Access Vegas Insider Vibe – March 14, 2001

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This Issue: Viva Las Vegas

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

EDITORS NOTE: I just checked, and we now have readers in over 50 countries around the world! Some of those readers are Rick Springfield fans, and were very upset about my review last week. We’ll feature their comments in the Feedback section.Good News! We’ve been able to bring back the $25 rebate for booking rooms online — details at the bottom of the news section. The weather is going to be pushing into the mid-80’s Sun. – Wed. of this coming week. If you live in a cold weather climate, might be a good time to sneak in a quick Vegas trip!LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:MARCH MADNESS – is here, and combined with Spring Break the town is hopping with excitement! If you want a little “behind the scenes” look at what goes into coming up with the sports book numbers for all of the tournament games, the story is at

ALWAYS PLAY LOADED – No, not drunk. That option is up to you. But you don’t want to be like the Utah man who lined up all of the Megabucks symbols a few days ago with only two coins in the machine when the maximum bet is three coins per pull. Instead of winning the $8 million jackpot, he walked away with $10,000. Not a bad chunk of change, but every day for the rest of his life he has to wake up knowing he could have been a millionaire. With rare exception, standard slot and video poker machines pay much more when you hit the top jackpot with full coins in. If you can’t afford to play a machine “loaded,” move down to a lower denomination machine.

MEGABUCKS HITS! – This JUST came in before I got ready to send this. A New Hampshire man who was playing with three coins in hit the $8 million jackpot at The Orleans earlier today.

NO STORM YET – Last week, we reported the debut of this new show was set for March 22. The debut has been delayed, with no new date set.

BABY’S – Night Club at the Hard Rock hotel is growing in fame for their celebrity visitors as well as hosting events like Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s recent birthday party. They are allowing us to offer you E-vite Tickets for upcoming events at Baby’s. They will send you an E-vite ticket via E-mail that will be PRINTED OUT BY YOU and have your Name, Date of attendance, and amount of guests (+3 max.) which will be checked at the door.

Requests MUST come from attendee. E-vites are good for free admission and Line pass on Thursday’s and $5 off admission and line pass for Fridays and Saturdays. These Tickets are only good for the date on the ticket. Reply to (click) and send your *Name, *Date you want to attend, and *Amount of Guests (+3 Max). No other info is needed.

THUMP – This Friday night dance show aired nationwide on WGN (12:30 AM Pacific) is now shooting at Club Rio inside The Rio hotel on the first Friday of each month. They tape all the episodes for the month on one night, so this is a good chance to get your mug on TV and let your friends see a little of your Vegas vacation.

GROWTH – Nevada’s population since 1990 grew by nearly 800,000 to nearly 2 million last year and the Las Vegas area has ballooned to more than 1.3 million people. Story at Before you rush to move here, you might want to read a recent Christian Science Monitor article which compared Reno and Las Vegas and highlighted Southern Nevada’s problems in a stark manner. Story at

THEME WEDDINGS – In Las Vegas, you can get married dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, Merlin the Magician, the Godfather, Dracula, Mr. Spock from “Star Trek,” King Tut, King Arthur, and of course the king of kings in Vegas, Elvis Presley. “Do you agree to adopt each others’ hound dogs, not to wear your blue suede shoes in the rain? Then, by the powers vested in me, the king, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss. Thank you, thank you very much.” Full story at,1136,38000000000106245,00.html

WINNERS! – Maureen Smithson of the Canary Isles and Suellen Reed of Las Vegas won the autographed Mac King T-shirts. Karen Chatsfield of Queensland, Australia won the PR photo set.

$25 HOTEL REBATE — you pick the hotel! Our partners at Hotel Reservations Network are giving you $25 back on any 2+ night stay in Las Vegas or any major city they reserve. Claiming your cash is simple:

1. Print out:
2. Book a room online at
3. Send in for your rebate when you get home.

It doesn’t get any easier than that, and you get their low price guarantee
to boot!

