52 Stories - Presented by The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
We’re all storytellers. It’s part of human nature. Everyone has a story to tell, and each one is unique simply because of the voice telling it.
52 Stories is the collective voice of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a unique luxury resort and casino located in the heart of the world-famous Strip.
Machine Dazzle empties a box of industrial-strength ear plugs onto a table and begins unwrapping them one by one.
It’s quiet in the hallways behind the stage adjacent to Rose. Rabbit. Lie. that will soon host The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ new resident show, Opium by Spiegelworld. The plugs aren’t for the performers’ ears, though—they’re for their costumes.
“I get inspired by anything, sometimes from the hardware store,” Dazzle says. “Sometimes I get inspired just by garbage.”
Dazzle steps away from the table to clear space from a couch, just as a performer leaves a nearby dressing room, maneuvering cardboard boxes on her way to the stage. The workshop where Dazzle is creating Opium’s costumes is a bit of a mess right now, with yards of fabric, wardrobe racks, and half-dressed mannequins scattered throughout.
Coffee in hand, Dazzle takes a seat, letting out a sigh and a laugh. He’s dressed in a gray, one-piece mechanic’s jumpsuit, or what he calls his “work uniform.”
“I wear jumpsuits every day. It’s like a dress,” he says. “You put on one thing and that’s it. I don’t care if it gets destroyed, it does everything I need it to. I think it’s like a piece of performance art on its own.”
It’s also a far cry from Dazzle’s wardrobe when he made his debut alongside Opium’s cast in February, descending from an escalator at The Cosmopolitan wearing an ornate dress adorned in silverware. The space-age costume—and the tin foil parkas worn by the performers–hinted at what’s to come when the curtain drops on Opium.
At the time, Dazzle explained that he–like all of the show’s cast members–had answered the call of the universe to join Opium host Harry M. Howie at The Cosmopolitan. They had followed the signs in the stars, for a purpose they’d yet fully define.
All Roads Lead Back to Las Vegas
Dazzle is no stranger to Las Vegas, having visited the city for business and pleasure since the early 1990s.
A native of Philadelphia, Dazzle moved frequently as a child, from Pennsylvania to Texas to Idaho and eventually settling in Colorado, where he attended high school and college (the latter at the University of Colorado Boulder).
Following graduation, Dazzle bought a one-way to ticket to New York City to pursue his artistic dreams. A “self-taught fashion designer,” he found success despite taking a different route than most costume designers.
“I went to school, but I went for fine arts,” he says. “I didn’t study costume and I didn’t study fashion. I’ve never been to a sewing class. I break a lot of sewing machines.
“I’m an artist before I’m a costume designer. I think like an artist but I act like a costume designer, so that’s what makes me different.”
Dazzle’s work with performance artist/playwright Taylor Mac brought him to national prominence, with the pair’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, heralded by a New York Times critic as “one of the greatest experiences of my life.” Yet, while he’s loved living in New York, Dazzle felt drawn back to the desert by the same forces that compelled Howie and the Opium cast to The Cosmopolitan.
“When I found out [Opium] was going to be here, I was like, ‘Oh yeah!’ because it’s such a great hotel,” says Dazzle. “It just kind of felt like a leap of faith, and I said, ‘We’ll arrive and see what happens.’”
The Secrets of Space Theater
Opium is so shrouded in mystery, even Dazzle is hesitant to speak about his work beyond generalities, preferring to leave all surprises for the audiences that will fill the seats of the Opium Theatre when the show opens for previews on March 13.
He can reveal that it’s a comedy-based show, adhering perfectly to his instincts as a “humor-based conceptual artist.” Opium, he adds, also fits Howie’s famous declaration that it would someday be the “first show performed on Mars.”
“Off the bat, I was thinking spacy, like alien,” Dazzle says of his costume ideas.
He pauses, unsure if he’s revealed too much: “I just have a very unconventional way of making costumes. They’re wacky, just because of what they are.”
With opening night looming ever closer, Dazzle is working 12-to-16-hour days piecing together his “wacky” creations, earplugs included. Always at work, either with his hands or in his head, Dazzle will continue to play and perfect things through opening night and beyond, until he doesn’t see the need anymore.
“It’s all a very big collaboration, because you put things on people and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” he says. “Sometimes a mistake is exactly what you want. It ends up being funnier than what you originally thought.”
Craving a steaming bowl of savory carbs? We can’t blame you. Thankfully, Las Vegas is no slouch when it comes to restaurants serving Asian-style noodle dishes. Slow-roasted bone broths. Delectable cuts of meat. Vibrant, farm-fresh vegetables. They’re all here in the mix. Get those chopsticks and soup spoons ready as we share some of our favorite Las Vegas ramen joints and noodle dens.
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Chinatown in Las Vegas
It might come as a surprise to Las Vegas visitors, but there’s an impressive Chinatown just west of The Strip. While it’s a bit more spread out and suburban than other similar North American districts, Las Vegas’ Chinatown stands tall among culinary destinations specializing in Asian fare.
