85°F
weather icon Clear

Happy Place among the next cool things on Las Vegas Strip

It’s a far distance from the world’s largest confetti dome to “Rhythm Nation.” But one company bridges that gap: Live Nation.

The concert behemoth that has booked current Park Theater headliner Janet Jackson, along with such prominent Strip resident artists as Lady Gaga, Aerosmith, Bruno Mars, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera is also the cheery promoter of Happy Place.

The pop-up exhibit opens Aug. 23 at Mandalay Bay.

Happy Place is in line with the current mini-trend of Vegas entertainment experiences not easily described. “When you see it, you get it,” is the common explanation. We’ve seen this with Area15 during a walk-through of the entertainment fortress just last week, and also with the under-development Kind Heaven at Linq Promenade when it was announced a year ago.

Downtown, the Cannabition Cannabis Museum at Neonopolis has also pushed the idea that you can meander through the exhibits while posing and posting to your endless delight.

These destinations offer different concepts at different scales, naturally. But the goal is to titillate customers who want to simply roam around and incidentally come upon the next cool thing.

“The idea is you’ll be exploring these various rooms that will provide very Instagram-able moments,” Live Nation president Kurt Melien said in an interview last week. “It’s visually appealing if you are there in person, but also very appealing in photographs. It’s an attraction for folks who are not necessarily gambling all day and want to explore different activities.

“It’s like pop music for the eyeballs, and a different endeavor for us.”

Happy Place has drawn droves (750,000 being the sum of many droves) to its traveling circus of installations in Chicago, Boston and L.A. The logo is sunshine yellow-orange, the installations similarly colored brightly and loaded with novelty props. The company promises such elements as stilettos standing 7 feet tall, mirrored X & O letters enveloped by one thousand red lips, a rubber ducky bathtub of fun (someone summon David O’Mer of “Absinthe” for this) and — as noted — the world’s largest confetti dome.

From the company: Expect “larger-than-life installations,” “multisensory themed rooms,” and “unmissable selfie moments.” The idea was founded by Jared Paul, producer of “Dancing With the Stars” and “Glee” touring shows.

Happy Place seems to promote childlike emotions, but one of the grown-ups who booked the place says it has wide appeal.

“It’s been a monster hit commercially in big cities, for all ages,” Melien said. “But it is targeting the Millennial, in the same way we targeted the crowd for Gwen Stefani or Britney Spears.”

You might not be carrying away a “thing,” in the traditional sense. But the memories will live on in memory, and in a smart phone.

“People are looking for interesting ways to spend their days and this is a good pilgrimage,” Melien said. “It’s for someone who likes to spend their money on an experience, instead of a product.”

Woodstock fallout

A few Vegas headliners were involved in Friday’s announcement that Woodstock 50 is moving to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, and releasing all artists from their original contracts to perform at Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Recurring Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas headliner John Fogerty (who returns Nov. 6-16) has announced he is out. Fogerty fronted Creedence Clearwater Revival in an infamous early morning performance, was one of the few original Woodstock headliners to agree to return to the anniversary festival.

Carlos Santana, another Woodstock original, has not yet announced his plans, but I (for one) would be surprised if he took part in the event in Maryland after committing to the other Woodstock anniversary site at Bethel Woods, New York — where the first Woodstock actually took place.

Santana is joining the Doobie Brothers in that event, which also features Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.

The Killers, booked as headliners for Woodstock 50, have also at this writing not made an announcement about their plans for the Maryland show.

What Works in Vegas

“Sexxy” at Westgate Cabaret. Creator/producer/director/star Jennifer Romas is marking her 1,000th show Oct. 18, and her five-year anniversary Jan. 5.

Romas, whose show is a family venture (her mom, Judi, has missed five shows in those five years), also turned in a memorable performance last Saturday. She recruited Marilyn Monroe tribute artist Stacey Nicole Weir, who has played the role in versions of “The Rat Pack Pack is Back,” to surprise Romas’ dad, John, on his 72nd birthday.

Weir-as-Monroe sang the legendary version of “Happy Birthday to You” to Mr. Romas, onstage. The celebrant walked away with red-lipstick, and a smile, across his face.

Cool Hang Alert

Phoenix, the long-running and thundering Vegas classic-rock cover band, is at Rhythm & Riffs at Mandalay Bay at 10:30 p.m. Saturday and Thursday. These guys play your favorite Maxell mixed tape from, say, 1988. Check out the song list on thr band’s website. The cover charge is “free,” and it’s me.

