Sober Crowds and 2-for-1 Specials: The Thriving Daytime Acts of Vegas


Sin City visitors show increasing interest in shows before sunset, where the tickets are cheaper and the gags involve plate spinning and guinea pigs; ‘this is not Cirque’

LAS VEGAS—Let Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Penn & Teller and the other headliners reign over this city when the sun goes down.

The daylight hours belong to people like Mac King, a magician whose act features a dime-store yellow poncho he dubs the “cloak of invisibility” and an assistant who dons a bear suit. Or Jeff Civillico, a juggler whose skill set includes balancing a ladder on his chin.

Or Pete Vallee—aka “Big Elvis”—a 500-pound-plus singer with a velvety baritone who indeed may be the world’s biggest Elvis impersonator. He croons his way through “Viva Las Vegas” during a free lounge show that wraps up at 6 p.m.

Big Elvis
Big Elvis

Before his morning commute to Harrah’s Las Vegas, Mr. King gets up early and drives his teenage daughter to school. Before Ms. Dion has chirped a single note, he has eaten dinner with his family and maybe fit in a game of croquet in the backyard.

“I’m usually asleep by 10,” he says.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the surprisingly mundane lifestyles of Las Vegas’s daytime entertainers, who make a much more “reasonable” living performing in front of smaller audiences, often for less than $50 a ticket (and way less if there’s a 2-for-1 discount).

To succeed in this world, it helps to have a gimmick—preferably something that appeals to people who haven’t started drinking yet. It also helps to have a healthy sense of humility.

“I’m really the least ambitious person I know,” says Mr. King, 56 years old, who has played afternoons in Vegas for close to two decades, making him the unofficial dean of the daytime set.

Mr. King’s antics include rope tricks and a bit involving an especially well-behaved guinea pig. Carl Anderson, a retiree from Toronto, has seen Mr. King’s show at least a half-dozen times in the course of visits to Vegas. “It’s just a good, fun afternoon,” he says.






Spearmint Rhino Las Vegas Gentlemen’s Club
3340 South Highland Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Open 24 Hours


Las Vegas’ oldest steakhouse still charms


The scene: As the oldest steakhouse in a city enamored with steakhouses, the Golden Steer is a true Las Vegas icon, and has served dinner to countless visiting icons, from Joe DiMaggioand Muhammad Ali to Bette Midler and the King himself, Elvis Presley. In recent years a new slate of celebrities has discovered the charms of the Steer, including Nicolas Cage and Mario Andretti, and the most famously loyal of all Steer customers over the years was the Rat Pack, quintessential Sin City diners. Both Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin had dedicated regular booths, round banquettes still marked as such today. (Sinatra’s table, No. 22, has a big picture of the Rat Pack over it, and this is one of very few still remaining Vegas eateries that he frequented).

Stepping into the Steer is like stepping into a museum. It has an odd location in a slightly seedy strip mall just off Las Vegas Boulevard, but back in 1958 when it opened, many top Vegas restaurants were standalone buildings outside of the hotels, a paradigm that has largely changed. For decades, eating here required more effort and a special trip, yet the Steer has not only survived, it has thrived, and the last few years have been record ones. The Las Vegas Journal Review has picked it as the city’s best steakhouse more than once recently, and suddenly this area — the northern end of the Strip, once a no man’s land between the main Strip and old Downtown — is heating up.

The recent SLS casino resort is across the street, within walking distance, and the soon to open (late 2016) Lucky Dragon is literally next door — its wall almost touches the Steer. The under construction Resorts World mega-resort, a $4 billion, 3,100-room project, is also nearby. As a result, the Steer’s unique location has gone from off the radar to red hot.




Spearmint Rhino Las Vegas Gentlemen’s Club
3340 South Highland Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Open 24 Hours


Must-See: What’s New In Las Vegas


Monte Carlo
In a $450 million transformation, MGM and Sydell Group have partnered to reimagine the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. This will include two hotel experiences: the NoMad Hotel and the launch of the new property names Park MGM.

Wynn Plaza
The ever-expanding Wynn Las Vegas has increased again with the development of Wynn Plaza, a complex featuring 75,518 square feet of luxury retail space set to debut fall ’17. The design of Wynn Plaza, inspired by Avenue Matignon in Paris, will include two stories covered by atriums and a skylight rotunda that will extend to Las Vegas Boulevard.

