Access Vegas Insider Vibe – April 12, 2000

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This Issue: Titanic: The Exhibition by guest columnist David Berman

Curious about a restaurant, event, or other Las Vegas attraction that looks fun? Let us review it for you first! Suggestions are always welcome at:



LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

BELLAGIO RESTAURANTS – Did you know that the restaurants at Bellagio serve up to 25,000 meals a day and it is the only hotel in the US with two 5 star restaurants? And unlike many casinos, the restaurants there actually turn a profit. Great story at

SPORTS BETTING BAN – Now the NFL and the NBA are jumping on the bandwagon to get Congress to ban all sports betting nationally. Obviously, we are a bit biased on this. Nevada has the most stringent gaming regulation in the world. The Gaming Control Board takes all complaints seriously, and often you can summons an officer down to mediate a dispute almost immediately. Sports betting is already outlawed in virtually every state (in part or full) and far more is wagered outside Nevada than in-state. Story at

RESTAURANT REVIEWS – The Las Vegas Weekly’s Guide to Good Taste is available at and well worth printing out or bookmarking.Mandalay Bay’s upscale Aureole is reviewed at Drai’s After-Hours Superclub at Barbary Coast (the restaurant changes formats for the late night crowd) at Neyla at the MGM Grand serves an unique blend of Mediterranean delights with belly dancers and more. Review at

SUPER CASINO – “Inside the ‘New” Las Vegas” is a great account of the modern day Las Vegas. Often dense with historical fact, but neatly interrupted by fascinating first-person accounts: an old-time dealer talks about being threatened by Frank Sinatra, a hotel manager at a casino gets chewed out by her boss for renting out a $5,000 room to movie stars, and more. Available for under $20 from Amazon at /invegascom

LANCE BURTON: MASTER MAGICIAN – is on the Fox Family Channel this Friday April 14. Check your local listings for time.

GOT A WEBSITE? – How about a link to so you can help spread the word and access the archives easier. While at it, don’t forget to link to our sister site – your first stop for the latest Las Vegas info!

WINNERS! – Cindy Tomasi of Italy and Louis Schwartz of Lynn, MA are the winners of the Folies Bergere programs. Michael Woo of Honolulu, HI won the wine and dine guide.

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Quick Concert and Show Notes:

See which shows are playing during your stay and book reservations EVEN if the tickets aren’t on sale yet. Let ShowVegas takes care of all your needs directly online! Search by dates at

DANNY GANS – Continues his hot new run at The Mirage and yet another review is available at We are looking forward to seeing it very soon!

MANDALAY BAY – Steely Dan on June 10. Tickets available at (702) 474-4000 and Mandalay Bay discount rooms are available at (Mandalay Bay link).

MGM – Rodger Waters on June 17. Tickets available starting this Sat. April 15 at (702) 474-4000 and MGM discount rooms are available at (MGM link).

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – of Equestrian Show Jumping comes to the Thomas and Mack April 19 – 23. Tickets at 1-888-464-2468. The Hard Rock hotel is within walking distance of the Thomas and Mack and Hard Rock discount rooms available at (Hard Rock link).

Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Scenic Southwest Tours – by plane, bus, or even helicopter! You’ve seen the glossy ads in the tourist brochures. You’ve thought about it. You come all the way to Las Vegas — why not see one of the some of the most famous landmarks in the world! Don’t by tricked by web sites & magazines that offer discount tours. Taxes, park fees, permits can almost double the price. Our prices are inclusive – no hidden charges! Best Las Vegas Tours

FEATURE STORY: The Exhibition by guest columnist David Berman

During our stay at the Rio, we immersed ourselves in the recounting of an event that happened on April 14, 1912. The event, of course, is the sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage, and the recounting is Titanic: The Exhibition, in The RioÆs mezzanine-level exhibit space.

IÆve seen many bulletin-board and newslist posts asking if anyone had seen the Titanic exhibit, and seeking opinions about the value of spending $15.95 to view it. Read on and decide for yourself, because the answer is not as simple as you might imagine.

