Monthly Archives: October 2009

Canadian Jet Fighter Bombs Las Vegas

Las Vegas Backstage Access has learned that a Canadian jet fighter dropped his full fuel tanks in a populated Las Vegas area and then made an emergency landing after losing power in one of its two engines. 

The CF-18 was en route from Las Vegas to El Centro, California last Saturday afternoon when the problem occurred.   The pilot reportedly jettisoned the plane’s external fuel tanks, which officials say landed about 500-metres from some civilians that still live in Las Vegas, and one kilometre west of busy Interstate 15.  

Miraculously, no one was injured. The jet fighter made a safe landing at Nellis Air Force Base, 13-kilometres northeast of Las Vegas. 

A Nellis spokesman simply said it’s safer to land an aircraft without the additional weight of full fuel tanks. 

The cause of the power loss is currently under investigation.

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Get Buried Alive in Las Vegas

In Medieval times it was routine to bury your dead in a specialized coffin that came complete with a bell.  The bell wasn’t there to celebrate or memorialize the deceased.  It was there so the departed could draw attention to their grave when they suddenly awoke and found themselves buried alive. 

And now this age old true nightmare has become an extreme macabre event as The Last Ride at Monster Mayhem in Las Vegas.  

The Last Ride starts when Cockney gravediggers place the “guest” into a wooden casket, sealing it.  From there the ride begins- you’re “carried” to the grave site in a hearse and even covered in dirt, complete with the fading smell of roses and the noise of eager beetles all around.  Family and friends have the chance to view the “dearly departed” via Casket Cam as they find themselves buried alive. 

Local notables The Amazing Jonathon and Teller, the silent partner to Penn Jillette, have each taken a tour around the grave experience and lived to take the stage another day.  So, maybe it’s worth the price to stop on by Monster Mayhem’s two haunted houses or the haunted graveyard.  Fees go to support the Peoples Autism Foundation.   

The dead can be buried, and, if lucky, arise from 7 p.m. to Midnight through November 1 at Boca Park in Summerlin.  Tickets for the burial are $3 and can be purchase at the gate.  For more information call 702-478-2899.

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God Seeks New Las Vegas Prophets – Billboards!

Las Vegas sinners better repent now because God has a whole new cadre of prophets heading your way- billboards!  

Driving down the heart of Las Vegas on Interstate 15 is a brand new crop of billboards that simply read “God” and “Jesus-“ nothing else, no proselytizing. 

Repent, sinners! 

But, as they say: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

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Las Vegas Coroner’s Office Profits by Selling Morbid Gifts

When not performing about 1,500 autopsies a year, the staff at the Clark County Coroner’s Office in Las Vegas is apparently taking a recreational break by doing it all it can to squeeze the last amount of cash from people- alive if not dead. 

Tucked aways from the casual visitor and not on any Web site, is their unique “gift shop-“ a small section of a glass trophy case, about four by six feet, containing an odd, disturbing array of things for sale including shirts, pants, paperweights, jacket patches and hoodies, all with the “Clark County Coroner’s Office” logo; T-shirts with a tag “Cashed out in Las Vegas,”; souvenir license plates, “Stolen from Clark County Coroner” pens; and even cuff bracelets with inspirational sayings such as “Embrace life one day at a time” or “Believe in yourself.”   There is even coffee mugs with the saying, “Here’s where you’re at when the line goes flat” and a business card holder where the bottom half is a jawbone. 

Clearly, they have a sense of humor, though many would say it’s morbid and twisted. 

They say they stole the idea from the larger and equally morbid Los Angeles Coroner’s gift shop. 

They also say that all revenue goes towards offsetting the costs of the Coroner’s Visitation Program, a court-order class for at-risk youth.  Mmmmm. 

Even their staff proudly wears the gear including their boss, Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy, who bought a coroner’s badge lapel pin, not just because he wanted to help out, mind you, but really because he said he likes shiny things that look official.

Best hurry on down there and get a present or two for your loved ones for the holidays.

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Death Worship Festival in Las Vegas

This weekend Las Vegas will celebrate the Day of the Dead, or El Día de los Muertos, the Mexican celebration of the dead. DayoftheDead

The 9-year-old festival at the Winchester Cultural Center is the largest Day of the Dead celebration in Las Vegas, a city which enjoys celebrating all things dead. 

This year 21 altars, some as large as 16 square feet, will welcome home the souls of loved ones who return to eat their favorite foods and be among living friends and family during the holiday. 

Irma Wynants began the Las Vegas festival in 2001 at Prince of Peace Catholic Church with only eight ofrendas (altars) and a few performers. 

Offerings are left on altars decorated with flowers, candles and incense. The dead are publicly remembered and shared. Mexican music and dance are celebrated, along with satirical poems (cavaleras) that are read aloud from stage. 

There will even be workshop on how to make sugar skulls- but the elaborate, candlelit ofrendas are the main attraction. Made mostly by Mexican immigrants, they represent traditions held in the cities and states from which they came — Hidalgo (where they build little houses as altars), Mexico City, Michoacan and even Chihuahua, where families typically bring food and friendship to cemeteries on the holiday rather than build altars. 

