‘JOURNEY TO THE NORTH POLE’ Brings Snowy Cheer to Sin City


Holiday Drive-through Attraction Is A Labor of Love for COVID-impacted Artists…

While other cities were scrambling to adjust to life during a pandemic, Sin City wasted no time in launching COVID-safe alternatives. We already had drive-through wedding chapels and West Wind drive-in movie theater. Then came outdoor fitness and dance classes with Sin City celebrities. We even got to experience Jennifer Romas’ SEXXY revue and drag shows from the comfort of our vehicles. Now you can pack friends and family into the car and head to Santa’s workshop for JOURNEY TO THE NORTH POLE.

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Some of you might be familiar with GLITTERING LIGHTS, the annual attraction at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Now in its 20th year, the massive drive-through celebration is the largest of its kind in the Valley. It’s also about as far from the Strip as you can get while still being in Las Vegas.

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JOURNEY TO THE NORTH POLE is conveniently located at 2330 Industrial Road, just a snowball’s throw from Wynn/Encore under the watchful gaze of the Stratosphere The STRAT tower. During the rest of the year, the venue is known as The Industrial Event Space, an indoor-outdoor venue for special functions.

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While it may lack the scope of its older brother, JOURNEY TO THE NORTH POLE makes up for it for with plenty of charm and good cheer. You’ll know right away when you’re greeted at the gate by one of Santa’s friendly helpers. The happy elf will safely scan your pre-purchased admission code and guide you through the procedures while all of your party remain inside.

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A mask is required if/when you interact with any of the cast members, and your windows should remain up when possible. You’ll be given a radio station to tune to, which syncs seasonal classics with the lights of the attraction. Once inside, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase hot cocoa and snacks (very reasonably priced, by the way) before proceeding.

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The journey begins with a super-cool recreation of the Northern Lights. Once you pass through the garland entrance, you’ll enter the “Path Of Lights”, festooned with glittering orbs, twinkling tunnels and a flurry of “snow”.

Along the way you’ll encounter live dancing elves, whimsical projections, over 100,000 lights, more than 380 strands and over 100 holiday fixtures. Everything has been designed and handmade by more than 30 local creative professionals who’ve been impacted by the events of this year.

The centerpiece of JOURNEY is a computer-programmed “mega tree” which “dances” and blinks to holiday tunes. But of course everything leads to Santa’s Workshop, where you can visit with the big guy himself. Since the original Mr. Christmas is required to maintain distance this year, there won’t be any visits to his lap. But he’ll definitely chat it up and take notes for his gift-giving list.

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“Journey to the North Pole” can be experienced nightly from 5 to 10pm at the INDUSTRIAL event space, located at 2330 South Industrial Road, through Sunday, Jan. 3. Advance tickets are required and start at $20. Purchase at northpolelv.com/tickets. “Journey to the North Pole” is a co-production of Josh Abelson (the INDUSTRIAL event space), Emo Palumbo (Tag Team Productions) and Brian Rogerson (Sin City Scenic).

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‘Miracle On Spring Mountain’ Serves the Spirit of the Season…Over Ice


Immersive Cocktail experience brings the North Pole to Sin City’s Coolest Lounge…

“If the holidays are already feeling less like The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and more like open season on Big Capital, here’s a way to reclaim some Christmas cheer: drinking it.”

Update December 22, 2020Due to overwhelming response, The Sand Dollar Lounge owners Anthony Jamison, Benito Martinez, and Nathan Grates have announced the extension of Miracle on Spring Mountain into 2021. Las Vegas’ most popular holiday pop-up bar will now continue in festive mode through January 10, 2021. Since Nov. 23, the live music, craft cocktail and pizza bar has been transformed into the exclusive Las Vegas location of the renowned Miracle Bar Popup, a unique Winter Wonderland pop-up bar for the holiday season, while following and exceeding all safety protocols mandated by the state of Nevada. 

As part of the extension, the following additional chef Pizza Pop-up nights have been added and all proceeds will continue to benefit the Las Vegas Rescue Mission

Sun. Dec. 27th – Mike Vakneen & Ben Jenkins (Pop Up Pizza/Oscar’s Steakhouse) 

Sun. Jan. 3rd – Nick Dugan (Michael Mina) 

Sun. Jan. 10th – Adam Sobel (MINA Group)


With all that’s happened in the past eleven months, 2020 will undoubtedly go down as the worst year of our lives. Even the upcoming holiday season has been affected by renewed restrictions, canceled events and scuttled holiday shows. One bright spot has been A VEGAS ROOM CHRISTMAS, which plans to continue under stricter government guidelines. But what we REALLY need is a miracle. Fortunately, a special event has returned to bring peace, joy, and festive holiday cocktails to our struggling city – MIRACLE ON SPRING MOUNTAIN.

