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The Mirage may be going away, but the legacy of the Strip’s first modern megaresort will live on.


DJ Biscits sets up in the Arts District, Shaboozey brings hip-hop infused country to the Strip and more happening this week.

Increased mosquito activity in Southern Nevada threatens increased risk of diseases.

DJ Cassidy brings the Pass The Mic Live residency to Bakkt Theater with hip-hop vets and big-name guests.

Lady Gaga at Dolby Live. (Courtesy/Kevin Mazur, Getty Images for Park MGM)

Five reasons to catch the final scheduled shows of Lady Gaga: Jazz & Piano

Rang’s Cocina Moderne serves creative Filipino, Spanish and Italian fare.

How the NBA’s long-awaited arrival in Las Vegas could play out.


ROB GUSON 11 a.m., Wet Republic, taogroup.com

WAKA FLOCKA Noon, Drai’s Beachclub, draisgroup. com


10:30 p.m., Zouk Nightclub, zouk grouplv.com


With DJ Supa James, 7 p.m., Ghostbar, palms.com

10:30 p.m., Drai’s Nightclub, drais group.com.

9 a.m., Trails Park, summerlinpatriotic parade.com CITY OF HENDERSON FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION

6 p.m., Heritage Park, cityof henderson.com. LIVING IN THE DESSERT Thru 7/18, Mon.Thu. 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery, clarkcountynv.gov


7 p.m., Michelob Ultra Arena, axs.com. DEAD & COMPANY Thru 7/6, 7:30 p.m., Sphere, ticket master.com.

TAUK 11 p.m., & 7/5, Brooklyn Bowl, ticketmaster.com.


7 p.m., Maxan Jazz, maxanjazz.com.


8 p.m., Stoney’s North Forty, tixr.com



With Currents, Boundaries, Nevertel, 7 p.m., Theater at Virgin, axs.com


8 p.m., & 7/6, 7/10, the Colosseum, ticketmaster.com


8 p.m., & 7/6, Dolby Live, ticketmaster. com


With Ja Rule, Fat Joe, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, more, 8 p.m., & 7/6, Bakkt Theater, ticketmaster.com


8 p.m., & 7/6, 7/10, Encore Theater, ticketmaster.com


7:30 p.m., & 7/6, 7/10, House of Blues, concerts. livenation.com


11:30 p.m., & 7/6, NoMad, ticket master.com


7 p.m., & 7/6, Sammy’s Island, ticket master.com


With Cyborg Octopus, Dessiderium, Sorrowseed, Hands Of Oblivion, 7 p.m., Sinwave, dice.fm


10 p.m., Stoney’s Rockin’ Country, tixr.com


8 p.m., Pearl Concert Theater, ticket master.com


7 p.m., Grand Events Center, ticketmaster.com


8 p.m., & 7/6, Resorts World Theatre, axs.com

GORGON CITY 11:30 a.m., LIV Beach, livnightclub.com

DUKE DUMONT Noon, Ayu Dayclub, zoukgrouplv.com

AFROJACK Noon, Encore Beach Club, wynnsocial.com


10:30 p.m., Drai’s Nightclub, draisgroup.com


With Enamour, 10:30 p.m., XS Nightclub, wynnsocial.com


6 p.m., the Portal at Area15, area15.com


10:30 p.m., Zouk Nightclub, zoukgrouplv.com

DOM DOLLA 10:30 p.m., LIV Nightclub, livnightclub.com


Among its lineup of local and touring indie acts and dance parties at the new Arts District venue Swan Dive, music collective We the Beat has snuck in a show from tech house phenom Biscits. The UK DJ, lauded for bouncy earworms like “Sundown” and “Your Body,” is swiftly rising up the ranks, capturing the attention of major music fests and EDM notables like Sonny Fodero, with whom he’s collaborated. We the Beat has always had an eye for talent, historically booking bands before they blow up. Here’s a chance to catch a star before he burns too bright. 8 p.m., $15-$20, Swan Dive, swandivelv.com. –Amber Sampson




8 p.m., Pearl Concert Theater, eventbrite.com


8 p.m., Westgate International Theater, ticketmaster.com


11 p.m., Brooklyn Bowl, ticketmaster. com


9 p.m., Fremont Street Experience, vegasexperience. com


With Bad Luck, Rosecoloredworld, 7 p.m., the Usual Place, dice.fm


6 p.m., Allegiant Stadium, ticket master.com


10 p.m., Mirage Theatre, ticketmaster. com


8 p.m., Veil Pavilion, silvertoncasino.com


11 a.m., Wet Republic, taogroup.com


Noon, Ayu Dayclub, zoukgrouplv.com


With Disco Lines, noon, Encore Beach Club, wynnsocial.com


9 p.m., the Wall at Area15, area15.com


10:30 p.m., Drai’s Nightclub, drais group.com


With Aravi, 530, 10 p.m., Discopussy, tixr.com


10:30 p.m., XS Nightclub, wynnsocial.com


10:30 p.m., Encore Beach Club, wynnsocial.com


10:30 p.m., Omnia Nightclub, taogroup.com


10:30 p.m., LIV Nightclub, livnightclub.com


With Robby Powell, David Serrano, 11:30 p.m., Club Ego, posh.vip


8 p.m., Azilo Ultra Pool, eventbrite.com.


The M Resort has been turning heads with its entertainment announcements, which include Damian & Stephen Marley and Ice Cube coming to M Pool this fall. This week, early-aughts heartthrob Jesse McCartney visits M Pavilion. To jog your memory, when McCartney sang gold-certified “Beautiful Soul” in 2004, every teenage girl imagined he was singing it to her. Shortly after that hit, McCartney released two other platinum-certified albums and popped up in Top 100 music charts. He also wrote “Bleeding Love,” which became a worldwide hit when recorded by Leona Lewis in 2007. And although his music career has slowed down, he’s still in the game. The Associated Press said of his new EP All’s Well, “McCartney hits the ground running with racy lyrics and familiar early ‘00s pop sounds.” Will his Las Vegas performance revel in throwbacks, or new material? Only one way to find out. 8 p.m., $29, M Pavilion, themresort.com.

–Shannon Miller



11 a.m., Encore Beach Club, wynnsocial.com


11 a.m., Tao Beach Dayclub, taogroup. com


11:30 a.m., LIV Beach, livnightclub. com


12:30 p.m., Michelob Ultra Arena, axs. com


8 p.m., Fremont Country Club, eventbrite.com



With Rondell Sheridan, Chris Martin, 8 p.m., Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club, mgmgrand.mgm resorts.com


9 p.m., Beverly Theater, thebeverly theater.com


7 p.m., Maxan Jazz, maxanjazz.com


With Eloteros, Kos, Haddonfield, 7 p.m., Sinwave, dice.fm

STATE FAULTS With Frail Body, Lords of Death, 8 p.m., the Gri n, dice.fm



Noon, Drai’s Nightclub, draisgroup.com

March’s Cowboy Carter was a musical breakthrough in so many ways, another conquering statement from Beyoncé as well as a showcase of rising Black country artists that have been overlooked. Blending Afrobeat and hip-hop sounds into an American country and rock sensibility, Shaboozey was featured on the album’s tracks “Spaghettii” and “Sweet Honey Buckin’,” and followed up by dropping his own album and catchy lead single “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” in the springtime. After new fans bounced along to his hit, they realized that Shaboozey’s third album goes deeper, tackling issues beneath good-times sounds. And he’s wisely chosen Fourth of July weekend for a Vegas debut at Resorts World. Noon, $50+, Ayu Dayclub, zoukgrouplv.com. –Brock Radke

10:30 p.m., Jewel Nightclub, taogroup.com






7:30 p.m., T-Mobile Arena, axs.com


With Chris Phillips, 7 p.m., Notoriety, notorietylive.com


With Mary Upchurch, thru 7/14, 8 p.m., LA Comedy Club, best vegascomedy.com


10 p.m., Discopussy, posh.vip


10 p.m., Drai’s Nightclub, draisgroup.com


10:30 p.m., Omnia Nightclub, taogroup.com


6 p.m., Beverly Theater, the writersblock.org

10 p.m., Encore Beach Club, wynnsocial.com. (Courtesy/USA Basketball)


6:30 p.m., Brooklyn Bowl, ticket master.com.


