BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW
Contributed by Jackie Brett
IS IT REAL OR VIRTUAL: With entertainment nearly non-existent in Las Vegas minus a few exceptions, entertainers have turned to virtual programs. Comedic sword swallower Brett Loudermilk, a current finalist on “America’s Got Talent,” really needed the television exposure. Turns out he moved to Las Vegas a month before it shut down. Talk about bad timing in real life and turning to the virtues of virtual!
SUPER SUMMER THEATRE PRESENTS VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE: The 2020 season of the local Super Summer Theatre (SST) was cancelled, but on a positive note a virtual celebration to kick off next year’s 45th Anniversary season will be held on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 3 p.m. The program will star Broadway, TV, and film actress and SST alumna Satomi Hofmann performing from her home in New Jersey and featuring show stopping songs and memories from the first 45 years. The show will also preview what’s in store for 2021 and include familiar SST faces and talent. You can register on the SST’s website and cost is $45 per household. Some of Hofmann’s television credits include “Bull,” “New Amsterdam,” “Law & Order SVU,” and “The Blacklist.” Among her many theater accomplishments, she appeared at Morgana in “EFX” formerly at the MGM, first starring with Michael Crawford and then David Cassidy. The plays lined up for next summer include Disney & Cameron Mackintosh’s “Mary Poppins” Wed.-Sat. May 26-June 19; “Sister Act” Wed.-Sat. July 7-31; “Addams Family: The Musical” Aug. 12-14; and “Matilda” Wed.-Sat. Sept. 2-18. Entering a 45th season, it’s reasonable to consider SST outdoor evening shows under the stars at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park a hidden local treasure. Performances began at the park during the summer of 1976 with actors doubling as ticket sellers, Park Rangers directing traffic and patrons boarding school buses to travel to the performance’s area.
‘LE REVE’ WON’T RETURN: “Le Reve” won’t open again at Wynn. The Cirque-scaled water production had a long run passing its 15-year milestone back in May 2018. It premiered the night the Wynn resort opened in 2005. The elaborate show had been situated in a $75 million, 1,600-seat customized theater-in-the-round. What the future holds is a wait-and-see for all of us.
VEGAS DINING STAPLE CLOSES AFTER 50 YEAR: A Las Vegas staple, Vickie’s Diner, after 50 years closed on Aug. 16. It was in the same building as the former White Cross Drugs on Las Vegas Boulevard, just south of The STRAT. The drugstore originally opened in the 1950s where the Four Queens is located downtown but moved to its current location in the early ’60s. It became a favorite of casino employees and legendary entertainers including Elvis, Liberace, and members of the Rat Pack. The White Cross Drugs, which eventually became White Cross Market, closed its doors back in 2015, with the diner remaining open until this year. The diner’s current owner is Vickie Kelesis. She changed the name from Tiffany’s Diner to Vickie’s Diner when she took it over in 2014. Vickie worked in the diner as a waitress for eight years before becoming the owner. The operation hopes to open the diner in a new location in a few months.
BEER ZOMBIES ON THE MOVE: Beer Zombies is a Las Vegas based craft beer lifestyle brand, brewing project and all-around craft beer ambassador. Founded in 2013, it has grown to include a yearly festival, beer dinners, tap takeovers with plans to open a fourth location in Downtown Summerlin. The new spot, possibly opening by mid-September, will be entirely separate. The menu will have eight to 10 items. One Beer Zombies location is in Salt Lake City. The first was adjacent to SkinnyFats at 8680 W. Warm Springs Road. Another draft room opened at 6261 Dean Martin Drive three days before the pandemic shutdown.
EL DORADO CANTINA CELEBRATES NATIONAL FAJITA DAY: Businesses in Las Vegas often créate promotions celebrating dates on the National Day Calendar, which is the authoritative source for fun, unusual and unique National Days. The El Dorado Cantina at both the Tivoli Village and 3025 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive locations is debuting three new signature fajita platters on National Fajita Day, Aug. 18 and keeping the dishes on the menu every day afterwards. The new fajitas are Surf & Turf, Lobster, and Prime Filet. Cost starts at $55. Happy Hour is offered at both locations and every Tuesday, El Dorado Cantina offers Don Julio™ 1942 tequila shots for $7 (valued at $35).
