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THIS ISSUE: David Darkstone – Illusions and Beyond
EDITOR NOTES: What a week so far: rolling blackouts, a Greyhound Bus wreck north of town … this isn’t quite the news we like to bring you but that slot machine doesn’t always come up double diamonds. We were baking under 114 degree heat on Monday … I love it! Granted, I don’t work outside but I’ve been out and about and there is something very cleansing feeling about it. Summer separates those of us who truly love Southern Nevada from those who thought it would be a cute idea to move here.
Don’t bother asking me how we deal with it … we don’t shovel snow, have 7-8 months of pool weather, low taxes, and well over 300 days of sun a year! The good news? Expected thunderstorms over the 4’th calmed just in time for fireworks. One note: Stratosphere got their fireworks info to me too late to include last issue. Next year if I have not heard anything, I’ll get on the phone and check with them myself.
LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:
BUS CRASH – Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. 37 people were injured early Tuesday morning when a Greyhound Bus went off the road and rolled when it failed to negotiate the off ramp. This happened in Glendale, NV (basically a highway offramp 30 miles north of town). Early word is that the driver may have been falling asleep more than once in the middle of the night. Full story at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jul-04-Wed-2001/news/16466814.html
BLACKOUTS – We are doing our California imitation. Nevada Power thought they had purchased the rights to enough power this summer, but record temperatures hit across the West. Only 10,000 customers lost power for 45 minutes (not bad for a metro area of 1.3 million people). For those of you prone to worry, the tourist areas won’t go dark in any future events. In fact, the Strip casinos helped out by running off their backup generators which helped keep the lights on for more residents that otherwise would have happened. Full stories at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jul-03-Tue-2001/news/16458159.html and http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jul-04-Wed-2001/news/16466351.html
NEW YEAR’S EVE – What am I talking about this in July when many of you are having pool parties? Because if you want to attend the singular party of the year without paying 5 times the going weekend rate for a room (or not getting one at all — some hotels already showing “sold out”), you need to think about booking now. You are still going to pay 3 times the normal, but save your pennies: this party is worth it. Don’t take my word for it — check out our complete photo archive from last year at http://www.las-vegas-new-years-eve.com featuring the buildup, the aftermath, the happy couples, the crazies, and (of course) the pretty girls.
BETTING BAN DEAD! – Sen. Harry Reid has stopped worrying about a ban on college sports betting being passed by Congress this year. “The bill won’t pass out of Congress,” Reid, D-Nev., said Monday. “We’ll kill it. I am confident. I wasn’t confident last year but I am now. It has lost support.” Nevada allows wagering on professional and college sports but not on high school and Olympic Games. No other state allows wagering on college sports. Full story at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jul-03-Tue-2001/news/16456031.html Start thinking about those college football games you are going to be betting on when you visit this fall!
HAVE YOUR LAS VEGAS WEDDING ON TV! – I just talked to the producers of new series for the Travel Channel entitled “Two For Las Vegas.” They are looking for fun and interesting couples to be featured on a national television show. You must already have wedding plans confirmed for July 9th through the end of September 2001. The more unusual, the better, but traditional is fine too! If you are interested please send an email to (click) mailto:[email protected] — and request an application. Selected applicants will be notified approximately a week before their actual wedding date. Best of luck!
