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Las Vegas is ready to show its colors once more as the city's annual PRIDE celebration will blanket the valley in rainbow hues September 2-7. This year’s gathering of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning community features a slimmed-down roster and a new host hotel.
If you happened to catch our wrap-up of last year’s PRIDE events, you may remember this writer remarking on the chaotic presentation. Three separate organizations (Las Vegas PRIDE, Orlando’s GAY DAYS, and MGM's FABULOUS) were all vying for the pink dollar, consequently stepping on each others’ kinky boots (I’ll explain that reference later).
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In a twist that should probably require an accompanying flowchart, Krave has been replaced by Equalibrium. The also gay friendly nightspot will make its debut this Friday, August 1 in the exact same space Krave called home up until this past weekend (for its most recent incarnation, anyway). That, however, is where the similarities end as Equalibrium is quick to note on its Facebook page.
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Krave has announced its closure while simultaneously clinging to the tagline of being America's #1 LGBT nightclub.
The nightspot, which seems to have had its greatest days when it was located on the Harmon side of Miracle Mile, will close at its current location as of this Sunday, July 27. After a disastrous downtown move, Krave popped up on The Strip at the Tommy Wind Theater (formerly the Empire Ballroom) last November and even invested in an remodel that brought new furniture, lighting, and a new sound system to the space.
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The times, they are a-changing. Once hidden on side streets as private, members-only bars (that typically went unnoticed by the general public), the LGBTQ establishments of today are advertised on billboards and frequently share the same space with mainstream clubs (on alternate evenings, of course). This summer, Caesars Entertainment took a bold step forward by opening Liaison, the first gay nightclub in a Strip casino (Bally's). And, from what this writer has seen, it looks like founder Victor Drai could have another hit on his hands.
I’ll be the first to admit that the notion of a gay bar (let's use that term for brevity’s sake) inside a casino seemed like a daring proposition, but my first visit to Liaison this past July 4th was a flawless experience. Well-placed signs led guests from the Bally’s/Paris parking garage to Bally’s casino proper and the nightclub entrance was just past Indigo Lounge. This location may be familiar to some as the temporary home of Drai's After Hours (which has returned back to The Cromwell).
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Las Vegas has been long known as the wedding capital of the world. With marriage licenses extremely easy to get (bringing a completed short form to the Clark County Marriage Bureau can get you a license within minutes), dashing to Sin City to tie the knot is an institution. But, with marriage rates dropping nationwide and campy Elvis-style ceremonies falling out of fashion, Vegas weddings may have peaked. By this fall, however, that could change.
You may have noticed an increase in the number of times we’ve mentioned the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning/Queer) community here in recent months. A new focus by hotel executives has resulted in LGBTQ-themed nightclub events, pool parties and social mixers, annual Pride and GayDays events, and Liason, the first gay nightclub in a Strip casino. And yet, Las Vegas is still playing catch-up to the rest of the country on the issue of same-sex marriage. (Note: the term "gay marriage" is largely frowned upon within the LGBTQ community as it reinforces inequality and separatism.)
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Gay night and day life has been reaching new levels in Las Vegas, from the debut of Saturgays at Tropicana to the launch of Altitude Fridays at the Strat. Now, in just a few weeks, the Strip's first dedicated gay club in a casino (sorry, Krave, they found a way around you on that one) will open at Bally's.
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Last Friday, the Stratosphere premiered a new weekend mood-setter of sorts. Altitude Fridays -- a weekly, early evening mixer -- invites the LGBTQ crowd (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) to loosen their ties and get the party started atop the highest freestanding observation tower in the United States.
Running from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Level 107 Lounge, Altitude Fridays offers an attractive destination for the rainbow crowd to enjoy a full evening out, or just have a cocktail (or three) before calling it a night.
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The Las Vegas Strip has several new entertainment options, some of them within the gay community and more on the way. As the High Roller began spinning so did the DJs at Tropicana Beach Club and Savile Row. If you’re scratching your head and asking “where?”, you aren’t alone. Despite the failure of both Krave Massive and Drink and Drag to resurrect downtown's struggling Neonopolis, two Strip coldspots are heating things up with gay-themed events.
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Bally's will debut a new gay club on The Strip this summer. Tropicana is turning up the heat with "Saturgays" and a new LGBTQ-focused, Saturday only beach party, Xposed! opening March 29. And now, Luxor is expanding its own reach to the gay travel segment by launching Provocouture in addition to its long-running Temptation Sundays pool parties (which return May 18).
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People love to dole out advice on all things Vegas, especially when it comes to dining. You need a trained ear to differentiate between “go here because everyone does and it has a ‘celebrity chef’” and “try this place because the food is great and really unique.” If the advice you’re seeking is of the second type, then listen to the locals. And, chances are, you’ll hear about the new Bronze Cafe.
Downtown has some pretty high-profile new(ish) restaurants, like Oscar’s at the Plaza and Andiamo at The D. Le Thai and Eat have also made their mark on the urban dining scene. Now that the Zappos crowd have moved into downtown's old City Hall, smaller venues with counter service, like Rachel's Kitchen at the Ogden are on the rise. After a local resident and friend told this writer about a fantastic new vegan/vegetarian cafe, I had to try it out.
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Last week, we gave you a primer on the upcoming LGBT events in Las Vegas, then scurried off to the gym to prepare for the requisite pool parties. This week, we’re back with some details, several photos, and our dignity intact. (Thank you, steamed vegetables and chicken.)
This year’s PRIDE festivities have come and gone, but it was hardly a 'blink and you’ll miss it' event. In fact, there may have been too many things to do. Las Vegas PRIDE had teamed up with Orlando’s Gay Days and MGM Resorts’ FABULOUS events to make 2013 the biggest year yet. But, the end result was somewhat chaotic.
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Things are about to get absolutely fabulous in Las Vegas (well, almost everything, as we’ll explain below). As we reported last Friday on our Facebook page, the Welcome To Las Vegas sign has been temporarily outfitted in rainbow hues to support the annual LGBT Las Vegas PRIDE week. Expect an influx of hard-bodied gym boys, women who prefer women, etc. to show solidarity while partying long and hard throughout the week. Tropicana, Luxor, Wynn/Encore, Aria, Trump, Mandalay Bay, The Cosmopolitan and Circus Circus (really?) will be rolling out the rainbow welcome mat for thousands of LGBT visitors. And, their larger-than-average discretionary spending budgets.