A fleeting Roy, a key to the city, a fond farewell: at the Danny Gans memorial
Thu, May 28, 2009 (midnight)
Photo: Sam Morris
Siegfried & Roy entered the Encore Theatre quietly, after the ceremony commemorating Danny Gans had begun. Roy was in a wheelchair next to the last row and his partner took a seat a few feet away. They stayed for a few minutes, then were gone. For years the duo shared a home with Gans at the Mirage, and both of their shows had come to shocking and unexpected ends. And if there was at one time controversy over how quickly Gans’ management wanted to invoke a contractual right to Mirage’s marquee after Roy was savaged, that did not stop the duo from coming to say goodbye. Roy Horn and Danny Gans had stage careers that ended in very different ways, but in both cases the surprise and shock was such that both entertainers will forever be connected in the public mind. Just don’t go looking on the web for photos of Siegfried or Roy at the memorial. They skipped the press line. Few saw them enter and no report even mentioned Roy’s presence. But he was there, expressionless in his wheelchair for a few minutes before he and his partner disappeared. Donny Osmond referred to the memorial as “surreal,” and the brief presence of Siegfried & Roy certainly encapsulated that aspect of the occasion best.
But there was little surreal about Danny Gans’ art or life. He did impersonations and was known as a perfectionist, a slick crowd-pleaser for people who wanted easy laughs without the controversies of the day or the adult qualities that marked so much else in Vegas. So it was no surprise to see Donny and Marie Osmond coming to pay tribute. However, some may have been surprised to see Criss Angel there. But, like Gans, Angel had come to Vegas with some experience and a little renown, and then used the town to become a star. “When I first came to Las Vegas,” Angel says, “I remember seeing Danny Gans three times. The man was just literally amazing. He created the ultimate illusion, capturing the essence of such a wide spectrum of celebrities. He was a master at it. Las Vegas will miss him tremendously. ... I never met him, and I am flattered the family invited me today.”
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Mayor Oscar Goodman brought a commemorative citation and a key to the city. The family, he said, did not want a public ceremony onstage and so he planned to present them to Gans’ survivors in private. Goodman recalled all the good works Gans did for various charities in the city: “There are certain entertainers who exceed any expectation you have for them. Danny Gans was one of those entertainers. He is irreplaceable. Nobody is indispensable, but his talent can not be replicated.”
Few sentiments sum up Las Vegas better than being both irreplaceable and dispensable. A few days after the memorial, Encore Theatre was open for business, this time with Whoopi Goldberg. Beyonce is scheduled for some shows soon, and Larry King, too. A spokeswoman for Encore said there are no plans for another resident headliner, but a series of short-term headliners will likely do stints in the theater. Vegas is a city that even on its saddest days still moves forward.
As for Gans, he probably would not mind. He believed in immortality and eternity. He just never thought they came from a performance on a Vegas stage. But according to his preacher, Gans felt eternity came from his religion and how he lived his life up until the last of it no matter how long or brief.
Encore is nearly a mirror image of the Wynn Las Vegas, from the brown glass exterior to the style and placement of the logo — and it's just as luxurious as the original. Some call Encore the younger, hipper sister of Wynn.
Located steps from Wynn Las Vegas, yet under the same roof, Encore's fanciful and intimate atmosphere is unlike anything anywhere, with an environment that is uniquely Wynn and distinctly Encore.
Steve Wynn spared no detail in his newest property when designing Encore. The casino floor is decorated in rich reds, browns and purples with mosaic butterflies embedded into the marble floors and fresh flowers greeting guests in the casino atrium.
Luxury doesn't end of the casino floor. Encore boasts 2,034 impeccable guest rooms and suites. The standard suites resort accommodations are 700 square feet with the larger suites measuring in at 5,800 square feet. Standard suites guest rooms feature plasma screen TVs, high-end bath products, spectacular views of the Strip, and also plush linens and mattresses, which can be purchased in the Encore store, in case you can't get enough.
Dining options include Chef Theo Schoenegger's fine Italian cuisine at Chef Theo Schoenegger's, Sinatra's and the pan-Asian café creations of Chef Jet Tila at Wazuzu.
Guests can also dine on steaks and chops at star Botero Steak. At Switch, Encore's French restaurant, the walls come to life mid-meal and your surroundings appear to change before your eyes. For decadent, hip Asian dining before or after a night at one of resort’s ultra-chic nightclubs, visit Andrea’s, the newest dining experience at Encore.
XS headlines Encore's nightlife and pool party scene while Danny Gans takes care of humor and entertainment. Encore also features two of the most celebrated nightlife experiences in Vegas, XS Nightclub and Surrender. Both feature main room dance floors that flow outside to pools, patio spaces and gaming areas.
When the temperature rises, don’t miss Encore Beach Club, the premier daylife destination that features three tiered pools and luxurious cabanas and bungalows with private infinity pools.
Encore Esplanade features 11 high-end retail stores, with brands like Hermes, Chanel, Loro Piana and Rock, and Republic Piaget luxury watches. The resort also has a Forbes Five-Star spa, a salon and an 18-hole, on-site golf course, which is adjacent to the Wynn.