The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast

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My Special Guest - David Perrico

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My guest for this episode of the podcast is "Best of Vegas" award-winning trumpeter, composer, producer and conductor, David Perrico.

If you've ever spent any time at the legendary Cleopatra's Barge in Caesars Palace, there's a very good chance you've seen David performing with his Pop Strings Orchestra, in which he takes some of the best musicians in Las Vegas and fuses together Pop Music with Classical Music.  And, in addition to Pop Strings Orchestra, David is also the creator & arranger of Pop Evolution, a mash-up of Pop & Big Band music.

Just this year, David landed what might be the most amazing gig ever: House Band at Allegiant Stadium for the Las Vegas Raiders.

David and I talked about what it's like performing in front of 65,000 screaming NFL fans, the inspiration behind creating Pop Strings Orchestra & Pop Evolution, other projects he's working on and much more.

Find out where David is going to be performing next, by visiting his website or following him on Facebook & Instagram.

And, if you want a sample of what Pop Evolution and Pop Strings Orchestra are all about, check these out!

Pop Strings Evolution performing Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" (YouTube)

Pop Strings Orchestra performing Journey's "Separate Ways" (YouTube)

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Guys Gone Vegas

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"VEGAS BABY!!!"

That's the battle-cry heard in pretty much every airport around the world, as groups of guys get set to board their flights for what they hope will be the ULTIMATE guys' trip to Las Vegas.  But will it be a trip to remember for all the WRONG reasons?  My guest for this episode is here to help make sure that's NOT the case.

David Demontmollin is a 20-plus-year casino industry veteran, star of Discovery Channel's series "American Casino" and the author of "The Las Vegas Little Black Book: A Guys Guide To The Perfect Vegas Weekend".

David and I discussed how to plan an amazing trip to Vegas for you and your pals, covering everything from the perfect time of the year to travel, to picking your hotel, to how to get into nightclubs and much MUCH more.

Order "The Las Vegas Little Black Book: A Guys Guide To The Perfect Vegas Weekend" on Amazon (along with David's other book, "Classic Vegas Mistakes") and be sure to follow Classic Vegas Mistakes on Twitter.

Also, check out David's past appearance on the podcast on Episode #16 - "Classic Vegas Mistakes".

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Beneath The Neon - The Tunnels Of Las Vegas

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Below the glitz & glamour of the Vegas Strip lies a massive network of underground tunnels.  In addition to serving the practical purpose of directing flash flood water away from the big casinos & resorts, the tunnels have become a living space for hundreds, if not thousands, of homeless people in the city of Las Vegas.

My guest for this episode of the podcast is intimately familiar with these tunnels, having spent time interviewing dozens of their residents for his books "Beneath the Neon" and "Dark Days, Bright Nights".

Matthew O'Brien is a writer, editor and teacher who lived in Las Vegas for twenty years.  He's considered an authority on homelessness in the Las Vegas tunnels and is the founder of Shine A Light, a program that helps people living in the tunnels and provides them with the resources to get out of the tunnels.

We discussed Matthew's first experiences with the tunnels of Las Vegas, the work that went into writing "Beneath the Neon", what inspired him to found Shine A Light, and much more.

If you'd like to purchase "Beneath the Neon", "My Week At The Blue Angel" or "Dark Days, Bright Nights" you can visit Matthew's website at beneaththeneon.com.

If you want to know more about Shine A Light and see the amazing work they do, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

(NOTE: I shouldn't have to say this, but I will.  DO NOT go exploring the storm drains under Las Vegas.  It's a very hostile environment for anyone who's not familiar with the miles and miles of tunnels.  By going into the tunnels, you're risking severe injury or even death.)

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Reinvention - The Family-Friendly Era

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"The only constant in life is change" - Heraclitus

There's nowhere else in the world where that statement is more accurate than Las Vegas.

