Posts Tagged With: the Strip

Viva Las Vegas: stunning views, a quest for a motorcycle, and karaoke during my eighth visit to Sin City

Las Vegas selfieEarlier this month, I made my eighth annual visit to Las Vegas. For the fifth year in a row, my trip to Sin City was in conjunction with the annual Trivia Championships of North America (TCONA). At TCONA, I had my usual awesome time convening with some of the smartest and most knowledgeable people in the United States (and even a few from other countries like Canada and Norway). It was enjoyable to reconnect with some really cool and interesting people who share my passion for learning as much as I can about every subject in the world, and whom I’m honoured to call my friends. Moreover, it was equally rewarding to make new friends who meet that description. As well, competing against a self-selected group of elite trivia players, in the diverse array of individual and team contests that TCONA offers, pushes me to improve myself and perform as well as I can.

As I do every year, I also managed to slip away from TCONA to experience an attraction in Las Vegas outside of the Tropicana Hotel where the event is traditionally held. Of course, it also goes without saying that my latest long weekend in Vegas included karaoke. 🙂 Finally, being that I was in a town where gambling has been known to take place, I also managed to squeeze in a little bit of that pastime — and came across a new twist on the blackjack tables that I tend to hit.

The view from Paris: très jolie

The Strip is renowned for its themed hotels, including several with sections that mimic world landmarks.  For example, if you roam the grounds of the New York, New York hotel, you’ll find replicas of iconic Big Apple structures ranging from the Statue of Liberty to the Brooklyn Bridge to the Chrysler Building. At the Venetian, you can take a gondola ride among doppelgängers of some of Venice’s most legendary sights, such as the campanile (bell tower), the Rialto Bridge, and Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). And then there’s the destination that was the subject of my August 2015 non-TCONA excursion in Las Vegas: the Paris Hotel, and one portion of it in particular.

While the Paris boasts reproductions of the venerable Arc de Triomphe and of several other Parisian edifices of note, the hotel’s centerpiece — and a key component of the skyline of the Las Vegas Strip — is a one-half scale duplicate of the most celebrated symbol of the City of Lights: the Eiffel Tower.

The view from the top: it’s not the Champs-ÉlysĂ©es, but it’s pretty darned nice

The Eiffel looms over the Paris Hotel, as seen from behind the fountains of the Bellagio across the street. This photo was taken during my very first visit to Las Vegas, in November 2008.

The replica of the Eiffel Tower looms over the Paris Hotel, as seen from behind the fountains of the Bellagio across the street. This photo was taken during my very first visit to Las Vegas, in November 2008.

Las Vegas’s version of la tour Eiffel features an observation deck 460 feet above ground level. (By way of comparison, the highest observation level in the actual Eiffel Tower in the city of Paris is 906 feet above the ground.) Continue reading

Categories: North America, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

My favorite place to sing karaoke in the whole world . . .

is quite possibly Las Vegas. Sin City, of course, is fun for many reasons. But for my money, karaoke is right up there with its other attractions. Many outstanding karaoke venues can be found on or near Las Vegas Boulevard, popularly known as the Strip. Here are two of my favorites, both of which offer unique experiences:

Zinger’s Rock ‘n Roll Cafe

The Rock ‘n Roll Cafe is located in the Hawaiian Marketplace, near the Harley Davidson Cafe and across the street from the Aria hotel. The special attraction is that the seating and performance areas are outdoors. So when you’re singing, passersby on the sidewalk can not only hear you; they can see you as well. Many people who are walking past will stop and gather at the railing that surrounds the periphery of the bar’s seating area; and they’ll stay to watch the singers. So when I’m singing at the Rock ‘n Roll Cafe, I enjoy the challenge of getting drunken revelers who happen to be walking down the Strip to stop what they’re doing and cheer on the H-Bomb!

I don’t yet have any videos of myself performing there, but here’s a video I found on YouTube that will give you a good idea of what this place is all about (and I’m really digging the stage name of the male singer here. He calls himself “Smoothini the Ghetto Houdini.” It makes “H-Bomb” sound pretty ordinary).

Oh, and best of all, the Rock ‘n Roll Cafe offers karaoke seven nights a week!

Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon

Bill’s is not like those sprawling, theme-oriented mega-hotels that are now prevalent on the Strip. This place has character! And it also offers a karaoke experience like no other. The karaoke lounge is immediately adjacent to the casino, and the sounds of the karaoke singers can easily be heard on the casino floor. So when you grab the mic there, you are the entertainment for the gamblers! I think that’s pretty cool.

No matter where you choose to sing in Vegas, the vibe of the city (i.e., everyone is there to party) makes it even more enjoyable. In addition, Las Vegas has a long and storied association with music, going back to the days of Elvis and the Rat Pack. I believe that the city’s contemporary karaoke scene fits firmly into that tradition. 🙂

So I love singing in Las Vegas; and I am therefore especially excited to announce that I have just made plans to return to Vegas for several days in August 2012. The occasion for this visit will be the second annual Trivia Championships of North America. But I will find ample time, in between quiz bowls and other trivia events, to do some karaokeing! (I’ll also be fitting in some sessions at the blackjack table; and I look forward to checking out the brand-new Mob Museum, officially titled the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement, which is slated to open in February 2012).

Viva Las Vegas!

Categories: North America, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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