Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let's Get Graphic

Cosmic Comics! at 3830 E. Flamingo will be celebrating Free Comic Book Day in a big way this Saturday, May 3rd, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to advertising over 5000 free comic books, they'll be raffling off a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #9 (featuring the first appearance of Electro), plus holding free hourly raffles for $50 grab bags of Silver Age comics! They'll also be knocking prices down as much as 80%, offering free sketches by local artists, and free face painting, balloon animals and food trucks. Yeah, I know, graphic novels are for grown-ups now, but it's enough to make you feel like a kid again.

Taking A Spin at the Longhorn

As regular readers will no doubt recall, the Longhorn is one of our favorite joints on Boulder Highway. One of their current promotions is Hot Seat drawings for which you're eligible even if you're sitting playing at the $2 blackjack table. You can win up to $100 in free slot play, and yes, I did hear not one but two people hit it on their spins in one session. I myself got to spin the wheel twice in one night, pulling down $10 in slot play each time, and actually won over $20 in cash for my two sessions. That takes a lot of the sting out of the doofus in third base costing you all of your wins each time he busts against the dealer's six.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Movie Night on the Cheap

Movie ticket prices got you down? What the heck is your problem? If you have the patience to wait in line (I know, time is money), you can take advantage of free preview screenings that are being hosted at various theaters around town. You'll find pointers to free pass giveaways in the Las Vegas WEEKLY and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and sometimes the studios or theater chains will host free screenings as well; get on their mailing lists if you can. You could catch two or more shows for free in one week! One recent week I watched Brick Mansions at the Palms and the very next night moseyed over to Towne Square to catchThe Other Woman. And no charge! What you spend on popcorn and Sno-Caps is your problem.

Heads up: at the Brenden (inside the Palms), I needed to go to the concession stand and trade in the passes I received via e-mail for tickets to get me in the right line. At the AMC Towne Square, you just waited in line outside the theater, and shortly before show time someone distributed tickets to everyone who'd waited. You want to get there early to be sure of a seat, because your pass alone does not guarantee you one. As Rip Torn so memorably put it in Songwriter: "Airlines do it all the time."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Notes to Remember

That uncut sheet of $10,000 bills that used to hang on the wall at Binion's to represent a million dollars may be long gone, but if you should wander into the lobby of a certain Wells Fargo branch on West Sahara, you can view  a collection of vintage U.S. bank notes, on display inside an equally vintage safe. And that's just plain cool.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hail Sarno!

Hey, it's another author talk at UNLV! David G. Schwartz, who in addition to running the university's Center for Gaming Research is a respected author on gambling in general and Sin City in particular, will speak at 7:30 p.m. April 29 at UNLV's Marjorie Barrack Museum (4505 S. Maryland Parkway). The topic will be Jay Sarno, the subject of Schwartz's recent biography Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegaswhose brainchildren Caesars Palace and Circus Circus were the first of the Strip's themed megaresorts. Yes, everyone in this city owes a great debt to Jay Sarno, and not just those of us who dropped a bundle on his craps tables. And of course, this being Vegas: He has a street named after him.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Right This Way

Hot on the heels of the Victoria Day Canuckstravaganza, the Fremont Street Experience announces another addition to its free summer concert series:  The pride of Escatawpa, 3 Doors Down, will light up the stage at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 14th. Brave the summer heat and the summer crowds; at least it's a chance to get away from the sun.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Free Jazz. (Yeah. I Went There.)