CAESARS OVERHAUL – Caesars Palace has a new tower, new facade, new “hip” lounge, and more. The 1/2 billion dollar renovation is an attempt to restore Caesars to the prominence it had on The Strip two decades ago. Story at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jun-24-Sun-2001/business/16373504.html
SHOPPING IN VEGAS – Casinos no longer are the only place to drop a bundle in Las Vegas. The megaresorts that dominate the city’s neon-splashed Strip are locked in an escalating competition to land retailing’s most exclusive names and show them off in extravagant environments that re-create ancient Rome, Marrakech or the canals of Venice. Story at http://www.sltrib.com/07012001/business/109958.htm
3 MILLION WEDDINGS – Only the ministers were authentic at Tuesday’s celebration commemorating the 3 millionth Las Vegas wedding. Everything else, including the hoards of celebrity look-alikes and even the weddings themselves, were in typical Vegas style: gaudy beyond belief. Three couples, the 3 millionth wedding registered and the ones before and after, were invited back to Las Vegas to re-create their ceremonies, flanked by eight Las Vegas showgirls in full garb. Full story at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jul-04-Wed-2001/news/16467469.html
HOTEL LOBBIES – Twenty years ago would Strip hotel lobbies have been part of their trip? “It didn’t even enter my mind,” said Scardina, who visited Las Vegas years prior. “We were strictly here to gamble.” But Las Vegas has changed. And along with excessively European-themed resorts came the evolution of the hotel lobbies, which in many ways have become destinations themselves.
TEACHER SHORTAGE – Las Vegas has a tremendous shortage of teachers, which makes it a good place to move if you are a teacher, and a lousy place to send kids to public school. Full teacher shortage story at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jul-01-Sun-2001/news/16447647.html
MCCARRAN AIRPORT – If you have to deal with a flight delay, McCarran isn’t a bad place to have it happen. You can work out at 24 Hour Fitness, rent and watch a movie, and more. Full stories at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jul-01-Sun-2001/living/16336109.html and http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jul-01-Sun-2001/living/16410446.html On a related note, McCarran’s radar control room was just named the best in the nation. Story at http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jun-25-Mon-2001/news/16387960.html
$100 REBATE SPECTACULAR! Our partners at Hotel Reservations Network are giving you up to $100 back on any stay in Las Vegas or any major city they reserve. (Full details and list of all eligible cities at http://www.hoteldiscounts.com/cgi-bin/coupon?SID=IVC&Dest=LAS&LKF=IVC&PROD=HOTEL ). Claiming your cash is simple:
1. Print out: http://www.hoteldiscounts.com/cgi-bin/coupon?SID=IVC&Dest=LAS&LKF=IVC&PROD=HOTEL
2. Book a room online at http://www.accessvegas.com/las-vegas-discounts.htm
3. Send in for your rebate when you get home.
It doesn’t get any easier than that, and you get their low price guarantee
Rental Cars – Don’t pay top dollar! Enter the dates of your visit and compare prices from virtually every major rental car agency (most US cities). Book the lowest price company or your regular agency. Save the hassle and some money – Car Rental Savings Search. Few regret renting a car. Free shuttles and city bus rides can be slow and smelly. Taxis can cost what a rental car costs. Your vacation time is valuable — make the most out of it!
CONCERTS AND SHOWS:
TIM CONWAY & HARVEY KORMAN – Play the Las Vegas Hilton this weekend, Call (702) 732-5755 for tickets.
CLINT HOLMES – is on Pay-Per-View Saturday, July 7’th featuring his full show from Harrah’s. The 90 minute show is only $14.95 so this sounds like a great way to scratch that “Vegas itch” of enjoy one of the better shows in town from your easy chair. Call your local cable operator or DirecTV channel 120.
DARUDE – performs in a live electronic stage performance at Studio 54 (MGM) on Friday, July 6, 2001. Doors open at 10 p.m. and show time approximately 1 a.m. Darude is currently No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music chart with “Feel the Beat” and No. 12 on Hot Dance Music singles sales with “Sandstorm” according to recent US Billboard charts. $20 cover charge for men. Tickets sold at the door only. Complimentary cover for ladies. No advance ticket sales.
FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE PRESENTS GROOVE POWER – Get your groove on at the Fremont Street Experience Groove Power event Friday and Saturday, July 13th and 14th, 2001. This two-day celebration includes five city blocks groovin’ all weekend long with free entertainment on two stages, food and drink specials, and one-of-a-kind Fremont Street Experience Light and Sound Shows.
The entertainment lineup includes Otis Day and The Knights at 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. & 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Big Fat Elmo at 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. & 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. on Friday, July 13th. Saturday, July 14th features Otis Day and The Knights at 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. & 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. and The Spinners at 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. & 10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Free performances are presented on two stages all weekend long.