With Adena Sampson, 6 p.m., Dowtown Summerlin, summerlin.com.


With Emma Goldman Sachs, Reverse Cowgirl, 9 p.m., Red Dwarf, reddwarflv.com





Award-winning Vegas filmmaker Jemsen Yumico Bollozos isn’t done telling our story yet

Jemsen Yumico Bollozos keeps an eye out for the emotion. The Las Vegas filmmaker once uncovered it in a video series for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, humanizing the work of Strip magician Shin Lim, neon bender Oscar Gonzalez, and chef and restaurateur Natalie Young. She did it once again when she wrote and directed a 2018 short film about the surreal terror of sleep paralysis, and again when she applied her experiences as a dancer to the 2019 short Reflection

Since Bollozos graduated from UNLV in 2019, she’s co-founded local art collective and creative media company Eccentric Artists, earned three Emmy awards and directed Home: A Mother of 3000, a feature-length documentary about local nonprofit Positively Arts and its passionate founder, Pilita Simpson. That film, supported by a grant from Playstudios’ Impact Fund, recently won Best Nevada Film at the 10th annual Nevada Women’s Film Festival.

What was it about Positively Arts that resonated with you?

The first day meeting with Pilita … our producer, Tiffanie, who is a part of Eccentric Artists, she cried. When [Pilita] looks at you, she looks at you as if she’s trying to get to know you. She’s really looking into your soul, and it makes you feel seen. The first thing that came to my mind was where were you when I was growing up? I wish that there were more adults like that. I think

this documentary is very educational for how we actually interact as human beings. How we interact with kids, and not just seeing them as kids. They have their own personality. They have their own character. That’s what forced me to say, I really want to make this documentary, because it also resonates with my childhood feelings.

I love how Pilita talks about genuinely asking kids what they want to be when they grow up and taking it seriously. What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid, I either wanted to be an actor or a teacher. I don’t know why, but I liked teaching. I could see that now with our workshop … I wanted to help people. I also liked learning. I grew up in the Philippines, so I was doing ballet there. When I got here, I quit ballet for personal reasons. When you’re in ballet, there’s a mirror and everyone is doing the best they can. But sometimes with self-doubt and insecurities, it’s brutal. I had to step away from that. But I really wanted the adrenaline back, so I went to graphic design. I thought graphic would be good for me. But there was something wrong. I wanted to do more stuff. I was watching [2010 film] Morning Glory with Rachel McAdams, and she was pointing out on the screens “do that, do that, do that.” And I’m like, I want that. That was the kind of stress I wanted, but it felt great. I thought it was broadcasting for me, and then I realized, “wait, it’s actually the

storytelling that I really like.” So I got into filmmaking at UNLV.

What are some of your favorite films?

I like David Lynch. I like Mulholland Drive. It really scares the hell out of me, but I love Lost Highway, just because David Lynch is so weird. He wants you to be scared, and I like it. His goal is to be really weird and to make you scared and uncomfortable. I also love David Fincher, and [The Curious Case of] Benjamin Button It’s very different from David Lynch’s stuff but … there’s some very melodramatic moments.

You were raised in the Philippines and now reside in Las Vegas. Has living in both places influenced your craft at all?

Definitely. I have this film called Reflection, which is about a ballet dancer. It’s almost like a Black Swan type of situation. Then I have, almost during the same time, a documentary about a ballet dancer (laughs). It always just kind of

balances out. The documentary is about a ballet dancer who had an injury and how she overcomes that situation. That also reflects back home to when I was training.

This is a little bit personal, but in Reflection, the story’s about having this identity crisis. When I was in the Philippines, I found out that my dad is not my actual dad, and that he’s actually Chinese. I remember looking at the mirror like, it should be fine. It should be the same because it’s still me. But I feel different. That’s why in my films, there’s a lot of mirrors and always that [theme of] identity.

Home is hitting the festival circuit now. As a director, what’s been the most rewarding part about getting this out into the world?

One is Pilita being happy about it, and how the kids reacted to it. A lot of the audience were like, “I’m gonna bring my kids to Positively Arts.” That’s rewarding for me, because that’s the mission. The crew has been wonderful about working on this documentary. There’s an overwhelming feeling of “we did this.” We made this film and it feels great. There’s something really nice about this being an almost majority women-led [project]. You feel safe, you feel secure. You’re welcome to voice your doubts or fears. It’s a very supportive environment. But also being at Positively Arts, a space that already nurtures and has cared, just amplified everything.

For more of this interview, visit lasvegasweekly.com.

Jemsen Yumico Bollozos and Shin Lim behind the scenes of At the Heart of Vegas. (Courtesy)

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Examining the immeasurable impact of the Mirage

Skokie, Illinois is about 15 miles north of downtown Chicago. It’s a diverse village of about 65,000 people, and while it’s just beyond city limits and certainly maintains a small-town feel, it’s essentially a Chicago suburb.

Skokie is 1,750 miles away from the Las Vegas Strip, a four-hour flight. If you’re a 10-year-old growing up out here, Vegas might as well be on another planet.

When Sabrina Ehmke was about that age, she took her first trip to Las Vegas with her parents via Amtrak’s Desert Wind passenger train (which stopped running in 1997). Forget four hours on a plane; it was a two-night ride into the west. “That was a whole experience in itself, especially for a 10-yearold,” says Ehmke, a high school teacher and marathon runner who still lives in Skokie.

When the family arrived, they checked in at the newest and most exciting hotel in Vegas. The Mirage opened in late 1989, the world’s most expensive resort at $630 million, constructed on the site where the Castaways once stood. “After two years of planning and two years of construction, Steve Wynn’s Polynesian-styled resort finally was ready: 6,400 employees, 2,300 slot machines, 115 table games, 29 floors, 3,049 hotel rooms, 1.1 million square feet of public space, 40,000 shrubs, 1,000 palm trees, a salt water tank behind the reception desk with sharks and tropical fish,” reported the Las Vegas Sun. “A ‘live’ natural gas-burning volcano, on a 50foot waterfall fronting the strip, erupts every 15 minutes from dusk to about 2 a.m. or 3 a.m.”

back, returning for multiple visits with the parents to see Siegfried & Roy perform their magical spectacular and always visiting the tropical pool for a non-alcoholic version of the “best strawberry daiquiris.” As a teenager she experienced a bit of Vegas freedom, bringing a friend along and getting “our own hotel room, which brought a whole new set of trouble,” Ehmke jokes, recalling how they would roam the Strip and frequent the “party pit” at Harrah’s. As a grown-up, she went to Vegas for her bachelorette party, and took her husband for his first visit as part of their honeymoon adventure.

“I’ve been to Vegas 20 or 30 times and stayed at different places, but always made it a point to visit the Mirage, whether I’m seeing a show or just walking around,” Ehmke says. “It’s always felt a little more elegant. It allowed for a different kind of Vegas experience. I don’t know if this is just my family’s perspective because we were there so much during our first few trips, but it set the tone for what we expected out of Vegas. I’ve had plenty of crazy nights in Vegas, but as a whole, the trips are always a little bit of fun, a little relaxing, just an even-keel good time. The Mirage offered that.”