It's constantly evolving, always trying to find new ways to bring new people - and revenue - to the city.  And from the late 1980's through to the early 2000's, Las Vegas made the conscious decision to cater to a group of travellers whom they'd never attempted to attract before:

Families.

From castle-shaped hotels, to pirate battles in the desert, to full-blown amusement parks, Las Vegas made no secrets about who they wanted to come to the city during that time in history.  But where did it all start?  And how did it end up?

My guest for this episode of the podcast is UNLV professor and Las Vegas historian, David G. Schwartz.  David & I discussed some of Las Vegas's early attempts at being family-friendly, what led to the push to try to attract families to the city, and the eventual shift away from that strategy.

Want to learn more about Las Vegas's family-friendly era of the 1990's?  Visit these links:

- "Family Friendly Las Vegas: An Analysis of Space and Time" - Diana Tracy Cohn

- "Column One: Las Vegas Gambles on Families" - LA Times (Sept 23, 1994)

- "The Sun's List Of Shuttered Family Friendly Vegas Attractions" - Las Vegas Sun (Feb 23, 2012)

- "Family Friendly Las Vegas of the 90's" Panel Discussion (Video) - The Neon Museum (2016)

And as discussed, check out the "Treasure Island: The Adventure Begins" TV special that ran on NBC-TV in 1994 to promote the opening of the Treasure Island Resort.

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Crime and Punishment

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I've covered a lot of Las Vegas history on this podcast, but something I've never really taken a deep dive into are some of the fascinating true crime stories from the city's past.  There's a lot of info out there about some of the more "notorious" cases, but my guests for this episode like to focus on some of the lesser-known crime stories.

Anthony & Meagan Smith are the creators of Mayhem In The Desert.  Born & raised Las Vegans (and legit "true crime junkies"), they took it upon themselves to start chronicling some of the extremely interesting and sordid tales that helped shape the history of Sin City.

We talked about what it was like growing up in Las Vegas, what inspired them to create the website, and their writing & research process.  They also shared some of their most favorite Las Vegas true crime stories.

Head over to Mayhem In The Desert & start reading some of these incredible stories.  And, be sure to follow Mayhem In The Desert on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit. 

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Virgin Territory

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After operating for almost 25 years, the former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - just off the Vegas strip at the corner of Harmon Avenue & Paradise Road - shut its doors on February 3, 2020 in preparation for a massive re-brand and renovation to become the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, which officially opened in March 2021.

In addition to being Sir Richard Branson's first entry into the Vegas market, it also marked the first tribal casino presence in the city with Mohegan Sun Gaming & Entertainment taking over operations of the new 60,000 square foot casino.

My guest for this episode is Joe Hasson, the General Manager of the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.  We discussed his early career & how he got into casino management, the partnerships between Mohegan Sun & the other operators on site, and the challenges of opening a new property during a global pandemic.

For more information on Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit their website where you can also book your stay at the resort.

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

Vegas Unfiltered with Sam Novak

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"Probably Biased.  Definitely Honest."

Sam Novak has been been using that tag line over the last few years for his blog, Vegas Unfiltered.

Sam has become known around Las Vegas as the guy who isn't scared to share his opinion.  Whether it's a show, restaurant, hotel or any other Vegas attraction, if it's a complete and total train-wreck, he'll tell you exactly that.  However, if it's worth your time & money, he'll tell you that as well.

Sam and I talked about what inspired him to create Vegas Unfiltered, we reminisced about some of his more "savage" reviews, we discussed the changing Vegas entertainment scene, and much more!

You can follow Sam on Twitter & Facebook, and be sure to check out Sam's unfiltered reviews & recommendations at Vegas411.com and the Vegas Unfiltered blog.

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

My Special Guest - Jonathan Jossel

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When it first opened on July 1, 1971, at the corner of First and Main in Downtown Las Vegas, The Plaza Hotel & Casino was billed as "the largest hotel & casino in the world" with more than 500 rooms on the property.

