Monthly Archives: November 2009

NASCAR’s Season-Ending Events in Las Vegas

Well, after nearly three decades of trying, it finally happened:  NASCAR moved its season-ending party to Las Vegas after being in New York.   This week the season-ending NASCAR events will be showcased. 

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson showed his untiring racing mastery throughout they year, garnering first place honors for his efforts.

 Befitting champions aplenty, the Sprint Cup Championship Week will kick off its inaugural visit to Las Vegas on Wed., Dec. 2 with a fan fest and driver roast.

On Dec. 2, NASCAR will host the Chasers for Charity Fanfest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This event includes a free-admission fan event, plus a charity roast of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. Gates open at 9 a.m. Access to the speedway’s Neon Garage begins at 11 a.m. This portion of the event includes a red-carpet walk by the champion and the other drivers in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup, car displays, live music, reduced-price concessions and a raffle drawing. 

The Charity Roast will take place in the speedway’s Blackjack Club, located in the infield media center. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. The roast includes a private reception with the Cup champion and Chase participants, plus reserved seats and parking. It will be shown on closed-circuit television in the Neon Garage. 

Because of space considerations, it’s limited to the first 300 people who respond. Cost is a $250 tax-deductible donation to Speedway Children’s Charities. Additional information is available at www.lvms.com

On Dec. 3, the drivers will participate in the Victory Lap Parade. All 12 Chase participants will drive a lap in their show cars on Las Vegas Boulevard known as “The Strip.” This will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino and proceed north to Spring Mountain Road before returning to MGM Grand. It will include a pit stop and a “burnout” at the Spring Mountain Road intersection. 

The week culminates with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 4. Frank Caliendo will host the season-ending roast and banquet on Dec. 4 at Wynn Las Vegas.  As Caliendo puts it: “I’m on the pole, but don’t worry. Even though we’re in Vegas, I’m not dancing.” 

Caliendo, a noted impressionist, was featured in several videos at last year’s awards ceremony. He has appeared at postseason events for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. 

Noted singer David Gray and female electric string quartet Escala will also reportedly perform at the banquet. 

Speed will televise the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony live, from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., EST. It will reair from 1-5 a.m. ET, on Saturday, Dec. 5, and from 1-5 p.m., on Sunday, Dec. 6. The awards ceremony is the series champion’s formal celebration.

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Huge CityCenter Project Prepares for Las Vegas Public Unveiling this Week

The cost: $8.5 billion.  The decision: Let it ride- open the doors to the public!  

The much anticipated CityCenter project in Las Vegas- the largest construction project in the U.S. this year – is taking its opening public curtain calls this week.  

Updated Public Opening Schedule: 

Dec. 1 – Vdara Hotel & Spa opens

Dec. 3 – High-end retail shops, entertainment venues open, featuring Crystal

Dec. 4 – Mandarin Oriental luxury hotel opens

Dec. 16 – The project’s centerpiece, Aria Resort & Casino opens 

Since March, Las Vegas Backstage Access has written extensively on the project, covering it from all angles.  Please check out our articles on March 4 & 25; July 13, 16 & 28; Sept. 3, 17 & 25; Oct. 13 & 18; and Nov. 9, 14, 18 & 19.

C’mon over to Las Vegas and check it out!

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USA Sevens Rugby Tournament Prepares for Huge Las Vegas Tournament in February

Sports fans may find something to interest them during the usually quiet February when Las Vegas, the so-called Entertainment Capital of the World, hosts the USA Sevens rugby tournament and an International Fan Festival on February 13 and 14.

Set to take place at the Sam Boyd Stadium, the two-day weekend rugged and highly competitive event will feature some of the world’s leading rugby sevens teams, including vanguard teams representing England, South Africa and New Zealand. 

Currently ranked 11th internationally, the U.S. team, departed last Thursday, Nov. 26 for the Series opening tournament in Dubai, UAE (Dec. 4-5), where it will face England, Kenya and Russia.

Returning players from the U.S. squad that went to Dubai in 2008 are Matt Hawkins and Mark Bokhoven, who both return from injuries, Nese Malifa and Shalom Suniula. The remainder of the U.S. team is comprised of relatively new faces, but the players are reportedly fast, fit, strong and very skillful.

Captaining the U.S. team is veteran Jone Naqica, who is the most capped U.S. Sevens player and all-time leading scorer for the Eagle Sevens team.

Attendance at the 2009 games was more than 37,000, an increase of greater than 40% from 2007, with 2010 games anticipated to grow even more. 

Featuring 16 professional teams from all parts of the world, the Las Vegas weekend event captures international attention with 44 games providing more than eight hours of play on each day. 

Each game of the round-robin style tournament is less than twenty minutes, providing fast and intense competition.  Watching some of the quickest and most agile athletes in the world, spectators are entertained by the fast paced, high scoring games, as well as the electric atmosphere created by the avid fans. 

To learn more, please log onto http://www.usasevens.com/

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Mist Lounge in Las Vegas to be Resurrected as Gilley’s Saloon in TI

The cozy Mist Lounge in Las Vegas, located just off the Treasure Island casino floor, has closed awhile back, ending its memorable six-year run.   Now, a new nightclub and restaurant is planned in its space. 

The Lounge has been sold back to former Frontier, now TI (Treasure Island) owner Phil Ruffin, who plans to create his hallmark sawdust-on-the-floor country nightclub Gilley’s at TI in the former Mist Lounge space. 

TI Vice President of Hotel Sales & Marketing Don Voos confirms that Mist will indeed become home to the rebirth of the nostaligic, countrified Gilley’s Saloon– with a little help from its neightbor, Pizzeria Francesco’s that will be demolished  and merged in with the new space. 

“We will be building a new Gilley’s Saloon & BBQ restaurant,” says Voos.

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Ne-Yo to Perform in Las Vegas on Jan. 1.

Grammy-award winner Ne-Yo is set to perform at The Pearl Concert Theater in the Palms Casino Resort on Jan. 1. 

In 2006, Ne-Yo hit the R&B scene with a style all his own – a mix of classic sounds with a modern twist. His debut album, In My Own Words, hit #1 on the Billboard 200 and solidified his role as an artist to watch. The Las Vegas singer’s sophomore album, Because of You (2007), also peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and brought Ne-Yo much acclaim when he won Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 2007 Grammy Awards. 

With Ne-Yo’s third DVD, The Year of the Gentleman, the Las Vegas native and premier songwriter has constructed a suite of songs that shows exactly what he means by class. Written over the course of travels through Europe and his own fascination with the hometown boys known as the Rat Pack, Ne-Yo explains, “For me, the sharpness of Sammy and Sinatra is the kind of style I strive for in clothes and music. Year of the Gentleman is named in honor of those guys.” 

This event is produced by Andrew Hewitt and Live Nation. The Pearl Box Office in the Palms Casino Resort is open from noon – 7 p.m. daily. Doors will open at 8:00 p.m. and show time is 9:00 p.m.  For more information, please call 702-942-6888.

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Las Vegas Prepares for New Year’s Eve Blow-Out

PURE Nightclub in Las Vegas is hosting rapper 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson) to get 2010 off to a great start. 50 Cent’s rise from street hustler to rap superstar is legendary in the rap industry and was the basis of the hit movie “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” in which he portrayed himself.  The movie album shot straight to number one and sold 1.5 million copies in its first week and a half of release, the highest ever for a debut album. His hits include the smash “In Da Club,” “Candy Shop,” If I Can’t” and “Just A Lil Bit.” 50 Cent continues to rap either solo or with his group G-Unit.  50 Cent expects to expand his showbiz career to act, write, produce and direct in true superstar fashion. 

Down the Las Vegas Strip, LAX Nightclub will welcome the Grammy Award-winning The Black Eyed Peas to help Las Vegas ring in 2010. The Black Eyed Peas, who are comprised of will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo and Fergie, have become a music phenomenon since their album “Elephunk” debuted in 2003. The group’s hip hop and dance-oriented style has catapulted them to music stardom, as the group has sold an estimated 20 million albums worldwide and 13 million singles. Their most recent album, “The E.N.D.” includes hit singles “Boom Boom Pow” and chart-topper, “I Gotta Feeling,” which was the number one US single for 26 consecutive weeks, more than any other song in history. 

Tickets for both performances begin at $150 and will be sold exclusively at Vegas.com.

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Las Vegas Backstage Access Says “Thank You”

Thanksgiving.  It’s a time for slowing down a bit, all the while giving and sharing.  So, we at Las Vegas Backstage Access want to take time to give thanks to everyone that has helped us along the way. 

We could print a list, but we didn’t want to accidentally forget to list someone, so consider this our “umbrella thank you” that’s sent with our bountiful, universal love to everyone. 

Meanwhile, you too might want to take a little time to reflect on what you’re thankful for and hear other people’s stories.    At www.thanks-o-meter.com, readers are encouraged to write a short entry about an instance when they’ve been grateful. 

But, whatever you do, take time to enjoy being with your friends!

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Las Vegas Lady Entrepreneur to Star in “Launch My Line”

Bravo’s new fashion reality TV show “Launch My Line” partners successful professionals with established fashion designers to do just as the title says:  create a fashion line. 

