Best casinos for a first time gambler?

Q: Best casinos for a first time gambler? First trip to Vegas, and I have some money set aside to gamble. I’m fairly new to gambling, so what’s a good overall strategy for a first timer? Best casino’s and games to play? Any tips to help my luck? Thanks! – Neil B.

A: Most of the Casinos in Las Vegas have programs where they will teach you how to play the table games and basic strategy. Just ask at the “Player’s Card” desk and always get a Player’s Card at the casino to earn “Comps” and other freebies while gambling.

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Read a few good books, watch a DVD or two, go online and learn from the pros via youtube, etc. before you go!

Best games to play: Blackjack, Craps and Baccarat have the best odds for the player with basic strategy. Keno, Slots and Video Poker will give you the longest play for your money. Again read a book or watch a tutorial to learn about finding the best odds on the games!

Worst games to play: Roulette, Spin the Wheel/Wheel of Fortune and all the other weird table games. And any game where you don’t know the rules, basic strategy and the odds against you.

Best advice for the first time gambler: set a budget for how much you are willing and can afford to lose! Leave your ATM card at home and win or lose just have fun. (Losing sucks)

NOTE: The Big Las Vegas Strip casinos require larger minimum bets for table games, and the table minimum will increase depending on time/day/crowd/event. Find lower table minimums Downtown on Fremont Street and at the smaller “off-strip” casinos. Your money and your play time will last longer!

GOOD LUCK!

National Council on Problem Gambling 24-Hour Confidential National Helpline: 1-800-522-4700 www.ncpgambling.org

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THE EMPEROR OF LANCASHIRE by George Formby Jr. OBE

THE EMPEROR OF LANCASHIRE by George Formby Jr. OBE

430px-FlagOfLancashire

I’ve got a feeling it’s my lucky day, send me fellers I’m on my way,

Going right up to the top of the tree, so come right in and have a drink with me.

Won’t be long till I make my pile, then I’ll live in the grandest style.

You’ll be a Cotton King? 

No sir! I’ll be the Emperor Of Lancashire.

I’ll have a retinue ten miles long, and an army ten million strong.

Big white elephants, by the score, and a fleet at anchor off the Wigan shore.

Don’t you recognise who I am? You’ve got to give me a big salaam. 

Got to end with a vote of thanks, to the Emperor Of Lancs.

Bow down everyone here I come! Bang that cymbal and hit that drum!

Bow down everyone! Yes sir, I’m the Emperor Of Lancashire.

Who’s this gentleman flashing dough?

Is he somebody we should know?

Is he somebody? Whoa sir! I’m Emperor Of Lancashire.

Who’s this gentleman talking loud?

Is he one of the usual crowd?

Who’s this gentleman? La-Dee-Dah! I’m the Emperor Of Lancashaw.

Don’t you recognize who you’ve seen? He’s the boss of the whole chabine.

He’s the fellow who broke the bank.

That’s me, I’m the Emperor of Lancs.

Who’s that fellow they’re crowding round?

Who’s that sucker the boys have found?

Who’s that sucker? My dear sir….I’m Emperor Of Lancashire.

I’m going back to my native town, with my millions I’ll knock ’em down.

I’ll have everything in my power and I’ll build a palace on the Blackpool tower.

On my birthday the crowds will cheer, all the fountains will flow with beer.

Blackpool wakes will run all year…FOR THE EMPEROR OF LANCASHIRE!

I’ll hold a banquet for fifty score, tripe and onions and whelks galore.

Stewed pigs trotters and mutton shanks…FOR THE EMPEROR OF LANCS.

Bow down everyone, here I come, bang that cymbal and hit that drum.

Bow down everyone, yes sir, I’m the Emperor Of Lancashire!

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Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Lancashire is sometimes referred to by the abbreviation Lancs, as originally used by the Royal Mail. The population of the ceremonial county is 1,449,300. People from the county are known as Lancastrians.

Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Lancashire is sometimes referred to by the abbreviation Lancs, as originally used by the Royal Mail. The population of the ceremonial county is 1,449,300. People from the county are known as Lancastrians.

