Access Vegas Insider Vibe – June 13, 2001

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THIS ISSUE: The Rat Pack Is Back

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

LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

JACKPOT – Major William Tracy had been in Las Vegas for less than a
day when he struck it rich early Wednesday morning, winning $3 million
on a Wheel of Fortune(R) dollars machine at the Flamingo Las Vegas.
“I just sat there staring at the payline, trying to figure out what
was happening when a security guard walked up to tell me that I had
just won $3 million. I’m still in shock,” he said. Tracy, 32, and
his wife, Alicia, are in Las Vegas to attend graduation ceremonies at
the USAF Weapons School at Nellis AFB. Tracy, who flies an F-15C
fighter, is currently stationed in Japan. The Tracys aren’t sure what
they’ll do with their winnings. “Make some investments, help our
families. It’s a lot to figure out. But there is one thing we are
sure of — we don’t want things to change … at least, not too
much,” Tracy said.

MONORAIL – Right now, early construction on the first phase of the Las Vegas monorail is underway. Running from the MGM to the Desert Inn, the line is eventually slated to run downtown. Proposed extensions run both to the airport and along the casinos on the West side of The Strip. Full story with map at

MARINERS -áááá The Seattle baseball team continues to terrorize their opponents, as well as the Vegas sportsbooks. Count the Mirage as one of many Nevada casinos that would welcome some avalanche control. It listed the Mariners at 45-to-1 odds to win the World Series before the season started, a number the team has pared to 7-2, second only to the Yankees’ 5-2. Full story (which includes a little inside peak at how baseball lines are set) at

ENERGY CRUNCH – is continuing to be felt by the hotels here. While Nevada has secured enough energy for the summer, the prices are on the rise. Harrah’s Entertainment, Station Casinos and the Riviera Hotel and Casino have tacked a $3-a-night surcharge on hotel rooms at their Nevada casinos. Whether to charge customers more is especially a dilemma for the more expensive casinos on the Strip, where image is everything and customers could perceive such a move as tacky. Bellagio, for example, now has a system that adjusts air conditioning and turns off lights when offices aren’t used. Full story at

EPICUREAN AFFAIR – The 11th annual Epicurean Affair, featuring signature dishes from local restaurants, wine, a silent auction and live entertainment, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. June 20 at The Mirage, 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South. More than 50 restaurants plan to participate in the event, dubbed “The Rhythm of Flavor” and carrying a Latin American theme. Details at

NO KIDDING – In light of the recent “Kids In Vegas” debate, I was informed about No Kidding. This is a group of people who are child-free by choice. They are adamant that they don’t hate children nor are trying to pass anti-child laws. It is just a social group for people who have no kids and enjoy social events with others in the same position. The national page is at and the Las Vegas chapter can be contacted at (click)

VEGAS FOR KIDS – If you are bringing your kids to Las Vegas, “101 Things for Kids in Las Vegas” by Carol Stout is a must have. Instead of dragging them through the hot sun or locking them in the room while you gamble, make the trip fun for them. This excellent book is available online from Amazon.Com at

LIFE OF A DEALER – CNN profiles people in various careers, asking them questions about the job and their life. They just profiled a Vegas blackjack dealer at

THE ECONOMY – For all the reasons Californians come here, there’s a growing list of reasons why, this summer, they may not. Higher gas prices. Hesitancy to leave homes untended during rolling blackouts. A softening economy. The lure of Vegas-style Indian casinos closer to home. But Las Vegas can spin an economic threat like a roulette wheel, and executives here say they expect this summer to be as strong as last year’s — especially as travelers reexamine their more exotic vacation plans. Full story at

STEVE WYNN HAS BURPED – It’s an inside joke — I’ve told friends that some people are so into Vegas that they would like an update every time Steve Wynn burps. (Wynn is former Mirage Resorts founder / CEO and that man who bought the Desert Inn to put a new resort there.) The most recent courtesy of R-J columnist Norm! is a massive makeover of the famed golf course, a large lake with lakefront condos, and a Cirque de Soleil-type show. Read full details at

WIRELESS CHECK-IN – The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas plans to launch a pilot program this summer that’s aimed at using wireless devices to ensure that rooms are ready for arriving guests. Guests will meet hotel clerks at any of several entrances, including the car drop-off area, and be able to show a credit card to check reservations via a wireless LAN connection to a server in real time. Once the reservation has been confirmed, the clerk will be able to encode a room-key card for the guest. Full story at,1902,26682,00.html