A graduate of the Harvard Executive Business School, Marilyn Crawford, who lives in Las Vegas, has established herself as the ultimate expert and spokesperson in business and entertainment.  Crawford is the CEO of Windsor PTM, a global strategic marketing company. She is also Chairman of 2810, a private business membership club. 

When she was three years old she got the fashion bug–  a woman who lived down the street from her made clothes that Crawford designed with the help of her father. 

Fast forward, now Crawford figures if she could catch a fashion guru’s eye, she shouldn’t have a hard time launching a fashion line.  She envisions a clothing collection designed for the “average-sized woman,” which Crawford describes as 12-14.  She says her line would be a cross between Miranda and Samantha from the TV show “Sex and the City,” and, like those two characters, make a loud statement. 

Meanwhile, not to let grass grow under her feet, Crawford continues to travel extensively around the globe for her business and entertainment clients which include: Coca-Cola, Sony Universal, Master Charge, CNN, Volvo, Larry King, Russell Simmons and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. 

Crawford has been named “Woman of the Year” from Arts Horizon and TD/Commerce Banks, and has received The International Women’s Exchange Compass Award, The Humanitarian of the Year Award and Ebony’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

“Launch My Line” premieres Wed., Dec. 2 at 11 p.m. (PT) on Bravo.

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Las Vegas’ Rough Road Continues

That potent one-two Las Vegas punch has lost its zing. 

All year long it’s been a hard fought battle, with the bad economy and slashed discretionary spending yielding the crushing blows. 

Adding to the demise, with more than 150,000 hotel rooms and heavily dependent on convention business, the tough times are getting unbearable. 

Fewer people are visiting, let alone spending.  Many casino floors are half-empty during the day. 

Taxi drivers up and down the Strip complain that they wait a long time between pickups. The fares they do get negotiate nearly every rate and no longer tip even minimally. 

Even fewer flights are landing in Las Vegas – US Airways Group Inc. announced last month that it was cutting arrivals in half.  Las Vegas hotels are heavily discounting and are doing anything it takes to lure folks back. 

At the Imperial Palace, rooms are going for $25, $65 on Saturdays. At the Palms Casino Resort, a standard room costs $59, $99 for a studio suite. 

High-end casinos such as Mandalay Bay are offering rooms for about $109.99, with a special two-night-minimum promotion that includes a 50 percent discount on a suite upgrade, a two-for-one House of Blues restaurant voucher, $25 resort credits on food, beverage, or merchandise, and 30 percent off tickets for The Lion King

Las Vegas’ woes are also not a good omen for other casino towns – or tourist destinations in general.  The falloff effect is pronounced and enduring. 

“What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. What happens in Vegas spreads out to all the rest of us,” said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. 

“When Las Vegas greatly lowers its rates, consumers don’t think of it as Vegas being Vegas. They think along the lines, ‘Well then, I should be able to get a good deal anywhere.’ ” 

In September, for the first time since May 2008, the number of visitors to Las Vegas went up year over year – 4.3 percent. But the average daily room rate was down nearly 25 percent, to just over $92 a night. Gambling revenue was down 3.6 percent, the 21st straight monthly decline, according to figures released last week by the city’s convention authority.

All the big casino companies are feeling the pinch. Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo on the Strip, reported a $123 million net loss for the third quarter that ended Sept 30. MGM Mirage, which owns 10 casinos, the most on the Strip, posted a $750.4 million net loss. And Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., which owns eight casinos here, had more than a $1 billion net loss. 

Conventions and meetings, which characteristically drive midweek Las Vegas room occupancy, are way off this year. Attendance is down 27.1 percent compared with the same period in 2008; the number of gatherings is down 18.2 percent. 

About 400 meetings were canceled from late 2008 to May, resulting in $166 million lost in nongaming revenue, so says the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. 

One reason: restrictions on using federal-bailout funds for certain types of corporate travel, said Rossi Ralenkotter, the authority’s president and CEO. The other: Las Vegas’ reputation as a lavish meeting destination. 

The town’s party-hearty image had to be tweaked, said Billy Vassiliadis, chief executive of R&R Partners Inc., the Las Vegas public relations firm that created the “What happens here, stays here” slogan. Its current campaign features high-level executives hard at work in Vegas. 

“We began delivering a much more sober business message and didn’t talk much about the play side,” Vassiliadis said yesterday. “We were dealing with the perception of whether it would be frivolous to hold a meeting in Vegas. Clearly, after the first quarter of the year, executives needed validation and support to come here for a meeting.” 

During a panel discussion last week at the annual Global Gaming Expo, also known as G2E, Ralenkotter said: “Las Vegas [has] worked hard to ensure that the value of face-to-face meetings was better understood. We have also worked hard to attract new business to Las Vegas and have signed 24 new contracts with [trade] shows that have either never been . . . or have not been here in more than five years.” 

G2E seemed to mirror its host town: more subdued, less boisterous. The event drew an estimated 25,000 gambling executives, regulators, slot manufacturers, and suppliers to discuss industry trends and showcase the latest products – down from 26,500 last year. Registered exhibitors numbered 566, down from 724, and the amount of exhibit space used at the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center was 258,600 square feet, down from 335,480 in 2008. 

With the supply of convention visitors dwindling, luring back the leisure traveler became a priority, Jacob Oberman, a casino consultant with Los Angeles-based commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., said at a recent panel discussion on filling hotel rooms in a down economy. 

“They’re doing this by either giving gaming customers more favorable complimentaries than in the past, increasing their allotment of rooms, and presence with Internet wholesalers such as Expedia, [or] offering creative discount room offers and packages to the general public. 

It appears everyone in Las Vegas, or planning to go there, are cinching their belts a few notches.  It’s not that parites are not happening– it’s just they’re not as lavish or widely participated in as in the past.

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Donny Osmond Wins “Dancing With the Stars”

An estimated 19.2 million people watched Donny Osmond last night win “Dancing With The Stars” — the smallest audience for the show’s finale since the first season – and take home the show’s traditional mirrored ball trophy in the season finale of the ABC TV contest reality program. 

Helping push Osmond over the top was the tango he performed Tuesday with his professional dancing partner, Kym Johnson. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba hailed his performance as “artistry in motion.” It earned the top score of the final performances. 

Osmond, the former teen pop star of the iconic singing Osmond family, said the show has been a highlight in a career of ups and downs.  

The 52-year-old showbiz veteran, who headlines at the Flamingo in Las Vegas with his sister, Marie, has been performing almost all of his life, but said that there’s a difference between cutting albums and selling records and dancing competitively. 

Donny Osmond now holds the distinction of being the first Las Vegas headliner to win “Dancing’ while having a show on the Las Vegas Strip. 

He competed during the show’s finale Tuesday against singer Mya and Kelly Osbourne, daughter of rock star Ozzy Osbourne. 

Mistakes on the dance floor during the season weren’t the only missteps of ABC’s live broadcast. At the top of Tuesday’s show, as highlights from Monday’s show ran, the video froze on shot of Miss Piggy, prompting host Tom Bergeron to remind viewers that the broadcast was live and send the show to an early commercial break. 

This was the ninth edition of the contest, one of television’s most popular shows. The Nielsen Co. says ratings have been down all season for the show, an indication that viewers weren’t as attached to the contestants as they had in the past.

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Steve & Elaine Wynn Plan Amicable- & Most Expensive Divorce in History

Steve and Elaine Wynn, in a joint statement released yesterday, after eight months of hammering out some of the details, the couple announced they have reached “an amicable settlement” agreement in the split of their estimated $2 billion gambling empire– giving it the distinction of one of  the most expensive divorces on record. 

According to the statement, the terms and conditions of the settlement are confidential.   

Their divorce is expected to be finalized the first part of 2010. 

It also appears to be business as usual after the divorce is final.  Elaine Wynn will continue her role as director and board member of Wynn Resorts, Ltd., emphasizing community outreach and charitable contribution projects, working together with ex-hubby Steve Wynn.   

Their divorce papers were filed March 5 and sealed the same day, keeping secret such details as who filed. 

There has been speculation that the divorce settlement could eclipse the $1.7 billion worth of assets media mogul Rupert Murdoch agreed to give wife Anna in their 1999 divorce. That deal included her receiving a reported $110 million in cash. 

The Wynns were married in 1963, divorced in 1986, and re-married again in 1991— all the while acquiring their current financial fortune. 

The Wynns split after the hotel developer’s romance with a British divorcee, Andrea Hissom, went public this year. They met in 2008 on the Riviera, where he has a luxury yacht. 

Steve Wynn, who turns 68 Jan. 27, and Hissom were seen yesterday at the “Regis & Kelly Live” TV taping at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. 

The Wynns are now living in separate villas at Wynn Las Vegas on the Strip. 

In his divorce complaint, Wynn said that because of the couple’s wealth of community property, neither party should be awarded alimony or other financial support. 

But under Nevada law, community property is supposed to be split in half, which means each is entitled to half of the couple’s lucrative Wynn Resorts stock. Exactly how the stock is being divided, however, remains to be seen. 

Steve and Elaine Wynn reportedly each own more than 24 million shares in Wynn Resorts. Wynn Resort stocks have been hovering between $60 and $70 a share. 

