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Whole Lava Love

5/11/2008
If you’ve visited Las Vegas recently, you might have been in awe of the Bellagio fountains, but disappointed with its sidewalk show competitor just next door (still a 10-minute walk).The Mirage Hotel Casino’s volcano has put a halt in people’s stride since it opened in 1989. But it’s been decidedly dormant recently. However, it’s just building up strength for a new eruption as the Mirage is spending $25 million to make the Las Vegas landmark more like Krakatoa.

The volcano was a pioneering idea back when it first blew its top 20 years ago, but not functioning on geological time, people are demanding more and more as the standards of Las Vegas expectation continue to increase.

To break it down, the volcano will get 120 new fireball-launching devices that will be programmed to erupt in concert with a score co-composed by former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. Trippers and geeks alike will feel the full brunt of the tandem effort within weeks—technology that’s been two years in the making. “It looks dangerous, but in reality it’s not. We just want people to stand back on their heels,” said Jim Doyle, director of new technologies at the Sun Valley design firm WET, which also produced the Bellagio’s fountains.

Doyle’s creative partner Zakir Hussain added: “It’s our version of a birthing volcano, which is filled with a lot of different kinds of emotional content, anticipation and anxiety. It’s filled with magic power. You might even be able to feel the lava coming down on top of you.” That’s all we need in Vegas—more heat.
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