Access Vegas Insider Vibe – August 8, 2001

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THIS ISSUE: Steve Wyrick: World Class Magician

EDITOR NOTES: Where have we been? I blew off publishing last week to take care of pressing obligations in other areas, but (knock on wood) we are back to weekly starting this week! I hope everyone is surviving the heat around the US. It is too bad we can’t export our dry air to you.

A few new format changes: The hotel specials have been been expanded moved to the end of the newsletter. When warranted, I’ll have tidbits of interest to local’s in a new area called “Local Notes.” No more weather listings. We have a link instead so you can punch up the most up-to-date forecast before your visit.

In order to keep the length of this newsletter under control, I’m encouraging people with feedback regarding specific Las Vegas hotels, shows, attractions, and general trip reports to post them to our Comment Las Vegas message board at The upside of that is far more people will read your comments over time. We still welcome general letters to the editor.

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LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

BIKINI CONTEST – Mandalay Bay pool will be the site of the World’s Largest Exotic Bikini Contest on Friday, Aug. 31, with over 200 women competing. Full details and photos at

BELLAGIO #4 – The Bellagio hotel-casino has been ranked the fourth-best hotel in the world by readers of Travel & Leisure, a major travel magazine. The $1.6 billion Bellagio was surpassed only by the Four Seasons Resort Bali and Jimbara Bay, the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and the Ritz-Carlton Naples (Fla.) in this year’s rankings, set for release in this week’s issue. The rankings are derived from surveys sent in by the readers of the magazine, which has a circulation of more than 1 million. Full story at

NORTH STRIP – now should be known as the fun end of The Strip. The Strat Tower features two thrill rides over 1000 feet above the earth as well as probably the most spectacular view in the city. The Sahara features Speed: The Ride, the NASCAR Cafe, and $1 blackjack all the time. Kitty corner from that is Bonanza Gift shop, billed as the world’s largest and a fun place to poke around for an hour. On the same corner is Holy Cow, Las Vegas’ first brewpub. Story with photos at

RED DRAGON CASINO – Many in town over the past few months asked about the making over of one side and the facade of the Desert Inn. It was painted red and the marquee said “Red Dragon.” As reported here, this was for the Jackie Chan movie Rush Hour 2. A review of this movie (of which a fair amount was shot in Las Vegas) at

DINING OUT – The economy’s unevenness has caused some restaurant companies to say diners have lost their taste for meals out. But in Las Vegas, many eateries say business now is as good as it’s ever been. Full story at

CANYON RANCH SPA – Today, practically all new upscale resorts include at least a small spa, says Walker, and many of the new spas are downright huge, from 10,000 to 100,000 square feet. In opening the spa, The Venetian, a 2-year-old posh hotel with more than 3,000 guest rooms, wasn’t really taking that big a risk. Like swimming pools in the ’50s, hot tubs and saunas in the ’70s, and golf courses in the ’80s, the spa has become the must-have accouterment of the luxury hotel. Full story at

NORDSTROM – Nordstrom also announced yesterday that construction will begin this week on a store in Las Vegas, its first full-line store in Nevada. The 180,000-square-foot store ù being built at the Fashion Show mall ù is scheduled to open Nov. 1, 2002. Full story at

VEGAS TV – taping for upcoming Travel Channel broadcast include “Vegas Cops,” “Stickmen of Las Vegas,” and “Vegas Challenge,” “Las Vegas Showgirls: Making It,” “Two for Las Vegas.” Full story at and you may remember that we posted info here a few weeks ago for those looking to participate in “Two For Vegas.” Pays to read!

