Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014 | 5:56 p.m.
Robin Leach has finished his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin enjoys the remainder of his working vacation with his family, we continue today with our popular guest columns. Here is Riviera headliner illusionist Jan Rouven.
I moved from Germany to Las Vegas three years ago and on July 1 celebrated my third anniversary of performing nightly in this wonderful city. Before relocating, I toured throughout Europe. Performing in a large-scale illusion production nearly every day at venues across Europe is a logistical challenge, to say the least.
We would typically arrive early in the morning at a venue with a couple of trucks. The crew would unload equipment, set up lights and sound and solve any problems that are discovered — a stage door is smaller than expected, a prop needs to be fixed because it wasn‘t packed properly the night before, etc.
In the afternoon, we‘d have a technical run-through and then the performance in the evening. Afterward, the equipment would once again be disassembled and loaded back into the trucks. A short night of sleep in the tour bus later, and we‘re on our way to the next city doing the whole thing over again the following day.
Having your own production show in Las Vegas, in the same venue every night, is different and so much more convenient. Even though promoting a Las Vegas show is more time-consuming than expected, performing at one place is much more relaxing than touring, as you have more time to enjoy nice things.
Instead of load-in at a venue, I can walk my dog in the morning at Red Rock Canyon. Instead of a technical run-through, I can try out a new illusion in my backyard (sometimes I scare the neighbors because I am hanging upside down underneath the “Jaws of Death“). And instead of sitting in a performing arts center in a city I have never been before and waiting for my show to begin, I can have an afternoon coffee with Mr. Siegfried Fischbacher.
And after the show? Instead of wrapping up everything and traveling to the next city, I can go and see Elton John or another world-class show here in Las Vegas.
In the beginning of May, I began shooting acts for a documentary about Harry Houdini for National German Television. We filmed my underwater tank escape at the breathtaking Valley of Fire and an upside-down straightjacket escape with the Las Vegas Strip in the background.
In July, I began shooting for a brand new TV show titled “Sons of Houdini,“ where I will perform some of my death-defying escapes along with a never-seen-before stunt on the Las Vegas Strip.
Are there things that I miss about Germany? Yes, of course. I miss German “Gemuetlichkeit,” sitting outside a cozy coffee shop inside the old city in my hometown of Cologne; having a beer or drinking hot wine at the Christmas Market in Munich; and going to the “Rheinkirmes“ fair in Dusseldorf.
I miss Germany and love Las Vegas so much at the same time. And who knows? Maybe one day I will be standing again onstage at a German theater, setting up a prop for just one night, remembering the Riviera’s Starlite Theater and reflecting on the amazing time I had performing “Illusions” in Las Vegas.
But for now, I am blessed to have a successful show and living life the Las Vegas way.
Be sure to check out our other guest columnist today, Wendy Albert, who is the senior marketing director for Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. On Monday, we’ll meet up with Las Vegas rockers Rusty Maples and new Delano hotel GM Matthew Chilton.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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