STEVE MARTIN ART COLLECTION – is at Bellagio through Labor Day. Story at http://www.accessvegas.com/story-3.htm
SHOW REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:
* Buck Rams “Platters”, Cornell Gunther’s “Coasters” and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas (New York, New York) – http://www.las-vegas-shows-reviews.com/coasters-platters-reeves.htm
* Clint Holmes (Harrah’s) – http://www.accessvegas.com/story-1.htm
* La Femme (MGM) – http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/2001/departments/2001_06_28/stage.html
SHOWS, GOLF, DINING:
* SHOW TICKETS – See which shows are playing during your stay and book reservations EVEN if the tickets aren’t on sale yet. Let ShowVegas takes care of all your needs directly online! Search by dates at http://www.showvegas.com/svpricing.cfm?amid=143&cscheme=1
* GOLF RESERVATIONS – BookVegas let’s you grab that tee time GUARANTEED before you get to town! Click to http://www.bookvegasteetimes.com/gvpricing.cfm?amid=143&cscheme=5
* DINING RESERVATIONS – For a small service fee, you can now guarantee reservations for that “special night out” during your visit at http://www.bookvegasdining.com/dvpricing.cfml?amid=143&cscheme=5
RESTAURANT REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:
* Andre’s French Restaurant (Downtown) – http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jun-22-Fri-2001/weekly/16352786.html
* Cili (mile south of Mandalay Bay) – http://www.accessvegas.com/story-5.htm
* Le Village Buffet (Paris) – http://www.accessvegas.com/story-2.htm
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LAS VEGAS WEATHER – This 6 day forecast is courtesy of Weather.Com:
Friday – 99 ░F / 84 ░F Sunny
Saturday – 96 ░F / 74 ░F Sunny
Sunday – 101 ░F / 79 ░F Sunny
Monday – 106 ░F / 79 ░F Sunny
Tuesday – 109 ░F / 81 ░F Sunny
Wednesday – 107 ░F / 82 ░F Sunny
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FEATURE STORIES: David Darkstone – Illusions and Beyond
Magic in the afternoon is alive and well in Las Vegas, but can The Strip support four afternoon magic shows? After seeing all four, my answer is … Yes! 24 year old magician David Darkstone and his business partner 23 year old Will Roya are doing something that most magicians only dream of, and that is starring on the Las Vegas Strip in a self-produced show.
They are smart: The Las Vegas Strip is four miles long. The Tropicana at the south end of The Strip already has Rick Thomas, a general magic show that includes a white tiger and comes in at about $20. Mac King plays mid-Strip Harrah’s and will tickle your funny bone with magic at Harrah’s for $15. Dixie Dooley is all the way downtown. Toward the northern end of The Strip, the accommodations are more budget conscious, and include the more family oriented Circus Circus. Darkstone puts on a show that fits those demands like a glove.
You have seen these tricks before, both on TV and perhaps in other Las Vegas magic shows. Darkstone isn’t yet at a place in his career to attempt to break new ground like David Copperfield. However, the amazement from seeing them up close is a real treat. The showroom at the Frontier only seats about 280. I usually sit in the back when I review a show to take in the entire spectrum of performer and audience and I still felt like I was in the middle of the action.
A great example was his performance of Houdini’s Metamorphosis. (Tie the magician up in a bag, put him in a wooden box, lock it shut, raise a curtain, and in a split second his assistant is tied up in the locked box and magician is free.) Houdini used to perform this one before his shows, outside the theater and among the people, as a “come-on” to help persuade people to buy tickets, and Darkstone performs the illusion in similar fashion with plenty of audience participation.