Lancashire emerged during the Industrial Revolution as a major commercial and industrial region. The county encompassed several hundred mill towns and by the 1830s, approximately 85% of all cotton manufactured worldwide was processed in Lancashire.

George Formby Jr., OBE 26 May 1904 – 6 March 1961

George Formby Jr., OBE (26 May 1904 – 6 March 1961) entertaining the troops in France during World War II

George Formby Jr., OBE (born George Hoy Booth)  26 May 1904 – 6 March 1961

British actor, singer-songwriter and comedian who became known to a worldwide audience through his films in the 1930s and 1940s. He sang comical songs and played a banjolele. He was popular on stage, screen and records, and became the UK’s highest-paid entertainer at the time. During the Second World War Formby worked extensively for the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), and entertained civilians and troops; by 1946 it was estimated that he had performed in front of three million service personnel.

Bow Down Everyone, Yes Sir!  For the Emperor of Lancashire!

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Happy 59th Birthday Disneyland!

Happy 59th Birthday Disneyland!

Opening Day & Dedication Ceremony! July 17, 1955

Opening Day & Dedication Ceremony! July 17, 1955

Disneyland Fireworks!

Disneyland Fireworks! The Happiest Place on Earth!

 

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Best Place to See Fourth of July Fireworks in Los Angeles?

NOTE: Independence Day is only two weeks away!

Q: Where is the best place to see Fourth of July fireworks in Los Angeles?

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

A: July 4, 2014 – Independence Day Fireworks in Los Angeles

Grand Park BLOCK PARTY! Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012

COST: FREE! 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm    www.grandparkla.org

From the Grand Park website: “Launching the biggest rooftop fireworks display in DTLA and expanding festivities from Temple to Second Streets, Grand Park’s 4th of July Block Party is bigger, better and FREE FOR ALL!

NOTE: Doors open at 1pm for early birds. Entertainment begins at 4pm. Prepared food picnics encouraged in the park. Grilling & cooking prohibited. Visitors may not bring alcoholic beverages into the event.” (but they’ll have some for sale I’m sure)

FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

The Rose Bowl Stadium and outside the Rose Bowl – Pay to see the 88th Annual “Americafest” show inside, pay for parking to see the fireworks show from the outside. It’s the biggest and longest running party in the L.A. Area.

2 PM: The 1st annual America’s BBQ & Brews Festival begins outside the stadium. This 2-day event showcases 200 vendor barbeque competitors from all over the U.S along with national and local Breweries presenting over 55+ brands of beer and wine. 7 PM: Live motorcycle stunts and musical performance by Liverpool Legends, the Ultimate Beatles Experience.

9 PM: The largest fireworks show in Southern California by Pyrospectaculars by Souza http://www.rosebowlstadium.com/events/detail/americafest

3-Day July 4th Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl – Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers will be headlining the three-day Independence Day celebration with fireworks each night at the Hollywood landmark. July 2-4th, 7:30 pm $15-$243 + fee www.hollywoodbowl.com

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

FIREWORKS! Hollywood Bowl 4th of July!

Santa Monica Pier and Marina Del Rey

Celebrate America – Sat., June 26 5pm at Santa Monica College Corsair Field – Fireworks salute to America and our nation’s independence. Call (310) 434-3005.

4th of July Parade 9:30-11:30am Main Street – The entire stretch of Main Street in Santa Monica will be closed. After the parade there will be a refreshment area at Ocean View Park, including one band that will continue to play until noon. Call (310) 564-1968

Marina del Rey Fireworks 9:00pm Burton Chace Park & Fisherman’s Village – Fireworks shot over the Marina’s main channel. Park early most public spaces are filled by 6pm.

So there are five good options for the 4th of July in L.A., but there are many other smaller celebrations, both public and private events, happening all over Southern California. Check the local listings! LA Weekly, LAist, LA Times & google.

The Queen Mary and Disneyland both have special events and extra-special fireworks for the holiday. Disneyland has special fireworks all week long!

Disneyland Fireworks!

Disneyland Fireworks!

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FIREWORKS!

FIREWORKS!