This year the ofrendas will reach out to immigrants who died attempting to cross the border. Another will reach out to people who have drowned in Lake Mead. And the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership is building an ofrenda dedicated to people who commit suicide on public land in the Mojave area. Another group plans to create a Michael Jackson ofrenda.

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‘Cowboy Up’ as Professional Bull Riders World Finals come to Las Vegas

Riders and officials are optimistic that this year’s Professional Bull Riders World Finals, which kick off today at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, could be the best in the 15-year history of the event. bullriding

Most years, a clear favorite enters the World Finals with a major advantage in points. That’s not the case this year. 

Twelve bull riders are still statistically alive for this year’s championship and three — Kody Lostroh, Guilherme Marchi and J.B. Mauney — all are within 1,000 points of each other, which is a very small margin. 

The action begins 6 p.m. today and runs through Nov. 8, when the championship round will be held. 

With the close competition, this year just one ride could be the difference in winning a championship.

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Former NBA Celtic Star Antoine Walker in Serious Debt, Writes $1 Million in Bad Checks in Las Vegas

Antoine Walker, a former NBA Boston Celtics star, is in deep debt and has been under pursuit of multiple financial institutions recently- and now, even Sin City has caught up with the wayward dribbler. AntoineWalker

Reportedly, in 12 years, 33-year-old Walker made more than $110 million by playing professional basketball just so-so. Taking away taxes, throwing in some aid as endorsement money and a “NBA Live 99” cover, he should be left with around $60 million. 

But all that loot has apparently vanished.  During the last several months, the once multi-millionaire athlete has been pursued by multiple financial institutions for unpaid debts. 

Now, Walker owes more than $4 million dollars to his creditors and is facing felony check fraud charges for allegedly writing $1 million in bad checks in Las Vegas.  Talk about a major foul out!

Does he need counseling from the reformed and outspoken NBA player Charles Barkley? 

How could that amount of money dissipate?   Well, Walker lived large- really large.  He always rolled with an outsized entourage. His mother estimates that, during his playing days, he was supporting 70 friends and family members in one way or another. 

And speaking of his good ol’ mom:  he built her a mansion in the Chicago suburbs, complete with an indoor pool, 10 bathrooms, and a full-size basketball court– hopefully, it allows her wheelchair access and includes a trainer.

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“Burglar of the Stars” Nabbed in Las Vegas

Rachel Lee, pictured on far right, the woman believed to be the kingpin of a burglary ring that targeted high profile celebrities was arrested in Las Vegas last Thursday on arrest warrants from California. RachelLee

Police say Lee can be seen on surveillance video burglarizing Lindsay Lohan’s posh California home. They also say she’s the mastermind behind several burglaries of Hollywood Hills homes, including celebrity vicitims Rachel Bilson and socialite, supreme LasVegas partier Paris Hilton. 

Las Vegas Metro Police found her at her father’s home on the northwest side of the valley. Police searched that house and found several items that were stolen from homes in Los Angeles, including high-end jeans and photographs of one of the victims. 

Lee is now facing charges in Las Vegas of possessing stolen property and charges of burglary in Los Angeles.

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Tennis Great, Las Vegan Andre Agassi Admits Using Crystal Meth in Autobiography

In his upcoming book, iconic tennis star, businessman, educator and Las Vegas resident Andre Agassi admits that in 1997 he used the recreational drug crystal meth or “gack,” as his assistant referrred to it, while he was married to Brooke Shields. AndreAgassi3

“I can’t speak to addiction, but a lot of people would say that if you’re using anything as an escape, you have a problem,” he reportedly tells People magazine. 

The book not only details his drug use, but it also touches on his hair loss, his tumultuous marriage to Brooke Shields and how happy he is with his current wife, Steffi Graf. 

Agassi says he was not concerned about revealing his drug use. “I was worried for a moment, but not for long. … I wore my heart on my sleeve and my emotions were always written on my face. I was actually excited about telling the world the whole story.” 

His book, Open: An Autobiography will be in stores on November 9, but is being serialized by the Times of London beginning tomorrow. 

Later, although Agassi tested positive for the drug, he managed to continue to play tennis. 

While the admission now may get him in hot water with the tennis and sports kingdom, it certainly can’t hurt his book sales- or can it?

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Ghostbuster Supreme in Las Vegas

When you consider purchasing a home in Las Vegas you’ll check out the overall condition, make sure the air conditioner works and have the pool checked for cracks.  However there may be things that a building inspector just doesn’t look for so you may also want to add another item to your checklist – paranormal possibilities. paranormal

According to author Tracie Austin-Peters: “There’s an abundance of paranormal activity in this hot and dry desert.  I write about them, including a ghost on the south side who hung a Barbie doll from the ceiling, about one in North Las Vegas who played the ukulele and there’s a spirit in Summerlin who wrote messages on bathroom mirrors.”  Welcome to Haunted Las Vegas, Nevada, the book Austin-Peters released on September 13, contains 18 chapters recounting supernatural phenomena found throughout Southern Nevada.  

