CES 2019: Las Vegas Strip club hosts official opening party — VIDEO

Updated January 9, 2019 - 2:19 pm

All was well at Omnia Nightclub until the Tyrannosaurus rex exhaled hot breath in my face, then nearly kicked me in the head. ces infogram

The T. rex experience, summoning the greater moments of the hallucinogenic scenes of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” unfolded as I was taken through a virtual-reality tour by VR Arcade founder Chris Crescitelli. Tuesday night, his company took over Heart of Omnia, the boutique club tucked inside Omnia at Caesars Palace, during the CES 2019 official opening party.

This is where Vegas nightlife parties with advanced virtual-reality technology. At some point, the cold-steam cannons, strobes and signature LED chandelier at the center of Omnia’s main floor themselves felt computer-generated.

Crescitelli’s company invited the party’s VIP attendees to break from the dance floor and sample a spin through its virtual-reality experience. Simply, you are placed in a standing position and pull a pair of thick-plastic goggles around your head. You’re quickly taken through a series of scenarios.

“You can look everywhere, it’s a 360-degree experience, and if you need to duck down, do it,” video technician Robinson Gouveia said as he helped fasten my headset. “Look around. Look up. Look down. Don’t be afraid.”

Don’t be afraid? What about that dinosaur?

You spin through several landscapes of all different types. You’re dropped in what feels like the engine room of a giant ship. A hilly, tree-lined wilderness where, when you look up, a cardinal stares back at you. You traipse through museums and encounter microscopic organisms that seem to stare back at you. You reach out to actually push against individuals — who are of course computer-generated — violating your personal space.

Some, you might want to meet and even hug. Virtually, of course.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my career in that I’ve always been involved where entertainment meets technology,” says Crescitelli, who runs his entire creative empire under the Dreamland umbrella.

Crescitelli describes himself as a freelance creative artist, writer, and producer over the past nearly 30 years. His film career dates to short films in the early 2000s. His “BigLove,” seizing on the early 3D revolution, premiered at Sundance in 2001; he also co-produced “Experience Montreaux” the 2013 festival documentary featuring Quincy Jones, Elvis Costello, Mumford & Sons and Herbie Hancock, among others.

“I’m actually expanding to the medical sector, said Crescitelli, who has developed a company called Therapeutic XR. “I’m bringing VR into hospitals, to help people who are injured and can’t get out of the hospital rehab their injuries. I actually had a very bad arm injury and rehabilitate using my VR machine.”

Of course, the social aspect is fairly mind-blowing.

“You can meet with friends watch movies, or even call your mom through a virtual portal,” Crescitelli said. “The possibilities really are limitless.”

Throughout the 75,000-square-foot Omnia club, the real reality was also staggering. The crowd was immersed in the LED light effect in the middle of the dance floor and the club’s cyro cannons, which routinely blasted CO2 over the heads of the revelers. Superstar DJ Zedd took the stage at about 1 a.m.

Really, it was a typical sort of party at Omnia, one of the famed destination nightclubs on the Strip — except it was a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

“With CES, which is one of the largest conventions we have in Las Vegas, we end up having a lot people dedicated to one industry, technology, coming to a mega-nightclub that dedicated to technology,” Omnia Lead VIP Host Chris Trillo said, as the club offered free drinks until 11 p.m. and free admission to CES badge holders. “A lot of them recognize the name of Omnia, especially in Las Vegas, and are focusing on coming in here, especially for the opening party. It’s nice to have them all out at night, and experience a destination nightclub.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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