 

Phyllis Patterson RIP – She changed my life!

 

Phyllis Patterson RIP – She changed my life!

not my pic, Phyllis in the Costume trailer in Devore riding a broom

Vicky Nebeker’s pic of Phyllis riding a broom in the Costume trailer – Devore 1993

Many Tributes have been posted for a remarkable woman who passed away yesterday morning. Here is mine:

On May 11-12, 1963 schoolteacher Phyllis Patterson held a class activity in the backyard of her home in the Hollywood Hills. She and her husband, Ron Patterson presented the first Renaissance Pleasure Faire as a weekend fundraiser for radio station KPFK to 8000 people. The Faire was designed as an actual spring market fair of the Elizabethan period.

Phyllis Patterson RIP

Phyllis Patterson RIP

Phyllis Patterson RIP

Phyllis Patterson RIP

Phyllis Patterson RIP and Ivan doin' the Cocktail Walk! (another great Jenny pic)

Phyllis Patterson RIP and Ivana doin’ the Cocktail Walk! (another great Jenny pic)

 

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NOTE: Today is Monday, May 19.

Paramount Ranch Park - Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch Park – Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

“Lead me not into temptation, I can find it myself.”

My life changed in Spring 1980 when a friend from high school brought me to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire workshops at the Paramount Ranch in Agoura. I worked for the Living History Centre for the next 14 years, so her influence on me, my life, my ideology, and my reality is profound (as it is for so many others).

Eryk Bacon playin' wet & dirty, ale taxing the tourists in the streets of Chipping-Under-Oakwood 1480 (Agoura 1980)

Eryk Bacon playin’ wet & dirty, ale taxing tourists in the streets of Chipping-Under-Oakwood 1580 (Agoura 1980)

“You’re not special, and neither is your problem.”

Renaissance Pleasure Faire - Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA

Renaissance Pleasure Faire – Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA

I came to Agoura workshops and started performing at the Faire with the Mongers (The Guild of St. Swithin’s), hung out with folks from St. Helena’s (the peasants, middle and lower class characters), St. Minerva’s (Washerwomen), St. Blaise (Cryers), St. Paul’s (the Thieves & Cutpurses) and made a lot of new friends. The thrill and memory of doing live street improv in Witches’ Wood with Greg the Obscene Juggler for hundreds of people is one I can’t forget. The memory of performing in a night show or two, I wish everyone could forget…but I know there are pictures, because I have some.

“Don’t gamble if you can’t afford to win.” 

Mongers! Agoura 1980

Mongers! (St. Swithin’s) Michael, Jim, me, Roger and Richard – Agoura 1980

St. Paul's - Agoura '81 (classic lineup, my very good friends: unknown, Woderick the Wam, Walt, Cooper, Karen, Patty, Doug & Stacey - not pictured Eric, Phredd Daniels, Lisa & Nicole

St. Paul’s – Agoura ’81 classic lineup, my very good friends: unknown holding Woderick the Wam, Walt, Cooper, Karen, Patty, Doug & Stacey – not pictured Eric, Phredd, Daniels, Lisa & Nicole

“This is a Costume.”

In 1982, I got my first Crew job with the Costume Department (Much love to Carolyn, Chriss, Deborah, Vicky, Louise RIP, Freida RIP, Mary Jo RIP, Todi, Daria, Gretchen and Leslie!) and quickly made friends with all the theme characters, stage show performers, CREW and key Staff members.

“There’s no reason for it, it’s just our policy.”

The Costume Crew - Chriss, me, Gretchen & Daria, Agoura 1984

The Costume Crew at the Costume Shed – Chriss, me, Gretchen & Daria, Agoura 1984

“All the Faire’s a Stage!” – “Eat, Drynk & Be Merry!”

My first CREW gig! Press event at the Old Globe Theatre in West Hollywood with Chriss Spring 1982 (from the L.A. Times)

My first CREW gig! Press event, Old Globe Theatre, West Hollywood with Chriss – Spring 1982 This is the first and last time I played a Puritan! (from the L.A. Times)

“Whip me, beat me, show me you care. Make me work the Renaissance Faire.”