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

CONCERTS AND SHOWS:COOK E. JARR – The Las Vegas lounge icon brings his show back to the outdoor Carnival Court at Harrah’s for another season. Singing everything from the 70’s to the present, Jarr has been featured on MTV, VH-1 and Comedy Central and must be seen to be believed. When he performs, it is an instant party. Performances are Friday and Saturday night at midnight, with no cover and a two drink minimum. More information on Jarr is available atáSHOW REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:* Crazy Girls –
* Second City –

SHOWS – 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

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

DINING RESERVATIONS – For a small service fee, you can now guarantee reservations for that “special night out” during your visit at

RESTAURANT REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:

* Blue Note (Aladdin) –

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

Friday – 69 ░F / 48 ░F Windy
Saturday – 68 ░F / 51 ░F Windy
Sunday – 85 ░F / 53 ░F Partly Cloudy
Monday – 84 ░F / 54 ░F Partly Cloudy
Tuesday – 82 ░F / 52 ░F Partly Cloudy

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Viva Las Vegas is about as close as you can come to a generic budget Las Vegas show. Fortunately, the price is modest and it doesn’t claim to be any more or any less. Las Vegas’ longest-running afternoon show combines singing, dancing, and comedy into an entertaining little mix.

Principal singer Natalie Carson opens the show and performs a number of songs throughout Viva accompanied by five sexy female dancers. It makes good entertainment and pleasant eye candy.

The comedy lineup is subject to change, but they manage to always have a couple of pretty good talents. The emcee (who’s name I failed to record — my apologies) had a few new twists on the standard Vegas jokes (losing at craps, the all-you-can-eat buffets) and kept everyone entertained.

Big John” Bruce Mickelson appeared later with his special brand of southern humor, playing the “good ole’ boy” that he probably is, and building up a great comedy performance with his comments on the way things are between men and women today.

Viva Las Vegas shares the showroom with American Superstars (reviewed ). While a little bit boxy, the room has the latest in lights and sound and is large enough that you are seated around tables with plenty of elbow room. This helps contribute to the over quality feeling for a somewhat no-frills show.

The closing act is “Golden” Joe Baker who does an Elvis impression that is like none other. Kind? No. Entertaining? Not bad.

Viva Las Vegas performs daily except Sunday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in Stratosphere’s Broadway Showroom. Tickets are $13.95 plus tax and may be purchased at the Stratosphere. Check by the casino cage first, as they have a rack of coupons that allow you to get the show free with the purchase of two drinks ($9.95). The show is “all ages,” but there are bare bottoms on the dancers and a few swear words and slight raunchy jokes in the comedy bits so bring children at your discretion.

Because the Stratosphere is located at the far north end of The Strip, it is wise to spend a few hours and take it all in. This time of year, you can catch the 4:00 PM Viva Las Vegas, head up to the top of tower for happy hour in the lounge (which lasts until 6:00 PM) enjoying cocktails with the view, and get to watch the sunset shortly after. Seeing both The Strip and downtown morph from day to night with that panoramic view is a fantastic experience. Also, you can buy a discounted ticket at the box office which includes tower admission and a buffet, getting both at a savings.

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Editor’s Note: I received more negative email regarding last week’s review of “EFX Alive” starring Rick Springfield than I have ever received regarding any topic. While some of it was from subscribers, it appears that some was also orchestrated by fan club members (or similar). Guess what, Springfield fans: I grew up listening to Van Halen and Def Leppard and playing heavy guitar. If there was any guy I wanted to say nice things about, Springfield is one of them.

Unfortunately, the fans missed a very large point: I don’t write reviews to make a certain casino happy, nor someone’s fan base. My obligation is to the regular readers who spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to come to Las Vegas. Their time is valuable and my goal is to present honest information that helps them make the most of your precious time here.

I am going to devote the letters section this week to their comments as my responses might provide a little insight into the “how” and “why” of my reviews. Because many of the letters echoed the same comments, and some weren’t signed, I will not be acknowledging specific writers.


>I would like to offer explanations as to your
>other observances.á Firstly, please remember that at
>the time of your review this show has not even run a
>full six weeks.á During this initial period, Rick has
>been hit not once, but twice, with extremely bad colds
>and throat problems — to the extent of cancelling two
>days of shows and barely making it through another two

Given that terrible bouts of cold and flu have been going through town the first two months of the year, this might explain some of the vocal problems and even the uninspired acting in the first act. I have been invited back to take another look at the show, and will do so in two months then file an updated report.

