Access Vegas Insider Vibe – March 7, 2001

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This Issue: EFX Alive

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: It is a beautiful 74 and sunny here today after two weeks of mostly clouds and a number of days of actual rain. Two huge sporting events brought the spotlight to Las Vegas again this weekend: The NASCAR race as well as Holyfield vs. Ruiz made for a crowded weekend and sold out hotels.

LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

RED DRAGON – If you have been in town past couple of weeks, you might have seen the new marquee of the Desert Inn aglow in neon reading “Red Dragon,” new red paint of the front of the building, and a flurry of activity out front looking like a casino grand opening. Truth be told, the film “Rush Hour 2” starring Jackie Chan has been shooting. Story at

STORM – Billed as a “combination live concert event, Broadway theatre experience, and Las Vegas dance spectacular,” this new show at Mandalay Bay opens March 22. The creative mind behind the show has worked with Britney Spears, American Music Awards, Ricky Martin, Madonna, Prince, and more. Band members have played with Ricky Martin and others. We saw 3 numbers at a media preview Tuesday, and the show looks like it has quite a bit of potential. One number features rain on stage, and actual (very light) snow falls on the audience later.

If you go see storm, I suggest sitting toward the back left side (as you face the stage) as one number has the singer suspended over the right side of the audience and another has extensive acrobatic action taking place over the most of the lower section. Until a full show review, I can’t say whether it is worth the $55 / $65 ticket price, but the show is heavily Latin influenced (including at least one number all in Spanish) so take your music and culture tastes into consideration.

NASCAR – Jeff Gordon took the lead with 20 laps to go at last weekend’s race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Stories about the race at:

THE MEXICAN – the new movie release (both partially shot and set in Las Vegas) is drawing some pretty nice reviews, one of which is at

JOHN RUIZ – defeated Evander Holyfield to become the new World Boxing Association champ last Saturday night at Mandalay Bay. Word is that he will fight Mike Tyson next. Stories at:

BRITNEY – Ms. Spears is going to turn her Nov. 18’th concert (much later this year) into a live HBO concert. Story at No ticket info available yet.

PLAYGROUND IN MY MIND – I’d tell you that this #1 hit from 1974 sung by (now) Harrah’s showroom entertainer Clint Holmes is readily found on Napster, but that would be wrong of me to encourage downloading it for free. However, if you can’t find it for sale anywhere, and are curious …



SHOW REVIEWS – Recent reviews appearing in the media:

* Blue Man Group –
* De La Guarda –

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:

* India Oven (just west of The Sahara) –

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

Friday – 68 ░F / 46 ░F Mostly Cloudy
Saturday – 62 ░F / 38 ░F Partly Cloudy
Sunday – 65 ░F / 40 ░F Scattered Showers
Monday – 70 ░F / 42 ░F Mostly Sunny
Thursday – 74 ░F / 45 ░F Mostly Sunny

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“Jesse was a friend …” sang Rick Springfield all over the radio during my high school years, and I was a fan of guitar driven rock. I think I still have a couple of his tapes somewhere. Almost 20 years later, Springfield is the latest star of the MGM’s spectacular EFX show taking over the reigns from Broadway legend Tommy Tune (who replaced teen idol David Cassidy, who replaced Michael Crawford). I’m sure they were after the very positive response David Cassidy got from audiences during his two year stint, but they goofed.

The show itself is still spectacular and one of the better staged shows for the money. Sal Salangsang does a hilarious pre-show warm-up (get seated 15 minutes early) and they have added him in a couple small parts throughout the show for comic relief. The trapeze artists in the P. T. Barnum act have been replaced with a dazzling act called “The Sphere” where a number of athletic circus performers hang and twist from a giant rotating sphere.

The Merlin act with the large animatronic dragons, fire, explosions, and great stunt work are still fantastic. The Houdini segment (the one act where Springfield shines as the infamous magician coming back from the dead for a momentary reuniting with his wife) contains the thrill of a great magic act woven into a touching story. And, the H. G. Wells act continues to contain the best 3-D film performance I have ever viewed.

The problem? Springfield. He practically sleepwalks through the first part of the Merlin act, where the lead flashes back to his childhood reminiscing about the expanse of life as well as bad dreams. Previous performers brought a contemplative, childlike feeling to it. Springfield might as well have been reading it off of cue cards. His acting throughout the rest of this act gives us an indication why his movie career never took off.

He redeemed himself in the Houdini segment. His soap opera experience served him well in the love scene and he played it in a heartfelt manner that would have been nice to see earlier. Maybe a rocker can’t play out a child’s fantasy. Unfortunately, we now know that a rocker can’t sing show tunes. Springfield’s voice is great for guitar heavy, rough singing but his limited range and raspy vocal qualities struggle on many of the songs (many of which have stayed with the show regardless of who plays the lead).

The low point? While he is in the audience during one number, he meets a “fan” whom he invites down on stage. This isn’t new — it has been a staple of EFX for quite some time. The “fan” is an audience plant who is “thrilled” to be meeting the star. In this case, the “fan” even has Springfield use her cell phone to call a friend at home who couldn’t believe what was happening. This bit plays on too long this time around and is so phony that a number of colleagues who were seeing the show for the first time could see it is fake. If you go, this is a perfect time to take a restroom break. Any time would be a perfect time for them to toss this bit and have Springfield take a little concert break and perform two or three of his hits. He does perform “The Human Touch” earlier in the show.