Nevada gaming regulators have been watching the divorce proceedings because Elaine Wynn may have to come forward for licensing if she ends up owning 10 percent of Wynn Resorts stock. It depends on how her ownership share is structured.

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Bone-Jarring Off-Road Desert Race Planned outside Las Vegas, Dec. 4-5

The Henderson Fabtech Desert Classic off-road 60-mile race for cars, trucks and utility vehicles will be Dec. 4-5 in Henderson, Nevada, located just south of Las Vegas. 

In its eighth year, the event marks the final race for this year’s Best in the Desert Racing Association calendar. 

Racing on BLM land, an estimated 15,000 people are anticipated to attend the event, including about 800-people who make up the driving teams. 

On the line is $10,000 for winning the Ford-sponsored event. 

The race is as much for the racers as it is for the onlookers.  Pit areas for onlookers are set up along the course, off Highway 604 south of Sloan. 

The free Henderson Fabtech Desert Classic off-road event kicks off at 11 a.m. on Dec. 4 with vehicle inspectons and an off-road race expo until 6:30 p.m. on Water Strret, near the Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water Street in Henderson, Nevada. 

The first race, for the lower horsepower vehicles, is from 7 a.m. to noon on Dec. 5, followed by the larger horsepower vehicles from noon until about 7 p.m. 

Fans can watch from a spectator area or two pit areas along the course off Highway 604 south of Sloan. 

For more information, please call 702-267-2171, or visit www.hendersonlive.com or www.bitd.com 

Las Vegas Backstage Access plans to be there.  If you need a professional article and/or professional photography, please send us a note.  Just complete a reply to this post and we’ll be right back to you.

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Disaster Planned for Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas is the designated epicenter for a mock nuclear explosion planned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

FEMA had planned to simulate a nuclear explosion right on the Las Vegas Strip to test for emergency preparedness. But the plan is meeting a lot of opposition from all the key players, including Boyd Gaming, MGM Mirage, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Las Vegas Convention and Vistors Authority (LVCVA). 

Critics say a mock nuclear explosion should happen at a place where the damage would have a greater impact, like the Hoover Dam. But the actual site selected will be a step-by-step process and the first battle won is moving the exercise away from the Strip and over to Sunset Park.   

LVCVA says a flood or earthquake drill would be a better alternative over a nuclear blast drill. 

FEMA is continuing to reach out to key stakeholders, including state and local officials, to receive their input on site preferences. 

The exercise is scheduled for May 17, 2010 and is expected to bring 10,000 people to Las Vegas.

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Las Vegas Pitches for Fossil National Park

Las Vegas is making a pitch to have an area including fossil beds northwest of Las Vegas designated as a national park. 

A Clark County spokesman says commissioners endorsed the idea last week and officials say Las Vegas and North Las Vegas are expected to take similar action this week. 

Dubbed the Upper Las Vegas Wash, the area is more than 10 miles northwest of downtown Las Vegas. 

Local officials cite fossil finds from the Pleistocene age and the work of scientists in 1962 who catalogued the remains of ice age mammals such as the Columbian mammoth, American lion and ancient horses.   

No word on whether any mobster remains may be there. 

The legislative resolution asks Congress to designate the area a national park with visitor facilities and working field sites where the public could observe scientific research.

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Sean “Diddy” Combs to Open Las Vegas Nightclub

Sean “Diddy” Combs is about to open a new nightclub in Las Vegas.  Well, at least he’s going to help open one. 

“(The) Hard Rock is opening a club and I’m supposed to be opening up that new club for them,” so says the versatile artist. 

The new nightspot, Vanity, is set to open on New Year’s Eve. 

Still, the rapper formerly known as Puff Daddy won’t necessarily be at the Hard Rock when the ball drops on 2010. 

Instead, he said he is scheduled to host a day or two after the grand opening celebration, on or around Jan. 2. 

Still, he may very well be there at the Hard Rock on NYE. 

Maybe. 

“I may be out here, I may be shooting a television special,” he teased, adding with a smile, “I can’t give you any more details, that’s breaking news.” 

Still, it’s pretty safe to say Puffy is planning to party somewhere in Las Vegas on Dec. 31. 

The hip-hop heavyweight is no stranger to the Las Vegas club scene and likely has a litany of lucrative hosting offers on the table for New Year’s Eve. 

“I’m the Black Sinatra,” he said. “I’m supposed to be out here.” 

It wasn’t always this way for the rapper/actor/producer/fashion designer/fragrance developer/father/vodka czar.  Whew! 

“I used to come to Vegas maybe once every other year,” the outspoken 40-year-old icon said. “I’ve been out here already four times this year … This is the most I’ve been out here.”

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Christina Aguilera Invites Fans to Ring in New Year in Las Vegas

Christina Aguilera is reportedly inviting fans to join in her bash New Year bash in  Las Vegas – for a price. 

The singer will allegedly play the role of the hostess at the December 31 party at Tao nightclub in Las Vegas.  

The star was apparently throwing open the entry for fans with tickets costing $150. The tickets to the lavish party purportedly include entry into the club, food and an open bar.

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Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas has new Rush Tower

Landry’s Restaurants Inc. on Friday opened its $150 million Rush Tower at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. 

The tower features a floating reservation desk for private check-in service, a 75,000-gallon tropical aquarium fish tank, 500 guestrooms that are larger than the Golden Nugget’s existing rooms, four penthouse suites and 70 junior suites. A Chart House Restaurant was also added to the hotel. 

In addition, the tower has a two-level pool, cabanas, lounging areas and The Tank — a year-round outdoor swimming pool and a 200,000-gallon, live shark aquarium. 

A new upscale retail complex has also been added to the Golden Nugget mix.

Rush Tower is part of a $300 million renovation and expansion project that Houston-based Landry’s (NYSE: LNY) is undertaking at the Golden Nugget.

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Ex-Madam Heidi Fleiss Back on Top- Again!

Las Vegas Backstage Access has written many times on the illustrious Heidi Fleiss.

Now, the ex-Madam Heidi Fleiss is back in the news again, and pretty much for the same reason she always made news, selling sex. 

This time however, her source of income is the airing of an HBO special about, Heidi Fleiss’ Stud Farm, her latest sex for money venture in Las Vegas – where anything is legal- well, er…almost.                                                       

Now, fresh off her inpatient drug treatment program stint on VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab 2″ with Dr. Drew Pinsky, in September Fleiss was sentenced to three years probation on felony drug charges stemming from her February ’08 arrest in Pahrump, a rural town 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas.

She needs to stay out of trouble, and away from drugs, through 2012.   She promised she would.

The former Hollywood Madam, 43, plans to leave her home in Pahrump and her many birds in January to be on the show, which is in its last season. It was announced in August that Britain’s Channel 4 would pull the plug on the series due to low viewer ratings. 

District Judge John Davis in Pahrump cleared her earliery in the week to travel to London early January for a paid appearance on the reality television show. 

This will be her second appearance on a reality television show, unless you count all of the times her real life has landed her on televison.

Fleiss told the Review-Journal that she was to be paid $10,000 per episode, money she needs as her most recent endeavor, a dog grooming shop in Las Vegas, is apparently all washed up. 

She continues to draw a paycheck from a laundromat she owns in Pahrump called Dirty Laundry. 

Fleiss originally achieved notoriety through her part in an illegal prositution ring in Hollywood, claiming she made in excess of $10 millon a year which involved high profile celebrities, drugs, and all the other assorted benefits of life down under. 

As for her latest venture, there is not much news as to how many episodes HBO will run, or the business end of the deal either.

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Holly Madison Ushers in 3rd Annual Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Celebration at Paris Las Vegas with Grape Stomp & Week of Events

As the 2009 French grape harvest is declared by celebrated wine connoisseurs worldwide as the best in the last 50 years, crowds converged on Paris Las Vegas yesterday afternoon with a traditional grape stomp to celebrate the harvest. 

Blonde bombshell Las Vegas celebrity entertainer Holly Madison showed her game spirit,  joining in with a Lucille Ball impersonator, reminiscent of the iconic “I Love Lucy” TV scene, to stomp-in the resort’s 3rd annual Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau celebration and be the first to taste the fresh, fruity red wine. 

Yann Bourigault, North America Export Director of Les Vins Georges DuBoeuf, was also on hand at Paris Las Vegas to unveil this year’s custom designed bottle.

 The Las Vegas festivities were at 3 p.m., coinciding with midnight in Paris, France.  

According to French Law, Beaujolais Nouveau, made from hand-harvested Gamay grapes, is released annually on the third Thursday of November at midnight as people around the world usher in the current year’s vintage.  

Not a one-time event, the festivities will continue at Las Vegas Paris for five days of special events, tastings and unique Beaujolais Nouveau pairings at eateries such as Mon Ami Gabi, Les Artistes Steakhouse and the Sterling Brunch at Bally’s Steakhouse. A full schedule of events is available at www.ParisLasVegas.com/pariswine

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CityCenter Too Big for Mr. Big– Las Vegas?

Turns out Sin City is far from recession-proof. Citigroup Global Markets analyst Anil Daswani has doubts that MGM Mirage’s latest offering on the Las Vegas Strip, the gargantuan $8.5 billion CityCenter, planned for official opening and much fanfare on Dec. 16, will have tourists racing to plunk down what little cash they have left. 