>The review of the FX ALive show in Vegas was very poorly done.á He
>claimed that the fan in the audience that Rick Springfield talked to,
>and talked on a cell phone was staged.á Well he obviously hasn’t been
>to any Rick’s concerts.á Nothing Rick does with the fans is staged.

It is staged. Mike Weatherford of the Review-Journal noted the same at I was informed that on tour he takes a phone from an audience member during “Don’t Talk To Strangers” and calls one of their friends. But I felt that staging it made for a very weak part of the show, and one that people outside of a star’s fan base wouldn’t find very interesting.

>I hope that your company provides health insurance.á Obviously this
>man is in need of medical attention for his ears.á His hearing must be
>fading.á Anyone that thinks Rick Springfield has limited range has
>some type of problem.á You have never heard Inside Silvia then either.
>He is a very talented musician, and has brought a renewed energy to

Many wrote similar to the above, noting the renewed energy Springfield brought to the show. Interesting, considering that Tommy Tune did about 10 straight minutes of tap dancing as well as dancing his way through much of the show. I’m not much of a Broadway nor a Tommy Tune fan, but I can’t say that the Springfield version had more energy.

>Maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to rip on him.á He was approached for
>the show many times before he finally agreed so obviously someone
>other than you knows talent when they see it.á I have seen nothing but
>positive reviews of Rick in EFX except for you and one other, but the
>positive FAR outweigh the negative.

Many sent me the list of positive “EFX Alive” reviews. A number of them were from publications that rely strictly on hotel advertising for their revenue. If a hotel is spending $10,000 on a full page ad, you think the publication is going to run a negative review? Just for kicks, I should put a big reward up to ANYBODY who can find a negative review of ANYTHING in the glossy tourist magazines you find in hotel lobbies or hotel rooms. They don’t exist.

Interestingly enough, my comments that the show is pretty spectacular but that Springfield struggled in areas were noted by Mike Weatherford (link noted earlier) and Erin Auerbach of Las Vegas Weekly at

>Opinions are Great, everyone has one.á It is just a shame some people
>get paid to publish theirs.

I don’t get paid a dime to publish this newsletter. In fact, it eats up 15 hours of my week. I own,, and other tourism websites. I started this newsletter because there were so few unbiased sources to help Las Vegas tourists. Instead of having to cozy up to hotels that buy advertising, I make my money from commissions. I can recommend one hotel over another, or one show over another because I’m making the same rate of commission no matter which you decide to book.

I only ask people that if they find this newsletter helpful, please compare our rates next time they need to book a hotel room or rental car not just here in Las Vegas, but anywhere they travel. (If you usually book by calling hotels directly, you might be surprised at how much less expensive Internet rates sometimes are). If we offer the same or better rates, we appreciate your support which you show by booking through the travel partners we link at the top of the newsletter.

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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.

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!

FREE CONTESTS:FREE VEGAS MOUSE PAD AND PLAYING CARDS! Get a Las Vegas Mouse Pad and a deck of retired casino playing cards. This mouse pad features a beautiful view of the Las Vegas Strip taken from the South end of the strip. Now you can work and at the same time set your goal to visit Las Vegas. This is the most popular mouse pad sold in Las Vegas – get yours now free during this promotion! (You only pay $4.95 to cover shipping and handling.)Plus, while supplies last get a playing cards that are actual decks played in the casino, and are retired after a few hours of use. has acquired a limited supply of these playing cards. Many of these cards are not available for purchase in Vegas gift shops. Take advantage of this special 2001 promotion now* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

ONLINE POLL – How do you feel about smoking in casinos? Let’s hear your opinion at — results will be published in two weeks!

Results from our last poll “Who (if anyone) do you come to Las Vegas with?”

Mate (significant other) 35%
Usually alone 26%
Relatives 13%
Close friends 13%
Immediate family 9%
Travel group 0%

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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.
March 14, 2001 ISSN: 1529-2770

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