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On Friday night, Seth MacFarlane performed the first of two 90-minute shows of emotive American standards and Swing-era hidden gems at Wynn Las Vegas’ Encore Theater, backed by the orchestra from Steve Wynn’s ShowStoppers, plus a few musicians he brought in from Los Angeles. With just a stool and a decanter of what was presumably Jack Daniels, Frank Sinatra’s favorite spirit, MacFarlane returned to the stage where he hosted “Sinatra 100 — An All-Star Grammy Concert” in December.
MacFarlane delivered with one-liners that brilliantly intercut the classic vibe in the room. “I hope the Wynn don’t kick me out like the Oscars did,” he sang, “Steve, there’s still time to fire me.” He also modified the song “I Love Las Vegas” to his own comedic specifications, “I love Vegas like Mark Wahlberg loves his Teddy,” he sang. And he, of course, offered the obligatory Trump joke: “New York in autumn … the leaves get crisp, the air changes and Donald Trump turns even brighter orange.” MacFarlane closed the night with an encore of the quintessential “Luck Be a Lady.”
After the show, it was all about the Wynn’s new club Intrigue, as the stars hit the cream-colored club, the epicenter of which is an outdoor cascading multi-tiered waterfall and three water/fire fountains. More than two-dozen projectors with graphics from Vello Virkhaus’ V Squared Labs enliven the space. Formerly Tryst nightclub, Intrigue ushers in a new era in Las Vegas nightlife, where electronic dance music DJs no longer will be the focus, according to Wynn COO and nightlife luminary Sean Christie. Instead of concert-style performances, he wants to shift the focus to the crowd, the service and the experience.
Creed star Michael B. Jordan was fully feeling the social interaction vibe. “It’s all about getting together and having a good time,” he said. “There are many people coming from all over the country to support this club — I am lucky to be part of that crew.”
In contrast, Christie pointed out one of Intrigue’s unique features, an amenity that most guests will never see: the Private Club. “If you’re not known to us, then you’re probably not going to get in,” he said. “We want to cultivate an audience inside the Private Club for [VIPs] or people wanting a discreet experience.” With a capacity of around 50 people, the enclave has a vinyl-only DJ booth with a wall of LPs on hand and bottle lockers inspired by Louis Vuitton steamer trunks: Each one is numbered and will be assigned to guests for spirit storage, should they need to hold a bottle for a return visit. There also is a small walk-up bar and mixology program for those mingling and not seated at one of a handful of tables. The most important feature of the PC is that it’s a social media-free zone — those who take pictures will be warned and then asked to leave if they break the rule.
“This is as private as you’re going to get,” said Christie. “A lot of celebrities don’t like coming to Las Vegas nightclubs, because the next day a press release goes out. Here, we control the crowd … maybe then they have a few drinks and say, ‘Hey, you know what, I’m ready to go to that next level,’ and all they have to do is open the door. We have back hallways that allow people to come into the experience without having to go through the public.”
Kate Hudson compared the experience to her Halloween Party, which also is a social media-less event. “I like it because I think we all need to be connecting more,” she said. “I love social media, but it’s nice to just put it away and people have more fun when the cameras are down and you are actually looking in each other’s eyes. I’m not usually up in the club, but Intrigue is a wonderful excuse to have some fun.”
In contrast to what goes on in the Private Club, outside on the patio surrounding the waterfall, there are “selfie” stations with chandeliers providing the perfect lighting.
The cinematic quality of Intrigue is paramount to Christie, who undoubtedly will shop it as a location as part of an initiative he has been working on to bring film and television projects to the resort, including 2015’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, this year’s Frank & Lola and coming in 2017, The House with Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler.
As the party wound down, Rihanna popped in around 3 a.m., wearing a black silk jumpsuit, gold necklace and low bun. She had performed earlier in the night at Mandalay Bay. Social media rumors swirled that Leonardo DiCaprio also was in the house.
On Saturday night, Intrigue’s big moment will continue as it hosts Gigi Hadid’s 21st birthday.
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