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Last year I was unable to attend MIRACLE ON SPRING MOUNTAIN due to an impending loss in my household. Those bad memories might be a little less painful now had I ventured out to Sand Dollar Lounge and its magnificent holiday festivities.

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If you’re familiar with Sand Dollar Lounge, you know that it’s a truly awesome hangout. It boasts a great staff, awesome cocktails, amazing pizzas and cool live music (when permitted by you-know-what). Nestled to the west side of an inconspicuous plaza on Spring Mountain Road (and not far from the world-famous Golden Tiki Lounge), Sand Dollar has been a legendary favorite since 1976.

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Owners Anthony Jamison, Benito Martinez, and Nathan Grates successfully restored the closed-down establishment in 2009. Not content to rest on their laurels, they’ve taken on the massive task of transforming the historic fun spot into seasonal pop-up experiences. Right after this year’s spooky NIGHTMARE ON SPRING MOUNTAIN, the team flipped the switch to create a spectacular Christmas wonderland.

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This year marks the second time that Sand Dollar Lounge has been part of the Miracle Cocktail Pop-up Bar network. The concept began six years ago in NYC’s East Side and has swept through the United States, Canada and countries like Panama, England and Switzerland. Sand Dollar proudly hosts the only “Miracle” pop-up in Nevada. 

I’m told that “Miracle 2020” is bigger, bolder, more colorful and lots more elaborate than last year’s inaugural effort. I was on hand a few days prior to the the ribbon-cutting in order to sample the season’s specialty cocktails. Witnessing the transformation in such a short time was nothing less than staggering. 

Beginning Friday 11/27, “Miracle” will open from 2 pm to 4 am.  Decor was designed and installed by Bright Light Holiday Co., a local service owned by my buddy Garrett Pattiani. He and partners Kerry and Daniel Dennis primarily do outdoor decorating projects, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to put their unique stamp on this project. Says Garrett:

“Owner Anthony Jamison and I grew up in Tonopah, Nevada. When he heard that we did holiday decor, he asked us to collaborate with him. Kerry spends months planning the interior, searching for unique items and decorations to fit the “Miracle” brand. “

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There are tens of thousands of lights, along with dozens of trees, elves, candy canes, stockings, snowmen and Saint Nicks. Highlights include a “Santa’s Twerk Shop” donation booth (proceeds benefiting the Las Vegas Rescue Mission), a North Pole stage backdrop, and a Hanukkah corner. 

The year-round drink list will be temporarily switched over to an extensive holiday-themed Miracle Bar menu. Everything from the Snowball Old Fashioned to Jingle Balls Nog are served in special mugs and glassware that are available to buy for gifts or your own party ware. To add to the fun, there will be special themed nights and pizza events. Patrons are encouraged to dress in the spirit of the theme nights, with special attractions planned.

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Ambient musical performances by solo and small combo artists will be offered on Friday and Saturday nights. During food events, prominent local chefs will create unique pizzas, with net proceeds going to Las Vegas Rescue Mission. The event schedule is as follows:

Sun Nov. 29th Justin Kingsley Hall Pizza Pop-Up

Mon Dec. 1 Ugly Sweater Party feat.  Paradise City Creamery Pop-Up

Wed Dec. 2nd Johnny Church Pizza Pop-Up

Sun Dec. 6th Josh Smith Pizza Pop-Up

Mon Dec. 7th The Grinch Day 

Wed Dec. 9th James Trees Pizza Pop-Up

Thurs Dec. 10 First Night of Hanukkah Vodka-Latke Party (free latkes while they last)

Sun Dec. 13th -Brian Howard Pizza Pop-Up

Mon Dec. 14th Candy Cane Day

Wed Dec. 16th Petrina Peart Pizza Pop-Up

Sun Dec.20th Chris Decker Pizza Pop-Up

Mon Dec. 21st Naughty or Nice night feat. Paradise City Creamery pop-up

Wed Dec. 23rd Justin Ford Pizza Pop-Up

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During Miracle on Spring Mountain, Sand Dollar Lounge management will follow all existing and newly mandated Covid-safe protocols, including 25% capacity, required reservations via their website (limited to parties of 4 seated together), sanitizing between all guest visits, masks required at all times (unless physically eating) and more. Sand Dollar Lounge is non-smoking.

