LAS VEGAS -- The scene on the Strip has mellowed since the era when
the "Rat Pack" reigned over a rowdy crowd that reveled in an
atmosphere of "booze and broads," according to a veteran
people-watcher in this gaming capital.
The Generation X and dot-com crowd that makes the scene these
days demands a quick fix of entertainment that fits its fast-paced
lifestyle, according to Gina Cunningham, editor of the Las Vegas
"The young [people] today are not as wild and have a lot more
expendable income. It all has to do with the length of their stay.
They're in and they're out," Cunningham said.
"It's a dramatic change from the lifestyles of the past."
Not that anyone is complaining.
"It's good for us," said Cunningham, whose news bureau is
affiliated with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors
She noted that young men and women on the go as well as
convention groups have promoted tourism to close to capacity levels
Popular concert performers appearing in limited engagements,
Broadway-type shows, innovative acts and special effects have
become the major attractions in entertainment showrooms.
In the casinos, dazzling computer graphics are used to attract
gamblers to the machines, she said.
Instead of going to see their favorite crooner, the
now-generation visitor might attend a performance of the "Blue Man
Group: Live at the Luxor," which Cunningham reported is packing
them into the 1,200- seat Luxor Theatre.
Founded by Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink, the
production involves a blue man who transforms a neon-like landscape
into the site of an intense "techno-tribal" ritual.
Blue Man Group and its accompanying band play musical
instruments created by the group, including backpack tubulums; a
three-story drum well, and airpoles, which are amplified by
advanced sound technology.
Cunningham said a perennial favorite with audiences is Ballys'
"Jubilee," a special-effects dazzler with 100 dancers who stage
"The Sinking of the Titanic" and "The Destruction of the Temple of
Comedian George Carlin is a regular headliner at Ballys'
1,035-seat Jubilee Theater.
One-to-three-night stands by superstars, such as Ricky Martin's
planned July 22 appearance at Mandalay Bay, have proven successful,
On tap are Gladys Knight at the Desert Inn, July 20; Julio
Iglesias at Caesars, Aug. 17 to 20, and Britney Spears at MGM
Grand, Sept. 4.
Nostalgia buffs can catch a one-night appearance by Steve
Lawrence and Eydie Gorme at Caesars, Aug. 31.
Broadway-style entertainment also draws people who want to see
firsthand what's hot on the East Coast.
For example, "Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance," an Irish
dance act that wowed audiences in New York, is booked for a long
run at the New York New York Hotel & Casino.
Magic acts have made a big comeback, and nowhere are they more
elaborate than in the show presented twice nightly by Sigfried
& Roy at Mirage.
Designed by Tony winner John Napier, the act features royal
white tigers and the lions of Timbavati on stage.
Tourists who don't often get to New York can have a taste of the
Big Apple and dinner at the Great Radio City Spectacular at the
The world-famous precision dance act is packaged with just about
the only dinner show available in Las Vegas.
The eclectic taste of the 20- to 30-something generation places
Las Vegas in a desirable marketing position, Cunningham said.
Although the city along with the travel industry acknowledges
the interest in family destinations that has emerged in the past
decade, "this is still an adult town," Cunningham said.