Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Las Vegas Tropicana Resort Makes Southbeach Renovation Comeback

FrankieTeaseFoto of Ness at Tropicana Vegas

The Las Vegas Tropicana Resort & Casino has changed hands many times, but that hasn't slowed its popularity. Located at the intersections of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana, it holds one of the most densely populated hotel intersection corners in the world. It also holds many points of curiosity for Vintage Vegas lovers and new visitors alike.

Since 1957 it has seen many famous films shot on-site including the ever popular Viva Las Vegas with Ann Margaret and Elvis Presley, and The Godfather II. It has never veered very far from its original Cuban theme, and has most recently been bought and remodel by Alex Yemenidjian's Armenco Holdings (2009). 

The $165 Million South Beach style remodel was reported to be a three-phase job from 2009-2011. The remodel has brought a lot of changes including a lot more white. "It's all about the white" one clerk told me as I took photos of the new front desk. The counters, uniforms and lounge areas are all white with ornate colorful accents. It is sure to feel cheery year-round. 

The pool area is a sanctuary whether you will swim, lounge, drink, or gamble. The lush area is filled with nooks in and out of the sun and appears smaller than it is. With a grotto for wading, private cabanas, and rolling grass areas, you can bring a party or bring a book. The red and white detail are a spectacular compliment to an already 50's era property.

There are a lot of attractions besides gaming on-site including a selection of many shows. The new comedy club has just been occupied (Spring 2012) by the Laugh Factory (previously and briefly Brad Garrett's Comedy Club now at MGM). The Laugh Factory is proud to be the #1 comedy club in the country and has a reputation for offering top-notch comedy names from Comedy Central, HBO, or Showtime. The club also offers an early almost-nightly magic and comedy show with international award-winning Celebrity Magician Murray (Pawn Stars, Reno 911). The Trop has also had a long-running live interactive show called the Mob Experience. Apparently willing audience members are asked to carry out mob-like missions, and pay-offs. Hey, it's a job. 

Roaming through its vast halls, it's easy to get lost in Cabana-leafed snuggle-lounge areas begging you to people-watch. But because it was built before the high-rise phase and is quite spread out, it's important to know where you're going before proceeding at this hotel. The property has separate towers on each end, and a vast luxurious pool haven somewhat in the middle. Restaurants and meeting areas are also sprinkled throughout, and a jaunt across the street opens you up to New York New York, MGM, and the Excalibur, in case you need more choices.

The Tropicana has weathered many changes in ownership as well as changes in Vegas tourism wants and needs. The gorgeous hotel property not only isn't backing down to all its new-found competition, it is working to get back to its Heyday in the South-Beach Style Sun. 

Vintage Fact:
Since 1959 the Tropicana hosted the Follies Bergére Show which closed March 27, 2009 just missing its 50th anniversary. The son of one of the stars is the bartender at Orleans. Tell him I said hi.

Related Links: 

Photos and article by Frankie Tease

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tidbits and Teasers: Halloween DTLV, Peep Star Rotation, Manheim Steamroller

Halloween Downtown Vegas
Downtown Vegas will host the official parade Oct. 31, at 7pm, beginning with a costume contest and ending with the contest winner announcement. Celebrity judges involved include: Tony Heisch CEO of Zappos, who's recently moved the company's HQ downtown adding to its revival.

Peepshow at Planet Hollywood
Star Holly Madison announced her pregnancy with her fiance in the last month, causing an early end to her promised December exit of Peepshow. Interim star Angel Porrino is borrowed from Absinthe (Ceaser's Palace) until new star Nicole CoCo Austin known only as "Coco" will be put in place Dec. 3, 2012, and is signed through Mar. 2013. Ice-T has gone on record as saying "believe me, the show is going to be a lot sexier with Coco". Coco can be seen on her reality TV show "Ice-T Loves Coco".

