The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast

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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.

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

 

 

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)".

Beating The Crowd

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When you're headed to Las Vegas, it's important make sure your smartphone is loaded up with all the essential apps - including your casino loyalty apps, rideshare apps and your photo sharing & social media apps to make your friends jealous about your Vegas trip.

There's a brand new app available for use in Vegas that could save you time, the aggravation of waiting in lines and - most importantly during these weird COVID-19 times - help maintain social distancing.

NowCrowd is the first app that provides visitors and locals with up-to-date information on crowd levels & wait times at spots around Las Vegas thanks to real-time user-sourced reports.

My guests for this episode are Tyler Robertson & Jessica Marshall, the founders of NowCrowd.  We talked about the inspiration behind the the app, the development process, how the app works and what the future may hold for the app.

Be sure to follow NowCrowd on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and download the app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Perception Is Reality - Part 2: A Local’s Point Of View

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As important as it was for me to get the "tourist point of view" on what's been happening in Las Vegas as of late, I felt it was equally as important to get the local's point of view as well.

So, my guest for for this episode is Jake Gallen, the host of a podcast called The Guest List which focuses on the stories of Las Vegas locals.  Jake is one of those rare "unicorns" who was both born & raised in Vegas.  He's lived in the city his whole life and he's been lucky enough to work at pools & clubs on the Strip as well as be involved in other business ventures.

Jake & I talked about his background & growing up in Las Vegas, the insanity of working at one of the most famous nightclubs in the world and the inspiration behind launching The Guest List. 

But my main reason for getting Jake on the podcast was to get his take on what's been happening in Vegas over the past few months; I wanted to know how the locals were handling recent events and if the reported uptick in crime (including shootings, stabbings, fights, etc) was reality or if it was just another case of Social Media "exaggerating" things.

Follow Jake Gallen & The Guest List on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and make sure you subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.  You can also watch & subscribe to The Guest List on YouTube. 

Perception Is Reality - Part 1: A Visitor’s Point Of View

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Needless to say, Las Vegas is going through some very weird times.

We're not really "post-COVID", in that COVID-19 is still "a thing" and a concern in Las Vegas & around the world.  However, over the course of the last few months, Vegas has been slowly opening back up to tourists and, as great as it's been to see people going back, the re-opening hasn't been without "hiccups".

The biggest issue that seems to be facing Las Vegas as of late is an increase in crime on the Vegas Strip.  There have been multiple reports of shootings, stabbings, fights - both inside & outside casinos - and the infamous "scooter gangs".

But is what's being portrayed in the media & online what's actually happening?  And, does it really matter?  After all, as the saying goes, "perception is reality" - and if people perceive Vegas as "unsafe", that's the reality in their minds and it's going to hurt tourism.

Since I'm still stuck in Canada & unable to get to Las Vegas, I wanted to talk to someone who's been the city recently and experienced what's going on in Vegas right now.

My guests for this episode are Dave & Michelle, the hosts of "We Work To Visit Vegas" on YouTube.  The couple have been regular Vegas visitors for the past few years and have been posting videos since 2017.

I talked to them about the inspiration behind their decision to start vlogging and we chatted about what keeps bringing them back to Las Vegas.  Most importantly though, I wanted to hear about their most recent trip to Las Vegas (at the end of September 2020) and how it differed from their previous trips.

Follow We Work To Visit Vegas on Twitter & Instagram and be sure to subscribe to their YouTube Channel.

“Made” In Vegas

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"Vegas was better when it was run by The Mob."

Anytime I've been in Las Vegas, I inevitably run into people who loudly & proudly say this.  But just how accurate is this statement?  My guest for this episode decided to find out for himself - with his own podcast.

Reed Redmond is the host of Mobbed Up: The Fight For Las Vegas, an 11-part true-crime podcast that chronicles the rise and fall of organized crime in Las Vegas.

Reed had the opportunity to get the stories from the people who lived them - including law enforcement officials, journalists, lawyers, judges and even a legit gangster.

If you want to listen to Mobbed Up: The Fight For Las Vegas, you can find it wherever you get podcasts - including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts - or find it on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website.

Also, be sure to follow Reed on Twitter and Instagram.

Vegas…Unofficially

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Fred Hazelton & Seb Gagnon are the hosts of a brand new Las Vegas podcast called The Unofficial Vegas Podcast.  Fred is a Vegas veteran who visits annually as part of his gig with The Unofficial Vegas Guide and Seb is his good friend & co-host who's only had the opportunity to visit Vegas a couple of times.

I reached out to the guys to see if they'd be interested in joining me on the podcast to talk about their show as well as share some of their own personal Las Vegas picks, tips and tricks!

If you want to take a listen to The Unofficial Vegas Podcast you can find them on Apple Podcasts and Spotify or check them out on Anchor!  And be sure to give the boys a follow on social media...find them on Twitter and Instagram!

Side Note:

Big thanks to Noe Perez from The Noe Perez Pod for having me on his podcast to chat.  I had an absolute blast talking to Noe about my time growing up in Canada, working in radio, getting into podcasting and sharing some of my own personal Vegas tips & tricks.  Be sure to check out the episode and subscribe to the show!