In Agoura, I joined the original Sea Dogs at DAW-SOB in 1982 with Captain Charles Taylor RIP. (Actually I was “Shanghai-ed” by Virginia, because I was good friends with her brother)  I was in attendance at Julie & Tracy’s wedding, Cat & Charles’ wedding, the weekend long 4th of July parties in Camarillo and the Antelope Valley, Christmas at Virginia & Mario’s (and the birth of their 3 children), and many New Years Eve parties at KJ’s mom’s house.

“Oh no, not another learning experience.”

Ahhh...Youth! Shirtless Behind DAW-SOB Agoura 1984

Ah, Youth! Behind DAW-SOB Agoura 1984

“As long as you’re having a good time.”

Pretty sure that's me center of between Lance & Keith, The Enterprise 5-20-83

Pretty sure that’s me center of the bales in white behind Virginia, between Lance & Keith – from The Enterprise 5-20-83

“This is a good day to go to jail” – 

Cat Taylor Overstreet's Pic of DAW-SOB Bloke's Group Pic 1985 (I'm in a crew shirt on the end next to Dwayne)

Cat Taylor Overstreet’s Pic of DAW-SOB Bloke’s Group Pic of Capt. Charles Taylor’s Sea Dogs, Agoura 1985 (I’m in a crew shirt, front row, on the end next to Dwayne)

“Ripe” – “Saucy” – “Juicy” – “Stewed” – “Seedy is as seedy does”

"End of the World" - Blackpoint Forest, Novato

“End of the World” – Blackpoint Forest, Novato

I was a Monger and a Soldier in Worthington’s Company-of-Foote (the original St. Michael’s) up north and was a Queen’s Chair-bearer for a couple years (yes, I was the left rear wheel on the Tudor sedan!). 

Worthington's Company-of-Foote Summer 1983

Front and Center with Worthington’s Company-of-Foote Summer 1983

Worthington's Company-of-Foote Summer 1984

Worthington’s Company-of-Foote Summer 1983

“I’ll see your attitude and raise you one.” – “When I want your advice I’ll beat it out of you.”

Dickens' Christmas Fair at the Fox Theatre in Oakland 1983-84

Dickens’ Christmas Fair at the Fox Theatre in Oakland 1983-84

I worked for Costumes and worked for Security at Dickens’ Fair in 1983 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland (and again in 1984) and the Southern Faire. So, I probably approved your costume or checked your passes at one time or another in the 1980s.

“Martyrdom is not as useful as you think.” – “We don’t care, we don’t have to.”

Living History Centre CREW Badge - Devore 1989

Living History Centre CREW Badge – Devore 1989

“No Scudi, No Booty.”

Fool's Guild Coronation of Greg the Obscene Juggler as King! Agoura 1985

Fool’s Guild Coronation of Greg the Obscene Juggler as King! Agoura 1985

I was a proud member of the Fool’s Guild (and the Lord Mayor’s Fool in Agoura sometimes), I partied with Jack, Toby Jo, Jonnathon, Skip, Clay, David and Andy at the Guildhall at Fountain & Harper and the Griffith Park Boys Camp! And later was involved in the American Puppet Theatre fiasco!

“Ya-Ta-Heh” – “I don’t care how you did it last Faire.” – “I can make your night a living hell.”

Clowning as the Lord Mayor's Fool, Agoura 1986

Backstage clowning as the Lord Mayor’s Fool, Agoura 1986

“Sudden prayers make G-d jump.”

I'm Still a Prisoner of Fun!

I’m still a “Prisoner of Fun!”

“We are amused.”

All Hail Saint Stupid!

All Hail Saint Stupid!

“Only if you brush your teeth.”

Camping in Pig's Gulch - Paramount Ranch, Agoura 1980

Tent Village Camping in Pig’s Gulch – Paramount Ranch, Agoura 1980

I camped in Pig’s Gulch and on Cardiac Hill (and slept in Actor’s Camp and a few other places too). I hot tubbed in the PIG. I dated one of Billy’s daughters. Maybe we shared a hooch, tent or shower stall? I had a hooch on-site in the Crow’s Nest above Drench-A-Wench by the snow fence in Agoura for a few years. Later relocated to a hooch behind New Forest and The Maze. “Sleep is for Sissies!” So for the years I was on Night Security, I only slept a little during the day (while commuting north and south to boot).

