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The Fake Diamond and Counterfeit Elvis Trip 12/16/19 to 12/22/19

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by alanleroy, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. alanleroy

    alanleroy Click my avatar

    Joined:
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    My Trip Report

    I’m not cheap, I’m just drawn that way. After two decades of annual Vegas trips, my gambling buddy Robin and I managed to squeeze more value from December’s trip than the Dutch West India Company got for 60 guilders in 1626.

    THE VEGAS VALUE PLAN
    1. We looked all year for a great deal on a car to drive from Fresno to Vegas. We nailed an SUV $194 for 8 days.

    2. We planned 7 nights in Vegas. 1 Night at Caesars, 3 at the Cal and 3 at Planet Hollywood. All nights were comped even though we have consistently stiffed Boyd and CET for years. They never learn.

    3. Just before the trip, I status matched to CET Diamond. Even though I was a fake diamond, I made a goal to take full advantage of every perk available to one so worthy of Diamond Status. I’m am rated dirt status at most casinos.

    4. As always we each kicked in $100 to the Gambling Wallet and then attempted to play every match play, free slot play, win card or other casino gambling inducement available to us. We then split the wallet winnings on our last night. This year we visited 29 casinos and made 65 such plays each. We have never lost with our communistic gambling strategy. This year was no exception.

    5. We had 21 shows, exhibits and attractions planned. All were either free or deeply discounted.

    6. We had some interesting and some inexpensive meals planned. Most involved discounts through LVA, Groupon, happy hours, My Vegas or my newly minted Diamond celebration dinner.

    7. We planned to convince an Elvis impersonator to join us for a special photo shoot at no cost to us….because 42.

    It was an ambitious plan that would require precision timing and skillful execution. And who better to do it than a couple of value conscious Vegas veterans like us? Luckily we were planning a stop at the NuWu legal recreational marijuana dispensary, so if the plan fell apart, we wouldn’t even care.

    Any Questions? Of course there are. Like “WTF Elvis?”
    Perhaps some of you might have a question about #7 above. Robin and I often have a theme for our annual Vegas trip. This year’s theme was Elvis. “Why Elvis?” you might ask. Because 42. It has been 42 years since Elvis died on the toilet at age 42. We all know 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Well it made sense at the time so we went with it. We sought to answer the question “Why is Elvis Presley still so popular after all these years? Is it the music? Or something else?”

    For a few years I’ve envisioned making a short video on our trip called: “Dinner with Elvis”. We would get an Elvis impersonator to join us for dinner and pretend he really IS Elvis and film the experience. And then a new concept hit me. We had already purchased a Groupon for the Las Vegas Trick Art Museum. Instead of “Dinner with Elvis” maybe our movie would be: “Elvis at the Museum”. That’s the ticket! Brilliant idea AlanLeroy. We were only missing one thing. Elvis.

    I’m sure many of you often wonder “How would I hire an Elvis Impersonator in Las Vegas?” The challenge for us was actually “How would we hire an Elvis Impersonator in Las Vegas at no cost to us?” That’s a tougher question. Of course we weren’t looking for an Elvis for the traditional Bachelorette Party or Birthday or Bar Mitzvah. This was something that could benefit us both.

    The Bash. (Powered by gigmasters)
    https://www.thebash.com/

    I found a web site (The Bash) that looked promising. It allows a person to send out a blast to many Las Vegas performers and request a quote for their services.

    Here are the Elvi we targeted:

    [​IMG]

    Our pitch:
    “My buddy Robin and I are both award winning photographers from Fresno. We go on an annual Vegas trip where we try to take competitive creative photographs. We have an offer for you. We want to do a free photo shoot at the Las Vegas Trick Art Museum with an Elvis impersonator. I think we might get a few interesting pictures

    Here’s the deal. It will take an hour of your time. We’ll pay your admission to the museum. We’ll set up and professionally shoot photos of you with as many of the exhibits as possible. We’ll share in the ownership of all photos and give you a digital copy of each picture. We’ll also try to get you some additional business by featuring you in an article I’ll write about my trip and the museum and the experience.

    We want to do this at the Museum Sunday December 22 at 1:00 PM. First Elvis impersonator to volunteer gets the gig. Worst case, you'll get a bunch of professional photos you can use in your own marketing efforts. Best case, it might bring you some very positive publicity.”

    And yes. Robin and I are indeed both award winning photographers. We both took second place awards at last October’s Fresno District Fair photography contest. I used the gigmaster platform to narrow our search and sent out a blast to 13 performers.

    BOOM.
    Within 10 minutes I received a 0 dollar quote from none other than Counterfeit Elvis himself.

    [​IMG]

    Well that was easy. Maybe too easy. So I waited to see if others would respond. Rejection after rejection. And then two more quotes. Walt Sanders volunteered to do the gig for free...as long as we pay for his flight from Bellevue Ohio. George Thomas of LA would do it for $500.

    So Counterfeit Elvis was our Elvis.
    George Thomas the $500 Elvis sent me a personal e-mail saying he doesn't do pro bono work and he charges for his time just like we do. I sent him a reply that said "We found a local Elvis who will trade an hour of his time for our free photo shoot" and also wished George a happy holiday season".

    He responded that he might know someone in Vegas if we weren't set on our guy. I replied that we were set on our Elvis but hoped he would answer a question for me. "Why are there so many more Elvis impersonators than any other? He's been dead 42 years. Why is the love for him so enduring? Is it the music or something else?" He replied: "You're obviously not a true Elvis fan. But you are a good salesman". George wasn’t very helpful, but our search for answers about Elvis had just begun.

    On 12/5 Counterfeit Elvis was really getting into the Spirit of the King. This was getting real. Here's his e-mail:
    Counterfeit Elvis replied on 12/05/2019 12:30:49 PM
    “I'll go ahead and tell you my idea now. I saw a pic of a robot at the museum. My idea is for me to dress as Han Solo (black vest, white shirt, black pants and boots, still with my Elvis look and Elvis sunglasses) and be singing into a wireless microphone (no amp) and shooting at the robot with a "ray" gun. You can add the laser beam coming out of the gun and hitting the robot. I think that would look really good. I will still arrive wearing an Elvis jumpsuit, I can just change into the Solo outfit for that one picture. Surely the museum has a restroom or other room I can use to change.”

    I told Counterfeit that the Elvis Han Solo suit was a great idea and we wanted this to be a collaborative experience. Next, I asked him to pretend he actually is Elvis for the entire photo shoot. I love it when a plan comes together.

    END OF PART 1.

    PART 2 THE DRIVE 12/16/19
    Mrs AlanLeroy and I picked up Robin and then she dropped us off at FAT (Fresno Air Terminal). We picked up our Intermediate SUV and met Mrs. AlanLeroy a block away where we transferred all our crap from my car to the SUV. We planned to leave at 5:00 PM. It was 6:30. I had been up until 3:00 AM finishing some projects so I was already tired. My throat was also starting to hurt.

    Thus exactly 2 hours and 38 minutes into the trip we pulled off Highway 58 at Tehachapi in search of medicine. I got some Benadryl and Chloraseptic. And then a 5 shot espresso at Starbucks. Now I was medicated. The Benadryl kind of put me to sleep even with the espresso. When I started to snore outside of Barstow, Robin decided it was his turn to drive. The drive was uneventful until Robin woke me up sometime later claiming we were going to run out of gas. He said there was less than a quarter tank left. By my calculations we were only 20 miles or so from State Line so that’s no problem. Until I realized he was reading the gauge wrong and we were in fact on Empty. Then the low fuel light came on. From that point on it was a constant “We aren’t going to make it”. “We’re going to make it” discussion. We coasted into the Chevron at State Line on fumes. Crisis averted.