Some local residents don’t need to read about Las Vegas hauntings because they are living with them and when it gets to be a little too much, they call Tina Carlson, director and co-founder of the Las Vegas Society of Supernatural Investigations.   For 15 years, Carlson and her team have investigated reports of ghost and suspicious circumstances around the valley.  They start by learning as much as they can from the client and then, if an onsight investigation is needed – they arrive equipped with electro-magnetic field detectors, video and digital cameras, motion detectors and more so they can evaluate the property.  Sometimes there are every day answers hidden in the house that help ease the mind of the homeowner.  Sometimes there’s no clear cut explanation.  Does that mean it’s paranormal?  Not always, but possibly. 

So as Halloween approaches and witches and ghouls roam the Vegas Strip, don’t just assume that’s a great looking Elvis costume – look a little closer – it could be a glimpse of something else. 

Austin-Peters book is available at Amazon.com and www.tracieaustin.com.  

To find out more about the Las Vegas Society of Supernatural Investigations, visit their website at www.lvssi.org or call 702 449 6047.

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Garth Brooks & U2 Catalyst for Las Vegas’ Economic Revival

If you were not one of the 40,000 or so raving fans fortunate enough to watch U2 perform at Sam Boyd stadium on Saturday or you weren’t lucky or fast enough to get tickets for one of Garth Brooks first 20 shows, then you, sadly, were not part of the Economic Revival of lethargic Las Vegas. 

U2 not only sold out, but it created the biggest revenue blip ever in the history of Sam Boyd stadium. 

On Saturday tickets for Garth Brooks’ first 20 shows at the Wynn Las Vegas resort sold out in less than five hours. The resort said it reached maximum capacity for callers at 141,934, with many just getting busy signals for their effort. 

Officials also say the ticket Brooks’ Web site had more than 5.4 million page views with 40,000 waiting to buy tickets online at one point. 

Brooks announced a five-year deal with casino owner Steve Wynn last week that includes 15 weeks of shows a year in the Encore Theater, which seats about 1,500. Tickets were $125 plus fees.  Feel free to do the math.  

Brooks, the best-selling solo act in history, plays Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of select weeks beginning Dec. 11. 

Las Vegas Backstage Access says to keep the momentum going- it’s great as a start for reviving entertainment fervor and revenues in Las Vegas!

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Michael Jackson’s Doctor Can’t Afford to Pay Child Support in Las Vegas

The doctor being investigated in Michael Jackson’s death told a court he can’t afford to pay $13,000 in child support and other debts because he was forced to close his medical practice in Las Vegas after physical threats against him and his staff. 

A family court in Las Vegas set a Nov. 16 hearing to consider a recommendation that Dr. Conrad Murray be arrested for not appearing in court this month to explain the unpaid support. 

A ruling on the recommendation had been expected last week, but Murray’s lawyer Chris Aaron objected, saying in court documents the 56-year-old doctor supposedly didn’t receive notice of the hearing. 

It was not immediately clear whether Clark County District Attorney David Roger would fight the objection over the arrest recommendation. His office said he planned to file a response by today. 

Roger previously said he planned to ask the state medical board to suspend Murray’s license. Nevada laws allow prosecutors to go after professional licenses belonging to those behind on child support. 

Murray had serious financial problems when he signed on in May at $150,000 a month to serve as Jackson’s personnel physician through a series of comeback shows planned in London, according to court records. 

The cardiologist owed at least $780,000 for settlements against his business, outstanding mortgage payments on his house, delinquent student loans, child support and credit cards. 

An ongoing homicide investigation by Los Angeles police continues to be focused squarely on Murray, who told investigators he administered a powerful anesthetic to Jackson shortly before he died June 25. No charges have been filed as of yet.

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Chef David Walazo of Las Vegas faces off against Cat Cora on “Iron Chef” tonight

David Walzog, executive chef of SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas, is appearing on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef” show on Sunday (Bravo, 10 p.m., PT). It was taped a year ago in June at the Food Network studio in New York City. 

He faces off against Cat Cora, an “Iron Chef” regular and the only female “Iron Chef” in the show’s history. The secret ingredient: “a versatile ingredient that was absolutely fun to work with,” he said. Flavor profiles range from “savory earth tones to vibrant high flavors.”

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“Live! With Regis & Kelly” TV Show Comes to Las Vegas

The “Live! With Regis & Kelly” TV show, starring Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, has scheduled a four-show visit Nov. 22-23 at the Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas. RegisKelly

Look for Kelly to track down the wedding chapel where she and Mark Consuelo, then co-stars on “All My Children,” got hitched here on May 1, 1996. Like a lot of newlyweds who don’t remember where they got married in Vegas, she refers to it as the “Chapel of Cheese.” 

They will tape their show at 11 a.m. Nov. 22, a Sunday, and again at 1:30 p.m. The next day, the tapings are again at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Ticket information is at https://register.go.com/regisandkelly/tickets/index.