The National Hockey League recently added Las Vegas as the site for its first expansion team since 1997. The new franchise will begin playing at the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip in the 2017-18 season.

Las Vegas celebrated the launch of its official Snapchat channel — @VisitLasVegas — in May by presenting DJ Khaled with a key to the Strip during a special ceremony at The Venetian.


Great Cheap Eats All Over Las Vegas



So you didn’t win the World Series of Poker or cash in on that big craps game. You’re out of bills with more than an Andrew Jackson on it. Payday comes three days from now and you want more than Maruchan ramen noodles for a meal. You need something cheap. Like a basic taco, an inexpensive oyster or a Las Vegas classic like a shrimp cocktail or prime rib. Look no further than this list of 19 go-to places, where you can fill your belly Cheap Eats Week style year round. Note, one of the keys to eating cheap at many resorts is a player’s card, so go ahead and enroll to land discounts on food all over Las Vegas and Henderson.


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Spearmint Rhino Las Vegas Gentlemen’s Club
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Las Vegas, NV 89109

Open 24 Hours


How to plan the best bachelorette party in Las Vegas


By  Erin Lindholm
Published August 01, 2016

With its reputation for revelry, Las Vegas has long been a favorite destination for bachelorette getaways.

What’s not to love about a weekend out of town with some of your favorites in tow, with any number of leisure pursuits at your beck and call?

From luxe retreats to around-the-clock eats, Las Vegas delivers any time of day or night — and it’s constantly upping the ante with new offerings.

Thinking about having your bachelorette in this famously fabulous destination? Here’s what you need to know right now:

  • 1. The Cosmo is (Still) a Big Deal

    The Cosmo is (Still) a Big Deal

    The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

    Landing on Las Vegas Weekly’s “Best of Vegas” list yet again for 2016, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is not resting on its laurels as being one of the hottest properties on The Strip.

    Instead, the resort is adding to its cache, having recently opened a 10,000-square-foot outpost of the New York City speakeasy-style lounge and eatery, Beauty & Essex, as well as the first outpost of Los Angeles cult fave Eggslut, which will be open overnight on select nights to feed the late-night crowd.

    The Juice Standard, a local micro-chain for cold-pressed juices, offers an additional menu of “cold-pressed cocktails” exclusively at The Cosmo location; a Momofuku project is also slated to open later this year.

  • 2. Vegas Has a Huge New Stage

    Vegas Has a Huge New Stage

    T-Mobile Arena

    In addition to the multitude of entertainment offerings up and down The Strip, the city this spring inaugurated the T-Mobile Arena, a state-of-the-art venue that will host both pro sports games and blockbuster concert tours, including Gwen Stefani, Drake, Kanye West, and the Rolling Stones.

    Cross-check the schedule before you set your bachelorette dates — a concert here could be a highlight of your weekend.


Las Vegas Strip Next Stop For Jason Bourne In New Thriller

The taught, intense, edgy movie series starring Matt Damon as author Robert Ludlum’s amnesia-affected spy Jason Bourne has, beginning with 2002’s “The Bourne Identity,” sped, slashed, slugged and shot its way across the expected locations of international espionage intrigue: Berlin, Paris, Prague, New York, Madrid and more, including twisting turns through Russia, Morocco, and Italy. The new thriller, titled “Jason Bourne,” drags the reluctant spy back into action and runs him into a smashing conclusion on the glittering Las Vegas Strip, proving motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel wasn’t the only one who could send vehicles soaring outside Caesar’s Palace!

Michael Grabner, Dave Bolland, Cam Ward could be leaving their teams for Las Vegas

George McPhee hasn’t been on the job long enough to hire a scouting staff. But the general manager for the NHL’s Las Vegas expansion franchise is already formulating his strategy for next year’s expansion draft.

“Teams will still do their best to not give us anything,” McPhee said. “We’ll have a better opportunity to build a foundation than in previous expansion drafts. But we’re going to have to work hard to find great players.”


McPhee figures he will be lucky if he selects one or two players who stick with the franchise for the long term. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be staying away from players with long-term deals.

“I think we’ll have to evaluate every team on a case-by-case basis and see what they have,” McPhee said. “I’ll take a longer contract if it’s a good player.”