Over the last half-century, in addition to cementing itself in Las Vegas pop culture, the property itself has seen a variety of changes.  It's been through renovations, upgrades, and ownership changes.

And as the Plaza celebrates it's 50th Anniversary, I'm joined on this episode of the podcast by Jonathan Jossel, the CEO of the Plaza Hotel & Casino.

We talked about his pre-Vegas life & what brought him to Las Vegas, what's behind the recent uptick in interest in Downtown Las Vegas, his plans for the future of the Plaza, and much more.

Be sure to follow Jonathan on Twitter & Instagram and make sure you check out the Plaza's official podcast, "On the Corner of Main Street" by heading to the Plaza's website (or wherever you listen to podcasts).  While you're there, book yourself a stay and take in some of their 50th Anniversary celebrations!

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

100,000 Total Downloads - A Celebration

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Wow.  Honestly, I can't believe I've reached this milestone:

100,000 total downloads.

Again...WOW

To the listeners, to the guests, and to everyone who helped me get to this point...an absolutely MASSIVE "Thank You".

Let's celebrate together!

And, get ready for LOTS of new episodes coming soon!

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Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate! 

Help support the podcast by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!

 

Sin City Stories - Volume 7: What Might Have Been

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Las Vegas is built on dreams.

Whether it's the people who travel to the city every year dreaming of scoring a big jackpot or the investors, developers, designers and architects who dream of having their next big project come to life on the world-famous Vegas Strip.

Unfortunately, not every dream comes true.

From a resort based on a disastrous maiden voyage, to a hotel & casino built around professional wrestling, to what would have been the first ever "mega-resort", the history of Las Vegas is filled with these so-called shattered dreams.

That's what this episode of Sin City Stories is all about as we take a deep dive into What Might Have Been...

If you want to learn more about these unbuilt resorts & hotels, visit the Official Sin City Stories Website for photos, videos and more!

Sin City Stories - Volume 6: 10/1/17

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Warning: This episode of Sin City Stories contains descriptions of an event that some listeners may find disturbing or triggering. Listener discretion is advised.

October 1, 2017.

It's a date burned into the memories of both Las Vegas residents and visitors. On that day, the Vegas Strip - a spot normally associated with fun and frivolity - became a site of terror for thousands attending a nearby country music festival.

From his suite on one of the high floors at a nearby hotel, a gunman opened fire on the crowd, committing the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Dozens were killed, hundreds were wounded and Las Vegas was shaken to the core.

But who would perpetrate such and attack...and why? What was the response from the city, the country and the world? And how has Las Vegas healed since this tragic event.

That's what you'll find in this episode, as we take a deep dive into 10/1/17.

If you want to learn more about what unfolded at Route 91 on October 1, 2017 - including the response from the brave heroes who rushed to the scene, the outpouring of support that came after the attack, the tributes paid to those who were lost, and the investigation into the incident you can visit the official Sin City Stories website.

SIN CITY STORIES - SEASON 2…COMING SOON!

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SEASON 2 OF SIN CITY STORIES IS COMING!

During Season 1, I took you on a deep dive into some fascinating Las Vegas history. And now, I'm happy to announce that I've started working on episodes for Season 2!

There's still lots of history to tell and I'm very excited to share more of it with you. Just some of the episodes planned include the disastrous 2007 NBA All-Star Game, epic casino implosions and the storied career of a legendary magic duo.

I can't wait to take a deep dive into these stories - and many MANY others!

NEW EPISODES WILL LAUNCH STARTING IN APRIL 2021!

Until then, please head over to the official Sin City Stories website and check out Season 1 - Episodes 1 to 5!

Casino: Fact vs Fiction

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The 1995 movie, "Casino" directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone is, in my opinion, an absolute classic and a must-watch for anyone at all interested in Las Vegas.

