When someone asked me if I wanted to dine al fresco at TREVI, I had to double check to make sure that the restaurant was, in fact, located in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Yes, TREVI is, in fact, in the Forum Shops, but YES, you can eat al fresco there. Oh, Las Vegas, how you continue to surprise me.
This Italian restaurant sits at the junction of three pedestrian walkways in front of an awesome fountain, which means that enjoying the outside views is both climate-friendly and incredibly picturesque.
I recently met up with a group of local bloggers not only to enjoy the ambiance of TREVI but also to taste a few of the meals and cocktails on the menu. I’m not much of a foodie, as you may know, but even I can tell when a restaurant has stellar menu selections. Among my favorites were:
Performers seem to be taking up residency in Las Vegas at an increasing rate. Hard Rock Hotel has been hosting performers for extended concert series for a few years now, and Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Cher, Elton John and Shania Twain have all called the Colosseum at Caesars Palace — and Las Vegas — home for at least a short period of time. At Wynn and Encore, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill continue to draw sold-out crowds.
So when CeeLo Green moved into town for his new show called CeeLo Green is Loberace a few weeks ago, I was instantly intrigued by yet another Las Vegas resident. This past weekend, I had the chance to see his performance for myself, and I instantly found myself pulled in multiple directions about how I felt about the show.
First, a description of the show from Planet Hollywood’s website:
CeeLo Green, the conductor/ringmaster of “LOBERACE,” will take fans on a ride through colorful decades of music, stopping at legendary moments in time from Prince and Blue Magic to The Rolling Stones, from new wave to disco and beyond.
Visually, the production will combine CeeLo Green’s flamboyant sense of style and over-the-top creativity, magnified and intensified, with his soulful voice covering some of his favorite music, as well as original songs, in a just for Las Vegas show.
Las Vegas is cluttered with Elvis wannabes and walking renditions of rock stars, pop icons and other celebrities. Some make their money busking on the sidewalks, and others take to stages across the city as impersonators. I’m not wild about Elvis or Britney Spears, and if I want to see someone in concert, I want to see the real thing.
And so it was with a bit of curiosity, a little hesitation and an open mind that I accepted an invitation to see Million Dollar Quartet, the newest show to open at Harrah’s Las Vegas. The official summary of the show:
The Tony Award Winning musical, Million Dollar Quartet is set on December 4, 1956, when an extraordinary twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together at Sun Records for one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history.
Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary December night to life with the extraordinary story of broken promises, secrets, and the once in a lifetime celebration of four friends that is both poignant and funny. Relive the era with the smash-hit sensation featuring an incredible score of rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, R&B and country hits, performed live onstage by world-class actors and musicians.
When it comes to shows in Las Vegas, it’s pretty safe to say I’m smitten by Cirque du Soleil. Granted, not every Cirque-branded show has been a big hit in my book (I’m not a big fan of Zumanity and I have no plans to see BeLIEve), but most of the shows I’ve had the chance to see have been beyond amazing.
Las Vegas’ newest Cirque du Soleil show, Zarkana, which opened a couple months ago at ARIA, encompasses everything I love most about Cirque: Awesome music, stunning costumes, artful make-up, creative staging and lighting, surprises, humor and, of course, acts that left me slack jawed, nervous and downright impressed. Cirque excels in big, beautiful and bold productions highlighting acrobatic talent, and while some of the company’s productions in Las Vegas have recently been aligned with certain themes or people (the Elvis and Beatles shows are two examples), Zarkana goes back to the roots of what I think people really love about Cirque.
Just when I thought I’d seen it all in Las Vegas, Rock of Ages moved into The Venetian. This crazy, over-the-top performance embodies the idea of go big or go home … so, to stand the test of survival, Rock of Ages is definitely going big.
Here’s the skinny on the story: It’s set in LA’s Sunset Strip in 1987. Drew, a boy from Detroit hoping to make it big as a musician, and Sherrie, a girl from a small town pursuing an acting dream, meet while working together in a bar that faces destruction from a development firm. Though there is a (slightly weak) plot that moves this story forward, that’s not what makes Rock of Ages so much fun.
This show is about the hard rock music we loved from the 80s, big hair, neon and torn up clothing and quirky advertising messages. It features 28 songs just about every 80s child knows (and may or may not love): Don’t Stop Believin’, We Built This City, The Final Countdown, Can’t Fight This Feeling. It’s beyond singable, and audience members are encouraged to buy into the fun by singing along and, at times, waving the flashlight-fronted lighters that everybody gets when they walk into the theatre. By the end of the show, people are on their feet, singing along with the cast and sharing a knowing smile with their neighbors. We all shared the 80s the first time we lived through it; now we’re living it all over again.