(Courtesy Sabrina Ehmke)

Perhaps more than any other single development, the Mirage changed the course of the Strip and altered the perception of Las Vegas. It diversified the winning equation of gambling and entertainment with luxury and spectacle, created new reasons for new visitors to come to Las Vegas, and did it all on an unprecedented scale.

For the Ehmkes, the Mirage and Las Vegas was love at first sight. “That was our summer vacation. A lot of people grow up going to national parks or Disney World. We were a Vegas family,” she says. “At that point in time, it seemed like most of the hotels had a special arcade spot for kids. The Mirage had tigers and dolphins.”

The wonders of the first modern megaresort on the Strip kept her coming

The Mirage is closing on July 17 to begin a long transition into a new Hard Rock Hotel. Owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Hard Rock International purchased the resort from MGM Resorts International in 2022 (MGM had acquired the Mirage in 2000 from Wynn, the original developer). The new Hard Rock project is aiming for a 2027 opening. The Dunes became Bellagio. The Sands became Venetian. The Desert Inn became Wynn Las Vegas, and eventually, the Stardust became Resorts World. The Strip has always demolished iconic properties to make way for something new, always primed to bring more excitement and tourism to Las Vegas. One of the oldest resorts on the Strip, the Tropicana, shuttered in April of this year in order to build a Major League Baseball stadium at its famous “four corners” site.

“This was the casino that really did transform Las Vegas, but I guess it shows how Las Vegas is not a sentimental city.”

“The influence of the Mirage can’t be overstated. I think it’s impossible,” says UNLV’s David Schwartz. “It did totally change every aspect of casinos in Las Vegas, even though other casinos may have superseded it in some ways. You really can’t take away from what was accomplished there.”

Currently serving as ombuds and working to solve various campus issues, Schwartz has been a faculty member since 2001 and was the director of the Center for Gaming Research for 17 years. He’s written seven books on gaming history, and he grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Wynn opened a Golden Nugget casino in 1980 before the Mirage began development.

“For me a real inflection point was that they had land in Atlantic City they were going to use, but Wynn had frustration there [with New Jersey gaming regulators] so he sold the Golden Nugget and didn’t build there. Instead, he built the Mirage,” Schwartz says.

Some version of the Mirage also could have ended up in Downtown Las Vegas. Journalist Steve Friess wrote in Las Vegas Weekly in 2014 that Wynn told him he

Sabrina Ehmke at the Mirage during a family vacation in Las Vegas in 1992.

offered Union Pacific railroad $50 million for 50 acres of land where the Clark County Government Center now stands, back in 1984. The utility turned him down. “I would’ve built the Mirage down there,” Wynn said. “I went to the Strip in ’89, and then the Strip exploded.”

In the first year of operations, the Mirage grossed $800 million, Wynn said in that Weekly piece, “$400 million gaming, $400 million non-gaming. … It was the $400 million in non-gaming that caused the $400 million of gaming.”

Themed family-friendly resorts, the expansion of Cirque du Soleil shows, the explosion of fine dining and celebrity chef restaurants, the boom in nightclubs and dayclubs and pop-music headliners to attract younger visitors, the enlarging of venues and eventual arrival of major league sports—all of these Strip trends can be traced in one way or another to the Mirage, and its pioneering endeavor to put all possible pieces together in one place, to be all things to all people. And that movement has helped Las Vegas blossom into an international destination. In 1990, visitation blew past the 20 million mark for the first time, and it’s only dipped below that number once since then—down to 19 million visitors in 2020, when COVID shut down the Strip for several months.

Before the Mirage’s opening, a new resort with

thousands of hotel rooms hadn’t been built on the Strip in 16 years, since the original MGM Grand (now Horseshoe Las Vegas) arrived in 1973 at Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard. The following years brought a furious charge of massive openings: Excalibur, Luxor, Treasure Island and the new MGM Grand, all by the close of 1993; then Stratosphere, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Venetian and Paris all opened before 2000.

Essentially, the Mirage supercharged the machine that led to its demise: The never-ending cycle of the growing, evolving Strip. The nature of Las Vegas is constant movement, infinite change.

“This was the casino that really did transform Las Vegas, but I guess it shows how Las Vegas is not a sentimental city,” Schwartz says. “If somebody thinks they can get higher revenue per room, they’ll re-theme it, or do whatever they need to do.”

Regular visitors like Ehmke understand that, even if they’re sad to see a favorite destination finally say goodbye. “I guess there’s good in all the changes. With all those people coming, you’ve got to do something to keep it fresh,” she says. “Some people will get bored, some won’t, some will love the same type of trip every time.

“The Mirage was an important piece of family history for us and those trips just had a huge im-

pact on me and shaped a lot of how I thought about travel. Exposing me to that kind of travel early on gave me the idea that these things and places are possible. And it was fun.”

As monumental as the original Mirage may have been, it remained consistently popular, relevant and comprehensive as it made its way through the decades. Those other ’90s resorts may have stolen the spotlight upon their arrival, but the Mirage’s signature attractions—its volcano, rainforest atrium, dolphin habitat and garden populated by white tigers—endured in a unique way.

Dining, nightclub and retail offerings at the Mirage didn’t always specifically set new trends, but the blueprint established there through amenities like the Renoir restaurant and the lobby design were stepping stones to Bellagio’s game-changing dining portfolio and the Dale Chihuly glass flowers installation. The Mirage also occasionally competed with the Las Vegas Hilton with major boxing matches, including the “Uno Mas” third bout between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran just a month after opening.

Mirage truly excelled in the entertainment category, starting with Siegfried & Roy—easily one of the most celebrated and influential shows in Las Vegas history—and continuing with

A veterinarian specialist visits with white-striped tiger cubs at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden at the Mirage in 2010. (Steve Marcus/Staff)
Roy Horn, Steve Wynn, and Siegfried Fischbacher (Courtesy Las Vegas News Bureau)

Danny Gans, Terry Fator, Boyz II Men, and illusionist Shin Lim, who recently announced he’s moving his show to Palazzo. When Siegfried & Roy’s show ended after Roy was attacked onstage by a white tiger in 2003, its theater was completely renovated and Cirque du Soleil’s fifth Las Vegas residency show, The Beatles Love, came to life—an appropriate placement considering the very first Cirque performance in Las Vegas, Nouvelle Expérience, was held in a tent behind the Mirage in 1992. The Beatles Love will perform for the last time on July 7 in Cirque’s largest Vegas venue, where it first opened in 2006. Some cast and crew members will be shuffled to other local shows,

according to senior artistic director Kati Renaud, who’s been with the company since she worked on the creation of Mystère at Treasure Island in 1993.

“Many of the cast and crew members grew up with The Beatles’ music and to work so closely to the context of why and how these incredible songs were created is truly special,” Renaud said via email. “We also have a generation of artists who were not as familiar with the Beatles’ music, and therefore its was our responsibility to integrate them into that wonderful world.

“With any situation like this, of course the announcement is sad, however everyone is so supportive of each other and helping in any way we can to prepare for the next chapter.”

Renaud said the possible resurrection of The Beatles Love “has been a talking point over the last little while,” but there are no specific plans to relocate the show.

Relocating the more than 3,000 Mirage workers has also been a talking point since the closure was announced. Hard Rock has stated it will hire 6,000 people—not including an estimated 2,500 construction jobs needed to build the new resort— and Mirage workers have the opportunity to apply. The new ownership is providing other resources, and local unions are of course very involved in protecting transitioning workers.

Marcus Lucas, a utility porter for 17 years, is going to miss his co-workers at the Mirage. A Las Vegas native who graduated from Rancho High School, Lucas worked at other hotels while raising his family here, and says his experience at the Mirage was next-level.

