Bally’s Las Vegas will soon be the new home of a break-out female tribute artist, Véronic DiCaire.
The versatile singer, who pays homage to a wide range of popular female artists, will play a limited engagement at Bally’s, June 20 through Aug. 31, 2013.
It's sort of pronounced "VRAANihK." You'll get the hang of it.
“Véronic Voices” will showcase the performer’s take on iconic singers like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Adele, Pink and Celine. The show will also feature half-a-dozen dancers and state-of-the-art visuals.
In case you wonder about how singers feel about being paid homage to, DiCaire’s show has the stamp of approval from Caesars Palace headliner Celine Dion, who serves as the shows co-producer.
Take a listen as Véronic DiCaire shows off those pipes.
Véronic DiCaire has a long show biz history, despite this being her first engagement in Vegas. She released a self-titled album in 2002 in her native Canada, and a follow-up album that lead to appearances in two high-profile comedy festivals: the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and Grand Rire Festival in Quebec.
The singer’s unique ability to mix singing and comedy caught the eye of Celine Dion and her husband, Rene Angelil, who invited DiCaire to open for Celine during her “Taking Chances” tour. DiCaire has most recently performed nearly 200 sold-out shows in France, Switzerland and Belgium, and she became a reality TV star in Europe as a judge on “X-Factor France.”
Few movies in recent years have gotten as much buzz in Las Vegas as “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” The just-released comedy has some big-name talent, and takes a loving jab at Las Vegas magicians, present and past.
The film stars Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini and others, and much of the movie was filmed on The Strip, including at Bally’s Las Vegas.
One of the key sequences in the film involves a suspended “hot box,” a clear box used in a stunt performed by the show’s central characters, Burt Wonderstone (Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Buscemi). Check it out.
We decided to track down the movie’s stunt coordinator, Alex Daniels, to ask him some annoying questions about this elaborate stunt.
Alex Daniels has been in the movie business for more than three decades, and has worked as an actor, stuntman and stunt coordinator on some classic films. One of our favorite pieces of trivia about Alex Daniels is that he choreographed the naked wrestling scene in “Borat.” So, by “classic,” we actually mean “the kind of classic that epic can only dream of being.”
The "Burt Wonderstone" stunt team. Front row, left to right are Eric Solky (Steve Carrel's stunt double), Jim Stephan, Norbert Phillips and Danny Downey (Steve Buscemi's double). In the back, Jayson Dumenigo and Alex Daniels.
Daniels says of his “Burt Wonderstone” experience, “It was the most pleasant work experience I’ve ever had, in 33 years of doing this.”
About the hot box scene that takes place in front of Bally’s, Daniels says, “The hot box scene was the biggest physical gag of the movie. Luckily, the producers gave us plenty of time to prepare and rehearse. We set up a crane and a mock-up of the hot box at the Warner Bros. studio, probably a month before we went to Vegas to shoot this sequence.”
“Gags,” by the way, are what stuntpersons call stunts. There will be a quiz.
Just another day at the office for stunt professionals and their undergarments.
“For me, I took the approach of it being a live performance,” says Daniels. “That was a key element. In other words, a lot of times when we set up aerial gags, we can set them up with the various pieces within the action, and shoot them, then cut  them together. In this case, we very much wanted to make the entire sequence continuous. So, we didn’t have to stop and reset things. Having continuous action is key to comedic timing, so the actors can have the opportunity to feel the best timing for what they’re doing.”
One of the reasons the hot box sequence in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” got so much buzz was that so many people in Las Vegas at the time got to see the scene being shot. Daniels adds, “The other thing that was unique about it was we were able to get great reactions from people on The Strip. Not just our extras, but spectators. They could watch the comedic flow and respond to the sequence in a genuine, visceral way.”
It may come as no surprise that doubles were used for the more perilous parts of the hot box stunt.
“Both actors were in the box when we lifted them up to the highest points, about 50 feet up,” says Daniels. “From another crane, we were able to get some great shots of the box and the actors and people on The Strip. Once we got into the more stunt-oriented part of the sequence, with the box open and people are hanging, the stunt team stepped in.”
Look at all the "hot box" jokes we're not making. We are a Las Vegas blog, so that's pretty impressive.