TOPGOLF CELEBRATES QUARANTINE BIRTHDAYS: For a limited time, folks of all ages who missed a big birthday celebration due to the spring quarantine can enjoy a free order of Injectable Donut Holes during their visit to TopGolf. To qualify for the #QuarantineBirthdayClub, simply show your ID confirming your birthday took place between March 17-June 17, which was the time Topgolf Las Vegas was closed due to the quarantine, and you can receive your complimentary dessert. This offer runs through Thursday, Sept. 17. The cinnamon-sugar dusted donut holes come in flavors – chocolate sauce, raspberry jelly, or Bavarian Cream. Topgolf Las Vegas operates daily at 10 a.m. Bay pricing starts at $33 per hour for up to six players and varies depending on bay location and time of day. General admittance into Topgolf is free of charge. Guests are required to wear a facemask upon entry to the venue and while moving throughout the venue. When patrons are in bay at a safe social distance, masks can be removed and while eating, drinking, or hitting. Masks are not required for children under age 10 or for those who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability.
HISTORIC ‘FAT MAN’ ARTIFACT JOINS RECENTLY OPENED TRINITY EXHIBIT: The National Atomic Testing Museum (NATM) is honoring the 75th anniversary of the first nuclear test known as Trinity with a new permanent exhibit. Recently a 1945 Fat Man weapon shell from the Manhattan Project arrived at the NATM on loan from the Sandia National Laboratories Albuquerque site and it will be on display. One item, weighing more than 10,000 pounds, is an actual Manhattan Project Fat Man weapon shell from 1945. Also, the original Fat Man ballistics cases is the identical type contained at the Los Alamos “Gadget.” The Gadget was the plutonium implosion device tested (Trinity) on July 16, 1945 at the Alamogordo Bombing Range in New Mexico. The name “Fat Man” refers to the early design of this historic nuclear bomb because it had a wide, round shape. After the war, this prototype model became more advanced and was called the Mark III. Fat Man was an implosion-type weapon with a near-solid plutonium core with a golf-ball-size neutron initiator at its center. The design came about as a result of the Manhattan Project. A Fat Man plutonium bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. The Fat Man design was retired in 1950 from the stockpile. The museum’s entry remains on a reservation-only basis on a Thursday through Sunday schedule from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
MYSTRIP FEATURE GIVES NEW VIRTUAL WAY TO ‘STROLL’ DOWN THE STRIP: Mobile game developer PLAYSTUDIOS is taking the virtual Las Vegas experience to the next level with a game-changing upgrade to its myVEGAS Slots franchise. The just-released mySTRIP feature introduces new game mechanics, extended multi-day challenges, event boosters, and more opportunities to interact with in-game elements. mySTRIP allows players to explore their virtual world from a sidewalk-level perspective while completing daily missions, activating new game challenges, collecting valuable in-game items, and competing for additional prizes in special “Spotlight Events.” Throughout the gameplay experience, players can also “visit” MGM Resorts properties and interact with “Only in Vegas” pedestrians presenting “daily missions” – all while being immersed in the sights, sounds, and even traffic of The Strip. As a fully integrated feature within myVEGAS Slots, players who engage with mySTRIP will continue to earn coveted real-world rewards – hotel stays, dinners, drinks, show tickets, and more – from MGM Resorts International destinations. The Grand Opening season of mySTRIP launched Aug. 13 in the myVEGAS Slots mobile app, and features virtual versions of Excalibur, Luxor, and MGM Grand. Season Two, set to debut in September 2020, will expand the lineup of participating casino resorts, missions, characters, and spotlight events.
THE+SOURCE HONOR NATIONAL SENIOR CITIZENS DAY: The+Source, with dispensaries at 9480 S. Eastern Ave. and 2550 S. Rainbow Blvd., will celebrate National Senior Citizens Day with increased senior discount and special offers for all customers Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 20-23. The+Source will increase its senior discount to 20 percent for all customers ages 65 and up on Friday, Aug. 21. In addition, the dispensaries will celebrate all weekend with offerings for all customers including three pucks for $55, originally $22 each; buy-one-get-one Select brand cartridges; and eighths of flower for $25. These dispensaries have also prioritized in-store shopping and curbside pick-up for senior citizens, medical patients, and veterans, with sales floors open only to those customers from 8-9 a.m. daily before opening to all customers from 9 a.m.–11 p.m. The company also recently launched its online ordering platform, allowing customers to place orders for curbside pick-up or next-day delivery via the business’ new delivery service. Delivery orders require a minimum, pre-tax purchase of $125, with delivery offered as a complimentary service for all customers within a five-mile radius of either store.