THEMED WEDDINGS – The owner of Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, 1205 Las Vegas Blvd. South, DeCar recently remodeled a portion of an old hotel into a themed bed and breakfast with 32 rooms, including a Gothic room complete with headstone headboards and a coffin bathtub; an intergalactic room with galaxy murals and a spaceship bed; and a Blue Hawaii room, modeled after the Elvis Presley movie of the same name. Full story at

BINION’S POKER ROOM – New Binion’s Horseshoe poker room manager Tom McEvoy plans major changes for the casino’s card room and the World Series of Poker. He plans several big changes to the poker room, which has been hurt by competition for high-stakes players from Bellagio and The Mirage, and for lower-stakes players from locals casinos closer to the homes of Las Vegas residents. Full story at

COFFEEMANIA – We have not had time to check out this new Internet Cafe yet, but it looks promising. The only negative for tourists is the location: halfway between The Sahara and The Stratosphere. The serve gourmet coffee drinks plus tea, smoothies, pastries and other food items from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. High speed Internet access is $6 per half-hour, and access is quick for those with a car (just use the Holy Cow parking garage right behind the place). Full story at

JUBILEE TURNS 20 – Linda Green anchors her long legs under a piece of scenery and starts her nightly sit-ups. Torso rocking up, then back effortlessly, she strikes up a conversation. After 20 years and more than 12,000 performances as a principal dancer in “Jubilee!” she is a familiar part of the topless revue, nearly as much a fixture as the stage. Full story and behind the scenes look at the show at

2002 OLYMPICS – Las Vegas is hoping to benefit from the numbers of world travelers coming to the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, UT (one hour by air and under 6 hours by car). Full story at

ZAGAT – The famous food guide has nothing but good to say about the variety of fine dining options in Las Vegas. Full story at

WINE E-BOOK – People strolling through the Mandalay Bay resort often stop to gaze at the wine tower in the midst of Aureole. Forty-two feet tall, it is more than a conversation piece. It is the heart of Charlie Palmer’s restaurant, a symbol of the role wine plays in the restaurant. The real buzz is coming from the eWine Book, the first electronic wine list that lets diners browse through the restaurant’s catalog of more than 3,500 wines with just the tap of a stylus. 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:

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!


FROZEN FURY 5 – pits the LA Kings against the San Jose Sharks in this NHL preseason matchup Saturday, Sept. 22 at the MGM Garden. Tickets range from $20 – $60 and available by calling (702) 474-4000. Infamous LA Kings hockey fan and syndicated radio talk show host Tom Leykis will be doing his show from the MGM the Friday before the game.

DAYTIME SOAP STAR – Michael Swan, star of the ever-popular daytime soaps As the World Turns and The Bold and the Beautiful is performing in the NightClub at the Las Vegas Hilton through August 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. There is no cover charge or admission.

SHOW REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:

* Ba-Da-Bing (Alexis Park) –
* Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Platters, Coasters –
* Midnight Fantasy (Luxor) –
* Thunder from Down Under (Frontier) –


* 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:

* ESPN Zone (New York, New York) – and

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FEATURE STORIES: Steve Wyrick: World Class Magician

Up at the North end of The Strip in The Sahara hotel, sits a mysterious airplane hanger. Area 51? A deserted air strip? Close — it is the 900 seat showroom for Steve Wyrick: World Class Magician.

While diverse, many of the main illusions follow an aviation theme. The show prelude video shows Wyrick running late and taking a helicopter to the showroom, where he is “lowered through the ceiling” via helicopter to arrive just in time for the show. Another illusion involves him standing in and walking through a huge 747 turbine jet fan. Obviously, a real 747 get engine revved up would suck Wyrick and half the audience into it, but the engine was true to size and made for an enormous and compelling illusion.

The show is huge, not all of the illusions are dependent on gigantic props and staging. He brought a couple of audience members onstage, sat them at a table, and did the 654 club card trick, where despite shuffling and letting the spectators cut the deck, he presents card combinations (4 jacks, etc.) and lays them on the table while he tells the tale of a group of men at a nightclub. What made this work is a live camera operator onstage with the video displayed on a huge screen for the crowd to comfortably see.

However, the majority of the show relies on the huge, Broadway quality sets including one where Wyrick is on a “big city street” set, on a running Harley Davidson (you could smell the exhaust) only to be lifted in the air, vaporized, and appearing at the back of the theater with motorcycle in a flash.

The finale keeps with the aviation theme, as a full size twin engine airplane is made to vanish from the stage in a matter or seconds.