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Paris Las Vegas Celebrates the Paris France Wine Harvest

Honoring the famed Parisian tradition, Paris Las Vegas once again welcomes the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau for the 3rd annual wine celebration. This year’s highly anticipated celebrity kick-off will feature a traditional grape stomping that is reminiscent of the iconic “I Love Lucy” TV series scene on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m., coinciding with midnight festivities in Paris, France.  winestomping

Five days heralding this year’s harvest feature will include 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.

As regulated by French law, Beaujolais Nouveau is released no sooner than the third Thursday in Nov. – six weeks after the grapes are harvested. 

Huge celebrations take place worldwide at one minute after midnight to taste the latest wine of the harvest, with 65 million bottles to be consumed in the following months.

2009 Beaujolais Nouveau Paris Las Vegas schedule of events

Thursday, Nov. 19 through Saturday, Nov. 21
Noon – 6 p.m.
Be one of the first to taste the delicious result of this year’s harvest, compliments of Paris Las Vegas and Georges Duboeuf. Samples of the 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau, along with commemorative glasses, will be available at a special lobby bar in the Paris reception area. 

Thursday, Nov. 19
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Wine 101: Passport to Wine is a sensory tour of the highlights of Paris, France without having to travel further than Paris Las Vegas. Guests are invited to mix and mingle while sipping a selection of Georges Duboeuf wines accompanied by an assortment of decadent desserts. Brought to you by Paris Las Vegas and Passport magazine, a portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.  Held in Napoleon’s Lounge, tickets are $35 and are available by booking a special room package on www.gayparislasvegas.com or at the Paris box office. 

Friday, Nov. 20
7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Rock ‘n Roll Wine will host a Beaujolais Nouveau-themed wine tasting inside Risqué, the nightclub at Paris Las Vegas. Part wine tasting, part show and all fun, the event features live music and a unique assortment of delicious world wines including Beaujolais Nouveau. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.rocknrollwine.com or calling 702-240-3066. Ticket prices, which include the wine, are $35 in advance and $40 at the door, plus live entertainment tax. 

Saturday, Nov. 21
2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Wine 101: Celebrate the Harvest is a fun and informative learning and taste experience that brings together novices and connoisseurs to sniff, swirl and sip the wines of Georges Duboeuf, the leading wine merchant of France. Featuring a unique selection of wines, a Georges Duboeuf representative will lead the exploration of distinctive and notable wines that embody the fall harvest. The wine tasting will be accompanied by an assortment of artisan cheeses and breads and fresh fruits. Held in Les Artistes, tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the Paris box office. 

Sunday, Nov. 22
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Round out the weekend with a relaxing Beaujolais Nouveau-themed brunch at the Parisian bistro Mon Ami Gabi or the refined and elegant Sterling Brunch inside the Bally’s Steakhouse. When booking the Sterling Brunch, mention Beaujolais Nouveau and receive a bottle of 2009 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau and two commemorative glasses. 

To fully experience the Las Vegas celebration, a room package for the ultimate wine enthusiast is available that includes accommodations at Paris Las Vegas, two tickets to Wine 101: Celebrate the Harvest, two commemorative wine glasses and bottle of 2009 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau and VIP passes to Risqué. The Beaujolais Nouveau package is valid for travel Wednesday, Nov. 18 through Sunday, Nov. 22 and can be booked online at www.parislasvegas.com/wine. Packages are based on availability and rates are dependent upon number of nights booked. Inclusions are per stay and not per night. All wine events and samplings will be available to guests age 21 or older.

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Learn about Women’s Inner Desires in Las Vegas

Learning about what makes women tick is a tall order, but, perhaps, a visual study of related art might be a plan.  In celebration of Harlequin’s 60th anniversary, the internationally recognized publisher is sponsoring an exhibition of original cover art that will focus not only on the changing shape of desire and fantasy but also on the social meaning and context of these images. THE HEART OF A WOMAN: Harlequin Cover Art 1949—2009 debuts at the Paris Gallerie at the Paris in Las Vegas on Oct. 24, 2009 and will be on display until Jan. 31, 2010. Open to the public free of charge, the gallery is located just outside of the Paris reception area. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Harlequin

By presenting 60 years of cover artwork, the exhibition offers a unique insight into the profound transformations that have occurred in women’s lives over the past six decades.  These changes have been captured and reflected on the front of six decades worth of Harlequin novels and reflect cultural shifts in everything from private desires to the politics of gender. 

Although it is the stories of romance that charm the hearts of so many women, it is the artwork on the book covers that offers the first tantalizing hint of the pleasures that await between the covers. 

The show also spotlights some of the notable names who created these stirring pieces and how the artistic process itself has changed over the decades. 

More than a hundred original works of art will be displayed, from Harlequin’s beginnings in 1949 to the present day. 

Elizabeth Semmelhack is the curator of the exhibition.  She is also the head curator at a major museum in Toronto and, as an independent curator, she has curated exhibitions at the Museum of Sex in New York and the St. Louis Art Museum. She has also been a consultant to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Semmelhack is the author of “Heights of Fashion.” 

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the world’s leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in 28 languages and sold in 114 international markets. The company produces over 110 titles monthly and publishes more than 1,100 authors from around the world. 

Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.  Harlequin’s Web site is located at http://www.eHarlequin.com. Harlequin has offices in 19 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information please visit www.eHarlequin.com.

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Tickets for Garth Brooks Show in Las Vegas on Sale Now

Tickets for Brooks’ first batch of shows at the Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas go on sale today, Saturday, at www.wynnlasvegas.com/boxoffice

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U2 Blowout Crowd Expected in Las Vegas Momentarily

If you haven’t got tickets yet, just forgedaboutit.   In a few hours from now more than 40,000 people are expected to jam Sam Boyd Stadium for their 360 Tour until it probably bursts wide open, surely setting a record for the largest concert ever held at the venue. 

It took 135 trucks to haul in the 500,000-plus pounds of equipment used to construct the foreboding claw-like structure that will surround the band.  The massive stage will stand more than 150 feet tall.  And, if that’s not enough, they’ll show off a new cylindrical video display of connected LED panels held high by a 150-foot steel frame. 

Compared to their November 2001 show during their Elevation Tour, only 18,000 people came.  But that was a memorabable event nonetheless, as No Doubt opened for them and rocked out for 30 minute.  Not to be outdone, freelance photographer Denise Truscello, who still photographs in Las Vegas, got an impromptu makeout session with Bono when he ducked his head into the photographers’ pit. 

But what everyone remembered was not Truscello, but when the glowing LED screen behind the stage rolled with the name of every person killed in the attacks of Sept. 11 as Bono sang out “One.” A band capable of evoking any emotions onstage reduced 18,000 fans to tears. 

U2 always does something unpredictable when they perform in Las Vegas during their 16-city U.S. tour.

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Pets Rest Easier as Proposal Withdrawn for Placement of a Carl’s Jr. next to their Cemetery in Las Vegas

A controversial request to build a fast-food restaurant next to a a 30-year-old pet cemetery in Las Vegas has been withdrawn, but cemetery supporters remained wary because the property at issue could still be rezoned for commercial use.

Property owners CT-1 LLC asked for a one-acre parcel at Craig Road and Tenaya Way in Las Vegas to be reclassified from residential to commercial property, and applied for a permit to build a fast-food restaurant there. 

That raised the ire and angst of people to the boiling point that are connected to the 30-year-old Craig Road Pet Cemetery next door, who felt that a 24-hour restaurant would severely mar the corner’s peace and tranquility. 

This week, CT-1 released a statement saying it would not seek a permit for a Carl’s Jr. restaurant at that corner. 

Their statement does not mention the requests to change the property use from residential to commercial, though, and so opponents are not letting down their guard, said Curt Weiman, the cemetery’s manager. 

“We all believe something should go there,” Weiman said today. “It needs to be something that fits with the community. A food joint is not going to do anything for this area.” 

The items were scheduled to be before the Las Vegas Planning Commission on Thursday evening, but the meeting has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. on Nov. 5.

Warren Hardy, a consultant who is working with the property owners, said it hasn’t been decided whether the remaining requests will stay on the agenda or be delayed.

 “We would like to have some conversations with the residents out there and see if there’s something we can bring to that project that is more acceptable,” he said. 

There is commercial development on the east side of Tenaya Way, but the development surrounding the cemetery is entirely residential. 

The cemetery occupies four acres on the northwest corner of Craig and Tenaya — almost the entire block, except for the one-acre parcel owned by CT-1. The site is about two blocks south of Bunkers Memory Gardens Cemetery.

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Greenspun Media Group Empire in Las Vegas Continues to Crumble

The Greenspun Media Group empire continued to shrink Wednesday with the announcement that the company was suspending publication of two of Southern Nevada’s oldest community newspapers, the Henderson Home News and Boulder City News. 

The news follows Tuesday’s report that Greenspun has pulled the plug on its “News One at 9” broadcast on Las Vegas One television channel and last week’s cancellation of 702.tv, a Las Vegas-based news and entertainment video Web site that has been up for the past four months. 

The Boulder City News was established in 1937, when Boulder Dam was being built, and has a circulation of 7,500, according to the Nevada Press Association.

Henderson Home News was established in 1951 and has 27,600 circulation. 

Both publications are owned by Greenspun Media, a family business founded by the late Hank Greenspun more than 60 years ago. 

Media advertising revenues have dropped substantially in the past 18 months, as soaring unemployment and declining retail sales have forced cuts in marketing budgets. Newspapers across the country have closed or imposed significant cuts in the face of the advertising crisis. 

“Given the present environment, we sadly have no choice but to take a break from the community newspaper business,” Bruce Deifik, president of Greenspun Corp., said in a company statement. “We apologize to our communities for the suddenness of this news, and we hope our many loyal readers will now turn to our websites and our other outstanding publications for their news needs.” 

While scaling back its local newspaper enterprise, Greenspun will continue to deliver local news content through its LasVegasSun.com Web site, affiliated interactive media and other regional publications, Deifik said. 