One of the most notable—and animated— options in Las Vegas’ Chinatown is Chubby Cattle, where a conveyor belt delivers vegetables, proteins and noodles (made from unexpected ingredients like taro root) to diners, who then immerse the goodies in mini-cauldrons of roiling broth seasoned to taste.
For Japanese-style ramen, famed Monta draws crowds of noodle-lovers to Chinatown for its delectable pork broth. Recently opened Ramen Hashi specializes in chicken-based consommé. Marugame Monzo dishes up thicker, soba-style pasta, filling bowls with hand-pulled threads and tempura-style crispy additions like soft-poached eggs and shrimp. Gourmet-level mainland Chinese noodle dishes are found at Niu-Gu, including a zippy lemon-pepper beef bowl. And if your palate can handle the heat, try Miàn Sichuan Noodle, which spices things up with chili-laden noodle dishes, including a delicious cold selection.
Taste the Rainbow(l)
South of Chinatown along Rainbow Boulevard is a growing thoroughfare of Asian restaurants with a noodle focus. Watch cooks pull fresh-made wheat dough into skeins of pasta at The Noodle Man. With quick flicks of a knife, the strands fly into a boiling cauldron of water before joining ingredients like beef brisket and black fungus. Further down the road, YuXiang features a mash-up of Korean and Northern Chinese recipes, including samson gan jjajang, which arrives as thick wheat noodles with a side of pork and vegetables in a black bean sauce.
If “umami” is your culinary password, then Momofuku in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is your home base. Even though this David Chang-helmed restaurant is known for its over-the-top, large-format creations, the menu is highlighted by several noodle dishes, including black truffle ramen with egg yolk, chickpea miso and chives, and a ginger scallion bowl with pickled shiitake mushrooms, cucumber and wakame (a seaweed kiss of the sea). There’s even a chilled spicy noodle bowl featuring savory sausage, Thai basil and candied cashews for a touch of sweetness.
Just a short stroll from Momofuku inside The Cosmopolitan is China Poblano, where Chef José Andrés gives Szechuan dan dan noodles a spicy Central American kick with pequin chilies and aromatic cilantro, accompanied by piquant black Chinkiang rice vinegar. Other noodle-rific selections include the playfully named Swallow a Cloud, a rich soup featuring house-made shrimp and pork wontons mingling with egg noodles and bok choy. Pair any of these dishes with the China Poblano Cocktail Experience, a flight of four handcrafted cocktails inspired by Chinese and Mexican cultures.
Las Vegas has become a hotspot for Vietnamese dining, especially at two sister restaurants: District One Kitchen & Bar in Chinatown and Le Phở in Downtown. District One serves an eye-popping, deluxe phở bowl featuring traditional rice noodles and a whole Maine lobster in its shell; Le Phở specializes in five spice-braised duck with egg noodles. Thai pad combos reach gourmet heights at both Chinatown’s Chada Thai and Downtown’s Le Thai.
How’s that polar vortex working for you? Enjoying digging yourself out of your igloo just to risk hitting black ice while you commute to work? No? Well, might we suggest you hop on a plane and head to Las Vegas this winter (forecast this weekend: 67 degrees and sunny), not just to escape the frozen tundra (or a sleepy burg), but also to check out a concert or comedy show at our favorite resort on The Strip, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas?
We’ve lost a lot of musical legends the last few years, but one who thankfully still walks among us is Willie Nelson. At 84, Nelson is still churning out top-charting albums and touring the United States, and he’s bringing his family along with him—including his eerily sound-alike son, Lukas, who made Rolling Stone’s 2017 Hot List. So not only do you get to witness a legend live in an intimate setting, but you also get to be there at the start of what is sure to be an epic career of its own. If you move quickly, there might still be a few tickets available for one of these two shows.
Willie Nelson & Lukas Nelson - Just Breathe (Live at Farm Aid 2013) - YouTube
Brothers, sisters, we hope you got new dancing shoes as a holiday gift, because you’re going to need them when Austin, Texas’ grooving-est indie rock export, Spoon, brings its “Hot Thoughts” to The Chelsea for one night. Formed by singer-guitarist Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno in the mid-1990s, Spoon has remained a fixture in popular culture for more than two decades, thanks to such chart-toppers as “Don’t You Evah,” “Got Nuffin” and “Do You,” as well as radio staples “I Turn My Camera On” and “The Way We Get By” (both of which seemed to turn up in every TV show and movie in the mid-2000s).
Hey, did you miss the first two shows of Adam Sandler’s residency at The Cosmopolitan? If so, then you missed not only a set of earnestly goofy jokes and songs from the headlining comedy superstar, but also surprise appearances from some of Sandler’s fellow Saturday Night Live alumni, including Norm MacDonald and David Spade. We can’t say for sure who will show up for Sandler’s next outing at The Chelsea, but wouldn’t your funny bone really like to find out?