“With CityCenter to open within a month … we do not believe that CityCenter will successfully drive visitation without incentives,” Daswani said in a note. “In our view, 5,000+ new rooms will be hard to absorb.” 

CityCenter is the largest privately financed development in the U.S. 

However, noting visits to Las Vegas are trending down 7% in 2009 while unemployment levels have now hit double digits, having some of the highest unemployment figures in the U.S., Mr. Daswani is concerned the new building will cannibalize demand from MGM’s existing properties while adding pressure to room rates.

Citi has a “sell” rating for MGM Mirage.

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Las Vegas New Year’s Eve Firework Displays to Return to Strip Rooftops

Las Vegas residents and vistors alike finally got some great news– they just may be able to actually see the New Year’s Eve half-million dollars of fireworks displays this year! NewYearsStrip

Las Vegas Events (LVE) and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) announced late last week that the New Year’s Eve celebration known as America’s Party: Las Vegas New Year 2010 will include a spectacular fireworks show fired from seven rooftop locations along the three-mile stretch of the Las Vegas Strip. 

Although fireworks displays had been launched from the top of Las Vegas Strip hotels since Dec. 31, 2000, the show was launched from resort parking lots and garages last year when new Clark County fire and safety rules tightened regarding rooftop fireworks following the Monte Carlo rooftop fire in January 2008. 

The lower launch point caused the fireworks display last year to not be viewable at many traditional Las Vegas vantage points. 

But, despite the lower aerial displays, last year’s New Year’s Eve still drew nearly 291,000 visitors to the area, include nearly 30,000 downtown, for an nongaming economic impact of $188 million to Las Vegas, according the Las Vegas Visitors Authority.

 The budget for this year’s Las Vegas show, which is funded by the state’s room tax, has reportedly increased by $50,000 to $550,000– not bad for a poor economic year with many residents out of a job. 

The Las Vegas firing locations (from the south, heading north) this year include the following resort properties: MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, Aria, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island (TI), Venetian and the Stratosphere. 

Fireworks by Grucci of New York will again coordinate the pyrotechnic display. 

The group recently created the spectacular Grand Opening of the Atlantis Hotel and The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai and has executed numerous presidential inaugurations and citywide celebrations.

 Grucci will also do the fireworks for the $8.5 billion CityCenter grand opening planned for Dec. 16 in Las Vegas. 

Michael Green, a history professor at the College of Southern Nevada, said New Year’s Eve fireworks high above the Strip have become part of the fabric of Las Vegas, commenting, “Granting that Las Vegas is still in a lot of economic hurt, the signs are pointing the right way. So maybe the fireworks will give us something to look forward to and up to.”

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Only One Gambling Site in Las Vegas’ New $8.5 Billion CityCenter

AriaIs gambling in Las Vegas becoming passé with the advent of new venues? 

Gaming regulators in Las Vegas last Friday granted preliminary licensing approval for the only casino component inside the $8.5 billion CityCenter project and suggested the revenue mix might be sharply different from the traditional gaming-driven environment that has existed since Las Vegas’ creation. 

During a hearing that lasted more than two hours, the Nevada Gaming Control Board was told not to expect additional gaming inside the multiple hotel, high-rise residential and entertainment complex. 

Aria, pictured, CityCenter’s 4,004-room centerpiece, was designed as the project’s only casino. Vdara and Mandarin Oriental are nongaming hotels, and Veer Tower is strictly residential. 

Executives from MGM Mirage and Dubai World, its 50-50 partner in the development, explained the CityCenter concept, using a promotional sales video and previewing Aria’s first television advertisement in what will be a $20 million marketing campaign. 

Gaming is not the focal point of the 67-acre project. The casino at Aria, roughly the size of Bellagio, will have only 145 table games and 1,940 slot machines, half of which will be linked to a server-based gaming platform. 

Aria President Bill McBeath said the casino’s revenue projections are modeled with Bellagio, but the CityCenter casino has fewer slot machines. He said Aria is designed to have private gambling salons like other MGM Mirage high-end casinos, but the rooms will not be used immediately. 

“There will be cross-marketing between the properties,” McBeath said. Aria will host MGM Mirage’s private Chinese New Year party for high-end customers at the MGM Grand, Bellagio and other company resorts. 

McBeath said Aria’s slot machines are projected to produce roughly $320 win per unit per day. 

During MGM Mirage’s quarterly earning conference call with analysts, City Center Chief Executive Officer Bobby Baldwin said Aria would produce $1.2 billion in revenue in 2010. 

“The (revenue) projections are optimistic,” Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said. “But they seem reasonable.” 

The three-member control board then recommended unanimous approval for Aria. The Nevada Gaming Commission will consider the recommendation this week.

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FREE Beer Tastings in Las Vegas

Here’s a super holiday savings deal you can’t beat:  Free beer tastings are held from 7 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday at Lee’s Discount Liquor, 7411 W. Lake Mead Blvd. in Las Vegas. 

It’s a chance to experience global beers.  Light snacks are provided. 

For more information, please call 702-804-7400.   Please tell them that Las Vegas Backstage Access sent you.

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New Fusion Bar at The Palazzo in Las Vegas Offers Guests Out of this World Latin-Inspired Cocktails

There is a whole new vibrant energy on the casino floor at The Palazzo in Las Vegas.  Their new Fusion bar has recently opened and it features a Latin-inspired mixology bar with beautifully handcrafted cocktails focusing on the Latin American beverage culture. 

Designed by hand-picked, award-winning bartenders and mixologists, Fusion’s cocktail menu focuses on Brazilian, Peruvian, and Mexican regions of the world. Flavorful music and video from Latin America play throughout the day and night as guests enjoy delicious fusions custom made by a skillfully trained mixology team. 

The mixology team at Fusion creates their select cocktails through muddling– a technique that uses the concept of mixing fresh fruit with a stainless steel rod, by hand, to create a refreshing, all-natural concoction. Examples include the Peruvian-fused Pisco Tango, with mango infused Barsol Pisco Quebranta, fresh lime juice, rock candy syrup, and funkin mango puree; Brazilian-infused Pineapple Batida with Agua Luca Cachaca, fresh pineapple juice, and sweetened condensed milk; or the Mexican-fused Paloma with pink grapefruit, tequila, rock candy syrup, fresh pink grapefruit juice and 7 Up. 

“Fusion brings the regional beverage culture of Latin America to The Palazzo,” said Sebastien Silvestri, executive director of food and beverage for The Palazzo and The Venetian. “With fine spirits such as rum, pisco, cachaca, and tequila coupled with fresh fruit, the cocktail experience at Fusion will allow guests to enjoy a premium beverage in a high energy environment.” 

Along with offering the finest cocktails, gaming machines consisting of blackjack, keno, poker, and slots are conveniently located at the bar. Happy Hour Specials occur daily from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Midnight. Fusion is located on The Palazzo casino floor and is open 24 hours a day. For more information please call 702-607-7777 or visit www.palazzolasvegas.com.

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Wanna Learn to Roll Sushi in Las Vegas?

If you’re like us at Las Vegas Backstage Access, you love dining on sushi, it’s just that if you partake often it leaves a big dent in your wallet.  Well, here’s your opportunity to learn to roll sushi and save money in the process. 

Hachi located inside of Red Rock Resort, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd. in Las Vegas is offering a sushi rolling class at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 for $85 per person, plus tax. 

You’ll be learning from the best- executive chef Linda Rodriguez, and her husband and chef de cuisine, Martin Swift, and head sushi chef Fernando Luna of Hachi, who will combine to teach the yummy class. 

Rodriguez was the first female chef to have studied under famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa. 

The two-hour class will offer each participant his or her own work area with all ingredients conveniently at arm’s length. 

For more information or to make a reservation, please call 702-797-7054.

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Michael Jackson’s Doctor Appears Before Judge Today in Las Vegas Court

Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician at the heart of Michael Jackson’s ongoing death investigation, appeared in Clark County Family Court today in Las Vegas because of his delinquent child support payments. 

In a surprise move, the child’s mother agreed to not force him to pay the $14,000 in back child support payments. Going forth, however, Murray will be required to pay $1,003 a month. 

Murray appeared to explain why he’s fallen behind in the support payments to a California woman and her son. 

Murray’s attorney, Christopher Aaron, argued that his client is unable to get work because of Michael Jackson’s death publicity. 

Dr. Murray admits giving proponyl to Jackson just before his death.

When the hearing was over, city marshals also made a rare move, blocking the media from leaving the courtroom. They let Murray get to his car and leave before they allowed media out of the courtroom. 

“They were making a decision that they needed to protect the safety of others in the building. They wanted to maintain a level of decorum throughout the building,” said court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer. 

Aaron says Murray had to close his medical practice and move due to personal threats following Jackson’s death June 25.

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Slipnot/Stone Sour Frontman Corey Taylor Weds Stephanie Lub in Las Vegas on Nov. 13

According to People.com, Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor married Stephanie Luby on ‘lucky’ Friday, Nov. 13 at Las Vegas’ Palms Casino & Hotel, where the wedding party walked down the aisle to Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. 

Approximately 350 wedding guests packed the hotel’s nearby Pearl Concert Theater, including Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, as well as Camp Freddy’s Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison, who acted as the minister. The rockers then all took the stage, and even the groom joined in on three songs.