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.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Terra Rossa Returns To Red Rock. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort is set to open on Aug. 26.
Hubert Keller’s Backyard Kitchen
Chef Hubert Keller of Fleur and Burger Bar shows off his backyard kitchen in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Watermelon Mojitos and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Las Vegas
Bartender Cassy Leedom and Chef Norberto Ortega make a Watermelon Mojito and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian in Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas celebrates National Fajita Day
Cook Ruben Fuentes and general manager Taylor Pulliam of Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas prepare steak and shrimp fajitas with the restaurant’s signature fiery treatment. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pasta Shop Ristorante serves a watermelon-shrimp salad
Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson serves a summer salad that combines watermelon with greens, feta and shrimp. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Factory Kitchen in Las Vegas makes classic affogato
Jorge Luque, pastry chef at The Factory Kitchen at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes affogato with two simple ingredients - house-made gelato and fresh espresso. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review Journal with image from The Factory Kitchen)
The Cereal Killerz Kitchen serves over 100 cereals
Christopher Burns, owner of The Cereal Killerz Kitchen at Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, makes a Milk & Cookies Shake from his more than 100 varieties of cereal. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in Las Vegas makes a State Fair CrazyShake
Bianca Zepeva, a shaker at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes a State Fair CrazyShake with a kettle corn rim, caramel, corn-based ice cream, popcorn brittle, crushed kettle corn, sprinkles and a cherry. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Balboa Pizza Company makes Thai peanut chicken wings
Irma Perez, kitchen manager at Balboa Pizza Company at The District at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, near Las Vegas, brines chicken wings for 24 hours before roasting and frying them and finishing them in various styles such as Thai peanut. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
New Venetian pool deck
Final touches are currently being added to the hotel’s main tower pool deck, which consists of five pools. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who is Vegas Vic? (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada State Museum Director Dennis McBride explains the origins of the Vegas icon.
Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas serves a 4-pound Big Island Feast Burger
Cindy Sun, general manager of Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas, makes the Big Island Feast Burger with 2 1/2 pounds of the house bacon/beef blend, Napa-cilantro slaw, six slices of American cheese, a can of grilled Spam, six slices of chargrilled pineapple, four fried eggs and a drizzle of teriyaki and serves it with macaroni salad. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a first look of MSG Sphere construction in Las Vegas
Representatives of The Madison Square Garden Company give the first glimpse of progress Tuesday of the under-construction MSG Sphere — a first-of-its-kind performance venue with high-tech audio and visual capabilities.
Shark Week cupcakes at Freed’s Bakery in Las Vegas
Brittnee Klinger, a cake decorator at Freed’s Bakery in Las Vegas, makes Shark Week cupcakes with ocean-blue buttercream, fondant fins and a blood-red strawberry filling. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fans and friends recall Elvis opening in Las Vegas
Fifty years ago on July 31st 1969, Elvis Presley opened at the International hotel in Las Vegas. He went on to do 837 consecutive sold-out shows at the property.
Hot peach cobbler at Beaumont’s Southern Kitchen at Texas Station
Michael Ross, room chef/pitmaster at Beaumont’s Southern Kitchen at Texas Station in Las Vegas, makes peach cobbler by baking peaches in a cast-iron pan with batter and crumble, then topping with Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and bourbon-caramel sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Water Grill opens at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas
Water Grill, from a 30-year-old California company opening its first Las Vegas location, specializes is fresh seafood including 16 types of oysters. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cat's Meow comes to Las Vegas
New Orleans-based karaoke chain opens new location in Neonopolis. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making the Loco Moco Breakfast Burger at Broken Yolk Cafe in Las Vegas
Manny Menina, line cook at Broken Yolk Cafe in Las Vegas, stacks 8 ounces of beef, 2 strips of bacon, hash browns, caramelized onions and 2 fried eggs on 4 King’s Hawaiian slider buns to make the Loco Moco Breakfast Burger. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
SecretBurger at China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Carlos Cruz, executive chef of Jose Andres’ China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, makes the SecretBurger off-menu, one-night-only ‘All Quacked Up’ with a kimchi pancake, Peking duck, house-made hoisin sauce, a fried duck egg, pickled micro-vegetables, caviar and gold flakes and serves it with a Stillwater Artisanal Ale. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Famous Blue Angel statue commemorated in downtown Las Vegas mural
The 16-foot tall Blue Angel statue that stood above the Blue Angel Motel for six decades is featured in a mural spanning three walls at a downtown Las Vegas building. James Stanford designed the “A Phalanx of Angels Ascending" mural based on his photography, and Cliff Morris painted the mural at 705 Las Vegas Blvd. North, near the Neon Museum. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Making Castle Frites at the new Frites at Excalibur
Tom McGrath, district manager/executive chef at Frites at the Excalibur in Las Vegas, tops his beef-tallow fries like a loaded baked potato - with white and yellow cheddar, sour cream, bacon and chives. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hello Kitty Cafe on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
The Hello Kitty Cafe opens Friday, July 12th, 2019, between New York, New York and Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Amano Las Vegas' Fat Baby Sandwich
Chef Jason Weber of Amano Las Vegas has created a sandwich stuffed with pasta, and it's a hit. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A class at Melissa Coppel Chocolate and Pastry School in Las Vegas.
Melissa Coppel, who teaches classes in various countries around the world, attracts students from far and wide to her eponymous school in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Havana Lobster at Boteco in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marcus Fortunato, co-owner of Boteco in Las Vegas, learned to make Havana Lobster from the chef at El Figaro, a favorite of former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Chef Gustav Mauler Is retiring
Las Vegas chef Gustav Mauler announces his retirement on Sunday, June 30, 2019.
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
A.D. Hopkins on his debut novel
Veteran journalist introduces readers to “The Boys Who Woke Up Early.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seven Magic Mountains restoration complete
Artist Ugo Rondinone’s iconic Seven Magic Mountains receives a complete painting restoration in June 2019.
THE LATEST
Jason Aldean announces shows on Las Vegas Strip

Jason Aldean has mused for years about a run in Las Vegas. He’s found his spot at Park Theater on Dec. 6-8 with “Ride All Night.”