BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW
contributed by Jackie Brett
NEW AND VIRTUAL SOLUTIONS: Las Vegas slowly continues to open piecemeal. While the city closed instantly like the rest of the country hitting a brick wall in March, it is slowly reopening with a “new normal” in place. A couple new venues have opened while Circa downtown signals hope for the future. In the meantime, many outlets have gone to virtual solutions to keep spirits high and to entertain.
HOPEFUL OPENING – FLAMINGO’S NEW STEAKHOUSE: The new $10 million Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse opened at the Flamingo. The highly anticipated event happened earlier this month albeit with Coronavirus protocols in place…distancing, 50 percent capacity, team members and guests wearing masks, except when eating and drinking, etc. The restaurant’s name is a nod to Flamingo founders, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and business partner Meyer Lansky, who together famously created the first resort-style hotel on the Strip back in 1946, forever changing Las Vegas. Something notable about the opening evening was Lansky’s grandson, Meyer Lansky II, and his wife Dani visited the all-new steakhouse. Lansky noted one of the last things Siegel said to his grandfather was, “don’t give up on Las Vegas,” and that is evident today with the opening of Bugsy & Meyer’s. The Steakhouse is open Thursday-Monday from 5-10 p.m.
CIRCA WILL OFFER STADIUM SWIM: When Circa Resort & Casino opens downtown on Oct. 28, it will debut Stadium Swim, a multi-level destination pool amphitheater operating 365 days a year. The visual focal point of the venue serving as the dramatic backdrop of the multifunctional pool space will be a massive 135 x 41-foot, 14-million-megapixel LED screen, which will broadcast major games and popular televised events. To keep the party going, local artists will helm Stadium Swim’s DJ booth with a daily roster of upbeat music. Boastful amenities will include six pools and two spaces, with 15,756 square feet of wet space. Each body of water will feature a different temperature ranging from 78 to 94 degrees depending on weather conditions. The fifth-level pools will be heated to a temperature of 104 degrees on colder days. Equally impressive are the water precautions. A key priority is water cleanliness. Circa’s team conducted in-depth research on the development of a pool that can self-clean several times a day. As a result, water will be fully recirculated four to six times faster than required by codes. While typical pool filters are filled with sand, Stadium Swim will use an activated material that is 100 percent bio-resistant and self-sterilizing glass. All eight water bodies will have UVL sanitizers, which are technologically advanced devices designed to destroy pathogens, bacteria, viruses, organic and inorganic contaminants, and greatly reduce chlorine use. Additionally, the pools will have highly sophisticated and real-time chemical monitoring controllers in place to continuously analyze the composition of all pool and spa water, second by second. Automated chlorine and chemical-dispensing systems will instantaneously adjust water chemistry throughout the day. In addition, an assortment of poolside lounge areas will include 30 cabanas and super cabanas hosting up to 25 guests. Approximately 340 chaise lounges, 38 daybeds and eight poolside boxes will be offered for hotel guests and visitors to rent. Enhanced VIP experiences will be available with tableside services including dedicated servers and towel refreshment, and luxurious spaces with couches. Stadium Swim will be open daily except for closures for special or private events. There will be an entrance fee for non-hotel guests. Lounge chairs will be rented in two- or four-hour increments while daybeds/cabanas will be sold with a food and beverage minimum and reserved all day. The pool deck will be available to rent for private events, meetings, parties and more.
THE NEON MUSEUM OFFERS NEW 360 VIRTUAL TOUR: If you can’t visit for a while, The Neon Museum downtown is now offering a 360 Virtual Tour, allowing visitors to move freely throughout the Neon Boneyard’s sign collection, exploring more than 130 informational vantage points. The tour is available for $10 online and allows indefinite access to the content via computer, smartphone, or tablet. The 360 Virtual Tour launches with an Evening Glow experience allowing guests to tour the museum at night while the signage is illuminated. Once guests start the virtual tour, a welcome video provides details and instruction on how to navigate the Neon Boneyard. By clicking white circles along the museum’s pathways, or by using the arrow keys, guests may freely explore the Boneyard, navigating from sign to sign while enjoying 360-degree vantage points at every stop.The red, blue and yellow hotspots on the museum signs denote opportunities to learn more, either via pop-up text, photographs or video. By hovering on a red hotspot, guests open a YouTube video with audio featuring a short Neon Museum Gallery Talk or documentary. Hovering over a blue hotspot opens a written description with either historical information or fun facts. Meanwhile, yellow hotspots offer views of historical photos from the museum’s archival collection. Some tour signage highlights include a 27-minute documentary “Strings of Neon” about restoring the Hard Rock Café Guitar sign; select artworks from the recent “Lost Vegas: Time Burton @ The Neon Museum exhibition; and the re-lamping of the Stardust letters.
FINGER LICKING FOODIE TOURS CREATES NEW EXPERIENCES: The Finger Licking Foodie Tour company in a few years created a premiere reputation for dining tours Downtown and on the Strip. Since COVID-19, adjustments have had to be made especially since groups are not allowed at this time. Good news, the foodie company has packaged safe private experiences which you can view online for details and reservations. With an online link to a virtual guide, the memorable experience will include a visit to three top restaurants, immediate VIP seating, and experiencing 10 signature dishes served fresh shortly after arrival. Cost is $79 per person with gratuity included. In addition, a 15 percent discount is offered on beverages or additional menu items guests may order.