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Sand Dollar Lounge is open daily from 2pm to 4am. It’s located at 3355 Spring Mountain Rd Ste. 30, Las Vegas, NV 89102. Call (702) 485-5401 or visit their website for reservations or more information. 

Photos: Sam Novak, Jose Salinas & Eric C. Gladstone/Feast of Friends

 

‘A VEGAS ROOM CHRISTMAS’ – An Updated Forecast


lastest news on the season’s cheeriest holiday dinner and show…

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It’s often said that in Las Vegas, the only constant is “change”. From entertainment offerings to the temperatures, you never know what to expect from week to week. And so it seems that the winds of change have shuffled the playbook at The Vegas Room. I’ve got the latest updates for fans and newbies alike.

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If you’re just tuning in, you can catch up with A VEGAS ROOM CHRISTMAS show announcement here, then cast bios here and here. As is the norm in the entertainment world, things tend to evolve during creative processes. And so it is that Eric Jordan Young, Brent Barrett, Bernie Blanks and Lisa Marie will no longer be appearing in A VEGAS ROOM CHRISTMAS.

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The announced cast of 20 performers has been revised with additional Las Vegas favorites. Each is a respected entertainer with their own legacy and fan base. Let’s take a look at the gentlemen who will now don stocking caps and mittens to celebrate Irving Berlin‘s WHITE CHRISTMAS:

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CARNELL JOHNSON – Familiar to thousands of Golden Knights fans…and people around the world…as “Mr. Golden Pipes”, Carnell Johnson unifies the nation regularly with his stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Born in Las Vegas, the gentle giant is known for entertaining enormous crowds at T-Mobile Arena and enhancing intimate moments as a singing gondolier at Venetian‘s GRAND CANAL.

A compassionate individual, Mr. Johnson regularly lends his time and talent to Ronald McDonald House and social equality movements.  He also participated in the MaskUpForNevada (#MaskUp4NV) campaign at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign that I covered in June. Carnell spent much of this summer doing small outdoor gigs, and is a professional actor and voice-over artist.

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Robert Hyatt

ROBERT HYATT – Who could ever guess that the gondolas floating on Venetian‘s canals could deliver so much talent. Such is the case with Oregonian Robert Hyatt. Like castmate Carnell Johnson, Hyatt also spent time on the fabled waters, serenading the city’s visitors in his own unique style.

Rob is just as skilled at music arranging as he is on the microphone. The husband and father is founder of the amazing Fifth Avenue jazz quartet, a managing member of E3 Digital Entertainment and was musical director/pianist for Riviera Hotel‘s long-running Barbra and Frank: The Concert That Never Was.

Ian Ward

IAN WARD – Regular readers of Vegas Unfiltered Blog know my admiration for California boy Ian Ward. Check out this profile piece to see what I mean. It’s rare to find such explosive talent in someone so young. Poised to detonate the national scene any day now, Ian had a featured showcase at The Vegas Room in August. Naturally, I attended every evening.

For the past three weeks, he and partner Ruby Lewis (who also appears in A VEGAS ROOM CHRISTMAS) presented a musical journey highlighting their ability to blend, harmonize and compliment one another. Here’s just one of the unforgettable moments:

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Ben Tucker

In addition to casting changes, dancer/choreographer Benjamin Tucker has taken on the role of Stage Director. Ben told me that he plans an immersive experience that will evoke the warmth of a holiday ski lodge. Guests will briefly leave Las Vegas behind and enter the world of White Christmas. Once you’ve enjoyed a bountiful Christmas-style dinner, The Vegas Room cast will commemorate the perennial movie classic via song and dance.

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Throughout December, guests of The Vegas Room will experience the fragrances and tastes of the season, too. Chef David James Robinson has crafted a glorious holiday menu to compliment and accompany the onstage presentation:

Savory Gingerbread with Vanilla Butter

Mini Lobster Quiche

Borscht with Sour Cream

Holiday Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding or 

Turkey and Sage Dressing with Green Beans & Pomegranate or 

Roasted Acorn Squash with Sage Dressing and Sweet Potato Puree (vegan)

Egg Nog and Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

The Vegas Room Dessert That Snows!

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In preparation for upcoming festivities and to allow patrons to remain safely at home during increased COVID-19 concerns, The Vegas Room will be dark through November 26th (Thanksgiving). Shows will return on November 27th and 28th with dinner performances by Travis Cloer (Jersey Boys).

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Sunday brunch returns on Sunday, November 29th with international dazzler Nieve Malandra. Chef Robinson has prepared a multi-course brunch to accompany Nieve’s songs from Japan, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.

