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Posted by on Sep 5, 2012 in Blog, Las Vegas, Music and Concert Reviews | 5 comments

Lon Bronson All-Star Band — Best Free Show in Las Vegas

 

Lon Bronson Band in Las Vegas

 

Las Vegas is home to many of the best musicians and performers and in the world.

These artists play shows night after night on the Las Vegas Strip.  Casino showrooms are loaded with great singers, guitarists, piano players, trumpet players, backup vocalists, string players, and drummers.

But let’s face it.  Playing the same set of songs night after night gets old pretty quick.  No matter how great the show is, these are supremely-talented performers with creative minds.  Everyone needs to break the mold on occasion.

Incredibly, several of Las Vegas’ top musicians — virtually all of whom play the expensive headliner shows at the biggest casinos — gather from time to time and put on an impromptu jamming session.  Led by longtime bandleader and trumpeter Lon Bronson, his “All-Star Band” often has a dozen or more of the best session musicians in the city on a single stage.

I mean, where else can you see a show with a ten-piece horn section in a showroom that holds a couple of hundred people?

The band sure isn’t doing this for the money.

That’s because — the show is free.

That’s right — FREE.

In a throwback to the good old days of yesteryear when Las Vegas casinos really understood the entertainment business, when they packed their lounges with some of the best acts in the world and then invited everyone to flood in and enjoy the party at no cost (aside from the added gambling revenue), Stations Casinos has decided to revive that old formula.

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Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, Rants and Raves | 4 comments

Nolan Dalla Rants: DJ’S Earning Millions — Madness Spinning Out of Control

overpaid-dj

 

I swear — I’m not making this up.

A few days ago, a story appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about a so-called “superstar DJ.”

I know.  I had to do a doubletake on that one, too.  “SUPERSTAR DJ.”

He reportedly earned $2 million last year.

Just in case you don’t get it — a “superstar DJ” is a personality (I cringe at the notion of celebrity) who is invited to a special event — usually a hot nightclub opening or swim party — to come in and (hold your breath) spin records.

That’s right — spin records. As in pop a few LPs on a turntable and pump up the volume.

Which begs the first question — wouldn’t it be a helluva’ lot easier to just load up a few CDs, hit the “play” button, and watch the dancing begin?  In the ecstasy-laced fantasyland of velvet ropes, VIP lines, and $22 cocktails, you think anyone in these high-priced insane asylums would know the fucking difference?

So, like I said — the “superstar DJ” shows up on a busy Friday or Saturday night and plays club music.  You know what I’m talking about — that inpenatrable thunder of batshit with the bass turned up so fucking loud your eardrums explode.  You know, that techno-jizz created by pre-programmed software. You know, that mindless industrial gunk played so goddamned loud you can’t even hear the person next to you  screaming in your ear.  Then again, maybe that’s the appeal.

I’m told these clubs are little more than meat markets.  How anyone actually picks up someone in one of these places is a complete mystery.  I mean, what’s a the typical opening line, “What a nice girl like you doing in a shithole like this?”

Stick with me.  There’s a punch line coming.

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Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 in Blog, Las Vegas, Politics | 5 comments

Moguls of Hypocricy: Casino Magnates Adelson, Wynn, and Trump Whine While Fortunes Skyrocket

 

 

Leave it to three casino industry tycoons to display the most brazen acts of hypocrisy in recent memory.

What would you call someone who repeatedly blasts our president for his “socialist-style economy,” while raking in billions in profits during the time frame the president has been in office?

What would you call someone who refers to our leader “the greatest wet blanket to business,” yet managed to double the size of his casino empire and increase his net personal worth by $200 million during the president’s first term?

What would you call someone who declared bankruptcy four years ago (at the end of the previous administration), and then preposterously claimed his net worth is several billion today?

If you’re having trouble coming up with the right words, let me help you.

Liars.

Hypocrites.

It’s impossible to imagine three more hypocritical blowhards than casino moguls Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn, and Donald Trump.  Their political posturing would be side-splitting if it were not so downright shameful.

