By Andrea Bennett | April 24, 2017 | Culture
A former CIA officer gives away the secrets of the farm nightly at Stratosphere. See duct tape in your future? Prepare your great escape in advance.
Duct tape and handcuffs are no match for dedicated pupils of ex-CIA agent Jason Hanson. Escaping them is just part of his Spy Escape & Evasion course.
There are some life hacks that are so very indispensable for living in Las Vegas, including, but not limited to, escaping from duct tape, rope, and zip ties in 10 seconds or less; picking locks; and defending yourself with a tactical pen. You might be following the great tradition of such venerable Vegas forefathers as Joe Pesci (whose character in Casino had clearly mastered pen skills). But whether your interest is purely recreational (handcuff escape!) or you anticipate a one-way drive to the desert, there’s now a class for that.
I tried Spy Escape & Evasion, a 75-minute spy-craft stage show hosted by ex-CIA officer Jason Hanson on weekends at Stratosphere. And I was as blown away by his presentation as his investors on Shark Tank, where he ultimately secured funding from FUBU CEO Daymond John. Hanson tied up my 7-year-old—an option every parent has wanted to exercise at some time, in this case made acceptable because, entertainment! Using the techniques he showed the crowd, she quickly broke free. The evening of sometimes alarmist infotainment attracts a mix of pure fun-seekers, paranoid Doomsday preppers, and that confrontational drunk girl. (You know the one.)
And you can expect to be peddled a scary buzzing flashlight, paracord key chain useful for smashing windows, and RFID-blocking card to protect you from lurking electronic pickpockets, all of which you will be convinced belong in your crisis bag. (What? You don’t have one?) Will you ever need to disappear without a trace, utilize your new counter-surveillance techniques, or transform yourself into a human lie detector? It’s hard to say—although Hanson’s pile of unnerving statistics points to yes. You will definitely, however, emerge with a few unbeatable party tricks. Spy Escape & Evasion, Stratosphere, Thursday–Saturday at 5 PM
PHOTOGRAPHY BY COMPASSIONATE EYE FOUNDATION/GETTY IMAGES (HANDS TIED); TONY HUTCHINGS/GETTY IMAGES (HANDCUFFS)