There are few bands who so effortlessly exude “cool” the way that Queens of the Stone Age do. Anchored by the hypnotic croon (and looming presence) of lead singer/songwriter Josh Homme, QOTSA has been playing driving, dirge-y, and, yes, catchy stoner rock for more than 20 years, picking up fans and collaborators such as Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan, and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons along the way. Word is, tickets are going fast for this show, so act now if you want to rock out with the Queens to alt-rock classics like “No One Knows,” “Go With The Flow” and “Little Sister.”
Queens Of The Stone Age - The Way You Used To Do - YouTube
Hey, remember when we told you last fall how one of our favorite trumpet-rocking bands, CAKE, was coming to The Cosmopolitan, bringing undeniably head-bouncing alternative rock gems like “Short Skirt/Long Jacket,” “Never There” and “The Distance” live to The Chelsea stage? We even threw in a “Cake by the Ocean” joke? Well, all of that still stands for this long-awaited, rescheduled CAKE concert on Feb. 17. Trumpet solos and all.
If you’re a fan of Oasis (and really, aside from Blur, who isn’t?), then you’ll be pleased to know that Noel Gallagher has been leading his new band through his old band’s material in their live shows, which means on March 9 you can expect to hear an old favorite like “Don’t Look Back In Anger” or “Wonderwall.” But our advice? Come for the Oasis hits, stay for the new High Flying Birds jams—they’re just as groovy, and even more adventurous. Notably finicky Pitchfork loved Gallagher’s most recent album, Who Built The Moon?, calling it “the most ambitious of his solo releases, internalizing the heyday of late ’90s Britpop while sounding both urgent and absurd to mostly great effect.” Urgent and absurd—perfect music for 2018.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - The Masterplan (live) - YouTube
Is it just us, or does it seem like there’s a law on the books banning the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in Las Vegas unless Flogging Molly shows up at The Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool that week to perform such Guinness-toasting Irish rock anthems as “Drunken Lullabies,” “If I Ever Leave This World Alive,” and “What’s Left of the Flag?” OK, it is probably just us, but let’s face it: a St. Patrick’s Day weekend without a Flogging Molly concert just isn’t the same.
Flogging Molly - Devil’s Dance Floor- Live at Hollywood Palladium - YouTube
As head mixologist for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Mariena Mercer is known for creating inspired libations that have made the center-Strip resort’s bars and lounges must-visit destinations among travelers and locals alike. From the taste bud-morphing Verbena to the misty magic of the Fire-Breathing Dragon, Mercer’s creations are as pleasing to the eyes as they are to the palate.
It’s no surprise, then, that when it comes to celebrating the holidays, Mercer’s talents particularly shine. She crafted an entire menu of specialty cocktails and mocktails for The Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan, which includes such concoctions as Egg Noggy Nog (a steamed house-made eggnog spiked with Old Forester bourbon) and Campfire Delight (which is basically s’mores in a glass). But one thing you won’t find on any menu at the resort is Mercer’s bubbly-infused Poinsettia Punch recipe, which uses one of Mercer’s signature ingredients, Oloroso sherry.
“Punches are great,” Mercer says, “because as a hostess, I won’t get stuck behind the bar all night making cocktails for people. I’m free to enjoy the party as well.”
Mercer’s take on this modern classic is, not surprisingly, all about presentation. At home, she likes to serve the holiday punch in one of the antique bowls found on her travels, but she admits “any bowl will work.” Although Mercer says the punch recipe is “super simple,” she adds a “wow factor” with an icy fruit ring that is both functional and fabulous.
“This recipe is super simple, freeing up some of your kitchen time to let your Martha Stewart out with some holiday décor or canapés,” says Mercer. “I used to spend hours in the kitchen making complex syrups and purees, but these days I prefer beautiful, simple things at home.”
Mariena Mercer’s Poinsettia Punch
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice
4 oz Oloroso sherry
6 oz Grand Marnier
2 bottles Prosecco or Champagne
1 cup fresh cranberries
6 blood oranges, sliced for garnish
12 sprigs of rosemary
6 dashes of Angostura bitters
8 star anise
In a large bowl, stir together the cranberry and orange juices, sherry, prosecco and Grand Marnier. Line a Bundt cake pan with some of the blood orange slices, cranberries, and rosemary. Add crushed ice and pack it in. Place in a freezer until frozen through and then add water to fill in. The fruit and herbs should gather at the top. Dip in warm water to remove. The ice ring should come out in a beautiful, single wreath. Place in punch bowl and pour punch on top. Float in the remaining blood orange slices, cranberries, and rosemary sprigs.
Whether you’re heading to Las Vegas to light it up for the weekend or traveling to Duluth to feast on your aunt’s famous turducken, the Scout Motto always applies: Be prepared. We know your smartphone is your ride-or-die, and it’s probably already loaded with the basics you need to get around: maps, ridesharing, crowdsourced reviews. But before you step into that Uber and head for the airport or train station, consider levelling up your handheld savvy. From protecting your flight to providing entertainment during all those long hours at the airport, there are a multitude of travel apps that can help make your journeys that much smoother.