The Summer Vacation Podcast Catch-Up

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I've pumped out brand new episodes for the past 15 weeks straight but I have to tell you something:  I'm exhausted.  So, I've decided to take a week off for a little R-&-R.

As such, I thought this would be a good opportunity for you guys to get caught up on some of the fun shows that I've put out over the last few months.  Plus, you've probably run out of things to binge-watch on Netflix, so why not immerse yourself in the world of podcasts?

In no particular order, here's a few recent episodes to check out for yourself!  And, as always, if you have any feedback on these episodes or suggestions for topics to cover on upcoming episodes, please feel free to reach out to me via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Clip Show

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The very first episode of the podcast was released all the way back on December 1, 2018.  When I launched the podcast, I was simply looking for a creative outlet and a way to share my love for Las Vegas.

I've had the opportunity to talk to & meet with some amazing people - including entertainers, fellow podcasters and Vegas-related experts - and share these conversations with an amazing audience all over the world who are just as passionate about Vegas as I am.

18 months, 68 episodes and over 55,000 downloads later, I thought it might be fun to take a trip back and share clips of some of my favourite podcast conversations...so welcome to the first ever Jeff Does Vegas Clip Show!

And, in order of appearance, here are links to the complete episodes I pulled each of the clips from:

EP#45: My Special Guest - Mark Shunock

EP#43: KABOOM!  The National Atomic Testing Museum

EP#13: Leaving It All On The Table

EP#19: Here's The (Time Share) Pitch

EP#35: My Special Guest - Jimmy Denning

EP#52: Superstitious Feeling

EP#49: Pinball Hall of Fame

EP#42: Long Live The King - Elvis In Vegas

EP#21: Kill Resort Fees

EP#48: My Special Guest - Vin A.

Open For Business

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Sergio Portesan is the creator of the website, Viva Las Value - an awesome site crammed with tons of great tips & tricks on how to do your Las Vegas trip on a budget.  Sergio is also my first ever "three-peat" guest on the podcast, with first 2 appearances being among my top 10 most-downloaded episodes of all-time.

I asked Sergio to hop back on the podcast for a couple of reasons...

First, with the Canada/US Border closed, I'm not able to travel down to Las Vegas but Sergio can, so I asked him if he'd be willing to join me for a "trip report by proxy" to share a few reviews from his most recent trek to Sin City.

Secondly, Sergio's trip coincided with the re-opening weekend of Las Vegas following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.  As such, I wanted to get his thoughts & opinions on how he thought Vegas was doing in welcoming back visitors and - most importantly - whether or not he thought he'd be heading back down for another trip anytime soon.

If you've got Vegas-related questions for Sergio be sure to reach out and follow Viva Las Value on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

My Special Guest - Justin Michael Rodriguez

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If you've found yourself strolling through The Linq on a recent Las Vegas trip, there's a very good chance you've seen my guest for this episode of the podcast performing.

Justin Michael Rodriguez is one of the performers in the show Extreme Live - a very cool, high energy, interactive show at the Linq.

Justin and I chatted about the time he spent growing up in Las Vegas, scoring a lead in the touring production of a major Broadway show, his brush with boy-band fame and his thoughts on the future of entertainment in Vegas.

If you want to keep up with what Justin is up to, you can follow him on Facebook and Instagram.  Also, be sure to follow the Extreme Live Show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

My Special Guest - Christina Shaw

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One of my favourite things about Las Vegas is the vast array of entertainment options available.  One of the most popular types of shows are the "celebrity impersonator" or "tribute shows" - and my special guest for this episode of the podcast is one of the best in the city!

Christina Shaw has been a professional celebrity impersonator for close to 20 years.  As Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and a host of other celebs, she's had the opportunity to travel all over the US, Asia and the Caribbean.  Christina has been performing in Las Vegas since 2010 and has had the opportunity to headline on The Strip numerous times, including as a part of the iconic Legends In Concert show.

During our conversation, Christina & I talked about growing up with a very entertainment-centered family, how she got started in the world of celebrity impersonation, some of her early gigs in Las Vegas and the process she follows when working on a new impersonation.

If you want to know more about Christina Shaw you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.  Christina is also available for special greetings as Taylor Swift or Elsa & Anna from Frozen via her Cameo pages!

My Special Guest - Sarah Hester Ross

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My guest for this episode of the podcast is someone I've been trying to connect with for awhile, but up until now our schedules just never clicked.  I'm a HUGE fan of hers and anytime I have a chance to see her perform, I know I'm going to have an awesome time!

Sarah Hester Ross is an incredibly talented musical comedian & singer-songwriter.  And if you've spent time in any of the duelling piano bars on the Vegas strip, there's a good chance you've seen her play.

Sarah & I talked about her musical background & how she made it to Vegas, some of the shows she's been involved with in her time in the city and how she's been building her online presence with the amazing material she's been posting on her various social media channels.

If you want to see what Sarah is working on make sure to follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Tik-Tok.  Also, go subscribe to her YouTube channel and check out her website!