“The hospitality is first-class in all areas, and everybody is so profes-

sional,” he says. “The Mirage was built and designed as a world-class resort, and even though I came in with experience, I was able to get more training and work with people with more experience than me, and people who had been there since day one. They’re just good people, and we’re all going to miss each other.”

Lucas is planning to take advantage of his severance package to go back to school and get his degree.

“Maybe it will lead me back to the hotel business or somewhere else, but I wouldn’t have been able to do this if they just shut the doors and kicked us in the butt. It’s the same with a lot of other workers. I’ll see where it will take me,” he says. “I would like to see the Hard Rock succeed, and it’s the same with a lot of people. I don’t know too many people taking it worse than that. It was bad news but at the same time, people are able to move on, and that’s the character of the people I work with. It’s a rare place.”

The entrance of the old Revolution Lounge. (Geoff Carter/Staff)
LEFT The hallway to The Beatles Love theater at Mirage. (Wade Vandervort/Staff)

Remembering the Mirage volcano and the romance it brought to the Strip



Years ago, I wrote owery prose with the express purpose of reading it aloud at co eehouse open mics. Most of it is very, very bad, but it impressed the ladies that my late friend Amar Pai called “the black underwear babes,” so I’ll forgive my former self on the condition that he remains con ned to 1995. One of my best pieces was about a couple falling in love against the backdrop of Vegas’ arti ciality: They meet for a date at the old Spago at the Forum Shops (“indoor Rome,” I called it), and they share their rst kiss in front of the erupting volcano of Mirage.

It’s one sappy piece of writing, but it killed. I suspect the co eehouse crowds loved the piece for its volcano protagonist—the hero who jumped in and saved the date. Las Vegas is not a city for lovers (and we’re talking o cially; Travel + Leisure doesn’t have Vegas in its top 20 romantic cities), but people can fall in love here if they work at it. And Vegas is not a tropical island with an active volcano that spews ame and piña colada to a Mickey Hart soundtrack, but the volcano makes us believe that it could be. The re is real. The romance is real.

The Mirage volcano—and the heavily landscaped, three-acre water feature that surrounds it—would have turned 35 years old on November 22 of this year. It won’t make it that long. Mirage owner Hard Rock International, the latest owner of the property Steve Wynn opened in 2009, intends to build a new, guitar-shaped tower on the plot where the volcano currently stands, pushing the property out to the street.

And while the guitar tower will be distinctive (unless you’ve visited Hard Rock’s property in Hollywood, Florida, which already has a near-identical guitar tower), the experience from the sidewalk will be little di erent than that of the Cosmopolitan, Resorts World, Park MGM or any of Vegas’ newer or radically remodeled older resorts, nearly all of which practically over ow onto the sidewalks of Las Vegas Boulevard.

“With the volcano going away, Las Vegas is losing some of its uniqueness, and it makes me sad,” says Krystal Ramirez, an artist and educator who grew up with the Mirage and its volcano as a seemingly indelible piece of the city’s iconography. “All the casinos are becoming homogenized. Eventually, there’ll be

no di erence between Las Vegas, Singapore, or any of the reservation casinos. The newer [properties] feel more like casino ballrooms to me…like convention rooms they put slot machines in.”

It’s too soon to say what the new Hard Rock will bring to the Strip, and there’s a good possibility that the new property will have exciting features of its own, stu that’ll bring in visitors by the millions. But even so, the leveling of the volcano is an unintentional, but unsentimental gut punch to locals and longtime visitors. It’s a direct rebuke to Wynn’s way of doing things, which was to place the entrance to the casino far behind something eye-popping that doesn’t directly produce revenue: fountains (Bellagio), lush landscaping (Wynn), a pirate battle (Treasure Island). The volcano, like those features, existed only to beautify the street and to not-so-subtly modify visitor perceptions of what Vegas could be. Without volcanoes and fountains, argue longtime locals like Ramirez, Vegas goes back to being just air-conditioned rooms with slot machines in them. And while she’s never directly employed the Mirage volcano into a piece of art, as I did, she came of age in a Vegas where the volcano was part of our visual alphabet.

The volcano is pure Vegas. You could use it to describe the city in abstract terms: “Gambling, showgirls, volcano.” It was one of the main things visiting friends and family members wanted to see. It appeared in dozens of Vegas-set movies and TV shows. (My favorite volcano cameo is in the middling 1996 Steve Martin comedy Sgt. Bilko; he admires it tearfully, whispering, “It’s just so beautiful!”)

“I don’t think it’s about mourning the end of ‘Family Vegas,’ because that not a Vegas that a lot of people feel very excited about,” Ramirez says. “I think it’s more about losing part of what made Las Vegas special—all these things that you’ve never been able to see anywhere else. We’re losing our neon; they’re all becoming LED screens. We’re losing all the weird animatronic, analog entertainment that Las Vegas had.

“This is how it’s happened in Las Vegas for a century. It’s always reinventing itself, so this isn’t any di erent. But many of us feel sentimental about it, anyway.” She chuckles wearily. “It doesn’t get old, does it: Being given something special in Las Vegas … and then having to be okay with losing it.”


“The support this initiative has received from Nevadans throughout the signature collection process shows what we’ve known to be true: Nevadans believe that healthcare decisions about abortion are best left to women, their doctors, and those they love and trust—not politicians.”

–Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom President Lindsey Harmon after the Secretary of State certified a ballot question to protect abortion rights in the state constitution for the November 2024

(AP Photo/Steve


According to Clark County, Las Vegas received 1,625,034 wedding visitors generating $2.2 billion in economic activity in 2023.

Trevor Connelly heads to the stage after being selected by the Vegas Golden Knights during the first round of the NHL hockey draft Friday, June 28, 2024, in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Aces host the Dallas Wings on Sunday, July 7 at 12:30 p.m.

Migrating from Mirage

Shin Lim, the magician behind the Mirage’s popular longtime magic show, Limitless, has officially found a new home in the Venetian’s Palazzo Theatre.

Limitless is one of several attractions at the decades-old Mirage forced to either end or relocate ahead of the Las Vegas Strip property’s closure, as it prepares for a rebrand into the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.

A child brought a toy gun onto a Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) bus earlier this month.

Until recently, officials would likely not have realized the child was possessing the toy. But it was spotted using a firearm-detecting artificial intelligence system the commission recently debuted.

The RTC is believed to be the first transit system in the United States to employ firearm-detecting technology of this nature utilizing artificial intelligence. The security enhancement increases safety for passengers, bus drivers and RTC employees, officials said. And, they stress, it’s vitally important technology.

The system, named ZeroEyes, was added to the RTC’s existing network of security cameras and uses artificial intelligence tech-

nology to detect firearms.

It’s a process that only takes seconds, said JT Wilkins, ZeroEyes senior vice president of sales.

Once someone walks into a transit center brandishing a gun, the security cameras utilize “computer vision” to identify the weapon based on details such as the shape, then it sends an image to a group of humans based in one of ZeroEyes’ control centers in Pennsylvania and Hawaii.

The team of control center employees—who staff the center around the clock—do a final check of the image to determine if it is, indeed, a firearm and whether it poses a threat.

If a gun is identified, the image and location details are sent to Metro Police and RTC security for them to respond, Wilkins


According to Nevada law, riders can only bring a gun onto one of its 39 routes if they have a concealed carry permit, otherwise the “carrying or possessing of illegal weapons is outlawed.”

Since installing the technology about a month ago, the system hasn’t detected any true threat. When it detected the child with the toy gun, police were not called and the situation wasn’t reported due to a lack of threat to the public, but Wilkins said it was an example of ZeroEyes’ detection power.