Greenspun still publishes the Las Vegas Sun via a joint operating agreement with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Other Greenspun print holdings include Las Vegas Magazine, Las Vegas Weekly, Vegas Magazine and In Business Las Vegas, along with the Niche Media group of 12 lifestyle magazines. The Greenspun family also owns Vegas.com and has a substantial interest in KTUD-TV Channel 14.I

In recent years the Greenspun Media Group, as well as many other media organizations around the U.S., have concentrated on the development of online and interactive media. 

“We’ll still be delivering local news and information. The only difference is that it won’t be on newsprint,” says Deifik.

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Kim Kardashian’s Latest Dashin’ in Las Vegas Exploits

If you haven’t heard the latest scuttlebutt, now OLD Kim Kardashian brought her merry friends and happy-go-lucky dysfunctional family to the Tao nightclub in the Venetian in Las Vegas to celebrate her 29th birthday on October 16.  Yep, she’s a certified oldster now. KimKardashian

Reportedly, the reality-tv star and fashion icon is having some second- and even third thoughts – about turning the big two-nine.    Shhhhh.  Could it be that the pre-thirty angst is more about the Kardashian sisters becoming grown-ups rather than sorrow over losing their terrible twenties?  Oh my.  

Older sis Kourtney is expecting her first child in December.  Younger sis Khloe recently married Las Angeles Laker Lamar Odom.    So what will the future hold for Kim?  Stay tuned to Las Vegas Backstage Access.

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Las Vegas has its own Willie Wonka

Lionel Clement normally oversees a staff of six at the Wynn in Las Vegas.  As the chief chocolatier, Clement guides his team through the daily challenges of preparing not just confections, but chocolate art for use throughout the hotel and casino.  But these last few months he’s been doing much more than creating delicacies for visitors – he’s been preparing for the 2009 World Chocolate Masters competition.  And that preparation has resulted in a second place finish and further accolades for the restaurants and hotel staff of the Wynn. LionelClement

Being able to stay calm under pressure helped Clement win the Chicago competition that secured his spot at the Masters.   And his organizational skills and ability to adapt his designs helped him prepare for the Paris event.  

“He made a very big impression first when he arrived at the competition in Chicago for the selection,” says Pascal Janvier, master pastry chef and chocolatier and owner of Patisserie Fleur de Cocoa in Los Gatos, California.  “We almost knew that he was going to win just by looking at the way he was organized. Everything was so neat. That’s the way we work, but for a young guy, that’s usually not the case. His artistry is very good, too. That made a big difference.” 

The two-day 2009 World Chocolate Masters event included designing a master showpiece and creating a tasting of chocolate pastries, hand-dipped fruits and molded chocolates.  The yearly event brought master chocolatiers from 19 countries together in Paris to compare techniques and style.   Japan’s Shiegeo Hirai, sous check for the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo took first place and Michaela Karg of Cafe am Kreuzgang in Germany received third.

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PokerStars adding Online Pro division?

It appears that PokerStars will be adding a primarily online section of its Team Pro roster.

The employee that runs the official PokerStars twitter account recently tweeted the following:

“Team PokerStars Online Pro is a new branch of our team who’ll be playing mainly online not live. Anyone will be able to apply in due course.”

Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu re-Tweeted the message.

PokerStars already has some very respectable online players with Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Jason “treysfull21” Mercier and Hevad “RaiNKhaN” Khan all in the Team PokerStars Pro fold.

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Bobb Barr speaks out on Internet Gambling

Former House Representative Bob Barr is the latest public figure to comment on the state of online gambling in his Atlanta Journal-Constitution column, the Barr Code. 

Barr mentioned that the potentially revenue generated from legalizing, regulating and taxing online poker was becoming harder for the government to ignore. 

Barr went on to say it was very likely that Barney Frank’s pro-online gambling bill would go before a hearing this fall. 

Earlier this year, conservative columnist George Will wrote in his Washington Post column that he supported the legalization of online poker.

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Las Vegas Mayor Fights for New Zoo– and Crocs!

Some say it’s already a 24×7 zoo wherever you look in Las Vegas, but that’s apparently not enough to satisfy Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who is now trying to get Las Vegas a brand new zoo- and – are you sitting down? – some croc’ wrestling!

The project reportedly would be run by the family of the late Steve Irwin. Irwin, you may recall, is the famed crocodile hunter who tragically died three years ago after being hit in the chest by a stingray’s barb while he was snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

The Irwin family runs the Australia Zoo in Queensland and recently met with Mayor Goodman about opening a similar operation in Downtown Las Vegas, blighted by one failed business after another.

“It looks like a great project with a crocodile-type enclosure where they would wrestle with the crocodiles and feed the crocodiles and have a real educational component to it and we’re going to continue those discussions,” said a jubilant Mayor Goodman.

The discussions may include another facility that you might not typically speak of in the same breath as crocodile wrestling.

Goodman also met recently with a group interested in building a children’s hospital in Downtown Las Vegas.

“I’m trying to marry the two of them together because I think it would be great to have the crocodile zoo, so to speak, next to a children’s hospital where children have to be cheered up and have a bright outlook and I thought the two of them could be together on a piece of property that the city owns,” said Mayor Goodman.