Four men from the audience are chosen to completely inspect the box, test the padlocks, and everyone in the audience who wanted to is invited to inspect the bag used to tie Darkstone up to insure no velcro, etc. One of the volunteers ties the bag tight. In the box Darkstone goes, and volunteers put on the locks. His assistant lift up a curtain, and in the blink of an eye she is in the locked box tied in the bag and he is free. All so relatively close to the audience that you are truly left scratching your head with that “Did you see that … how’d he do that” (which is what you are paying for in the first place).
Juggler Will Roya provides both the talent and comedic relief to balance the serious side of Darkstone. This guy is funny! Instead of a plain, old juggling act, he incorporates a James Bond style skit into the first act, then moves on to juggling glowing balls in the completely darkened room in a manner which creates quite a light spectacle. He finishes off with the prerequisite fire juggling and them multiple hoops, both of which he adds his lighthearted musical and acting touches to.
If anything is working against these guys, it is their age. Darkstone probably has another couple years to go before he can truly pull off the “mystical magician” look strictly because of his good (young looking) genetics, but that doesn’t stop him from being a riveting performer. Roya still has a little bit of that “Wow, I’m playing on the Vegas Strip” in him but channels it in a positive way with his onstage goofball persona.
However, both men have years of performing under their belt and not only put on a talented show, but are up on all the latest advantages of show technology. For a smaller venue, the room has great computer-controlled lighting which is put to good effect as the audience is seated. The music soundtrack is top notch. It was apparent that much time and care were taken in selecting exactly the right music for each illusion and segment, and it is extremely well edited and blended to enhance the show.
The show is very suitable for children, but with plenty of punch for adults. At the inexpensive asking price, these guys are worth seeing now. They could very well end up like another magic team which once performed regularly at The Frontier. Who? Siegfried and Roy.
“David Darkstone – Illusions and Beyond” runs daily (dark Monday) at Noon and 2 PM. Tickets are $12.95 and include two drinks. You can get them at the box office or call ahead to (702) 794-8200 for reservations. Note: As of this time, the showroom doesn’t have cocktail service. Redeem your drink coupons at the bar (you can get pop, juice, or water for the kids) and bring them in with you. We have two David Darkstone packages to give away in the contests section that include two free tickets, a T-shirt, and an autographed poster.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
E.L. Mikel wrote:
>We were in Las Vegas in March and one of the employees at the Venetian
>said that there were plans underway to build a Titanic-themed
>Casino/Resort. When I got back, I asked my travel agent and she had
>not heard this. Do you know anything about it?
We reported on this proposed project way back on June 17, 1999. For the benefit of later subscribers … here is the original story:
Las Vegas legend Bob Stupak’s plans to build a casino with the theme of the Titanic were sunk by the Las Vegas city council because of objections by neighbors backing the area. He was planning to build in on the site of his Thunderbird Hotel which is located halfway between Fremont St. Experience and the Stratosphere on LV Blvd. (the Strip). The area isn’t designated as a casino development district. (End of story.)
You just hit the nail on the head why I started this newsletter. Resort employees are the second least informed people in town, next to cab drivers (who are pretty much only interested in steering you to a strip club that pays them a $10 per person kickback). Once these people get off work, they get as far away from The Strip as they can, and they aren’t exactly home pouring over the newspapers and press releases. On the other hand, I guess that is good: as long as old and misinformation about Vegas continues to abound, there will be room for this newsletter!
John Krogh wrote:
>Just a quick observation with respect to your “free contest” section.
>As you claim this newsletter hits 50 some odd countries, announcing
>the 20th response will win, would seem to be
>slightly biased <G>. Cool newsletter!
Just as Superman sometimes forgets his own power, I too truly feel like I am writing this newsletter to one person and forget we are pushing 20,000 subscribers. I woke up to that when the 20’th entry for the last contest took little time to come in. From now on, we will use a random number generator to pick a winner from all entries received by the contest deadline. As for the country count claim, all we have are subscribers email addresses to go by. We have subscribers with email addresses that originate in over 60 countries now.
>I was just curious about what Las Vegas is like around
>the Christmas season. My husband and I are planning
>on taking a four day getaway to Vegas sometime around
>the 15th of December. We’d like to know whether this
>is a good or bad time of year to visit Vegas.
