Daily Archives: January 17, 2009

Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck Surprise Las Vegas Clubgoers

Joaquin Phoenix, who recently announced his retirement from acting in order to pursue his new music career, on Friday night, January 16, stepped to the microphone at the Lavo nightclub in the Palazzo in Las Vegas.  joaquinphoenix

The two-time 2008 Oscar nominee hasn’t completely walked away from the movies, though, as Casey Affleck, also an Oscar nominee, was at the Palazzo to record the special event for a documentary that Affleck will direct about Phoenix’s new musical career.


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Barack Obama’s Inauguration Plays on Huge Las Vegas Hilton HDTV

The Las Vegas Hilton is opening its main headliner theater – where Elvis Presley launched his comeback – to the public on Tuesday, January 20, and will be the host for a special viewing of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.  The doors will open at 8 a.m. for this history-making event that will be shown on an 18-foot-by-32 foot HDTV with state-of-the-art theater sound.

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Infamous Las Vegas Minxx Strip Club For Sale

The once very popular Minxx Gentlemen’s Club & Lounge in Las Vegas, site of the 2007 shooting incident that left a club’s security member, Tom Urbanski, paralyzed is up for sale.   minx1

And the altercation’s ringleader, the then NFL Tennessee Titans football player Adam “Pacman” Jones, after sitting out the 2007 season because of his reputation for attracting trouble, is now looking for a new employer after being released from the Dallas Cowboys earlier this month.

The bullet-spraying incident closed the doors to Minxx shortly after it happened.  Now the owners are asking $12.5 million for the strip club.  Las Vegas realtor Fred Marik, who is brokering the property, says the owners “are developers and have no interest in running the club.”

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Comedy Icon Jerry Lewis Garners First Oscar

This momentous honor proves that if you work at something hard and long enough, it will eventually pay off.   Comedy icon and Las Vegas resident Jerry Lewis, 82-years-young, finally garnered his Oscar.  Lewis, who has never even been nominated for an Oscar before, will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Board of jerry-lewisGovernors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the 81st Academy Awards on February 22.    

Jerry Lewis will be presented with an Oscar statuette to honor his decades of work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association- an association where he’s been the chairman and their leading spokesman since 1952. 

Jerry Lewis’ untiring drive, ambition, and coordinative efforts to find a cure for muscular dystrophy have raised more than $2 billion since the 1966 kickoff of his annual Labor Day Telethon.

Lewis won a Golden Globe award in 1966 for his role in “Boeing (707) Boeing (707)” for Best Motion Picture Actor in a Musical/Comedy.


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Las Vegas Ratchets Up Advertising Campaign to Lure More Visitors


Business survival and prosperity in Las Vegas is all about having the proper branding that is married with alluring, can’t-live-without content, and putting it together to provide the visitor great value.  The trick is to get the visitors coming in droves to Las Vegas.  Drawing the attention and attracting interest is one of the major joint charters of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and their advertising firm, R & R Partners, long-famous for coining the oft-chanted ad slogan:  “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas.”   But saying it is so is one thing, doing it has been challenged as of late.  

Crimping their plans, Las Vegas has received some notorious flap over their weak controls on charitable spending.   The Las Vegas Conventions and Visitors Authority CEO Rossi Ralenkotter inappropriately approved a $25,000 donation to the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, while Ralenkotter later accepted a humanitarian award from the group.   But Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman stepped up to the plate on the matter on January 13 and promptly fixed the loophole.   Future charitable donations are now to be specifically identified as line-item budgets and group approved before any expenditures.  Additionally, the authority changed their policy to ensure multiyear contracts with vendors don’t have a set spending level, and put in controls and greater scrutiny to prevent any vendor overpayments, as was alleged with R&R Partners.

Although the authority has recently spent $2.5 million on their “Vegas Bound” advertising program to have Cranberrry Gap, Texas folks take a break from their ordinary lives and head to our land of neon lights – which, the authority says generated for Las Vegas the positive ad exposure coming from nearly 200 online news stories, 100 newspaper stories, and more than 250 television stories –  an arduous road to hoe remains to hit their 2009 marketing and advertising campaign goal to increase Las Vegas visitors to 39 million, up from last year’s figures of 37.5 million visitors- a lofty goal considering our economy that is mired in a deep economic recession.    And despite the many construction stoppages for planned Las Vegas casinos brought on by our financial crisis, still 13,000 new hotel rooms are slotted to open this year.  Filling those rooms with the current trend of reduced visitors will be a challenging proposition, to say the least.

Undaunted by the risk, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is forging ahead and planning to spend an additional $10.5 million the first quarter of this year in television, print, and online advertising to attempt to stem the visitor bleeding, and, hopefully, turn the tide around for businesses.   The ads are focused on specific show, attraction, and resort marketing tactics, which, in the past they have left up to the individual properties to promote, while the authority typically spent advertising dollars to build the “Las Vegas” brand image.  It’s a risk, but one many in the authority and the City of Las Vegas see calculated and necessary in order to try to survive.

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