The film - which just celebrated its 25th anniversary - tells the story of Sam "Ace" Rothstein, an expert sports-handicapper who's sent to Las Vegas by the Chicago Outfit to oversee the skimming operations at the fictional Tangiers Hotel & Casino.

"Casino" is based on actual events and pulls its story from the book, "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas", written by Nicholas Pileggi who co-wrote the screenplay along with Martin Scorsese.

As always, whenever a book based on a true story makes a move to the big screen, there's certain plot points that tend to be overly dramatized (or even flat-out made up) for the sake of entertainment.  My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to help shed some light on some of the Fact vs. Fiction aspects of "Casino".

Geoff Schumacher is the Vice President of Exhibits & Programs at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas.  He was kind enough to join me to help separate reality from fantasy when it comes to the world of "Ace" Rothstein/"Lefty" Rosenthal.

Did hotel security actually smash a cheater's hand with a hammer?  Did an FBI surveillance plane actually run out of gas and land on a golf course fairway?  Was there really an issue with blueberry muffins?

We get the answers to these questions - and many more!

Visit The Mob Museum's official website and be sure to follow them on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.  Also, be sure to subscribe to the Mob Museum's YouTube channel where you can check out virtual tours, special presentations and more!

And if you want to really get into Las Vegas history and read the true story of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, Anthony Spilotro, the Hole in the Wall Gang and the massive Stardust skimming operation, pick up your copy of "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas" by Nicholas Pileggi.

Goin‘ Solo

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I do A LOT of solo traveling, particularly to Las Vegas - but I've also done solo trips to other cities including Seattle, Toronto and Los Angeles.

People often ask me what the appeal is of traveling solo. 

Don't I get bored?  Do I worry about my safety?  What does my wife think about me traveling solo?  (The answers to those questions are, in order: no, no and she's fine with it since I'm usually doing stuff she doesn't like)

A lot of folks won't take the jump and book a solo vacation, but I'm hoping my guest for this episode of the podcast might help change a few minds.

Janice Waugh is the founder of Solo Traveler World, a website & online community devoted to people who love to travel solo.

Janice & I talked about the inspiration behind her creating Solo Traveler, the best ways to plan a solo trip, the mistakes to avoid while traveling solo and how to stay safe & out of trouble when you're on your own in a strange city.

If you'd like to connect with Janice & the Solo Traveler community, visit their website at SoloTravelerWorld.com, follow them on Twitter & Instagram, or join the Solo Travel Society on Facebook.

Hidden Gems - Pizza Joints, Steakhouses & Dive Bars

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One of my favourite things about being a frequent Vegas visitor and having friends who live there has been them taking me away from the tourist areas to check out some of the locals' spots around the city.

And I've been noticing more and more lately that people have been asking about these locals' spots; they want to know some of the cool places around Las Vegas where the residents go to eat and hang out - and my guest for this episode is here to help out!

Robert Harley is a Vegas local who runs a vlog called "Let's Get Vegasy".  He does live videos on Facebook & YouTube on an almost-daily basis showing his adventures around the city, and something he focuses quite heavily on is the food & beverage scene.  So, I thought it would be helpful for Robert to jump on the show and share some his picks for these so-called "hidden gems".

We talked about the big three - Pizza Joints, Steakhouses & Dive Bars - as well as a few other spots that Vegas visitors might want to check out.

If you want to check out Robert's latest videos, you can join the Let's Get Vegasy Facebook Group or subscribe to the Let's Get Vegasy YouTube Channel!

 

Total Immersion - The Psychology Of Slot Machines

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I think we've all had that experience where a bunch of time passes and we have no idea where it's gone.  Whether it's while driving down the highway, surfing social media or - sitting at a slot machine in a casino in Las Vegas.

But what causes that effect?  Why do our brains drift away like that and take us out of reality?

My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to help us understand.

Spencer Murch has a PhD in Psychology & Cognitive Science from the University of British Columbia and, over the last several years, has been involved in several different research projects surrounding the cognitive science of gambling.  Recently, Spencer completed a study surrounding "immersion" and being "zoned in" or "zoned out" during slot play.

