What Richard Branson Means for Las Vegas and the Next Generation | Vegas Seven

It took some time to see the light of day, but I hope this lengthy consideration of Hard Rock, Virgin, and Las Vegas is a worthy read:

Richard Branson made a splash on March 30 when he announced that he and a group of investors had bought the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, with plans to transform it, over the next year and a half, into a Virgin Hotels–branded property. This is the latest evolution for a resort that, in its 23 years, has pioneered in ways that have defined Las Vegas.

Source: What Richard Branson Means for Las Vegas and the Next Generation

It looks like this is the final piece I’ll be writing for Vegas Seven; I got word the magazine is ceasing publication.  It was a great run–I was part of the first issue back in 2010, and I’m really grateful for everyone who worked with me over the years.

I will have something exciting to announce about my next writing endeavor, but that is for another time.

Vegas to the Moon! in Vegas Seven

A few weeks back I got an email about an event connected to the launch of Virgin America’s thrice-daily LAX-LAS flights. I usually don’t go to those kinds of events–there’s not too much to “cover” outside of photo ops. But I got thinking…wouldn’t it be fun to ask Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson how Vegas might factor in his plans for regular open-to-the-public spaceflights?

That’s the genesis of this feature in Vegas Seven:

Could Las Vegas become a launching pad for a new type of tourist—the kind who’s looking for a thrill ride that can’t be found behind the velvet rope?

In the past five years, ideas that once seemed outlandish—medical tourism, a tech corridor, green energy—have been seriously considered as viable tools for our economic development. Why not space tourism?

via Vegas to the Moon! | Vegas Seven.

I also did a companion piece about a company that’s already flying out of McCarran. It won’t take you to space, but it will get you weightless:

You want to experience the feeling of spaceflight, but you don’t have the 200 grand to fork over to Sir Richard. What to do?

As always in matters of semi-sane wish-fulfillment, Las Vegas can help. The Zero G Weightless Experience—available several times a year at McCarran International Airport—never leaves Earth’s atmosphere, but does let participants leave gravity behind.

How to Get Spacey Without Going to Space

Between this and last week’s video game wagering piece, I’m all about proposing strange new worlds for Las Vegas to consider.