KIDS QUEST – The new Palms Hotel Casino (under construction near The Rio) is going to have a child care center. These centers are already popular at some “local’s” casinos around town. Story at

SOUTH STRIP – Recently, a continuing series on urban hikes in Las Vegas focuses on the Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and Four Seasons hotels. Included are good synopses of the attractions at each and worth printing out before you next trip. Story at

$100 REBATE SPECTACULAR! Our partners at Hotel Reservations Network are giving you up to $100 back on any stay in Las Vegas or any major city they reserve. (Full details and list of all eligible cities at ). Claiming your cash is simple:

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35TH ANNUAL VICTOR AWARDS – The Las Vegas Hilton will host the 35th Annual Victor Awards June 23, honoring the world’s greatest athletes and coaches, with event proceeds going to City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute. The event will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net from the Hilton Theater starting at 5:00 p.m. PST/8:00 p.m. EST. Tickets are available through the City of Hope for $50 and black tie is required. To purchase tickets, call City of Hope at 800-544-3541, extension 26206.

Each year, the Academy of Victor Sports Awards recognizes star athletes from baseball, basketball, football, track and field, boxing, tennis and more. This year’s nominees include Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Marion Jones, Venus Williams, Eddie George, Mario Lemieux, Cynthia Cooper and Tiger Woods.

NUDE CABARET – MGM is launching “La Femme” in partnership with the infamous Crazy Horse of Paris, France on June 14. The name was changed for Vegas to avoid any legal trouble with the local strip club of the same name. While promising to show a lot of skin in a theatrical fashion, Clark County liquor laws prohibit total nudity anywhere booze is served so the producers of the new show are being slightly creative with their “all nude” presentation. Full story at

SHOW REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:

* Earl Turner (Rio) –
* Liberace Museum –


* SHOW TICKETS – 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
* GOLF RESERVATIONS – BookVegas let’s you grab that tee time GUARANTEED before you get to town! Click to
* DINING RESERVATIONS – For a small service fee, you can now guarantee reservations for that “special night out” during your visit at


* SHOWS AND HEADLINERS – listings available at
* CONCERT – listings available at

RESTAURANT REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:

* Onda (Mirage) –
* Seasons (Bally’s) –

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LAS VEGAS WEATHER – This 5 day forecast is courtesy of Weather.Com:

Thursday – 91 ░F / 70 ░F Sunny
Friday – 98 ░F / 76 ░F Sunny
Saturday – 102 ░F / 80 ░F Sunny
Sunday – 103 ░F / 79 ░F Partly Cloudy
Monday – 103 ░F / 79 ░F Partly Cloudy
Tuesday – 103 ░F / 80 ░F Partly Cloudy

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Sometimes I really look forward to reviewing the shows, and other times it’s just another day at the office. Granted, I’m not complaining — there are worse offices than a Las Vegas showroom and since 90% of my time is spent in front of the computer, it is always pleasant to get out in the “real world.”

The Rat Pack Is Back is a show I was truly looking forward to seeing. Up until recently, the show had been on a month-to-month engagement at the Sahara which didn’t make it a good review candidate. I don’t want to tell you about something that might be closed by the time you get to town! However, with a new one-year contract (and possible extensions), this show is here to stay.

I was looking forward to it because although not yet born in the heyday of the Rat Pack, I’ve always been curious about the vibe they brought to Las Vegas. I have a poster of them in my office. I’ve seen all the specials on the cable TV channels chronicling their time here. But would this show be a reasonably true recreation that brings back that vibe, or would I be seeing some second rate impersonators limping their way through a show as some of the budget Elvis’ seem to do?

Thankfully, it was the former. While not the Copa Room (where the originals played often at The Sands), the Congo room at the Sahara was festively decorated and very comfortable. “Joey” (played by comedian Mark Cohen — legalities prevent the performers from using the full names of the people they impersonate in the show) came out and told us that it was a very special night: December 12, 1961 … which just happened to be “Frank’s” birthday. He warmed the crowd up with some truly funny comedy.

He then introduced “Frank,” played by famed Sinatra impressionist Steve Lippia who sung a collection of hits from the era including “Luck Be A Lady” while he worked the stage with a confident manner. His vocal comparison to Sinatra’s is uncanny, and the 20 piece orchestra backing all of the performers added to the realism of the period.

Rick Michel came out as “Dean,” in character with a huge martini glass. He was perhaps was the most dead-on in the looks department (although all had good resemblance to their original characters) and had an amazingly strong voice to boot. He ran through Dean Martin favorites such as Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes and Find Yourself Somebody To Love.