Before McPhee got the job, the other 30 general managers were already shuffling their rosters so as to have options entering the expansion draft. With teams allowed to protect one goaltender, that’s the main reason Frederik Andersen and Brian Elliott were dealt this summer and why the Pittsburgh PenguinsTampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings are expected to make similar moves with goalies.

Teams will be able to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie OR eight skaters and one goalie in the expansion draft. They must also protect players with no-movement clauses as well as first- or second-year pros.

In a busy summer of offseason transactions, here are some of players who were obtained with consideration for being dangled for next year’s expansion draft.

Jason Chimera, LW, New York Islanders: A summer of change up front for the Islanders included the signing of Chimera, a veteran providing speed and experience after the offseason exodus of Kyle Okposoand Frans Nielsen. But Chimera is signed through 2018 on a team cluttered with talented young forwards. With the Islanders likely to keep seven forwards and three defensemen, Chimera could be the odd man out and an appealing option for an expansion team.


Yoga in a Ferris wheel? Only in Vegas


By Jay Jones

The High Roller is now hosting daily, one-hour yoga sessions with the Strip and the nearby mountains creating a unique backdrop.

Having boarded one of the wheel’s cabins, participants will don headphones for guidance from a Silent Savasana yoga school instructor. According to a news release, the headphones allow guests to focus both on the instructor and the views.

A 60-minute session equals two rotations of the wheel. Guests can use the mats provided or bring their own.

‘Pokemon Go’ takes over Las Vegas as players race to ‘catch ‘em all’


Who knew that imaginary creatures could create such a real-life ruckus?

It’s been a week since “Pokemon Go,” a free smartphone-based game app, was released. And ever since, legions of fun-loving Southern Nevadans have braved the oppressive heat to join other Americans with way too much time on their hands to chase Pokemon in parks, on city streets, in offices and wherever else the wily critters might turn up.

We first met Pokemon during the early 2000s, when the Japanese import came to America in the form of video games, trading cards and animated TV shows and movies.

The simple premise: Players capture free-range Pokemon and train them to fight other trainers’ Pokemon. What sets “Pokemon Go” apart from most other popular smartphone games is that it uses a phone’s camera and geolocation ability to place illustrated Pokemon into real-life backgrounds. Players use their phones’ screens to approach Pokemon appearing around them and then throw a virtual ball at the creatures to ensnare them.


Five Observations From NBA Summer League in Las Vegas


Separating the real from the fake after four days in the desert

After four days in Las Vegas, it’s hard to differentiate between what’s real and what’s fake. Everything starts to look like a mirage. That goes double at NBA summer league, which has about the same relationship to NBA basketball as Elvis impersonators on the Strip do to the King. Nothing really counts, nobody really cares, and the most impressive accomplishments at the Thomas & Mack Center came from media members collecting assets on Pokémon Go. Nevertheless, there was a ton of semiprofessional basketball being played, and enough gossip going around to keep everyone entertained. Here’s a look at five things that caught my eye in Vegas.

The Suns Are on Their Way to Something

The Suns were the most watchable team, thanks largely to the ex-Kentucky backcourt of Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker. They join Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, and Archie Goodwin as part of Ryan McDonough’s plan for world domination through collecting every John Calipari guard in the NBA. Ulis and Booker revived their connection from their Lexington days and outclassed most of the guys they went up against. Booker was completely overqualified for this summer run, lighting up whoever was guarding him, knocking down 3s from all over, and effortlessly creating separation off the dribble. Ulis had no problem adjusting to the size of the pro game, and dominated fellow mini-guards such as Russ Smith at their own game. Having a legitimate point guard on the roster was a differentiating factor in Vegas, and Ulis allowed everyone around him to shine.

The biggest story for the Suns was the play of Dragan Bender, who stood out by how well he moved and how well he carried his weight. He’s 7-foot-1, 220 pounds, and the Suns often had him playing out on the perimeter with Marquese Chriss and Alan Williams occupying the power positions. A player as tall as Bender shouldn’t be able to move as fluidly as he does, and his age (he doesn’t turn 19 until November) belies his on-court savvy. The game was never too fast for him. He knew where the ball was supposed to go and he knows how to get to his spots. The scouts and executives in attendance came away raving about him. No one in Vegas seems to believe in cross-racial comparisons, though, as I had one executive compare him to Toni Kukoc and another to a 7-foot-1 Mike Dunleavy Jr.


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