Guardshack - Blackpoint Forest, Novato (Dario took this pic)

Guardshack – Blackpoint Forest, Novato (Dario took this pic)

“Operating outside of design limitations.”

Security CREW - Blackpoint Forest, Novato

Security CREW – Blackpoint Forest, Novato

“Instant Authority Complex, Just Add Radio….And Stir.”

Tools of the Trade - Security Lieutenant (Walking, Nights, Front Gate and Mobile)

Tools of the Trade: Living History Centre Security Lieutenant – Walking, Nights, Front Gate & Mobile Security 1983-1994 (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel) – We kept it safe!

“What part of NO, don’t you understand?”

“Are you going to come quietly, or shall I pass out earplugs?”

I worked Living History Centre Security as a tunic and walking guard in 1983-84, and then as Walking and Front Gate Lieutenant, Night and Mobile Security in Oakland, San Francisco (Pier 45), and Novato until 1987; and in Agoura and Devore until 1994. Jim Hayes was my walking partner up north, and Michael C. taught me the art of “night walking”.  In summer 1987, I lived one mile off-site with Richard, Jason and Okai in a house in Novato while working on-site during the week as Mobile Security, as well as Days/Nights on weekends.

“Of course I remember you – we tore up your pass last week, right?”

The "EXEMPT" button. Only a few of us had them...

The “EXEMPT” button. Only a few of us had them..

“When you’re up, you’re up and when you’re down the security guard bites you.”

So, Where's Tabitha?

So, “Where’s Tabitha?”

“It’s love making fun.” – “Yes, Yes, No.” – “Forgive me Father, for I have funned.”

We all were temps…but I still prefer the term “Seasonal”. I did have the experience of going from an honorarium of a few food tickets per day (Scholarship at the College of Renaissance Delights) to being one of the highest paid regular hourly employees at LHC.

“My face is my pass.” – “Your face is not your pass.” – 

Chillin' "off the clock" in Napalm Springs, Devore 1989 (the day of Don Mills' Memorial) with Jenny, Janeen, Shannon and Shawn

Chillin’ “off the clock” in Napalm Springs, Devore 1989 (the day of Don Mills’ Memorial) with Jenny, Janeen, Shannon and Shawn

“I’m not real excited about being awake.”

Oh yeah, I still have my radio with a “Thys’ll Killya” sticker on it.

Thys'll Killya! And still set to Channel 19

Thys’ll Killya! And still set to Channel 19 (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

“It all started when he hit me back.”

I also still have my John Schulp’s knife, my Suzy Cooksey Hat O’Leather, one of Robert and Frannie’s Whales, my old CREW t-shirts, framed gate and camping passes, old costume pieces, weird props, psychedelic toys, miscellaneous paraphernalia, a collection of fine jewelry, and a box of buttons with funny slogans and catch phrases.

“I don’t care if you respect me in the morning.- But you will.”

And of course, I have the memory of the unique communal experience of road tripping north and south, camping on-site, sharing everything with others, workshops, privies, hay bales, ring-out, water trucks, earwigs, Faire boogers, pre-Faire build/post-Faire teardown, and the time spent in-between waiting for workshops to start again.

“Drop back 400 years and punt.” – “Carry out your own dead.” – “Fairegate”

The Teahouse of the Mullah Nezzuradin's Donkey, Agoura 1984

The Teahouse of the Mullah Nezzuradin’s Donkey, Agoura 1984

“Eating and Drynking are the Three Best Thyngs.” – “Do the cocktail.”

I remember the smells and tastes of coffee, chai and baklava at Don Brown’s; cinnamon buns in the morning, Stan’s turkey legs and beef ribs; Manny’s artichokes, churros and Monday brunch; Steak-on-a-Steak, Fish & Chips, Scarpone, Bangers, Piroshki, Toad-in-a-Hole, French Onion Soup, Fruit Ices, Tryfle, Strawberry Crepes, Truffles, and the rest of the unique Faire food (and the pleasure of knowing the people who cooked and served it). I can say for a fact that the Faire inspired the love I have for great food today.