The town is crowded until Dec. 16’th when the National Finals Rodeo is done. Between then and Dec. 25’th, you can practically shoot a cannon down the Strip and not hit anybody. If you dream of coming to Vegas when the rooms are going to be about the cheapest of the year and the lines will be small or nonexistent (plenty of elbow room at the games and slots also), the week before Christmas is your time. Especially if you can come on weekdays and not a weekend.
Rodney & Kathy Baker wrote:
>Just returned from a 4 day stay at Treasure Island, the hotel was a
>great room with slightly stingy slots…didn’t hear many bells
>ringing … before we left your newsletter asked for reviews on high
>end restaurants. Didn’t really expect to do this for you but just
>happened in at the MGM … and went to “OLIO,” looking forward to a
>nice meal before the 10:30 EFX show. We were not dressed for either
>the show or the meal but decided while we were at that end of the
>strip we would do the “as you are” thing. It worked perfect for the
>show…they took our money….gave us great seats and we were
>fine…the dinner was another ordeal. When we arrived the hostess was
>very sweet and smiling…after being instructed on where to seat us by
>a not so friendly sounding French(?) speaking man dressed in a
>suit…we were ushered to the back of the room…WHERE WE SAT FOR OVER
>15 MINUTES….no water…just stares from other waiters roaming back
The Bakers went on to note a total terrible experience. I have one word of advice: stay away from any hotel, show, or attraction for the first couple of months after it opens. While unpleasant experiences are the exception, they are going to happen more during the stages while the kinks are still being worked out. It never hurts to write the management with your concerns when you return home. You just might find yourself a free chance to sample it again on your next trip.
>Andrew Simpson of Glasgow UK wrote:
>Ted, Firstly thanks for the newsletter, it’s great. Currently there
>is a programme on UK TV which is portraying Vegas as a clubbing city
>and the “new Ibiza” For those who don’t know what Ibiza is, it is a
>Spanish Island famous in Europe for it’s clubs — unfortunately also
>famous for it’s related drunkenness, violence and drugs. Do you or
>your readers feel that Vegas may be heading in the same direction,
>because frankly it would put me off returning to the place that I
Las Vegas is no stranger to drunkenness, and I assume one can find drugs in the clubs just like anywhere else. But it is true: with clubs like Studio 45, Rum Jungle, and others as well as all the new posh “old school” lounges opening up, the new reputation as a clubbing city is well deserved. Violence doesn’t seem to accompany this here, as most of these are attached to casinos which are VERY concerned about security.
>Thank-you for all the ideas on what to do with only a short time in
>Vegas. I surprised her with a Suite that faced the strip. It was
>great at night when the strip was bright with lights. We had 2 days
>to fit everything in so here is what we did.
>We started off Thursday evening with dinner at the Steakhouse at
>Circus Circus. The meal was, well “WOW.” About 15 minutes into the
>meal (gaming executive) Bill Boyd and some friends sat in the booth next to us. It was
>fun to watch the attention he received. From there, we headed to
>Fremont Street. She shopped and we watched two light shows. She
>enjoyed it, but was less than impressed. In between the shows, we
>played craps at the Four Queens. My wife is a beginner gambler but
>the dealers were very nice and very patient and made her time winning
>$12 very enjoyable. We headed back to the room and watched the lights
>on the strip from our balcony.
>Friday was our big day, we had tickets to “O.” This was the one thing
>I planned months in advance. We spent the morning shopping at the
>Bellagio and viewing the Atrium. My wife fell in love. She again,
>found time to keep me amused with some gambling. She played Sic Bo.
>The dealer again was great with a beginner gambler. We ate dinner at
>the Mirage Buffet. Absolutely the best buffet in Vegas. Then it was
>off to “o.” Without getting into the gory details let me say that “O”
>was the worst experience of the trip. The staff was rude and the $200
>front row balcony seats purchase 2 months in advance were very bad.