If you didn’t know it was there, chances are you’d never know to look for Las Vegas Toy Shack. My husband and I happened upon it one evening when we were poking around the quiet corners of Fremont Street, but it wasn’t until I was assigned to write a story on the shop that I truly realized what an awesome store Las Vegas Toy Shack really is.
Las Vegas is known for the Pawn Stars show, and, in fact, that famous pawn shop is located in the downtown area. This toy store is owned and run by “the toy guy” from Pawn Stars, and this store reflects his love and knowledge of vintage and collectable toys of all shapes, sizes, ages and genres. From a wall of Hot Wheels cars and a cabinet of lunchboxes to action figures and boxes of comic books, there is absolutely something in this store that will make every person say, “I remember …“
Five days before I drove an exotic supercar, I was nonchalant about driving a fast car. Five hours before I drove an exotic supercar, I was kicking myself for agreeing to do something so early on a Saturday morning. Five minutes before I drove an exotic supercar, I was downright nervous.
Come again? I’m going to be driving how fast? You have got to be kidding me!
Driving a really, really fast car around a racetrack must be a guy thing. There were five of us in our group — three girls and two guys — and the adrenaline factor was definitely running high in the male species. They talked about horsepower and engine size and other manly things that meant nothing to me. I hung back with the other two ladies, shocked at the price tag on the blue Audi R8 V10 that I’d been assigned to drive. This sleek little supercar was on par with what we paid for our house. No joke. And it could reach speeds upward of 186 MPH. Again, no joke. You can’t make this stuff up.
If it’s not on the Las Vegas Strip, most people don’t believe it exists in Sin City.
So is the case with the Pinball Hall of Fame, home to hundreds of vintage and new pinball machines spread over 10,000 square feet of space. That’s right: Hundreds of pinball machines, all of which are way more fun to play than any slot machine you might possibly find in the city (in my humble opinion).
The Pinball Hall of Fame is made possible by the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club, which has amassed several machines over the years. The goal of the attraction is to house, display and make available to the public this large selection of games so that everyone can enjoy them. The games all belong to one member of the non-profit organization, Tim Arnold, so I’m sure you can imagine the need to find a home for these beyond his basement. They range from vintage additions of pinball games from the 1950s up through the present day.
In the competitive cacophony of displaying the bigger, brighter and better presence to passersby, Las Vegas resorts have created something else on the Las Vegas Strip: An eye-popping array of neon signs of varying sizes and colors that combine to create a visual spectacle in one of the world’s most famous cities.
A lot of people say that the lights and neon signage in Las Vegas are unnecessary. I certainly don’t deny that Sin City has its fair share of light pollution, fueled in large part by the beam of light streaming from the top of the Luxor. And while I don’t know if it’s always appropriate to follow the mantra, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” I think the personality of the city is one in which we choose to go big or go home. As such, the proliferation of neon signage can be a bit overwhelming at times, but it’s also awesome.
There are a myriad of Las Vegas shows, and if you want to see one, just take your pick. From comedy and acrobatics to full-blown stage shows and family-friendly favorites, I’ve seen a bunch of them. This past week I had a chance to see Fantasy for the first time, which is the fifth topless revue I’ve been to in Las Vegas and definitely one of the best ones I’ve seen.
Now entering its 13th year, Fantasy features eight dancers each night as well as a fabulous emcee/singer named Lorena Peril and comedic relief Sean E. Cooper. The show moves quickly through 15 dance numbers that have the potential to evoke the ideal “fantasy” involving beautiful topless women. They’re outfitted in cowboy gear and rough-and-tough leather, and of course there is an obligatory bedroom scene. Some numbers involve a single woman, such as the one that evokes Jessica Rabbit, and others include the full cast. One number features a talented pole dancer and another involves the classic scarf acrobatics that are common in variety shows across Las Vegas.
Between these numbers, Lorena and Sean easily interact with the audience through comedy, conversation and other elements of performance. We found ourselves laughing throughout the show at Lorena and Sean’s antics, and the girls were talented dancers (though I could have done without the lip syncing). One of the best parts of the show, I thought, was how tastefully the topless components were choreographed. For some reason, other topless shows seem to have this feeling where suddenly there is a need to take clothes off just for the heck of it, but the transformation from covered to unclothed is practically seamless and not at all in your face in Fantasy, which I appreciate. Also, a few other burlesque shows on the Strip have the tendency to feel awkward when the energy lags, but Fantasy powers through with energy from the beginning to the end and there are no slow or awkward moments. In fact, the show kept a consistent and constant pace, and I was surprised at how quickly the time went by.