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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