    Our Palace
    Exactly 43 minutes later we pulled into valet parking at Caesars Palace. I informed the valet of my newly minted diamond status and slipped him a couple of denarii. He saluted me and directed us to hotel check-In. Because of our status, I expected to be greeted by a small group of breast exposing, tunic wearing Roman women dropping rose petals in our path, but it was 1:30 AM. Perhaps they were sound asleep in the servant’s quarters. I was hoping they’d be available to peel our grapes before the breakfast orgy.

    As we walked to check In, I explained to Robin that this wasn’t the real Palace of Caesar. He doesn’t live here. If he did, they would call it Caesar’s Palace (Possessive). Instead it’s Caesars Palace (Plural). We are all treated like Caesar here. It is our palace. We are all Caesars and we need to act like it. He nodded in agreement….or maybe he was just nodding.

    At check-in I requested the Presidential Suite or some other accommodation worthy of our Diamond status. The kindly old serf woman provided us an upgraded room with a view. Next, we inspected the casino area. It was important for me to have my Diamond player’s club card manufactured as soon as possible so I could begin receiving the Diamond treatment that any Caesar would expect.

    I stopped at an empty roulette table and quizzed the bald headed male croupier and his red headed female overseer. I requested directions to the local smithy so they could begin manufacturing my card. I also asked the location of the nearest Diamond lounge so that we might relax in splendor after we drop off our luggage at the villa.

    The boss woman, Anna from Russia, informed us that the Diamond lounge was closed for the night, and unfortunately even with my Diamond status she could not have them open it for us. There was however, a place at the back of the high limit room with refreshments and apples and luscious deserts that are reserved just for VIPs like us. I love apples. She then asked for my driver’s license and scurried off to mint my official Diamond card. What a nice lady. She made me feel special.

    We trekked to the room. And what a room it was. Fit for a Caesar. Why they even had this refreshing water fountain in the room. I’ve never seen such a thing! . We smoked a little ganja and then Robin crashed while I went to explore my new empire.

    First stop…the VIP Lounge in the high limit area. I walked up to an empty roulette table and asked the croupier where the special Diamond room with the apples was. I don’t think he spoke English as he did not reply. I looked around a bit and was approached by a pit boss. He asked me if I needed some help. I explained I was searching for the apples and appetizers. He said the Diamond lounge was closed for the night…although I don’t think he understood me either. What a disappointment. My workers need better training…or something. I wandered around taking pictures of my various statuary.

    [​IMG]
    A Girl with her Goat
    [​IMG]
    Taxi!
    [​IMG]
    That's what I'm talkin' about.
    [​IMG]
    Nice staff.
    [​IMG]
    Manny, Moe and Curly Joe.
    [​IMG]
    I believe this is The Abduction of the Sabine Women. Nothing like a little pillaging.
    [​IMG]
    I'm guessing this is the slaughter of the Sabine Men. Those poor Sabines.

    [​IMG]
    Your guess is as good as mine.

    It was pushing 3:00 AM and I had been up for 24 hours. I was going to make one more circle around the casino and head back to the room. I walked by the roulette table where Anna and her bald assistant were still watching an empty roulette table. Anna asked how I enjoyed the High Limit lounge. I explained that the underlings didn’t seem to appreciate me there. She immediately dispatched her bald subordinate to guide me to the VIP lounge. We walked right up to the High Limit Pit Boss and Baldy introduced me as ‘Mr Leroy a VIP staying with us tonight’. I wish he had used my official title “His Imperial Highness, Emperor Leroy”. In a minute I was directed to the lounge with apples and crunchies and chips and bottled water. I ate my apples and chips and drank my water.

    [​IMG]
    VIPs Only.
    [​IMG]
    Free Water.
    [​IMG]
    Chips
    [​IMG]
    Crunchies.
    [​IMG]
    Green things.
    [​IMG]
    I love apples.

    Ah the perks of Diamond status. Life was good. Headed back to the room. Our schedule called for us to be at the Mirage eating breakfast at 8:00 AM. No way in hell that was happening.

    End of Part 2.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
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  2. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good stuff so far!
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. eri_manga

    eri_manga Tourist

    Joined:
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    Subbed! Interesting read so far!
     
  4. Sparky4

    Sparky4 High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Mustangs Take Las Vegas V
    The 3 week after we were supposed to go for my birthday trip!
  5. BlackJackLady

    BlackJackLady High-Roller

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    I'm intrigued!
     
  6. Bela Oxmyx

    Bela Oxmyx Tourist

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    More please ... we needed it .... your pictures and picture captions are great fun, thanks !!!
     
  7. alanleroy

    alanleroy Click my avatar

    Joined:
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    Part 3. Tuesday December 17. Uncle Robin.
    The plan was walk to the Mirage and be there at 8:00 AM for breakfast. We arrived at the Mirage at exactly 9:34 AM.

    [​IMG]
    You’re not really seeing this.

    Robin stopped at the M Life Player’s club and then played his myVEGAS free play. He made a nice contribution to the Gambling Wallet. We Breakfeasted at the Mirage Carnegie Deli using a myVEGAS 2 4 1. I had the French Dip and Robin the Pastrami. I think his was the better sandwich. The Carnegie deli at Mirage permanently closed in February.

    [​IMG]
    Pastrami

    [​IMG]
    French Dip

    We also had tickets to the Dolphin Habitat, but being behind in our plan we decided to forego this attraction. No problem. We cancel shows and events every year as we always plan to do far more than humanly possible. In fact, we constantly make adjustments to our plan based upon facts on the ground. It’s no big deal.

    /* Bonus Bargain Secret #1 */

    Now you might ask “AlanLeroy, how can this trip be such a bargain if you’re constantly spending money on shows you don’t attend?’. Thank you for asking. This is the perfect place to reveal one of our secrets of Las Vegas bargain hunting.

    We got many of the show and attraction tickets through Vegas.Com. But here’s the secret. Every year around Black Friday, Vegas.Com runs their $50 Dollar Promo. If you buy anything (some years there’s a $10 minimum), they will send you a promo code the next day that’s good for $50 off your next purchase. If you use your promo code the next day then the day after that they’ll send you another $50 promo code and the process repeats until the final day of the promo which usually runs for a week.

    Our first buy was $15 tickets to the Bellagio Museum of Fine Arts display: Material Existence Japanese Art from Jomon period to present. Robin and I were going to buy tickets anyway, so it was the perfect way to prime the promo pump. The next day we both received our $50 promos and we got the 3 day monorail pass + Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Our total was $51.00 - $50.00 for a grand total of $1.00 each. We repeated these promo purchases each day until the promo ended on December 3rd. So we lost $1.00 each on the Secret Garden, but still had monorail tickets….that we also never used.

    /* End of Bonus Bargain Secret 1 */

    Next stop: Players Club at Caesars to make arrangements for our free show as part of my Diamond card benefits. Even though no one was in line, I made sure to use the Diamond line. Don’t want a perk to go to waste. The booth lady Emily issued me a piece of paper that I took to the Box Office. The Box Office Lady then offered me tickets to CET shows they deem worthy of Diamond. The only catch is that many shows are sold out. We scored tickets to The Miss Behave Game Show at Bally’s for Saturday night (Notice how Bally’s is possessive, so we are not all Ballies). I had no clue what this show was about but WoooHooo! Score a free show!!