This app was created by world traveler and tech smarty Anil Polat, who spends a lot of time in airports. Say goodbye to expensive hourly internet connection fees and hello to free Wi-Fi, thanks to an enormous database of global airports and their lounge passwords that Polat has developed. Download the app for $1.99 and then treat yourself to free Wi-Fi whenever you’re heading to the airport. The app works offline, but be sure to sign on in Wi-Fi so it can update (i.e. load it up before you exit your house), and then you’ve got the latest codes for use almost anywhere in the world. Just keep in mind the app’s password database is dependent on its users to stay current, so your results may vary. Download:Apple, Android
Maintain your chill
Does flying make you anxious? Are you trying to find some zen while traveling? Enter Headspace. This groovy app delivers guided meditation and mindfulness training. The free version offers a 10-day beginners course that guides you through how to meditate and breathe. If you’re ready to fork over the cash for a membership (starting at $7.99 monthly), Headspace offers add-on packs designed to work with you to overcome stress, anxiety and fear, as well as boost compassion, sharpen focus, and improve health and wellness. The app even offers S.O.S. meditations for times when you need to breathe/relax/fight an anxiety attack. Download:Apple, Android
No one likes dealing with flight delays. Cancellations are even worse. Protect yourself from the annoyance of having to rebook your ticket if it’s canceled by using Freebird. This isn’t technically an app, but it’s a service you use on your phone, so we’re counting it because of the protection it provides. Simply head to the website to register your flight up to two days before your departure. Then, if your flight is delayed by four or more hours or (gasp) is canceled, it helps you to rebook your ticket … for free. Protect a flight for $19 one-way or $34 roundtrip. Should you need to use it, you’ll get a text message with a link to rebook your flight.
Don’t let traveling interfere with binge-watching Stranger Things. You probably already use the heck out of Netflix, but did you know the app now lets you download select TV shows and movies to your phone without needing an internet connection to watch them (hello, long-haul flights)? Just make sure you have an active Netflix streaming account, with the latest version of the app running on your device. Downloading is available for iPhones, iPads and iPods running at least iOS 9.0, Android mobile devices running 4.42 or later, or tablets or computers with Windows 10 Version 1607 or later. Download:Apple, Android
Guides by Lonely Planet
Let’s face it: Nobody is lugging a massive guidebook around when travelling these days. But relying on your smartphone for trip planning is only as good as your data connection. Save yourself anxiety (or data overage charges) by downloading curated city guides by Lonely Planet ahead of your trip. These downloadable guidebooks are available for all the big cities (and even little ones you’ve likely never heard of), and each comes complete with a map that’s available offline. Find the top picks for where to explore, eat, sleep, shop, drink, and more, with handy reviews and details for each listing. The best part? Lonely Planet guides are free to download. Download:Apple, Android
Bring a translator
There are few situations more frustrating than being stuck in a city where you’re unable to communicate because of language barriers. Download Google Translate and make ordering a cup of coffee in Mandarin a real thing. Type in what you want to say or simply speak in your native language, select the language you need the words translated to, and bam—the app provides both on-screen translation and audio pronunciation. There’s even a camera interface that magically transforms words on-screen in live view or from a saved photo—perfect for translating signs, posters and menus. Download:Apple, Android
Make it rain … pesos
Take the guesswork out of currency exchange with XE Currency. This free app (a paid version is available for just $1.99) monitors and converts every currency in the world, including precious metals. Follow currencies before your trip to see how your dollar is holding up and set up alerts for when the rates rise or drop. Updated in real-time, XE Currency always displays the latest exchange rate—and because rates are stored on your device, the app works even if you’re not connected to the internet. Download:Apple, Android
Adam Sandler has been a comedic movie star for so long, most people might not know—or just plain forgot—that before he rose to prominence as a Saturday Night Live writer and cast member in the 1990s, Sandler was a stand-up comedian. For the most part, Sandler was absent from the live stage as his Hollywood career took off, but recently, the star of Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison and The Waterboy returned to the comedy circuit, headlining with pals like David Spade and Nick Swardson on a series of Netflix-sponsored tours. And on Nov. 10, Sandler will launch his first Las Vegas residency with a handful of dates at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (we know a guy if you’re looking for tickets). To get pumped for those shows, we figured now would be a good time to look back at some of the reasons Adam Sandler became—and remains—a comedy star.
He makes great comedy albums
Did you know Sandler is a Grammy-nominated recording artist? Well, now you do. Over the course of his career, he’s released five comedy albums, the first two going double platinum, and two others going gold, selling a total of 6 million albums. Why? Because they are legit hilarious, folks. Packed with skits, songs and appearances by his comedic pals, Sandler’s albums have inspired several of his movies, and contain enduring bits like the ridiculous “Buddy” from his debut, They’re All Gonna Laugh at You!
Adam Sandler - Buddy [Official Video] - YouTube
He took us to the opera, man
One of Sandler’s most popular characters during his five-year Saturday Night Live run was Opera Man, in which he’d show up on “Weekend Update” in a wig, cape and tux to sing about the week’s headlines in exaggerated faux-Italian. Some of the best moments happened when he tried aping other signers’ styles in the same operatic style, as he did with Eddie Vedder and Harry Connick Jr.