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A VEGAS ROOM CHRISTMAS launches its first of 20 performances on December 2nd. Join them for what is sure to become an annual holiday tradition. Click here for reservations to any performance at The Vegas Room.

The Vegas Room is located at 953 East Sahara Avenue E-18. Phone (725) 206-7059 for more information.

Chestnuts, Snowfall and Stars: ‘A Vegas Room Christmas Cast’ Pt. 2


Conclusion of my two-part look at casting the brightest event of the holiday season….


Remember that feeling you had as a child? All through the month of December you stared at the calendar, counting down the days until Christmas vacation. Then came the unbearable anticipation of the big morning under the tree, with all of gifts, hugs from family and friends…and of course, a fabulous meal.

Now that we’ve gotten older, those emotions tend to be forgotten. But this year, more than ever before, our inner child is longing for those feelings of joy, comfort, and celebration. The one place in Las Vegas that you’re sure to find them this holiday season is at The Vegas Room.

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If you’ve missed my previous articles on A Vegas Room Christmas, you can read them by clicking here and here. You’ll learn about this magnificent production and the fabulous brunch or dinner that accompanies each performance. But let’s continue with the remaining members of the stellar cast, picking up where we left off last week.

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                                                                      Ruby Lewis

RUBY LEWIS – Is it unfair of me to state in this section that Ruby Lewis is one of my favorite performers of all time? Probably….but there are really no words to describe my affection for this gifted young woman. No matter where she goes or what she’s doing, you’ll most likely see me in the audience.

In a city full of inflated egos and self-importance, only a performer as humble and genuine as Ruby Lewis would prepare a pre-show feast of home-cooked greens, black-eyed peas and ham for her fans. This is one southern gal whose mama raised her right (thanks, Eve).

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                 I had the honor of sharing the BAZ stage with Ms. Lewis for a day…

I first encountered Ms. Lewis when she came to Mandalay Bay for the brief initial run of BAZ. Ruby’s stunning vocals brought audiences to their feet through her portrayal of “Daisy Buchanan”, debutante and heartbroken soulmate of one “Jay Gatsby”. I challenge you to watch this clip without getting goosebumps…and some tears in your eyes.

After a stunning leap to Broadway, Ms. Lewis returned to BAZ at Palazzo, played the lead in Marilyn! The New Musical at Paris Hotel Casino and hosted her one-woman show at The Space. You can catch Ruby and partner Ian Ward when they grace The Vegas Room stage for three consecutive Thursdays beginning October 29th.

Luke Striffler

Luke Striffler – If Ruby Lewis is the star atop the Vegas Room Christmas tree, then actor/singer/comedian Luke Striffler is the holiday eggnog. Smooth and bright with great body and a little kick, this is one Christmas cocktail you’ll want to sip all season long.

Luke charmed audience at Fremont Street’s D Hotel Casino in the popular Friends: The Musical Parody. He’s also created excitement with roles in Hairspray, Avenue Q. and Forever Plaid. Although born Stateside, Luke’s career took hold when he moved to London, where he starred in the featurette The Morning After with husband Joshua Berg. Two of Luke’s biggest breakthroughs were a role in the famed EastEnders BBC series and a semi-final placing on Britain’s Got Talent as part of The Kingdom Tenors.

Sin City gained more than just another handsome face when the multi-talented activist returned to the U.S. Once the pandemic shut down all live entertainment, it was Luke who created Performers Outlet: Covid-19, a support group for entertainers. The initiative provides encouragement, ideas, and opportunities for artistic collaboration while weathering this seemingly endless pandemic.

Janien Valentine

Janien Valentine – You know that you’ve achieved “entertainment royalty” when you’ve been immortalized by artist Neal Portnoy. That’s why people around the Valley wake up to a cup of Janien Valentine every day. Janien was “Portnoyed” by the famed caricaturist artist, who created a line of fundraising products to assist out-of-work entertainers (learn more by clicking here).

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Ms. Valentine plants her boots firmly in a variety of musical periods. She can belt out today’s top hits, pay tribute to ballads of years past, then roar back in time to the Strip’s Golden Era. An all-around entertainer with incredible dynamic range, Janien blends the flavors of Ann-Margaret and Celine Dion with a sprinkle of Lola Falana and a dash of Tina Turner.

The native of East Amherst, NY is well-known to audiences through her work with The Scintas. She’s the principal vocalist of the musical trio Poperazzi, and you can drink in her scintillating energy at Bellagio‘s Mayfair Supper Club. Ms. Valentine returns this Christmas season to The Vegas Room after a splendid showcase in August. 