Get your lawn blankets and picnic baskets ready, the free Jazz in the Park concert series kicks off in May at Clark County Ampitheater, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway. Shows start at 7 p.m. Saturdays, and it's your chance to catch performances by world-class artists. May 10: Las Vegas Academy Jazz Combo featuring vocalist Marlena Shaw. May 17: Kind of Blue drummer Jimmy Cobb and his Trio. May 24: The Sax Pack (Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole & Marcus Anderson). May 31: Trumpet virtuoso Randy Brecker. June 7: Keyboard maestro David Benoit.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Off-Strip: Silver Saddle Saloon and Dance Hall

The Silver Saddle (2501 E. Charleston at Fremont) does right there on its sign that it's a Saloon and Dance Hall, not a "casino," and although they do have a bank of slots and video poker machines and a couple of $3 blackjack tables that start dealing at 4 p.m., that sign is pretty accurate. It's a happening dance place, too, especially on the weekends, when you may get frisked coming in the door, but if it's clear you're there just to gamble, they'll waive the cover charge. Signing up for their Gold Pass card gets you $10 free play when you play $20 through the machines, although the card is available on their schedule. On our first visit, when we asked when someone would be at the cage to sign us up, we were told, "She'll be in at nine tonight." Cut a rug while you wait.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Getting Lucky at Lucky's

Lucky's is  another one of those video poker bars (and package stores) with multiple locations across town, but their sign-up bonus is better than some: When you pick up your Lucky's player's card, playing your first $10 through earns you another $10 in free play. They have other promotions as well, including a raffle on Sundays for $200 in free play; each 20 points earns you 1 ticket. An "early bird" special is 4X points between 8 a.m. and noon. Playing $10 gets you a free drink (or a tasty non-alchoholic beverage for playing $5).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Us Fossils Gotta Stick Together

I had a pet trilobite once. Len Moffatt even named it for me: "Trilby." Since I'm obviously a fossil hound from 'way back, it stands to reason that I'd be lured in by the sign for Jewelry & Minerals of Las Vegas, at Sahara and Santa Rita. Two expansive showrooms are crammed with fossils, minerals, polished agate, carvings, art, and geodes so honking big you could crawl inside them. There are even bargains galore: I spotted ammonites on sale for $1, and you can get shards of kyanite for a quarter. Make great gifts!

Monday, April 21, 2014

To The Extreme!

Every now and then someone asks if I've ever watched that Extreme Couponing show on TLC, and every time I snarl back: "Amateurs! AMATEURS!" But seriously, Jennifer Freeman of Extreme Couponing All-Stars will be hosting a free Couponing Workshop at the Las Vegas Review-Journal on April 28. Get lots of tips, find out about some free software to help with your shopping & saving, and if that's not enough, last time I went the Review-Journal was offering a subscription deal: Order one subscription, and you can add on up to five Sunday paper subscriptions for $20 for 26 weeks. That's even cheaper than the dollar a copy I've been payin', not to mention what I'd save on gas and the wear and tear on my system from getting up at the crack of dawn every Sunday. When I attended my last one I didn't have my Vegas address yet so I couldn't subscribe, but the Review-Journal was selling bundles of that Sunday's paper for 3 for $3. While the event is free, you do need to order tickets online, and believe me, this one will fill up, so sign up now!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Off-Strip: Home Plate Update Puts Pizza On Your Plate

Our old friends at the Home Plate have a new special to tempt those Vegas shift workers getting off work at some ungodly hour of the morning: A free pizza buffet from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.! The "gambler's buffet" only requires that you be playing something through your machine...anything. There's also a lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but that sucker will cost you $20 in play. I checked out the spread, and it's a good'un: salad bar, two different pasta dishes with meatballs on the side, and five varieties of pizza (I'm partial to the BBQ Chicken myself). They still have their $500 Royal bonus after midnight (and a $1000 bonus on Tuesdays), and the first four-of-a-kind dealt each day earns you a $50 bonus for setting the card of the day.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Movie Sign!