Weekend Update: Opera Man on Vice President Gore and Harry Connick Jr. - SNL - YouTube
He put the “ha” in Chanukah
Let’s face it: Prior to Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song,” its namesake Jewish holiday didn’t really have a lot of prominence in pop culture. (Sorry, “Dreidel, Dreidel.”) But since debuting it on Saturday Night Live and recording it on his second album, the song (which Sandler co-wrote with Robert Smigel and Ian Maxtone-Graham) has become a holiday staple, whose name-checks of (mostly) Jewish celebrities have been updated over the years, to audiences’ delight.
Adam Sandler Chanukah Song - YouTube
He rocked a sweet permed mullet
The Wedding Singer was the first of Sandler’s now-three on-screen pairings with Drew Barrymore, and perhaps the best. In the 1998 comedy, he played the titular brokenhearted wedding singer Robbie, who falls in love with Barrymore’s Julia while helping plan her wedding. Robbie runs his band through a lot of well-known songs from the 1980s, but it’s his performance of one of the movie’s originals, “Somebody Kill Me,” that perfectly blends the Sandler’s musical, comedic and acting skills. (Robbie sheepishly admits prior to playing it, “When I wrote this song, I was listening to The Cure a lot.”)
Somebody Kill Me - The Wedding Singer (4/6) Movie CLIP (1998) HD - YouTube
He’s just one of those Funny People
We basically have Judd Apatow’s dramedy Funny People to thank for Sandler’s return to stand-up after many years away from the mic. To prepare for his lead role as comedian George Simmons, Sandler actually hit real-life comedy club stages, working on material that would end up performed (live!) in the film. Much of Sandler’s film output has been PG-13, so casual fans might be surprised that his stand-up material is decidedly more … adult.
Funny People - Adam Sandler Returns to Stand Up HD - YouTube
Birthdays. Graduations. Weddings. Anniversaries. Divorces. Celebrations come in all forms, and Las Vegas is your one-stop-shop to drink in the merriment no matter what the occasion. So it should be no surprise that when it comes to celebrating Pride, Las Vegas earns its “fabulous” title, in spades. So grab your party pants, disco dress, or sashay shorts and get ready for a week of being out, loud and proud as we run down the best places in town to get down for Las Vegas PRIDE 2017.
Get on your bikes and PRIDE
Las Vegas PRIDE Ride
Kick off your Pride Week celebrations with a four-mile “glow” bike ride through downtown Las Vegas at night sponsored by Las Vegas PRIDE and RTC Bike Share. Meet up at the LGBT Community Center with your own tricked-out set of wheels (the more lit-up bling, the better), or check out a two-wheeler from the RTC Bike Share for $8.
When: Wednesday, October 18 | 8PM What to wear: Anything and everything that glows.
All hail the queen
Queen of Sin City Inaugural Pageant
If you didn’t know: drag is an art form. Break the barriers of gender identity and head to the first-ever Queen of Sin City beauty pageant at the Dallas Ballroom inside Texas Station Gambling Hall & Hotel. Watch as eight contestants from across the country compete in five different categories: interview, showgirl costume, evening gown, Q&A, and of course, the quintessential talent contest.
When: Thursday, October 19 | 6PM What to wear: Something as fabulous as you are. Feather boas are encouraged.
Swing on The Chandelier
The Chandelier | The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Honestly, is there anything more glamorous than sipping craft cocktails while cloaked in shimmering, beaded curtains of light? We didn’t think so, but then we found out The Chandelier bar inside The Cosmopolitan will be lit in rainbow colors for 10 minutes every hour from Oct. 20 – 21. But that’s not all! The multi-tiered lounge is also offering a special cocktail during PRIDE Weekend called “Rainbow’s Reign,” which combines Absolut Pride with Giffard Passion Fruit Liqueur, lemon juice, ginger syrup and a splash of cucumber soda. Even more fun? It has a rainbow lollipop garnish, which makes it look like a magical unicorn. That you can drink. Yum!
When: Friday, October 20 at 8AM – Saturday, October 21 at 3AM What to wear: An outfit that sparkles as much as the million-plus crystals that wrap around The Chandelier.
Strut your stuff
PRIDE Night Parade
Douse yourself in a healthy amount of glitter and head downtown for the 19th annual PRIDE parade on Friday night. This procession of floats, costumery and community vibes starts heading north on Fourth Street in the Las Vegas Arts District and ends at Ogden Avenue, just past the Fremont Street Experience. This one can get crowded, and there are a plethora of bars ideal for hopping, so don’t bother driving and parking—save yourself the hassle (and potential DUI) and rideshare instead.
When: Friday, October 20 | 6:30PM pre-show | 7:30PM parade What to wear: Rainbow colored everything.
