Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014 | 7 p.m.
As Robin Leach winds down his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — with a stop in fashionable Milan — many of our Strip personalities have again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with museum kingpin Tom Zaller, chef Rick Moonen and Eric and Jayne Post of “Marriage Can Be Murder” at D Las Vegas. Here’s Tom, who is the CEO and President of Imagine Exhibitions Inc.
After 20 years around the globe in the entertainment and exhibition industry, I find that I keep coming back to Las Vegas. Beginning in 2000, I was a part of a team who introduced a collection of Titanic artifacts to the Rio. This ultimately led to permanent installations of “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” and “Bodies…The Exhibition” at the Luxor.
I also worked closely with the Mob Attraction to rebrand, revitalize and remarket that attraction, which enjoyed significant improvements until the end of its run at the Tropicana last year. From Warhol at the Bellagio to the NBA at Planet Hollywood, from Da Vinci to National Geographic, people want daytime cultural entertainment and great event spaces.
Seeing the success of these Las Vegas exhibitions, it is clear that locals and tourists in Las Vegas want more access to arts and culture. To meet their demand, I opened Imagine Exhibitions Gallery in June 2012 in partnership with the Venetian as a space dedicated to hosting a variety of culturally rich limited-engagement exhibitions. Imagine Exhibitions Gallery celebrated its second anniversary this year and is currently home to “Da Vinci: The Exhibition.”
Developed by Aurea Exhibitions and produced by Imagine Exhibitions, “Da Vinci: The Exhibition” is an examination of da Vinci’s life, research and art. The exhibition features more than 60 life-sized inventions handcrafted using a modern translation of da Vinci’s unique writing style. Trained artisans used these translations to construct full-scale models to bring the master’s plans to life.
In addition to exploring da Vinci’s role as an inventor, guests also will experience a collection of da Vinci’s most renowned paintings. Guests will have the opportunity to study the artistic mastery behind such works as “Mona Lisa,” “The Last Supper,” “Virgin of the Rocks” and more.
Throughout each gallery, visitors will discover the breadth and scope of da Vinci’s advanced understanding of science, mathematics, nature and the relationship among the three. The artist’s intricate designs and early concepts are spotlighted, including his designs for the helicopter, tank, SCUBA, crane, clock and submarine, plan for a modern city and extensive exploration of anatomy.
Additionally, multimedia experiences and documentary presentations provide supplementary information on da Vinci’s discoveries and creative process. “Da Vinci: The Exhibition’s” in-depth explanations of the artist’s studies on subjects such as the golden ratio and “Vitruvian Man” are complemented by examples of the artist’s sketches and notes made during his research.
I’m extremely proud of being a part of the Las Vegas arts and culture scene with Imagine Exhibitions Gallery. I’m dedicated to continually bringing enriching exhibitions to this gallery and to other venues in the future.
“Da Vinci: The Exhibition” is open for a limited engagement. Tickets can be purchased at the Venetian box office locations with prices as follows: adult ($27.50), senior/military/Nevada residents/students ($22.50) — must show relevant ID, and children ages 12 and under are free with one paying adult, with additional children $20.50.
“Da Vinci: The Exhibition” is open Sundays through Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., last ticket sold at 6 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., last ticket sold at 8 p.m.
At 6,800 square feet, Imagine Exhibitions Gallery also is an ideal venue for hosting private events, dinners and cocktail receptions for as many as 350 guests.
Be sure to read our other guest columns today from chef Rick Moonen and “Marriage Can Be Murder” at D Las Vegas stars Eric and Jayne Post. This week, meet three of the stars from “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s and four of the stars from “Rock of Ages” at the Venetian — and more.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.