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Mortimer expands Strat residency with NFT partnership

Updated May 22, 2022 - 2:52 pm

Xavier Mortimer, the beguiling magician educated in pantomime and the first Cirque artist to star in his own residency, is now going crypto.

As The Strat headliner says, “NFTs are here to stay, and I am thrilled to bring my art and skills to this new era.”

Mortimer, Wally’s NFT and wallstreetbets.com ($WSB) have announced a multiyear partnership, during which tickets for Mortimer’s show at The Strat Theater can be purchased with cryptocurrency.

Mortimer’s show at The Strat Theater is the first on the Strip to accept cryptocurrency in a long-term partnership. The collaboration is also the first NFT project to be introduced to a live stage show. Mortimer’s character, Wizard Wally, is to be featured in a new illusion in his production.

$WSB, the official token of Wally’s NFT, and tickets to “The Dream Maker” will be available to purchase with $WSB starting July 1 at Xaviermortimer.com. But those who want to use a credit card, debit card or even (brace yourselves) cash can still do so.

$WSB is traded on Bittrex Global, which Mortimer’s team emphasizes is one of the largest and safest crypto exchanges in the world, and has its own DEX on wallstreetbets.com.

Mortimer is entering his sixth year with his own show on the Strip. He moved to The Strat in July. During the pandemic shutdown, he moved out of The Magic Attic at Bally’s to prep for his show at his new venue, operated by Adam Steck’s SPI Entertainment.

In that time, Mortimer built a social-media empire with more than six billion views and 12 million followers.

Mortimer, who is planning a stunt to make the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign disappear this summer, clearly wants to evolve beyond the theater walls.

“This partnership opens up my world: in both the Metaverse, where Wally’s NFT has big plans, and my current show,” Mortimer says. “… I am eager to bring my art and skills to this new era.”

From the formal release announcing the partnership: “Wally’s NFT is designed by a legendary artist who created one of the most iconic characters in the video game industry and backed by a unique story imagined by the scriptwriter of Assassin’s Creed: Lineage. As the first hero of the Metaverse, Wally is friendly, playful, funny, inspiring and courageous. His integration into Mortimer’s ‘The Dream Maker’ will come with multiple perks for Wally’s NFT owners including VIP seating, specialty drinks and exclusive merchandise.”

Even with this advanced approach, Mortimer’s show is not the first Las Vegas production to embrace the NFT culture. In April, the Jabbawockeez and MGM Resorts International partnered with ticketing blockchain YellowHeart to sell 1,100 NFT tickets to the dance troupe’s “Timeless” show at MGM Grand. Those tickets could be purchased with cryptocurrency, or through credit/debit cards or cash. NFT ticket holders were afforded VIP seats, meet-and-greets and backstage tours.

But one key distinction between what was offered by the Jabbas, and what Mortimer has planned: Mortimer’s show is selling tickets with cryptocurrencies over multiple years. The Jabbas’ offer with YellowHeart closed out when all 1,100 digital packages were purchased.

Streeter Hull, co-founder of Wally’s NFT and wallstreetbeats.com, says, “We want to reward our holders. But, we also want to have actual utility for our token. So, by booking your tickets with $WSB, you will unlock free upgrades … We truly believe that the Metaverse will become a new space for talents like Xavier to showcase their craft and expertise.”

Dealing in crypto is an uncertain practice, to be sure. The recent crash in the market has reminded that investing in digital currencies is itself a gamble, in Vegas and elsewhere. But Mortimer’s team is prepared to take the risk.

“We understand that some people are scared of NFTs. But we fell in love with Wally’s character right away and we truly believe that NFTs and crypto represent a large field of opportunities for creators and artists” says Alex Goude, producer of “The Dream Maker.” “This is why we wanted to work with Wally’s NFT and this is why we want to do more. We want to make history.”

Spinning a collab

EDM blends with Las Vegas lounge iconography on Wynn Nightlife residency headliners The Chainsmokers’ new album, “So Far So Good.” The horn section from Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns play on “iPad,” the album’s third cut. The duo of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall continually seek ways to advance their electronic sound and enlisted the six-man horn section to work on their fourth studio album. The horns are immersed in the electronic mix, but they are there. Very cool. Las Vegas musician and composer James Whiting wrote arrangement, which is best defined as classical brass, and recorded at Studio A in Las Vegas.

Eric Tewalt, Rob Mader and Phil Wigfall play sax; Danny Falcone and Gil Kaupp are on trumpet; and Nathan Tanouye is on trombone on the song. You might recognize those musicians from Lady Gaga’s “Jazz + Piano” production at Dolby Live. Of the unusual blend of traditional instruments and EDM production, Tewalt says, “I’ve always been a fan of adapt, and become part of it.” We nod, in agreement, to the music.

Cool Hang Alert

The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails is currently rolling through its “Battle of the Bands” competition, on Thursdays though June 9. The music club offers live music regularly, with The 442s Friday, Radio XX Saturday and The Wild Wolves on Sunday. I would say this place is underrated as both a music venue, and also salon. We remind it is s fully functional barbershop. Go to thebarbershoplv.com.

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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