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                                                                 Michelle Johnson

Michelle Johnson – If the warm, fuzzy feelings of the holidays could take human form, I suspect they’d look a lot like Michelle Johnson. There’s something about the style, elegance, and comforting voice of the “First Lady of Jazz” that makes you want to reach for a brandy snifter and settle in by the fireplace for a crackling-good show.

The multi-award winner has graced Broadway stages, television screens and venues throughout Las Vegas. She’s collaborated with artists as varied as Barbra Streisand, Sheena Easton, Elton John, Clint Holmes, PM Dawn and Josh Groban. 

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For many, a Michelle Johnson performance is synonymous with the holiday season. That’s why her “Vintage Christmas” at The Smith Center quickly sold out last December. Alas, that amazing venue for the arts has been shuttered indefinitely due to the pandemic. Fortunately, fans can still get their Christmas fix of the starlet at The Vegas Room all through December.

A self-described “introvert” who confesses to wrestling with stage fright, the accomplished singer/songwriter/producer/author nevertheless exudes confidence and charisma with every pitch-perfect note. Ms. Johnson’s solo shows are teeming with  humorous anecdotes and honest reflection that somehow make her feel like an old friend. In other words, she’s exactly the kind of person that you’d want to spend the holidays with.

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Ben Tucker and Emma McGirr –

What’s a musical production without a pair of professional dancers? The Vegas Room has broadened their vision for “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” with the addition of Emma McGirr and Ben Tucker. The real-life couple is part of Nevada Ballet Theatre, and have performed “The Nutcracker” both locally and for the Schrader Youth Ballet Company in Parkersburg, WV.

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Two years ago, McGirr and Tucker founded Ballet 120, an innovative dance company whose goal is to make the artform of dance accessible to larger audiences via social media platform. They do so by creating brief, innovative video performances like the one below.

Emma and Ben plan to marry on January 2nd of next year. A Vegas Room Christmas marks their first professional appearance at the venue.

Check back with Vegas Unfiltered Blog in the weeks ahead for more information on A Vegas Room Christmas, including community efforts related to the event. Follow this link for complete information on pricing, schedules and reservations. The Vegas Room is located at 953 East Sahara Avenue E-18 in the historic Commercial Center complex. 

October Horror-Fest at Las Vegas Drive-in Theater

Retro outdoor theater screens dozens of spooky comedies, bloody shockers and romantic chillers for safe Halloween fun…

The effort to successfully reopen indoor theaters has been such a struggle that eleven movie theaters in the Las Vegas valley closed once more this month. Some, like Eclipse Theaters in the downtown area and Tropicana Cinemas, a second-run bargain house, never unlocked their doors. Nevertheless, West Wind Drive-ins have been thriving!

West Wind Las Vegas is one of seven in California and Nevada operated by their parent company. I told you about this six-screen outdoor theater here. With budget-friendly prices on tickets and snacks, you can pack up the family (or a hot date) into your car and have a fun night out without breaking the bank. Even better, physical distancing is NEVER a concern at a drive-in, since you’re in control of your environment. You don’t have to interact with anyone if you choose not to (online ticketing is coming soon). 

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Modern conveniences like digital picture and stereo FM sound enhance the movie-going experience. Snacks and meals can be ordered from your smartphone for quick pick-up at the concession stand. You can smoke, bring your own food, turn up the volume as loud as you like on your car’s sound system and chat about the movie if you want to. It’s your own private universe under the stars.

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All of those advantages are why the drive-in theater has surged in popularity this year. Not only has the retro concept become a place to rediscover classics on the big screen, but locations around the country have been showing new concerts and hosted comedy and drag shows. Even Jennifer Romas and the cast of Westgate’s SEXXY revue performed drive-in shows this summer at a special location.

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COVID-19 is still affecting seasonal activities like sporting events and holiday parties. Depending on your neighborhood, even trick-or-treat might not happen. But nothing is tastier than freshly-buttered movie popcorn, and you can still dress the kids (or yourself) in costumes to see a great Halloween hit, double-feature, or even a trilogy….all for one low price.

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From now through October 31st, West Wind is lighting up their six massive screen with dozens of horror titles. From franchise hits of the 80’s to the latest spooky titles. there’s something for EVERYONE.

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Click here for the latest schedule, and check back often. 