Manheim Steamroller at Venetian for First Ever Vegas Show
If you didn't grow up with this music in your life for christmas, it's a sad thing. The electronic goodness that is Manheim Steamroller will erase any seasonal depression. No, really. Creator Chip Davis brings the show for a special holiday six week engagement beginning Nov. 20, 2012. The Venetian often has a manufactured ice rink stripside to celebrate the holidays, and elves that will tuck you in, among other wonders.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Rita Rudner Remains Vegas Stand-Up Champ after 50

Rita Rudner (58) Courtesy of lifeafter50.com 

The longest running, most-successful one person comedy show in the history of Las Vegas is Rita Rudner. Having sold over 50 million tickets to her shows, she's doing something right. Creating believable, intrinsic, observational humor, Rita has entertained audiences in droves and shows no signs of slowing. Unlike a lot of comedians today, she hasn't come through SNL or Comedy Central. Crediting Woody Allen and Jack Benny as her inspirations, she has a biting wit and sarcasm spoken in a warm friendly tone.

But Rudner didn't get her show biz start in comedy. Once a New York Broadway dancer, she saw how short-lived their careers were and made the move at age 25 to 'learning to talk'. She encourages people to be realistic and not always follow their dreams now. "Is your dream your nightmare? Be realistic" she quipped in a Conn TV interview. That's advice from a woman who has practiced what she's preaching. 

Being a female comedian who is sexy and funny isn't something you see every day in America either. There are very few who can boast that title. There are even fewer who have won the coveted "Gracie Allen Award" from the American Women in TV & Radio. A stand-out stand-up, Rita has been doing this a long time, and like wine, is only getting better with age, according to her audience crowds.

She stays busy between stage performances writing books. She's written four so far, the most recent: "I Still Have It, I Just Can't Remember Where I put it: Confessions of a Fiftysomething". She made the move to the Venetian a year ago and has many November and December dates left in 2012. Her humor reminds me of the old vaudeville one-liners delivered from an imaginary perfect world where everything is under control. It's a pleasure to see a woman not only in the business, but giving the boys a run for their money.

Rita Rudner performs ongoing various dates at the Las Vegas Venetian, 8:30pm Venetian.com

Related Links

Tickets venetian.com
Rita on conn TV 
Rita's official very funny website (she's made a comic strip too) ritafunny.com

Article by Frankie Tease of Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of LifeAfter50.com

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Skyvue Observation Wheel to Join Vegas Skyline by 2013

Skyvue Observation Wheel to 
Join Vegas Skyline New Year of 2013
A Preview

There is a new addition to the Las Vegas skyline making its way to completion very soon. The massive 40 car observation wheel and event center will sit at the South Vegas Strip end, at the intersection of Mandalay Bay Drive and Las Vegas Blvd. The groundbreaking ceremonies were held May 23, 2011, with a promise to see the wheel come to fruition in 18 months. The new structure will be on the East side of the  Las Vegas Strip, the same side as McCarran International Airport. In fact, the wheel may well be the first thing you see flying into Vegas now, perhaps in competition with its neighboring light beam into space coming from the Luxor. Other neighbors to Skyvue include Mandalay Bay, The Little Church of the West, The Las Vegas Sign, and the Luxor who can't be complaining about new business the big wheel in the sky will attract. 

Taller than Mandalay Bay (that's tall!), the hanging Gondolas on the observation wheel will hold up to 25 people each, and will be the size of a typical room in a home. Rooms are glass-enclosed and the ride will take approximately 30 minutes, and what a view.

The Skyvue encompases a 30,000 sq. foot L.E.D. screen at its center which will present a show on the hour. Promotions claim it will be the largest show on the Las Vegas Strip. Skyvue will be viewed by more than four million visitors to Vegas each year, while 37 million planes taking off from the nearby airport will see the glowing L.E.D. observation wheel. Concerts, product promotions and events will be launched at the new location according to Skyvuelasvegas.com. New Year's Eve will be tele-casted all over the world from Skyvue, but it's still not clear if that means 2013's New Year. The Skyvue plans to outdo the landmark 445 ft. London Eye across the pond in England by a height of 50 feet.

