There is no place on earth more closely associated with neon lighting than Las Vegas and now a brand new exhibition celebrating the city’s lights has opened up in Vegas. The ‘Brilliant!’ exhibition is at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas and it promises to deliver a “360-degree audio-visual experience”.
They have harnessed the latest in neon technology to create an incredible display of famous signs, many of which have been restored after being unused and broken for years. The exhibition aims to take visitors back through the history of Las Vegas and how neon has been used to light up its hotels and casinos.
The exhibition was put together by the artist Craig Winslow and it makes use of twenty-four 3D-sound speakers with eight projects emitting 80,000 lumens of light. It is a 30-minute show that is accompanied by music most associated with Vegas such Frank Sinatra’s Luck Be a Lady and This Town. It also makes use of songs from Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, and Sammy Davis Jnr.
This Wednesday, 17-18 at @CIIDnews! I’m giving an Open Lecture about how we turned a neon boneyard into a time portal to vintage Las Vegas 🎟 https://t.co/9Pd7Q1mBKP #projectionmapping #neon #CIID pic.twitter.com/e8OBY6zKTC
— Craig Winslow (@craigwinslow) March 5, 2018
Winslow describes himself as an “experiential designer/3-D artist”. He combines physical and digital elements in his work. On his website he explains, “Growing up, I loved playing outside, inventing games and adventures in nearby woods and streams. As time went on, my imagination blended with a love of technology making wonderfully weird videos with friends and embracing an Internet world in its infancy. As long as I can remember, I’ve felt a dual-citizenship of sorts between physical play and digital wonder.”
The Neon Museum was set up in order to save Vegas’ historic neon signs. It is located on Las Vegas Boulevard and Bonanza Road and can even be used as a backdrop for wedding photos. The visitor centre is located in the lobby of what was the La Concha Motel, which was saved from demolition in 2005. The signs in the collection come from places such as Caesars Palace, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget and the Stardust.
Before the exhibition opened Rob McCoy, the president and CEO of the Neon Museum, described it as “the biggest thing that we have done since we opened five years ago”. However, the ‘Brilliant!’ exhibition is just one of two new ventures for the museum. It is also opening exhibitions at a second space on West Bonanza Road, starting with one highlighted by the famous Blue Angel Motel sign.
McCoy said that both these developments mark a huge step forward for the museum. In general it seems that the museum is thriving with visitor numbers up 59% year over year.
The West Bonanza Road location is a 15,000-square-foot warehouse and McCoy said, “We’re going to have a number of our signs that have been in storage that will be in that warehouse and will be lit up, so it will be pretty spectacular. And it will give us the indoor space to do those things — hosting art receptions, exhibits, fairly large lectures — that we’ve had to do outdoors before and were subject to weather.”
The Blue Angel Motel sign, a 16-foot-tall blonde figure designed by Betty Willis, the creator of the equally famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, is set to take centre-stage. Wearing a blue evening gown and complete with white wings and a halo, the 1950s creation used to be an unofficial greeter for downtown visitors. As the exhibit’s main attraction, it will be surrounded by an art display of classic Vegas images, anchored by the work of San Francisco artist Emily Fromm.
Speaking about the Blue Angel sign McCoy said, “The Blue Angel sign has been with the city of Las Vegas. It will come to us for this exhibit and when it leaves it will go to restoration by the city.”
The long-term plans are for the city to reinstall the sign near its original location, on a triangular traffic median at Fremont Street and Charleston Boulevard. McCoy describes it as being “in really good condition” but in need of some “brushing up”.
If you don’t see yourself making it to Vegas in the near future you can still celebrate the city’s neon lights right here at Casino Las Vegas. You can play Neon Life slots, a game that brings the lights of Vegas to the reels and also allows you to win huge sums of money.
Neon Life is a 5 reel slot with 3 rows and 243 ways to win. The reels are set on a Las Vegas street complete with casino, diner and bar. The high value symbols are theme related and of course made from neon lights, they include playing cards, a pair of legs, a car, a cocktail glass and a flamingo. The playing cards J, Q, K and A are the lower value symbols and they also have a neon design.
There is a neon ‘Wild’ symbol that can land on the middle three reels. It can substitute for all the other symbols, except for the scatter, to help and form winning combinations. The scatter symbol is a neon palm tree sign.
One of the game’s best features is called ‘Collapsing Reels’ and it allows you to land numerous wins from just one spin. Each time you land a win, all non-winning symbols on the reels will disappear, the winning symbols drop to the bottom of the reels, and more symbols will then fall from above and hopefully form more winning combinations. This process will continue until no more wins land.
The slot also offers the chance to win a huge number of free spins. If you land five, six, seven, eight, nine or ten scatters anywhere on the reels you will win 7, 10, 12, 15, 20 or 25 free spins receptively. Furthermore, during the free spins the collapsing reels feature is still active and comes with a multiplier. If you land three consecutive wins you get a 2x multiplier, if you land five consecutive wins you get a 3x multiplier and if you land seven consecutive wins you get a 5x multiplier.
Neon Life has a betting range of £0.25 up to £250 per spin so everyone can enjoy it. There is a top payout of 100x available for landing five playing card symbols in a row, the legs and car symbols can both payout up to 50x, and the cocktail and flamingo symbols can both payout up to 30x. The J and Q symbols can payout up to 15x and the A and K symbols can payout up to 20x.
There are of course many more slots celebrating Las Vegas available at Casino Las Vegas. One of the most popular is Cat in Vegas as the game takes you for a night out on the town (complete with some neon lights) and is offering a progressive jackpot worth over £42,000.
Cat in Vegas is a 5 reel slot with 3 rows and up to 20 paylines. Behind the reels you can see some of Las Vegas’ most famous landmarks. There are three symbols featuring Felix the cat, one with a handful of money, one with a drink and one with a stack of chips. There is a large gold ‘Wild’ symbol and it can substitute for all the other symbols except the three scatter symbols. They are ‘The King Show’, a Wheel of Luck and a slot machine.
Appropriately the progressive jackpot is won by playing a slot within a slot. If you land the slot scatter symbols on reels 1, 3 and 5 simultaneously then Felix sets the reels spinning on four special slot machines. Not only do these machines award you multipliers, but if all the sets of red lights above each machine are illuminated then the jackpot is yours.
The slot also takes you to see a Vegas show when ‘The King Show’ scatter lands on reels 2, 3 and 4 simultaneously. You first see an Elvis tribute show during which the singer dances around the reels adding sticky wilds. You can then win up to 20 free spins with up to five sticky wilds on the reels to help you land some huge wins.
If you land the Wheel scatter symbol in the middle of the third reel then you trigger the Wheel of Luck game. A special wheel is spun that is divided into ten segments. Each segment awards a multiplier and the wheel keeps spinning and awarding multipliers until it lands on an already visited segment. However, Felix can nudge the wheel for you to help you win more.
Cat in Vegas has a betting range of £0.01 up to £2,000 per spin so you can play for the jackpot on any budget. There is a top fixed payout of 10,000x for landing five wild symbols across the reels, Felix with the casino chips can payout up to 1,500x, Felix with the money can payout up to 1,000x and Felix with a drink can payout up to 500x.
In short, while the new ‘Brilliant!’ exhibition is certainly something worth visiting, you can still enjoy all the magic of Las Vegas right here at Casino Las Vegas.