Monthly Archives: March 2009

Howard Hughes’ Main Man Gordie Margulis Dead at 77

Howard Hughes’ main confidant, Gordon Margulis, known to his many friends simply as “Gordie,” died at age 77 in a Las Vegas hospice after succumbing to cancer of the esophagus on March 25.  

Margulis was perhaps the closest and probably most unlikely confidant to the reclusive Howard Hughes.   It was Margulis who whisked a frail and mentally fractured Howard Hughes down the back stairs of the Desert Inn in 1970 to a waiting jet ambulance, being part of closing a historic era in Las Vegas history. 

Gordie and Melvin Stewart cared for Hughes every day of his life and was one of the very few people allowed in to see him.  While being part of the inner circle, always highly protective of Hughes’ oft-forgotten humanity, he also cooked for Hughes.  Gordie also remained a valuable resource for authors seeking to understand the Hughes legend. 

Margulis is survived by his wife, Helen, daughter Danielle, and sons Sean and Gordon.  Services are scheduled for 11 a.m, on Monday, March 30 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church at 2300 Sunridge Heights Parkway in Henderson, Nevada.

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Chalk up one for Las Vegas ‘Adult Entertainment’ Peddlers

Like it or not, peddlers lining the Las Vegas sidewalks, clicking their provocative handbills, and otherwise hawking adult entertainment promotions to passerbys is a part of our historic, colorful fabric, and, for some, this perhaps adds to our alluring mystique.  After all, we are Sin City, right?   handbills

One can regularly see such peddlers on the sidewalks of the Las Vegas Strip, in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and many other places around town.  Almost everywhere except for congregating in original Las Vegas, more specifically the Fremont Street Experience.  

Until now. 

A court ruling recently set aside several Las Vegas ordinances that sought to limit such activities at the Fremont Street Experience.  Of course the laws could be once again appealed, but Las Vegas’ colorful Mayor Oscar Goodman, in his last term of office, said recently that it might be time to let the 12-year-old on and off again lawsuit go. 

The Las Vegas City Council will hear its options at an upcoming meeting, he said, and can weigh in on the merits of appealing the decision, trying to craft another set of ordinances or take some other approach. 

Quickly turning the other cheek, though, Mayor Goodman said Las Vegas would staunchly fight anyone who tried to pass out adult material, such as escort advertisements handed out on the Strip. 

“You don’t want to see one of these situations where a man takes his daughter down to Fremont Street to see the light show and has some smut shoved in his daughter’s face,” Goodman said.  “If they use the same aggressive mannerisms that they do out on the Strip, we’re certainly not going to tolerate that.” 

Glitter Gulch, a leading adult entertainment Fremont Street business, is just a stone’s throw away from anyone walking down those same streets. 

The American Civil Liberties Union was quick to challenge the city ordinances on free speech grounds, arguing that bans on passing out literature and advertising or on setting up tables to promote a cause were unconstitutional. 

The case has been winding its slow way through appeals, revised ordinace and more litigations since 1997. 

In enacting such ordinances, Las Vegas city leaders contend that businesses that rent space or kiosks from Fremont Street Experience LLC, which operates the pedestrian mall, needs some protection again people setting up competing sales operations next door for free.

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Las Vegas Mayor Gets Permanently ‘Waxed’

The gin-loving, always jovial Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman gave his classic toast and thumbs-up pose, then joined the historic ranks of Madame Tussauds’ collection of wax-recreated oscargoodmancelebrities  in Las Vegas on March 26. 

The former mob attorney, who has served as the Las Vegas mayor for a decade,  now is in his last term of office, had his likeness enshrined as a new part of the permanent Las Vegas collection at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas at the Venetian, being part of the launch of the “Viva Vegas” group of celebrities who have elevated Las Vegas’ fame.  

The Goodman statue cost $250,000 to $300,00, looked a little taller and slightly slimmer (maybe it was the Gin imbibing from the prior night?) than the real deal, who also was sporting a wilder hairdo than the wax model.