Keep an eye on the website and announcements and hey, maybe you can be one of the first to ride Las Vegas's first ever observation wheel. How romantic.

Photos and article by Frankie Tease

Related Links
Virtual fly-through video tour http://vimeo.com/41367518
KLAS 8 Groundbreaking story http://tinyurl.com/9evl6lf

Friday, October 19, 2012

Las Vegas 2012 Halloween Choices Range From Mild to Wild

With so many options of what to do for Halloween in Vegas, it pays to check out all the choices in advance (though a stroll through the Strip or Fremont St. will be endlessly entertaining). Here is a well-rounded list of a few 2012 choices, whether you're looking for adult, day, night, or family fun, you will find it in the town that never shuts down, on one of its favorite holidays.

Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball (Joint at Hard Rock)
"One of the top five events to attend before you die" Maxim Magazine. Featuring DJs: Bad Boy Bill, Head Hunterz and 12 others, and over 15 live fetish acts.
Sat. Oct. 27.

3rd Annual Las Vegas Halloween Parade (Downtown)
2012 Contest Judges : Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos.com. Michelle Dell, owner of Hogs & Heifers, Pamela Jenkins, owner of The Cupcakery, Michael Cornthwaite, a downtown entrepreneur,Alexandra Epstein: Executive manager and vice president of marketing, El Cortez Hotel & Casino and Cabana Suites. 4-6pm Registration, 7pm Parade, 9pm Contest Winners Announced and Free Block Party.Garces and 4th St., thelasvegashalloweenparade.com.
Wed. Oct. 31

Fright Dome (Circus Circus)
Haunted houses, rides, scare zones, live shows in a huge tent in front of the Circus Circus. "One of the most extreme haunted houses in the world" The Travel Channel.
2880 Las Vegas Blvd. S., frightdome.com.
Through Oct. 31.

Eli Roth's Goretoreum (The Strip)
A self-guieded tour of mythical murders at the fictional "Delmont" Hotel. "The most intesive live terror experience a person can have" Eli Roth states.
3717 Las Vegas Boulevard S., goretorium.com.
Through Oct. 31.

2012 Haunted Hotel Ball (Mandalay Bay)
Virtual Costume Contest $5000 cash and prizes. Live performances by: Havanna Brown, Serge Devant.
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S., hauntedhotelball.com/lasvegas.
Sat. Oct. 27.

Evil Dead the Musical 4D (Planet Hollywood V Theater)
Splatter Zone V.I.P. seats, a musical that's sweeping the nation. Now playing, opened June 2012 in Las Vegas. "The Next Rocky Horror Show" The New York Times.
3663 Las Vegas Blvd #360 vtheater.com/evil_dead.html.
Ongoing Fri. 10pm, Sat. 11:30pm

October Frightfest at Fremont Street Experience (Downtown)
Live music with largest overhead L.E.D. light show in the world, contests, give-aways. Access to major hotels and casinos on Fremont St. downtown Las Vegas.
Fremont Street Experience, vegasexperience.com.
Through Oct. 31

Asylum Haunted House (Downtown and Craig)
"Escape the mundane rigors of your normal life to spend a few minutes in the heightened experience of our world!" Asylum. Two locations: Craig and Revere, and 3rd St. Btwn. Fremont St. E. and Ogden, lasvegashaunts.com.
Oct. 30 and Oct. 31.

Las Vegas Zombie Run (Sunset Park Walking Path)
Race to benefit "Generation Vegas". A 5K run that follows Sunset Park Walking Path. Check-in 7 a.m., Race 9 a.m. 1 mile fun/walk path also available.
Sunset Park Walking Path, lasvegaszombierun.com
Sun. Oct. 28

Photos by Live Performance Media (LPM) - Article by Frankie Tease

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Si Cranstoun's "Dance Halls and Supper Clubs"? The Boys Done Good.