What might come as a surprise is that additional shots used in the hot box scene weren’t done at Bally’s, or even in Las Vegas.
Says Daniels, “We did the bulk of the sequence in front of Bally’s, then pick-up shots in another location so we could do close-ups of the actors. We actually shot in a parking lot near Dodger stadium [in Los Angeles] with a green screen for some portions.”
How is there not a "Six Degrees of Steve Buscemi"?
In another part of the scene, the actors fall onto each other from one end of the suspended broken box.
Daniels tells it this way, “We did a wonderful shot where Steve Carell’s character (Burt Wonderstone) falls onto Steve Buscemi’s (Anton Marvelton). That was done with the actors. It’s an overhead shot, and you can see Steve Carell fall onto Steve Buscemi. Steve Carell was on a wire, and he actually fell, but we stopped him just before he landed. They really got into it, and got a little banged up. They were both game for it. That scene’s a pivotal part of the movie, because that’s the catalyst of their break-up as a team.”
During filming, outside Bally's Las Vegas.
One of the world’s best-known magicians, David Copperfield, now a fixture on the Vegas Strip, was involved with the making of “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” Daniels beams, “”I’m proud David Copperfield came out during the filming of the hot box sequence, because we’d been filming with him inside the theater at Bally’s, and he came to me and told me how great he thought it was. He said, ‘That’s real magic.’ That meant a lot.”
David Copperfield’s team also worked with Alex Daniels’ team to create an original illusion that also features prominently in the film, one involving a hangman and a body switch. Oh, just see the movie, already.
In parting, Daniels comments, “It was great being in Las Vegas. I’ve done other work there, like ‘Rush Hour 2,’ and it’s nice the producers and director (Don Scardino) understood you can’t do a movie about magic without Las Vegas. For ‘Burt Wonderstone,’ we had A-list stars, David Copperfield and we were in Las Vegas. How much better could it get?”
Location-based app Foursquare has shared its “Best of” rankings, and Margaritaville at Flamingo Las Vegas has been named the top American restaurant in Sin City.
Check it out, then check-in on Foursquare.
Foursquare bases its “Best of Foursquare” ratings on user tips and comments, likes and overall popularity.
Margaritaville scored an impressive 9.2 on a scale of one to 10, the highest of any restaurant in Foursquare’s American cuisine category.
Margaritaville. It's not just the food.
Also among the “Best of” stand-outs is the Eiffel Tower ride at Paris Las Vegas. Foursquare users consider this ride to the top of the tower one of the “Top Things to Do” in the city. The Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace ranked fifth in the “Great Outdoors” category.
In the “Best of Casinos” category, Caesars Palace was among the hotels which ranked highest.
The classic showgirl production Jubilee! at Bally’s Las Vegas and adult carnival Absinthe at Caesars Palace are among the highest-ranked shows in the “Performing Arts” category.
Some "What the hell?" from "Absinthe." Hint: There's a lot of it.
See all the rankings on the official Best of Foursquare, Las Vegas page, and make sure to check in using Foursquare at all your favorite Vegas hotels.
Foursquare badges are fun to collect, and Foursquare check-in offers, things like 2-for-1 drinks or other perks, are a great way to squeeze the most from your Vegas visit.
How do you welcome a performer like CeeLo Green, someone with a larger-than-life persona, to his new home on The Strip? With an over-the-top Sin City spectacle, of course.
The multi-talented Green made a dramatic, flame-fueled entrance as he was officially welcomed to Planet Hollywood to celebrate the start of his new show, “CeeLo Green is Loberace,” which opens Feb. 27, 2013.
Mr. Green is not known for understatement. Sort of like Vegas, you might say.
The Strip was shut down for a short period as Green, and a bevy of showgirls (they tend to travel in bevies), cruised down the famed Las Vegas Strip from Caesars Palace to Planet Hollywood.
We're thinking there's a new single in this for CeeLo. Suggested title: "Truck You."
The moving platform featured a piano spouting five-foot-tall flames, and other pyrotechnics, just for some added flair.
Like New Year's Eve on The Strip. Just soberer.
And speaking of flair…
Now, that's a welcoming committee.
Fans lined the street outside Planet Hollywood to greet the performer known for his epic hit single, “Forget You” (you know the better version) and his role on the hit reality series, “The Voice.”