    Checked out of Caesars. Resort fee 0. Valet Parking fee 0. Total cost 0. Diamond Savings: $70. I think we also received preferential treatment at the valet as our intermediate SUV arrived before others who were waiting when we arrived.

    [​IMG]
    Bye for now Cleo. I think she likes me, but she’ll never admit it. She is Queen of Denial.

    Departed Caesars at exactly 12:03 PM
    Arrived at Huntington Press (Home of Las Vegas Advisor) at 12:09 PM to pick up our 2019 Member Reward Books. Then we continued to make our gambling plays at 2 casinos on the way to our new destination resort The California Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas.

    Gambling Visit to Gold Coast—12:21 to 1:06
    Gambling Visit to Arizona Charlies Decatur 1:20 to 1:59


    Somewhere along the way Robin received a text from his Grand Niece who he didn’t know existed a month earlier. Yes. Robin was a Great Uncle and didn’t even know it. She and her husband were in Vegas and wanted to meet up. I suggested we should meet at The STRAT for Happy Hour at The 107 Sky Lounge and Robin should pay for it. We were going to eat dinner at Happy Hour at Strat 107 Sky Lounge anyway so it worked out perfectly.

    California Hotel Check In—2:16 to 3:05
    Our Check in went smoothly. Back in October we noticed that The Cal, MSS and Fremont were giving out 2 nights mid-week free to anyone with a Player’s Card and a pulse…and the pulse was optional. I got a room for Tuesday and Wednesday and Robin got one for Wednesday and Thursday. We requested my room be located so that it would be adjoining with Robin’s when he checked in Wednesday. It would be like a two room Suite. Sweet!

    Gambling Visit to Jerry’s Nugget 3:10 to 3:50
    Strat: 4:02 to 7:37


    I’ve always thought the 107 Sky Lounge Happy Hour (4:00 PM to 7:00 PM Daily) was one of the best Happy Hours in Vegas. It’s one of the best values too. Half off social plates, Beer, Wine and Cocktails. It does not include ‘signature cocktails’ but it does include premium cocktails….like my favorite Bombay Sapphire Martini.

    Here’s the menu:
    https://thestrat.com/bars/107-skylounge/menu

    The happy hour includes free admission to the Tower (a $24 value) and valet parking at the Strat is always free. I enjoy getting there a little after 4 to watch the sunset from one of the best views in Vegas. To top it off, the social plates are excellent and the service has always been friendly.

    Robin’s niece and nephew arrived about 5. We shared several orders of

    [​IMG]
    Wagyu Beef Arancini (also known as meatballs)

    [​IMG]
    Lollipop Chicken Wings (Wings)

    [​IMG]
    House Made French Fries (Fries).

    I had several Bombay Sapphire Martinis, Uncle Robin had a beer and the two younguns had wine. They were college professors from Texas and owned a cattle ranch. So we talked about current events and cows. A good time was had by all. Just a perfect spot for a meet up.

    We had tickets to the Redneck Comedy Show at the Strat for 6:00 PM. No way in hell. We were having too much fun eating, drinking and enjoying our conversation. Like for example: How could Robin have a Grand Niece in Texas that he never knew existed? It’s complicated.

    The tickets were under $10 though using our second secret source for Las Vegas Bargains: Vegas 4 Locals eBay Auctions.

    https://www.ebay.com/str/vegas4locals

    We also had 2 tickets for the 8:00 PM LA Comedy club at the Strat. We had no intention of using those either. We scored those before we got tickets for tonight’s big show: Piff the Magic Dragon. We gave those tickets to the kids.

    Flamingo: 7:49 to 9:28
    Robin drove us to The Flamingo. I drank too many half price Bombay Sapphire Martinis. We were going to see the America’s got Talent loser Piff the Magic Dragon. Arrived at valet parking only 11 minutes before ShowTime. That’s OK as we had reserved seats. In order to get the best seats available we sat on different sides of the room. I didn’t want to sit next to Robin anyway.

    Piff is a very good magician with a sharp wit and he gets great audience participation. He does the performance with his dog, Mr. Piffles (The World’s Only Magic Performing Chihuahua) attached to him. They are joined by showgirl Jade Simone.

    [​IMG]
    Piff The Magic Dragon

    [​IMG]
    Jade Simone and Mr. Piffles. Boobytrap backwards is Party Boob.

    Cost Each $59 - $50 Vegas.Com Promo. Total cost $9.00 each
    Free Valet Parking due to my Diamond Status....savings $15.

    Gambling Visit to The Orleans: 9:59 to 10:24
    Return to The California Hotel 10:58 PM


    We hung around the Cal for a while playing keno and drinking. Finally crashed around 1:30 AM.

    End of Part 3.

    Part 4. The Timeline

    Some of you may be thinking…”AlanLeroy you must have a great memory to know the exact times of all your travels in Las Vegas”. Other may be thinking “AlanLeroy, how can you waste Vegas time taking such copious notes on your journey”. In reality, neither is true. I allow Google to track all of my movements. It’s possible many of you do too and don’t even realize it. If you have a Smartphone and a Google account attached to it and location services turned on, you may have access to a very powerful tool: The Google Timeline.

    Here’s a screenshot of my timeline from December 17, 2019.
    [​IMG]

    It shows us pulling into Vegas, our trip to Huntington Press, to Gold Coast, To Arizona Charlies, The Cal, Jerry’s Nugget, the Strat, The Flamingo, The Orleans and back to The Cal. Note the red dots. Every few minutes my phone sends its location to Google and that creates a dot. I can hover over any dot and find the exact time my phone was there.

    Here’s what the full timeline window looks like.
    [​IMG]

    I can go to any date since I bought my phone. I can move the map around and also zoom in or out. Take a look at the zoom in below from Tuesday morning. It shows walking in lighter blue and driving in dark blue. Note how we’re coming from the South, pull into Caesars and realize we’re in the wrong valet then zig zag around to the right one.

    [​IMG]

    Another cool feature is I can overlay the satellite image instead of the map.
    [​IMG]

    A few important points: The Timeline isn’t 100% accurate. We did not walk into the center of Las Vegas Blvd or over to Flamingo at 9:32 AM. We stayed on the sidewalk and walked into Caesars. The timeline later identifies Planet Hollywood as Bellagio. And if you look at the whole year in one shot it has me in Salt Lake City for an hour. I swear it wasn’t me. 95% of it is incredibly accurate though.

    I can see a couple of issues ….If Google identified our 2013 side trip to Pahrump’s Phantom Fireworks Store (to pick up fireworks that are illegal in California) as a 20 minute stop at Sheri’s Ranch…well eh that could be a problem for me And how does Google actually use this data apart from providing me with an easy way to remember where I took a dump back in October of 2014?

    You may think this feature is scary or you may think it’s cool. I think it’s scary cool. But at least you should be aware of it…especially if it’s activated on your Google account and tied to your Smartphone and you don’t want your every movement tracked.

    I kind of look at Google like Santa Claus. “You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why…..He knows where you’ve been sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake.” Is Google making a list and checking it twice? I don’t really care. I’m down with it because I have a crush on the Google Woman who tells me which way to turn while navigating me through life. I think she’s sexy.

    Here’s how to check your timeline.
    Go to the Google Home Page and sign into your account. If you don’t know how to do that, I can’t help you. But just because you don’t know how to log in, doesn’t mean you aren’t being tracked. From there click the Manage button. Click on data personalization and scroll down to Activity and Timeline. Click on Timeline and there you are.

