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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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Harrah's Entertainment continues to demolish the low-rise apartment dwellings it accumulated behind its Barbary Coast/Flamingo/Imperial Palace/Harrah's Las Vegas cluster of properties. Also, a shiny new fleet of construction trailers now sits where Bourbon Street's hotel tower once did. Could we be seeing the first stirrings of "Epicentre"?
Regardless, apartment owner Oscar Nuñez, whose sad, little buildings are surrounded by more and more piles of rubble, looks the Big Loser of 2007. He squandered his opportunity to sell out to Gary Loveman when the market was at its height and Loveman was on a buying spree. Now he's missed his moment and will probably either have to settle for a depressed price or watch Harrah's build up all around him just out of spite.
Incidentally, we passed the now-infamous corner of Koval and Winnick the other night, on our way back from The Palazzo, and couldn't help but think: If there's anything left in the state budget other than a few pennies, nickels and some lint when Gov. Jim Gibbons finishes demolishing it, perhaps the Nevada Historial Society could erect an historical marker at the Koval/Winnick nexus, commemorating the sad story of Javon Walker -- if he ever gets it straight, that is.
Direct Strip access is the holy grail of megaresort design -- and those, like the Aladdin/Planet Ho, who ignore it do so at their own peril. Unfortunately, this means gnarly tangles of pedestrians, cars, buses ... everything except rickshaws, when a crosswalk (er, "pedestrian realm") must vie with the grand entrance of a Paris Las Vegas, say.
Kudos to Boyd Gaming, then, for circumventing this problem by planning a pedestrian tunnel "underneath the main project driveway" at Echelon, 151 feet long by 20 feet wide (the Strip is to the lower R-hand side of the rendering, above.) To provide some visual compensation, Boyd plans to line the tunnel with glass display cases (contents unspecified).
If there's anything to regret, it's the renaming of Stardust Road as "Echelon Resort Drive" (Boo!). The Stardust was a proud and important part of Boyd history and it would be touching if some vestige of it (however vestigial) lived on as part of Echelon. Instead, it looks like one more trace of our already ephemeral history will be effaced.
Those clever Germans, what new technical marvels will they, uh, conceive next? As long as my enjoyment of baseball games and Battlestar Galactica is to be disrupted by infestations of commercials featuring randy AARP members singing -- sometimes literally -- the praises of Viagra and Cialis, then the FDA had better get this spray-on prophylactic to market, stat. Just imagine the sales in Las Vegas (and Nye County) alone!
More is Less Dept.: Even if Mamma Mia! is coming to the big screen on July 18 -- in cinematic treatment that makes the stage production look monastic -- you'll still get more music for your money at the live version, hanging tough at Mandalay Bay.
The Internet Movie Database and Wikipedia are -- surprise, surprise -- at odds as to which songs made the cut and which didn't, while the movie's official site is no help whatsovever. "Knowing Me, Knowing You" is definitely Out (and, from what I've been able to deduce, Pierce Brosnan's vocal limitations may have been a consideration -- imagine Van Morrison covering ABBA). So are the Act II curtain-raiser, "Under Attack", "One of Us" and the fatuous "Thank You for the Music" -- which has supposedly been reinstated as end-credits music. And a 1981 song, "When All Is Said and Done" has somehow found its way into the show. WTF?
If Wikipedia is to be believed, the songs have also been re-sequenced, with "I Do, I Do ... " moved to the 3/4 mark. But if IMDB has its facts right, the encores of "Dancing Queen" and "Waterloo" are supplanted with other songs -- which would be grounds for criminal prosecution, if not rioting in the streets.
However this shakes out, it appears highly unlikely that the movie is going to make the stage version in any way redundant. (Which is another way of saying MGM Mirage should let Mamma Mia! run at Mandalay Bay until its producers decide otherwise.)
And if all this makes your head spin, have a quiet lie-down and enjoy the sublime Meryl Streep letting 'er rip in the title song and three others (with assists from Christine Baranski and Julie Walters), including a by turns rueful and torchy "The Winner Takes it All." She should dust off the air piano and take this act on the road.