The firearm technology was installed earlier this year and has been running for about a month now, Wilkins noted. The RTC and ZeroEyes signed a contract for one year that could be extended in the future. –Grace Da Rocha

TECH SPORTS AI boosts safety on RTC buses

Marchessault, others leave Golden Knights

The expected mass exodus of free agents commenced for the Golden Knights on July 1. All six of Vegas’ unrestricted free agents left the organization to sign with different teams. Jonathan Marchessault’s deal with the Nashville Predators was the biggest news, but he won’t be the only contributor the Golden Knights are looking to replace. A fellow “Original Misfit” William Carrier signed a six-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. Also, defenseman Alec Martinez signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, forward Chandler Stephenson with the Seattle Kraken, Michael Amadio with the Ottawa Senators and Anthony Mantha with the Calgary Flames. –Jack Williams

Tickets remain available on Ticketmaster for Limitless at the Mirage through July 14, just days before the resort is slated to officially close its doors for a yearslong transformation.

Tickets for Lim’s residency at the Venetian go on sale as early as next month, with his debut at the resort set for October, the release said. –Katie Ann McCarver


The NHL Draft took over the Sphere last week, but the first live sports competition event at the venue is set for September 14. UFC announced Saudi Arabian entertainment and sports festival Riyadh Season will be the first-ever title sponsor for a major event, rebranding UFC 306 to Riyadh Season Noche UFC during Mexican Independence Day weekend in Las Vegas.

“Riyadh Season Noche UFC continues a great tradition in combat sports of holding big fights around Mexican Independence Day to celebrate and honor the remarkable contributions of Mexican fighters to combat sports,” reads a news release from UFC.

Ticket information will be released soon and those interested can register at ufc.com/sphere –Staff


Increased mosquito activity in Southern Nevada means higher risk of illness

The Southern Nevada Health District has confirmed the season’s first cases of West Nile virus, underscoring an urgent public health alert.

According to a press release from the agency, a man in his 60s contracted the non-neuroinvasive form of the virus, while a man in his 70s faced the more severe neuroinvasive type, which causes inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), or inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).

Both have since recovered.

The cases come amid record-breaking mosquito activity in Clark County, where 230 mosquito pools from 30 ZIP codes tested positive for West Nile virus as of June 21. Additionally, nine pools from five ZIP codes tested positive for the St. Louis encephalitis virus, according to the health district.

“We have an unprecedented amount of West Nile in Las Vegas at the moment; it’s never been this bad in Southern Nevada this early,” says Louisa Messenger, an assistant professor with UNLV’s School of Public Health. “Part of that, we think, is due to climate change because we have seen such strange weather patterns in the last couple of years … mosquitoes and other insects are so intrinsically linked to temperature and humidity.”

Messenger adds that mosquito activity is soaring, driven by the spread of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Known for their daytime biting, these species prefer humans and are

testing positive for West Nile virus, according to the health district.

“Aedes Aegypti can test positive for West Nile virus likely because they fed on a West Nile virus-positive human. However, Aedes Aegypti is not considered a competent vector, i.e. the virus may not reproduce and proliferate to be passed to a new human the next time the mosquito takes a bloodmeal,” Messenger says.

“[Aedes Aegypti] is the major vector of dengue virus, which we have not detected yet in Southern Nevada, but was identified in Maricopa County in 2022.”

Aedes aegypti first tested positive for West Nile virus in Southern Nevada in 2017, according to the health district, and they do present a risk to public health. However, the majority of the mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis are the Culex species.

Culex mosquitoes primarily feed on birds but also bite humans, potentially spreading West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis.

“I think a lot of the rhetoric I hear from people is we’ve never had mosquitoes in Vegas. We have had them, just not at these densities,” says Messenger.

She and her team of researchers have been working closely with the health district to monitor mosquito species across the valley. Her laboratory is performing genetic analyses of the virus samples and mosquitoes to support the health district’s surveillance activities.

“Mosquitoes reproduce every 10 to 14 days so they’re really rapidly growing arthropods … they can become resistant to chemicals quickly ... which makes it problematic if you try to do any type of control,” she says.

The health department and scientists are now emphasizing

Opposite Page: A Culex quinquefasciatus female mosquito drinks blood from Figueroa’s hand at the UNLV Parasitology & Vector Biology lab.


the importance of individual and community participation in preventing mosquito-borne illnesses. To start, personal protection is key. Wearing EPA-approved insect repellent, such as topical lotions or sprays, can significantly reduce your chances of being bit. For those spending time in areas with high mosquito activity such as hiking trails, wearing insecticide-treated clothing is recommended.

“You can go to REI and get the clothes that have pyrethroid insecticides in it—that’s the best thing you can do to prevent biting,” Messenger says. Long sleeves and pants offer additional protection against the mosquitoes active in the day and night.

However, individual efforts alone aren’t enough. Community-level actions are crucial, Messenger adds. Public health officials recommend eliminating any standing water at home, which is the preferred breeding ground for mosquitoes. This includes untreated pools, stagnant water in plant pots, children’s toys and any other containers that may

collect rainwater. It’s surprising how small amounts of water, even less than a milliliter in items hidden under bushes, can become mosquito breeding sites.

Mosquito activity can be reported to the health district’s mosquito surveillance program, which can be reached at 702-759-1633. To report a green pool, people should contact their local code enforcement agency, the health district says. It’s also important to recognize the symptoms of West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis, if bitten. Most people who are infected won’t experience symptoms, but 20% may develop mild signs such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These symptoms typically appear between 2 to 14 days after the bite and can last for several weeks.

While these symptoms may very well point to another kind of typical infection, it doesn’t hurt to let your physician know if you’re been in recent contact with mosquitoes so that they can test for the diseases.

From left, student Karen Figueroa, student Austin Tang, lab coordinator Zoee Sanchez and assistant professor Louisa Messenger pose for a photo at the UNLV Parasitology & Vector Biology morphology lab
by Wade Vandervort)









DJ Cassidy brings his Vegas-inspired ‘Rap Pack’ to the Strip for a Pass the Mic residency

When a pandemic check-in call with legendary Earth, Wind & Fire founding member Verdine White inspired DJ Cassidy to create the musical phenomenon known as Pass the Mic, the New York-born artist and producer was excited but had no idea where this idea would go.

“It’s been quite a surreal journey over the past four years,” says Cassidy, who brings the hip-hop and R&B party to the Strip this holiday weekend at Planet Hollywood’s Bakkt Theater.

“Even when I was knee-deep in filming what became Pass the Mic Vol. 1, I had no expectation it would become a hit viral digital series, no idea it would become a TV series, no idea it would become a tour of live concerts, and certainly no idea it would become a Las Vegas residency.

“I’d like to say it’s a dream come true, but I certainly wasn’t dreaming

that big four years ago when the world was at a standstill.”

Cassidy was Facetiming with his friend and mentor White from his living room when EWF’s “That’s the Way of the World” came on his system and White began singing along. “I had the amazing opportunity to experience one of the greatest soul ballads of all time in this very unique and personal way,” Cassidy says, and he immediately began brainstorming how he could replicate this experience for audiences.

He created Pass the Mic to bring legendary artists onscreen to perform their classic tracks in a virtual way, and it transcended pandemic-era entertainment with a TV deal. “Someone told me the other day—and I can’t substantiate this, but I hope it’s true— that Pass the Mic is the only COVIDborn musical entity that went from an at-home digital series to a television series,” Cassidy says. “I knew it was special … and one-of-a-kind, but I did not think it would garner such a widespread emotional response.”

The Vegas version of the show will elaborate on the concert tour, which included a Radio City Hall show paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of hiphop last July. Cassidy’s main collaborators are Ja Rule, Fat Joe, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, with rotating special guests like Public Enemy, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah from Wu-Tang Clan, Jermaine Dupri, Too Short and Warren G stepping into the fun and fresh format that rolls through hip-hop hits from all these artists and more with some storytelling and interactivity splashed around. That’s the plan for these six Vegas shows, and the hope is there will be many more.

