Last Friday the Neon Museum made some major changes to its schedule. Let’s be honest here, after all it’s no secret—Las Vegas summers are scorchers. So being aware of this, management adjusted its summer hours, and also added brand-new evening tours of its open-air Neon Boneyard exhibition area. In this writer’s opinion, the night-time is the best time to see these iconic signs of Las Vegas’ past. Having lived in our village since 1965, I watched these very signs taken down, as one-by-one, the hotels or casinos disappeared; it brings back some great memories. And some are actually lit, which is even neater to see at night!
Just a few of the signs that I was personally associated with over the years, include the old Thunderbird (later the Silverbird Hotel), the Mint Hotel, Dunes, Aladdin, Stardust, and Sahara. Most of the major signs on display were designed and built by Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) of Las Vegas.
New, colorful up-lighting continues to be installed throughout the Boneyard, dramatically illuminating the iconic signs in the museum’s collection. While most of the signs themselves are not electrified, the new custom-designed lighting showcases them beautifully. The new lighting makes the evening tours an attractive option for those who want not only to escape the heat of day, but also to experience the signs from a dazzling new perspective.
The Neon Museum is open seven days a week. Its La Concha visitors’ center (itself an iconic building donated to the museum by its former owners on the Las Vegas Strip) is open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. To tour the museum’s Boneyard exhibition area, all visitors are advised to pre-register for a guided tour on the museum’s website at www.neonmuseum.org. Walk-up visitors without an advance booking may not be able to join a tour due to limited capacity. The summer schedule of available guided tours follows: May 24 – May 31, daytime tours: 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m. with evening tours at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m. Beginning June 1 – July 31 daytime tours will begin at 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., with evening tours set for 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 9 p.m. Aug. 1 – Sept. 15, the daytime tour hours will be at 9 a.m., 9:30 p.m., and 10 a.m. Evening tours will take place at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9 p.m. Daytime tours of the Neon Museum are $18; evening tours are $25. For more information about the museum, and to book your tour, go to www.neonmuseum.org or call (702) 387-6366.
In addition to an approximately two-acre Neon Museum campus, which includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Boneyard, the museum also encompasses a visitors’ center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby, as well as 15 restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas. Public education, outreach, research, archival preservation, and a grant-funded neon sign survey represent a selection of the museum’s ongoing projects. Both the Neon Boneyard and the La Concha Visitors’ Center are located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North in Las Vegas.
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Billy Gardell, star of the hit sitcom “Mike and Molly” on CBS television (this is without question one of the funniest sitcoms on television in my humble opinion. Not since “I Love Lucy,” has a couple made me laugh so hard, and of course the writing is without equal), will tape his next Showtime comedy special, “Billy Gardell Presents Road Dogs,” inside the classic showroom at the Plaza Hotel & Casino, on Thursday, June 13, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29 for ages 18 and over and will be available online at www.plazahotelcasino.com, www.vegas.com or www.ticketfly.com.
Don Learned, Earthquake and Bob Zany, three hilarious stand-up comedy veterans, who have polished their routines on the road night after night, and earned the right to be called “road dogs,” will take the stage along with Gardell for this special television taping. Prior to hitting gold with “Mike and Molly,” Billy was a standup comic who took the long road to Hollywood, stopping at every small town lounge, military base and comedy club along the way. His own comedy special, “Billy Gardell: Halftime,” premiered on Comedy Central in 2011. “Billy Gardell Presents Road Dogs” is his second special in this series for Showtime. In addition, Gardell makes regular appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” and “Conan.”
Comedian Don Learned began his comedy career at the relatively late age of 30 in Houston, Texas. Don worked the endless circuit of comedy clubs and seemingly every bad gig the comedy world had to offer. A chance booking at the Riviera Comedy Club helped Learned to find his niche. He became a favorite opening act for main showroom headliners, and has shared the stage with Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, and many others. Earthquake performed a half-hour HBO special as part of the series, “One Night Stand,” which first aired on August 26, 2005. He also had a small role in Kevin Smith’s film, “Clerks II,” and a supporting role in the film “The Longshots.” He had a recurring role as Uncle Mike on “Everybody Hates Chris.” Root the Rooster in the 2006 CGI film, “Barnyard,” and in the video game of the same title, used his unique voice. He continues to do the voice on the TV series spinoff, “Back at the Barnyard.” Bob Zany has been a regular guest on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and performs more than 300 nights a year. His “Zany Report” is featured on the nationally syndicated “Bob and Tom Radio Show.”
Golden Nugget Las Vegas has tickets on sale for some of the top names in country music during the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Dec. 5-14. The property will welcome Gretchen Wilson, Dec. 6 & 7, into its intimate 600-seat showroom, followed by Dwight Yoakam, Dec. 8 & 9, and Merle Haggard, Dec. 12 & 13 in the property’s 1000-seat Grand Events Center, with all shows beginning at 10 p.m.
In addition, a surprise guest headliner will be announced this summer. Ticket prices for all headliners vary depending on the show, and VIP seating, with an artist meet and greet are available for select headliners. Tickets may be purchased by calling 866.946.5336 or online here at www.goldennugget.com. For more information on the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, visit http://www.goldennugget.com/LasVegas/.
Bringing the excitement of racing to its casino floors across the Las Vegas Valley, Boyd Gaming Corporation unveiled its new NASCAR gaming line at its Las Vegas properties, last Friday (May 24) at The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Sam’s Town, Fremont, the California, and Main Street Station. The rollout further extends Boyd Gaming’s successful 16-year relationship with NASCAR. Boyd Gaming has been the sponsor of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s annual Nationwide Series race since 1997, making it the longest-running title sponsor on the Nationwide circuit. Earlier this year, Boyd Gaming extended its sponsorship of the race for another four years. “Our customers love NASCAR, so it makes perfect sense for Boyd Gaming to be one of the first casino companies in the country to offer this game,” said Chris Gibase, Senior Vice President of Operations for Boyd Gaming.
The game offers customers the chance to play as one of five famed NASCAR drivers – Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson. Players will enjoy audio and video of their favorite stars, delivered via a stunning 32-inch vertical touch-screen display and the Pro Surround chair. From the roar of 800-horsepower engines, to the cheering of the crowd, players will have no doubt they’re in the driver’s seat. “We see Bally’s NASCAR game as a perfect example of what our guests are looking for when they visit a Boyd Gaming property,” Gibase said. “It’s an engaging and memorable gaming experience.
Well, gang, that’s about it for this week. I’ve still got a motor head hangover from watching three major races on TV Sunday, beginning live with the Monti Carlo F-1 race at 4 a.m., followed by the Indy 500, and ending with the NASCAR Coke Cola 600.