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Trek Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Best Dressed At Rio's Star Trek Convention

Where: 3700 W. Flamingo Rd [map], 89103
August 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM | by | Comments (2)

Another Star Trek Convention at Rio has come and gone, and with it the hundreds of dedicated fans who "assimilated" (a Trek term) the off-strip property from July 31st through August 3rd. The annual sci-fi gathering is famous for celebrity meets-and-greets, entertaining presentations, parties, concerts, film screenings and vendor booths. This year’s event even had a first-time-ever Star Trek-themed wedding, presided over by a convincing "Lt. Commander Data." But, the one thing Star Trek conventions are most famous for? Those wild and elaborate costumes worn by attendees.

Yes, Star Trek fans are a dedicated lot. As so wonderfully spoofed in the Sigourney Weaver comedy, Galaxy Quest, Trekkers proudly wear their geek-dom on their sleeves... and Starfleet tunics, Borg implants, blue antennas and Klingon ridges. While this writer, a lifelong Trek fan, has yet to participate in the regalia (a logo tank or “Starfleet Security” T-shirt have gotten me by so far), some fans spend weeks, months and sometimes years perfecting their creations.

Star Trek conventions always have a Best Costume contest, and this year was no exception. Leading up to the competition were presentations by various experts in the fields of makeup and costuming. Exhibitors in the vendors area offered tips and supplies for next year's hopefuls. It's estimated that nearly 1,500 costumed enthusiasts filled the halls last weekend, hoping to catch the attention of celebrity and expert judges alike.

Star Trek: Voyager star Garret Wang (right) was impressed by "Lt. Ilia."

Several photo-op stations were set up in the promenades amongst the various halls (even a red carpet with the Official Convention Logo backdrop), and they kept flashbulbs popping. I spotted a few party-crashers from the Star Wars universe muscling in on the action, like Wookies, Storm Troopers and lightsaber-wielding Jedis. This may be due to the fact that director J.J. Abrams is now actively involved in both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises.

This year's competition took place last Saturday, with a $1,000 prize winner crowned that evening. Naturally, I sat in on the prejudging to note audience reactions, but it was much more fun to stroll through the Rio Convention Hall to pick my own favorites. How else would you get to share Klingon Warnog beer (which made its world debut at the convention) with a Romulan or plot to pillage a planet with the Cardassians (no, I didn’t mean “Kardashians,” although they're known for doing the same).

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Back In Vegas: What To Expect From The New GameWorks At Town Square

Where: 6605 Las Vegas Blvd. S. [map], 89119
August 1, 2014 at 7:12 PM | by | Comments (3)

If you’re like us, you grew up in an arcade. If you’re like we still are, you may wish you could relive these video game glory days of your youth, now with an adult beverage in hand. While Downtown's Insert Coins and Henderson's Hi Scores Bar-Arcade have these offerings, the new GameWorks at Town Square has the latest technology (and the old school games you love) in a much more central location, a short cab ride from the Strip.

Locals and some Vegas visitors may remember the old outpost of GameWorks on the Strip near M&M’s World. While this writer only personally visited that location once, the seemingly general sentiment that it was a dark and slightly sketchy venue can be confirmed. Luckily, this new Town Square location is bright and cheery (except for the purposefully darker eSports Arena, but more on that later.)

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Hollywood Puppet Wizardry Comes To Vegas

Where: 6290 Harrison Drive, Unit 12, Las Vegas, Nevada [map], 89120
July 31, 2014 at 6:29 PM | by | Comments (2)

Vegas Puppeteer Sparks International Tensions.

Not the kind of headline you’d expect to see in the morning paper, but that’s what happened ten years ago when the creators of South Park released the R-rated feature film, Team America: World Police. That naughty marionette movie skewered dozens of famous actors with its unflattering caricatures, but it was now deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong Il who really blew his top. And, lead puppeteer as well as Vegas resident Scott Land is still in North Korea’s crosshairs today.

“We knew we were making something special. No one had ever done anything like this before. It was like working on The Wizard of Oz. That’s how Scott Land remembers his time on the set of Team America: World Police in 2004. But, we doubt Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion were ever condemned by North Korea. Then, a few weeks ago, the upcoming Seth Rogen comedy The Interview was called an act of war by North Korea’s U.N. ambassador, and Team America was thrust back into the spotlight.

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Why You Should Attend Rio's 2014 Star Trek Convention

Where: 3700 W. Flamingo Rd. [map], 89103
July 25, 2014 at 5:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

It’s warp speed once more as Star Trek fans from around the world beam into Las Vegas for the 13th Annual Official Star Trek Vegas Convention July 31-August 3. For the fourth consecutive year, it’ll be held at Rio.

You don’t have to be a Trekkie (or Trekker as some prefer to be called) to enjoy the four-day adventure. As an ardent fan attending for the third year, this writer can assure you that Star Trek conventions aren’t just for geeks and nerds. There are plenty of reasons to check it out, especially if you’ve never attended a fan convention before.

