Bill’s Casino was so empty and the valet service area was blocked off. But the absence of cars made parking by the door quite easy. I strolled inside and headed for the buffet…only to find it permanently shuttered. Damn!

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                          Bye-bye, Miss Ashley’s Boarding House Buffet…

Well, I could still ride the coaster, then hop on their monorail to Primm Valley Resort, the adjacent casino where the outlet mall is. Sadly, the roller coaster was shuttered as well. A staffer told me it had been closed for about five months but was undergoing safety testing for an unscheduled (soon) reopening. Damn again.

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             Desperado roller coaster – closed for five months and counting…

Looking around the rest of the amusement area noticed that the log flume ride had been stripped of its shooting-gallery motif. All of the animatronic figures along the river were gone. There were empty places in the food court and the large ticketing area for rides had apparently been consolidated into what appeared to be a game room. The place was really barren and had gone steeply downhill.

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                 Former ticketing counter for rides and attractions….

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                     What’s left of the log flume shooting-gallery ride…

Alright, let’s roll with the punches…the excursion wasn’t spoiled, just altered. There was another buffet at Primm Valley Resort, just a short monorail ride away. Too bad that was “out of service” as well…and the shuttle bus that runs between the properties is now only available on Saturdays. “Sorry for the inconvenience” the sign announced. Don’t you love that phrase?

                            No working monorails, shuttles limited to one day per week…

At this point I decided to head to my car, forgo breakfast altogether and just drive over to the stores before the crowds arrived. Imagine my surprise when I walked into….a veritable ghost town. Shops were shuttered and papered over, the food court could barely serve a crumb. restrooms and elevators were closed “for renovations” and there was nary a soul in sight.

Strolling through with astonishment and disappointment, I snapped several photos, planning to send them back to friends who’d enjoyed our trips down here in the past. How sad. Eventually I found an open (and nearly empty) store…Old Navy…and located a rack with nice summer shirts at great prices. As I crouched down to look at a pair of shoes on the bottom shelf, a voice right behind me said “Hello”…and scared the crap out of me.

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I spun around and stood up to face a uniformed security guard staring at me with a bit of a smirk. “Why were you walking around taking pictures?” he asked me. Puzzled and caught off guard, I started to say “Well, I like this place and…”. “You can’t be taking pictures” he cut me off.

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Immediately, I was annoyed. I’d heard several complaints from my colleague Scott Roeben (of VitalVegas.com) about how he is continually hounded by security people whenever he takes photos of renovations, construction, etc. He even complained about it recently on a television appearance after stopping at SLS Las Vegas to document their improvements. It’s really aggravating to be harassed when you’re doing something innocuous, and after all the disappointments this visit had already offered, I wasn’t going to stand for this.

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There will no laughter today at Primm Valley Resorts. Sorry for any inconvenience…

“Are you kidding me?” I challenged him. “This is a tourist town. People take pictures. What difference does it make to you?”. “Well” he stammered “you could be a reporter or something, You were taking pictures of the empty stores”. “Yeah, and what if I was?”. Oh, if he only knew what was going on in my mind. This article was already writing itself.

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Officer Norman had nothing else to add, so he turned around and left me alone. I went back to my shopping, decided against the shoes and gathered my other items to pay at the register. But Norman had returned and was heading right for my face again. “Make sure you don’t take any more pictures!” he demanded, blocking me from approaching the cash register.

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“Are you kidding me?” I roared. “Why are you harassing me like this?”. And here came the answer to beat all answers: “Well, you never know, there are terrorists and…”. Okay, this just turned ugly. “You’re calling me a terrorist now? I look like a freaking terrorist? Or maybe I’m just a shoplifter who enjoys paying for their stuff” I said as I held up my merchandise on hangers.

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Norman replied that he was just doing his job and that his boss had sent him after me. “Where is this boss? I want you to take me to him. Better yet, bring him here since he’s been keeping such a close eye on me”.  Turns out that I’d caught old Norman in a lie. He fessed up that his boss was off that day and that some employee in one of the corridors had mentioned my photo-taking.

I paid for my things, arguing with this guy the entire time, and as we exited the store, a golf cart pulled up with two more gentlemen inside. They’d apparently heard about our loud exchange and were dispatched from their mysterious base to put the fire out. I demanded to know their jobs (“we’re from engineering”) and I let them know how absurd this whole embarrassing scene had played out.

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“Are you guys bored? Nothing better to do than to chase away the last few customers you have? No wonder this place is dead”. With that I headed down the corridor and towards my car, Officer Norman keeping stride with me for most of the way. I told him to stop following, left the property and was absolutely furious at how this morning had turned out.

It’s really a shame that some of our fondest memories of Vegas are being chipped away by bad attitudes, poor business choices and a disregard for the courteous service that put Vegas on the map. No longer are tourists welcomed as guests, but treated more “like walking wallets” (as a colleague so eloquently stated recently)…and annoyances that have to be dealt with for a paycheck.

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TSA agents (of which McCarran Airport has the surliest and rudest I’ve ever encountered) and security teams in particular need to be held accountable for their behavior. Rarely are terrorists actually stopped at airport security checkpoints, but hundred of thousands of dollars worth of our personal belongings disappear from our luggage annually.

Las Vegas probably has more security cameras and facial-recognition software than any other place in the nation, yet there seems to be little rhyme or reason as to how it’s utilized. Roeben and I get hounded for snapping smartphone pictures around casino grounds, but a madman can hoard a stockpile of guns and assault rifles in a 32nd-floor suite and pull off the largest massacre in modern American history. Vegas has become like the S.S. Poseidon….upside-down and sinking fast.

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We’re in the midst of a well-documented decline in tourism here. Shows, restaurants, attractions and entire hotels have been shuttered, all due to the failure of today’s business model and a complete lack of sensible decision-making. It’s time that we as human beings open our eyes, step outside of the characters we play on the time clock and guide ourselves with simple common sense. Carrying out stupid or harmful acts just “because my boss told me to” isn’t acceptable anymore.

Is Sin City Determined To Drive You Away?

I’ve only lived in this city since last October, yet in that time I’ve seen massive layoffs, skyrocketing rates and predictions of the impending collapse of our tourism industry. You might think that my small incident in an outlet mall has little to do with that, but does it really? Let’s see how well Downtown’s Fashion Outlet Mall fares a year from now since they’ve decided to gouge shoppers with parking fees.

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There are plenty of places other than Las Vegas where people can go to spend their money. Those of us who reside here depend upon your continued visits to keep our economy alive. If we as locals don’t strike out, speak up and protest what’s happening to Sin City tourists when they open up their wallets, then ours will soon be empty, too.

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                      This is the face of a terrorist. Run for your lives…