Whether Las Vegas would sell or lease the land to the Irwin group is still unknown. The city is waiting for a proposal. But one thing they do know is that it would be very different from the controversial Las Vegas Zoo that’s recently come under fire from the Humane Society of the United States after a Contact 13 hidden camera investigation on animal cruelty.

“The zoo would be a limited zoo. It’s an Australian zoo. We’re not gonna have lions and tigers and giraffes and all the things that Darcy Spears [Las Vegas news reporter]  would want to have an investigative report about. We’re just going to have wombats and platypuses and koalas and crocodiles. I’m a big crocodile fan. I love crocodiles. So it’s my kind of zoo,” said Mayor Goodman.

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Wynn Las Vegas Launches Jetsetter Getaways

Wynn Las Vegas is now offering the convenience and luxury of air travel from a private terminal with the Jetsetter Getaway Package, offering flights from Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport and John Wayne Airport now through November, 2009. Premier passengers receive complimentary valet parking and hassle-free check-in and boarding for the Wynn VIP treatment.

These incredible packages include roundtrip air transportation in a beautiful, 50-seat jet and begin with complimentary valet parking upon arrival at the private terminal. Passengers skip the typical airport stress and check-in immediately. A dedicated pre-flight Wynn Concierge is on hand with each guest’s room key prepared and ready. Wynn in-flight concierges are available to assist with any and all resort arrangements. Complimentary champagne is offered prior to takeoff, and light snacks and beverages are provided during the flight.

Upon arrival in Las Vegas, limousine shuttles whisk guests directly from the tarmac to Wynn or Encore for a three-night stay, and travelers avoid the baggage carousels to find their bags awaiting them in their rooms. All guests also receive transportation back to McCarran Airport’s Executive Terminal in Las Vegas.

Personalized elite packages packages from Burbank are offered Friday to Monday and packages from Orange County are offered Thursday to Sunday. All packages start at $780 per person for double occupancy and $1,193 per person for single occupancy, including taxes and fees. Call 866.770.7929 and mention rate code WYNNBUR for a Burbank departure or WYNNORG for an Orange County departure to book your Wynn Vacations Jetsetter Getaway Package today, or visit www.WynnVacations.com for more information.

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Feds Give Up on Sanctioned Pot-Smokers

Federal drug agents won’t pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, including Nevada, under new legal guidelines to be issued today by the Obama administration. 

Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law. 

The guidelines to be issued by the department do, however, make it clear that agents will go after people whose marijuana distribution goes beyond what is permitted under state law or use medical marijuana as a cover for other crimes, the officials said. 

The new policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which insisted it would continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes. 

Fourteen states allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

 This goes back on what was said by Attorney General Eric Holder in March that where he wanted federal law enforcement officials to pursue those who violate both federal and state law, but it has not been clear how that goal would be put into practice. 

A three-page memo spelling out the policy is expected to be sent out today to federal prosecutors in the 14 states, and also to top officials at the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration. 

The memo, the officials said, emphasizes that prosecutors have wide discretion in choosing which cases to pursue, and says it is not a good use of federal manpower to prosecute those who are without a doubt in compliance with state law. 

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the legal guidance before it is issued. 

The memo, officials said, is designed to give a sense of prosecutorial priorities to U.S. attorneys in the states that allow medical marijuana. It notes that pot sales in the United States are the largest source of money for violent Mexican drug cartels, but adds that federal law enforcement agencies have limited resources.

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World Extreme Cagefighting Expected to Return to Las Vegas on Dec. 19

World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) is expected to remain in Las Vegas through the end of the year, as the promotion’s rumored WEC 45 event will reportedly take place on December 19 in Las Vegas, likely at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Cagefighting

The Versus-televised event follows November’s WEC 44 card, which will be held at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas and is headlined by featherweight champ Mike Brown vs. challenger Jose Aldo. 

Originally expected to feature the return of lightweight champ Jamie Varner against recently-crowned interim title-holder Ben Henderson as well as the return of former featherweight champ Urijah Faber, it remains to be seen what matchup will headline the event as Henderson’s injuries suffered in last weekend’s win over Donald Cerrone will sideline him until early next year and Faber’s return is currently slated for January. 

During the latest installment of ESPN’s “MMA Live,” Cerrone’s teammate Rashad Evans said “The Cowboy” could get his anticipated rematch with Varner with Henderson hurt, and the Cerrone-Varner matchup appears to be a possibility to headline WEC 45, though a non-title bout, including the return of former bantamweight king Miguel Torres, could be tapped for the WEC 45 main event. 

One confirmed participant for WEC 45 is Bart Palaszewski, who returns to the WEC after scoring a knockout win outside the promotion earlier this month.

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Play Monopoly on World’s Largest Monopoly Board in Las Vegas Today

Bally’s in Las Vegas will host today a life-size monopoly game to promote the Monopoly Advance to GO game on the Las Vegas Strip  using a 25-foot by 25-foot Monopoly board set that uses human monopoly tokens (hat, dog, car, shoe, thimble, and more), complete with oversized Chance and Community Chest cards in play. monopoly

The promotion will be held in front of Bally’s on Monday, Oct. 19 on the front sidewalk at the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Flamingo Rd. from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for the Monopoly Advance to GO game, a nationwide promotion that selected 50 finalists to compete in the qualifying first round. Each finalist will be given a scroll. Five players will play for the $50,000 Advance to GO prize. The remaining forty five finalists will receive cash prizes based on the scroll they receive. Minimum prize is $500. 

