Monthly Archives: December 2008

Las Vegas Entertainers Present Golden Globe Awards

The 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards will be held on January 11 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly jenniferlopezHills, California.    Not surprisingly, many entertainers who frequently perform and attend Las Vegas entertainment events are being firmed up to present the awards.  Our representative talent includes Ricky Gervais, Jake Gyllenhall, Drew Barrymore, Amy Poehler, and Jennifer Lopez.  To round out the Golden Globe presenters, joining them will be Glenn Close, Salma Hayek, Sacha Baron Cohen, Simon Baker, and Seth Rogen.

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Parties Galore Surround Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration

barrackFrom champagne flutes to beer on tap, Las Vegas will most likely be celebrating the January 20 inauguration of Barack Obama with parties and after parties galore- and in a way no other city can.  


President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, will also have plenty of comfortable dancing shoes on hand and bottles of Excedrin on January 20, as they plan to attend 10 official inaugural balls.   Despite all the people involved in planning the inauguration festivities, everything has been hush-hush as to what they will wear or even if they daughters Sasha and Malia will attend. 


Six of the official balls will be the Washington Convention Center, with others planned for Union Station, the Washington Hilton, the National Building Museum, and the DC Armory.


Between the NFL championship game on January 18 and the Chinese New Year on January 26, Las Vegas valley restaurants and meeting facilities will no doubt be keeping their HD TVs tuned to the coverage of this historic inaugural event.   


But while the cost of accommodations around Washington D.C. continue to escalate – the cost of spending time at 4-star hotels and celebrating with a Bette Midler performance here are dropping.   Plenty of folks are turning to Las Vegas for their presidential party – the question is, where will you turn to find the stories and images that only Las Vegas can offer?  Stay linked to our VBA blog for news updates on these parties. Vegas Backstage Access is your source for Las Vegas entertainment news.


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Eight New Year’s Eve Las Vegas Thrills For $20 & Under


The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority predicts there will be 291,000 visitors this year in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve.  In comparison, New Year’s Eve last year attracted 284,000 people.   


And the good news is that our sluggish economy cloud has a silver lining for New Year’s celebrations. Jaw-dropping action and variety is abundant this year. You can have a great time on New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas and attend many free events or $20. 


1) Watch the Strip fireworks extravaganza for free. Las Vegas road closures will start at 5 p.m. and there will be seven Las Vegas Strip fireworks firing locations that will all be located on the ground or on top of hotel parking garages, instead of being fired off from the customary roof tops of hotels as in years past.  More than 30,000 effects will be fired during the 8-minute show starting at midnight. 


2) Watch as daredevil motorcycle rider Robbie Knievel attempts to jump the newly refurbished Mirage volcano on New Year’s Eve between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m..  Robbie chose this date because it is the 41st anniversary of his father, Evil Knievel’s, famous Las Vegas jump.  The price is right- it’s free.


3) Watch motocross star Robbie Maddison at approximately 8 p.m. as he attempts to land atop Paris’ Arc de Triomphe on the Strip- then freefall down the ramp!  And, if that’s not enough, watch as daredevil truck driver Rhys Millen attempts to flip his truck 360-degrees in the air. Free.


4) Fremont Street Experience and Hizzoner Oscar Goodman is hosting the “Tribute Palooza,” which features 14 hours of free live music starting at 6 p.m. with eight tribute bands from around the country performing on the stages at 1st and 3rd Streets along Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.  Approximately 30,000 zany locals and tourists will pack this carefree event.  It’s free for locals with valid Nevada ID; $2- for out-of-staters.  Must be 21 or over.


5) Head down to the new One Six Sky Lounge at the Cannery, 5255 Boulder Highway. They charge $20.09 admission that covers the party cover admission and a glass of wine at midnight. 702-856-5457


6) To escape from the Las Vegas neon, just head down to MonteLagoVillage at Lake Las Vegas for a free fireworks show.  702-564-4785.


7) Free live music and a midnight champagne toast is offered at the Images Lounge at the Stratosphere, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South.  Should get there early; doors open at 4 p.m.


8) And for $20 you can have one drink and hear The Plaza’s house band Next Movement in a live concert at 10:30 p.m. They will toast in 2009 in the Plaza Showroom at 1 S. Main Street in Las Vegas.