This is Taylor’s second marriage.

Taylor, 35, has two children: A daughter named Angie, born in 1992, and a son named Griffin, born in 2002, both of whom he had with his first wife, Scarlett.

Taylor divorced Scarlett — whom he married on March 11, 2004 in a small ceremony at the Botanical center in Des Moines, Iowa — in early 2007. 

In the November 2008 issue of Revolver magazine, he is quoted as saying, “After I got sober, I realized my relationship wasn’t right for me. My wife and I had damaged each other too much.”

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Asian Megastar Rain Plans Rare U.S. Appearance in Las Vegas

Extremely popular Korean superstar Rain, 27, promoted by J-Tune Entertainment, has announced he will play his first American concerts in three years when he headlines The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas Dec. 24-25. 

Rain is one of the very first Asian pop singing stars who has a rapidly growing fan base extending beyond Asia. 

Rain’s last American concert also took place at The Colsseum in December 2006. The Caesars shows will be the first in the U.S. since the end of the lawsuit brought against the singer for canceling concerts in Los Angeles and Hawaii in 2007. 

This concert marks be the U.S. leg of his “Legend of Rainism” tour that took place in Japan in August and in South Korea last month. 

Rain is also on an American press junket to promote “Ninja Assassin,” a Hollywood extreme action movie produced by James McTeigue, in which the South Korean-born star, whose real name is Jeong Ji-hoon, plays the lead role of Raizo, an orphan who is trained by a secret ninja clan to become a deadly killer. 

Amazingly, Rain pulled off 90-percent of the stunt roles, using minimal wire support. He was hurt on many occasions, and though he didn’t break any bones he bears “many scars of honor.” 

It is also the first time a Korean star is playing the title role in a major Hollywood franchise. 

The modern martial arts flick is the South Korean superstar’s second collaboration with the creators of  “The Matrix” series. He made his Hollywood debut in “Speed Racer,” which was directed by the Wachowski brothers. 

Before playing in Las Vegas, Rain performs a two-night stand at AsiaWorld-Arena in Hong Kong Nov. 28-29, followed by a Dec. 3 gig at Jakarta International Event & Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Links:  Web  http://www.rain-jihoon.com/main.html  and http://www.rainism.com and MySpace http://www.myspace.com/officialrainusa

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Bette Midler to Leave Caesars in Las Vegas in January

Caesars Palace in Las Vegas is losing its Colosseum headliner in a few months and has had to hustle to replace her. BetteMidler

Bette Midler is wrapping up her two-year run in “The Showgirl Must Go On” in January. Cher has stepped up to fill the void and has added to her contract shows in April and May. 

“What a fabulous two years this has been, and I thank AEG and Caesars Palace for the best partnership a showgirl could imagine.  Who knows?  These legs have had such a great run in the desert—it may be time to haul them to places with more humidity and fewer slot machines.  But first I need to finish recording my album of the sexiest new love songs that only a showgirl could sing,” stated Midler. 

“Bette is one of the most talented, hard working professionals in the business and we would have loved for her to stay longer, said John Meglen, co-CEO and President of AEG Live/Concerts West. “All of us at AEG Live thank Bette and the entire cast, crew and staff for a great two year run at The Colosseum.” 

“Like every one of her performances, the approaching finale of Bette’s two-year engagement leaves us applauding for more,” said Gary Selesner, president of Caesars Palace. “Bette always will have a home at Caesars Palace.” 

The Showgirl Must Go On will perform November 7 through 15 and December 30 through January 31, 2010. The show is dark Monday, Thursday and occasional Fridays. Tickets for these final performances are on-sale now at Ticketmaster.com, keyword “Bette Midler”, by calling 1-877-7BETTEM, or in person at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Box Office in Las Vegas, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Hey, Steve Wynn, can you spare a dime?

As most everyone, casino mogul Steve Wynn has gone through some cash woes this year, what with his impending divorce and bad stock performance.  But things are apparently looking up for Stevie… 

Last week Wynn Resorts, Ltd. announced it will pay its shareholders a $4-per-share dividend on Dec. 3, which will earn Steve Wynn, the casino operator’s founder and largest shareholder, a payment of at least $88.6 million- that’s M-I-L-L-I-O-N. 

Yep, the company’s board of directors authorized the special one-time $4 payment for shareholders of record as of Nov. 19.

According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wynn, the chairman and chief executive officer, holds more than 22.15 million of the company’s 123.11 million outstanding shares. 

The company, which operates Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, Wynn Macau, is building the $650 million Encore at Wynn Macau, and announced it was starting a regular cash dividend program next year.  It expects to pay 20 cents per share dividend in the first quarter. 

The one-time $4 payment will reportedly cost Wynn Resorts more than $492 million. 

The rich get richer.

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Rolling Strippers Prove Too Much for Las Vegas

As previously reported by Las Vegas Backstage Access on Nov. 11, live strippers cavorting on the back of a truck have now proved too much — even for Sin City. 

A Las Vegas strip club has agreed to stop an advertising promotion that involved hauling bikini-clad exotic dancers around in a truck down Las Vegas Boulevard with clear plastic sides. 

Larry Beard, marketing director of Deja Vu Showgirls in Las Vegas, said late last Friday that he’s taking his lawyer’s advice and parking the truck. 

“We’re going to respect the opinion of the folks that are against it,” Beard told The Associated Press. “We’re going to be good citizens and take it off the street.”

Beard had told the AP earlier this week that he was prepared to fight county leaders and others who thought the moving truck promotion was unseemly or unsafe.

“The girls are wearing more than the girls at the swimming pool wear,” Beard said this week. “Even though they’re not stripping and taking their clothes off I think people are offended because of the idea that they do.” 

The truck rolled for 13 nights along the Las Vegas Strip from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., trying to lure customers to the club. Three sides had windows that weren’t tinted, offering views of the strippers dancing around a stripper pole. 

The tactic worked, with business booming almost twice what it was before the since the truck started going out, Beard said. 

“We even have cars and limos follow us to the club,” Beard said. 

The dancers were allowed to perform in the truck because it was classified as a vehicle for hire, which let the dancers ride in the back without seat belts, Beard said. 

Public outrage over the truck grew as pictures and videos of the truck surfaced on the Internet and a county commissioner in Las Vegas vowed to shut it down.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said he got calls from citizens who hated it and others who liked it, but he considered the truck a safety problem. 

“It’s clearly a distraction,” Sisolak told the AP. “Somebody’s going to turn their head to look at some girl flipping upside-down and spinning on a pole, and take their eyes off the road and could swerve and pop up the sidewalk and plow into a bunch of tourists that are walking along.” 

Sisolak said he plans to try to close a loophole in local laws regulating mobile billboards.  The next commission meeting is tomorrow in Las Vegas. 

Regulations prohibit advertising vehicles that use animation or flashing lights, and Sisolak said he would try to prevent live entertainers from being used, too.

Meanwhile, he’s happy the club owners decided to park the truck. 

“Could they have won in court? That would have been a long, costly, time-exhaustive battle,” Sisolak said. “They clearly got a lot of publicity as it stands, which I’m sure made them happy.”

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Jeffery Pollack Resigns from World Series of Poker, Harrah’s in Las Vegas

World Series of Poker (WSOP) Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack has resigned from his post at the WSOP and Harrah’s.  Friday, November 13th, was Pollack’s last day on the job. JeffreyPollock

“It’s bittersweet, but I’m leaving with just great memories and a really nice sense of it being a great run. More than anything else, I’m just appreciative of the opportunity to have been part of the WSOP,” said Pollack, who was instrumental in growing the WSOP since assuming his position in 2005. 

The WSOP entered its 40th year this year, with Michigan pro Joe Cada crowned its latest and youngest champion last week. 

World Series of Poker spokesman Seth Palansky said there were no immediate intentions to replace Pollack. 

Back in May, Pollack teamed with former Party Gaming CEO Mitch Garber to lead Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment, the casino giant’s newly-formed online arm. Pollack was slated to be its President and Harrah’s CEO Gary Loveman commented in a press release announcing the launch: “As the world’s largest gaming company, Harrah’s is taking a proactive approach toward international and interactive expansion. It is important we position ourselves to explore new markets as well as new technologies with our best in class brands.” 

Pollack said his next career move remains up in the air: “I really wanted to see this year through, see this series through. I’m leaving on an absolute high note.”

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Missouri couple Hits Las Vegas Jackpot

Last week a Missouri couple hit the jackpot at Mystere … Cirque du Soleil declared them their 30 millionth Las Vegas customer and awarded them a VIP return trip.

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Sahara’s Las Vegas Deal for Hawaii Residents

The Sahara in Las Vegas has quite a deal with Hawaiian Airlines:  Buy a specially priced package for Hawaii residents and fly on Hawaiian Airlines and get a 5 percent discount on your air and two miles for every buck you spend at the property. You also can win one of these packages by texting Oceanic Vegas to 32862, or enter online at http://www.KimosVegas.com.

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Wayne Newton Saying “Danke Schoen” to Las Vegas?