Check out these video highlights from the evening’s festivities.
After disembarking his flame-throwermobile, Green took part in a Planet Hollywood tradition, placing his hands in cement and signing his name (with a chopstick, which this blog now owns).
It's a rough job, but somebody's got to do it.
CeeLo’s big arrival didn’t just magically happen, of course.
The crowd-pleasing stunt was months in the making, and we’ve got some exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos taken during the preparation process. Because that’s how this blog rolls.
CeeLo was hands-on during the planning of his hoopla.
The platform used for Green’s official welcome was built in a nearby warehouse, on a massive flatbed truck equipped with the flaming piano, LED light panels and hand-holds for the showgirls. The showgirls appear nightly in “Jubilee!” at Bally’s Las Vegas, just down the block from Planet Hollywood.
The planning of the event was meticulous because of the potentially-dangerous fire elements. We hear Green’s clothes were even treated with a flame-resistant chemical. Singed music superstars are not happy music superstars.
CeeLo reviews video of the flame effects with the production team.
The piano top was equipped with tubes which pumped flammable gas (see below), creating the leaping flames enjoyed by the crowds along Las Vegas Boulevard during Green’s arrival.
A little Las Vegas publicity stunt magic.
CeeLo Green’s new show is described as “part dance party, part live concert,” and will feature not only Green’s flamboyant sense of style, but also music that inspires him, from Rod Stewart to INXS to The Temptations.
The show will also have magic and showgirls, of course, because what Las Vegas show would be complete without them?
Did we really need to mention "Loberace" is a tip of the hat to the iconic Liberace? Please try and keep up.
Just in time for the new season of “American Idol,” past winner Taylor Hicks has announced his show will be moving from the Indigo at Bally’s to Napoleon’s inside Paris Las Vegas.
Taylor Hicks, out and about in Vegas.
Hicks will perform at Paris starting Jan. 21, 2013.
The soulsy (which may not be an actual word) singer recently signed a year-long extension with Caesars Entertainment (the umbrella company that owns Bally’s, Paris and other casinos across the country), making him the first “American Idol” winner with a long-term residency on The Strip.
Aside from his gig at Paris Vegas, Hicks will perform at other Caesars Entertainment destinations during 2013 as well. This blog would name some of those destinations, but that would require “effort,” and we’re far too busy doing the critical work of producing an award-winning Las Vegas blog (specifically, tasting cocktails) to find out more. You’ll manage.
Taylor Hicks drops in on "American Idol." It's a TV show. Perhaps you've heard of it.
Aside from being the Season 5 winner of “American Idol,” Hicks has already racked up some impressive accomplishments. His debut single, “Do I Make You Proud” entered Billboard’s Hot 100 at number one.
His self-titled album debuted at number two on on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum. Which, granted, makes it more difficult to fit into your CD player, but you get the point.
Hicks was also named People magazine’s “Hottest Bachelor of the Year,” a title formerly held by this blog, and that’s the story we’re sticking to.
Taylor Hicks works a red carpet.
Taylor Hicks also appeared in a national tour of the hit musical, “Grease.”
Taylor Hicks performs at 8:00 p.m. in his new digs at Paris Las Vegas. Tickets are $39.99, with the option of a meet-and-greet with Hicks for $69.99, at least one portion of which is this blog’s lucky number. Get ticket information on the Paris Las Vegas Web site, which this blog personally designed. Probably.
From the looks of the trailer for “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” some of comedy’s biggest names are about to take a playful jab at the world of Las Vegas magic.
“Wonderstone” (which is what one must call the film if one’s ever been even marginally involved in the film industry, which this blog has) is slated for a March 15, 2013 release. Take a look.
Nice tagline, movie trailer copywriter person: “In Vegas, you’re only as hot as your last trick.” We see what you did there.
This big screen comedy, about a Siegfried & Roy-inspired pair of magicians, played by Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi, filmed several sequences in Las Vegas earlier this year, in January of 2012.
Tread softly when it comes to our Las Vegas legends, fellas.
The film’s story follows a Las Vegas magician, Burt Wonderstone (Carell), who must reunite with a former partner, Anton Marvelton (Buscemi), to match wits with a David Blaine-esque street magician, Steve Gray, portrayed by Jim Carrey, who tries to steal the limelight.