“The Vegas show is an extension of everything we’ve described but with enhanced theatrics, showmanship, interaction, collaboration and sophistication,” Cassidy says. “The Rat Pack ended up being the greatest source of inspiration for us, the core five of this residency … and Ja Rule has ended up coining us the Rap Pack. We are inspired by that sophistication and class and the old-world fashion of Las Vegas, and we’re encouraging everyone to come fly, to dress the part and contribute to the overall musical and visual experience of the show.”

Left to right: Ja Rule, DJ Cassidy, Fat Joe, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh (Courtesy)


Five reasons to catch what could be the final Lady Gaga: Jazz & Piano performances

“Too bad I don’t have an instrument,” Lady Gaga quipped, admiring her orchestra. Of course, she has the most important instrument of all.

She showed us at a June 20 performance of Jazz & Piano when she proceeded to sing sans mic—a trick the singer rst pulled when her residency launched in 2019. Her voice carried strongly through the 2,600seat Dolby Live theater and drove many audience members, including me, to tears.

The show, which is coming up on its last scheduled installments this week, is an opportunity to revel in the music of Vegas’ golden age, when the names of the Rat Pack lit up the marquees up and down the Strip.

It’s also a display of outstanding musicianship from Gaga herself and her 30-piece ensemble. Beloved pieces from the Great American Songbook as well as pop hits like “Poker Face” and “Born This Way,” are delivered with improvisation, heartfelt emotion and artistry.

Bottom line, Jazz & Piano is a can’t miss. Here are ve reasons why you should get yourself to the shows on July 5 and 6.


Paying tribute to jazz icons

With this show, you can’t help but think of icons like Frank Sinatra who popularized standards like “The Best is Yet to Come” and “Call Me Irresponsible.”

But even more so than Sinatra, Gaga conjures the late musician Tony Bennett, who passed away in 2023. Gaga and Bennett made two studio albums together, with Love For Sale released in 2021 just ahead of the post-COVID revival of Jazz & Piano

It’s clear Bennett’s memory is fresh in her mind, and that comes across with palpable emotion during tracks like “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.”


Gaga keeps it fresh

What some may consider banal jazz standards are given new life in this show. Gaga and her orchestra put their spin on “Orange Colored Sky” and “Luck Be A Lady.” But it’s not just songs from the Great American Songbook: “La Vie en Rose,” and “Sway” add some spicy variety into the setlist.

Gaga also takes turns behind the piano, peppering in slowed-down versions of her pop hits including “Paparazzi” and “Bad Romance.” But what really got us out of our seats was her performance of “Americano,” which the singer hasn’t performed in public in more than 10 years, according to Rolling Stone


Satisfying the hunger for Vegas nostalgia



Of course everyone’s there to see Gaga, but what they don’t anticipate is being swept away by the instrumentalists.

“Why would you fight over me on stage?” Gaga joked with saxophonist Steve Kortyka and trumpet player Brian Newman amid a battle of solos during “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing).”

The singer’s synergy with the band was mesmerizing. And so were her outfits (we counted six changes).


Stupid Love



July 5-6, 8 p.m. Dolby Live, $195-$632, ticketmaster.com.

Video interludes that celebrate Vegas’ glamorous history tie the whole show together (and buy Gaga time for her many outfit changes). The audience sees her gambling and playing in the casinos, and dancing with the city skyline behind her.

“Sure, Vegas is famed for its debauchery. But why have we stopped singing about its glamor?” she said in a voiceover before walking onstage in a silky feather-trimmed gown.

Gaga serves style that has been distilled by the past. And we eat it up.

Lady Gaga wants you to know she loves you. If it wasn’t already obvious when she told us we’re beautiful in our own way, she made it abundantly clear to a fan repeatedly yelling out “I love you, Gaga!”

“I love you too,” she answered each time. And during the encore, the “Theme from New York, New York,” she paused to let us know the show couldn’t go on without us.

“I’ll tell you something, we can’t do it without the audience. You know that? A show with no audience ain’t a show.”

“I love you so much. We love you so much. We hope you come back!”

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Park MGM Las Vegas)


Diverse dishes at Rang’s Cocina Moderne (Wade Vandervort/Sta )


Rang’s Cocina Moderne serves creative Filipino, Spanish and Italian fare

In a West Charleston strip mall best known for housing Japanese stalwart Sushi Hiroyoshi, a surprising family-run gem has taken root. Rang’s Cocina Moderne, run by chef Rang Tan and her affable husband Benedict, sells itself as a Spanish and Italian restaurant with Asian infusions. But that is a seriously modest portrayal of a restaurant serving some of the Valley’s best Pinoy dishes.

Prior to arriving in Vegas from the Philippines during COVID and opening Rang’s, the Tans had no prior restaurant experience, remarkable considering how smoothly the restaurant is run. Welcoming and casual with a constant soundtrack of easy listening covers of alterna-

tive music, it’s a restaurant where you’ll want to linger while you explore some unfamiliar flavors.

Take for instance the dulong ($11), miniature silverfish with beady eyes which are a staple of Filipino food but rarely seen stateside. While they’re a bit unnerving, served atop a baguette with olive oil and garlic, they’re a rather tasty snack. Consider them the baby brethren of anchovies without the overwhelming fishiness and you’ve got the idea.

Another treat is lengua salpicao ($19), fork-tender beef tongue bathed in garlic and olive oil. You’ll want an order or two of toasted baguette ($3) to sop up the sauce on this dish. And then

keep some on hand for Rang’s destination dish, aligue with garlic shrimp pasta ($27). But be forewarned, as the crab fat funkiness it’s endowed with might not be for everyone. Conversely, the binagoongang pork belly with coconut risotto ($27) isn’t as funky as might be expected. Bagoóng, fermented shrimp paste used in the cooking process, can be robust, but Rang’s version is quite approachable. The risotto’s milkiness deftly balances both the unctuous swine and salty shellfish which could easily overpower the palate.

The non-Filipino dishes are exceedingly tasty, if you’re not looking for a challenge. Creamy truffled mushroom and asparagus pasta ($21) delivers a sufficient level of umami and earthiness. House-made mushroom soup ($9) is solid, although on the night we tried it, it could’ve been a bit chewier for my taste. And the Chilean sea bass ($42)— which Benedict proudly introduces as a local competition-winning dish that’s so good, it had to be on the menu—lives up to the billing with a lively lemon-coconut sauce complementing the fish’s buttery notes.

No matter what your tastes, you’re bound to find something you’ll like at Rang’s. As the Tans seem to be the restaurant’s only employees at the current time, it is truly a family affair. Let them welcome you into their home for a unique dining experience; you’ll be glad you did.


Sushi by Scratch pops up at Resorts World, Lavo gets a refresh and more

Tao Group Hospitality’s Lavo Italian Restaurant & Lounge at Palazzo closed on June 23 and is set to reopen this fall with a refreshed design and new coastal Italian menu that aligns with the concept’s international expansion since it first debuted in 2008.

Luckley Tavern & Grill opened at the Rio on June 14. The new eatery serves soups, salads, steak, seafood, cocktails and more and is open 5-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The world’s first certified gluten-free fastfood restaurant chain PowerSoul Cafe opened its third Valley location on June 27 at 1469 E. Lake Mead Parkway, at the Monument at Calico Ridge. It’s open 24 hours daily.

LA’s Scratch Restaurant Group has launched a limited-time pop-up version of Sushi by Scratch at Resorts World, serving a 17-course nigiri tasting menu showcasing fish and shellfish from Tokyo’s world-renowned Toyosu Fish Market. Priced at $225 per

person, Sushi by Scratch reservations are available on Tock.