>In fact, if any of your readers plan to go to “O,” the entire balcony
>has no view of the front of the stage and a lot of the show takes
>place there. When we got back from the show, she hit the slots and I
>hit the tables. She visited me 3 times taking what I had won and
>putting it in the slots.
>The last day we went to Caesars Palace to the shops. My wife was less
>than impressed. We ate lunch at the Paris and went up the tower.
>Again, she was very disappointed with the atmosphere. My wife
>actually enjoyed the Desert Passage shops at the Aladdin the most.
>She liked all the art galleries and spent over an hour in the
>Build-a-Bear shop spending everything I had won. From there, we
>headed to the Stratosphere. We were planning to eat at the restaurant
>but were not dressed appropriately for it. They don’t allow shorts
>for dinner. So were enjoyed the view headed to the Italian Restaurant
>at the Riviera. The food was great. My wife loved the accents of the
>waiters. Two thumbs up. We ended the evening on the balcony again.
>In the morning we used the CAPS service for our bags. This gets a big
>plug. For $6 you can check your bags at the hotel and get your
>boarding pass. Then it was a private limo to the airport and back to
>While visiting Las Vegas in May of this year, we used the Bell Trans
>Limousines & Buses for our transportation from the airport to downtown
>Las Vegas (California Hotel). We always use this transportation
>service to and from the airport. Only this time we happen to notice
>there was a price for a round trip, so we purchase a round trip
>ticket. When we tried call the day before our departure we could not
>reach this company and tried through the night, until I spoke to the
>bellman at the hotel and he said that they would not recommend this
>company because they found them unreliable. Other guest complained
>about shuttle not showing up and if they do they late. The bellman
>had to call another company to take us to the airport. I’ve learned
>not to purchase around trip shuttle service again. (Bell Trans
>Limousines & Buses 702-739-7990) Mahalo
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Your input is welcome. Write us a “letter to the editor” at (click) mailto:[email protected] While space doesn’t permit publishing every letter, we do certainly read them all and they help shape our content. Please include your name if you wish to have it published (stating your city is optional). Also, guest article submissions are welcome with full credit to you, your website, etc., if accepted.
ONLINE POLL – “Which Las Vegas hotel has the nicest lobby?” Let’s hear your opinion at http://www.accessvegas.com — results will be published next issue!
Results from last poll: “How do you feel about coinless slots?”
They are great — no muss, no fuss! 45%
I came to Vegas to play a ROLL of quarters, not paper credits. 33%
I like the ones that give you a ticket on a big win, but let you cash out coins otherwise. 20%
DAVID DARKSTONE – We have two David Darkstone packages to give away! Each package contains two FREE passes to the show, one David Darkstone T-shirt, and a personally autographed poster. Enter by sending a blank email to (contest closed) One entry per person. Deadline for entries: Sunday July 8, 2001. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing from all eligible entries received before deadline and be notified by email.
CORRECTION: Past issues noted that you could sign up for Weatherbug and get a free trip to Las Vegas. More accurately, you sign up and can possibly win a Las Vegas trip, keeping in line with the fact it is featured in the contest section. We apologize for any inconvenience.
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Have a request for a review? Boggled when you come to town and see the hundreds of dining, attraction, and show opportunities? Let us know what you’d like to hear about! Unlike the tourist magazines where all of the “articles” are really paid ads, we give you the honest scoop. If you appreciate this service, please consider booking your rooms and rental cars for ALL destinations with us at http://www.lodging.com/affiliates/us_reservations.cgi?remote=tedinvegas You get secure ordering with the convenience and savings of booking online!
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New to the list? Back issues and subscription info can be found on the web at: http://www.las-vegas-news-reviews.com
Don’t hesitate to forward this newsletter to friends and associates, or better yet click here: http://www.recommend-it.com/l.z.e?s=826126 to recommend it to friends with a chance to win $10,000!
All contents copyright 2001 Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
July 4, 2001 ISSN: 1529-2770