Mayor Goodman quipped during his induction that his likeness was ‘scary,’ but the wax hall of fame was an “important step for Las Vegas,” then questioned:  “Is it strange to be named a celebrity when you have a fairly serious day job?”

Madame Tussauds representatives said “Viva Vegas” represents one of the most ambitious and interactive presentations in the attraction’s 10-year history.  The new exhibit not only features Goodman but 26 other wax figures from Las Vegas’ storied entertainment annals, including Elton John, Bette Midler, Blue Man Group, Liberace, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and, of course, Elvis Presley.

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Burning Man Turns Up Las Vegas Heat

Tired of the politico-speak, technobabble, and continuous water-drip torture of our choking economy?  Want to try your hand at building art- or a mutant vehicle?  Perhaps your cup of tea is spinning fire with  some poi and java?   If you don’t mind bringing in all your own sustaining necessities and using foot-power to travel, then you may enjoy escaping it all and heading to the Burning Man events in Nevada this year. burningman

Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind. It means different things to different people.  But suffice it to say that every summer 48,000 plus artistic Burning Man participants (aka Burners) meet in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada to create Black Rock City and re-engage with community, and celebrate shared values of radical self-expression and self-reliance.   Expressing and relying on themselves to a degree that is not normally encountered in one’s day-to-day life, they celebrate the power of community, honor the importance of art, and enjoy the immediacy of experience. Then they leave a week later – without a trace of having been there. 

This year the eclectic artsy clan will gather from August 31 through September 7.  Having an “evolution” themed event which promotes the very core of individual survival and philosophies of Charles Darwin and Natural Variation, the event urges participants to question themselves, where they’ve come from, and how they can adapt to our ever-changing world. 

Prior to that, though, Southern Nevada burners have just announced that they are gathering for the Dark Skies Arts Festival 2009, their own annual branded regional Southern Nevada Regional Burn event.  It will be at Mojave Drums in Meadview, AZ (about 100 miles north of Las Vegas) for four days from April 23rd through April 26th.   A limited number of 250 tickets have gone on sale yesterday afternoon, ranging in price from $45 to $75 each.  There will be no gate sales. 

The Las Vegas artist and performer community is small, but mighty and growing – they’ve increased the number of locals attending events every time they do them.  Their community is based on participation and communication, creating a growth outlet for creative people.  The Dark Skies community is planning this year to build an art installation, a mutant vehicle for roaming the playa (you can’t drive your own vehicle within camp), and put on various performances. 

Dark Skies promotes a radically inclusive, participatory, self-reliant, leave-no-trace event existing amid a gifting society environment (no buying and selling of goods and services) where people don’t direct others, but rather do what is necessary (they call it a “DO-Ocracy”).  It’s not a rave or camping trip – it’s a community. 

Dark Skies is accepting applications for either participating in or conducting workshops and special events. Last year they had a hula hoopin’ workshop, past life regression, fire spinning, solar power, creative rope bondage and more.  They also have crazy, zany events like a tightie-whities contest.  Deadline to submit workshop requests is April 17. 

Are we really just a very small piece of a gigantic cosmic puzzle?

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Las Vegas’ CityCenter Project Facing Collapse?

The very survival hangs in the balance for Las Vegas’ largest employer and the city’s largest construction project- and arguably one of the world’s largest and most expensive buildings.   MGM Mirage, operating nine Las Vegas Strip resorts and employing more than 61,000 workers, is now embroiled in a contentious lawsuit over the $9.1 billion, 76-acre CityCenter development with its half-shared partner, Dubai World through its Infinity World financial subsidiary.  dubaiworld

Analysts said the lawsuit filed Sunday casts a damaging dark cloud over the project and sends more negative signals on the overall financial health of MGM Mirage.   According to the lawsuit, Dubai World, a 50-50 joint venture partner in the CityCenter project, is seeking unspecified damages and wants to be relieved of its obligation under the companies’ agreement, which was struck in August 2007. 