“I’m Mad over Madalyn’s!” – “Consuming Passions – Born to Ball, Live to Dip!” 

“No Blood, No Foul.” – “Where’s my booth?” – “Cruel & Unusual”

I also remember the taste of Faire dust, stale metallic water and fire retardant. And the smell of fresh pumped privies, bodice sweat mixed with essential oils; the Horse Tourney, wet earth, hay and burlap; melting ice, warm ale, apple cider, and watered down lemonade; dill pickles, green grass, blooming mustard and warm oak trees!

“No good deed goes unpunished.” – “As long as you’re having a good time.”

Marc Harris' pic of Dickens' Fair at the Fox Theater, Oakland 1984 The Fezziweg's Dance Party on stage taken from the first balcony.

Marc Harris’ pic of Dickens’ Fair at the Fox Theater, Oakland 1984
The Fezziweg’s Dance Party on stage taken from the first balcony.

“Is the screwin’ you’re getting’ worth the screwin’ you’re getting’?”

I’ve met and have the memory of amazing and talented artistic people who were entertainers, performers, designers, builders, artists and makers of fine clothing, arts and crafts. I worked for little pay alongside a crazy dedicated CREW of unique and eclectic characters. I enjoyed the fun of storytelling, night shows, Ale Stand parties, and “after-hours” activities! I’ve had Faire romances, and had my heart broken many times.

Ale King Parade - Agoura 1987

Ale King Parade – Agoura 1987 (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

I’ve experienced a “Carbon Condition”, a radio gone “D-Watt”, and a “Safety Meeting” (all more than once, LOL). I searched for Tabitha, and celebrated at the Hedonist’s Picnic. I know what “Bubba Bud” and “The Spam Feed” are all about. I saw a ghost at the Fox Theatre, was on the lot when the Water Truck crashed down Gray Barn Hill (“Roll Over & Play Ed”) and was there when Six-Pack fell in the mud (and got a new nickname), and I’ve even seen real Orange Sunshine!

“I don’t want everything, I just want more.” – “I used to be special but then I grew up.”

Jenny's pic of the Paramount Ranch at Night

Jenny’s pic of the Paramount Ranch and Fairesite at Night from Procession Hill

“Insanely Zealous.” – “A filthy mind is a terrible thing to waste.” – “No, me first.”

The Faire also instilled in me a deep love and appreciation for Theatre (stage, street, improvisational and guerrilla), Shakespeare, free thought, questioning authority, alternative lifestyles and religions, holistic medicine and massage, ribald humor, healthy sex, strange and unusual people, historical reenactment, living history, juggling, and English history, music, and dance (although I don’t juggle, play music or dance, and I still tell people I don’t know how to sew…LMAO.)

“We’re laughing’ now, mate.” – “Don’t forget, I love ya.” – “One Boss Potato”

I’m sure there’s a lot I can’t or don’t want to remember, and there are things I’ve seen that I’ll never forget. It’s all living as history now in my head. When my family broke up in the 80s, my close friends at Faire became my surrogate family.

Paramount Ranch - Agoura, CA (copyright 201 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch – Agoura, CA (copyright 201 JoshWillTravel)

“Why yes, I am a rocket scientist.” – “The Pros of Con” – “One Boss Tomato”

I earned a B.A. in Theatre Arts in 1987 with an emphasis on Design/Tech and Film from the University of California, Santa Cruz (and I also worked for UC Performing Arts while I was a student).  My first film job in Hollywood (after working as a Production Assistant on a few PSAs, music videos and commercials) was as a Men’s Costumer and Wardrobe Assistant. After twelve years in production, and ten years as a Talent Manager, I left the entertainment business in 2007, returned for a short time in 2009, and left again in 2010.