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Why We're Loco For The Adventuredome

Where: 2880 Las Vegas Blvd. S. [map], 89109
July 24, 2014 at 5:43 PM | by | Comments (3)

Here at VegasChatter, we love what’s new. It’s no surprise that we’ve covered El Loco, the most recent ride addition at The Adventuredome, quite a bit. But, what about the rest of the ‘Dome? It's been up and running for over twenty years, but is it worth your time? Or, is it a tourist trap better left for the Clark Griswolds of the world? This writer set out to answer these questions while conquering the new El Loco coaster during a recent visit to Circus Circus.

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Celebrate July 27 The Scotchy Scotch Way

Where: 3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South [map], 89109
July 16, 2014 at 5:53 PM | by | Comments (0)

Once again, the holidays have snuck up on us and while it isn't yet time for Labor Day, National Scotch Day is right around the corner. If it isn't already set in your fave calendar app, July 27 is the annual date you want to mark.

Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay can think of no better way to celebrate than by turning it into National Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch Day.

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Cowabunga Bay Here, GameWorks Opening Soon

July 7, 2014 at 11:22 AM | by | Comments (5)

While Vegas will never (knocks on wood) try to be a family mecca when it comes to tourism again, it's turning out to be a great time to be young at heart in Sin City.

There's the Slotzilla zip lines downtown, VooDoo Zip Line at Rio, The High Roller observation wheel at The Linq, El Loco roller coaster at The Adventuredome, and the return of Wet 'n' Wild, too. This month adds two more attractions to the list -- Cowabunga Bay, a long-delayed water park in Henderson, and the return of GameWorks.

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When You Want To Put On Your Own Fireworks Show This Fourth Of July

July 1, 2014 at 3:53 PM | by | Comments (2)

Going to be in Vegas for the Fourth? You won’t want to miss the fireworks. We’ve already brought you 11 places to view them and we can’t recommend the spectacular shows casinos put on enough. They’re safe, free and orchestrated by some of the best production teams in the country. Time things right and you can even take in multiple shows this Friday. But, why limit yourself to just one day of fire in the sky?

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Las Vegas Walking Tours Give Fun Perspective To Fremont Street, Downtown Vegas

June 27, 2014 at 7:34 PM | by | Comment (1)

It’s amazing that some people can visit Las Vegas and never see more than The Strip. With the Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead so close, it’s mind-boggling that more tourists don’t take advantage of nearby offerings. For some, the reason is they came to relax, enjoy bottle service by the pool and dance all night at clubs. For many, it’s just because they’re only here a few days and don’t have the time. Enter Fremont Street. It’s very close to The Strip and is chock-full of rich history (and 99 cent margaritas!) visitors can soak up.

Wandering around Fremont Street on your own is fun, but you may be sucked into Mermaids for deep-fried Oreos or into Glitter Gulch for more than you bargained for, if you’re not careful. We recommend taking a tour with Las Vegas Walking Tours. Their Fremont Casino Center walking tour covers the length of Fremont Street plus Fremont East, the Container Park and properties just off Fremont like the Mob Museum and the Neon Boneyard.

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Viva Bike Vegas To Ride Again

June 27, 2014 at 4:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Remember back in February when we told you the annual bike Vegas event would viva no more? Well, a new organization is bicycle-pumpin' some new life into the ride.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that "Perimeter Bicycling Association of America Inc., which stages El Tour de Tucson in Tucson, Ariz., is taking over the Viva bicycle ride from the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC)."

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What Does It Take To Succeed As A New Vegas Attraction?

June 26, 2014 at 4:10 PM | by | Comments (11)

When it comes to amusement parks and one-off thrill rides, Vegas is big on ideas. Execution is another story. For every Ferris wheel, water park, or rollercoaster that goes up, it seems there are three that never make it beyond a press release. And, those that do (eventually) open aren’t guaranteed success. We need look no further than the High Roller observation wheel to see proof of that. It’s not all bad, however, as there are a handful of attractions that have proved successful over the years. So, what makes them work? What does it take to run a successful attraction in Vegas?

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High Roller Introduces Summer Family Pack, Changes Pricing For Kids

June 12, 2014 at 5:34 PM | by | Comments (10)

Discounts for The High Roller observation wheel have been popping up for just about everyone. They've been so plentiful that this writer joked just recently that if there wasn't one for you, you should wait for it. Guests of the Flamingo and Quad have been offered $5 off admission with their room key, locals have had the chance to have kids ride free, and moms rode for free on Mother's Day. (Dads, you'll get the same treatment on Father's Day with the added bonus of a free drink... with the purchase of an accompanying ride. Just use promo code "DADSROLL".)

Now, tourists with young ones in tow will be happy to see the addition of new, specially priced family packs for the summer. Individuals riders are also getting a break. Here's a look at the new pricing being rolled out through Labor Day, September 2:

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