LA to Vegas Commute Suffers; Hulk Comes to Madame Tussauds; Elvis is in the House; Vegas on Labor Day

 

la to vegas
Why Your LA-to-Vegas Commute Just Got Slower
By Brooke Edwards Staggs
www.vegasseven.com
The sun is setting on your California getaway, and you’re ready to trek home to Las Vegas. You leave behind the hell that is Los Angeles traffic and make it to Interstate 15. There’s just one major hurdle left between you and the open road: the Devore interchange.

Before Interstate 215 merges into I-15, at the base of the Cajon Pass, traffic comes to a standstill, with drivers limping for an hour along a stretch of road that under normal conditions should take 10 minutes to navigate.

Several elements are at work here slowing your homecoming. Some 1 million drivers use the interchange each week, commuting from L.A. jobs to cheaper desert housing, heading for Vegas or the Colorado River, and hauling goods cross-country from ocean ports. In fact, 21,000 semitrailers traverse the route daily, slowing to a crawl as the steep grade of the Cajon Pass kicks in. Making matters worse, the freeway also loses a lane, creating what the Federal Highway Administration has called one of the nation’s worst bottlenecks.

The good news: Work is under way to improve the congestion. The bad news: It’s getting worse before it gets better.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) broke ground a year ago on a $324 million upgrade that will take I-15 from three lanes to four, adding a lane in each direction starting from two miles south of the interchange to one mile north. Crews will also add a 2-mile truck bypass lane off to the right of the interchange to improve flow and safety, Caltrans spokeswoman Joy Sepulveda says. In the meantime, don’t expect to break any personal Southern California-to-Vegas speed records for the next couple of years, as work is slated to continue through mid-2016. One thing you can do before your next trip: Check conditions and sign up for email alerts at DevoreInterchangeProject.com.

– See more at: http://vegasseven.com/2014/08/19/la-vegas-commute-just-got-slower/#sthash.yeHINIRk.dpuf

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hulk

Marvel’s Hulk looks smashing at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas
by Aleza Freeman
www.blog.vegas.com

A superhero who rips through pants faster than a Chippendales dancer is showing off his impressive green physique at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas.

In honor of the Incredible Hulk’s smashing arrival, children who dress as their favorite superhero or say “Hulk Smash!” at the Madame Tussauds box office between now and Sep. 24 will receive free admission to see Madame Tussauds’ motley crew of celebrity, sports star and superhero figures.

Hulk is waxing poetic with other Avengers figures — including Spiderman and S.H.E.I.L.D leader Nick Fury — at the attraction’s Marvel Super Heroes 4 D Experience.

Some little known facts about Marvel’s biggest Avenger figure:

• Hulk is 15-feet high.
• Madame Tussauds’ creative team worked closely with Marvel on the figure’s creation.
• The team included 15 sculptors.
• The figure was divided into various sections, which were each sculpted separately.
• The process took three months from start to finish.
• Assembling the figure required eight people.
• He was so big, scaffolding was needed to install the figure.
• Hulk’s mane is comprised of nearly 33 feet of black human hair. To style his hair, they used almost as much hair gel as the entire cast of “Saved By the Bell.”

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elvis in vegas

Elvis spotting: Festival to celebrate the King
by Aleza Freeman
www.blog.vegas.com
The spirit of Elvis returns to Las Vegas — and the very hotel where he performed more than 800 shows — during the Las Vegas Elvis Fest at the Westgate Las Vegas Thursday, July 10 through Sunday, July 14.

The four-day festival, sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., is a celebration of all things Elvis. Events include an official competition, an Elvis collectibles and memorabilia sale, backstage tours of the same showroom where Elvis Presley made history (formerly the Hotel International showroom — now Westgate), and forums with some of the King’s closest friends.

Some highlights of the festival schedule include:

¦Heart of the King: Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest
When: Round 1, 9 a.m. -2 p.m. Friday; Round 2, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Friday; Semi-Finals, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday; Finals, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday
The four-day contest features 30 of the world’s top Elvis tribute artists competing for cash, prizes and the Ultimate title in this officially sanctioned contest.