Spencer took the time to jump on the show with me to explain the methodology behind the study and share the results of his research.  We also talked about the part slot designers play in creating that "immersion", what the future of gaming may hold and how to avoid "zoning in" or "zoning out" while playing slots.

If you'd like to learn more about the psychology of slot machines, check out:

- Research Snapshot: Exploring zoned-in or zoned-out immersion during slot machine gambling
- Research Snapshot: The relationship between dark flow, depression, and multiline slot machines

Or pick up a copy of the book, "Addiction By Design" by Natasha Dow Schull.

Vegas From Across The Pond

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I always love having other "Vegas fanatics" on the podcast, and my guest for this episode definitely falls into that category!

Joining me from "across the pond" is Steve White, better known on Twitter as @LasVegasUK.  If you've ever listened to the ZorkCast presented by TravelZork, you'll recognize Steve as the British half of the show.  Steve is also extremely well-versed in all things Vegas.

Steve & I chatted about everything from our predictions on potential changes coming to Las Vegas, to our very first trips to Vegas, to the unique Vegas guide that Steve is in the process of writing.  Also, being that Steve is in the UK under full-on lockdown and I'm in Canada facing extremely strict rules surrounding travel, we thought it was worth having a discussion about travel restrictions & the impact they're having on international travellers.

Start following Steve on Twitter right now and be sure to check out ZorkCast, the official TravelZork podcast, for great Las Vegas advice - and travel advice, in general.

My Special Guest - Dani Elizabeth

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My guest for this episode is a Vegas Showgirl - and I'm not talking about the "showgirls" you see strolling the strip, posing for pictures with tourists.  I mean, a LEGIT Las Vegas Showgirl.

Dani Elizabeth began dancing as a small child - and she just never really stopped.

Growing up in upstate New York, Dani studied marketing & advertising in University and continued to dance through her college years with her school's dance team, an arena football team and even performing as a superhero at a Six Flags theme park.  From there, she was off to Los Angeles, where she had the opportunity to train with a world-renowned Broadway dancer & choreographer.

From LA, she headed to Vegas where she joined the cast of of one of the most legendary shows in Las Vegas history: Donn Arden's "Jubilee" at Bally's.  She performed there until the show's closure in 2016, following which she joined the cast of yet another legendary Vegas show, "Crazy Girls" at Planet Hollywood, where she's since worked as a dancer in the production and now serves as the show's host.

Dani & I talked about all of this during our conversation, as well as how she's been staying busy during the COVID-19 shutdown - including launching a new business with her fiancee, who also happens to be another Vegas headliner.

If you want to keep up with what Dani is up to, be sure to follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  To see Dani performing live in Crazy Girls, visit the show's official website for tickets & info!

Closed For Business

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Only twice in recent history, has Las Vegas seen a so-called "shutdown" of the famed Vegas Strip.

In November 1963, casinos closed their doors for a National Day of Mourning following the assassination of then-US President John F. Kennedy.  That closure lasted about 17 hours and even then, only a few casinos took part with several just shutting down their gaming areas for the duration of the funeral - about 3 hours.

The next shutdown would happen 57 years later...and last much MUCH longer.

Due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued a directive ordering a month-long closure of all non-essential businesses as well as a freeze on all gaming & gambling, effective March 18, 2020.  This essentially brought Las Vegas to a screeching halt.

Originally slated to last 30 days, the total shutdown lasted almost 90 days.

To say the effects of the closure were "devastating" for the people who live & work in Las Vegas would be the understatement of the century.  And, due to ongoing restrictions & limitations, the effects are still being felt to this day - almost 10 months later.

Joining me for this episode of the podcast is C. Regi Rodgers, the Managing Partner & Director of Entertainment for Connoisseur Entertainment and Action Shot Productions.  Regi & his partner, Stephen Cibo are behind a new documentary called "Closed For Business", which gets up close & personal with the people who've been hit hardest by COVID-19 in Las Vegas.