Double Zero Pie & Pub, recently named to the 50 Top Pizza guide, is celebrating its first anniversary throughout the month of July with a complimentary welcome cocktail for all guests, the øø Spritz. New menu items rolling out this month to celebrate its first year include the Salami Rossa and vegetarian pizzas and the Double Zero cannoli.

Tickets go on sale July 9 for the fourth annual Las Vegas Pizza Festival, set for November 16 at the Industrial Event Space. GA tickets start at $55 and VIP tickets for $115, and prices will go up with demand. Visit vegaspizzafest.com to get yours early.

The José Andrés Group will debut Bazaar Mar, a new seafood-driven restaurant, at The Shops at Crystals in late July, along with the adjacent Bar Centro, an elevated bar serving coffee and pastries in the morning and cocktails, caviar and desserts in the evening. –Brock Radke

Chef Rang Tan (Wade Vandervort/Staff)
Lightly roasted King Salmon with matcha and pickled wasabi at Sushi by Scratch. (Courtesy/Suzi Pratt)

The All-New SAHARA Las Vegas is your premier destination for spectacular shows, live music, comedy, and boundless fun. Let Magic Mike Live captivate you with mesmerizing moves and embrace the cool at AZILO Ultra Pool. Add award-winning dining, chic lounges, elegant décor, and a stunning new casino for a Vegas stay that’s

The Michael Jackson Estate is not affiliated, associated, or connected with “MJ Live Tribute Concert,” nor has it endorsed or sponsored “MJ Live Tribute Concert.” Michael Jackson portrayed by Jalles Franca.


How the NBA’s long-awaited arrival in Las Vegas could play out

For years, one of the worst-kept secrets in NBA circles has been the league’s interest in adding a pair of expansion teams. And whenever that discussion pops up, one of the cities always mentioned as a favorite to land a franchise is Las Vegas.

Before expansion talks could happen, however, the league had a more pressing matter. The current television-rights deal is set to expire following the 2024-25 season, so commissioner Adam Silver has been focused on figuring out who will broadcast NBA games for the foreseeable future—and how much the networks would pay for the rights.

With reports emerging that deals are now in place with NBC, Disney/ESPN and Amazon to carry games for the next 11 years for more than $70 billion, it may finally be time for Silver and the current owners to move the expansion discussion to the front burner.

After years of whispers and insinuation, is Las Vegas ready to throw its hat in the ring? Here’s how the expansion process could play out:

Decades in the making

It’s been 20 years since the NBA last added a new team, introducing the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) for the 2004-05 season. Before that, expansion had been a regular occurrence, with a pair of franchises added in tandem in 1988, 1989 and 1995.

The expectation for the next round is another two-fer, which would bring the total number of teams to 32 and allow for even conferences of 16 apiece. Along with Las Vegas, the other top contender is Seattle, which had been home to the SuperSonics from 1970 until the team relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008.

Make your case

Once the NBA announces its intention to expand, the league isn’t just going to bestow a precious team upon any old city. That city is going to have to earn it.

The league will open up the bidding process, and a number of prospective locations will compete to make their case. In addition to Las Vegas and Seattle, other potential bids could come from Kansas City,


St. Louis and Louisville, or even outside-the-box places such as Mexico City or Montreal.

Las Vegas would really have to botch its bid to not be considered a major frontrunner, considering the city’s existing relationship with the NBA via the Summer League, the In-Season Tournament final four and USA Basketball.

Serious offers only

Once the two winning cities are chosen, the league will begin another bidding process to determine the teams’ owners.

The NBA’s last expansion team fetched $300 million, but times have changed. League revenue has exploded over the past 20 years, and franchise values have skyrocketed. For this round of expansion, deep-pocketed hopefuls can expect to cough up at least $3 billion to be taken seriously; the final price could soar above $5 billion.

Even at that price, there are expected to be myriad suitors for the Las Vegas team. One high-profile billionaire seems to be the frontrunner: LeBron James. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar is on record as wanting to own a team, specifically

mentioning a Las Vegas expansion franchise as his preferred scenario on multiple occasions. James, who has earned more than $1.4 billion in salary and endorsements throughout his 21-year career, is currently working with Fenway Sports Group to lay the groundwork for a bid.

Home-court advantage

A crucial element of any ownership bid will be a plan for a home arena. One of Seattle’s advantages is that the city already has a new arena ready-made for an expansion team; the Vegas situation isn’t as clear, as there have been several stop-and-start attempts over the years to build on and around the Strip.

T-Mobile Arena was initially seen as a viable option when it opened in 2016, but more recent chatter indicates the league would prefer a newer, more basketball-dedicated building for its Las Vegas expansion franchise. LeBron and his group will have to get this squared away ASAP.

Infrastructure years

After the owner of Las Vegas’ team is selected, the franchise will have to hire front-office personnel, then staff every level of the organization from scratch. That’s hundreds of employees, from the general manager to scouts to medical trainers, sales staff and administrators and everything in between. It’s a lengthy process.

So, how long is this going to take? The short answer is years.

When Toronto and Vancouver were awarded franchises in 1993, they had roughly 21 months to get everything in order before the expansion draft in June of 1995. When Charlotte got its team in 2002, there was a runway of about 18 months before the expansion draft. The teams then began play the following season, so if the league follows a similar timeline, it should take between two to three years for a Vegas expansion team to get up and running and play its first game.

Name game

If Seattle gets a team, naming them the SuperSonics is a slam dunk. But Las Vegas gets to choose its own nickname, and the team could go in a million directions. Different franchises go about it in different ways. Some let the fans vote, which is how Seattle’s NHL expansion team became the Kraken. In other instances, the owner makes an executive decision, like when Bill Foley christened his team the Golden Knights. What you don’t want to do, under any circumstances, is what Bob Johnson did when the NBA awarded him the Charlotte team: hold a fan vote, then discard the results and name the team after yourself (hello, Bobcats).

Gear up

Fans will want to know when they can buy merch for their beloved Las Vegas Sharks (just a suggestion). It took the Golden Knights less than six months to settle on their name and logo, and another six months to open their pro shop in town. So, give it approximately a year for NBA-branded Las Vegas jerseys to hit the shelves.


City, USA

Even without an expansion team, Las Vegas has become a hub for NBA activity, with the Summer League, the In-Season Tournament and USA Basketball all calling the city home. How would a full-time franchise affect those endeavors?

Probably not at all. The Summer League has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, drawing more than 136,000 fans over 11 days last year; there’s no reason to tinker with that kind of success. As for the IST and USA Basketball, those are held in Las Vegas because that’s where the players want to be, and unless consensus builds around some other location, they’ll likely stay put as well.

Summer Challenge Summer Challenge

Sign up for the Library District’s Summer Challenge program to enjoy reading whatever you like and participate in fun events for a chance to win great prizes!

For details on these events and to see many more, go to TheLibraryDistrict.org/SummerChallenge or scan this QR Code:


Circus of Bubbles with Kirk Marsh Magic Performance with Bubbles

Friday, July 5 at 11 a.m

Sahara West Library

Saturday, July 6 at 4 p.m.

Clark County Library

Sunday, July 7 at 4 p.m.

Spring Valley Library

Ages 0 – 17

Steve Trash Science LIVE! Interactive Science & Magic Show

Wednesday, July 10 11 a.m. & 4 p.m. Windmill Library

Thursday, July 11 at 11 a.m. & 4 p.m.

Friday, July 12 at 11 a.m. & 4 p.m.

Saturday, July 13 at 11 a.m. & 4 p.m.

Clark County Library

Koo Koo Singalong Concert

Thursday, July 18 at 11 a.m.

Friday, July 19 at 4 p.m.

