Saturday, May 25, 2024

L.A. to Vegas: David Blaine Talks Sin City Magic (Exclusive)

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Welcome to LAMag’s semimonthly update on major restaurant openings, club news, hotel announcements, celebrity and influencer sightings, and everything else you need to know before you venture to Sin City. As we enter 2023, there is a lot happening!

A rendering of Fontainebleau Las Vegas, which just received a loan of $2.2 billion to stay on track to open by the end of 2023. (Fontainebleau Development, LLC)

Fontainebleau Receives $2.2 Billion Infusion for Completion

The long-planned Fontainebleau Las Vegas, the sister property to the iconic Miami Beach hotel, is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after receiving a $2.2 billion construction loan to complete the project. The resort, which was initially announced in May 2005 is now set to be finished by ‘late 2023.’ The 24.5-acre site has sat idle for much of its history due to ownership changes, legal disputes, the 2008 recession, and the pandemic. Now, Fontainebleau Development and Koch Real Estate Investments (KREI) have secured the big loan to complete the highly anticipated 67-story hotel, gaming, meeting, and entertainment resort coming to the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. The financing is expected to keep construction on schedule this time. Fontainebleau Las Vegas spans nine million square feet and will feature approximately 3,700 luxury hotel rooms, 550,000 square feet of customizable convention and meeting space, and a collection of gaming, dining, retail, lifestyle, and health and wellness experiences.

A rendering shows the proposed entrance to the guitar-shaped hotel tower at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. (Hard Rock International)

Meanwhile, Hard Rock International has acquired The Mirage Hotel & Casino from MGM Resorts International as of Dec. 19, 2022. HRI paid $1.075 billion in cash for the operating assets of The Mirage Hotel & Casino. The 3,044-room casino resort will continue to operate as The Mirage Hotel & Casino until the renovation and rebranding of the property to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is complete. The process is anticipated to take an extended period. But it’s ultimately expected to dramatically change the Las Vegas skyline, with the addition of a guitar-shaped hotel tower adjacent to Las Vegas Blvd. Cirque Du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE will continue at least through 2023. The new Hard Rock opening reportedly may not happen until 2025 or 2026. The previous Hard Rock Hotel off the Strip, now called Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, was not operated by Hard Rock International.

David Blaine during his residency, In Spades, at Resorts World Las Vegas where he held his breath under water for nine minutes on Sept. 30, 2022. (Denise Truscello)

Exclusive: Nothing Lasts Forever, Even Vegas & David Blaine

The street magic OG is back for more of his incredible David Blaine: In Spades residency at Resorts World Theatre which will continue March 10-11. The man who has been mesmerizing fans since his first ABC network special, Street Magic, in 1997, spoke exclusively with LAMag about what makes his show different.

“Once I have an idea in my head, no matter how insane it may seem, I become obsessed with the idea of making it into an actual, possible reality and then putting it together into the show,” Blaine said. “When I first saw the theater, I finally agreed after many years of everybody trying to convince me to come to Vegas. As soon as I walked into the theater I said ‘yep, this is it.’”

Blaine also spoke of his preparation for In Spades.

“It’s been pretty serious and diligent training for the last year for this show, and I’ve had an incredible team around me to help. I lost 40 pounds to get ready. And we’ve had to increase my breath-holding abilities. And I had to retrain on the jumps with my stunt team. It’s also required me to stay in the best condition that I think I’ve ever been in. . .Each show has its own unique variation. Not one has been the same.”

His advice for people wanting to follow in his footsteps? “Just do not, just first of all, it’s always best to create your own path. But I don’t want people to do the things that I do because I don’t want somebody to hurt themselves. And to be honest, the best reactions in the show actually come from the card tricks and the street magic itself.

On Jan. 14, famed actor, Danny DeVito, and his son, Jake, joined David Blaine on stage during Blaine’s In Spades residency at Resorts World Las Vegas. (Toby Acuna)
Many celebrity friends have come to see David Blaine’s In Spades show at Resorts World including Darren Aronofsky, Woody Harrelson and Martin Garrix, as pictured on Sept. 30, 2022. (Denise Truscello)

Blaine continued: “I think Vegas is the home of magic. And it’s been for a long time. And that’s why it took me such a long time to build the show that I could bring there. Because I felt like I wasn’t ready until now to do something that would be a little different than what I would expect at a magic show. I tried to make this unique to me. And I do think it’s something that I can only do for a certain amount of time before I can’t go any further with it.”

