Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley Comes Back to Las Vegas

And you thought he was…dead?  Pshaw!  Elvis performed his last show in Las Vegas and now is back to his old Sin City haunts, if only in spirit.  But his show will, hopefully, run forever. 

Viva Elvis premiered on Feb. 19 and is the seventh Cirque du Soleil show on the Las Vegas Strip. It is one of the centerpieces of the new $8.5 billion MGM Mirage CityCenter, located in a new theater in the Aria Hotel and Casino. 

Viva Elvis features all of his greatest hits set to music and embellished with spectacular sets and effects, dancing and acrobatics. It positively fills the eyes-all the time steering clear of the somber and darker sides of Elvis, thanks to the untiring efforts of Priscilla Presley and Elvis Presley Enterprises to protect the Elvis legacy. 

This is a spectacularly beautiful show and it is one of only two Cirque shows in Las Vegas to employ a proscenium stage rather than using a theater-in-the-round setup. 

There are other singers, but the only male voice belongs to The King himself. The evening opens witha huge video-jukebox. On the screen is Elvis singing Blue Suede Shoes. It’s light, fun and immediately gets the audience in the mood for more of his music. Don’t Be Cruel is next, followed by Junior Clay, the only actor in the show. He is Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker. He comes out to explain that Elvis had a twin brother who died at birth and Elvis missed his twin his entire life. Thus he introduces the next number, One Night– a love song, more shouted than sung and is very effective. But here, for some reason, it’s used to portray brotherly love. 

Two acrobats do their schtick on a large wire guitar suspended upstage center. As they’re doing their acrobatics, there’s a woman sitting at an old upright piano softly playing and singing the song. No argument that Elvis missed his twin. And no argument that these two guys on the guitar are really good at what they do. The only argument is against taking such a passionate number and doing this to it. 

The next scene goes back to Elvis’ childhood in Tupelo, MS. Old photos are projected on the screen as the townsfolk carrying umbrellas come out on the stage and perform All Shook Up as a gospel tune. And the woman singing the song actually changes the lyrics to say “I’m itchin’ like a woman on fuzzy tree.”

The spectacle is a grand and joyous event that will stick in your mind for a long time — a terrific celebration of Elvis’ music. The dancing and acrobatics are lavish and exuberant. The on-stage band is exellent. And the production values are incomparable. It’s just plain fun to watch with wonderful sets, colorful costumes and captivating special effects. 

Yes, the show is a bit pricey in a struggling Las Vegas economy, tickets ranging from $114 to $200, but well worth the price if you can afford it.  Shows are at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Fridays though Tuesdays.  702-531-2031. 

Long live The King!

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Cirque du Soleil Announces New Elvis Presley Show in Las Vegas

Cirque du Soleil has announced the title for its new show based on the life and music of Elvis Presley: Viva Elvis

The production, to be directed by choreographer Vincent Paterson, will take up residence at the new Aria Resort & Casino in the brand spanking new $8.5 billion CityCenter in Las Vegas, beginning performances on December 18. 

Tickets are not yet on sale but the show will open for media previews in December. 

The show will fuse dance and acrobatics, live music and iconic tracks, nostalgia and modernity, high technology and raw emotion. 

While he is most famous for his collaborations with Madonna and Michael Jackson, Paterson has also worked in the performing arts. In 2006, he staged a ’50s style revival of Massenet’s Manon for Los Angeles Opera. 

Cirque du Soleil currently has numerous shows already in Las Vegas, including O, LOVE, Ka, Zumanity, and Mystere. 

The company is also currently touring its Allegria show; recently opened its new show Ovo in Toronto; and another new show, Banana Shpeel, begins performances in Chicago this month and will then play New York.

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Sneak Peak into Las Vegas’ Kingdom of Haute Opulence- CityCenter

Time is getting close for the long-awaited opening of extravagant and opulent Las Vegas entertainment and retail businesses galore.    Not just ordinary businesses, but the most haute and opulent on the planet!

If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be up close and personal with $8.5 billion of opulent entertainment and retail establishments, then don’t miss out this December when CityCenter gradually opens up in Las Vegas. 