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Las Vegas’ Ultimate Ying & Yang: CES/AVN coming in January

cesWith the remnants of turkey and ham (and who knows what else) still digesting in our holiday stomachs, it is a great avntime to plan for the major January 2009 Las Vegas events. And what a better opportunity to ring in a brand new year then for tech nerds and sensually predisposed fans to unite as one and attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 8 though 11, and then take time to walk down the aisles to the next door Sands Expo Center for the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo on January 9 through 11. Only in Vegas does technology and sex merge seamlessly and effortlessly.

The CES show should be booming, despite our economy. Show officials estimate that 20,000 new product announcements will be introduced to an estimated 30,000 attendees hosted by 2,700 exhibitors that represent 30 electronic product categories. Even celebrities will be on hand to spice up the product demonstrations and introductions. A great way to keep abreast of what’s going on is not just surf the CES website:  but also take the time to check out the unique convention information provided daily on the new Exhibitors Daily website:  Headed up by Editor-in-Chief Helen Holzer, it is the source to turn to for local and national convention coverage anywhere, including features, general information, and related news. Helen can be reached at

Needing a break from the techno blur? Then walk down the hall from CES and attend the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo. It is touted as THE largest event for the adult industry worldwide. There is planned to be 350 exhibiting companies showcasing the latest adult products and toys. And, if that is not enough, more then 250 of the industry’s top stars will share their “secrets” in fan seminars, events, and plenty of up-close networking opportunities. Oh, be sure to enjoy yourself– leave your Blackberry in your briefcase.

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O Las Vegas! Wherefore Thou Art & Music?

bodiddley2smallcap1If you enjoy Las Vegas artisans and our local art culture and music facilities, then you have been hit squarely broadside by some very bleak cultural news this year. Cutting art and music programs, budgets, and related salaries is the order of the day. Less tourists mixed in with less local disposal incomes is becoming an all too common deadly Las Vegas economic cocktail.

Acerbated by our growing sour economy, it has been a brutal year for our community art venues. The Las Vegas Art Museum, which was once a thriving and community enriching organization, is now facing a major budget reduction of $1 million. Sadly, Libby Lumpkin, their hard-working executive director and visionary for the past three years has abruptly left, followed by a couple of other staff layoffs and hour reductions.

The monthly Las Vegas non-profit First Friday art, entertainment, and block neighborhood party event put on by Whirly Gig, Inc. is continuing to struggle with growth issues, despite their $2 entry fee, and, for the most part, is languishing in status quo. And so is the fading dream of creating a robust retro Las Vegas Arts District, resplended with galleries and restaurants.

Our local music industry has also been severely splintered and reduced to a mere skeleton of what it was in the Las Vegas heyday. The Las Vegas Philharmonic is fraught with debt issues and organizational challenges as it struggles to keep afloat and minimize their program reductions.

Ardent Las Vegas music fans and many of the local bands they once frequented are leaving town in droves. The 500-person Jillian’s music venue closed in the downtown Neonopolis in November. Ideally, it was conceived to support an all-ages music scene. It didn’t happen. The Neonopolis mall developer, Rohit Joshi, says it was closed to support another client that was to take over the space in 2009. Only time will tell. But other performers are taking their shows elsewhere, including the House of Blues, The Box Office, and Gameworks.

Throughout this year our struggling economy has brought a dismal end to many of our newer music venues including the Sin City Saloon, Squiggy’s, and Rox.

Off-Strip music venues, such as Charlie’s Bar; the enduring country music bastion, Saddle ‘N’ Spurs Saloon; and even the newly re-opened Pogo’s Tavern, featuring big band jazz groups, are trying desperately to survive, but having a hard go at it.

Music venue innovation, however, is key to the success for many local venues. Coffeehouses, such as ReJAVAnate and Canvas Café, are now quickly turning to music to bring in clients and, hopefully, boost their main business. Hopefully, this resurrection is in time to stave off future closures.

If there is another huge guiding light beacon amid our many art and music woes, pray that it will be the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The Smith Center, listed among the 200 largest charities in the US, according to, is currently undertaking a $485 million project that is planned to break ground and, hopefully, take a firm foothold in our valley next year and will help to transform our cultural legacy. The center will be anchored by a 2,050-seat proscenium theater that will be a permanent performance home to the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theatre, and include an education center with cabaret space, a smaller Black Box Theatre, outreach facilities and classroom space.

An innovative community spirit of giving is necessary to support the survival and growth of art and music venues. So, if you feel the holiday spirit of giving, please do. In lieu of cash, perhaps you can offer up your services to help with some of their projects and needs.