Regi & I chatted about the inspiration behind the production, some of the stories shared by people appearing in the documentary and much more.

Be sure to check out the trailer for "Closed For Business" and follow Regi & his team on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

And if you'd like to help get "Closed For Business" completed & released, become a backer on INDIEGOGO.

My Special Guest - Jen Kramer

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Las Vegas is officially the magic capital of the world, currently playing host to multiple magic shows - not to mention some of the legendary performers who've graced the Vegas Strip throughout its history.

My guest for this episode of the podcast is Jen Kramer, who's currently headlining "The Magic of Jen Kramer" at the famed Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, which she opened in May 2018.

Named "Female Magician of the Year" by the International Magicians Society and recognized as a 40 Under 40 honoree by VEGAS INC, Jen has also appeared on Penn & Teller's "Fool Us", Penn & Teller's "Try This At Home" and "Masters of Illusion".

Jen joined me for the podcast to talk about how she became interested in magic, the time she spent attending Yale & founding the Yale Magic Society, her charity work with Magicians Without Borders, how she landed her Vegas headlining gig...and much more!

If you want to learn more about Jen and check out some her amazing illusions, you can visit her official website, subscribe to her YouTube Channel or follow her on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Vegas FAQ - COVID-19 Edition

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Back in September 2019, I released an episode titled "Vegas FAQ", which was essentially a round up of the Vegas-related questions that I was seeing posted over and over again on Twitter & Facebook as well as the questions that I personally was being asked most often.

I covered a ton of material in that episode; everything from money & budgets to booze, week & prostitution laws.

Here we are, a little over a year later, and the world is a VERY different place.  And, thanks to "the 'Rona", the questions being posed now have changed A LOT.

As such, I thought it might be useful to release an updated version of "Vegas FAQ" with answers to several of the most popular Vegas/COVID-related questions.  This episode covers everything from mask guidelines & mandates to capacity restrictions in restaurants to transportation options and much more.

I'm also going to share my opinion on whether or not it's possible to "have fun" in Las Vegas right now - which seems to be the #1 most-asked question.

This episode does come with a bit of a caveat: All the info presented here is accurate & correct as of the time of recording/publishing.  However, if the last 10 months have taught us anything, it's that things can change - literally - overnight.  If you do decide to take a trip to Las Vegas, I'd highly recommend doing your own research into rules, restrictions & guidelines.

For the latest information on Las Vegas & COVID-19, visit the following resources:

City of Las Vegas - Coronavirus Update

Southern Nevada Health District - COVID-19

Clark County - COVID-19 Updates

Nevada Health Response - COVID-19

For information regarding travel restrictions, testing requirements or guidelines for entry to the United States, please visit the US Department of State's Travel page and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website for the most recent updates.  If you are planning to visit Las Vegas from outside the United States, be sure to consult your own country's travel guidelines for any restrictions or requirements to re-enter your home country.

If you have questions regarding hotel closures or limitations on reservations, please reach out directly the property affected as they will have the most recent & updated information.  If you've booked through a third-party or you've booked a package (including air & hotel reservations) you may need to contact the booking agency.

For information on transportation options in Las Vegas, visit the following providers:

Uber

Lyft

Nevada Taxicab Authority

Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC)

 

Best Of Jeff Does Vegas - Sin City Stories Volumes 1-5

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If there was one "silver lining" that came out of the dumpster-fire that was 2020, it was the opportunity to focus on a few projects that I previously hadn't had time to work on.

Sin City Stories was one of those projects.

I'd had this idea in my head to put together "deep dives" into various aspects of Las Vegas history.  I wanted to tell the stories of some of the more fascinating, bizarre and tragic events that helped to shape the city - but at the same time, make sure it didn't just sound like I was reading from a Wikipedia page.