I was left with mixed feelings about the show. Part of that stems from the fact that attendance is on the sparse side. No fault of the show quality, but probably because The Sahara doesn’t have the foot traffic by the front door that other resorts do and 900 seats are hard to fill for any production show.

Having said that, he’s only charging about half of Lance Burton and 1/3 of Siegfried and Roy and you are getting a full scale Vegas magic show with the huge props, the attractive dancers / assistants — “the whole nine yards.” You get plenty of bang for the buck at $34.95 (plus tax). If you are a budget conscious traveler, or taking family and want to see a full Vegas magic show without going broke, this is the show. The upside of the light crowd counts is that you are probably going to get a pretty good seat, even if you are a “walk up ” (no reservations) customer before showtime.

Steve Wyrick – Magic to the Extreme Ticket Info


The Regent Friday pool party is an overwhelming success. $5 admission includes a beer and a hot dog and the pool grounds are large and beautiful. Party starts at 6 PM but picks up around 8 PM. Bikini contest at 9 PM.

“Smooth Jazz” musician Rocky Gordon had a successful CD release party for his new Perfect World CD last Wednesday at Gordon Bierch. He and his talented band play a nice variety of enjoyable modern jazz. Audio samples and CD purchase info are available at

Radio station V108 (107.9 FM) has launched a full advertising blitz to promote the new urban contemporary station. 97.5 FM KBJG just came on the air is the first hip-hop and rap station for the area. KBYE 105.7 FM also just came on the air. They are still testing, and playing middle-of-the-road top 40 from the past and present. Rumor has it that they will turn to smooth jazz when ready for official launch. KSFN 1140 AM continues with the Hot Talk format.

Nordstrom and more variety on the air. Our town is growing up!

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Because of the amount of news in this issue, we are holding letter until next week. Instead of a story, we will devote much of the issue to readers responses.

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Your input is welcome. Because of limited space here, we encourage you to post comments about specific Las Vegas hotels, shows, attractions, and general trip reports to our Comment Las Vegas message board at

For comments or questions regarding topics in the newsletter, 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).


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ONLINE POLL – “How long do you usually stay in Las Vegas?” Let’s hear your opinion at — results will be published in two weeks!

Results from last poll: “When was your last visit to Las Vegas?”

In the last 3 months 22%
I’ve never been 21%
6 – 12 months ago 21%
3 – 6 months ago 20%
1 – 2 years ago 6%
3 – 5 years ago 5%
Longer than 5 years 2%


MAGIC FACTORY DELUXE SET – Courtesy of the Steve Wyrick Magic Shop and Show, this kit ($59.95 value) good for ages 8 and up contains tricks like “Cut and Restored Rope,” “Unlinking Rubber Bands,” and more. Enter by sending a blank email to (contest closed) One entry per person, you must be a newsletter subscriber to win. Deadline for entries: Sunday August 12, 2001. Winner will be chosen in a random drawing from all eligible entries received before deadline and be notified by email.

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Book these specials at

Las Vegas – Las Vegas Hilton, Aug 7 through Sept 6 from $49!
Las Vegas – The Excalibur, Aug 19 through Oct 4 from $79!
Las Vegas – Treasure Island, Aug 19 through Sept 6 from $105
Las Vegas – Nefertiti’s Dream Package is now at the Luxor!
Las Vegas – The Sahara Hotel, Aug 19 through Sept 13 from $42
Las Vegas – The Flamingo Hilton Aug 19 through Sept 6 from $75
Las Vegas – Stay at the MGM Aug 19 through Sept 6 from $79!
Las Vegas – Imperial Palace August 12 through 29 from $55!
Las Vegas – Rendezvous in the Monte Carlo Aug 12 – Sept 6!
Las Vegas – Bellagio Hotel and Casino Sept 9 – 27 from $195
Las Vegas – Spring into Summer with San Remo Magic today!
Las Vegas – Suncoast, Aug 12 through September 6 $49!

Book any above special at


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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.
August 8, 2001 ISSN: 1529-2770