In 2012, Si Cranstoun came to Las Vegas and played the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender as his first ever U.S. gig. (It was love at first tune for both fans and band, and he's billed again for 2013). That's when I saw the wild audience response to the man and his band. Is it possible to experience instant nostalgia for that which you have never heard? Such was the case for me with Si Cranstoun (UK). His live show is like a recording of Doo Wop or Swing Music by Jackie Wilson, Nat King Cole, or at times the power vocals of Sammy Davis Jr. 

Si Cranstoun has just released his new album "Dance Halls & Supper Clubs, Limited Edition" (2012 Galley Music) featuring ten songs and two bonus tracks. What's fascinating about it is that Si is the Composer, Vocalist, and Producer [Engineered by Jon Radford and Si Cranstoun, Mastered by Guy Davie of Electric Mastering], and with all that autonomy, it still sounds amazing. His fifth album effort including a single in 2010, Si Cranstoun has remained prolific with his new outfit. He keeps writing and recording amid a steady touring schedule at -you guessed it - dance halls and supper clubs throughout Europe. 

The album starts with one of those upbeat straight-ahead vocal gems that sounds old, but isn't. "Coupe De Ville" is a rocker with a nice back beat, back-up horns, and harmonic 50's vocals. There is also some Boogie-Woogie piano thrown in by slick-handed Paddy Milner, who's a UK music star in his own right. Just to be clear, every single song on this album is an original creation of Si Cranstoun, and it will stand up to any of the purest purist's scrutiny for musicianship, composition, execution, and style.

The album then switch-hits to a soulful rhythmic song that could have aired 1961, Mowtown USA "Run Free". A beautifully gritty song that soars with horn solos from Don Faulkner and Bob Dowell, while never losing the dance beat. As refreshing as a crisp spring day, Si moves on to "Italian Eyes", a song that spends time fawning over a woman with classic beauty and features. Jon Radford's torrential trumpeting fits in magically. Si masterfully slows it down for his audience next with "Daddy's Gotcha". An endearing traditional slow-dance Doo Wop song who's hook is (for me) the way he pronounces daddy, not to mention the Barritone Sax bopping in the background, sigh. 

That slow-down didn't last long. Every mid-century fanatics dream is to have the 50's come to life. In "Tweet on Twitter" this dream comes true. Merging a very modern social media activity with infectious 50's bopping dance beats, this song would have driven Dick Clark mad. My favorite line is 'I don't care if they're tweetin' about me with you'. Be careful this song is so catchy it has the potential to be the next "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO.

In a similar vein, stay on the dance floor because here comes "Ella Hula Hula". Upbeat 50's Rock N' Roll, this is a song about a beautiful hula dancer that captivates Si. Then, everybody knows "Nightime" (is the right time), and in this original six-minute song, we get to hear Si doing spectacular classic blues with some of the best musicians around. Time to be manically happy and upbeat again with "Bella Principessa" where Si sings deeply and masterfully in Italian (reportedly Sinatra's favorite language to sing in). Singing quietly during the bridge, Si is a candid gentleman confessing deep desires. I would definitely say that the shuffle beat maintained on this song shows off Mez Clough's complex drum talent very well.

In a complete departure of style "Rise and Shine" has all the earmarks of a traditional mainstream vocal hit, while still feeling totally early sixties. A sing-along that doesn't get old (ask my Mom who sings it at all our meetings now), this little ditty moves right along with a small A Cappella vocal part handled with ease by classic full-ranged Si Cranstoun talent, limerick-like lyrics, and big horns.

Back to my favorite stuff: a shuffle beat with romantic melody and storyline. Talented composition and handling of tasteful horn accents in "Moon & Stars" let's you know where the group has found their home: being a dance band. If you dance East Coast Swing and Jive this will ride high on your list. I really enjoy the solid Double-bass talent throughout this and every song by legendary Stewart Pannaman (worked with the Nappy Brown). 

