Every third Thursday for the past two years, a diverse group of top magicians, international variety artists, body painters, musicians, burlesque stars, slam poets, belly dancers and others have come together to entertain an ever-growing audience of in-the-know Las Vegans and out-of-towners at the Olive Grill on Sunset as part of Jeff McBride’s Wonderground.
During that time, the Wonderground has become a hangout of choice for some of Vegas’ magic royalty. Siegfried, Mac King, Lance Burton, Criss Angel, Johnny Thompson, Peter Reveen, Paul Vigil, Stephane Vanel and Amazing Jonathan show up regularly. “You never know who will be there – both on and off stage,” says impresario and host Jeff McBride. “We’re really fortunate to have been embraced by the whole magic and performance art fraternity.”
Not long ago, journalist Jaq Greenspon wrote in Las Vegas Seven: “Walking into The Olive, a Mediterranean-style lounge on East Sunset Road, is like stepping through Alice’s mirror, and the Wonderground on the other side is more magical than Lewis Carroll’s rabbit hole.”
It is an experience that has evolved over time. Jeff McBride started experimenting with The Wonderground almost 8 years ago – the Olive is its third home. It all began in McBride’s “Wonderdome,” an experimental inflated dome set up in a secret warehouse location, (then by invitation only), then moved to Palace Station in the fall of 2008, where it materialized once each week, following the Friday night performances of McBride’s stage show, “Magic at the Edge.” After a year off, The Wonderground re-opened at the newly created nightclub at the Olive Grill, on East Sunset, where it has lived ever since. The event continues to grow and evolve each month – on a recent third Thursday, there were long lines waiting to get in for most of the evening.
Jeff McBride, creator of The Wonderground is a long-time Las Vegas favorite. He started coming here when he was still in his 20’s, as an opening act for Diana Ross. First tapped as a headliner for the 1980’s revue “Bal de Moulin Rouge,” at the Hilton, he was later one of the headlining shows in Caesars Magical Empire’s Sultan’s Palace. He has toured the world with his shows, but “Magic at the Edge” several years ago at Palace Station was his first time bringing the full evening to Las Vegas. Living here for the past 14 years, McBride still performs around the world in between Vegas engagements. He is the founder of the McBride Magic & Mystery School, named by the BBC as the “world’s most prestigious school of magic,” which makes Las Vegas it’s home, as well.
“Over the years, I’ve discovered I’m happiest and most successful when I create situations where others can shine,” says McBride. “The Wonderground is that kind of place.”
There is even a Wonderground Manifesto, which states, “The WONDERGROUND was created as a place to bring the community of magic and variety together for an extraordinary experience in co-created art and deep play. Each month, we pause, to wonder. We stand rapt in awe inspired by the limitless potential and magic of life. The WONDERGROUND is a portable feast.”
Join the celebration on December 15. Jeff McBride’s Wonderground at Olive Mediterranean Grill & Hookah Bar in Green Valley, located on East Sunset between Sandhill and Annie Oakley, 7pm until midnight, every third Thursday.
Doors will open at 7:30pm at The Olive, located at 3850 East Sunset Rd., Las Vegas, NV. There is a $10 admission at the door.
Full line-up is listed at http://www.vegaswonderground.com