All is not lost. The basic tenants of the show are still spellbinding, from the huge stage sets to the amazingly creative “circus of the future” costumes to the effects which the show derives it’s name from. I last reviewed the show almost a year ago (archived at ), and my comments about the core show still hold true. At the basic price, EFX still delivers the most bang (literally) for the buck in it’s category. And, the standing ovation that Springfield received from women in the audience who probably went to high school about the same time I did suggest a dimension that I am not equipped to appreciate.

EFX Ticket Info

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Julie wrote:

>My fiance and I are trying to plan a wedding for November of 2001 in
>Vegas.á Anyone out here have any tips as to chapels included in a
>hotel?á We will be coming from Wisconsin, with about 20 couples and
>still have not found decent airfare.á We were told November is the
>least expensive month in Vegas.á I would appreciate any help I can get
>to pull this off.á Thanks a lot.

November is the month of Comdex (usually second week of the month) and Thanksgiving weekend, both bringing sold out hotels and high prices. Plus, with the winter months really kicking in up north, many are looking to escape the cold. If you are still flexible, try every different set of arrival and departure days you can make work in your quest for low airfare. Obviously, the sooner you book the better. While I hate to turn away business, a travel agent might be able to arrange a group rate for hotel and air for a party that large and do your research for you.

A few months ago, we queried our readers who got married in Las Vegas, and were flooded with responses which we posted at With so many thousands of new readers on board, this is a good time to point that page out!

Patricia and Doug Davis wrote:

>Can you tell me where we might find the Las Vegas Show Girls (the ones
>like you used to see on TV way back when)?á This is our first trip and
>we would like to see the costumes and pretty ladies dancing on stage.
>I can’t find anything like what I’m thinking about on the web.á I can
>find “ladies in drag,” but we would like to see something like the
>original Vegas Ladies, with their pretty clothes, headdresses, etc.

We have you covered! The two traditional Las Vegas shows left featuring what you describe are Jubilee at Bally’s and Follies Bergere at the Tropicana. Splash at the Riviera and American Superstars (one of the best show values in town) both feature showgirls but not to the same extent. We have archived newsletters with reviews of each:

Jubilee –
Follies Bergere –
Splash –
American Superstars –

Zachary Lee wrote:

>First off, thanks for running a great newsletter, it’s given me a lot
>of great ideas for my upcoming visit to the city of lights.á I just
>had a few questions before i go out there on the 16’th of march thru
>the 21st.á My friend and I love a good blues club- y’know dark, good
>ambiance, and a great blues band to top it off.á We heard about
>Aladdin’s blue note, but I was wondering if you thought it was best.
>If not, how about some suggestions?á Also, we plan to go to a few
>nightclubs.á We heard the voodoo lounge, drink, and Rumjungle were
>good, but again we were wondering what you thought.á Any tips you’ve
>got are well received here.

I have not yet been to Blue Note, but hear it is worth checking out. They have name acts virtually every single night, so expect to pay a concert ticket price. Let us know your impressions if you go! As for nightclubs, The Drink caters to a younger, crazier crowd, Rumjungle has the “beautiful people” (and a line to match at the door) and Voodoo lounge is upscale and a little more subdued but with possibly the best view in town. All are worth checking out — go to the one or two that would be the best fit for you.

Lorrie wrote:

>I hear there is a restaurant designed by Steven Spielberg called the
>Dive.á Supposed to look like a submarine and every so often they’re
>supposed to have pretend submerges.á My husband was a submariner.á We
>are going to Las Vegas in 2 weeks.á How is the food, etc.?á Lorrie

The Dive sunk (closed) last December. Interesting surroundings, great location, but overpriced food (that wasn’t very good).

Tony Padula wrote:

>Hi, Just returned from my annual 2 week stay in Vegas, and had the
>unpleasant experience of getting ill, thought I too had the flu, and
>when not able to shake the feeling decided to visit the emergency room
>at the University Hospital on Charleston.á What an experience that
>waiting room was at 11 o’clock at night.á I wouldn’t recommend it to
>anyone who can afford to see a private doctor.á The wait was an
>experience, but I must say once I got inside, the doctor, who turned
>out to be a practicing nurse (whatever that is), and the other staff
>members were very pleasant and comforting.á I guess I’m getting too
>old to handle 2 weeks in Las Vegas, probably not being a big gambler,
>got sick losing the little bit of money I did gamble away.á They must
>find a way to eliminate the traffic problems they are experiencing
>there.á A bus ride on the strip is an ever ending adventure of stop
>and go, with red lights, jay walkers, and cars.á You really get a long
>ride (time wise), for your $2.00.á Speaking of good buys for your
>money, Stardust has a $2.00 off coupon on 4 very good meal items.
>Westward Ho has a nickel cup of very good coffee, plus a 75 cent foot
>long hot dog, plus other great items, Klondike has a very inexpensive
>food menu, with 10 cent roulette.á As you can see as a visitor with
>limited spending ability, I was able to find all the better deals that
>the normal 4 or 5 day tourist isn’t looking for.
>áá I enjoy your newsletter.á Keep up the good work.

University Medical Center is a highly rated hospital, but it is also a public hospital which can mean long waits for illness that isn’t life threatening while they treat the latest gangbanger who got shot. As for transportation, the monorail is coming but for now you have a tradeoff: the bus is cheap, but very slow. Taxis aren’t cheap at all. Rental cars are a good option when time is more important than money plus you can take all the back roads.

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All contents copyright MM Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
March 7, 2001 ISSN: 1529-2770