One of two bonus tracks "Dynamo (Big Band Cut)" (Si's first solo-release single in 2010, with B-side "Skinny Jeans") is a new version of an already successful song. Dynamo is not only fashioned after Si's vocal hero Jackie Wilson (who's album collection he owns), but he even tributes the man with lyrics saying "someone that can celebrate the Jackie Wilson Rock N' Roll" while singing about his dream girl. Bonus track number two: "Lonesome Heart Bandit" was one of my favorites live, and the album version does not disappoint. A song about a man who's heart has been stolen and there's nothing he can do about it, but set to a super upbeat (but not annoying) shuffle beat. Lonesome Heart Bandit at times feels like Hollywood Western Swing. Mixing major and minor chords, with modulation, and amazing saxiphone leads, it's a dancer and a toe-tapper showing off massive vocal power from the man.

How can you be sexy, suggestive, and never use expletives or put women down or offend young listeners? Check out Si Cranstoun, the massive musical talent. Oh, and take it from a woman, this is date night and dance-party approved.

Si (sigh) is no stranger to success. His first music career was with the cherished UK Ska and Reggae band "The Dualers" who enjoyed three chart-topping 20-something hits on The UK Top 100 Chart. In 2010, Cranstoun went solo leaving his brother and band. Si and his band of five other musicians make up their road band. Guests were added for this recording. 

Si Cranstoun "Dance Halls & Supper Clubs" 
(2012) Galley Music Publishing
Score: ***** (5 OF 5 STARS)
Highly Recommended by Frankie Tease Magazine

Pulisher: Galley Music Publishing
Producer / Composer / Songwriter / Singer / Guitar: Si Cranstoun
Trumpets: Jon Radford (who also helped chart horn section)
Sax's: Dan Faulkner
Trombones: Bob Dowell
Double Bass: Stewart Pannaman
Lead Guitars: Jay Gipson
Drums: Mez Clough
Pianos: Paddy Milner 

Review by Frankie Tease of Las Vegas

Related links: 

Si Cranstoun's Official Video "Coup De Ville"
Released Oct. 12, 2012

Here is a new video edit 
of Coupe Deville
as of Mar. 2013

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Blue Man Group Skydive Into New Monte Carlo Home, Las Vegas

Festivities kicked off at the back of the Monte Carlo property around 10 am, on Wednesday Oct. 10, 2012. Workers, press, and public were seen gathering to take in what was heralded as the Blue Man Group skydiving into the Monte Carlo (Las Vegas, Nevada). As I approached the area, everyone was focused on the plane circling above. Soon, five men had jumped from the plane and were air-born (three Blue Men and two auxiliary men), barely visible - just specs in the sky -they slowly descended toward land. As they came into view overhead they appeared to have an accelerate trail behind them. Red Bull parachutes became visible and one by one The Blue Men navigated through blue skies and low winds onto a huge plastic blue tarp on the cement acting as their landing area. It was short, and very ambitious. They arrived to great applause and moments after, they began posing for photos with Mayor Oscar Goodman and his showgirls, Co-Creators of the Blue Man Group: Chris Wick and Phil Stanton, as well as Monte Carlo GM Patrick Miller. It was one of those publicity stunts you rarely see, but always hear about. It was a very brief, but memorable few minutes.

The Blue Man Group has enjoyed success at the Venetian and other Vegas hotels, but today they arrived at their new highly anticipated "Blue Man Group" Theater at Monte Carlo. The festivities wound to inside the Casino, in front of their new theater. The crowd was greeted by several of the people involved in bringing the show to Monte Carlo, and then given a short performance by three of the Blue Man Group. They used huge xylophone-sounding drum tubes to make great rhythmic sounds, cutting through the casino noise that had been in the background. Lights were changing in unison to the sound, and in traditional Blue Man Group fashion, they brought an experience, and chills. In place of the ribbon cutting we saw skydiving, and here is what the men involved had to say about it.