This sign caught my eye as I was driving to work: Cash America Super Pawn at 4635 W. Flamingo is giving away a free DVD if you text "SHOP" to 51515. They'll text you back with a coupon for your free DVD. I tried it and darned if it didn't work. I even had a tough choice of which DVD to pick out, always a good sign regarding their selection. Actually, since standard DVD's are only $1.99 to begin with, you shouldn't be faced with any Sophie's Choice dilemmas yourself. (I wound up going with The Brain That Wouldn't Die but only because it promises to be the rare uncut version; I have my doubts.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

George Wallace's Last Stand: Ten Bucks

Comedian George Wallace recently told the Review-Journal he'll be ending his ten-year run at the Flamingo on April 27. Is that any way to celebrate a ten-year anniversary? Hell, no! When George returns for one last week starting April 21, tickets will be available for just $10! Ask at the Flamingo box office, and, yes, you do have to ask about the $10 seats before they'll bring them up.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sub Cultcha

Capriotti's Sandwich Shop has long been a Vegas favorite, and now the venerable sub maker is celebrating its 21st year in Sin City with a B-Day Pub Crawl on April 25, Downtown. Celebrants meet at the Mob Bar at 7 p.m., move on to the Beauty Bar, and finish at Insert Coin(s) before adjourning. Free admission, free drinks, free food, and giveaways: free subs for a year, limited edition swag, and more! Free stuff? I'm in.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Robert Coover at UNLV

If you're looking for worthwhile events to attend that won't put a dent in your wallet, it's always worth checking up on what your local university is up to. Thursday, April 17th, at 7 p.m., UNLV's Black Mountain Institute will host a free public reading by acclaimed novelist Robert Coover at Greenspun Hall. The 2014 Elias Ghanem Chair in Creative Writing, Coover recently published The Brunist Day of Wrath, a sequel to his 1966 (!) William Faulkner First Novel Award winner. A National Book Award nominee for The Public Burning, Coover was also a hypertext fiction pioneer. Anyone else remember his  short story "You Must Remember This"? Read it years ago and it still haunts me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cheesier By The Dozen: Chicken Taco Wednesdays at Roberto's

With locations all over Vegas, Roberto's Taco Shop is marking its 50th year in the business, and here's cause for celebration right here: Every Wednesday is 99-cent chicken taco day! That is a $2.35 value right there, folks. You can order up to a dozen per visit, so get to it. Each taco is crammed with white-meat chicken, stuffed with a mound of cheddar and a little bit of lettuce, and sprinkled with crumbles of cotija. I could see this becoming a regular Wednesday lunch stop for me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quicker Than The Eye

Oh sure, on the posters and billboards he looks all serious and intense like, but in person doesn't master illusionist Jan Rouven come off more like a German Dana Carvey? Then again his show Illusions at the Riviera starts off with black-clad dancers and a techno this going to be "Sprockets" if it had been a magic show? Not to worry, they're just marching to an Adele tune to welcome Rouven to the stage. He turns out to be personable and funny as well as capable of figuring out numerous ways to get himself in and out of small boxes, the key to many of his Illusions. In addition to death-defying stunts involving blades and saws, he makes lightning-fast escapes out of chains and a water tank, brings up audience members to assist with tricks in various amusing ways, and has a bit of business in one perplexing feat of legerdemain that suggests he's seen The Prestige (no spoiler alerts). He also re-creates the baffling "origami box" trick, a gift from his idols Siegfried and Roy, quipping "I still don't know how they did that one." One awkward moment in Saturday night's show when stagehands were unable for a moment to lower a box they'd raised to the rafters. "It's an old theater," Rouven explained to the waiting audience. In the end it all ended happily, with magic and dancing and an audience on its feet.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Have It Made Like A Mountain Range

I dropped by Anna's Linens because their ad in the paper was offering microfiber sheets starting from $7.99 for a twin set (although of course my bed is full) but as it turns out they're also hosting a giveaway. Grand prize is a home makeover (a $2,000 Anna's Linens gift card and a two-hour consultation) and 50 first-prize winners will get a $100 Anna's Linens gift card. You can enter once a day, in the store or online, through April 27.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Breaking Into The Vault Without Breaking Your Piggy Bank

As a thank you to readers of the Review-Journal who voted them Best of Las Vegas, Raiding the Rock Vault at the LVH is offering tickets for $19 (plus tax and fee) on Sundays and Mondays in April. For those who abstained from voting out of ignorance of the show, it's a tribute to Classic Rock by those who lived it: Howard Leese (Heart, Bad Company), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Robin McAuley (Survivor), John Payne (ASIA), Paul Shortino (Quiet Riot),  Jay Shellen (ASIA), Andrew Freeman (Offspring), and Michael T. Ross (Lita Ford's band). You never know who will be sitting in, either; past guests have included Jon Anderson, Lou Gramm and Mickey Thomas.