Wayne Newton is telling his fans “Danke Schoen” after 50 years in Las Vegas and hinting that his latest run in Las Vegas could be his last. But the singer synonymous with Sin City says he’s leaving himself an opening in case he wants to perform after April. WayneNewton2

The man known throughout the world as “Mr. Las Vegas” says retirement is possible, but that decision won’t hinge on the success of his new show that opened at the Tropicana Las Vegas hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip. 

Instead, he says, it depends on whether his itch to keep working conflicts with his desire to spend more time with his 7-year-old daughter. 

“I’m enjoying my second daughter in a way that I didn’t get a chance to do the first time around,” Newton, 67, told The Associated Press.  The decision that I make, whether or not to perform or retire, will pretty much be based on that.” 

Newton’s current Tropicana show, “Once Before I Go” took 2½ months to write and is presented as a live memoir of Newton’s life and his career, with never-before-shared insights from Newton about personal episodes along the way. 

“It’s challenging to keep it entertaining,” Newton said. “And that was my first prerequisite.” 

Newton has told his audience that it was tough for him to pick highlight songs from a career that includes 165 records. 

“It would be impossible for me to pick songs from all of them even if I remembered them, which I don’t,” Newton quipped. 

Newton arrived in Las Vegas in 1959, when a two-week tryout at the Fremont Hotel & Casino turned into lounge act of six shows per night, six nights a week for nearly a year. The crooner earned national fame after a 1962 television appearance on “The Jackie Gleason Show,” which led to many more singing and acting gigs on TV and in film. 

He also headlined at several casinos throughout Sin City, including the New Frontier, which hosted entertainers including Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan and Siegfried & Roy over its 65 years. The casino was imploded in 2007. 

“I’ve been working since I was four,” Newton said. “There really has not been a time in my life that I don’t remember working.” 

 “If I still feel like I have something to give when this particular show is over, then I’ll make the decision to probably curtail work a little bit but not give it up totally,” he told the Associated Press. “If I don’t feel that way at the end of this, then I’ll probably hang it up.”

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Cirque du Soleil Announces New Elvis Presley Show in Las Vegas

Cirque du Soleil has announced the title for its new show based on the life and music of Elvis Presley: Viva Elvis

The production, to be directed by choreographer Vincent Paterson, will take up residence at the new Aria Resort & Casino in the brand spanking new $8.5 billion CityCenter in Las Vegas, beginning performances on December 18. 

Tickets are not yet on sale but the show will open for media previews in December. 

The show will fuse dance and acrobatics, live music and iconic tracks, nostalgia and modernity, high technology and raw emotion. 

While he is most famous for his collaborations with Madonna and Michael Jackson, Paterson has also worked in the performing arts. In 2006, he staged a ’50s style revival of Massenet’s Manon for Los Angeles Opera. 

Cirque du Soleil currently has numerous shows already in Las Vegas, including O, LOVE, Ka, Zumanity, and Mystere. 

The company is also currently touring its Allegria show; recently opened its new show Ovo in Toronto; and another new show, Banana Shpeel, begins performances in Chicago this month and will then play New York.

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The Venetian & The Palazzo Welcomes the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s 5th annual Carnivale du Vin Saturday night in Las Vegas

The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas welcome the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s 5th annual Carnivale du Vin charity event this Saturday evening, Nov. 14. 

Ranked by Wine Spectator as a “Top Ten U.S. Charity Wine Auction,” the Carnivale du Vin celebration brings together the best in celebrity chefs and winemakers who serve a once-in-a-lifetime dinner to esteemed sponsors and guests. This group showcases its passion through unique culinary pairings with the season’s finest offerings. 

Held at the Venetian, the festive night will feature a live auction with rare wines and unique travel and lifestyle experiences as well as musical entertainment by the Neville Brothers. 

Ticket prices are $1,000 each and may be purchased online at www.venetian.com or by calling The Venetian Box Office at 702-414-7470. 

Celebrities expected to attend the event include: Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Charlie Trotter, Daniel Boulud, Michael Mina, Bradley Ogden, Kerry Simon, Charlie Palmer, Joe Bastianich, Karina Smirnoff, Rob Goldstein, Sammy Hagar, and the Neville Brothers. 

If you would like a pro article on this event, interview coverage and/or pro photography, please leave us a note responding to this announcement and someone from Las Vegas Backstage Access will be back to you promptly.

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Tenaya Creek Brewery in Las Vegas to Host Special 10-Year Anniversary Party on Nov. 14

The Tenaya Creek Brewery, 3101 N. Tenaya way, will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Nov. 14, beginning at 4 p.m. 

If you’ve never visited this classy pub tucked away in northwest Las Vegas, you’ve been missing out.  Besides, their onsite microbrewery will whet your whistle like no other. 

The event is limited to the first 125 people and the people will be closed to the public.  A ticket will be required to enter. 

The evening is very special, featuring a special tapping of the brewery’s 10-year anniversary double alt beer, along with dinner catered by the yummy Memphis Championship BBQ. 

Tickets are $50 per person and include a 10th anniversary glass, three Tenaya Creek draft beers and dinner.  

There will even be a free designated drive service available during the event.  

All proceeds are going to a good cause- benefiting the Las Vegas injured police officers fund. 

For more information, please call 702-362-7335

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Betcha Can’t Down this Las Vegas Rippa of a Burger!

Designed like an artsy roadhouse (or are all longhorn skulls just blown glass?), this eco-friendly Las Vegas burger joint serves juicy piles of dry-aged, hormone-free Hereford beef with never-frozen accoutrements: homemade pickles delivered daily, from-scratch ketchup, and farmstead cheeses (American, Cabot cheddar, Brie, goat, and you-name-it). burger

Their saloon-style bar innovatively serves up Vitamin Water cocktails or, if all that heath-food c__p is not for you, take a guzzle of their booze-loaded milkshakes with straws made from a biodegradable corn-based polymer — along with the shake, the straw will go straight to your hips.  And the good thing about it all- their food has no MSG- and they have wheelchair access. Imagine that. 

But the good gets even better.  They have recently issued a gastronomic challenge of unmatched giganto proportions: Finish their four-pound Extreme Burger with fixings and the pound of fries that come with it in an hour and the burger will be renamed for you.   Think of it like streets being named for the deceased… 

Recently, competitive eater Ron Koch of Las Vegas reportedly finished the meal – lounging with a respirator now – in 27 minutes, having it promptly and aptly named the “Undertaker.”   It included six patties, weighing a half-pound each, cheese, bacon, Portobello mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, burger sauce, spicy mustard, herb mayo and ghost peppers (aka naga jolokia peppers, confirmed by Guinness World Records to be the hottest chili in the world) and served on a sweet egg bun no less. 

But all records are meant to be broken, right?   Their new challenge features 11 patties (if the math is right, that’s a little shy of eight pounds) and consume not one, but three pounds of greasy fries of the good cholesterol kind.  Down about 11 pounds of food in an hour and the burger will be renamed for you – – or perhaps you could negotiate your choice of headstone at the grave site of your choosing?

The good news is that even if you don’t finish in an hour or all of it, the bill still will total $30. 

Now, really, is this an epic feast your arteries can be denied? 

To test your eating prowess, just head down to LBS Burger restaurant located inside the Red Rock Resort, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd., in Las Vegas. Call if you dare- 702-835-9393.

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Only the Taliban Views This Type of Las Vegas Air Show

…and it’s a whole lot of pain mixed in with terrible shock and awe!

This Saturday and Sunday, more than 100 of the best fighter planes in the world will loop, swoop and dive in the sky over Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, performing as part of the Aviation Nation 2009 show.

Their eighth consecutive Las Vegas air show is expected to draw more than 100,000 spectators to the base, making it the largest free public event in Nevada this year. 

Queued up on the runway will be aircraft ranging in age from a World War II-era PT-17 Steerman biplane to a new F-22 fighter jet. Other notables include the A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-17 Globemaster III, the Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet and the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16. 

The Air Force Thunderbirds are expected to steal the show again with a brand new maneuver: the diamond-loop takeoff, performed in four new Block 52 F-16s. 

“We get airborne, retract the gear and essentially go straight into a loop and maneuver into the diamond formation,” explains Lt. Col Greg Thomas, the Thunderbirds’ squadron commander. “It’s something the Thunderbirds have never done, and it’s something that most teams can’t do because they don’t have the power we do.” (Each Block 52 packs 29,000 pounds of thrust.) 

The military will be joined by three civilian acts: the Horsemen P-51 Demonstration Team, the Patriots Jet Demonstration Team and California resident Bill Reesman in his MiG-17. 

The show will feature more than just roaring air maneuvers.  Ground displays will depict the history of American aviation and America’s military might, showcasing several military aircraft fresh from Iraq and Afghanistan battlefields. 

Food, beverages and novelties will be available for purchase. 

Free round-trip shuttle bus transportation will be available to and from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The public will not otherwise be allowed entry into Nellis Air Force Base.

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Pacquiao-Cotto Fight in Las Vegas on Saturday to Be One for the Ages

Boxer Manny Pacquiao’s massive punching power is only matched by his massive drawing power, which has grown to overwhelm the traditional boundaries of the often insular realm of boxing, is driving the appeal of Saturday’s megafight with Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas- the boxing capital of the world.PacquiaoCotto

Arguably the most celebrated persona in his native Philippines, Pacquiao’s visage now graces the cover of the Asia edition of Time magazine. A five-page feature story appears in all editions, global and U.S., of the magazine. It delves into Pacquiao’s humble roots and his political ambitions in his homeland. 