Play in the park
Las Vegas PRIDE Festival
Join LGBT families, couples and singles—along with friends and straight allies—at beautiful Sunset Park, where an entire weekend of celebration, education and expression awaits. This year’s two-day PRIDE Festival will feature more than 100 exhibits, booths, vendors and performances—plus just plain great people-watching. Bonus: This year, leashed pets will be allowed throughout the festival, so bring your furry family, too!
When: Friday, October 21, 2017, Noon – 10PM | Saturday, October 22, 2017 11AM – 6PM What to wear: Just do you, really. That’s the important thing. (And sunblock. Lots of sunblock. Especially if “doing you” looks like a day at the pool.)
Don’t stop ’til you get enough
Official PRIDE After Parties
Let’s face it: Anywhere you go after the festival wraps up each day is going to be an after party. You’ll be so pumped up from the weekend’s events, you could just take the crew over to Denny’s and whoop it up over a Moons Over My Hammy and it would still be a blast. But if you’re looking for something a little more official, there are several sanctioned after-festival events worth checking out, including a late-night drag show on Saturday at Flair Nightclub, a Latin-themed celebration the same night at The BackDoor nightclub, and the Las Vegas PRIDE Finale Party at The Phoenix on Sunday night.
When: After you’re done day-drinking. What to wear: Dress to break hearts and shake what ya mama gave you.
The Chandelier photo by Erik Kabik Photography / erikkabik.com
Nobody likes rushing through a meal, especially not in the foodie paradise that is Las Vegas. Here, we dig both leisurely day-drinking at a sunny poolside brunch and decadent, multi-course dinners that are shows unto themselves. But sometimes—especially if one is visiting Vegas for a meeting, conference or major convention like SEMA, CES or MAGIC—that noontime meal needs to be just as expedient as it is delicious. Luckily, there are plenty of perfect spots for doing a power lunch in Las Vegas, including a number of restaurants offering prix fixe menus designed for both maximum efficiency and maximum flavor.
One of the top places to pour over contracts or meet up with friends midday is Estiatorio Milos at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Featuring sunny Mediterranean décor and exquisite Greek cuisine, the gorgeous restaurant is popular for its 45-minute, three-course prix fixe lunch offering. Start with appetizers like organic salmon tartare or tomato-feta salad. For the main course, seafood is prominent, from grilled sea bream to lobster pasta; grilled meats include chicken breast skewers and lamb chops. For dessert, Greek-style yogurt and fresh fruits keep things refreshing and light so you can get right back to business—or the pool.
Triple George Grill
Located in historic Downtown Las Vegas, Triple George Grill has long been a favorite spot for local powerbrokers and politicians to get their grub on. The wood-toned, vintage photograph-adorned restaurant offers a “Power Lunch Special” with a no-fuss selection of a half-sandwich du jour, soup or salad, a side, and a mini dessert with beverage. The extended menu ranges from a shrimp cocktail and French dip to pot roast and fettuccine Alfredo—plus an entire offering of vegan and gluten-free entrees, to boot.
Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
Located across from the Hard Rock Hotel, Ferraro’s is a friendly, family-owned establishment that offers a crop of fixed-price “Love Your Lunch” specials that come with a soup or house salad. Choose from rigatoni with spicy sausage, seared salmon with sautéed vegetables, or seared chicken breast with pancetta and a white wine sauce. If you have a little more time to dine, you can also explore the full menu, which includes handmade noodles dishes, antipasti, panini, vegan options, and the house specialty, tender osso bucco with farro.
This stylish American bar and bistro was one of the first restaurants to bring Strip-quality dining to the suburbs. Located close to the law offices and financial firms of Summerlin, it’s no surprise that Vintner Grill is a popular Las Vegas lunch destination, but proximity isn’t the reason—the creative menu is. Experiment with starters like crispy calamari with haricots verts or wood-fired flatbreads topped with such ingredients as smoked mozzarella, goat cheese or romesco sauce. Sure, there are burgers and sandwiches available, but also intriguing entrées such as bouillabaisse, pan-seared halibut, and bistro steak medallions.
Jaleo by José Andrés
The Cosmopolitan is home to another of Las Vegas’ prime power lunch destinations: Jaleo by José Andrés, which brings Iberian flavor to the center of The Strip. Jaleo’s convenient “Lunch Like a Spaniard!” menu is filled such delicious tapas as apple-fennel-Manchego cheese salad, spicy potatoes, bacalao fritters, sautéed shrimp with garlic, and grilled Catalan sausage. If you have time to spare, add on a fragrant pan of the daily paella, cooked over an open flame right in the middle of the restaurant.
With its panoramic view of McCarran International Airport’s runways, contemporary Italian eatery Panevino offers a scenic spot for power lunchers to dig into its extensive menu. Homemade pastas, diverse salads, pizzas, seafood—whatever you’re in the mood for, it’s there. There’s even a respectable vegan menu with items ranging from eggplant and artichoke bruschetta to grilled vegetable lasagna. In a rush? Stop by Panevino’s handy on-site deli, where soups, salads, sandwiches and more are available on the quick.