Various Sin City locations were used during the shooting of “Wonderstone,” including Bally’s Las Vegas (see below) and hotels in downtown Las Vegas.
A Strip-stopping stunt filmed outside Bally's and Paris Las Vegas.
The movie also stars Alan Arkin, Olivia Wilde, James Gandolfini, Brad Garrett, Jay Mohr and even real-life Las Vegas magician, David Copperfield (he plays himself), who created an illusion just for the movie.
The Fremont Street Experience gets some time in the spotlight.
Here’s some “Wonderstone” trivia: It’s based on a script originally entitled, “Burt Dickenson: The Most Powerful Magician on Planet Earth,” by Chad Kultgen.
The movie is directed by Don Scardino and was co-written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, with story credit going to Chad Kultgen and Tyler Mitchell.
The world of Las Vegas magicians is a fascinating one, and we can’t wait to see this movie’s take on it all.
TV’s Adam Richman (“Man v. Food,” below) hosts the four-day, belt-busting food festival and cooking competition where chefs will square off for bragging rights and $300,000 in prize money.
Adam Richman v. A Monster Sandwich at Caesars Palace. Thanks to Erik Kabik for the pic.
Cooking competitions will include barbecue, chili, burgers, sandwiches, and side dishes. Here’s the schedule of what happens when.
A highlight of the gathering will be a World Chef Challenge open to some of the best chefs in America’s greatest food cities.
Insert gratuitous hamburger photo here, mainly because this blog likes hamburgers.
Some of the chefs and food celebs scheduled to appear include: Nadia G., host of the Cooking Channel’s “Nadia G.’s Bitchin’ Kitchen,” Colman Andrews, editor-in-chief of “The Daily Meal,” Barbara Fairchild, former editor-in-chief of “Bon Appétit,” Chris Hanmer, winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef Just Desserts,” Marc Murphy, star of Food Network’s “Chopped,” Antonia Lofaso, chef on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Chicago” and “Top Chef All-Stars,” Myron Mixon, star of Destination America’s “BBQ Pitmasters” and others.
The World Food Championships will also include a food expo with live stage shows and hourly cooking demonstrations. A number of events are free (don’t miss the $25,000 World Burger Championship on Nov. 2, 7-10 p.m., at the Bally’s Entrance Plaza) and open to the public, with other VIP ticketed events in the mix, too.
The rave reviews are in, and Taylor Hicks has not only won over lots of new fans at Bally’s Las Vegas, he’s also snagged a year-long extension to perform in the hotel’s Indigo Lounge. Which this blog is now calling the Taylor Hicks International Amphitheater for the Performing Arts, just because we can.
We got this pic of Taylor Hicks at an event honoring athletes taking part in the Special Olympics. He's cool like that.
Taylor Hicks, who shot to fame by winning “American Idol,” has consistently brought down the house at Bally’s with his charm and showmanship. He’s the first “American Idol” winner to have a long-term residency in Sin City.
Hicks will perform his unique blend of soul, R & B, country and blues in the Taylor Hicks International Amphitheater for the Performing Arts at 7:00 p.m. Oct. 17 through Nov. 12 and Dec. 3-16, with 2013 performances to be announced later. The show will be dark Friday and Tuesday.
Taylor Hicks hits a Vegas red carpet.
Tickets are $39.99 and $69.99, making it one of the better show values on The Strip. The $69.99 ticket includes a meet-and-greet with Hicks. This blog has met and greeted him, and you won’t be disappointed. Grab tickets at Bally’s or Ticketmaster.com.
Congrats to Taylor Hicks on his well-deserved contract extension at Bally’s Las Vegas! Find out more.
Las Vegas entertainment doesn’t get any more iconic than “Jubilee!” at Bally’s Las Vegas.
For fans around the world, the long-running show (it opened in 1981) represents classic Vegas glamour at its most eye-popping.
Part of the show’s reputation comes from its lavish costumes, most designed by Bob Mackie and Pete Menefee, two acclaimed fashion designers whose imaginations know no bounds.
Two hallmarks of the costumes in “Jubilee!” are the rhinestones and the feathers, and we snuck into the show’s “Feather Room” for a peek at some of the over-the-top costumes worn by the production’s famed showgirls. (Yes, there are men in the show, but the women outnumber them 2-to-1, and the guys don’t tend to wear the feather-centric costumes.)
