Las Vegas Correspondence – November 2019


The holidays are right around the corner: do you have any money left to spend?

I don’t know about you, but I could use some free or less costly things to do before the shopping season hits my wallet for the December holidays. So, I scouted around The Strip area first to see what’s going on.

Tram rides are free! 

There are 3 sets of trams available on the west side of The Strip.  You should take them for the fun of it and to save a few footsteps.  You will hear time and again how far it is to walk from one hotel to the next.  It is true that it can seem like you are walking forever, especially if it’s 100+ outside.  Of course, our winter weather is gorgeous and the outdoors feels really nice, but you still have a lot of walking to do in and out of hotels and down The Strip.

If you are here for 3-4 days you should split up your visit and do a section of The Strip each day.  For the trams I usually park at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino to start my riding.

A tram will take you from Mandalay Bay to Luxor Hotel & Casino to Excalibur Hotel & Casino and back.  Pay attention to your route on this tram.  If you are boarding at Mandalay Bay it will stop at the Luxor and then go to Excalibur.  But if you are going from the Excalibur it bypasses Luxor and goes straight to Mandalay Bay.  This tram is free, no matter which way you go!

While you are in this area you should explore the Luxor.  Have you actually been in and around it?  I don’t mean parking in the back or taking the tram in from Mandalay Bay or Excalibur; I mean walking in through the front door from the street.  It is truly amazing — the architecture of the outside of this building, or buildings should I say.  But speaking of trams, it is also worth it to go from the tram into the entrance to the building for a nice photo op.  This is one of the better hotels to check out, inside and out, and just looking up while you are in the pyramid will take you some time.

Onward to the next free tram!  Once I get to the Excalibur I walk across the footbridge to New York-New York Hotel & Casino, walk through the casino and exit out the door at the far end of the hotel, closest to The Strip.  Of course, while I am in New York-New York I always walk through the cobblestone streets and look at the “steam” coming up from the manhole covers.  (I think I need to do some in-depth coverage, one by one, of all of the hotels to give you the ins and outs of my great affection for Las Vegas … but back to the trams ….)  I walk over to just past the Park MGM and Aria Resort & Casino and take the free tram there which stops at the Aria and Bellagio Hotel & Casino.  This tram is named the Aria Express, and the station is called Aria Express Park MGM Station.  It is a little hike from the New York-New York to the station.

Once you are in the Bellagio, don’t forget to go through the current fall or holiday display in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens and view the glass art by Dale Chihuly in the lobby ceiling located right next to it.

Now, it’s a little — okay, a long — hike from Bellagio down to The Mirage.  Unless you just want to get all of the free tram rides out of the way in one day, you should do it the next day and park at either the Mirage or T.I. (Treasure Island) Hotel & Casino.

Or if you are in the area visiting The Venetian Resort you can cross the street and get this free tram ride from the Mirage to T.I. or T.I. to the Mirage.  The Mirage tram entrance is outside of the Mirage.  This tram reminds me of a cable car and the ride is pretty short.  This is not a go-out-of-your-way freebie to enjoy; just do it if you are in this vicinity of The Strip.

Speaking of the Venetian, you should walk down the walkways surrounding the 2nd Floor canal in the Grand Canal Shoppes.  Watch the gondolas go by under the bridges and people watch in St. Mark’s Square.  You can also see the gondolas on the outside of the Venetian, but the architecture, water and decorations inside the hotel are outstanding to view.  You are guarantee to spend a couple of hours just on this floor.

The Venetian also has street performers throughout their location to entertain the visitors.  You could see stilt-walkers in St. Mark’s Square or magicians, jugglers and even living statues and might experience their free Streetmosphere show with performances by opera singers running on the hour, starting at noon.

If you are in need of a place to sit for a while and craving some entertainment you should hit Harrah’s Hotel & Casino for their Piano Bar.  Harrah’s is the next hotel south of the Venetian (remember, “next hotel” is relative in distances here!).  While Harrah’s has several bars, this bar/lounge has lots of entertainment going on from early afternoon throughout the evening, and it’s free.

From 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., the Saxman Duo performs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Big Elvis (Pete Vallee) sings “The King’s” hits 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  From 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, Rusty’s All-Star Karaoke encourages you to belt it out with the best of them.  And, speaking of duos, identical sister twins duel it out for your high rating nightly at this bar, beginning at 9 p.m.

Down the street, on the same side of The Strip is Paris Hotel and Casino.  If you walk through their street area, which has the bakery, buffet and shops, you will see mimes working the crowd.  Or they could just be standing there waiting to see if you notice them in their normal, ordinary looking poses.  And you could also see them outside in front of Mon Ami Gabi working the tourists who are unsuspecting.  It’s free entertainment.

As much as I would like you to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris, it is really not cost effective during this visit if you are trying to save money.  While you can stay at the top for as long as you like, you still have to pay a minimum of $18 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for an adult.  Yes, you could buy a $50 package for 2 adults and 2 children, but that is strictly up to you and your budget.  There is a discount of $10 off for Military and Seniors during this time period, and Nevada residents and students can receive 50% off the standard prices.

Circus Circus Hotel & Resort has an actual circus and carnival midway inside their building.  The circus performers begin at 11:30 daily and run until 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 12:30 a.m. on Friday, 1 a.m. on Saturday, and 12:15 a.m. on Sunday.  The performances are all free to attend.  Don’t get hooked on the midway because that defeats the free and less costly theme for this month!

Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on Las Vegas Blvd., north of The Strat, has free entry.  You might get lucky and see one or more of the stars from the hit TV show during your visit.  They are open 24 hours for your convenience.  If nothing else, you will see the memorabilia and, maybe, even purchase a souvenir.  Keep an open mind when shopping here since this is a pawn shop.  The idea is to get a look inside and see how it compares with the TV show.  If you want to meet any of the stars, and they happen to be in the building, they might charge you for the privilege.  Be smart dollarwise and weigh your options before you commit to the meet-and-greet or any collectible purchase(s).

— Pauline Cimoch



Nothing excites Diamond Jack more than the re-opening of an expanded buffet. Buffets made Las Vegas famous, and they remain as popular as ever. This all-new buffet is the Market Place Buffet at the Rampart Casino — one of the few with an outdoor patio. Guests experience a variety of culinary tastes, such as the Carvery with cuts of the day and rotisserie favorites; Farm Stand for salads and soups; Euro with Italian and Mediterranean delicacies, made-to-order pastas and brick oven pizzas; Global with a variety of Asian favorites; and The Sweet Shoppe, with its impressive selection of house-made pastries and gelatos. The 700-seat buffet also brings back themed feasts, including Wednesday Aloha Night, Friday Crab Feast, Saturday Lobster Feast, as well as the Saturday/Sunday Weekend Champagne Brunch. 702-507-5900.

Diamond Jack had an opportunity to meet Tim Burton at the opening of his “Lost Vegas: Tim Burton @ The Neon Museum.” Burton is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most imaginative and visual filmmakers. The exhibition comprises sculptural and digital installations that celebrate Burton’s links to Las Vegas and its historical neon heritage. These artworks, many of which are site-specific creations, are displayed in the Neon Boneyard. His artwork fits in with the museum’s landmark sign collection, which was prominently featured in Burton’s 1996 film “Mars Attacks!” Burton’s past exhibitions have drawn millions in Melbourne, Los Angeles, Paris, Prague, Tokyo, and Mexico City, and his exhibition in New York City drew over 800,000 visitors, making it the third most attended exhibition ever. The Neon Museum is at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North.

Mrs. Goldberg was slowly ambling down the street when she met Dr. Cohen, her physician. Dr. Cohen greeted her and asked, “How are you feeling?”
For a moment the woman gave the doctor a terrible stare and then said, “You ask me how I’m feeling? I’ll tell you how I’m feeling. My legs hurt, my chest is sore, my heart is beating too fast, and I can’t sleep. I also have horrible headaches and stomach pains.”
The doctor looked at the 85-years-old Mrs. Goldberg and asked, “If you’re feeling so awful, why don’t you come and see me right away?”
Mrs. Goldberg sighed and said, “I was just waiting until I felt a little better.”

— Diamond Jack Bulavsky


Celestia at the Strat Adds New Acts and Close Up Look

Since opening last June, the international production “Celestia” celebrated 160 shows in thee state-of-the-art theatrical black-and-white tent next to The STRAT with tickets now on sale through June 2020. In August, the tour de force of acrobatics, technology, artistry and imagination dazzled television viewers when it performed on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

The death-defying production is adding new jaw-dropping acts and breathtaking production elements, including a brand-new fire spectacular. Set within a celestial world the journey is brought to life through elite acrobatics and dance, aerial feats, live music, and technology. “Celestia” showcases a talented troupe of more than two dozen multicultural performers showcasing mind-blowing contortion to the Wheel of Death act, including Sergey and Sasha, the hand-and-head balancing father-daughter duo featured on seasons 10 and 13 of “America’s Got Talent,” as well as the Sandou Trio Russian Bar, who appeared on seasons 3 and 11 and were also featured in the hit film, “The Greatest Showman.”

Beginning Friday, Nov. 1, “Celestia” will offer a rare behind-the-scenes look at the one-of-a-kind immersive production with a complimentary 30-minute open house every Friday and Sunday at 4 p.m. Audiences will have the opportunity to witness the magic of this award-winning show up close and personal, where cast members will demonstrate their jaw-dropping talents and training techniques within the 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art theatrical tent.

“Celestia” has eight performances weekly, with 7 p.m. shows on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets range in price from $29 – $99.

Ian Bagg Offers Late Show at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club

At The LINQ Promenade, Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club is expanding its programming to offer 10 p.m. shows on Thursday nights starting Nov. 14 with Ian Bagg having a 15-show limited engagement through June 29, 2020. Bagg embraces the unpredictable and pushes limits with his audiences.

Bagg is a touring comedian flying more than 100,000 air miles annually, and the host of the weekly podcast, “Ian Bagg Bought a House.” His quick wit, off-the-cuff antics, playful conversation and fast-paced crowd work has earned him spots on some of the best stages in the world. He earned a top-five finish on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” where he performed a national tour. Bagg has appeared on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Tonight Show,” “Adam Corolla Show,” “WTF with Marc Maron,” and “The Wrap Up Show” on Howard Stern.

The LINQ Promenade Adds New Features

Magic shows, live performances and art installations are now part of The LINQ Promenade’s ongoing array of free attractions. The open-air retail, entertainment and dining district has added several distinctive new acts and art, including a close-up magician, strolling pianist, “piano gymnast,” LED drummers and other street performers. Atmospheric entertainment takes place nightly and offers fun photo opportunities.

As an addition to their entertainment and ongoing street art demonstrations the open-air district has also added a blacklight-mural created by the extraordinarily talented artist, Gear Duran. Also known as Gearboxxx, Duran is the owner of GBX3 Studios, where he creates one-of-a-kind art pieces and murals.

— Jackie Brett


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