Dubai World, a world-leading business conglomerate suffering from a two-thirds drop in their oil prices – leading some to question if the lawsuit is merely trying to sever their joint venture agreement or simply gain more project control – said MGM Mirage, which is CityCenter’s managing partner, is responsible for mismanagement and cost overruns with the project.  Dubai World further contends that statements by the MGM Mirage in the company’s financial filings last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission constitute a breach of the joint-venture pact and has put the project at risk. 

The lawsuit took the MGM Mirage reportedly by surprise, but theirspokespeople responded vehemently yesterday that they are doing everything they can do and are ready, willing, and more than able to meet all financial obligations and debt holder payments. 

Despite the lawsuit, CityCenter still plans to open in stages, starting in October with Vdara, a nongaming condominium and hotel tower, and Aria, CityCenter’s centerpiece 4,004-room hotel-casino, scheduled to open on December 16.  

MGM Mirage continues to accept job applications, having over 90,000 job applications for the CityCenter project and planning to hire 10,000 employees to boost the staganant Las Vegas economy. 

However, MGM Mirage and Dubai World are still seeking the remaining $1.2 billion in financing to finish the project. 

MGM Mirage received from its lenders last week a two-month waiver to avoid violating its loan covenants.   Some financial analysts believe that MGM Mirage might have to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy to restructure their $13.5 billion in debt.

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Jerry Lewis’ Love Child Plans First Visit to Las Vegas

Suzan Minoret, 56, who goes by the name Susan Lewis, believing recent DNA tests that prove she is the daughter of iconic comedy legend Jerry Lewis is planning her first trip to Las Vegas on April 25 to appear at the Earth Day Indoor Environment Celebration at JW Marriott’s in Summerlin.  The event benefits children’s indoor health environment education programs in Nevada.

Though it’s the Philadelphia woman’s first trip to Las Vegas, Jerry Lewis has called Las Vegas home for decades. 

Lewis’ son, musician Gary Lewis recently submitted to DNA tests and results indicated an 88.7 percent probability that the woman is related to Gary Lewis.

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Date Nite Takes the Worry off your Wallet

For a welcome break from quick, penny-pinching meals on the run, how does Robata Grilled Quail, Marinated Japanese Snapper with Black Grapes and Celery, Frittelle di Proscuitto, Pan Roasted Salmon, 18-Hour Braised Short Rib au Daube or Seared Hanger Steak sound for your scrumptious dinner tonight? 

Now what if we said you could get the appetizer, entrée, and dessert at world renowned high class restaurants in Las Vegas for only $40 per person? 

The Palazzo and The Venetian in Las Vegas have created a unique restaurant stimulus package that will satisfy your appetite without breaking the bank. Starting on March 25, Date Nite will be introduced as select fine-dining restaurants within both properties and feature exquisite and delicious pre fixe menus at a cost of only $40 per person. 

Each participating restaurant has unique appetizing pre fixe menus planned for Date Nite guests.  At The Palazzo, you can enjoy Charlie Trotter’s Bar Charlie, Mario Batali’s Carnevino, Dos Caminos, Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro, and SUSHISAMBA.  At The Venetian, the selection of restaurants include Mario Batali’s Enoteca San Marco and Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio. Additionally, Double Helix Wine Bar at The Shoppes at The Palazzo will be offering a specially priced glass of wine during Date Nite. 

And Date Nite doesn’t have to end with dinner.  The Palazzo and The Venetian are pulling out all the stops to provide more options for affordable luxury.  With the money saved, you can treat your guest a remarkable show, indulge in luxurious spa treatments from Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, or purchase something unique from 60 + lavish boutiques at The Shoppes at The Palazzo.  

Date Nite will begin Wednesday, March 25, 2009 and run through Friday, April 24, 2009 with pre fixe menus available Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday only. Each menu is $40 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Additional charges may be applied for beverages or wine pairings.  To view the prix fixe menus at each restaurant, please visit www.palazzolasvegas.com and www.venetian.com. Guests must make a reservation, in order to be eligible for Date Nite. For reservations, please call the restaurant directly or The Palazzo at 702.607.7777 or The Venetian at 702.414.1000 and you will be connected to the restaurant of your choice.  Do it for love!  Do it for less!

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