I wanted Sin City Stories to be more like a "documentary" or "long-form storytelling" with music, vocal effects and sound effects.  I wanted the listener to feel like they were "on a journey" and once they'd finished listening to the podcast, to be able to jump onto the website to read the stories, see photos and watch videos.

Sin City Stories is the most in-depth production I've ever done in my entire podcasting & broadcasting career and I'm incredibly proud of it.

Enjoy!

 

Best Of Jeff Does Vegas - Entertainer Showcase

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There's no doubt that Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world.  Anywhere you go in the city - whether on The Strip or off - you're going to find some of the most insanely talented people on the planet working as headliners in showrooms, busting their rear-ends in various casino lounges and everywhere in between.

I've been lucky enough to have several of them appear as guests on the podcast and even more fortunate to be able to call many of them my friends.

As we wrap up 2020, I thought it might be fun to go back and re-share some of the conversations I had with these amazing people.

And if you want to hear more from any of these fine folks, check out the complete episodes:

EP#58: My Special Guest - Murray The Magician

EP#63: My Special Guests - The Black Donnelly's

EP#65: My Special Guest - Sarah Hester Ross

EP#66: My Special Guest - Christina Shaw

EP#77: The Show Goes On with Vin A.

 

Best Of Jeff Does Vegas - Tips, Tricks and More

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One of the things I've enjoyed the most about doing this podcast has been helping people plan their own trips to Las Vegas, and I've been able to do that in couple of different ways.

Firstly, with my "trip report" episodes; I've loved being able to share my Vegas experiences and provide reviews of hotels, restaurants, shows, attractions and anything else I've gotten up to during my time in the city.

Secondly, through the various conversations I've had with Vegas-related experts who I've recruited to help answer questions on a variety of topics.  Over the last couple of years, we've covered tipping etiquette, where to find the best late night eats, how to plan an "epic girls trip" and even what not to do on a Vegas trip.

As you start making plans for potential trips in the coming year, I thought it might be a good idea to re-share some of these tips & tricks.

And if you'd like to listen to the complete episodes, here you go:

EP#16: Classic Vegas Mistakes

EP#53: Girls Gone Vegas

EP#56: Mid-Night Munchies

EP#59: The Tipping Point

Best Of Jeff Does Vegas - Las Vegas History

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One of the most popular topics I cover on the podcast is Las Vegas history.  People love hearing about the colorful & interesting past of their favourite city as well as the cast of "characters" who helped to shape it. 

I've had the pleasure of speaking with authors, other podcasters and historians on a huge variety of subjects, covering everything from the mob's role in creating Las Vegas to deep dives into the history of some of the most iconic Vegas hotels & casinos and so much more!

I thought it might be fun to hop into my own personal time machine and re-share some of those awesome conversations with you!

Enjoy!

And here's the complete episodes featured in this bonus episode:

EP#46: The Full Reveal - The Burlesque Hall Of Fame Museum

EP#62: Howard Hughes - Aviator, Innovator and Las Vegas Legend

EP#71: "Made" In Vegas

EP#78: A Place In The Sun

Best Of Jeff Does Vegas - Gambling, Gaming & More

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Over the course of the last year or so, I've had the opportunity to talk gambling and gaming with some very cool guests and cover what I thought were some fun and interesting topics.  We talked about everything from how to bet on sports, to apps that help you keep track of table game limits, to when "skill" becomes "cheating" and even superstition as it relates to Las Vegas.

As such, for this bonus "Best Of" episode, I thought it might be fun to take a trip back and listen to some of the highlights of those conversations!

And if you want to check out the full episodes, here they are:

EP#36: Sports Betting For Dummies

EP#51: Cheating The Odds

EP#52: Superstitious Feeling

EP#54: Know The Limits

 

 

Sin City Stories - Volume 5: Atomic Vegas

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It's a little-known fact that just over 60 miles away from the glitz & glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, the United States Government used to test atomic weapons.