While they're at it, the LVH are offering locals $6.99 lunch and dinner buffets through April as well. Make it dinner and a show! Bring your local ID for both deals.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Beauty Burst

They've played with everyone from Solomon Burke to Elliott Smith, and now alt-rockers The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion explode onto the stage at the Beauty Bar this Saturday, April 12, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12, so I can't quite include this in the "free shows" category but darn near. (517 Fremont Street)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

There's A Moon Over Fremont Street

If you're familiar with a certain stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard between the Strip and Downtown, you'll have noticed a certain motel has painted over the word "Adult" that used to precede "Movies" on their marquee, but no such qualms at the Desert Moon Motel at 1701 E. Fremont Street, which advertises  XXX movies on flat-screen TVs. According to Cheryl the manager, the building dates back to the 1940's and has even appeared in a few movies over the years. Long-time readers will be familiar with my twin passions for movies and Las Vegas history... Anyway. Rooms start at $44.80 (tax included and no deposit) on weekday nights, and Friday-Saturday range from $56 up to $95 plus tax for jacuzzi rooms with a 55-inch TV. Currently on special: jacuzzi rooms for $85.99 plus tax midweek.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Rise and Fall

You never know who you'll see at the Forum Shops at Caesars. One weekend not that long ago saw Joe Montana signing at the Field of Dreams, while Khloe Kardashian was putting in an appearance at her family's namesake shop. Who you can always rely on seeing, though, are the statues at the Atlantis Fountain at the back of the Forum, who once an hour on the hour, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., come to life and re-enact the "Fall of Atlantis." It's a must-see spectacle full of water and fire, as the King of Atlantis ponders which of his squabbling children should inherit his throne. (Audience members are encouraged to put in their two cents' worth.) The finale is surprisingly dramatic and somber, with a not-too-subtle anti-war message. One thing's for sure, this show rules free entertainment on the Strip; at least, since T.I.'s pirate ships have sailed off into the sunset for the last time, it's certainly the best free show on the Strip where something sinks on a regular basis. There's also an aquarium in the base of the Atlantis Fountain where you can watch fish and rays swimming in what I can only hope is a soundproofed tank.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Another Free Show Downtown, Eh?

What better way to celebrate Victoria Day than a free show by Canada's platinum-selling pop/rock heartthrobs, Marianas Trench, eh? Mark your calendars now! Oh, yeah, that would be May 18, for you so-called Americans. The band will be taking the Third Street Stage on the Fremont Street Experience at 9 p.m. (Disclaimer: While the Third Street Stage is depicted in the accompanying photograph, that is not Marianas Trench performing. Hey, I do the best I can.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Senior Moments Turn Into Days

Fiesta Henderson is playing to the 50+ crowd with Senior Tuesdays, with an even better deal on their slot tournament (Tuesdays 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.). While the first entry is still free, your second and third entry now only cost you 50 points, whereas before you had to earn 200 points apiece! You also get a free cup of coffee at Cafe Fiesta and Denny's, and half-point dining and bowling. Just the thing after you play your free 9 a.m. Bingo game at their nearby Sunset Station, and before you hit the Station Casinos for their free slot tournament on Senior Wednesday! 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

That's A Bingo!

