GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

October 3, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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LIFE ' IS OUR STAGE NOW' Ten years after "the thing" ended their sensational Strip run, Siegfried and Roy still have the magic T By John Katsilometes T he compound is known as Little Bavaria, but referring to this sprawling estate as "little" seems farcical. This is a staggering hideaway of connected mansions, with fields as vast as a dozen soccer pitches, an aquatic park that rivals the Bellagio fountains, and miles of interlocking walkways that encircle and cut through the property. Hip-high rails have been constructed along those winding sidewalks, so Roy Horn has something firm and steady on which to lean as he makes his way around, visiting Little Bavaria's animal kingdom, which includes horses, mini-donkeys, black swans, exotic chickens, African cranes, royal turkeys, canines and assorted cats, big and small. Siegfried Fischbacher ordered those rails built, once more providing support to his friend, life 16-22_Feature_20131003.indd 16 companion, performing partner and co-founder of a Strip show that entertained more than 25 million fans for more than 35 years. Siegfried also enforced the construction of a new house outfitted to offset Roy's physical limitations, suffered a decade ago when he was dragged offstage by a white tiger named Montecore during a performance at the Mirage. October 3 marks the 10-year anniversary of that incident, which Siegfried and Roy alternately refer to as "the accident" or "the thing," as in, "When the thing happened ..." But they hardly speak of it, and only when asked. Instead, they strive to remain relevant, in the here and now. Like Little Bavaria itself, they are still growing, in their personal and professional relationship. "Las Vegas implodes everything," Siegfried says as he cups a cigarette in his right hand, smoke seeping mysteriously from his grip as if he's performing a sleight-of-hand illusion. "But here, we keep building. We will not be knocked down." Siegfried is quick apace as he leads this tour of Little Bavaria, and seems as excited as someone seeing it for the first time. "Nobody comes here to us," he says, referring to what really is Siegfried and Roy's secret garden. "We let very few people in here." Little Bavaria was built 25 years ago, but is always evolving. It's one of the duo's two Las Vegas residences; the more widely known Jungle Palace is across the street from Las Vegas Municipal Golf Course. Siegfried recently sold a third home in Spanish Trails, and today, he and Roy spend most of their time at Little Bavaria. "This is 100 acres, and we have all the water rights, which is why we can build the big pools. We could not build Little Bavaria today," Siegfried says. "There are too many restrictions … Out here, you are not in Las Vegas. "There is a center house [where] we spend time together," he says of a dwelling that overlooks the lake-sized pool. "We have houses on each side, one for Roy and one for me. They are like two arms, wrapped around, and we meet in the middle." Siegfried points out an ornate chess board that has become emblematic of Roy's recovery, as he moved from rudimentary games to lengthy battles with Siegfried. Nearby is a small church, three pews on each side with a tall, wooden crucifix high on a wall. Siegfried's tour doubles as a Roy reconnaissance mission. "Where is he? He should be here by now," Siegfried says to no one in particular. He exits PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY CASHMAN PHOTO 10/2/13 5:10 PM

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