With fall approaching, you might be asking yourself “what will I do in Las Vegas after the dayclubs close for the season?” Well, first off: Not all of them close just because the temperature outside drops below 90 degrees. But outside of that, the answer is: go to awesome concerts. And there happen to be some pretty great ones coming to The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan, in particular. Why are they so great, you might be asking? Well, here are seven reasons:
1. Celebrate Mexican Independence Day in style
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. That’s September 16, the day in 1810 when a Roman Catholic priest rang his church’s bell in the town of Dolores, pronouncing the start of Mexico’s war for independence from Spain. What does this have to do with concerts in Las Vegas? Well, Vegas is one of the most popular spots outside of Mexico proper to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, with Latin music’s biggest stars performing throughout the weekend—including at The Chelsea, where you can see chart-topping, award-winning singers Ricardo Arjona (Friday,Sept. 15) and Pepe Aguilar (Saturday,Sept. 16). ¡Viva México!
Pepe Aguilar - "Ni Contigo Ni Sin Ti" en Acceso Total - YouTube
2. Sing along with a Nobel Prize winner
Something magical happened the last time Bob Dylan performed at The Chelsea: The world (and Dylan) found out he received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first time such a distinction was bestowed upon a musical artist. We don’t know what will happen when Dylan returns to The Chelsea on Saturday,Oct. 14 (a year and a day from the date of his Nobel announcement), except that attendees will be treated to a live performance from one of history’s greatest singer-songwriters. Anything else is really just icing on the proverbial cake. And speaking of cake…
Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door (Unplugged) - YouTube
3. Have your CAKE and eat it, too
Everybody loves cake. Some of us even enjoy it by the ocean. But the CAKE you’ll find at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan on Thursday, October 5 is far less likely to give you either a toothache or leave you finding sand in unwelcome places. Instead, this quintet of musical mavericks will get your booty shaking with funky alternative rock gems like “Short Skirt/Long Jacket,” “Never There” and quintessential anti-grunge anthem “The Distance.” No word on whether the band will cook you an amazing meal, however.
CAKE "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" on Guitar Center Sessions - YouTube
4. Make a baby … or just practice
We’re going to come right out and say it: If you want to ease the object of your affection into an, ahem, amorous mood, you’re going to want to bring her or him (or them—we don’t judge) to see Maxwell live in concert on Saturday,Oct. 7 at The Chelsea. The neo-soul specialist has been making music to groove to since the mid-1990s, when he first hit with his debut album, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to classics like “Fortunate” and “Sumthin’ Sumthin’,” expect to hear a lot of cuts from his latest album, black SUMMER’S night, including “Gods,” with which Maxwell dazzled viewers during a live performance at this year’s BET Awards.
Maxwell - Pretty Wings (GRAMMYs on CBS) - YouTube
5. Reaffirm your indie cred
Not a fan of the PIXIES? Maybe you’re a fan of Nirvana. Or Weezer. Or Bush. Guess who they all copped their loud-quiet-loud, feedback-laden sounds from? Yep, basically, there would not have been alternative rock as we know it without the PIXIES, the Boston-spawned quartet led by Black Francis. Although the band broke up in 1993—just as the artists they so heavily influenced were taking over radio and MTV—the PIXIES regrouped in 2003, and have been touring ever since (as well as dropping a few new albums). However, nothing lasts forever, so we don’t recommend sleeping on a chance to see these alt-rock pioneers live at The Chelsea on Saturday, Oct. 21, just in case this monkey goes to heaven … again.
Pixies - Where Is My Mind at Glastonbury 2014 - YouTube
6. Witness the return of the Illmatic
It’s been more than 20 years since the release of Illmatic established Nas as a game-changer in the world of hip-hop, and the New York City-based rapper-actor-entrepreneur hasn’t stopped since. Get lost in the beats and storytelling of songs such as “I Can,” “If I Ruled The World,” and “Street Dreams,” when Nas explodes onto The Chelsea stage on Friday, Oct. 6.
Nas - One Mic (Live at #VEVOSXSW 2012) - YouTube
7. Put a little Irish flavor in your pop music
The Script is one of those bands whose music you know, even if you don’t know it’s them. The Irish trio’s harmony-laden pop-rock has turned up in such American TV shows as 90210, The Hills and The Vampire Diaries. Plus, lead singer Danny O’Donoghue was a coach on The Voice UK, which makes him like, what, an Irish Adam Levine? Anyway, you should get to know The Script better when the band stops by The Chelsea on Sunday,Oct. 15 to support its new album, Freedom Child. Your ears will thank you.
The Script - Superheroes (Vevo Presents: Live in Amsterdam) - YouTube
From public art installations and a burgeoning community theater scene to a major Strip resort celebrating visual art from top to bottom, there’s no denying that culture is not only alive and well in Las Vegas, but in fact, the city is rolling in it. If you’re looking to inject a little high art in between your high stakes, we’ve curated a list that’ll satisfy your cultural cravings and leave you raving about art galleries as much as that killer paella at Jaleo.