Previous Mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman:
"This is really special. Only in Las Vegas could you have an entry like we just saw. If you missed it, Blue Men will be doing it again in a half an hour folks [crowd laughs]. That's what makes us the entertainment capitol of the world. A beautiful facility like this with amazing shopping and dining, it doesn't get any better. Thank you for having me here with my showgirls. I have my five o'clock watch on, it's 5 o'clock somewhere. I'm going to toast to the Blue Man Group."

Monte Carlo General Manager: Patrick Miller
"I don't think anyone should drink alone, especially at 10 am. I think there's some gin in the house. Thank you all for coming. On behalf of the 2600 employees here at the Monte Carlo and the broader MGM family, I'd like to officially welcome the Blue Man Group to Monte Carlo. Two years ago, I was excited just to start the conversation of the possibility of bringing the Blue Man Group to the Monte Carlo. Today I'm thrilled to stand in front of the Blue Man Theater on the day of the first show, congratulations. Las Vegas and MGM Resorts is known for the Best entertainment in the world. The Blue Man Group's new show at Monte Carlo raises that bar, yet again. We are excited, and we're going to have fun doing it."

Blue Man Group Founder Co-Founder Chris Wink
"We feel like we've really found our home. We've had a lot of homes here in Vegas, and this is the place for us. You just got a taste of the kind of fun we're going to have here. This radiating pattern that comes out from the theater, is a symbol of what we intend to do. We're not just going to have a show in the theater, we'll be having fun all over this property. Monte Carlo is prodding us, "What else can you do? Can you skydive?" And the MGM Resort Group is the right partner for us. We are excited for you to see the show, because it brings it into the 21st century. It's just the beginning of many exciting things to come here with Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo."

Blue Man Group Co-Founder Phil Stanton
"I don't know what to add to that since we decided that the Blue Man Group would be silent, long ago. We have been in anticipation of this moment for a couple years now, and we are excited about it, thank you for being here."

Shows at The Blue Man Group at Monte Carlo Resort started Oct. 10, 2012. Prices start at $59.00 and Dinner Packages start at $129.00. http://montecarlo.com/entertainment

Photos and article by Frankie Tease

SEO Marketing took this wonderful video.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Las Vegas Neon Museum & Boneyard [photos] Officially Opens to Public Oct. 27, 2012

There is a small niche of Las Vegas Blvd. which visitors may not have heard about. It's called the Historic Cultural Corridor. It runs along Las Vegas Blvd. N, between Bonanza and Washington. Funny, because that's the part of the map I carved out to find out where the Neon Museum is located on my exploratory photo visit (though it's currently closed to visitors until Oct. 27). I ended up letting the GPS do the work. You can also just follow Las Vegas Blvd. heading north, and use signs to Cashman Center, or the Natural History Museum. You will see the large iconic sign boasting the new remodeled venue. The Neon Museum is in good company and belongs to a coalition dedicated to promoting and restoring this historic area of Las Vegas [http://www.culturalcorridorvegas.org/ ].

The Neon Museum, though established in 1996, has been growing steadily in its procurement of signs and acreage. It's newer location includes the lobby building of the famous Las Vegas La Concha Hotel designed by the first prominent African American Architect in the United States, Paul Williams. The La Concha was created in 1961, and housed the hotel lobby until 1963. In 2005 it was stopped from demolition and cut in three parts to be moved to its new location: 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North, 89101.

The stunning mid-century-style building houses the lobby of the newly remodeled Neon Museum. Passing through the lobby you will see modern interactive flat screen displays to learn more about the neon sign history in Las Vegas. Procede through the door and you enter a vast outdoor area housing the signs of famous Las Vegas Casinos, Lounges, and Theaters, in a state of 'as is'. Vast in size, cautions are given to tour-goers to beware of sharp objects.