NOTE: I've been made aware of a claim against Sarah Hester Ross surrounding her recording, releasing & monetizing a musical work to which she allegedly did not receive permission or licensing to do so.  The interview for this episode of the podcast was recorded approximately 2 weeks prior to release of this episode and any reference to the allegedly infringed upon musical work has been removed from this episode of the podcast.

John Di Domenco - The Second Term

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It was a little over a year ago that Vegas entertainer & actor, John Di Domenico - who's regarded as the world's best Donald Trump impersonator - invited me to his home to have a conversation for the podcast (check out that interview in Episode #18).  During the course of our chat, John dropped into the conversation that at one time Donald Trump actually thought John had died.  Apparently, I'm not the journalist I thought I was...because I just moved past that and didn't ask any follow-up questions.

Better late than never, I decided to ask John to come back on the show so I could find out the when, how and why the future President of the United States thought John had passed away.

We also got caught up on what John has been up to over the last year including the voiceover work he's been doing as Trump, his opportunity to meet Alec Baldwin, his dive into the world of Cameo and how he's been keeping busy during the COVID-19 shutdown in Las Vegas.

If you want to keep up with what John has going on, follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  And if you'd like one of John's many characters - including Donald Trump, Dr. Evil, Guy Fieri, Dr. Phil and many MANY others - to send a special message to a co-worker, friend or family member be sure to book him on Cameo!

My Special Guests - The Black Donnellys

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I made my first visit to Ri Ra Irish Pub in the Shoppes At Mandalay Bay back in June 2019 and reviewed the experience on Episode #24 of the podcast.  As I described it at the time, everything about Ri Ra was "authentically Irish".  Sitting in this pub in a mall in Las Vegas felt exactly like sitting in the pub in Dublin - and a lot of things helped contribute to that...from the food, to the drinks, to the staff, to the music.

And that's where the people joining me for this episode of the podcast come into play.

My special guests are Dave Rooney and Dave Browne of The Black Donnellys.  They're the resident house band at Ri Ra in Mandalay Bay.

I talked to the guys about growing up in Dublin & the band's origins in Ireland, how and why they made the move to Las Vegas, their various Guinness World Records and their brand new documentary film An Irish Story: This Is My Home.

Of course we also talked about the COVID-19 pandemic and how they've been keeping busy through the Vegas shut-down.

If you want to learn more about Dave & Dave and the Black Donnellys, visit their official website - which includes info on where you can watch An Irish Story: This Is My Home.  Also make sure to follow the band on Instagram and Facebook - where they've been performing live shows.

And if you want to learn more about the tragic real-life story of The "Black" Donnellys - from which the band took their name - check out the website,  Heaven & Hell on Earth - The Massacre of The "Black" Donnellys.   On the site, you can read all about the family, the murders and the aftermath - including the TWO trials that followed - as well as look through archival evidence from the events.

Howard Hughes - Aviator, Innovator & Las Vegas Legend

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In spite of its short history, the city of Las Vegas has some incredibly colourful characters in its past...and for this episode, I want to talk about one of those characters.

Howard Hughes was a billionaire, an inventor, an aviator, movie producer and philanthropist.  He was also known to be a little "eccentric."

The stories about Howard Hughes are legendary - from the rumours of him urinating in mason jars & having foot-long fingernails to locking himself in a movie screening room for months on end & buying a Las Vegas hotel because he didn't want to leave.  The stories have been around so long and spun in so many different directions, that it's sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction.  And that's what my guest is here to do...

Geoff Schumacher is the Vice President of Exhibits and Programs at The Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas.  Last time Geoff was here, we talked about Las Vegas's mob history...but another one of his favourite topics is Howard Hughes' time in spent in Vegas.

We talked about Hughes' aviation & filmmaking history, what prompted him to move to Nevada in the first place, the rumour that he bought the Silver Slipper Hotel & Casino because "the sign annoyed him", the bizarre reason behind his purchase of a Las Vegas TV station and much more.

Visit Amazon to purchase a copy of Geoff Schumacher's book "Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia and Palace Intrigue".  Also be sure to visit The Mob Museum's website for Virtual Tours and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

My Special Guests - Makenzie Fly & Colin Cahill aka “Mak and the Cheese”

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My special guests for this episode are Las Vegas entertainers - and married couple - Makenzie Fly & Colin Cahill.

Before COVID-19 shut down Las Vegas, Makenzie was one of the leads in the show, Sex Tips For Straight Women From A Gay Man at the Paris and Colin was a member of the cast in Spiegelworld's newest show, Atomic Saloon at The Venetian.

When they were forced out of their respective gigs by Coronavirus, the pair wanted to keep performing - so they launched Mak and the Cheese.

Makenzie & Colin joined me via Zoom to chat about their life before the shutdown, predictions on what Vegas shows might look like when things re-open and whether or not Mak and the Cheese have a future beyond the pandemic!

Be sure to check out & subscribe to Mak and the Cheese's YouTube Channel and enjoy their music including:

- "You Can't Spell Virus Without Us"

- "Don't Cough on Betty White"

- "The Quarantine 15" (as performed for the Mondays Dark Livestream Telethon)

- And "Spare Me a Roll"

Also, follow Mak and the Cheese on Instagram and Facebook!

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