Friday, June 10, 2016

Vegas Mob Museum offers thrills, chills, colorful history of crime

The Mob Museum in Las Vegas offers a fascinating departure from gambling, and a treasure trove of crime lore.


Cookie peruses one of many user-friendly exhibits.


GANGSTERS, mafia bosses and their molls, booze, blood and bullets combine for a dose of criminal behavior -- and the guys and gals who went after the bad guys and girls.
The Mob Museum offers all that and more.
Get ready for a history of J. Edgar Hoover's relentless pursuit of crime bosses, wall-sized images of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and other brutal murders. The well designed, user-friendly three-story treasure trove of memorabilia is an intensely orchestrated study of the evolution of crime.
REMEMBER THE gangster movies from the 1930s and '40s? ("You dirty rat.")  We grew up with them, and generations later, they still play well. And so does the Mob Museum.
Crime -- unfolding through the acting of Jimmy Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, even Humphrey Bogart -- has always had an audience.
Look up your favorite criminal in a wall of wanted posters.
Known officially as the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, this fascinating place bills itself as a history museum. It is that -- a nod to the colorful history of crime. Located in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, near the "Old Las Vegas" sign, it's a 15 or 20-minute drive from The Strip, a pleasant diversion from the lure of the casinos.
TODAY'S AUDIENCE needs to be engaged, and the museum does that, through dozens of large and small inter-active exhibits.  You can be part of a line-up, take your medicine in an electric chair, knock at a speakeasy door.
You'll discover more about crime than you'd ever think you wanted to know -- but it's all fascinating.  Emphasis is, of course, on the role Las Vegas has played through the years, with a nod to Bugsy Seigel and his Hollywood/Santa Monica connections.
Pretend to meet your fate, as these two giggling friends are
doing, as
 you are strapped into the electric chair.
KELLER HAD fun with the line-up, and I took a seat in the electric chair -- a truly creepy experience. Newsreels of actual crime busts and other police activity are interspersed with an array of weapons.  An intriguing gallery of photos makes the mobsters and their pursuers come alive.
Videos tell various crime stories,
as attractive displays await.
And homage is paid to the movies -- from "The Godfather" to earlier, vintage flicks which glamorized the criminals and are still popular today.
  Hollywood's connection to  organized crime is explored.
THE MOB Museum is fun, but also startling in its detail and scope.  Statistics reveal the millions of dollars of laundered money, the thousands of brutal murders and power the mob once had.  One map shows the mob's concentration in major U.S. cities, and another interesting display traces the European roots of mob crime in America. You'll see the mobsters and crime bosses at play, too, enjoying their families, out for a day of pleasure.  If you dare, you can join the mafia yourself, taking a blood oath and pledging loyalty to the death!
  The Las Vegas Mob Museum delivers the real deal in crime fighting history and technique. Viator can take you there, and for a tour of the city as well.
Bruce Keller readies for his place in the line-up, with
this "mug shot," at the Las Vegas Mob Museum.
A STAFF of nearly two dozen runs the mob museum, which reaches into the community with fund-raisers and special activities.  Summer camps for kids teach the evils and consequences of a life of crime. The museum sponsors a series of "Courtroom Conversations," moderated panel discussions exploring Las Vegas crime and law enforcement history.  And the lovely Triple George Grill down the street offers a three-course dinner fit for Don Corleone. It's $89 and includes Mob Museum admission.
Go undercover to tackle high-finance fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, murder and greed. The underworld never looked so inviting! Go to:

The Lipinsky Festival presents top Jewish inspired entertainment, including
Hershey Felder, left, who presents his Leonard Bernstein work, "Maestro."
MORE TO ENJOY:  Don't miss the 23rd annual Lipinsky Jewish Arts Festival -- in several venues, including Encinitas and Oceanside, with many events downtown at the Lyceum Theater and San Diego Repertory Theater. A wonderful abundance of theater, readings, concerts, and more await. We rave about fiddler Yale Strom's Klezmer Summit Monday, which he dubs "JewGrass." Marvelous blend of klezmer, bluegrass, country and Yiddish song plus Hot Pstromi and the Jewish Men's Choir. Simply vunderlekh, this lively mix of presentations. Call 619 544-1000 or check this out for tickets to a delightful variety of events: 
From left, in "Stupid Fu**ing Bird," actors Rachel Esther Tate,
 Ro Boddie, KaroleForeman, Jacque Wilke, Francis Gercke, Brian Rickel, Walter Murray
Photo by Nil Noyan  

It helps if you know something of the melodrama and darkness of Chekhov, but it really isn't essential. This contemporary "remix" of "The Seagull," is a high energy, provocative work at Cygnet Theater. It is so outrageous, so fresh and raging, that it can't help but entertain. A terrific cast brings playwright Aaron Posner's creation to life against a backdrop of generational disparities, debates about the meaning of life, art and love. (And what else is there in drama?) Clever dialogue and inventive staging provide an engaging time at the theater, through June 19. For tickets:
NEXT WEEK we take a spin with Viator tours, with tips on making the most of your travel time here or abroad. Remember to explore, learn and live and check us out Fridays when we post for the weekend.


  1. Mobster museum-- who knew? We are Vegas regulars who plan to check it out.
    Sounds fun, and cheaper than our gambling.

  2. Culture CollectorsJune 11, 2016 at 4:24 PM

    We love your mix of theater, nature and travel and can't wait to see you at a play again -- or maybe a sail in the bay.

  3. New Hampshire RoadiesJune 12, 2016 at 4:58 PM

    Mob, my my, and a fun restaurant recommendatio. Wish we lived closer to your lively corner of the world.

  4. So much fun to see what you kids are up to, from far away France. Looking forward to seeing you on your next European jaunt.

  5. Israeli Fellow TravelersJune 16, 2016 at 7:24 AM

    Are you heading to Europe soon? Seems like the usual time for you to exit stage Europa! And when back to see us in beautiful Tel Aviv?