Michael Paskevich

Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis, Jr. suffered the pains of racial segregation in Nevada years before he was recognized as one of the greatest all-around performers. Born in Harlem in 1925 to vaudeville dancers, Davis learned to dance from his father and Will Mastin, whom he called his uncle. They formed the Will Mastin Trio, and Davis continued that billing with them long after he became a star. Throughout his career, he amazed critics, fans, and fellow entertainers with his ability to sing, dance, and play numerous instruments.

Liberace

Fanciful costumes, a rhinestone-studded grand piano, and glowing candelabras were only some of the over-the-top stage props that helped earn Liberace the moniker of "Mr. Showmanship" during a four-decade run in Nevada resort showrooms. The flamboyant pianist with the beaming smile might open a show by flying in on wires, or exit in a bejeweled Rolls Royce while wearing a floor-length fur cape and matching czar's hat. At John Ascuaga's Nugget in Reno, he entered the stage seated on Bertha, one of the showroom's popular performing elephants.

Las Vegas Upscale Dining

The Las Vegas megaresort boom that began in the 1990s and continues today has benefited from and encouraged the arrival of celebrity chefs operating fine-dining eateries. Each new resort competes for brand-name chefs to move west and set up shop in hotel-casinos to create fine dining experiences for patrons.

Las Vegas Styled Production Shows

The modern-day Las Vegas production show originated with the tried-but-true formula of women dancing in provocative costumes, magicians and jugglers dazzling audiences with seemingly impossible feats, plus singers belting out popular tunes. Nevada-based producers combined these elements with over-the-top staging and elaborate special effects to create the uniquely Las Vegas-styled production show. The genre is instantly recognizable yet open to change as evidenced by the Cirque du Soleil shows, which are contemporary versions of the traditional circus.

Las Vegas Shopping

A shot glass with the "Welcome to Las Vegas" logo. Maybe a cheap T-shirt or a deck of used playing cards. Or for those favoring the terminally tacky, how about a famed dice clock? Those were the types of gifts tourists hauled home for decades. Or if purchasing something for themselves, figure on something gaudy, heavy on the sequins if you will.

Las Vegas Illusionists

In October 2003, a white tiger attacked magician Roy Horn onstage at Las Vegas's Mirage Hotel-Casino, nearly killing him and subsequently ending the storied careers of Horn and long-time partner Siegfried Fischbacher. After nearly 6,000 shows at the resort, the duet billed as Siegfried & Roy had proved a point by erasing a long-held misconception about the potential Strip success for the art of grand illusion.

Las Vegas Family Fare

Casinos and "kids"—namely anyone younger than the legal gambling age of twenty-one—have long been at odds in Las Vegas. Even so, some resorts offer large arcades, thrill rides, elaborate swimming pools, and other youth-oriented distractions, hoping to attract parents toting tykes. But, following the more traditional approach, many newer hotel-casinos discourage parents who opt to bring their offspring along for a Las Vegas getaway. "No Strollers Allowed" is a common posting at upscale resorts, and a 10 p.m.

Las Vegas Entertainment Headliners 1980-2000

The Strip malaise of the 1980s—characterized by older crowds and aging artists—prompted hotel entertainment executives to ponder an uncertain future. True, there was the one-time specialty act in the Tropicana, Folies Bergere, the Stardust's Lido de Paris production shows, and Siegfried & Roy, who proved that magic and white tigers could combine for an audience-drawing show. And in 1982, "Beyond Belief" opened at the Frontier Hotel.

Las Vegas Entertainment Headliners 1960s-1980s

Las Vegas has earned its status as "Entertainment Capital of the World," thanks to big-name entertainers who have accented the city's luxurious hotels, myriad gaming options, and all-you-can-eat buffets. But it did not earn that status overnight.

Las Vegas Buffets

Cheap food funded by casino revenues helped put Las Vegas on the culinary map as a locale where the cost of food was never a serious consideration. Shrimp cocktail for $.99 and "all-you-can eat" breakfast buffets for $2.49 are still standards in Las Vegas, but as times (and prices) have changed, the city that food connoisseurs once looked down upon now hosts truly elaborate gourmet buffets alongside the cheaper alternatives.

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