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April 16, 2014

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Looking ahead to 2013: The best in Las Vegas arts and entertainment

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Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. The world premiere of Immortal was in Montreal, the location of Cirque headquarters, on Oct. 2, 2011.

With its ever-changing and trend-seeking entertainment landscape, there is perhaps no city that embodies “out with the old, in with the new” better than Las Vegas. The year ahead, however, promises more than a refreshed slate of shows, restaurants and nightclubs.

The local arts and entertainment community is stirring, and 2013’s offerings will be as much about growth and innovation as they will be about spectacle.

Here’s a look at what’s in store:

    • Life Is Beautiful festival

      Move over, Coachella -- Las Vegas is stepping forward in 2013 with an expansive music, food and art festival to call its very own. Life Is Beautiful is designed to appeal equally to locals and visitors, music fans and foodies; it will run for two days at indoor and outdoor venues Downtown, though its specific dates and locations are still being determined.

      Expect top-tier curating when it comes to the festival’s offerings: Life Is Beautiful is spearheaded by Rehan Choudhry, former entertainment director of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and current head of Las Vegas-based Aurelian Marketing Group. For the festival, he has partnered with Another Planet, a promoter of San Francisco’s popular Outside Lands and Treasure Island festivals, and Maktub Marketing, which runs Las Vegas’ First Friday events. Locals also will be able to showcase their talents.

      “We’re absolutely going to make this an opportunity for local bands and chefs and artists to get involved,” Choudhry told Las Vegas Weekly. “It will be absolutely inclusive.”

    • Reed Whipple Cultural Center

      Downtown’s 50-year-old Reed Whipple Cultural Center will reopen in fall 2013 after a $45 million makeover as a permanent home for the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company. The refurbished 35,000-square-foot space will bring regional theater and more to the downtown corridor, including a nearly 500-seat theater and rehearsal space, a bar and lounge, an art gallery partnered with Opportunity Village, a communal terrace and gardens and the return of beloved local eatery Rosemary’s Cafe.

    • Light

      When it comes to nightclubs, glowsticks and strobe lights are so 2012 -- at least according to Cirque du Soleil and the Light Group, who are relaunching the nightclub as an interactive performance concept at Mandalay Bay in March. The nightclub collaboration promises an ever-changing, up-close-and-personal nightlife experience that fuses multimedia technology, over-the-top costumes and performers with A-list DJs and traditional club accoutrements in a 38,000-square-foot space.

    • Home-grown theater

      With a number of performance spaces opened across town in 2012, the year ahead promises an upsurge in theater and performances produced by and for the local community. Whether it’s a new comedy act at Town Square’s Baobab Theater or an interactive stage production at the Art Square theater, expect a new brand of Las Vegas entertainment that dares to venture off the Strip’s beaten path of glitz and spectacle.

    • A scene from Krave during its days at its Planet Hollywood digs.

      Krave Massive

      After nearly eight years on the Strip, gay nightlife hotspot Krave will reopen as Krave Massive on March 18, boasting an 80,000-square-foot venue that strives to be the largest gay nightclub in the world -- a move that also aims to dethrone New York as the top party travel destination for gays and lesbians in the United States.

      The new venue will open a floor above Drink and Drag Lounge at Neonopolis Downtown and features five separate dance floors catering to different demographics. Additional plans for Krave Massive include a comedy club, a performing arts theater, a martini lounge, a private VIP room and an LGBT movie theater.

    • Discovery Children's Museum

      Following the new Neon Museum, downtown’s Lied Discovery Museum will reopen its doors in a new location in February at the Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center adjacent to the Smith Center for Performing Arts in Symphony Park. The new museum (renamed DISCOVERY Children’s Museum) is almost twice the size of the current location and will feature nine themed interactive exhibition halls -- including a rotating Featured Exhibitions Gallery -- across the three-story, 58,000-square-foot building.

    • Cirque du Soleil's <em>Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour</em>. The world premiere of <em>Immortal</em> was in Montreal, the location of Cirque headquarters, on Oct. 2, 2011.

      Michael Jackson-Cirque

      Just when you thought Cirque hit critical mass in Las Vegas, the franchise will bring show No. 8 to settle permanently on the Strip in May. The yet-to-be-named production is inspired by the success of Cirque's "Michael Jackson -- the Immortal World Tour," which stopped in Las Vegas last year, but will be an altogether different, highly theatrical production that promises to thrill fans of Cirque and M.J. alike.

    Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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