¦Heart of the Kings Award Ceremony and Concert
When: 8 p.m. Friday
The ceremony recognizes Elvis tribute artists and producers, and includes performances by a variety of Elvis tribute artists. Award recipients include Dean Z, Ted Torres, Travis Powell, Orion (posthumously) and S. Kay Lipps.

¦Elvis Collectibles and Memorabilia Sale
When: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday
Shop for licensed Elvis merchandise, memorabilia from concerts and other unique items.

¦“That’s the Way it Was” starring Shawn Klush
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Ultimate Elvis tribute artist and the BBC’s “World’s Greatest Elvis” Shawn Klush performs a tribute to Elvis’ years in Vegas. His performance re-creates parts of Elvis’ “That’s the Way it Was” concert along with special guests the Sweet Inspirations and the Stamps Quartet.

¦Celebrity & VIP Forum
When: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Hear from a variety of VIPs and celebrities with close ties to The King including “Diamond Joe” Esposito, Elvis’ closest confidant and friend; Cynthia Pepper, Elvis’ co-star in “Kissin’ Cousins”; and DJ Fontana, a drummer in Elvis’ original band.

The festival also includes a welcome reception, additional concerts, an after-hours party and a farewell party. For more information on the festival, including the full schedule and ticket information, please visit www.lasvegaselvisfestival.com or call 1-888-406-5885.

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keith urban
New resorts, Keith Urban, boxing are all part of Las Vegas’ Labor Day

 

By Jay Jones
www.latimes.com
New resorts, Keith Urban plus boxing, bowling and bacon are but part of the Labor Day in Las Vegas
Vegas visitors can celebrate the Labor Day holiday at three new resorts on the Strip, take in a concert by Keith Urban and more over the long weekend that begins Aug. 29. .

The party to mark summer’s last (if unofficial) blast extends well beyond the newest properties, but they top the list of places to check out over the holiday weekend.

After a face-lift, THEHotel at Mandalay Bay morphs into Delano when it welcomes its first guests Sept. 1 (Labor Day).

The property is themed with elements from the Mojave Desert. A 90-ton boulder, split in two to allow people to pass through it, will greet guests as they enter from valet parking. In the distance, small rocks suspended from the ceiling form the core of a creative work by Korean artist Lee Jae-Hyo.

Elsewhere, visitors will find touches reminiscent of the Delano’s namesake South Beach hotel, with its profusion of water and sand. The Las Vegas resort’s Delano Beach Club won’t open until 2015.

That’s also when changes to Mix, the restaurant and lounge perched atop the all-suite hotel, will be made. (It remains open in the interim.) Guests seeking a new dining experience can check out Della’s Kitchen. The chefs promise to use as many local ingredients as possible, including vegetables and herbs grown in the resort’s greenhouse.

Four miles north along the Strip, Foxtail, a nightclub at the brand-new SLS Las Vegas, will mark its grand opening with a long weekend full of fun. Swedish DJ duo Rebecca & Fiona get the party started on Aug. 29.

The Cromwell, which opened at the beginning of summer, hosts a day and night celebration enveloping three clubs on Aug. 30. The center of attention will be EDM producer Arty. The electronic dance music DJ will perform at Drai’s Beach Club, Drai’s Nightclub and Drai’s After Hours. Tickets and info are available online.

Those seeking fun on the lanes instead of the dance floor may want to check out Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq entertainment district. From Aug. 29 to 31, the Sin City satellite of the popular New York City venue will offer all guests one hour of bowling for free and free shoe rental.

Those seeking an après-bowl snack can nosh on cupcakes or ice cream – or both – just steps away at Sprinkles. The store will unveil a new ice cream flavor: s’mores, a blend of marshmallow ice cream, graham crackers and swirls of chocolate fudge.

Aug. 30 is International Bacon Day and Cafe Bellagio will be serving special dishes from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. They include bacon and beer chili with goat cheese ($13) and bacon pecan bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce ($10). Take time to visit the Summer Garden Party in the resort’s conservatory.

Several boxers will try to bring home the bacon during Saturday night’s Desert Showdown matches inside the Pearl at the Palms.

Topping the card is the fight between J’Leon Love and Rogelio Medina. Tickets start at $25.

The biggest name on the Labor Day weekend music scene: Keith Urban. The country singer will perform at 8 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Cosmopolitan. Tickets are from $75.

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