The museum office is responsible for the neon historic sign installations that are sprinkled through downtown Fremont Street (Vegas Vic, Vegas Vicky, 5th Street Liquor, etc.). Those signs were taken from their historic location, restored and now are seen in all their glory, daily. The two acre Neon Boneyard (also at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. N. ) includes an outdoor desert garden and patio, and access to famous neon signs that have helped make Vegas famous. The Museum website states what Chairperson Bill Marion feels is the Museum's significance: “There is renewed interest in ‘old’ Las Vegas and in the rediscovery of the historical downtown area. The Neon Museum will play a major role in this renaissance by bringing new visitors to downtown Las Vegas, by creating additional opportunities for tourism growth and by adding to the ongoing economic revitalization of the area.”

The history of the signs are a fascinating one. I learned on a Las Vegas tour that sign companies lease neon signs to the major business and casinos. For the duration of their use, the sign company maintains them and still owns them. Once the business is closed the signs are returned to the sign companies and sometimes reused for other signs. The Neon  Museum has a relationship with many sign companies to gain donations. The Silver Slipper outside of its Museum is made by UltraSigns who also make famous signs around the world. The Museum's new Neon sign has letters from four famous Hotels in it: N= Golden Nugget, E= Ceaser's Palace, O= Binions, and the N= Desert Inn. 

The museums' funding has come from both private donors and visitor tours since it was established in 1996. The Neon tours have only been available by advance request, as are private photo shoots (popular with brides and celebrities). Now, tours will be on the half hour almost daily. Locals only waited about sixteen years for it all to come to fruition, no big deal. The La Concha Motel alone cost $900,000 to restore and move to its new home, according to the LVRJ article. But still, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs, and that aint cheap. It's Grand Opening is finally set for Oct. 27, 2012 at 7pm. $75 includes cocktails, food, live music, and sneak Neon peaks. 

The Neon Boneyard tours run 45 mins. 10-4pm M-Sat. $18, $12 Students, Seniors, Vets, Nevada residents. Children under 6 are free. (Begins Oct. 27, 2012). The La Concha Visitors Center is open 9:30-5:30 M-Sat. NeonMuseum.org, 770 Las Vegas Blvd. N., Las Vegas, 89101.

Article and photos by Frankie Tease

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New CBS 1960 Era Show "Vegas" Serves City's History Well

"Vegas" photo by Kristine Jane

You may have heard the legend about the Sheriff who squared off with the mob and kept order in the Wild West in Las Vegas. No? That's okay. You can pick up a TV telling of tales from the new show "Vegas" airing Tuesdays on Vegas Channel 8, 10/9c, or the next day via your computer on CBS.com. I've seen the pilot which was filmed in New Mexico, though the show's perma-set recreation of Fremont Street 1960 is located in Santa Clarita, California (the Valley). Due to the commitment to representing Old Vegas back in the day, filming in Vegas now just wouldn't work. It's too changed since 1960. There has been many a fascinating shows set in the city we love such as Vega$, The Defenders, C.S.I. Vegas. None have sought to tell the story of mob vs. law set in the historic surrounding that made this place famous around the world (glitzy gaming, shows, resorts, drinking).

Vintage buffs will revel in the detail added to each scene to create the feel of the Heyday of Vegas. Why, I already saw a flurry of pink flamingo feather-wearing Vegas Showgirls twice in the pilot, glory be. Sets are based upon photos of the time period, including the 1960 version of Club Savoy (previously 116 E. Fremont St.), and the facade of the Fremont Street's Glitter Gulch (the area's nickname before its current use as a strip club name). 

The power-packed cast leaves very little to be desired, including Dennis Quaid -the Dennis Quaid- as Sherrif Ralph Lamb, Michael Chilkis as his nemisis Vincent Savino, Carrie Anne Moss (Matrix, Momento) as Assistant D.A. Katherin O'Connell,  Jason O'Mara as Lamb's Brother Jack, and Taylor Handley as Lamb's Son: Dixon. I'd watch this show for Dennis Quaid and Carrie Anne Moss alone, but I also get the bonus of James Russo apparently for four episodes (IMDB.COM). And there have been many consultations between Quaid and Lamb according to CBS. There is a real effort to make this show based on true events.