    [​IMG]

    End of Part 4

    Part 5 Wednesday December 18 Moving Day and a Day Downtown.
    [​IMG]

    Robin moved next door to our adjoining room. The two bedroom suite was now operational. Makes everything faster with 2 bathrooms. We were moving kind of slow.

    Today was spent entirely downtown. No driving. I’m lucky I have the Google Timeline to help with this because here is the only picture I have from this day:

    [​IMG]

    It’s kind of strange really. My memory is usually very good. But I only remember a few things from this day.

    I know we hit key casinos with our gambling plays

    MSS 1:39 PM
    Plaza 1:06 1:46 PM
    Fremont 11:52 AM
    The D 7:52 PM
    Golden Gate 7:40 PM
    Binions 11:37 AM
    Downtown Grand 8:04 PM to 10:51 PM

    I remember losing the YAH drawing at the Cal. I’m pretty sure we had the Prime Rib special the Cal Market Street Café (Half off LVA). The strangest part of Wednesday is that we spent 3 hours at Downtown Grand. We are both certain we attended the Delirious Comedy club. Neither Robin nor I have any recollection of any performer at this club. Were we hypnotized? Abducted? Was Google somehow involved? Was it just unremarkable? We’ll never know.

    End of part 5

    Part 6 Thursday December 19 Moving Day
    [​IMG]

    I checked out of my room in my half of the 2 bedroom suite and moved over to Robin’s room. At 10:30 AM we were at MSS for their Breakfast Buffet. We just barely missed it and settled for the Lunch Buffet. (1/2 off LVA)

    Bighorn 1:01 - 1:23
    A short drive to the Bighorn Casino for our Match Play and Free Slot Play.

    [​IMG]
    It’s never a good sign when the paramedics are hauling a casino patron out on a gurney.

    PublicUS and Neighborhood 1:40 – 2:22

    Next stop a little coffee shop on East Fremont near the old Motel Row. They have a fantastic pour over coffee and we were desperately in need of coffee. We walked around the area and snapped a few pictures. The Big Rig Jig. We’ve had this on the to-do list so long it moved to the bucket list.

    [​IMG]
    Finally saw the Big Rig Jig

    [​IMG]
    Where’s he going?

    [​IMG]
    Fergusons Motel. We're all Furgusons.

    [​IMG]
    I got one question for you.

    [​IMG]
    Monochrome Robin

    We spent the afternoon at various establishments downtown. We toured the new Whiskey Licker Up bar at Binions. We toasted Mrs. AlanLeroy’s Uncle David whose favorite place in this world was the Vue bar at Fitzgerald’s.

    We made our way over to Pizza Rock for dinner.

    [​IMG]
    Mama Mia! That’s a spicy meatball! Not really.

    [​IMG]
    Pizza Rock Rocks!

    [​IMG]
    A slice for Robin.

    4 Queens Steve Connolly's Spirt of the King
    [​IMG]

    Our first Elvis encounter of the trip. I really wasn’t expecting much. Boy was I surprised. This guy Steve Connolly is great. He is a very talented musician and singer. He really gave his all for this performance and had the crowd rocking. Of course this elderly crowd was used to rocking chairs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At the end of the show he gave a little talk. “This is my first day back on stage. The last couple of weeks I’ve been in New Jersey with my father who is very ill. He seemed to be getting better so I came back to Vegas. I found out that he had passed just before this show.”

    Steve had a little meet and greet session after the show. I told him I was sorry for his loss and that I lost both my parents in the last year and a half at age 90 and I know how he feels. We hugged it out. He said he felt his father in the room. I told him that his dad would have been proud of his performance and we hugged it out some more.

    The Medley
    In addition to the Gambling Wallet and our commie advantage plays, Robin and I have a little shared gambling play we often do. We call it the Medley. We each kick in $5.00. One of us picks a game. A machine, a table, whatever. Then we each get a turn on the machine and it’s either double the $5.00 or lose it. We split our winnings after each play.

    Here was my first choice at 4 Queens: The Bettie Page Slot Machine. We both busted.
    [​IMG]
    The machine got me to thinking. What is the target demographic for the Bettie Page Slot Machine? She’d be 95 years old now if she hadn’t died 10 years ago. In 1982 she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to attempted murder following a fight with her landlord and spent ten years in a mental hospital. Although I have to admit, something drew me to that machine. I think it was boobs.

    On my second pick of our Medley, I chose Sex in The City. Because Sex.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    BOOM a 58.34 Jackpot!

    Next on the schedule was taking an Uber over to the NuWu Dispensary and spending time in Nevada’s first Cannabis lounge. We actually had plenty of cannabis and vape pens with us and just didn’t see the need to go somewhere else to smoke it. Instead we wandered around aimlessly for a couple of hours and called it a night.

    End of Part 6
    Sorry I’m so slow churning this report out. Sometimes my work gets in the way of my trip reports. One of these days I’m going to do something about that. I’m waiting for Robin to get me his pictures so I can fill in some more of the blanks. Wait until our memorable Elvis photo shoot on Sunday. I think you'll enjoy it. I know I did.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
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  8. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Great stories! Thanks for writing this up! And yeah I like looking at the Google Timeline after a trip too.
     
  9. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Can’t wait for more!

    I checked my Google account & the tracking was in suspend mode. I need to turn it back on if I ever leave the house again!
     
  10. Valgal

    Valgal VIP Whale

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    Very much enjoying this thanks!!!
     
  11. alanleroy

    alanleroy Click my avatar

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    Part 7
    Friday December 20. Strip Moving day. Really.

    We planned to be out of the Cal at 8:00 AM. We left at 9:15 AM. It’s an improvement. No Resort Fee. No Parking Fee. Total Cost 0. We were headed to our final destination resort: Planet Hollywood.

    But first a stop at the Normandie Motel sign on Las Vegas Blvd. Just south of Fremont. Why?
    [​IMG]
    Because ELVIS SLEPT HERE. Allegedly. Well not right on Las Vegas Boulevard, but at the Normandie Motel which was torn down in 2000. It’s a cool sign owned by the Neon Museum and designed by Betty Willis who also designed the Welcome to Vegas Sign.

    Here is Today’s Timeline:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    To the best of my recollection at no time did I actually swim in Lake Bellagio. If I did, my clothes would have been soaked, right?

    We made our way down Las Vegas Blvd and pulled into Planet Hollywood Valet Parking at 9:17 AM. I mentioned to the Valet that I had recently been bestowed with Diamond Tier Status and handed him a crisp 2 denarii note. He welcomed us to Planet Hollywood and immediately directed us to the exclusive Diamond Check In room. This was not Caesars Palace. We were not in ancient Rome anymore. This was Tinseltown. This was Hollywood Baby! The Hip PH.

    It was so appropriate maybe even destiny to stay at Hollywood on the Strip. In 2 short days, I’d be directing my own film masterpiece “Elvis at the Museum”. I would keep my eyes open for stars here at PHo and perhaps some extras I can recruit.

    /*Begin Digression*/
    As we walked to the exclusive Diamond Check In Room, I reminisced about our stay here on our annual trip 13 years earlier--December 2006. Planet Hollywood had purchased the bankrupt Aladdin 3 years before and was nearing completion of its phased 100 million dollar renovation and transition. The new owners intended to use their Hollywood connections to turn the property into the hippist celebrity spectacle since the Real World invaded the Palms.

    It so happened Robin and I were there for the first of what was promised to be many spectacular Hollywood events: Yes. You guessed it….. The star studded Red Carpet After Party for the premier of the inspiring movie classic Rocky Balboa! Now that was exciting!