Las Vegas Arts District
Did you know Las Vegas has an entire neighborhood devoted to the arts? We sure do. Home to a monthly celebration of arts and culture called First Friday (we’ll let you guess when that happens), the 18b Las Vegas Arts District is packed with art galleries, vintage shops and community theaters (more on this shortly). Visitors are welcomed to this downtown cultural hub by the Paintbrush Gateway–two giant, glowing paint brushes designed by Dennis Oppenheim. Here, you’ll find independent coffee shops like Vesta Coffee Roasters (which roasts its own beans) and the hip Makers & Finders (which should be called “Movers & Shakers” based on its clientele), as well as several popular bars—including ReBar and Velveteen Rabbit—that regularly feature live music and spoken word performances on their respective stages.
The Neon Museum
These days, the Strip is lit with giant, animated LED screens that rival those found in Times Square, so you might be wondering what happened to all those colorful neon signs that used to beckon travelers into myriad gambling halls. Wonder no more: Most of those signs have found a new life at the Neon Museum, located just north of downtown Las Vegas. The two-acre attraction includes the Neon Boneyard, an outdoor space featuring more than 200 restored neon signs from Las Vegas’ past, as well as the newer North Gallery, which houses 60 more recent additions. You’ve got to book a tour to explore the museum—and pay a small entrance fee—but it’s worth it to experience this unique look into the city’s radiant history.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Inside and out, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is loaded with surprises for curious eyes. It starts at the top of the Boulevard Tower, where an LED screen known as The Beacon displays digital delights that can be seen from miles away. The resort’s lobby is home to an array of digital columns that features commissioned art from well-known contemporary talent such as Sarah Rara, Yorgo Alexopoulos, and Yoko Ono. Vintage cigarette vending machines have been repurposed into Art-o-Mats located throughout the property that dispense miniature works of original art. And each level of the subterranean parking garage sports murals by such legendary street artists as Shepard Fairey, Curtis Kulig and RETNA. Still want more? French artist Georges Rousse made his permanent public art installation debut inside the hotel’s Strip-adjacent Starbucks location. This optical wonder must be seen to be believed.
Vegas is known for its bombastic production shows and resident A-list headliners, but there’s more to on-stage entertainment beyond the big-ticket draws on The Strip. There’s a thriving community theater movement across the Las Vegas Valley, centered around a number of tiny performance venues with big ambitions. Check out Chinatown’s Las Vegas Little Theatre—the oldest in Las Vegas—whose dual-theater venue hosts popular plays and musicals as well as new works by up-and-coming playwrights. Or head to the Arts District, where you’ll find a few quality options: new-kid-on-the-block Majestic Repertory Theatre, located inside Main Street’s ALIOS artspace, and Cockroach Theatre Company, whose sixth season at Art Square Theatre starts this fall. With the recent addition of multi-purpose performance venue The Space to the scene (located just across the I-15 from The Cosmopolitan), there’s no shortage of live performances to explore.
To be honest, there’s art everywhere in Las Vegas, if you know where to look. Throughout the resort corridor, you’ll find lit-up selections from the Neon Museum’s Urban Gallery collections. And it’s hard to miss all of the urban murals displayed on a multitude of buildings downtown. The annual Life is Beautiful festival brings in street artists from around the world—including Shepard Fairey, Zio Ziegler and Alexis Diaz—to transform blank walls into colorful works that have inspired people to create their own Instagram-worthy street art tours through the Fremont East neighborhood. And all around town, there’s more public art in unexpected places, including on dozens of utility boxes along historic Maryland Parkway painted by local artists as part of the Zap! Neighborhood Art program, and a batch of three-dimensional creations scattered across the valley’s street medians.
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts
Located downtown across the train tracks from Las Vegas City Hall (itself a sustainable work of art with programmable LED lights on its exterior), The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a five-acre campus housing three theaters in two Art Deco-inspired buildings, in which visitors will also find art exhibitions from museums and private collectors. Works on display include sculptures by Jennifer Main, Albert Paley and the famous lobby sculpture by Benjamin Victor—the youngest artist ever to have a sculpture in the nation’s National Statuary Hall—as well as paintings by Ed Mell, Tim Bavington, and Ellsworth Kelly. The main theater, Reynolds Hall, brings in touring Broadway shows (hello, Hamilton!) and the two smaller venues—Cabaret Jazz and Troesh Studio—offer live music, dance and performance art, as well as symposiums with Las Vegas personalities.
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
Perhaps one of the longest-standing cultural entities in Southern Nevada is the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, which has existed in one form or another for more than five decades. Located in the heart of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas main campus, this spot isn’t only educational—it’s also the state’s most important collection house, complete with works formerly found in the Las Vegas Art Museum and the Nevadan portion of the 50×50 Collection from Dorothy and Herbert Vogel. Featuring a mix of contemporary and historic pieces—including artifacts dating back 1,000 years—the museum also offers space to show experimental art and rotating exhibitions. Fun fact: The Barrick’s space was formerly the university’s gymnasium, and UNLV’s original mascot is still visible in the center of the museum’s floor.