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Elegant new Intrigue nightclub not for everyone

The Wynn’s new Intrigue nightclub is so Vegas, the backyard features a 94-foot waterfall cascading down a man-made “mountain” Steve Wynn had built there, where reclaimed desert water splashes all the way down into a 54-degree pond accented by fire flaming out of fountains.

Next to the waterfall is a full bar (Dom Perignon, Japanese whiskeys, jet-chilled nitrogen-infused cocktails) that had to be jackhammered into the mountain, which is adorned with dozens of chandeliers drilled into its vine-draped face.

More than half of Intrigue’s cocktail servers are barely legal, since most just turned 21, and they wear different outfits every night, such as the modified tuxedo costume with leather cuffs.

There are 60 humongous $1,000 to $10,000 booths for this 1,200 capacity tourist fantasy. Some booths sit dozens of people, in this horseshoe-shaped gold-and-cream-themed club.

Behind a secret door awaits a club-within-a-club. It holds as many as 85 VIPs, fortressed in even more luxury: walls lined with bookcase liquor lockers created out of Louis Vuitton trunks.

No matter how famous, moneyed or VIP you are, you can’t gain entry into the private club-within-a-club unless a group of executives gives you the thumbs up.

“You can’t buy your way in there,” Intrigue Executive Director Pauly Freedman explains. “We’ve got some really big customers that frequent us in the nightclubs (in the Wynn-Encore resort) that, quite frankly, might not want them in there.”

Intrigue’s concept and execution were carried out by owner Steve Wynn, Las Vegas’ most elegant designer Roger Thomas, Wynn Chief Operating Officer Sean Christie, Freedman and others.

They came up with a “selfie wall,” choreographed pole dancers, 32 pivoting projectors splashing words and images on walls, a sound system (110 decibels inside; 86 dBs outside) designed by industry veteran John Lyons, and purse drawers under any given golden-vinyl booth, which you can stand on, because it’s been tested for endurance.

“We jump up and down on it. We put girls in heels on it,” Freedman said.

And this isn’t even the Wynn-Encore’s main club but rather an intimate-for-Vegas boutique, since giant XS, Surrender and Encore Beach Club are a few hallways away, and since Intrigue isn’t putting famous DJ names on the marquee.

Execs won’t reveal the cost of their “strong budget” to build Intrigue, which replaces Tryst. But they’re proud.

“This is Vegas 10.0,” Freedman said.

Or Vegas $10,000.0.


In concert these days, DJs play solo, and hip-hop stars rap to prerecorded tracks. Now here comes genius comedy hero Seth MacFarlane to sing two nights of classic songs with a 55-piece orchestra in the Encore Theater.

MacFarlane is the real musical deal. Yes, he invented “Family Guy,” “American Dad!” and “Ted,” and hosted the Oscars, but he’s also a baritone who has released three albums of songs from the 1940s and 1950s.

He and orchestral performers from Wynn’s “Showstoppers” will stage a big show Friday and Saturday ($75-$125).

MacFarlane doesn’t rely on overplayed classics. He sings tunes Frank Sinatra and other legends sang but which much of America has forgotten.

“If you listen to the great old recordings at the Sands (hotel in Vegas), when the Rat Pack was there,” he said, “they’re doing songs like ‘I Have Dreamed,’ or ‘It Never Entered My Mind,’ or ‘June in January,’” MacFarlane said. “There were strings, there were woodwinds, there were brass.”

To make great songs work, the orchestra must be allowed to soar, he said.

“Nobody understood that better than Sinatra,” MacFarlane, a friend of Tina Sinatra’s, said. “He used to say he was one of four parts of a performance — the vocals, the lyrics, the music and the orchestration. Hopefully, we can bring that back.”

By the way, MacFarlane gave me news: He’s largely returning to TV.

“I’m not at liberty to announce anything specific, but my work is taking me back into TV, because I’ve missed it. I’ve done three movies now, and I’ve had fun, but I’ve really missed the immediacy of television.”

What and when?

“I think that’s a matter of Fox telling me when I can talk.”


Comedian, actor and radio host Jay Mohr says stand-up comedy can’t just be about bits, anymore.

“Everything is the truth, lately,” said Mohr, who performs Friday and Saturday at the South Point ($30-$40).

What he means is, his audiences prefer and appreciate real stories, whether it’s about in vitro fertilization, his son’s obsession with the Crucifixion, or his mother’s Alzheimer’s.

“The things you talk about onstage have got to be the truth,” he said. “If something doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter, because they’re listening.”

Mohr got to this point, thanks largely to his wife, actress Nikki Cox, once of NBC’s “Las Vegas,” who writes material for him.

Before Mohr met Cox, his comedy was much different.

“It was kind of lascivious and dirty. It was kind of gross,” he said.

Then he met Cox, went through AA, was tired of getting panic attacks from portraying himself one way onstage and being another way offstage, and he thought, “Ugh, I don’t want to behave like this.”

Cox advised him, those years ago, “Money isn’t a problem. Why don’t you just stop? And then when you go back onstage, you’ll just go up and tell the truth.’”

So that’s Jay Mohr, before and after Nikki Cox, he said:

“I had no act as me, because I never met me, until I met her.”


Do you ever watch “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on TV and wonder how co-stars don’t kill each other with, at least, words? Can they even get along?

“We get that question a lot,” said Phi Phi O’Hara (aka Jaremi Carey). “But some things are, what I would say, made to look worse than the way they are.”

In other words: Editing makes people seem harsher than they are, of course.

“Sarcasm is really, really hard to come across on TV. So if we say something, and then we’ll be like ‘Just kidding,’ and they cut it, then we just look really mean,” Phi Phi said and laughed. “That was one thing I had to learn” about being on a reality TV show.

Phi Phi and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will stage “Battle of the Seasons Tour” Friday in the Palms’ Pearl ($55).

“We really try to do a true, authentic show, with live music, dancing, effects, everything,” Phi Phi said. “It’s really going to blow people away.”

Doug Elfman can be reached at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman. On Twitter: @VegasAnonymous

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