Oh wait...I guess it's just "Bingo!" Never mind. Anyway, if you want to get your Bingo fix on for free, Boulder Station and Sunset Station are having two free games every weekday, at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If that starts to become monotonous, you can always break it up by having the occasional free game at South Point, which hosts them at 9 a.m. on Monday and Friday. The last time I played bingo for big bucks I didn't even get the free spot, but maybe you'll have better luck than I did. (I exaggerate for comic effect; in fact I've won some nice hats and t-shirts playing bingo. No big bucks yet, though.)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Loose Shoes

Since I frequently drive by, this Discount Shoe Factory at 3519 S. Maryland Parkway caught my eye, especially as the sole was threatening to depart the mortal plane of my black dress shoes. Ladies, shoes here start at $3.99 (all sales final), all boots are $10.99 and all handbags are $15.98, so knock yourself out! Still not a good enough deal for you? Check out this ad in Quinceanara Magazine: Buy three pairs at $3.99 and get the fourth pair for $1.99! If you didn't just pass out, then feel free to knock yourself out some more. Guys...sorry, men's shoes are $15.98. Still, I bought myself a sweet pair of black Riko's for that price and was happy to get 'em. (There's another location at 1701 S. Rainbow.)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Nuclear Fizzin'

I imagine not that many of the Rat Pack's old watering holes are still standing, but you can still down a few at the longest-surviving standalone bar in Las Vegas, Atomic Liquors at 917 Fremont Street. It was established in 1952 at the height of the Space Age and Atomic Age craze (last time I visited Almogordo, N.M., whole city blocks still looked like this), and continues to pack them in: It was just recently the runaway winner in the Stiff Drinks category in the Review-Journal's latest annual Best of Las Vegas poll.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Best Cheap Eats On or Off The Strip?

Whether it's the food critics for Vegas magazines or my friends' neighborhood mechanic, everyone raves about the adobada at Tacos El Gordo, the Tijuana-based restaurant at 1724 E. Charleston. (Oh, sure, you can go to the one on the Strip, but I'm sure the ambience won't be the same.) There are separate carving stations for each of your meat preferences, where a cook will carve a few strips of your selection, drop them on top of two corn tortillas then cover them with toppings and sauce. Prepare your taste buds for a little slice of Tijuana heaven. They may not be gigante, but at $2 a taco, it's hard to go wrong.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Triple Shot of OMGoodness

Hey, if you sign up for the e-mail club at Mimi's Cafe, not only will coupons for Gallic goodness keep popping into your inbox, but for your birthday, they give you a free dessert! I dropped by their location on Fort Apache and W. Charleston, digging the smooth jazz sounds being piped into the parking lot. I decided to splurge (I can always walk eight blocks and back later) on Mimi's Classic Ensemble: "petite" servings of Cinnamon Apple Crisp A La Mode, Bread Pudding, and Triple Chocolate Brownie Sundae. My server was quite proud of the home-made bread pudding, and she should be. At $5.99 it's a bargain, especially since it seems ready-made for sharing bites with that special someone. (Other Vegas locations at 6760 N. Durango, 7315 Arroyo Crossing Parkway, and at Sunset Station.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Weekends with the Bard. Or Several of Them.

Dead Poet Books (Rainbow and Charleston, between the Albertsons and Zombie Zone) won me over when I saw the "$1 Books" table through the window, and had me for life when I found there a copy of a Don Siegel autobiography I didn't even know existed. In hardback, yet. That a table next to the door had more books, cassettes and movie posters for free was a bonus. As someone who's collected both science fiction and gambling books throughout the years, I can testify that both sections are top-notch, so one trusts the others are as well.

Beyond that, Adam Stuart Littman's Humanity Through Art project, operating out of the back of the store, is aiming to nurture creativity and promote a Humanities scene in Vegas based on culture and craft. Every other Saturday features Sin City Shakespeare, exploring one play at a time, at 1 p.m., followed by a Poetry Circle at 4 p.m (next up: April 5).; on the alternating Saturdays the Writer's Circle meets at 1 p.m. (next up: April 12). It's not an open mic night; they already host one of those at Vape City on Wednesdays. It's more workshoppish; bring your work and expect to share and receive feedback.