Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, July 11, 2013 | 6 p.m.
Festivals and spectacles lead the distinctly Las Vegas weekend ahead, with offerings ranging from a look at showgirl history at The Neon Museum to an Elvis fan fest to a showcase for this fall's Life Is Beautiful festival. Here's a glimpse at the weekend's best bets:
Friday - Saturday: Widespread Panic at The Joint
Georgia-based jam band favorites Widespread Panic stop by The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel this weekend for two shows of epic solos, expansive breakdowns and wild covers for fans to feast their ears on. Each night promises a unique, no-repeat set that just might be worth catching them twice. Tickets are $46 to $56. The shows start at 8 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: Craig Shoemaker at South Point
The Lovemaster cometh: Comedian, voice actor and writer Craig Shoemaker brings his observational stand-up to South Point Showroom for two nights this weekend. Shoemaker is best known for his baritone-voiced onstage character "The Lovemaster," as well as his appearances in "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and "Scream 2." Tickets are $15 to $25. The shows kick off at 7:30 p.m.
Friday - Sunday: NBA Summer League kickoff at UNLV
The NBA Summer League returns to Las Vegas this weekend featuring 61 games played by 22 teams over 10 days at Cox Pavilion and The Thomas & Mack Center. This year’s edition also includes a new tournament-style schedule in which participating teams will compete in preliminary round games culminating in a championship game July 22. Keep your eyes out for former Rebels Anthony Bennett and Anthony Marshall, whose Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, respectively, play in this weekend’s matchups. For a full schedule and more information, visit the NBA Summer League website.
Thursday: Times of the Signs: "Stardust Showgirls" at The Neon Museum
The Neon Museum launches its new community education and enrichment series of programs "Times of the Signs" this weekend, set to include lectures, panel discussions, presentations and performances. Tonight’s inaugural event, "Stardust Showgirls," commemorates the 55th anniversary of the opening of the Stardust in July 1958 and will feature a panel discussion including showgirl-turned-attorney Akee Levin, UNLV oral historian Joyce Marshall Moore and CSN historian and author Lisa Gioia Acres. CSN professor Dr. Michael Greene will moderate. The program begins at 7 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $5.
Thursday - Sunday: Las Vegas Elvis Festival at LVH
This four-day fan fest features all things King, including an Elvis tribute artist contest, a Heart of the King awards ceremony and a Saturday night concert starring top Elvis tribute artists Shawn Klush and Cody Slaughter in the LVH Showroom where Presley himself made history. Elvis’ right-hand man Joe Esposito will host. For pricing and a complete schedule, visit the Las Vegas Elvis Festival website.
Saturday: Life Is Beautiful Hip-Hop showcase at Vegas StrEATS
The July edition of Downtown’s food, music and culture fest teams up with Life Is Beautiful to present a showcase of homegrown hip-hop acts who will vie for a spot to perform at this fall’s Life Is Beautiful festival. Featured artists include The Greater Good, Ekoh, Thelonius Gawd and Trade Voorhees. StrEATS, which is free and open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. in the Jackie Gaughan Plaza at the El Cortez. Performances are 8 p.m. to midnight.
Friday: Jim Gaffigan at The Mirage
Comedic triple threat Jim Gaffigan returns to Terry Fator Theater at The Mirage on Friday night as part of the venue’s Aces of Comedy series. Last year, Pollstar ranked the writer, actor and stand-up, who will be performing his "White Bread" tour, among the Top 10 most successful touring comedians in the country. The show starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $76 to $87.
Friday - Sunday: "Xanadu" at Las Vegas Little Theater
Roller-skating, disco-infused musical adventure "Xanadu" comes to Las Vegas Little Theater through July 28 directed by Walter Niejadlik and featuring music direction by Toby McEvoy. Come get down to numbers like "Magic" and "I’m Alive" at daily shows at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $20 to $25. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit the Las Vegas Little Theater website.