If weíre not in a recession, then one appears to be well on the way.
Tourists are not driving or flying to Las Vegas as in the past. Statistics show overall business down some 30 percent. On the Internet, hotel rooms, a show or even a dinner available for as little as $20.
Hereís more proof. Look at the shows that are closing. Can we all afford Bette Midler at the Colosseum? One of the few shows doing a great business is "O" at the Bellagio. Word is that without the brokers and group sales all the shows would be suffering.
The majority of tourists coming to Las Vegas are here for only three days. Those few days have to include gaming, a show, shopping and dinner. By the way, where are the tourists coming from? The high price of gas along with airlines adding fees for such things as water, soft drinks and luggage make traveling a burden.
All the hotels are scrambling for your business. Last week there was a short-lived taxi strike. Even though public transportation is up, we donít hear much about the monorail. Guess itís still crawling along.
The closing of "Second City" at the Flamingo following a successful six-year run perhaps came down to economics. Letís remember we have Blue Man Group, Wayne Brady and "Phantom of the Opera" all at the Venetian. The Palazzo is doing great business with "Jersey Boys."
Why did "Spamalot" fail at the Wynn? I wonder why some Broadway shows donít translate to Vegas crowds. "Mamma Mia" has run for six years at Mandalay Bay. Who knows?
Oh well, the Fourth of July fireworks and celebration are over and your humble columnist hit the Vegas Strip to check out a "fire sale." Iím talking about singer Toni Braxtonís merchandise store at the Flamingo, where T-shirts, hats and souvenirs were listed at 80 percent off! If youíre fan of Toni, run to the store.
Also at the Flamingo are Donny and Marie posters. I saw Osmond posters everywhere except in the garden outside the buffet where the pink flamingos seem to own the stage.
Next stop was the Rio to see Tim Molyneauxís latest creation, "All In, The Poker Musical." The initial introduction for the show was made by Phil Hellmuth, a World Series of Poker Champion. The timing could not be any better with the WSOP currently at the Rio.
The resort was absolutely abuzz with poker players and tourists. Parking was a challenge with most of the valet services full by 6 p.m. The cast of Timís new show was superb and he brought the house to their feet with his number. This musical might just have legs.
Seen in the audience was Jack Wishna, the dealmaker, Mr. and Mrs. Clint Holmes sporting new hairdos, along with Bill Fayne and Earl Turner. Personally I want to thank the staff at the Rio for treating me with the utmost respect Ė as it should be.
I called the Luxor to find out why Criss Angelís show has been delayed again. The word used was technical. Hey, weíre all waiting for Criss to show us why he thinks heís better than the wonderful David Copperfield. David and I have been tight since the Disco-Tex days.
Continuing the busy week was the opening of Wes Wintersí Liberace tribute show at the Steve Wyrick Theater on the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood. Wes and his manager Rod Russell deserve much success. Wes is a great talent and shines as a showman. The duo are a wonderful addition to the Las Vegas entertainment scene.
However, there could be some improvement concerning the Steve Wyrick Theater and the staff. I got the impression the staff doesnít really want to help the acts shine. I hope Iím wrong about this.
At Planet Hollywood, the V Theater and David Saxe always have people standing in line to buy tickets for their shows. Saxe has produced a well-oiled machine.
Last week I attempted to share some memories of my friend George Carlin, while acknowledging his passing. George most recently had been appearing at the Orleans. I mention this because I have a very hot and cold relationship with the resortís director of public relations, Candi Casau.
I always make an effort to be gracious and kind to all the publicity staffs at the hotels and showrooms. Their input can be shared with my readers. For example, if I send an e-mail in an attempt to get information and there is no response, it makes one think that a worldwide publication like GamingToday is not important enough to get the news out on your artist.
Steve Lawrence will be appearing without his talented wife Eydie Gorme. Iíve always been a fan. Steve is at the Orleans in August filling the Carlin engagement. Eydie is nursing a bad back.
On Michael Jackson, my reliable sources tell me heís either buying or renting a house here in Las Vegas and not Pahrump!
In my 10 years in Vegas, one of the most gracious people was Judy Alberti. She has recently returned to town to work at Station Casinos as entertainment director. Itís a major task. Judy has already started the efforts and concert tickets are being reduced to $15.
For my hungry readers, thereís Don Antonioís Pizzeria (8810 Maryland Pkwy). Great pizza, salads, bread and, hopefully, a few copies of GamingToday.
Hereís another great spot for fine dining at a bargain: Wooís at the Palazzo. Itís gourmet Chinese/Asian fusion and locals get their repast at half price! Donít miss it!
Finally, whatís going on with the Crazy Horse Too? Did the deal not go through? Itís very sad.