    [​IMG]
    They even had Rocky Balboa Hot Dogs. Notice the transition branding: Aladdin/Future Home of Planet Hollywood.

    [​IMG]
    Finishing the new façade. The Dessert Passage, soon to become the Miracle Mile.

    [​IMG]
    “Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.” – Rocky Balboa

    [​IMG]
    “Until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.” – Rocky Balboa

    [​IMG]
    The super stars were about to begin arriving. But first some of the decorations. They would all ride the escalator up to the exclusive red carpet and party area. I felt like a Pavarotti snapping countless pictures of the A Listers while humming La bohème. I believe these women were paid party minglers also known as “ambiance and atmosphere models”

    [​IMG]
    First, a local cause celebre the Iconic Daucus---Carrot Top ! I remember thinking ‘Can it get any better than this?’

    [​IMG]
    And yes it can get better. None other than megastar David Hasselhoff himself! That’s right. The Hoff. Many think his career peaked with Bay Watch, but those in the know realize that 2006 was his year as he released the greatest Music Video of all time…Hooked on a feeling.


    [​IMG]
    Finally, the guest of honor arrived. 60 year old Sylvester Stallone. Rocky Balboa (The Rocky universe’s 6th installment) was a comeback tale. 60 year old former boxer and restauranteur Rocky Balboa challenges young heavyweight champion of the world Mason "The Line" Dixon to a boxing match. Wouldn’t it be cool if Gordon Ramsey had the guts to do the same today on pay per view? I imagine before that ever happens we’ll be watching Rocky 18.

    That was a great trip back in 2006. It was only 4 years later that Planet Hollywood went bust as their debt and operation was acquired by Harrahs. By then it was only a vestige of its star studded past, but I think Harrahs managed to further move PH away from it's Hollywood roots. But I digress.
    /*End Digression*/

    Diamond Check In
    [​IMG]
    Check In at the Diamond Check-In Room was smooth. Our room was immediately available and there was no early check-in fee…because Diamond. We were upgraded to a room with a fountain view and offered free water. I don’t think the woman in line is a Celebrity. In fact we saw no Celebrities at Planet Hollywood today.

    Breakfast: Paris—Hexx Restaurant 9:52 AM
    We dumped our junk in the room and walked next door to The Paris Hotel and Casino…Hexx Restaurant. We had a $50 Groupon that only cost us $20. The Steak and Eggs Breakfast was $25 so we had 2.

    [​IMG]
    Best Breakfast of the Trip. Our server was excellent, but I had to ask her what we get for the 4.7% CNF (Concession and Franchise Fee). She explained that I get nothing for it. It’s simply a way for the restaurant to defray extra costs that casinos charge them. I suggested Hexx should build their costs into the price of the food rather than charge a hidden extra fee for their food. I think it’s sneaky but I know it’s not our waitresses fault. She said she’d ‘See what she could do’. She came back a moment later and her manager had waived our 4.7% CNF fee. I told her I was going to increase her tip by the amount of the CNF fee and she just gave a big smile and a wink....as if to say 'Good Idea'.

    Gambling Visit to Hooters 12:16 – 1:08
    Hard Rock 1:20 – 1:38

    I was looking forward to our trip to the Hard Rock. It is now permanently closed for its remodel and transition to a Virgin Hotel. I noticed an article about a very special exhibition that would be open while we were there. Now that was a must see.

    “Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas has announced a specially curated memorabilia exhibition to celebrate the hotel and casino’s 25 year history in Las Vegas . The exhibition will feature artifacts such as costumes, musical instruments, props and artwork not seen by the public in decades by iconic performers … The Hard Rock Memorabilia Exhibition will be located near Pink Taco, off the Paradise parking garage. The exhibit will be open Thursday – Monday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sept. 27 – Jan. 31, 2020.”

    We could not find this exhibition. We wandered around. We asked an employee. He didn’t know what we were talking about. We wandered around some more and asked another employee. She said “That was closed a week ago”. Curses. Foiled again. We took a few pictures of the casino and memorabilia on the walls.

    [​IMG]
    A grasshopper walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "Hey! We have a drink named after you!" The grasshopper replies, "Really? You have a drink named AlanLeroy?"
    A termite walks into a bar and asks "Is the bar tender here?

    [​IMG]
    Working the Kinks out.

    [​IMG]
    Petty Coat. Junction.

    [​IMG]
    Today the Prince. Sunday The King.

    [​IMG]
    I like spicy. Are they still a thing?

    Good bye Hard Rock. I barely knew thee.

    Gambling visit to Silver Sevens 1:56 PM
    Gambling visit to Tuscany 2:05-2:29 PM
    Harrahs Big Elvis 2:41 – 3:30

    Robin and I have had Big Elvis--Pete Vallee on our to-do list for years. Something always seems to get in our way. Like we didn’t plan on being on the strip Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Or we had something else that we that moved up in importance. Or we were running behind. Or we were tired or lazy or something….But this trip was bound to be different. .

    We once again took full advantage of our Valet parking Diamond benefit, but because of construction, it was quite a maze to get the Harrah's valet. We headed over to the Harrah’s Piano Bar. It was virtually empty. It looked like they may be getting ready for some karaoke or group singalong thing.

    I asked the hostesses when Big Elvis would be starting….She said the first week of January. How can this be? I had checked the schedule on Harrah’s web site just a week earlier. Dang. Next year for sure. It’s moving to the top of the Bucket List. The Vegas bucket list keeps growing. It’s beyond the pail.

    Big Rig Jig
    Busking on Fremont
    Rio Zip Line
    All the Strat Rides.

    Big Elvis
    Shenandoah Ranch with Wayne
    Night in a Palms Fantasy Suite
    Make an Elvis Movie
    Sky Jump
    W2G
    Golden Arm Club
    Win the Wheel of Fortune progressive jackpot
    Open Mic Night at Sapphires in my Giant Inflatable Penis Costume

    LINC 3:20 to 5:01
    Walked around Harrah’s doing a slot machine medley then out to stroll the LINC promenade. We picked up tickets for both the High Roller and the Eiffel Tower at Paris. From the Vegas.Com promo…Total cost 0.00. They also have a Diamond line that saved us a half hour wait to get the tickets.

    [​IMG]
    Love Sugar

    Planet Hollywood 5:37
    We returned to Planet Hollywood. It was a leisurely agenda tonight: drinking, smoking legal recreational marijuana, low stakes gambling, people watching, dinner at Spice Market Buffet and the Vegas Live Comedy Show.

    The Spice Market Buffet website encourages visitors to “Join us for a feast like no other with delecious slow roasted, herb crusted, Prime Rib EVERY night” Yes it really says 'delecious'. Of course we had a great deal. One buffet was free because I had signed up for the Caesars Total Rewards Visa Card. The other buffet came with unlimited free drinks and was $23 with Groupon. So two buffets for $23. Their prime rib was surprisingly good. It was tender and had a good herb crusted flavor. You might even say it was delecious.

    My memory of the Vegas Live Comedy Show is better than the Delirious Comedy club. I actually have fleeting memories of the headlining comedian. Although I have no memory whatsoever of the host or two opening comics. One out of 4 ain’t bad. It’s not surprising the brain wouldn’t waste memory engrams storing the bits of mediocre comedians. It’s got to be someone famous or something different and memorable. That’s why I think people will remember my standup routine in my Giant Penis Costume. I’m still working on it.
    END OF PART 7.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
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  12. Vegasworm

    Vegasworm Finger Clicker Extraordinaire

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    Love your trip so far...hilarious! Really enjoyed the digression back to 2006. Interesting. Looking forward to more!