This headdress has 14,000 feathers, or some other number we're probably just making up.
Yes, there’s a Feather Room. A room devoted entirely to costumes replete with feathers. Yes, “replete.” This blog has a thesaurus, you know.
We have no idea what this is. We are a Las Vegas blog, not a costume part identifier.
The performers in “Jubilee!” have nine costume changes per show, and it takes the women just three minutes to put on their costumes. Amazing, especially when you consider the complexity of some of their outfits.
Jim Henson moment. It'll pass.
Juicy tidbit: The only lipstick color the showgirls in “Jubilee!” can wear onstage is red. Tradition, baby.
Bonus juicy tidbit: The heaviest headdress in the show is a neck-strengthening 22 pounds.
Of course, the feathers look even better when they’re on an actual “Jubilee!” showgirl! What, you thought we’d forget a showgirl photo? Are you familiar with this blog at all?
Thanks for volunteering, Kelly.
Catch the classic Jubilee! at Bally’s Las Vegas. Hint: It’s the giant hotel with the “Bally’s” sign out front. Las Vegas is helpful like that.
Here’s an exclusive, inside look at more costumes in the Feather Room of “Jubilee!”
It’s about time! This blog loves it some “Pawn Stars,” and now the quirky crew of the famed Gold & Silver Pawn Shop are getting their own slot machine.
Bally Technologies (no relation to Bally’s Las Vegas, the hotel) has announced it will unveil the new “Pawn Stars” slot at the Global Gaming Expo, held Oct. 1-4, 2012 in Las Vegas.
The new game, inspired by the surprise reality hit on the History Channel, is sure to feature some serious wheeling-and-dealing by the “Pawn Stars” team: Rick Harrison, Richard “The Old Man” Harrison, Corey Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell (pictured below).
You'll never guess our favorite guy on "Pawn Stars."
We met up with Chumlee at an autograph signing way back when, so here’s some exclusive video of the show’s lovable, self-proclaimed goofball.
Check out the “Pawn Stars” guided tour that leaves from Bally’s Vegas (the hotel this time), or visit the official Pawn Stars site.
Amazing Johnathan has been a fixture on the Las Vegas Strip for years, and now he’s bringing his warped sense of humor, and time-tested magical prowess, to Bally’s Las Vegas.
Amazing Johnathan now shares the Windows showroom with the interactive “Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding” show at Bally’s. Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding happens at 7:00 p.m. and Amazing Johnathan takes to the stage at 10:00 p.m.
We captured this photo of Amazing Johnathan during one of his more serene moments. Hint: There aren't many.
Here’s some Amazing Johnathan trivia: The comedy-magician’s real name is John Edward Szeles.
Johnathan’s bizarre take on magic began when he was a street performer in San Francisco. Since then, he’s performed around the world, and has appeared on numerous talk shows and TV specials. Why, here’s one now!
Offbeat, edgy and irreverent, Amazing Johnathan is sure to shake things up at Bally’s and “keep audiences rolling on the floor.” Hey, that’s what it says on the Bally’s Las Vegas Web site. Personally, we think that’s a little unsanitary.
The ’80s is a favorite era of this blog, so we were downright giddy to learn of a new show opening at the V Theater inside The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood on July 13, “Awesome ’80s Prom.”
The interactive show will take guests back to the days of “shoulder pads, big hair, preppies and jocks,” including being able to mingle with actors portraying characters from ’80s classics like “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink.”
Expect this show to have an ample supply of both Wang and Chung.
In honor of the new show, the V Theater’s mezzanine showroom will be “transformed into a prom dance floor with a stage, disco lights, and classic ’80s decor,” according to the owner of the theater, David Saxe.
One of the highlights of the evening should be the chance to pose for an “awkward ’80s prom photo.” This blog is a big fan of awkward.
From the descriptions we’ve read, the “immersive” nature of the show seems to be akin to the “Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding” experience, a show formerly at the V Theater. Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding is now at Bally’s Las Vegas. Note: There will be a test.
“Awesome ’80s Prom” opens July 13, 2012, running at 8:00 p.m. each day (dark Sunday).
Learn more about the approximately 1,400 entertainment options at the V Theater on the official site.