The show is beautifully staged, occupying much of the same space used for the Treasures of Russia exhibit that was such a huge success. A key ingredient in the Titanic exhibit working as well as it does is the professionally narrated, recorded guided tour, which is included in the admission price. Visitors entering the exhibit are given a cassette recorder, with the narrator explaining the items as you proceed through the collection and directing you in such maneuvers as ônow turn to your left,ö and ôpause to study the recovered artifacts in this cabinet.ö The green button plays the tape, and the red button stops it if you want to linger along the way. The narration incorporates a musical score, and also employs the voices of actual Titanic survivors as well as actors speaking as some of the specific passengers and shipÆs officers. Most of the tape is in stereo, and it works very well.

Recovered items, including dinnerware, jewelry, shaving brushes, coins and personal letters, bring the incredible tragedy to life. But just as the re-creations of the palace rooms of the czars were the highlight of Treasures of Russia, the re-creations of TitanicÆs famous Grand Staircase, its first-class passageways and staterooms and card room, as well as a second-class bunk-style room, are what combine to put a face on the ship and its occupants.

If you visit the Titanic exhibit, one of your most dramatic moments will come when you enter a room dominated by a large block of ice intended to simulate the exposed surface of an iceberg, which you are encouraged to touch. ôNo one could survive longer than 10 minutes in the North Atlantic waters of that evening,ö the narrator intones, and suddenly the reality of collision, darkness and death is brought home to you.

Now for the big question: Is Titanic: The Exhibition worth attending?

Not necessarily. If you are a rabid fan or student of the Titanic story and have not previously attended any of the other Titanic exhibits touring around the world, or if you canÆt get enough of the film ôTitanicö and Celine DionÆs promise that the heart will go on, then by all means go see it. You will be happy you did, because it will add a little to your knowledge base.

My wife Rosalyn and I did get something out of this show, but we both agreed that we left it feeling a bit let down, in the way you might if you were hungry after eating a delicious gourmet dinner whose portions were too small.

More than 5,000 artifacts have been recovered from the Titanic wreck site, but only about 200 are on display at The Rio. In short, what is shown is presented very effectively, but there is simply not enough of it. In part this is understandable, because the recovered items are supporting many Titanic exhibits around the world. At first, the overall effect fools you, but then you begin to notice that each exhibit room throughout the presentation is furnished with just one or two display cases holding a small number of artifacts, along with a few wall hangings.

The Titanic exhibit is in residence indefinitely, which will allow the show to be changed from time to time as items from other Titanic exhibits are rotated. But this does little for Las Vegas visitors who are unlikely to see the display more than once.

Moving methodically through the Titanic exhibit, following the narrative and stopping the tape a few times to linger, took us only 50 minutes, making the attraction an attention-holder for adults and children alike. I mentioned above that the cost is $15.95, but we were able to reduce this to $12.95 with a discount coupon available at the registration desk. Cost for children under 14 is $9.95.


David Berman is a true Las Vegas aficionado, making numerous lengthy visits over the years. He and his wife are soon to retire and relocate from the east coast here to Las Vegas, looking forward to moving into a home they already have under construction. David can be reached at

Rental Cars – Don’t pay top dollar! Enter the dates of your visit and compare prices from virtually every major rental car agency (most US cities). Book the lowest price company or your regular agency. Save the hassle and some money – Car Rental Savings Search. Few regret renting a car. Free shuttles and city bus rides can be slow and smelly. Taxis can cost what a rental car costs. Your vacation time is valuable — make the most out of it!


Arthur Yeap from San Francisco wrote:

>To Frank in NJ:
>When I went to the Bellagio Buffet mid-March, the crab legs were still
>good.á They can also be found at the Paris Buffet much of the time.
>(They actually have a menu posted outside).á Overall, my experience
>with buffets has led me to a few opinions: Best Quality Carving Board:
>Mirage…Prime Rib better than 90% of restaurants.á Best Seafood
>Quality: Bellagio.á Best overall Buffet: Paris.á It has meat about 80%
>as good as the Mirage and seafood about 75% as good as the Bellagio.
>The Mirage shrimp may not be fresh at times while the Bellagio meat
>has always been tough and overcooked.á I will say that I have not been
>to the Rio Seafood Buffet.á The normal Rio Buffet that all the taxi
>drivers rave about has food quality below Sunset Station.á I’ll report
>back after this coming week when I get back from NAB (convention).