Clark County Library Ages: 3-7

Scan here for event details

TheLibraryDistrict.org/ SummerChallenge


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Learn About the Importance of the Oceans

Thursday, July 11 at 11 a.m. West Charleston Library

Looking at the Stars (and the Sun!) Astral Exploration Experience

Saturday, July 13 at 10 a.m. Mesquite Library

Kate Swick Astrological Workshop

Tuesday, July 16 at 11 a.m. West Charleston Library

Saturday, July 20 at 3 p.m.

Sunrise Library

Friday, July 26 at 11 a.m. Spring Valley Library

The Poetry Hub by Poetry Promise Fun & Interactive Writing Workshop

Wednesday, July 17 at 6:30 p.m. West Charleston Library

Summer Barreto Choreography & Dance Workshop

Sunday, July 28 at 3 p.m. Sahara West Library

My philosophy has always been that libraries exist to serve all, but especially the underserved and those who may not have experienced how a library can change their lives.”

Kelvin Watson, the executive director of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, is looking forward to 2025.

That’s when the system will be celebrating its 60th anniversary — and it will do so with a new library to serve the Historic Westside.

Vegas Inc had a conservation with Watson about what’s on the horizon. Here are the answers he shared, via email.

Tell us about the new West Las Vegas Library. What was the impetus for building it, and what kinds of obstacles did you overcome in the lead up to the recent groundbreaking?

The new West Las Vegas Library will open in the fall of 2025 on Martin Luther King Drive, just around the corner from our current location on West Lake Mead. It will double the size of the current location to serve the growing population in the Historic Westside and fulfill the need for arts, culture, technology, and educational resources. It’s going to include more updated technology and training in STEM, 3-D printing and virtual reality. There will also be spaces for workforce development, business incubators and many more meeting rooms.

What other news or updates do you have to share with the community with regards to the

Q+A: Kelvin Watson

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District serves a wide swath of the community

Library District?

I do have some exciting news to share: 2025 represents our 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, and we are planning some fun activities for the milestone. The Library District is continuing to create new partnerships and expand the programs and services outside of our physical locations. My philosophy has always been that libraries exist to serve all, but especially the underserved and those who may not have experienced how a library can change their lives. It is critically important to bring technology to the broadest audience, and the library has the infrastructure to achieve this. We recently won the American Library Association’s Library of the Future Award for the third year in a row, which I’m proud to say has never been done before. What prompted you to pursue a leadership role in the Library District? Why is it so important to you personally?

I could see the opportunity to grow the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District to serve a wider swath of the population. This is such an exciting, ever-growing, ever-changing city and the need to develop our future workforce is critical to continue driving that engine of economic growth. I also saw several untapped areas: to assist the Clark County School District in its mission by helping to support early childhood learning with the reading by

third grade initiative; to give our teens dedicated, interactive, safe spaces to hang out after school; and for all ages, to elevate our programs and services with partnerships.

What partnerships with the business community have you cultivated in your time as executive director?

One of my first orders of business when I arrived here three years ago was to connect to the business community, the chambers of commerce, the hospitality industry, and the local media, to help us tell our stories of opportunity. We have partnerships with Cox Communications to promote free Wi-Fi access, Sunrise Hospital to introduce new mothers to our services, the Boulevard Mall to target the growing Spanish language and bilingual population, Hope for Prisoners to assist the formerly incarcerated with re-entry into the economy, as well as the Downtown Grand Hotel, the Springs Preserve, the Neon Museum, UNLV and more.

What programs within the Library District are you excited about?

We know that not all kids love to read, so our Summer Challenge programs let them do activities and reading to win book prizes, and then qualify for more prizes and swag from the Vegas Golden Knights, NBA Summer League, the Library District, Panda Express, Pinkbox Doughnuts and others.

What do you wish the communi-

ty knew about the Library District, and are there any misconceptions about it that you wish to clear up?

My goal is to educate the public that libraries are stronger than ever before and that through our doors and on our website, thelibrarydistrict.org, they can truly change their lives. They will find free educational resources, new hobbies, new business connections, the chance to meet new friends ... the possibilities are endless.

We launched a public education campaign called Free To Be, with seven words which represent the many unique experiences that our libraries offer: Free To Be Curious, Free To Be Connected, Free To Be Captivated, Free To Be Fearless, Free To Be Inspired, Free To Be a Trailblazer, and of course, Free To Be Yourself. We want people to see that libraries are no longer quiet places with dusty bookshelves. We love our books, but now you can check out toys, games, blood pressure monitors and other physical items.

What’s your favorite book or your favorite author of all time, and why?

My favorite book is A Raisin in the Sun, which is actually a play by Lorraine Hansberry. I admire it for so many reasons. It talks about family dynamics, specifically an African American family that is struggling to move forward in life. Even though there are some bumps in the road or challenges and obstacles to overcome, they ultimately do, and it strengthens the family bond. This has always been inspirational to me, both as a young student striving to make my way out of a tough childhood, and all through my life, my time in the U.S. Army, and my career. This is the wonderful thing about great literature. You can see yourself in the stories of others and realize that we are all part of the human family. That is a message we need, now more than ever.


Molina Healthcare of Nevada, a managed health care company providing services through Medicaid, presented a $100,000 check to Birth Collaborative LV, a local organization focused on cultivating a strong professional birth care workforce and community. The investment will go toward funding 40 scholarships to train the next generation of community perinatal doulas in Southern Nevada. Birth Collaborative LV is one of 29 community-based organizations and providers Molina is supporting with $2.8 million in grants to improve access to health care and social services targeting health disparities among under-resourced communities in Clark and Washoe Counties.

Roseman University of Health Sciences announced the appointment of Geena Mattox as the new vice president for philanthropy & alumni relations. Mattox brings a background in securing major gifts, corporate sponsorships and successful capital campaigns.

Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) has been awarded an $800,000 Housing and Urban Development grant to create systemic change across Nevada for young people experiencing homelessness. NPHY will lead a project to create the first-ever statewide Nevada Plan to End Youth Homelessness. The objectives of the project are to improve the leadership capacity of youth with lived


Senior Chef Tournant

for Desert Palace, Inc. (dba Caesars Palace)

Worksite Location: Las Vegas, NV. Requires 2 yrs. of exp. in the job offered or as a Chef de Cuisine, or Chef, plus 1 yr. exp. as a Chinese Wok Chef. Please apply to Req #: SDE102, Attn: Alessandra Barricella, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 or at ecdata@caesars.com

experience of homelessness and to establish and grow partnerships across the state to better identify, understand and address the needs of youth at-risk of or experiencing homelessness through system-planning at the statewide level. Clark County Social Services also has committed to providing NPHY with an $80,000 match award for this project.

Nevada Community Foundation (NCF), philanthropic advisors to scores of Las Vegas individuals and families for more than 35 years, has awarded grants totaling more than $1.4 million to a dozen Las Vegas-based organizations and universities from The Alan J. Arnold M.D. Charitable En-

dowment. The grants are the first distributions from the Arnold Fund, which is managed by NCF. Inaugural recipient organizations include Hearts Alive Animal Village, Pet Partners, Nevada Outreach, New Vista, Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, Shannon West Homeless Youth Center at HELP of Southern Nevada, UNLV and others.

The Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE (Mayor’s Fund), has announced the launch of the Carolyn G. Goodman Education Legacy Fund to celebrate the achievements of Mayor Goodman’s tenure. This special fund will support City of Las Vegas educational initiatives including early childhood education.

Chef de Cuisine

for Desert Palace, Inc. (dba Caesars Palace)

Worksite Location: Las Vegas, NV. Requires 2 yrs. of exp. in the job offered or as a Line Level Supervisor, Senior Chef de Partie, or Chef, plus 2 yrs. of exp. working in Chinese Haute Cuisine. Please apply to Req #: SDE101, Attn: Alessandra Barricella, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 or at ecdata@caesars.com

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