With the economy tanking and only slowing recovering, most experts agree that further business casino and hotel developments down the Las Vegas Strip or adjoining properties will be on a hiatus for at least five years, more likely 10 years. 

Las Vegas Backstage Access has written on the many unique CityCenter planned developments, but now has further updates to share.   As casino area slots are being tested, finishing touches are being applied at the Aria casino-hotel tower.   

Some restaurants are on the second floor at Aria, near Elvis Theater, or located in The Crystals, the nearby 500,000-square-foot retail, entertainment and dining district- a city within a city. 

Oversize Elvis belt buckles cover the exterior of Cirque du Soleil’s Elvis Theater.  Reportedly, a “big splash” for this is planned for Jan. 8, which would have been Elvis’ 74th birthday. 

In terms of artwork, there is Maya Lin’s depiction of the Colorado River made out of recycled silver.    Henry Moore’s woman and child reclining is also auspicious, purchased for about $5 million and now worth about $7.5 million– that’s just some of the $40 million spent on CityCenter’s artwork. 

A prominent attraction at The Crystals, is Mastro’s Ocean Club, which is housed in a “tree house,” over the main floor, the 14-foot ice sculpture that magically re-form after a 90 percent meltdown and CityCenter’s version of Rome’s Spanish Steps. 

There is something for everyone at CityCenter.  It will surely be the Las Vegas center of attention for a very long time.

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Celebrity Involvement Fuels Las Vegas’ 2nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

Some serious celebrity star power will fuel excitement at the 2nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Collector Car Auction  (link for schedule and info) in Las Vegas starting on Oct. 7, preceeded first by a road rally at 1:30 p.m. down the Las Vegas Strip before arriving at the event headquarters at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. 

Bruce Willis and Don Johnson will sell vehicles from their private collections; and the “Father of the Mustang,” Lee Iacocca, will provide an exclusive chance to own one of only 45 limited edition Ford Mustangs. In a special charity auction, legendary TV host Jay Leno will sldo donate proceeds from the sale of a one-of-a kind Yamaha motorcycle to Bailey’s Café, an arts education program based in Brooklyn, NY. 

Ranging from a Lincoln Limousine used during the filming of “Die Hard,” to a powerful off-road SUV, a total of six vehicles from the celebrities will all sell at a No Reserve auction from Oct. 7 through 10. 

Because no collector car auction in Las Vegas would be complete without a nod to the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley fans will also have the chance to own a race car used in the iconic 1964 motion picture, “Viva Las Vegas.” 

Bruce Willis, action movie star and one of Hollywood’s most recognizable leading men, will sell his 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 and 1988 Lincoln Limousine.  The Copper Maroon 1967 Corvette convertible (Lot #659.3) features a powerful 427 c.i.d., 435 horsepower Tri-Power engine with a 4-speed manual transmission. Tri-Power ‘Vettes are considered by many collectors to be some of the most collectible versions of the celebrated American sports car. Willis purchased the car in El Paso, Texas, while filming “Last Man Standing.” He later shipped the car to Sun Valley, Idaho, to enjoy during summer trips.  Also a convertible, the black on black 1968 Pontiac Firebird (Lot #659.2) hails from Willis’ hometown of Penns Grove, N.J., where he used to drive to and from the Jersey Shore with his father. Originally used to take Willis to the set of his TV series “Moonlighting,” his dark blue 1988 Lincoln Limousine (Lot #659.1) was also used during the filming of the blockbuster movie, “Die Hard.” 

Lee Iacocca, known as the “Father of the Mustang,” presented the Ford Mustang to the world during a dramatic press conference at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. During his time as Ford Division president and general manager, Iacocca made the Mustang a household name. Now, Iacocca is selling one of the most anticipated limited edition versions of this iconic classic, the No. 5 Iacocca Silver 45th Anniversary Edition Ford Mustang (Lot #3000). 