For those wondering where to stay when coming to town to see him, Blaine said at Resorts World. “I stay there and I’m wandering around the whole time and anybody that stops me, unless I’m late for rehearsal, I usually end up doing close-up magic too. So I’d say that’s a good reason.”

The cast of Freestyle Love Supreme, a show created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, at The Venetian Resort. (The Venetian Resort Las Vegas)

Lin-Manuel Miranda and The Chicks Take to the Strip

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the renowned creator and star of Hamilton, was in Vegas Jan. 12-14 starring in his Freestyle Love Supreme show at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. While the show will be ending on Jan. 29, Miranda has only performed a few times since the November 2022 opening. During the show, the cast provides non-stop action throughout the 90 minutes, spinning suggestions from the audience into hilarious bits and instantaneous songs and riffs. Further south on the strip The Chicks, formerly The Dixie Chicks, have announced their first-ever Las Vegas engagement at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. The shows are scheduled for May 3-13. Tickets are now on sale. At Dolby Live at Park MGM, Usher has announced three new show dates for Feb. 24, 25, and March 1 after selling out all 25 of his 2022 shows. And world-renowned comedian Sebastian Maniscalco is back March 3 at Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas and he’s added four new dates, Aug. 4-5  and Oct. 6-7. Tickets are available now.

Travis Scott performs at Zouk Nightclub at Resorts World Las Vegas in May 2022. He will return in 2023. (Zouk Group)

Resorts World Announces 2023 Zouk and Ayu Schedules

Zouk Group and Resorts World have announced the 2023 lineup of talent set to perform at Zouk Nightclub and Ayu Dayclub. Tiësto, Zedd, DJ Snake, deadmau5, Kaskade and Louis the Child will all headline various dates and will be joined by music stars including Jack Harlow, Ludacris, and G-Eazy. Travis Scott will also continue his Road to Utopia residency. Special events and guest performs will include Audien, Cash Cash, Charly Jordan, Cheat Codes, Dee Jay Silver, DJ Tay James, Duke Dumont, Emo Nite, Jonas Blue, Kromi, Madds, The Martinez Brothers, NERVO and Zen Freeman. Plus, UFC superstar “Suga” Sean O’Malley will host exclusive UFC fight afterparties at Zouk, Ayu and Redtail gaming bar and lounge. Also at Resorts World, on the heels of four sold-out shows, Kevin Hart will extend his Reality Check tour with newly-added shows on March 17 and 18 at Resorts World Theatre.

Rouge Room will take over the former Crimson Space and Red Rock Resort in spring 2023. (Wish You Were Here Group)

Rouge Room to Take Over Crimson Space at Red Rock

Wish You Were Here Group and restaurateur Nick Mathers, operators of Élephante, Eveleigh, and Belle’s Beach House in the L.A. area, will open Rouge Room, a sophisticated European-inspired cocktail lounge, at Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa this spring. Rouge Room replaces the space formerly known as Crimson. Floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains and an oversized gold door will welcome guests into the great red room where a grand piano takes center stage. Also opening this spring will be Rouge Cabanas, an upscale adult pool experience featuring eight cabanas, multiple lounge-style seating options, and a full bar. The announcement comes on the heels of the resort’s recently opened Lotus of Siam and joins the already opened High Limit Slot and Table Games rooms as the property looks to modernize.

Over at Resorts World, Randy’s Donuts is now open. Celebrating 70 years since its iconic first location in Inglewood opened, Randy’s Donuts is located inside of the property’s breakfast-themed restaurant Sun’s Out Buns Out, 24/7 with a pop-up window and via the resort’s On-the-Fly delivery app. And Chef Michael Mina, who recently opened Mother Tongue at HEIMAT in L.A., is stripping away the formality of steakhouses with the reintroduction of StripSteak, now open at Mandalay Bay. StripSteak offers new preparations for its meat, such as the Duck Fat Prime Rib. New plates include Foie Gras Doughnuts, Caviar Jelly Doughnuts, Maine Lobster Toast and Truffle Corn Bread. A refreshed interior is inspired by the surrounding Mojave Desert landscape with mid-century furnishings.

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