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Strip magician to make Welcome to Las Vegas sign vanish

Updated May 7, 2022 - 4:26 pm

The real trick is making it reappear.

We speak of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Magician Xavier Mortimer has plans for that iconic civic landmark. He plans to make it vanish in a clip to be posted on his ever-expanding, social-media empire.

The Strat headliner was at the sign’s artificial-turf location on Las Vegas Boulevard on Thursday afternoon. He and renowned magician and production consultant Joaquin Ayala reviewed sight lines and sketched the sign to prep for the act.

Mortimer has yet to announce when he will perform the routine, if or how the public will be involved, and when it will post.

“We’re going to try to make it public,” Mortimer said. “But right now, I’m still trying to make it work.”

The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign was placed on the site in 1959. To our best knowledge, no one has attempted to perform a stunt such as Mortimer’s at the sign. Mortimer and his producer, the French TV personality and director Alex Goude, came up with the idea.

Mortimer has posted a series of stunts on his TikTok page. He’s shown on the beach, sitting in a folding chair, which is yanked free by a bystander. Mortimer remains in place. In another, he’s packed in plastic wrap, placed in a cardboard box, and lifted by a forklift driven by an assistant. She lifts the box, the camera cuts away, then pans back to the piece of equipment. Mortimer is shown in the driver’s seat, the assistant wrapped up in the box.

@xavier_mortimer HOW DID THAT HAPPEN??😱🤯 #illusion #magic #wow ♬ original sound – Xavier Mortimer

Such clips have helped Mortimer expand his TikTok platform to 3.2 million followers. He’d not been active on TikTok until the pandemic shutdown. Overall he’s drawn 6 billion views and 12 million social-media followers on all platforms.

Mortimer is the first artist to ever leave a Cirque show (“Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay) for his own production on the Strip. He opened at then-Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood in 2015, moved to Windows (later The Magic Attic) at Bally’s from 2018 through the pandemic shutdown, and has headlined The Strat Theater since July 2021.

The Welcome to Las Vegas sign stunt follows a tradition among magicians in making famous landmarks vanish. David Copperfield, of course, leads that trend. The MGM Grand headliner made the Statue of Liberty disappear on national TV in 1983.

“The Statue of Liberty was such a huge event,” Mortimer said. “We wanted to find something famous, a good challenge, in Las Vegas.”

Cool Hang Alert

Longtime column fave Anne Martinez is heading up “Music, Mayhem and More” at 6 p.m. (doors) 6;30 p.m.(dinner) and 8 p.m. (show) Wednesday at Italian American Club Showroom. Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie and Lorena Peril of “Fantasy” at Luxor are co-stars. We met Martinez in her days as a singer in “Bite” at the Stratosphere (now The Strat). She’s since developed the stage show “Alice” and the cabaret band Red Penny Arcade band. She also appeared in “Baz” at Palazzo Theater and has been a swing for Peril in “Fantasy.” Tickets are $65 for the entire experience; go to iacvegas.com for the details, and grab a meatball while they last.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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