Jay Leno, one of the most popular TV hosts and stand-up comedians in the country, and one of the world’s most ardent car and motorcycle collectors, will sell his Yamaha Star V-Max motorcycle (Lot #761.1) to benefit Bailey’s Café (www.baileyscafe.org) The educational program based in Brooklyn, NY, uses poetry, theater, video, writing, music, dance, cooking and fine arts to build community and inter-generational understanding and respect in inner-city neighborhoods.

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Elvis Presley’s Second Cousin Sings for Free in Las Vegas this weekend

Baby boomers will surely be in Las Vegas heaven this weekend as Jerry Presley, Elvis’ second cousin, takes the stage Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Eastside Cannery’s Marilyn’s Lounge.JerryPresley

Presley has spent much of his career performing with such classic acts as the Platters, the Coasters, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs and Jackie Wilson. But since 1969, he’s been focusing primarily on his tribute to his second cousin. By now, Elvis’ songs are so iconic that, Presley says, “if you forget the words, most of the audiences can sing it for you.” 

And the real nice thing is the concert price:  It’s FREE! 

Future Eastside Cannery shows are scheduled to include such performers as Gary Lewis and the Playboys, the Association, Herman’s Hermits, The Guess Who, The Turtles and Rare Earth. 

In addition, Eastside Cannery recently began hosting “Classic Rock Saturdays” events. 

Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel is located at 5255 Boulder Highway. Friday and Saturday shows start at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.  702-856-5470.

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Elvis Enters Las Vegas ‘House,’ Prepares for New Cirque du Soleil Show

Elvis?  Isn’t he dead?  Naah.  In Las Vegas, the iconic entertainer never really died- he just morphed into impersonators galore, performing one after-life performance after another.  cirque

Cirque du Soleil is capitalizing on the the never dying Elvis fever big-time, preparing for their new Elvis show “Viva Las Vegas,” slated to open this December at CityCenter, located on 67-acres on the Las Vegas Strip between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo, boasting the largest private development – and most extravagant – in United States history which will add 6,000 new hotel rooms to the existing Las Vegas inventory of 140,000 rooms. 

The seventh Cirque show in Las Vegas will be housed within Aria at CityCenter, a 61-story, 4,004 room gaming property featuring the most technologically advanced green-sustainable suites in the United States. 

Making a marketing splash last Saturday, 22 of the 75 new cast members arrived in street clothes in Las Vegas from Montreal, Canada, Cirque’s headquarters, to a hearty serenade of the theme song from Elvis’ 1964 film by more than a dozen colorful characters from “Mystere,” “Ka” and “Criss Angel Believe,” three of Cirque’s six shows in Las Vegas.  

The new troup arrivals will have three weeks to find a place to settle in Las Vegas before resuming rehearsals. 

The remaining cast members will arrive in Las Vegas over the next couple of days. 

Cirque production manager Mike Anderson promises fans will feel Elvis’ presence in the CityCenter theater. The show, directed by former Michael Jackson choreographer Vince Patterson, will feature dancers, acrobats, “a killer band and a lot of guitar elements,” Anderson said. 

Priscilla Presley, who married Elvis in Las Vegas in 1967, was among a VIP group that got a preview of the show last Wednesday. Also attending was CityCenter boss Bobby Baldwin and Robert Sillerman, who purchased 85 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises in 2004 for $114 million.

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Entertainer Danny Gans’ Death Linked to “Drug Store Heroin”

Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy ruled yesterday that Danny Gans’ sudden death on May 1 in his Henderson, Nevada home at the age of 52 was accidental caused by acute toxic levels of the prescription painkiller clinically known as hydromorphone.    The drug – used to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain – interacted with his other heart and blood disease drugs. 

“Mr. Gans’ health conditions placed him at greater risk for heart irregularities, and the hydromorphone was a factor that exacerbated those risks,” said Murphy. 

The drug otherwise known as Dilaudid, is a highly addictive opiate nicknamed “drug store heroin” that is two to eight times more potent than morphine and  a drug not meant for long-term usage.  Drug side effects include high dose tolerance leading to dependence, troubled and slowed breathing, and impairment of mental and physical performance.  It is such a potent and powerful central-acting prescription drug that it can’t be called in to the pharmacy like most other drugs, but rather the prescription has to be handwritten and personally delivered. 