FERRARO’S OFFERS VIRTUAL WINE TOUR-COURSE AND SUMMER MENU: Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar is offering a five-week Italian wine course on Saturdays Aug. 1 through Sept. 5, except Aug. 22, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. with Carmelo Messina conducting the course. Messina is a Gold Pin Sommelier and Master of Professional Wine Tasting certified by the Italian Sommelier Association. Each class will consist of a lecture on topics of the day and a second part will include wine tastings. The wine course is limited to 25 students. Tuition is $250, call 702-364-5300. Topics will cover tasting grid, geography and winemaking history, introduction to terroir, differences between Italian and domestic wines, wine culture, etc. This summer, Ferraro’s is featuring prix fixe dinner menus showcasing Italy’s best culinary regions rotating every two weeks. The next stop spotlights Campania—a region in Southern Italy and includes four courses. Cost is $49 per person and the menu runs July 13-25.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL CONNECTS WITH CIRQUECONNECT: With a half dozen Cirque du Soleil shows and “Blue Man Group” headlining before closing in March, the company has reinvented its art form with the recent launch of CirqueConnect, a digital content hub. Weekly while waiting for venues to reopen, fans can get a dose of awe and stay connected with the company adding new content regularly. The CirqueConnect content hub on the company website is filled with content to explore from various multimedia offerings such as special weekly programming with 60-minute specials. Other offerings include an app for virtual reality experiences, original web series and tutorials, show music and soundtracks, family-friendly programming, and Blue Man Group routines, etc.
BALLY’S WILL REOPEN JULY 23: Caesars Entertainment Corporation will reopen Bally’s on Thursday, July 23 at 10 a.m., following successful re-openings of Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Harrah’s, and Paris. Food and beverage outlets opening at Bally’s will include: Burger Brasserie, Bucca di Beppo, Bally’s Food Court, Tequila Taqueria, LavAzza, Lobby – Sully’s – and Shiver Bars, and the all-new Indigo Lounge overlooking the casino floor. The Blu Pool will also open.
ATOMIC TESTING MUSEUM NEWS: The National Atomic Testing Museum (NATM) reopened last week with new hours, four days Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Prior to visiting, tickets must be purchased on the museum’s website in advance. The museum is unveiling its new exhibit, which honors the 75th anniversary of the first atomic device test known as “Trinity.” The historic Manhattan Project explosion took place July 16, 1945. This July 16, the exhibit will open for people to relive the early atomic history either in person, or on the museum’s website and social media. This the first exhibit specifically designed for when the museum relocates to a new building envisioned in Symphony Park. Dale Cox, an artist, atomic veteran, and NATM docent, has loaned two of his most recently completed oil on canvas paintings to the museum for display. The first work shows a “composite image” typical of the 100 above ground nuclear weapons tests which took place at the Nevada Test Site from 1951 to 1963. It can be seen in the “Atmospheric Testing” portion of the museum. Cox’s second piece, which can be found in the NATM’s “Underground Testing” area, depicts “T-Tunnel” with supervisors escorting the rail carriage transporting a nuclear device to be prepped for detonation. The museum’s Distinguished Lecture Series continues live on Zoom. On Thursday, July 60 at 6 p.m. PT, Dr. Brent Park, National Nuclear Security Administration Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, will speak. He is a nuclear physicist with 30 years of experience at DOE National Laboratories and now leads NNSA’s efforts to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation and reduce the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism around the world. Lecture is free, must pre-register on the website.
JUHL SUPPORTS ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM: Juhl, a 344–residence, loft-
style community spanning an entire city block downtown will hold the sixth installment of its Artist in Residence Program and highlight dual artists this summer. With COVID-19 significantly impacting the arts, this program boosts the artistic vibrancy in the area. Established in 2016 to promote and support local artists, the program has featured visual artists, writers, and architects throughout its four-year run. Justin Favela, the program’s inaugural Artist in Residence and internationally recognized for his large-scale installations and sculptures representing American pop culture and the Latinx experience, along with Lance Smith, a multidisciplinary artist, illustrator, and teacher who serves as the Artist Manager of the Rogers Art Loft, have been selected this summer. Favela and Smith will share live- and work- space at Juhl with a ground-level studio space of approximately 1,000 square feet and approximately 1,000 square feet of living space on the second floor. Their studio visible from the street will serve as a showcase of their work, while creating visual interest and promoting the viability of area working artists. This fall, Juhl will host another series of lectures and discussions in partnership with the UNLV School of Architecture. Planned as virtual zoom meetings, the series will feature national thought leaders from throughout the design and architecture industries with focus on how to increase the number of women and communities of color in the design and architecture universes. As details are finalized, the series will be announced.
YOU CAN STILL BE A WINNER IN LAS VEGAS: One lucky guest at The STRAT won a total of $149,003 on a single hand of blackjack last week. The out-of-state visitor hit to win $109,879 on a $5 bonus jackpot and $39,124 on a $1 bonus jackpot, as well as winning an additional $116 while earning blackjack on two split aces.
Las Vegas got in about a month of play before the bars were shut down again last week because of COVID-19. No matter where you are planning to visit, it is always best to check in advance if it is open, etc. Local hangout the Italian American Club just reopened its dining and lounge areas. Entertainment had been scheduled for July in the showroom but had to be cancelled. Three businesses are opening new locations or expanding in the valley. The business that is eye catching for its uniqueness is GuineaDad. The company manufactures products for guinea pig pet owners and is relocating its headquarters from Los Angeles to North Las Vegas. Despite the severe economic impact of COVID-19 with Southern Nevada among the country’s most affected regions, new home sales in master planned community Summerlin were down only five percent, 33 homes, for the first half of 2020 as compared to the same period last year. This is remarkable given the area’s significant business and economic loss with the shutdown of the Strip — the region’s primary economic driver