Helen Spillar wrote:

>Thank you for the tip you gave on the surf & turf special at the Hard
>Rock Cafe & Casino.á Just as you said it is not on the menu & you have
>to just ask or it.á I was going to order the steak that was $13.00 & I
>ended up getting the steak plus 3 delicious shrimp for $5.95.á It was
>very good & we would not have known about it if not for your news
>letter.á Thanks again.

Janice wrote:

>Ted, my husband and I visit Vegas usually in the spring or fall; this
>year we want to come at Thanksgiving(we’ll be arriving on the prior
>Mon.á and staying for 7 nights) and bringing my mom, who isn’t able to
>make her annual spring trek with her friends due to another
>commitment.á We have several questions that we hope you or your
>readers could answer.á 1.) Are most of the shows dark during
>Thanksgiving, 2.) Is there restaurants/buffets that will be serving
>the “traditional” holiday dinner, and 3.) Can someone tell me what
>Harrah’s rooms are like, specifically a suite, as we have never stayed
>there before (die hard Golden Nugget fans), but have an offer we can’t
>refuse (free), so we are debating splitting the days between the strip
>and downtown.á Any help we can get is appreciated.á As I am sure you
>hear from others, we love your newsletter as it keeps us in touch when
>we can’t be in our favorite town with the ever changing scenes.
>Thanks for taking the time to keep us out of towners informed!!

Thanksgiving weekend is second only to New Years Eve and ranks right up there with Memorial Day and Labor day as far as tourist traffic here in town. The shows will all be in full swing (although you should always check with each show to see what night they are dark each week). Just about every restaurant in every casino serves some type of Thanksgiving meal. In fact, it’s often a set menu with 2 or 3 holiday choices (besides the normal menu items). The Harrah’s rooms I have seen are pretty nice for the money. When you get back, let us know how they compare to the rooms at The Golden Nugget.

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Your input is welcome. Write us a “letter to the editor” at Please include your name if you wish to have it published (stating your city is optional). Also, guest article submissions are welcome with full credit to you, your website, etc. if accepted.



ONLINE POLL – “Would you plan an additional trip to Las Vegas each year to watch spring training games?” Let’s hear your opinions at — results will be published nest week!

Results from last poll: “Are you planning a Las Vegas visit despite the high fuel prices?”

I was looking into coming, but gas / airfare is just too much. 2%
I’m still coming but putting off the trip until prices come down. 7%
I’m a regular visitor, but may cut out a trip or two this year if they stay high. 10%
Are you kidding? Getting there is the cheap part. Nothing could keep me away! 81%


Note: You may enter every contest, but only one entry to each. Please note the expiration date and only enter if you will be in town and can use them. The 20’th entry in each contest will be the winner (unless otherwise noted or link to outside contest). Just sent a blank email to the specified email address — we’ll get your mailing address from you only if you win. Also, please do not enter if you have won within the past month.

PHOTOS – Black and white glossy press photos of Trisha Yearwood, Johnny Mathis, Jeff Foxworthy, Kenny Rodgers, and Jessica Andrews. 20’th entry to (contest closed) wins.

$5,000 – Nevada Vacation Package. Enter at

HARD ROCK – One lucky winner and a guest a 3 day, 2 night room stay with $100 gift certificate to AJ’s Steak House. Plus, spa passes for two and cabana rental by the Hard Rock’s pool. Enter at http://promotion.lasvegas.citysearch.com_mike.html

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Have a request for a review? Boggled when you come to town and see the hundreds of dining, attraction, and show opportunities? Let us know what you’d like to hear about! Unlike the tourist magazines where all of the “articles” are really paid ads, we give you the honest scoop. If you appreciate this service, please consider booking your rooms and rental cars for ALL destinations with us at You get secure ordering with the convenience and savings of booking online!

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All contents copyright MM Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
April 12, 2000

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