    Vegasworm
     
  13. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    I'm really loving this. Especially the pictures showing the transition from Aladdin to Planet Hollywood. I'd forgotten what a big deal it was when that happened.
     
    Oh yes
    One more
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  14. JaDubya

    JaDubya High Roller? Nah...just a Roller

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    @alanleroy - loving the TR so far. Is there a special gambling wallet that’s separate & apart from your/Robin’s regular wallet? Excuse my ignorance if this was covered in a previous TR.
     
  15. alanleroy

    alanleroy Click my avatar

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    Why yes indeed there is a special gambling wallet. It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    Robin and I each kick in $100 at the start of the trip. We only risk that with our special plays. Then any of our wins with Free Slot Play, Match Play, Win Cards, Sign Up Bonuses or the like go into the Gambling Wallet.which we split the last night. We try to build it up with Free Slot Play early as a couple of $25 match plays could wipe us out. That's never happened though. Robin carries the Gambling Wallet as I would be more likely to lose it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
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  16. alanleroy

    alanleroy Click my avatar

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    PART 8
    Saturday December 21


    Timeline

    [​IMG]

    We got an early start this morning. 9:30 is early…for Vegas, right? There was a lot to do today. No way in hell we would do everything we had planned.

    I started off with a $50 bet on the Washington Huskies to win the Las Vegas Bowl over the Boise State Broncos. I had a lot of reasons why the Huskies would crush the Broncos, but I’ve never really been good at sports betting. What was more important is I was able to use my Diamond line privileges to bypass the huddled masses and move right to my personal betting window. This may be the biggest Diamond perk of all.

    A short walk across the bridge and we were at Bellagio.

    [​IMG]
    A Fine December Day

    Gambling visit to Bellagio + Bellagio Museum of Fine Arts---10:30-1130
    Robin played his MYVegas Free Slot play and made another contribution to the Gambling Wallet. Then a stroll through the Conservatory.

    [​IMG]
    A bear walks into a bar.....and says "let me get uhhhhh..uhmmm....errrr..ah....A beer" Bartender says, "Sure but what's with the big pause?" Bear says, "I was born with them"

    On these annual trips, we often stop at the Bellagio Museum of Fine Arts to absorb some much needed culture. This year was no different as we attended : Material Existence Japanese Art from Jōmon period to present

    /*Begin Digression */
    Last year’s Visit to the Bellagio Museum of Fine Arts featured renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, 90 year old Kusama’s works are the most valuable of any living female artist. She works every day 8-9 hours without breaks….She has worked most every day on some piece of art since she was 10. She claims that throughout her life flowers and pumpkins have actually spoken to her. Literally.

    [​IMG]
    Yayoi Kusama Narcissus Garden

    [​IMG]
    Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrored Room - Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity

    I really loved this exhibit and the work of Kusama. It wasn’t because the she has lived in a mental institution since 1975 and she continues to churn out art daily worth $millions. It was because the self-reflective nature of the artwork forced me to ponder my relationship with infinity.

    So after such a brilliant installation in 2018, I was expecting a lot from Material Existence Japanese art from Jōmon period to present. Depending on who you ask, Jōmon period either began 14,000 years BC or 1000 years BC. In either event, it’s a long time from Jōmon to present. At least 3000 years. But I digress
    /* End Digression */

    What did we get from Jōmon to present? A 3D printed miniature copy of a contemporary 30 Foot Statue. A Rock with a florescent light through it. Pots, Pots with Fake Flowers, Vases, a Rock with Fake Flowers and a Google-eyed Dogū. It just seemed skimpy, like it really couldn’t be a true representation of 3000+ years of Japanese art....and there was nothing to connect the ancient to the modern. It was a hodgepodge.

    [​IMG]
    This is the first time this Google-eyed Dogū has been on display in the United States. They did not allow photos of it. It was my personal favorite as I love one-legged Google-eyed Dogū. I am convinced they are testaments to our ancient alien overlords.

    [​IMG]
    Kohei Nawa's golden Throne. According to those who know, this 3D printed replica of a 3 Ton Statue “allegorizes artificial intelligence takeover in a fiery mash-up of ancient/modern, organic/mechanical, spiritual /secular, spike/bubble, petal/rake. Oh…I was so going to guess that.

    [​IMG]
    Old Pot.

    [​IMG]
    Old Pot with Flower

    [​IMG]
    Old Pot 2

    [​IMG]
    Old Pots

    [​IMG]
    Sabi. It’s kind of like me in a way.

    [​IMG]
    Shinto. It’s not much like me.

    [​IMG]
    Old Rock with Flower

    [​IMG]
    Old Vase with Flower

    A review in the LVRJ posed the following about the exhibit: "The spare, purified space is designed to give viewers an experience of Japanese culture by intensely focusing on a limited array of choice objects. Westerners call the show's uncluttered aesthetic "Minimalism." In Japan, it's less an artistic or decorative style than a dimension of daily life steeped in spiritual beliefs. Material Existence triumphs—despite limited artworks, questionable thematic frame and a struggle to equate decorative crafts with fine art. We're lucky to have it here."

    "Limited artwork?" "Questionable Thematic Frame?" "Struggles to equate crafts with fine art?". So in what way is this a "Triumph"? Essentially they agree with me. It's a skimpy hodgepodge. Maybe "Minimalism" is a just a way to say "Lacking in Content".

    We found a Slot Machine at Bellagio that was very appropriate to this trip!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Yes. Elvis still lives through his SHAKE RATTLING REELS branded slot machines.Robin and I both tried $5.00 on this machine. We both lost.

    Gambling Visit to New York New York 11:58-1:16
    The Gambling wallet continues to expand. Light Lunch at Greenberg’s Deli. I had their foot long hot dog and a bowl of Matzo Ball Soup. It was just meh.

    Gambling Visit to Mandalay Bay 1:26-2:18
    More wins for the Gambling Wallet.

    [​IMG]
    Red Square is now closed. I’ve enjoyed the Ice Bar and Happy hour there many times. Just remember, Vodka may not be the answer, but it’s worth a shot.

    [​IMG]
    Where's the head? It's in the Lenin closet!

    While walking to the UBER pickup area, the Washington Huskies Football team was exiting Mandalay Bay (Their Home Hotel). They were walking to the team bus that would whisk them to Sam Boyd Stadium and the Las Vegas Bowl. I took one look at this team and I knew they would win. I suggested to Robin we bet the entire Gambling Wallet on them. I saw intense focus on their faces. No one was talking. No one was joking. They were dead serious.

    LINC 2:32-6:50
    We lyfted to the LINC for our afternoon show “The Bronx Wanderers”. This show was free after our Vegas.Com Promo and it was a really good show. This group’s core are New Yorkers Vinny Adinolfi on guitar/lead vocals; son Vinny Jr. on keyboards; and son Nicky on drums. Rounding out the group are 3 other friends and neighbors from the Bronx. They play chart toppers from the 50’s 60’ and 70’s and they play them well. It was a fun show and well worth the time. The two ‘kids’ are really talented.
    [​IMG]


    After the show we strolled the LINC promenade down to the High Roller. (Free after Vegas.Com Promo). We shared our pod with a family from Wisconsin. I couldn’t help mentioning the 37-8 drubbing the Niners gave the Packers a few weeks earlier.



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The Pack

    [​IMG]
    Google Eyed High Roller Pod
    [​IMG]
    Google Eyed Dogu. The similarities are unmistakable. I’m sure Aliens were involved.

