Although Macau is more than 8,000 miles from Las Vegas, the tiny Chinese enclave south of Hong Kong has taken on a Vegas-like atmosphere as Nevada operators colonize the Pearl River Delta with Strip-style casinos.
A kind of role reversal occurs next week when Las Vegas will get a taste of the Chinese/Portuguese culture during Macau Week, sponsored by the Macau office of tourism.
Starting Monday, Aug. 8, and continuing through Aug. 14, more than 100 entertainers and exhibitors will help showcase Macau’s extraordinary culture at four Las Vegas venues: the Fashion Show Mall, The Venetian Hotel, Wynn Las Vegas and the MGM Grand.
Activities will range from traditional dance and musical performances to unique Macanese art, photo exhibits and Macau-inspired restaurant dishes.
At the Fashion Show, visitors will get an intimate view of an ordinary day in Macau through a photo exhibit called, 24 Hours in Macau.
Visitors can also come face to face with a replica of the exotic Macaun A-Ma Temple on the Unesco Walkway of Heritage, located on the Fashion Show Mall’s Plaza that faces the Strip.
Each evening, the Temple exhibit becomes the stage for performances of Chinese dragon and lion dances, Portuguese folk dancing and an authentic Macanese Lotus Band.
The Venetian will host a modern art works collection in the colonnade adjacent to the Guggenheim Museum beginning on Tuesday (Aug. 9).
The XXI Collective Exhibition of Macau Artists is comprised of 53 works from the finest local Macanese artists and displays their unique visions in traditional calligraphy, painting and contemporary media.
On Friday (Aug. 14) in the Margaux Room at Wynn Las Vegas, there will be a special private performance of the Macanese virtuoso pianists, brothers Kuok-Man Lio and Lio Kuok-Wai.
The MGM Grand’s Studio Walk will host a photo exhibit featuring images of events and festivals in Macau, such as the traditional A-Ma Festival, Macau Arts Festival, International Fireworks Festival and Chinese New Year.
The eclectic flavors of authentic Macau cuisine can be experienced at three of Las Vegas’ finest restaurants — Royal Star at The Venetian, Terrace Point Café at Wynn Las Vegas and Pearl at MGM Grand. Blending Chinese and Portuguese influences, Macanese cuisine will also be featured on The Venetian’s in-suite menu.
Las Vegas Sands, which owns The Venetian, became the first Nevada casino operator to build a casino in Asia with its Sands Macau last year.
MGM Mirage and Wynn Las Vegas are also building casinos in Macau while Las Vegas Sands just broke ground on a second casino, The Venetian Macau. All three projects are expected to open in 2007.
With a blossoming cultural connection between the two cities, civic leaders and business people have begun calling Macau Las Vegas’ "sister city," although no formal agreement has been struck.
Nevertheless, there are those who see it as a logical next step.
"There is a continuation of our strong relationship with the government of Macau," said Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese. "We’re looking forward to highlighting their culture and heritage at The Venetian."