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Nevada State Tourism’s Executive Director Position in Limbo

If Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons had it his way, the vacant $117,000-a-year executive director position toGibbons head our state’s Tourism Commission would have already been filled December 29 by his direct appointment of Kirk Montero, 60, a friend of one of his top advisors.   But, thankfully, the Tourism Commission’s panel soundly rejected Gibbons controversial overture by a 9-0 vote, siding with the law, which states the position is to be filled only following a search by the Tourism Commission, not an immediate Governor appointment.  Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolici chimed in- who you will remember is already in hot water for felony charges in December for his alleged mishandling of state funds and falsifying accounts while he was state treasurer- being the chairman of the Tourism Commission, saying the search committee will meet early in January to narrow a new candidate list to the top three finalists, which will then be presented to Gibbons for final selection.  Ironically, despite all this intrigue, Montero remains steadfast to his plan to start work as the executive director anyway on January 12.  Say what?  Are there any producers out there looking for a new juicy political movie script?

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Actor, Las Vegas Partier David Spade Donates ‘Lethal Weapon’ Bucks

davidspadeSpreading holiday cheer of a different kind, last week actor and frequent Las Vegas partier, David Spade, reportedly donated $100,000 to the Phoenix Police Department so they can purchase 50 AR-15 assault rifles.   Spade said he made the goodwill donation after watching a news report where Phoenix officers had to buy their own rifles.  Talking about having an austere – downright scary – police budget!  Yikes!

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Paris Hilton’s Tough Holiday Season

It has also been a tough holiday season for the Las Vegas starlet, social maven, and professional partier, ParisHiltonParis Hilton.   After she first broke up with her boyfriend Benji Madden, she followed in December by reporting the theft of $2 million in jewelry from her Los Angeles home.  Then, to add insult to injury, The Insider named her to the Worst Bad Girl list, adding she is now worth $9 million.  Looks like a bailout deal in these tough times.  We love you anyway, Paris.

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Las Vegas Holiday Musing

Sometimes it is the small gifts that one receives during the holiday that attract the most attention and interest.   It’s not the new toy for the cat, rather just the wrapping paper on the floor that receives the ‘top smack’ billing.  Likewise, receiving a holiday DVD that simply plays HD widescreen fireplace images of differing fire intensities – complete with music options – is curiously enjoyed.  That happened to us.  Sure, it’s not the real “chestnuts roasting over the open fire,” but comfy inducing, nonetheless, on a cold, wintery day in Vegas.fire1small

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Las Vegas DJ AM Sues Over Plane Crash

Frequent Las Vegas celebrity DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) who survived a fiery Learjet crash in Southern Carolina in September has sued on December 23 several companies and the estates of the two plane’s pilots for negligence and breach of contract.


The deadly crash claimed the lives of everyone aboard except Goldstein and Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, who also suffered major burns in the accident.djam


The suit reportedly does not specify the amount Goldstein hopes to receive for damages including pain and suffering, medical expenses and loss of wages. It does, however, seek a trial by jury.

The cause of the South Carolina crash has not yet been determined, but it is suspected that a faulty tire may have played a role in the crash.


The duo are set to perform their first show live together since the crash on New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles at the Wiltern under the moniker TRVSDJAM.  Their performance will be streamed live to nine other U.S. cities.

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Wynn Opens ‘New Gilded Cage’ – Encore Las Vegas

encoreIf you missed the recent new casino opening hoopla, Steve Wynn has opened yet another of his gems- Encore Las Vegas – on December 22, 2008. Weighing in with a price tag of $2.3 billion, the glitzy 2,034-room Strip playground provides refreshing eye-candy from all the gloomy economic news on work stoppages for the partially started and planned Las Vegas casino and entertainment projects.

With any luck, perhaps Encore will serve as the cornerstone catalyst for a rejuvenated Las Vegas and a positive economic outlook in 2009.

Encore’s opening, combined with the good news of Phil Ruffin’s $775 million purchase of Treasure Island Casino & Hotel from MGM Mirage earlier this month – a great holiday present for their 3,200 Treasure Island employees. The former New Frontier owner’s purchase will help fund the planned finish of MGM Mirage’s $9.1 billion CityCenter next year, the largest private construction job in the U.S..

And, lest we forget, the Fountainebleau and the M Resort still are on track to debut in 2009, further helping to hopefully solidify our lethargic economy.

Recent local Las Vegas casino stimulus events could not have happened at a more needed time. Gaming revenue in Clark County, which includes downtown Las Vegas and the Strip, is reported down 8.5% for the 2008, to $8.3 billion. And visitor volume is down 3% over last year, though the city’s convention business is holding steady.

Any positive local stimulus would be welcomed with open arms.

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