“It is a great honor for me to be the face of my people and to let everyone know we are a small but mighty country,” Pacquiao said. “I have great pride for all of the Filipinos living throughout the world and it is these people that I fight for each and every time I step into the ring.” 

As a point of comparison, the most recent boxing covers of Time’s U.S. edition came in 1988 (Mike Tyson), 1978 (Muhammad Ali) and 1971 (Ali and Joe Frazier). 

Officials with Top Rank, the lead promoter of Saturday’s fight, point to a recent Sunday feature on Pacquiao in The New York Times as a manifestation of the media blitz that has accompanied the buildup to the fight. It was important to the promotion because of the worldwide reach of the newspaper’s Sunday edition.

It was also significant, and telling, because the Times typically affords boxing about as much coverage as it does the lumberjack competition. 

In a separate arena, Pacquiao was recognized this year as a Gusi Peace Prize laureate, an honor based in Manila, for humanitarianism. 

Pacquiao’s training sessions at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif., leading up to the fight not only generate mob scenes of fans and media members, but also attract the attention of the fire marshal to ensure the scene remains under some degree of control.

With its widespread appeal — “Beyond boxing, beyond sports,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said — the fight promotion has drawn some unconventional corporate partners. For example, the History Channel’s reality series “Pawn Stars,” about a family of Las Vegas pawnbrokers, is a sponsor. Among other branding efforts, the “Pawn Stars” logo will appear on the mat Saturday night.

It’s all expected to add up to pay-per-view sales — the engine that powers the big-time boxing business — for the fight that could approach or exceed record performances. 

The biggest pay-per-view bonanza to date was the 2007 fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya at the MGM Grand, which generated 2.4 million “buys.” This year, Pacquiao’s fight against Ricky Hatton did about 900,000 buys, and Mayweather’s fight with Juan Manuel Marquez generated about 1 million. 

“The closed-circuit locations are doing tremendously” in the lead-up to Pacquiao-Cotto, Arum said. “We had the quickest sellout of tickets in years. We base how the pay-per-view is going to do on those indicators. It should do absolutely great.”

Pacquiao stands to earn $20 million for the fight, with Cotto’s total take expected to reach $10 million — the biggest paydays for both fighters. 

The hook (no pun intended) is that Pacquiao, nearly a 3-1 betting favorite, will be pursuing a world title in a seventh weight division. But that’s just the sports-trivia way of wording it. 

In real terms, Pacquiao has done more than any other boxer to obliterate the very notion of weight classes in boxing, along with the fractured and too-often meaningless so-called championships they spawn. He wants to test himself against the best. 

The “catch weight” for Saturday’s fight is 145 pounds, but Pacquiao said if it was up to him personally, he would have gladly agreed to fight at the 147-pound welterweight limit. 

Wisely — and appropriately — everyone associated with the fight has declined to address the next step for the winner, although a potential showdown with Mayweather awaits. 

And for another, Saturday’s fight is a tough one to predict. It has split journalists, fighters and other boxing figures in their forecasts. Let’s say, for instance, it ends with a close decision. A rematch between Pacquiao and Cotto is a real possibility.

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Las Vegas & Philippine Economies Get Boost this Weekend in Las Vegas

The “Philippine Connection” is very strong this weekend in Las Vegas.  

For one, this Saturday night is “Fight Night” at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas with the welterweight title bout of Manny Pacquiao versus Miguel Cotto bringing businesses from around the globe to Las Vegas, most significantly from the Philippines, the home of Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao.  {Fight article in Las Vegas Backstage Access tomorrow.} 

Even Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has given both fighters a key to the city. 

Pinoy Pinay, a local Filipino restaurant on East Sahara, has welcomed Manny Pacquiao as a customer many times. And right now, their business is buzzing with anticipation. 

Clearly, “Fight Night” in Las Vegas is more than just a sporting event; it’s an economic engine attracting customers from around the world. The fighters will be earning millions, and so will Las Vegas, as well as having a Philippine economic imact. 

Ron Cabildo is a promoter for the Manny Pacquiao after-fight party at the Mandalay Bay. “It brings in my country people together. And they know how to spend money on the nightlife industry.” 

Filipino singing superstar Martin Nievera is also performing in Las Vegas this weekend at the Suncoast.   Martin is idolized in the Philippines. 

Martin was part of the cast of his father’s, Robert’s, old troupe the Society of Seven for the final two months of last year’s run at the Flamingo in Las Vegas.

The Society of Seven returned last week for a long-term engagement at the Gold Coast. 

That means the Nievera family and the Society of Seven will be going head to head this weekend in Las Vegas for a great Filipino cause. 

Nievera will perform at the Suncoast. Over the past five years he has had many Vegas engagements, including starring at the Golden Nugget for three months in 2004. Most recently he co-starred at the Suncoast in “Vocal Soup” with Susan Anton, Clint Holmes and Domenick Allen. 

Nievera jokes that producer Ed Matthews offered him the three-night gig at the Suncoast but had to look him up seven times on the Internet to find out what he does. 

What Nievera does is sing standards and pop hits. He’s recorded more than 30 albums. 

Nievera is also raising money for victims of typhoons in the Philippines. The nation was hit hard this year by a series of devastating storms. The two worst took place in September and early October, claiming more than 600 lives and causing more than $300 million in damage. 

“That’s what three nights at the Suncoast is doing,” Nievera says. “It’s more than just a gig. It will, hopefully, be another step toward hope and recovery for those folks suffering so badly in the Philippines. 

“Half a million people are without homes. Highways are now rivers. Bodies are showing up out of nowhere after being swept away by flooding all over the Philippines. The storms hit everyone — the rich, the poor, the powerful and the weak,”says Nievera. 

This weekend in Las Vegas is a big one for the Filipino’s in so many ways.

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Another Las Vegas Gameshow Opens: “The Las Vegas Rock and Roll Gameshow”

If Wayne Brady and “Let’s Make a Deal” isn’t enough, the Four Queens in Las Vegas is doing a test run of “The Las Vegas Rock and Roll Gameshow” that runs today, Sunday, Wednesday and Nov. 19 and 22.  

It’s a low-budget affair meant to appeal to the ham in all of us.  “Peoplw will never watch anything more interesting than themselves,” says co-producer and co-star Matt Phillips says of the show.

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Singer Toni Braxton & Hubby Splitting Up?

Soul singer and frequent Las Vegas performer Toni Braxton has reportedly split from her husband Keri Lewis after eight years of marriage. ToniBraxtonKeriLewis

The couple has two children, seven year old Denim and Diezel, six. 

The split news, reported by Essence.com, comes as the Unbreak My Heart singer faces the prospect of losing her home after she allegedly defaulted on her mortgage payments. 

The singer owes more than $12,500 on her mansion in Century City, California and officials at the Bank of America are now looking to foreclose on the property, according to TMZ.com. 

The news comes just a week after it was revealed that Braxton is facing a lawsuit from bosses at another financial institution, City National Bank, who claim the star owes them $900,000 in loan payments. 

Braxton has been facing financial difficulties ever since she scrapped a series of Las Vegas concerts in 2008 after she was hospitalised with a reported heart problem. She is currently embroiled in a legal battle with her insurance company, after the firm refused to pay out on the axed shows.

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Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Sun to Retire in December

The managing editor of the Las Vegas Sun says he’ll retire next month. 

Michael J. Kelley said he plans to split time between his hometown of Kansas City, Mo., and Maryland, where his daughter and two grandchildren reportedly live. MichaelKelly

Kelley, 67, started in the newspaper business in 1960 and has been managing editor at the Sun since 1997. 

In April, the Sun won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for stories about construction safety and worker deaths at resort projects in Las Vegas. 

Kelley reportedly told Sun President and Editor Brian Greenspun last summer that he planned to retire and he notified his staff yesterday. 

The Greenspun Media Group owns the Sun.

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Actress Eva Longoria Parker Shows Her Stuff on Stripper Pole

Actress and frequent Las Vegas partier Eva Longoria Parker gave comedian pal and Las Vegas imbiber George Lopez a thrill of a lifetime on his new late-night TV show on Monday– by slithering seductively on a stripper pole! EvaLangoriaParker

The Desperate Housewives star told Lopez she’d show off the pole dancing skills that Carmen Electra had taught her if the pilot of his programme, Lopez Tonight!, got picked up. 

And when the Latino funnyman debuted on Monday, sure enough sexy Longoria Parker fulfilled her promise. 

Dressed in a sparkly black mini-dress and sporting a new blonde look, the actress shrieked when she realised Lopez had a pole set up on his stage, insisting she wasn’t dressed appropriately, joking, “You’re gonna see my hoo-ha.” 

But the game actress made a valiant attempt, revealing it was more successful than the one she had tried at home on St. Valentine’s Day. 

“Carmen Electra is a friend of mine and she has these stripper poles that she sells, so she sent me a stripper pole for Valentine’s,” said Parker. 

“I set it up myself… and I was trying to do the sexy dance for Valentine’s and I got on it to swing and I went `whack’ and I fell, so I never really got to do it.” 