    Paris 7:04-7:27
    Hoofed it over to the Diamond Lounge at Paris. My first Diamond Lounge visit. I had a Triple double. That’s a Double Bombay Sapphire Martini and a Triple Espresso. Robin had a coffee. Service was slowww….So I had to chug the Martini and Expresso.

    Ballys 7:28-10:56
    A quick walk to Bally’s Back Room for our 8:00 PM show: The Miss Behave GameShow (Free as my Diamond Show). Miss Behave divides the room in two and makes the two sections compete for points. She has a series of funny questions she asks. Miss Behave (British-born cabaret performer and sword-swallower Amy Saunders) and her assistant ‘Tiffany’(Bret Pfister) are also kind of naughty…and absolutely hilarious. It's a fast moving and fun time with side vignettes emphasizing their many talents. Like Tiffany's acrobatics and Miss Behave's hula hooping.

    Miss Behave and Tiffany'

    BLT Steak
    It was only a few steps from The Miss Behave Gameshow to one of the finest meals of our trip. Dinner at BLT Steak. (Free Diamond Celebration Dinner + Points from Caesars Rewards Credit Card) We each had 22 Ounce Cowboy steaks. Because We’re kind of like Cowboys. Yippie Ki Yay. Sides of baked potatoes and asparagus. And the famous popover bread. We were the only diners there…on Saturday night at 9:30. Excellent meal. Almost couldn't eat it all, but that’s not what cowboys do. We clean our plates. I was too tired to take pictures though.

    We then walked back to Planet Hollywood. I noticed on a TV that the Washington Huskies had smashed the Boise State Broncos 38-7 in the Las Vegas Bowl. All I do is win.

    Sunday December 22
    Timeline

    [​IMG]

    Today is the day we planned to meet Counterfeit Elvis. We planned to do our photo shoot and to make my groundbreaking movie: "Elvis at the Museum". I was excited waking up....late. The day was filled with anticipation. Who is Counterfeit Elvis? What's his story? Does he look and sound like Elvis? Would he even show up? The best laid plans....

    We had plenty of time to prepare ourselves for the big event. We weren't meeting until 4:00 PM at the Trick Art Museum at the Boulevard Mall....Allegedly. In the meantime, we had places to go and things to do.

    Gambling Visit to Ellis Island 10:12 = 12:08
    We had breakfast at Ellis. Steak and Eggs ( 2 4 1 with LVA Coupon). We ate a lot of steak this trip. We're kind of like cowboys. Also included a micro brew and an Ellis brewed root beer. We both received our free T-Shirts with LVA coupon.

    Another Elvis Reminder
    [​IMG]
    Who knew you could have cocktails with Elvis at Motel 8? There are also 3 streets in Vegas named after Elvis. We didn't drive on any of them.


    Next Stop was ‘The world’s largest gift store: Bonanza Gift Store.

    [​IMG]
    I noticed the Elvis sign and impulsively pulled into the lot. I wanted to check out what kind of ETC they had available (Elvis Tourist Crap). They had a shitload. Who buys this stuff anyway?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][/B]
    Bobble Head Elvis
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Elvis Clocks. For the good times.
    [​IMG]
    Elvis Salt and Pepper Shakers
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Elvis Flasks. Ok. I was tempted.
    [​IMG]
    Elvis Credit Card Cases
    [​IMG]
    Elvis Plates

    Gambling Visit to Circus Circus 12:47 – 12:59

    After walking 2 miles from the Valet to the Player's Club, we learned Circus Circus no longer featured Win Cards. What a rip-off. Then this dude followed us around and made fun of us. What a clown.

    [​IMG]

    I think all Circus Circus Employees should dress like this. And they should ban anyone under 30.

    Gambling Visit to SAMS 1:27 – 2:09
    Gambling Visit to Longhorn 2:16 – 2:38
    Gambling Visit to Jokers Wild (Henderson) 2:53 – 3:28


    We arrived at Boulevard Mall at exactly 3:58 PM. But where was Elvis?

    END OF PART 8
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
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  17. Boogaloo

    Boogaloo Low-Roller

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    OK, it makes me feel better that I felt the same way too. I usually don't use the 'audio tour' players that they give out at the entrance, but I did for that exhibit to see if I was really missing something - the answer turned out to be, 'no' since for the most part they just read to you the same information that's on the signs on the walls.

    As you say, there were very few items and at least some more explanatory context should have been better provided for us non-experts to show why these works are so important and amazing.
     
  18. alanleroy

    alanleroy Click my avatar

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    Maybe we missed our calling as art critics. I wonder if in 3 centuries they'll be exhibiting CorningWare as an example of ancient American artistic cookware.
     
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  19. alanleroy

    alanleroy Click my avatar

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    Part 9
    /*Begin Digression */

    Elvis and Me. 1973. I was 16. My family was returning from a trip to the Grand Canyon. Stayed at the Hilton. We saw Elvis...the real Elvis. Although I always liked his music, he was never one of my favorites. I mean it was 1973. We had Tony Orlando and Dawn by then (jk). What you don't appreciate until you see Elvis live is how he interacted with the audience. He was working the crowd every minute. It was a really special show even for a 16 year old kid. I could recognize his greatness as a performer. I'll always cherish those fun times with my parents.

    Later that night I snuck away from the room when Mom and Dad were gambling. I sat down at a blackjack table and cashed in for $60, my neighborhood lawn mowing earnings. I had a great fake ID I had made out of my California Driver's license. I never even had to show it because they just didn't care back then. I had grown a little cookie duster just for this occasion.

    On my first hand, I picked up my cards and put them in my lap. The Dealer scolded me "Keep your cards on the table Sonny". I played for about a half hour until I lost my bankroll. I drank 2 Gin and Tonics there and got a little drunk. This was also a first. My parents didn't really care too much when they caught me at the table drinking and gambling...I was a 'good kid'....until I wrote about my experience for my high school newspaper. Then they cared a lot. They forgave me. Eventually.

    One other Elvis tidbit. In May of 2006 I visited the Elvis-A-Rama museum which housed $5,000,000 in Elvis memorabilia. It was over on Industrial. They had a couple of his cars and some costumes and a lot of miscellany. It closed just 5 months later in October of 2006.

    [​IMG]

    Until this trip those were my Elvis experiences....but I digress.

    /*End Digression */

    We parked at the back of the Boulevard Mall near the entrance to The 3D Trick Art Museum. I exited the SUV and surveyed the parking lot searching for someone who looked like Elvis (That's not a sentence I get to write too often). Then he emerged. From a classic Pontiac Firebird parked not far from us. Yes. It was none other than Counterfeit Elvis, Chris Johnson. He was decked out in a zebra striped Elvis jumpsuit that he had constructed himself. We spent a few minutes getting acquainted in the parking lot and set our strategy for the photo shoot.

    Chris came to Vegas from Alabama 11 years ago to live the dream. Before that fateful decision he worked in the computer field and also trained in karate for a long time. He has been performing at private events and doing street performances ever since his big move. He always had a great voice and loved to do Elvis. He had hoped to break into some bookings as a performer at the casinos but that hasn't happened for him yet.

    We agreed on a simple strategy. We were going to limit our visit to 1 hour. We were going to try to get pictures with as many exhibits as possible. There were allegedly 60 exhibits at the museum so that would give us 1 per minute. That's reasonable, right?