Family-friendly Spookers – 

Romantic Vampire Films – 

Franchise Horror Films – 

Tim Burton Favorites – 

John Carpenter Classics –

Low-Budget Shockers –

Big-Budget Titles –

Groundbreaking Classics –

There are plenty more films to be added to the list, and the festival runs through Halloween night. Click here for updates, and check back often. 

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West Wind Las Vegas Drive-in Theater is open year-round, rain or shine. They’re located at 4150 West Carey Avenue, northwest of downtown. Call  (702) 646-3565 OR (702) 647-1379 for more information.

 

Chestnuts, Snowfall and Stars: ‘A VEGAS ROOM CHRISTMAS’ Cast Revealed

A powerhouse roster promises the brightest holiday event of the season…


Last week I shared the exciting news that The Vegas Room would be producing a month-long salute to the sights, sounds and flavors of Irving Berlin’s “WHITE CHRISTMAS”. In our current state of shutdowns…along with the latest blow of Broadway being shuttered until mid-2021…an announcement of this magnitude was most welcome.

The dream team that’s been assembled for A Vegas Room Christmas is nothing short of amazing. Entertainment Director Brent Barrett (Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me, Kate), Stage Director Eric Jordan Young (BAZ, Cocktail Cabaret) and Musical Director Keith Thompson (Jesus Christ Superstar, Hairspray, We Will Rock You) have decades of experience and thousands of performances to draw on. So with everyone that A Vegas Room Christmas already has in place, the production was sure to attract an incredible line-up of singers and dancers. And indeed it has. 

In a follow-up meeting with the creative team this weekend, I was able to get an advance peek at the official cast announcement, along with the performance schedule of each player. As mentioned in the previous article, A Vegas Room Christmas will feature four rotating casts of top-caliber artists. 

Anne Martinez Can’t Slow Down To Be “The Next Big Thing”

Anne Martinez – The crimson-haired goddess known as Anne Martinez has been a personal favorite of mine for many years. I became acquainted with Anne when she joined the cast of BAZ at Palazzo, taking on the Moulin Rouge role of “Satine” made famous by Nicole Kidman. A long list of Vegas productions includes World’s Greatest Rock Show, Showstoppers, FANTASYZombie Burlesque and her own remarkable creation Alice: A Steampunk Concert Fantasy

Anne and husband John Martinez (Cirque du Soleil’s “O”) are very active in the community, especially when it comes to animal charities and rescue. She fronts the band Red Penny Arcade which can currently be seen at The Venetian and downtown’s NOTORIETY LIVE. Click here for my profile on Ms. Martinez from 2017. 

Sam Holder – If I’m going to comment on the glamour of the ladies in this cast, then it’s only fair to point out the “heartthrob status” of Sam Holder. The square-jawed, broad-shouldered Mississippi native is poised to set hearts aflutter at The Vegas Room with his matinee-idol looks and sexy swagger.

Equally at home performing classic rock, Motown-era standards and sultry jazz, Mr. Holder combines pop sensibilities and wit with the classic stylings of Sin City’s Golden Era. Sam’s powerful showmanship comes through even when his tongue is firmly planted in his cheek. I’m eager to see what the rugged hunk has in store for White Christmas roles made famous by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

Amanda King – There’s a reason why visitors to The Vegas Room return time and again for Amanda King. The vibrant songstress from Indiana always has something new for devoted fans…and a dazzling showcase for those discovering Ms. King for the very first time.

A classically-trained actor and singer, Ms. King wraps her arms tightly around the “Great American Songbook”, embracing the works of pioneers like Sophie Tucker, Eartha Kitt and Lena Horne. This month, the glamorous chanteuse debuted an ambitious two-part salute to legends of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s at The Vegas Room.

Randal Keith – If vocals could be harnessed for energy, the powerful voice of Randal Keith would light up every neon sign and LED screen on the Strip. At the age of 13, Randal’s unique timbre was already striking, and he continues to astound audiences today. A favorite at The Vegas Room, Mr. Keith has performed two weekend showcases there and continues to draw in dedicated fans.

Mr. Keith spent several years on Broadway and on tour with iconic roles in Les Miserables, Spamalot, Man of La Mancha and Sunset Boulevard. Currently residing in Las Vegas, the handsome star delighted Sin City audiences with roles in Phantom – The Vegas Spectacular, BAZ, Marilyn, and Showstoppers.

Lisa Marie – Sexy, sassy, modern and classy…all words to describe the sultry Lisa Marie. Like our other red-tressed beauty Anne Martinez, Ms. Marie also graced the Palazzo stage for BAZ. Before that, her retro-chic persona was perfectly featured in the long-running musical Pin-Up at Stratosphere.