Some contend that the prescription was not a recent one, rather just an old prescription that Gans kept in his medicine cabinet.

This is also the same drug that was a top favorite of iconic entertainer Elvis Presley, who also died young at 42.  Although Dilaudid was not found in the many drugs discovered in Elvis’ system when he died, he was quoted in the book “Elvis: The Final Years,” as telling the wife of Red West, a member of Elvis’ inner circle, “I’ve tried them all, honey, and believe me, Dilaudid is the best.”

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Burlesque Queens Flaunt Their Pasties in Las Vegas

The Burlesque Hall of Fame’s annual Exotic World Weekend is running now through Sunday at The Orleans in Las Vegas.   The talent gathering includes retired and active burlesque dancers.  It’s been the fifth venue for the celebration in as many years. ExoticWorldWeekend

Burlesque greats like Tempest Storm, Kitten DeVille, and Candy Caramelo (billed as the “world’s biggest showgirl,” flaunting her 46DDD cups) will be on hand (or in hand?) doing their thang. 

“We’re happy to have our own little world,” executive producer Frederic Apcar says of the 800 vintage-wear enthusiasts that are planned to frolic at the event. 

The “Best of Burlesque” pageant will be on Saturday.  On Sunday their “Closing Gala” will star El Vez, the gay Mexican Elvis Presley.  For information, click on over to www.burlesquehall.com or call The Orleans box office at 702-365-7070.

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Liberace’s Legacy Lives On After Death With Monthly Revue

The Liberace Museum has been a part of the Las Vegas Experience since 1979, entertaining tourists and locals while preserving the Liberace star and funding scholarships for more than 2000 students at more than 100 colleges. LiberaceMuseum

“Mr. Showmanship” spent decades entertaining in clubs, theatres and even Carnegie Hall.  While he may be best remembered for his flamboyant style (rumor has it that he introduced Elvis Presley to his first flashy stage costume),  he saw his success as an opportunity to assist others. 

Liberace’s education was funded in large part by scholarships and in his book, ‘The Things I Love’, Liberace wrote, “a lot of good things have happened to me in show business and I want to do what I can to give others just starting out a career boost. I hope The Foundation projects will continue into the future to offer gifted newcomers financial help, and in many cases, artistic exposure as well.” 

As part of the on-going effort to continue the work of the Liberace Foundation and Museum, a new monthly revue will premier at 9p.m. on Wednesday, May 27 at the museum’s theater, 17705 E. Tropicana Avenue. 

“VS. – A Rock Cabaret,” will feature a variety of entertainers and become a regular last Wednesday of the month event in Las Vegas.  The performers on the ticket for this months show include Erich Bergen and Kristofer McNeeley from “Jersey Boys”; and Bobby Black from the Las Vegas Tenors and Melanie Taylor from “Ultimate Manilow: The Hits”. 

Tickets are $20 each.  For more information, 702-798-5595 extension 14 or at http://www.liberace.org/

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Elvis Investors All Shook Up in Las Vegas

The Elvis-themed resort planned for the Las Vegas Strip may not become a reality.  A group of investors who had planned to build the resort on the 18 acres across from CityCenter could be forced to sell their property because of a default on a $475 million mortgage loan. 

New York-based FX Real Estate and Entertainment said its lenders informed the company on April 9 of the bank’s intention to sell the land “to satisfy the principal amount…owed to them under the mortgage loan and secured by the property.” 

FX said it would not be able to resolve the default issue by the May 18 deadline and “is considering all legal options, including bankruptcy proceedings” to prevent the sale of the property.

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All Rise: The King is Back in the Building

For some, death is really not in their cards, it’s just a lifetime spent in purgatory.

Keeping with tradition, Las Vegas will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley this July with one of the largest Elvis conventions in the world. According to John Stuart, a long-time Las Vegas producer and the mastermind behind “Legends in Concert,” an award-winning celebrity impersonation show in Las Vegas, the idea is to bring back to faux life “all major people who were in the original concert 40 years ago.”