The three current and former casino owner-executives have repeatedly blasted President Obama since he took office in early 2009.  They are certainly entitled to their opinions — outlandish as they may be.  But the facts clearly reveal, like the rest of the top one-percent of wealthiest Americans, they have enriched themselves handsomely under the current administration.

But that doesn’t stop the posturing nor the hyperbole.  Never let the facts get in the way of creative sound bites.  President Obama is anti-business, they say.  President Obama is bad for the economy, they say.  President Obama is a Socialist, they say.  Yada.  Yada.  Yada.

One would think the three musketeers of malaise have suffered while President Obama’s been residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  One would be led to believe their businesses have lost money or that they suffered personal financial setbacks.  But a look at the facts reveals quite the opposite.  In fact, these three hypocrites have – by any measure – made astronomical profits since President Obama took office.

Let’s look at the record, shall we?

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Posted by on Jul 29, 2012 in Las Vegas, Sports Betting | 0 comments

Hell on Earth: The MGM Grand (Las Vegas)

 

MGM Grand exterior hero shot

 

PREFACE:  This is a difficult blog to write.

Each and every week, I receive a text-message inviting me to play in a local poker tournament.  The weekly tourney is $120 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. — hosted at the MGM Grand.

My distaste for the MGM Grand and everything associated with the monstrosity is widely-known and well-documented.  It’s been the subject of columns in both newspapers — the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Review-Journal.  I won’t reopen those wounds and get into details now (see a future blog for that).  I only say that I was fully prepared to move on emotionally and give this giant money-sucking leech another chance when I made my first entrance into the MGM Grand in four years.

And so, last Tuesday night — prompted by an invite from poker pro Karina Jett, the extraordinary hostess at the MGM Grand (probably the only wise executive decision they’ve ever made here was to hire Jett) — I decided to release those bitter bygones and set foot inside a casino that still owes me thousands of dollars.

At 6:30 pm, I pulled into the MGM Grand parking lot.  Not much as changed in this regard since my last visit.  One still must maneuver a giant maze of lanes and floors and then walk a mile to finally get to the building entrance.  Indeed, it takes me perhaps five minutes inside what used to be the world’s largest hotel to instantly realize that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING has changed since I wrote the following review (which was posted at a gambling website back in 2002).

It should be noted that everything in the following review is a reflection of my experience there ten years ago.  But, it’s just as relevant now based on Tuesday night’s visit.  One update:  The MGM Grand now has a poker room, which has moved again.  For several years, it was located beneath a noisy nightclub.  The poker room has since been moved off to the side, which I will add is nothing to brag about.

Moreover, all of the events relating to my fallout at the MGM Grand in 2005 occurred well after this review was written.  So anyone who thinks I’m biased should be aware this review was originally written three years prior.

Here it goes.

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Posted by on Jul 28, 2012 in Blog, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 1 comment

Restaurant Review: The Flame Steakhouse (El Cortez Las Vegas)

 

Photos of Flame Steakhouse, Las Vegas

Writer’s Note:  The Flame Steakhouse closed its doors for the final time in 2014.  The replacement restaurant at the El Cortez is not recommended.

 

Finding a delicious “trout almondine” is next to impossible outside of New Orleans.

Or — so I thought.

Then, I dined at The Flame Steakhouse which is the gourmet restaurant inside the time-warped El Cortez Casino in downtown Las Vegas.  I ordered and then devoured a Creole delicacy that was every bit as tasty as the world-class fare served at Antione’s, Galatoire’s, or Arnaud’s in the famous French Quarter.

In a city that has become dominated by flash-in-the-pan “celebrity” chefs and ridiculously-overpriced Haute cuisine, it’s refreshing to a experience throwback to a time and place when all that really mattered was great tasting food served at a reasonable cost in a comfortable atmosphere with reliable service.  Sadly, those fundamentals are lost in what has become a sea of snooty waiters and obscene South Strip prices, which so often meet their well deserved demise.

Perhaps that’s what makes The Flame Steakhouse so enduring and consistent.  Very little changes.  It’s good – all the time.  And since that first visit many years ago, I’ve dined here perhaps 50 to 60 times – always leaving both satisfied and with the feeling I got a bargain.

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