Proving that her business skills are just as finely honed as her slick pole dancing abilities, the actress plans to follow her upcoming promotional TV campaign with Dutch beer giants Heineken, by launching her second Mexican eatery, Beso, in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve 2010 and then branch out the yummy brand to airports across America, starting with L.A.’s LAX. 

Her first Beso restaurant was opened in Los Angeles in 2008.

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Six Hells Angels Clubs Raided in Nevada

Six Hells Angels motorcycle club locations were raided today in an investigation of a brawl that left two people with stab wounds at a Las Vegas wedding chapel nearly a year ago, police said. 

There were no confrontations or injuries when heavily armed police SWAT and intelligence unit investigators served warrants at dawn at sites that included a Hells Angels clubhouse about five miles northwest of downtown Las Vegas, police Lt. Dave Logue said. 

Homes in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada also were searched. 

“It involves the wedding chapel stabbings as well as another current investigation regarding our local Hells Angels club,” Logue said. “We were looking for specific items … including business records.” 

No arrests were made and the sealed warrants were not released. 

KLAS-TV in Las Vegas showed a broken front door and window at a white, two-story Hells Angels clubhouse marked with the letters “HAMC” and “Sin City.” SWAT officers pushed through a red garage door, but it was not clear if anyone was in the building. 

A lawyer who represented the Hells Angels in the past did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. 

The raid came 11 months after authorities reported two people were stabbed in a brawl between rival motorcycle gang members at the downtown Special Memory Wedding Chapel. Officials said the violence erupted when two weddings were merely booked at the same time. 

Police said one of the injured men identified himself as a member of the Mongols motorcycle club and said his assailants were Hells Angels. 

A 2002 casino brawl between Hells Angels and Mongols left three dead and dozens injured, disrupting the annual Laughlin River Run motorcycle rally.

Seven Hells Angels members pleaded guilty to federal and state charges in that confrontation. 

Six Mongols members also pleaded guilty in November 2007 to various state felony charges in the case but avoided trial in state court on charges including murder, attempted murder and conspiracy.

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Strippers Strip Down Strip in Las Vegas

Even the men who hand out the alluring but tawdry “nude girls direct to your room” handbills stopped their hawking long enough to do some gawking at the “stripper-mobile” as it rolled down the Strip in Las Vegas.   Nearly everyone stopped to take notice. Stripmobile

The vehicle is akin to a small U-Haul truck but with Plexiglas surrounding the brightly lit cargo area instead of walls. In the middle is a gleaming stripper pole. Swinging around the pole is a scantily clad young woman. Two of her fellow strippers are in the back of the truck too, eagerly awaiting their turns. 

It’s the ultimate new advertising vehicle that really draws in the business in Las Vegas, according to Larry Beard, marking director for Déjà Vu Showgirls. Having run the truck up and down the Strip late at night and into the wee hours for only the past 11 days, he claims it has doubled business at the all-nude Déjà Vu and Little Darlings gentlemen’s clubs. 

If a couple of Clark County commissioners get their way, however, it might soon be a late, great idea. Arguing that state and county laws prohibit the use of a public right of way for advertising-only vehicles, as well as the possibility that the distracting nature of the “advertising” is such that it could cause accidents, commissioners plan to discuss it at this coming Tuesday’s board meeting. 

“You could have 10 of them out there pretty quick and a million people just staring,” Commissioner Steve Sisolak said Tuesday. “We have to get a handle on it before it gets too out of hand.” 

But inside the nearly soundproof rectangle that literally glows from a distance, Kay, 21, and Alyssa and Bella, both 20, were concerned about the pole slipping out of their hands. They balanced on clear-plastic high heels and laughed and posed. Their bikini tops and bottoms are skintight to try to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions during acrobatics on the pole. 

Kay used a loudspeaker to urge onlookers to come see her sans clothing at Déjà Vu. 

A young man in a passing SUV waved a fistful of dollars out his window. The double-takes spread like a wave through the pedestrians on the sidewalk.

“This is what Las Vegas is all about,” said Beard, marketing director for six business entities including Déjà Vu Showgirls, Little Darlings and Hustler Topless gentlemen’s clubs. “You come here to see something you can’t see anywhere else in the world.” 

The reaction, and effectiveness of the advertising, “has been phenomenal,” said Fred Robertson, whose company, Rolling Ads, provides the truck. “Most people don’t pay attention to billboards. We go out and people are just waiting to see it.”

Beard said this is an alternative to paying huge tips to cabdrivers to bring in customers and all the legal hassle that is ensuing. 

The adult strip clubs need this, they say. Business has been bad- really, really bad. 

That argument probably won’t fly with some county commissioners, though.  Sisolak, for example, was spurred by a letter from a constituent, Ann Mueller, who told the Sun her grandson saw the stripper-mobile on Paradise Road around 5 p.m. Friday. (Beard said the truck usually only rolls from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. but went early that night to accommodate a TV news crew.) 

Mueller said in her letter: “This is not only disgusting but very dangerous” because it could cause a traffic accident. 

But nothing about the women or the truck is illegal, a Metro Police spokesman said. “As long as it’s not impeding traffic, it’s fine,” Officer Jacinto Rivera explained. 

Clark Countty Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani contends that Metro police department doesn’t enforce the law on mobile billboards in public rights of way because officers don’t have the time. 

“But just because no one has enforced it doesn’t mean it’s not the law,” she said. “I don’t care about the content or that they’re female dancers. I’m sick of the women, in fact — let’s get some men up there for once. But this is just illegal.” 

Business owner Marla Letizia previously defeated efforts to outlaw her company’s mobile billboards. She finds the stripper-mobiles “disgusting,” however, and hopes commissioners ban them. 

“They won’t say it, but this is truly about content,” Letizia said. “It’s time someone in the community has the guts to say this is about class and decency in our community.” 

If that argument is made, it is unlikely to withstand a court challenge, lawyer Allen Lichtenstein said. “It’s a First Amendment issue and commercial speech is protected speech,” he explained. 

The stripper-mobile would not qualify as obscene, indecent or harmful to minors — “there’s nothing illegal about it,” he said. 

Then again, maybe there doesn’t need to be. County sources say some of the powerful owners of Strip properties want the stripper-mobile stopped.

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Lily Tomlin Survives Fast Pace of Entertainment – and Prospers – after 70 years

Lily Tomlin is 70 years old.  But don’t tell her that.   Heavens, no!  For the past five decades, since her days performing on the Rowan and Martin sketch comedy TV show Laugh-In, she has been cracking up audiences without missing a beat, winning as an actress and comedian Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award’s galore. LilyTomlin

Starting today and running though November 14, Tomlin will be performing live at the Hollywood Theatre at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. 

The aging funny gal says she’s “a little more flexible now,” adding “I think people got used to me.  I play casinos all over the place, and it’s no different than any other place.” 

Tomlin’s forte is her extended monologue, sticking with a character long enough to really sell it and not worrying about gaps between punch lines. 

Whether she’s costumed as Ernestine, the brassy switchboard operator, pictured, or playing Edith Ann, the little naïve girl that never seems to grow up, her performances are always riveting, as they are entertaining.

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Las Vegas World Series of Poker $8.5 Million Main Event Won Today by Youngest Winner Ever– 21-year-old Joe Cada from Michigan

A 21-year-old Michigan poker professional who chose cards over college won the World Series of Poker main event in Las Vegas early today, winning $8.55 million and becoming the youngest player to win the tournament in its 40-year history. JoeCada

Joe Cada of Shelby Township, Mich., turned over a pair of nines early after 46-year old Darvin Moon called his all-in wager with a suited queen-jack, setting up an about-even race for most of the chips on the table. 

But a board of two sevens, a king, an eight and a deuce didn’t connect with either player’s cards and gave Cada the win. 

“I ran really well and I never really thought this was possible,” Cada said. “It was one of those dreams and I’m thankful it came true.” 

The hand abruptly ended a final table that saw Moon, a logger from western Maryland, bounce back to a dominant chip lead after being down 2-1 in chips to start the night. 

“I knew if I could catch, I got him,” Moon said of the final hand. “I just took a shot.”

 Cada broke a record for the tournament’s youngest winner set last year by Peter Eastgate of Denmark. Cada is 340 days younger than Eastgate. 

The record was previously held for two decades by 11-time gold bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, who posed for pictures with Cada after the win. 

When asked what’s next for him after reaching the pinnacle for poker so early in his career, Cada said: “To win it back-to-back.” 

Moon and Cada traded the lead several times in 88 hands spanning nearly three hours of play, with one 20-minute break. 

Moon won $5.18 million for second place. 

“I only play good when my back’s against the wall,” said Cada, who was nearly ousted from the tournament on Saturday when he held about 1 percent of the chips in play after 123 hands. 

The players traded chips atop a table with a stack of cash and a gold bracelet on its felt, and in front of nearly 1,500 screaming fans in a capacity crowd at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. 

Their tug-of-war ended an epic tournament that began with 6,494 players in July. 

Unlike Cada, who said he regularly plays about a dozen tournaments at a time online or three at a time in heads-up cash games, Moon hasn’t played a single hand of online poker. He doesn’t even own a computer or have an e-mail address.

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