“That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.” – “Are we having fun yet?” (Zippy the Pinhead)

Paramount Ranch - Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch – Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

——————————————————————————————————

The truth is that I did not know Phyllis well. My direct contact with her was very limited. I was frequently in her proximity while backstage or in the Costume trailer. I knew her a little and knew ‘of her’ a lot, and I know she knew me. Because my circle of friends overlapped Staff, CREW, actors and Security, I heard most of the stories, gossip and speculations from different points of view, but avoided the politics and in-house drama as much as possible.

Phyllis Patterson RIP

Phyllis Patterson RIP

I knew Kevin, Leslie, Robyn and Brian, but always maintained a little distance, because they were “the Owners” and I was their employee. My deepest condolences go out to all of them and the rest of Phyllis’ family….and her friends, and her extended Faire family as well. We are all connected through our shared experience!

Red Barn & Cardiac Hill - Blackpoint Forest, Novato

Red Barn & Cardiac Hill – Blackpoint Forest, Novato

If you’ve read all the way through this blog, the impact of Phyllis Patterson and her Faire on my life and the lives of others is pretty clear. Phyllis touched many peoples’ lives, both directly through the LHC and indirectly through her little idea of a Renaissance Faire, which has spread across the country, throughout the world, and has become indelibly embedded in our history, philosophy and culture!

“Who’s Phyllis?”

Phyllis Patterson RIP (photo and costume by Vicky Nebeker)

Phyllis Patterson RIP (photo and costume by Vicky Nebeker)

Rest in Peace Phyllis Patterson and thanks for the friends, the experiences, the memories, the rewards, and the super fun party!

HUZZAH! FARE YOU WELL! MAY THE FOUR WINDS BLOW YOU SAFELY HOME!

Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Paramount Ranch, Agoura, CA – Spring 2013 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

JoshWillTravel is a “Charter member of St. Silas’ Guild”, a alumni of “Doctor D’s Traveling Medicine Show”, and also a member of the Loyal Order of Turtles, Mr. Pickwick’s Box Seats and the Golden Grommet Guild. “There are no martyrs, only saints…”

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I Posted These Travel Answers About Las Vegas!

Las Vegas: Great food, not outrageous price, near Aria Casino?

Aria Resort - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Aria Resort – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: We will be traveling to Las Vegas this summer, looking for great places to eat within walking distance of the Aria Casino that are under $30 a plate. Looking for a tasty meal that doesn’t break the bank.

Late lunch spot for a couple, near the Wynn Hotel?

Q: My wife and I are landing in Vegas around 1:30 and want to stop for a late lunch on our way to the hotel. I normally would just go to Joe’s for some stone crab, but thought there might be a new place for us to try. We are staying at the Wynn, but any recommendations are welcome. We are fine (and might prefer) eating at the bar.

A: There are so many restaurants and places to eat, and they change constantly in Vegas.

Here are five options for great food at a reasonable price near (but not walking distance to) the Aria Resort and Wynn Hotel:

Grand Lux Cafe, Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grand Lux Cafe, Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

A reasonably inexpensive meal can be found at the Grand Lux Café (inside the Venetian and Palazzo Resorts). I like the hand tossed, wood-fired pizzas and you can get them “to go” in a pizza box. (~$16.00 per pizza) http://www.grandluxcafe.com/locations.htm

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Pizza from Grand Lux Cafe –  Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Go off-strip to this “hole-in-the-wall” #1 in the USA rated Thai Restaurant, the Lotus of Siam. Not really a secret, because the the locals and most “foodies” know about this amazing restaurant! (~$9.00-21.00 per dish and they have lunch & dinner specials) http://www.saipinchutima.com

Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill is at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Opened in 2004, the southwestern cuisine is truly fantastic (but it’s not inexpensive). From the Mesa Grill website: “Bobby developed his signature style of American cookery, marrying the flavors of southwest with his love of grilling at Mesa Grill. Bobby presents dishes like New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho Chile Sauce, Sweet Potato Tamale, and Crushed Pecan Butter. In a nod to the West, he also includes a Chiptole Glazed Rib-Eye with Red and Green Chile Sauce. Las Vegas’ proximity to Mexico gives the restaurant access to some of that country’s highest-quality tequila and mezcal offerings, and the expansive wine list has a global reach yet maintains an emphasis on top American wines. The combination of Mesa Grill’s magnificent decor, the exciting vibe of the casino atmosphere and Bobby Flay’s stunning range of textures, flavors and colors incorporated into his menu continue to electrify diners year after year.”  http://www.mesagrill.com/las-vegas-restaurant/index.php

or have too much amazing Bavarian (German) food and beer at the Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas. Sausages, sauerkraut, spaetzel, pork shanks, and all kinds of other Bavarian specials. A lot of food, so bring friends! (Daily specials start at $9.99) http://www.hofbrauhauslasvegas.com 

And of course, the Peppermill Restaurant is great anytime day or night (open 24/7 with a secret off-menu locals’ late night special Steak & Shrimp for cheap) and they have great cocktails too! http://www.peppermilllasvegas.com

NOTE: Do not eat at the MGM Buffet! (read my other blog)

Bon cha’nce! Bon appétit! Good luck & Good eating!

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Is it true if you eat at Tao Restaurant, you get into Tao Nightclub free and skip the line?

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: Is it true if you eat at Tao Restaurant, you get into Tao Nightclub for free & skip the line?

A: TAO Asian Bistro, TAO Nightclub and Tao Beach inside the The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

From the Tao website: “Dinner and Nightlife Packages – As low as $82.50 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Enjoy an evening at TAO Asian Bistro and Nightclub! Package Includes Three Course Dinner, Nightclub Admission and a VIP Table with One Bottle and Mixers. Available on dinner reservations before 6:30pm and after 10:30pm.”

http://taorestaurantlv.com/reservations/

The menu with this package and bottle service seems a to be a pretty good deal!

I’ve heard that admission was included if you have dinner at the restaurant, but I’m sure it depends on the night of the week and the event at the club. Contact the restaurant directly for reservations and questions.

Venetian Hotel - Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Venetian Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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Bachelor party venues?

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Welcome to Las Vegas (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: One of my best buddies is getting married next year and as a groomsman, I’ve been tasked being one of the organizers for his bachelor party. Here’s the thing: none of us groomsman are really party animals, so we really have no idea where to start, but we just know that we want our buddy to have a good time and that we want to go to Vegas, just for the experience. Any ideas on which venues to start looking at and/or bachelor party-type activities?

A: Bachelor Party in Las Vegas!

Do you want the full blown “Hangover, part 4” or just a good time?

First, how many people will be attending? Do you have hotel reservations? Do you want to have dinner, go clubbing, go drinking, go strip clubbing, hit an ultra-lounge or three, see a show, do some gambling, ride a roller coaster, or maybe shoot automatic weapons?

Or do you want to really get wild?

You can get a nice package deal with the hotels if you have a large group (sometimes, all you need is a block of five rooms). Hotel rooms, dinner, and entertainment can all be arranged, contact the group sales manager.

Rent a limo or party bus if you want to travel around, beyond walking distance. There are companies that can arrange the whole evening, just know that they are probably getting “kickbacks” from the party venues. NOTE: Be sure to shop around, negotiate for the best deal and extras, and always check safety and consumer reports before booking with any company!

You are on your own for strippers, escorts, hookers and “party favors”.

Good luck and be safe!

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MGM Grand (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Vegas Sunset Through a Green Metal Screen at the MGM Hotel (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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23-JUL-13: Mt. Shasta from the 5 freeway

Mt. Shasta from the 5 freeway.  Road Trip Pic! Going south in California.

Mt. Shasta from the 5 freeway

Mt. Shasta from the 5 freeway (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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18-JUL-13: SOU – Southern Oregon University

SOU – Southern Oregon University – Ashland, Oregon

SOU - Southern Oregon University

SOU – Southern Oregon University Quad- Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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16-JUL-13: Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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14-JUL-13: View from Grizzly Peak Winery

View from Grizzly Peak Winery in Ashland, Oregon

View from Grizzly Peak Winery

View from Grizzly Peak Winery – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Grizzly Peak Winery – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

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