Doug Starks is “Sammy,” and I mean he IS Sammy. An actual friend of the late entertainer he pays tribute to, he had the style, vocal quality, moves, and inflections down pat. Sailing through songs like That Old Black Magic and What Kind of Fool Am I, he took liberty to sing Mr. Bojangles, noting that it wouldn’t be released until 1968 … but “You are here, I am here, so let’s do it”!

From there, the show was filled with the kind of fun and frolic that these performers made legendary. They joked, sang duets, made little jabs at each other, and mixed drinks on stage. Celebrities in the audience were introduced (this night they included Robin Leach and Nevada Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt). Although the original performers had a great camaraderie, even more credit to this group for being able to naturally recreate that night after night.

If you are old enough to remember and appreciate The Rat Pack, or were born a little after their Vegas heyday but are curious about what it must have been like and love that “old Vegas” vibe, this is a show well worth seeing.

The Rat Pack Is Back plays The Sahara hotel. Check times, costs, and availability at

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Joyce Mitchell wrote:

> Hi, Ted!
> Thank you for your great newsletter. I really enjoy it. We
> returned from a four night visit to Vegas and are looking forward to
> the next visit — we go at least once or twice a year. Vacations in
> Vegas are real vacations — you can rest, relax, or be as frantic as
> you might be inclined, and all your old worries and troubles are far
> away in a different world. If you tire of noisy casinos, you can
> visit desert, canyons, or mountains. I recommend it! (People
> watching is high on the list of diversions!)
> I would like to comment on the new slots. People with a limited amount
> of cash to blow — like me and my husband — enjoy the
> sensation of putting in coins. We don’t even use the option of
> spinning on credit; we cash out the coins first. Besides, it seems to
> make your money last longer(!). While I understand the casinos’
> appreciation of paper slots, from my point of view — yuck! Washing
> your hands often makes a lot of sense anyway when you are messing
> around with machines that lots of people handle. And on a slightly
> different note — we don’t care for the “computer games” either. Give
> us an old fashioned one-game slot any day. (I guess we must be “old
> fashioned” people; FYI, we are both over 65.)
> We like to stay downtown, especially at the Golden Nugget.
> It is convenient and you get more casinos for the same amount of steps.
> Plus, the Strip is just a few minutes away.
> Keep up the good work, and thank you again.

We did a poll on this about a year ago, but with so many new readers, I’ll do another one. How do you feel about coinless slots? Vote today at á!

Gloria Davis wrote:

> Unfortunately I allowed myself to be persuaded to stay at the Riviera
> Hotel while attending a conference in Las Vegas. I will never do that
> again. First there were the long lines at registration. After
> standing there for 45 minutes, I was given a room whose carpet was so
> soiled, I promptly returned to the desk for a reassignment. Guess
> what, another 40 minute wait. The people at the desk were very
> pleasant about the room reassignment and I was given a smoking room,
> had requested nonsmoking, which I did not realize was smoking until I
> reached the room. You guessed right again, I returned to the desk and
> waited in line 45 minutes again. By the time I reached the desk, I
> was not very composed. I know I felt like crying and evidently that
> was noticed. The manager assigned the next room. It was barely
> adequate.
> My next fiasco was following through with a recommendation to try the
> buffet at the Stardust. I was very disappointed in the food. It was
> attractively displayed, but lacked flavor.
> I like Las Vegas and will return but guess where I will not be staying
> or eating. You guessed it.

Unfortunately, with the volume of people Las Vegas hotels handle, sometimes one has a bad experience. If you don’t get satisfaction at the time, be sure to write the general manager of the hotel when you return home. If you are polite but firm and give solid detail, they will often send you freebies ranging from food to free nights on your next visit.

A couple of years ago, I gave the Stardust daily brunch buffet a nice review here, but they have since discontinued the daily buffet format and the quality has waned. Although are archives at and our new show reviews archive at can be a big help, note the date and remember that sometimes things change. Our weekly reviews here are always fresh!

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Your input is welcome. Write us a “letter to the editor” at (click) While space doesn’t permit publishing every letter, we do certainly read them all and they help shape our content. 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 – “How do you feel about coinless slots?” Let’s hear your opinion at — results will be published next issue!

Results from last poll: “Should people bring their kids to Las Vegas?”

No way, no how … it’s a playground for adults. 57%
Only if the kids are teenagers and can enjoy the chaos and 24/7 excitement. 19%
If they are old enough to remember it, bring them. 7%
Las Vegas is a fine place for any family vacation regardless of child age. 15%

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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 2001 Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
June 13, 2001 ISSN: 1529-2770

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