Just as the Cold War with Russia was beginning to heat up, the US Department of Energy began testing nuclear bombs in the Nevada desert.  The blasts lit up the sky and the mushroom clouds could be seen for miles around - including from the rooftops of the hotels in downtown Vegas.

But how did the nuclear age find its way to Las Vegas?  And what effect did it have on the city & its culture?

If you want to learn more about nuclear testing in the United States, the Nevada Test Site and atomic culture & tourism, visit the official Sin City Stories website featuring photos, videos, in-depth stories and more!

The Science Of Scent

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If you've ever been to Las Vegas, you're well aware of the unique scents of the various casinos & hotels up and down The Strip.  In fact, if you ask people what one of their favorite parts of Vegas is, they'll tell you "it's the smell inside the casinos".  And it seems that everyone has their own preferred scent - so much so, that there are thousands of posts online from people asking how to either purchase or duplicate their favorite casino scent.

But what's the big deal about smell?  Why is the scent of a casino so important that the companies that own them spend MILLIONS of dollars on creating these so-called "signature scents"?

To get the answer, I decided to talk to an expert...

My guest for this episode is Dr. Rachel Herz, a world-renowned expert on the psychological science of smell.  Dr. Herz is a cognitive neuroscientist, a TED-X speaker and a published author of both numerous research publications and several books on the topic of the science of smell.

We discussed what piqued her interest in the psychology of scent, the connection between scent and emotion & memory and how businesses use scent to affect customer behavior.

To learn more about the science and psychology of scent, visit Dr. Herz's website or follow her on Twitter.  You can also pick up one of her books:

And if you want your home to smell exactly like your favorite Vegas casino, visit Aroma Retail's website and check out their "Resort Collection" which includes scents from the Bellagio, Aria, the Cosmopolitan, Luxor, the Flamingo, Mandalay Bay, Wynn and many others!

A Place In The Sun

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December 15, 1952 saw the opening of one of the most iconic hotels in the history of Las Vegas:

The Sands Hotel & Casino

During its heyday, it played host to some of the biggest names in entertainment of the day, most notably the legendary "Rat Pack" featuring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Sammy Davis Jr.  And although that might be what the Sands is best known for, there's way more to the story than that - and that's where my guest for this episode steps in.

David Schwartz is the author of "At The Sands", a new book that takes readers on a deep dive into the history of The Sands.  Dave and I talked about inspired him to write a book about The Sands, how "mobbed up" the Sands was compared to other Vegas hotels, Frank Sinatra's involvement in the project, Howard Hughes' purchase of the famed resort & his plans for the future, and what led to the eventual downfall of the Sands (both figuratively and literally).

"At The Sands" by David Schwartz is available in both Kindle and Paperback formats on Amazon.

The Show Goes On…

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There's no question that the COVID-19 outbreak, lockdown and the subsequent limitations on re-openings have been extremely tough on everyone in Las Vegas.  But one of the hardest hit segments are the people involved in the entertainment industry.

After 7 long months, shows are finally starting to re-open along The Strip and my guest for this episode is one of those people who's found himself trying to sort out performing during a pandemic.

Vin A. from The Bronx Wanderers is back to chat with me once again.  Since the last time we talked, A LOT has changed.  Early in 2020, the band made the move from the Linq to Harrah's and then shortly after that, the world closed down and they were forced to figure out what came next.

Vin & I discussed the various projects he's had the chance to work on during the shutdown as well as how he - and other Vegas performers - adapted to stay busy & stay in front of their audiences.  Vin also shared his thoughts on what the future may hold for entertainment in Las Vegas from the business side, the performer side and the audience side.

You can stream Vin A's latest original tracks, "Know Where (To Begin)" and "Mantra" on Apple Music & Spotify and be sure to check out all the videos from his VINDemic sessions on his YouTube Channel - including the incredible video for "Know Where (To Begin)".

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