    The three of us then walked into the Mall and the entrance to the 3D Trick Art Museum. We weren't the typical mall visitors. It was full of kids and parents. We were two old Photographers with Elvis. In fact, from the moment we walked in an amazing transformation took place. Counterfeit Elvis transformed into just Elvis. Women were admiring him. People flocked to him. Robin and I transformed into Award Winning photographers.

    I directed the shoot and kept us quickly moving through each exhibit. Elvis was laughing and singing and posing. We were snapping pictures from all angles figuring out the tricks and laughing at many of them. We moved and moved and moved until an hour had quickly passed. In total we took over 200 photos and 30 video clips. Here are some of them for your enjoyment.

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    Elvis was gracious. Women hugged him. Children loved him. He posed with anyone. Their faces lit up.

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    2 Kings.

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    Aren't we a pair?

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    Put a cork in it.

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    Fowl play!

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    Elvis in outerspace. Somewhere near Uranus.

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    I know. This report does drag on

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    Just winging it.

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    Puppet on a string.

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    Why won't alligators attack lawyers? Professional courtesy!

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    All shook up.

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    If a turtle loses its shell is it naked or homeless?

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    A neutron walked into a bar and asked, “How much for a drink?” The bartender replied, “For you, no charge.

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    A pony goes to the doctor and says, “Doc, I have this terrible sore throat."
    The doctor assures him, "It's okay—you’re just a little horse."

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    Merry Xmas

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    What's brown and smells like red paint? Brown paint.

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    Love Meat Tender

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    It takes 411 licks to reach the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop

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    My favorite Elvis Pic.

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    Why did the raptor cross the road? The chicken wasn't invented yet.

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    Dogs can't deal with Poker. They aren't suited for it.

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    Elvis has left the building

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    Why do elephants never forget? No one ever tells them anything!

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    Stairway to nowhere.

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    What do you call a surfer who just broke up with his girlfriend?
    Homeless.

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    Why can't Elvis surf? He's dead.

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    What did the tree say when Paul Bunyan had to go home? What a re-leaf

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    No DC.

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    They're always from Uranus.

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    Why did the giant birds cross the road? To pick on Elvis.

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    Puzzled

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    Clown Town

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    Crown of Thorns

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    Wings of Elvis.

    Let's just say Counterfeit Elvis (Chris Johnson) was terrific. He's got the look and the voice and manner. He became Elvis with us. I just touched base with him to see how he's doing. He hasn't worked since March and is considering moving back to Alabama. Elvis Impersonator just isn't considered an essential worker and he's feeling the pinch. It's a shame too. He's really good at it.

    If things were normal, I think he could have kept busy just targeting entertaining small groups...like Dinner with Elvis or Elvis at the Museum. We all had a great time just hanging out. I think people will gladly pay for that...and to take those fantastic and memorable pictures with him. So next time you're in Vegas set something up with him! Surprise your wife or hubby or friends with dinner with Elvis...or maybe just a sing along . Just google up Counterfeit Elvis.

    Waxing Philosophical
    And now it's time to wax a little philosophical. Back to our original question: "Why is Elvis still so popular 42 years after his death?" Chris Johnson had one word for it. It was his 'Charisma'. I don't think that's it. Lots of performers have Charisma and a big inventory of popular songs...but they don't have 50 impersonators working Vegas. They don't have Flasks and Credit Card cases with their pictures emblazoned on them.

    If I was cynical I'd just chalk it up to great marketing. There is a corporation behind the licensing of Elvis. It's roots are with Elvis Presley enterprises and sprang from Graceland. It's now owned by intellectual property giant Authentic Brands Group. Elvis has always been one of the top grossing dead celebrities. He's sold over a billion records, but there's so much more to his brand. He's become a tourist attraction a consumer good and cultural icon. I still don't think that marketing accounts for his enduring popularity.

    So I wrote Sue Lorenz, President of the Viva Las Vegas Elvis Presley Fan Club and posed the question. Her response is a little lengthy but worth the read.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Hi there and thanks for reaching out.

    I don't have a simple answer but I am sending you the closing section of the speech I made when my club was able to induct Elvis in the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. Maybe it will help.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    The Las Vegas Walk of Stars honors people who contributed to the world wide prominence of this town. What were Elvis Presley’s contributions to Las Vegas?
    Elvis did try to bring rock n roll to the strip in 1956, performing at the New Frontier. That ended up making no impact on Vegas, but Vegas had certainly made an impact on Elvis. He began to make repeated trips to Las Vegas.

    During the next decade, Elvis came to this town to film, and many times visited between movies: to relax, have fun, enjoy entertainment, and to meet up with people who had become his friends. He was married here.

    When he returned to the stage in 1969, Elvis was able to bring rock n roll to Las Vegas, to the strip, and into the hotels. People came from all over the world to see him. Elvis had an onstage style that other entertainers admired. Elvis was the first performer to consistently sell out the largest showroom in the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” During his performance times here, he continued to venture out and experience what Las Vegas had to offer.
    Personally, I will never forget the excitement I experienced with the advertisements that he was here in town, the decorations all over the hotel, and the overwhelming feelings I had to see him in person. It was NOW ELVIS NOW … everywhere! I was able to see Elvis live almost every time he was here, from 1970 thru 1976. And every show was great!

    A contribution that’s been barely acknowledged was Elvis’ charity to Las Vegas. Each time Elvis was here performing, the souvenir booth in the hotel lobby would have 100% of the proceeds donated to a designated charity. I always thought how cool was that: that he cared about my local community.

    Since his first visit to Las Vegas in 1956, Elvis knew that he could experience something here that he couldn’t get anywhere else. He was here much more than we realize and he contributed to our history and image. We have adopted Elvis Presley as a local. Too bad we never took the chance to tell him that while he was alive. This star is our opportunity to formalize our appreciation of him.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Another good source is a book that came out last year, Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show by Richard Zoglin. Search for interviews with the Author. He has a analysis of Elvis' impact on Las Vegas that I totally agree with.

    Sue Lorenz
    President
    Viva Las Vegas Club
    http://www.vivalasvegasclub.com/

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


    And that makes a lot of sense to me. That Elvis's popularity is out-sized in Vegas and Memphis. The towns adopted him and are still associated with him. That's why there's 4 Elvis Shows and so many impersonators and tchotchkes for sale. Elvis belongs with Vegas and he always will. As long as Vegas lives, so will the memory of Elvis. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    With our mission accomplished, we returned to Planet Hollywood and split the Gambling Wallet. It had magically grown to over $1000. We had both quintupled our investments.

    That night we had the best meal of our trip. It was the first night of Hanukah and Wynn La Cave had a fantastic short rib Hanukah special. From Wynn we walked next door to the Venetian and attended the final show of the Trip. Atomic Saloon. It was funny and fresh and the seats were hard and hurt my butt.
    End of Part 9

    Part 10. Conclusion
    Monday December 22
    Timeline

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    Monday we were out of Vegas by noon and had an uneventful drive back to Fresno. Except for the dust storm that caused bumper to bumper traffic for about an hour.

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    This was one of the least expensive and most action packed trips to Vegas I've ever made. I figure we saved over $1000 given all of the Diamond Perks, Comps and Cheap Shows we attended.

    But the highlight of the trip was Elvis at the Museum. That was priceless. In fact, my big bold movie tentatively titled "Elvis at the Museum" is going through its final cuts. I should upload this soon to be film classic well in advance of the Oscar nominations. I promise. Until next year, Viva Las Vegas!

    End of Report
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  20. JaDubya

    JaDubya High Roller? Nah...just a Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2020
    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    California
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    40
    Your TR made me laugh & smile. Well done!