When not performing at Bellagio‘s Mayfair Supper Club, Lisa Marie spends some of her rare free time in the recording studio. Her songs are available on iTunes, YouTube, and Spotify. She’s also a staple at Kenny Davidsen‘s Bowtie Cabaret and numerous charitable events at The Space

Bernie Blanks – “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” – Michael Corleone, The Godfather III

Bernie Blanks might have convinced himself at some point that he’d left show business behind. After a long run in the legendary Starlight Express, Mr. Blanks became involved in numerous productions before undertaking a career in healthcare and aesthetic medicine. Of course, the call of the stage becomes louder once you’ve married back into the business. 

On Labor Day Weekend, the husband of The Vegas Room‘s Entertainment Director Brent Barrett joined his spouse onstage for “Islands In the Stream”, a personal evening of duets and reflection. Mr. Barrett referred to their show as “Sonny and Cher…but with two men. And since I’m taller, guess who gets to play Cher?”.

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The happy couple will team up once more for A Vegas Room Christmas. This writer can’t help but wonder if either of these gentlemen plans to take on Rosemary Clooney or Vera-Ellen…that would definitely put an  uproarious twist on White Christmas. You’ll have to order your tickets early to find out. 

Next week I’ll tell you about the rest of the Vegas Room Christmas cast, including Michelle Johnson, Ruby Lewis, Luke Striffler and dancers Ben Tucker and Emma McGirr. With luck, there might be some behind-the-scenes photos on the way…

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HALLOWEEN PARTIES AND EVENTS IN SIN CITY

Click HERE to read via BestOfVegas.com…

The Halloween season is finally here and nobody does it better than Las Vegas. Always filled with excitement and intrigue, the Strip and Downtown go all out in late October with special events, attractions, holiday-themed shows and nightclub parties galore. Prepare for outrageous costume contests, celebrity-hosted bashes and specialty cocktail creations that only Las Vegas could serve up.

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Here are a few of the many events taking place in and around the city:

Marquee Nightclub – The upscale venue at Cosmopolitan gets into the spooky spirit early this year with a “Seven Deadly Sins” party on Monday October 28th. Put on your sexy/scary best for their $7,777 Costume Contest and DJ Sam Feldt.

Barbershop Cuts and Cocktails – Cosmopolitan’s heavily-themed speakeasy/salon unleashes Faded Karaoke: Rocky Horror Picture Show Edition on Tuesday October 29th. Do the time warp during their weekly Industry Night for karaoke with a Halloween twist starting at 10 pm.

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On The Record – The new-ish speakeasy/club at Park MGM hosts three consecutive bashes for All Hallow’s Eve. Wednesday October 30th will be “$10,000 Scary and Sultry Costume Contest” during Industry Night Trick or Treat. Thursday October 31st presents “Little Monsters Ball” with a $10,000 Lady Gaga costume contest. Finally on Friday November 1st, “Nightmare In The Park: Day of the Dead” with a $5,000 Costume Contest and deejays G-Squared, Tony Tone and Judy Elahi.

TAO Nightclub – The longtime favorite at Venetian welcomes DJ Mustard on Halloween night, along with a $5,000 Costume Contest for a few lucky dolls and demons. The party starts at 10:30 pm.

Chateau Nightclub – The two-story indoor-outdoor venue at Paris offers a 21+ bash with gorgeous views of the Strip and sounds by Liz Clark starting at 10 pm. VIP Packages for groups of five and up are available, reservations are suggested.

LIGHT NightclubMandalay Bay‘s supersized club will be presenting singer/rapper Saweetie with a performance for Halloween’s LIGHTMARE. Be a part of the $10,000 Costume Contest beginning at 10:30 pm on the 31st.

Hakkasan at MGM Grand – Resident deejay Calvin Harris lights up the dance floor on Halloween night with special guest Generik. Adjacent Ling Ling Club will feature sounds by Toronto-based producer/deejay Dash.

OMNIASteve Aoki returns to Caesars Palace on Tuesday October 29th with “Armies of the Night 2: Unbreakable Hearts”. Then on Thursday, things get cosmic with Fergie as deejay for “Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind” on Halloween night.

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Cocktail Collective at Venetian/Palazzo – This trio of upscale lounges at the Strip’s largest resort triples the fun with a bevy of spook-tastic offerings.