Though not an original Elvis band member, Sean Klush, the BBC’s “World’s Greatest Elvis” in 2007 is also planning to make his sparkling appearance. 

Elvis fans will get a a chance to take a special backstage tour and even participate in an Elvis impersonation contest. 

The King’s once-in-a-lifetime revival extravaganza is scheduled for July 15 through 19 at the Las Vegas Hilton.

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Las Vegas Mayor Gets Permanently ‘Waxed’

The gin-loving, always jovial Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman gave his classic toast and thumbs-up pose, then joined the historic ranks of Madame Tussauds’ collection of wax-recreated oscargoodmancelebrities  in Las Vegas on March 26. 

The former mob attorney, who has served as the Las Vegas mayor for a decade,  now is in his last term of office, had his likeness enshrined as a new part of the permanent Las Vegas collection at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas at the Venetian, being part of the launch of the “Viva Vegas” group of celebrities who have elevated Las Vegas’ fame.  

The Goodman statue cost $250,000 to $300,00, looked a little taller and slightly slimmer (maybe it was the Gin imbibing from the prior night?) than the real deal, who also was sporting a wilder hairdo than the wax model.

Mayor Goodman quipped during his induction that his likeness was ‘scary,’ but the wax hall of fame was an “important step for Las Vegas,” then questioned:  “Is it strange to be named a celebrity when you have a fairly serious day job?”

Madame Tussauds representatives said “Viva Vegas” represents one of the most ambitious and interactive presentations in the attraction’s 10-year history.  The new exhibit not only features Goodman but 26 other wax figures from Las Vegas’ storied entertainment annals, including Elton John, Bette Midler, Blue Man Group, Liberace, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and, of course, Elvis Presley.

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Elvis is Back in the House

There are Elvis impersonators aplenty in Las Vegas, but one of the most popular is Trent Carlini.  Starting this Monday, March 9, Carlini will be officially launching “Elvolution” for seven shows each week in Steve Wryick’s magic theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. trentcarlini

Carlini, who came to Las Vegas in 1990, performing in “Legends in Concert” for six years, then followed for five years in “The Dream Kings” in the Boardwalk, says the “Elvolution” title is about how much Elvis fandom has evolved since Elvis’ death in 1977.  “People are actually appreciating the (tribute) artist’s talent other than enjoying the Elvis music.  People recognize me more as a talent more than someone just hiding behind a mask.”

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Barack Obama’s Inauguration Plays on Huge Las Vegas Hilton HDTV

The Las Vegas Hilton is opening its main headliner theater – where Elvis Presley launched his comeback – to the public on Tuesday, January 20, and will be the host for a special viewing of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.  The doors will open at 8 a.m. for this history-making event that will be shown on an 18-foot-by-32 foot HDTV with state-of-the-art theater sound.

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Elvis Plans to Bail Out of Las Vegas

Some fortunate Las Vegas entertainers live on in their death and later become business entities because of their larger than life presleycharismatic persona- or at least we thought so, that is until our current economic financial crisis has imbedded its nasty fangs into virtually every sinew of Las Vegas business life.

 

FX Real Estate and Entertainment had a dream that started back in 1998 to build an 18-acre Elvis-themed resort on land they purchased in six separate transactions that occurred through 2005.  It was to be built across from the CityCenter project that is now under construction and would stretch from where rental properties stand now, from the Harley-Davidson Café on the corner of Harmon Avenue to the Smith & Wollensky building just north of the MGM Grand.

 

Back then the business concept sounded great to Robert F.X. Sillerman, whose publicly traded company CKX, Inc. owns the name and image of Elvis Presley.  The idea was also well received by Graceland hotel developer Paul Kanavos and residential and commercial developer Brett Torino.

 

But their lofty dreams and plans were largely dashed back in September when FX noted the all too familiar “dislocation and turbulence in the capital markets.”  They have now defaulted on their $475 million loan from Credit Suisse and are on the verge of losing the land – and their dream – through foreclosure.

 

Yesterday FX, which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ, had a 10 cents per share close, a fall from their January 10 offering-day high of $10.02 per share.

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