The sounds, appearances  decor, and gaming references make this a really fun show to watch. Normally I shy away from television, preferring the programming I watch be more on-demand. I was pretty intrigued about how this would turn out so I watch part of it with a friend on CBS for its re-airing of the pilot, then ended up re-watching the show online. I noticed large chunks of show missing, cut off, during the online version, hacked into by commercials. Hopefully, this will be resolved and CBS will realize that lots of busy people don't sit down to watch the show the night it airs. Some people may even want to watch two episodes back-to-back on their day off. In fact, I'm going to watch the second episode online right now.

"Vegas" airs Tuesdays 8/9c, CBS (Vegas Ch. 8) or via http://www.cbs.com/shows/vegas.

Related Link:
LVRJ Article and interview with the real Sheriff Lamb

Article by Frankie Tease, photo by Kristine Jane

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The First Ever "Las Vegas Comic Expo" Enjoys Success, Rated All Ages

Congratulations are in order to Organizers Charles Lee and Rob Lee who just pulled-off a well- attended brand new event in our fair city: Las Vegas Comic Expo (LVCE). The event spanned Saturday and Sunday Sept. 29 and 30, 2012 at the Riviera Hotel. The Expo held special guests (tons), lectures, a large exhibit floor with 11am book signings, an adult and childrens' cosplay contest, and continuous gaming, as well as lots of roving character models. It wasn't  as large as Comic-con in its inception, but it sure looks like it's going to be one of those Las Vegas favorites to stick around for years to come, and one that will grow on locals and visitors alike.

Over 50 stars were on-hand for panels on comics, art, writing, and storytelling. The top-billed were Thomas Jane (Watchmen), and Tricia Helfner (Sexy #6 from Battlestar Galactica). The panels were star-studded with special guests sprinkled among the presenters. During the day announcements were made about each panel to exhibitors. One gaming announcement made by a female said "the future of gaming" exibit room C. I was reminded by the cattle call that this expo was focused on comics, gaming, and cosplay, all equally. 

Roaming the adjacent rooms to the exhibit you could find gaming dedicated areas, and areas where games were being trialed and introduced. Las Vegas comic book stores were well represented such as: Maximum Comics, Alternative Reality Comics (Vegas Seven's Best Comic Book Shop), and Cosmic Comics, to name a few of many. The Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus Las Vegas was an advertiser in the LVCE souvenir book, and hey - they're just across the street, and shouldn't be overlooked if in Vegas- who doesn't like Looney Tunes characters?

What booths were mobbed when I spent time in the exibit area 11-2pm on Sunday? Big Dog Ink (BDI), AZ Powergirl, Janet Lee, Scott Campbell, Very Awesome Girls Into Nerdy Activities,  and this young model-looking individual signing her art (long line) who's name I failed to get. There were many other very popular booths and artists working as passersby watched. Nothing more amazing then seeing behind the comics: how they are conceived, drawn, and the artists' chosen model. It was exciting. (Geek out!).

There were announcements via the website about only one hitch: those who had purchased weekend event tickets from ThunderTix were having some kind of issue with confirmation numbers, that it was known about, and will be handled at registration, not to worry. It seems more like disaster averted than any real hitch in the event. I breezed through the press-line at registration, helped by character's dressed as comic superheroes and underdogs. Everything was efficient, timely, and fun.

With an obvious desire to include local interests and welfare of others here in Las Vegas, there was a charity auction within the weekend for FACT (Family and Children Treatment). Original works were auctioned off to sweeten the deal, something every comic fan knows is the best you can get. See more about the charity auction at http://lasvegascomicexpo.com/panelsprogramming/charity-auction/ . 

This is a visual art, and I focused my photography in the exhibit hall where the action was. Congrats to all involved for a successful first year event of LVCE, live long and prosper, and all that. Of course you must visit the website at LasVegasComicExpo.com. I know for a fact that Brian deCania will be uploading lots of wonderful photos from the event to the website or facebook.

Photos and article by Frankie Tease