  • Electra at Palazzo has “Boos” specials in honor of fright night running the 31st through November 4th. On Halloween night they’re presenting a $1,500 dinner-and-bottle-service package to the largest group of coordinated costumers.
  • Rosina Cocktail Lounge honors “National Caramel Apple Day’ on the 31st. Enjoy Halloween-inspired cocktails like the Golden Apple (apple brandy, Four Roses bourbon, honey, lemon, all spice, and cinnamon) paired with a pumpkin-spiced caramel apple.
  • The Dorsey Cocktail Bar features three signature Halloween cocktails October 31st through Sunday Nov. 3:
  • Jame-O-Lantern – Jameson, Yellow Chartreuse, Antica Carpano, Chocolate Bitters, Orange Twist Garnish
  • Oogie Boogie – Altos, Falernum, Fresh Lime, Ginger Syrup, Allspice, Fever Tree Soda
  • Its Alive! – Absolute Elyx, Lime, Lemon, Simple, Matcha Powder, Egg White, Cream, Fever Tree Soda
  • Sample their Halloween cocktails for free between 10 pm-11 pm on Halloween night.

Golden Tiki Lounge – Chinatown’s famed destination for 24-hour fun is on Spring Mountain Road. They’re celebrating Halloween all month long with wacky live entertainment, campy cocktails and celebrity shrunken-head inductions. “Hauntingly Happy Hour’ is every day from 4 pm to 7 pm with half off all “boos and appetizers”.

Troy Liquor BarGolden Nugget offers the best view of Fremont Street’s Halloween madness at Troy Liquor Bar. Deejay Exodus provides a booming soundtrack and the dance floor will be open on the 31st until the wee hours of the morning.

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Speaking of downtown, the six block Fremont Street Experience is having a month-long “Rock of Horrors” extravaganza that features pop-up experiences and flash mobs. Live music with bands like Alter Igor entertain from the 1st Street Stage while the 3rd Street Stage presents the production “Wicked Dreams” with aerialists, dancers and alluring visuals. Halloween night’s Costume Contest will have a $1,000 top prize.

Of course, Halloween fun isn’t just limited to the nightclubs and bands. SAW Escape Room has unveiled new effects, actors and puzzles just in time for the season of scares. They’ve extended operating hours for the next few weeks due to increased demand, no doubt bolstered by their ranking in USA Today as the number one attraction of its kind in the nation.

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Apocalypse Vegas is featuring “Escape From Area 51“, a totally immersive new thrill experience. Get hands-on training by real Special Forces operatives before facing an invading alien invasion army. Take down the little green men and save the planet from total annihilation.

Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum – Step inside the frightening mansion in Downtown’s Art District and face your fears on a tour like no other. With over 30 rooms of horror featuring “The Funeral”, “The Devil’s Rocking Chair” “Dr. Kevorkian’s Death Van” and “Peggy the Doll”, you’ll be fighting off nightmares for weeks to come.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition – Numerous paranormal sightings have taken place at the attraction on Luxor‘s mezzanine level. From ghostly apparitions to moving objects and frightening after-hours security-cam footage, it appears that souls from the sunken vessel have found their way to Las Vegas. See if you can make contact with the dead at the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, open daily at 10 am.

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REAL BODIES – If your affection for the macabre leans towards the visceral, you may want to check out REAL BODIES at Bally’s. Immerse yourself in this raw, openly authentic and awe-inspiring exhibition on human anatomy. Featuring 20 real human specimens, you may never look at people the same way again.

Marvel’s AVENGERS STATION – The superhero attraction at Treasure Island is featuring $10 admission this month from Monday to Wednesday in honor of Halloween. The exhibit presents a family-friendly trick-or-treating event on Friday October 25th from 10 am to 7 pm. Guests will receive a free Marvel sack to collect goodies as they visit each room.

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Then there are the countless haunted houses, pumpkin mazes and carnivals that have filled up the valley this month. SCARE at Town Square combines them all into a multi-level attraction with an escape experience, phobia rooms, a haunted maze and an adult-centric nightclub. The top level features live performances, deejays and stunning signature cocktails (this writer’s favorite is the “Minty Ghoul”) and appetizers like “Zombie Bites”.

If you plan to head out west, PKWY Tavern Flamingo will be having a block party on  Halloween night. Check out their DJ, inflatable jousting ring, photobooth, LED Swing Set, Bacardi swag and giveaways along with delicious bar bites, festive Bacardi drink specials and a Bacardi cocktail sampling. Beginning at 10 p.m., partygoers who come dressed in their sexiest, scariest and most outrages costumes will have the chance to win $1,000.

Whatever you and and your ghostly companions choose to do this Season of the Witch, have a safe and happy Halloween in Sin City.

Photos: BestOfVegas.com, Alter Igor Band