The Monopoly Advance to GO game is a partner event between Harrah’s Entertainment and Hasbro in conjunction with the Monopoly World Championships 2009. The championships are being held at Caesars Palace in the Forum ballroom in Las Vegas on October 21 and 22. 

This marks the first time in 14 years that the games have been held in the U.S. the game is open to the public.  Championship play at Caesars Palace is from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 21 and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on October 22. The first 600 visitors each day will receive a free Monopoly World Championships t-shirt.

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Barry Manilow Planning Las Vegas Departure

Barry Manilow fans have just a few chances left to see their idol perform at the Las Vegas Hilton. Barry Manilow announced that he is ending his five-year stint at the resort on December 30. BarryManilow

The show, “Ultimate Manilow: The Hits,” can still be seen Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 28-30. Ticket information can be found on the Las Vegas Hilton Web site

The 66-year-old singer arrived in Las Vegas in February 2005 with a show titled “Manilow: Music and Passion.”

Since then, the Hilton said he has performed more than 300 shows to nearly 450,000 people. 

Earlier this year, Manilow appeared on “American Idol” as a guest instructor during the show’s “Hollywood Week.”

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CityCenter in Las Vegas to Cut Condo Prices by 30 Percent

Developers of the $8.5 billion CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip plan a 30 percent price cut on condos there that people have already agreed to buy, just help close the deals during the recession. 

Company officials announced that CityCenter, co-owned by MGM Mirage and Dubai World, will begin closing on the nearly 2,400 units that have been built in two boutique hotels and two residential towers in January at the reduced prices. More than half of the units are under contract. The price cut roughly parallels the decline in Nevada’s real estate market since the units first went on sale in January 2007. 

The price reductions apply to the 227 units at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, the 670 units at the Veer Towers and the nearly 1,500 condo units at the 57-story Vdara Condo Hotel. 

A typical one-bedroom unit of about 800 square feet at the Vdara is now selling for about $674,000, according to an analysis by Bill Lerner of Union Gaming Group. 

Other parts of the 67-acre project include a 4,000-room casino-resort, convention space, hotels and a retail mall. The project is to start opening in December. 

Several casino industry analysts said MGM Mirage and Dubai World, the development arm of the government of Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates, had to make such a move to close real estate sales in a down market that has been particularly tough in Las Vegas. 

Lerner said in late August that the 30 percent price reductions would bring the Vdara’s prices in line with those at the Trump International Hotel down the street and the nearby Palms Place condo-hotel located 1.5 miles west of the Strip. 

Lerner said MGM Mirage might begin pushing those who have committed to buying units at Vdara toward Veer instead. 

CityCenter was originally supposed to have 200 more condo and condo-hotel units atop the Harmon, but that plan was scrapped when developers delayed the opening of the 400-room hotel portion to 2010.

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Turn Out the Lights on the Las Vegas’ Comedy Festival

Count one more event as a victim of the weakened economy.  After four years of bringing laughs and more laughs ad finitum to Las Vegas, The Comedy Festival at Caesars Palace will be “taking the year off.” lasvegascomedyfestivaldanecooke

Since the 2005 kick off of the hugely popular Las Vegas Comedy Festival, comedians including Dane Cook, right, Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Chappelle and many more have brought marquis value to festival tickets.  But the profit vs. cost profile and dipping economy imperatives have led TBS and AEG to opt out of the event, at least for 2009. 

In its media release TBS stated:  “This year, because of the uncertain economic climate, TBS has decided not to stage The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas.  TBS remains committed to the festival business, however.  We plan to be back in Las Vegas in the near future.” 

Caesar’s stage will not be going dark, by any stretch of the imagination.  Current Coliseum draw Cher will be performing during the festival’s normal November weekend.  And those comedy fans that just can’t wait a year to return to Las Vegas for their comedy fix can consider heading to Chicago, Illinois for the TBS sponsored “Just for Laughs” festival in June 2010.

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Jeff Dunham Brings Insanity to Chilly Las Vegas

It’s not like we’re in short supply of insanity in Las Vegas, but Jeff Dunham “volunteered” to bring his Spark of Insanity tour to Caesar’s Palace December 11 and 12, 2009.  JeffDunham

This isn’t Dunham’s first visit to the Colosseum.  Both with a previous personal tour and as a performer at the 2008 Comedy Festival, Dunham voiced Walter, Melvin and Peanut from a LasVegas stage. 

Tickets for the Caesar’s performance are available now for $49.50-$89.50 and may be purchased at www.caesarspalace.com.

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Casey Weldon Brings Solo Art Exhibit to Las Vegas

Casey Weldon brings his second solo exhibit in two years to the Trifecta Gallery in the Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., in Las Vegas now through October 30.   CaseyWeldon

The exhibit entitled, “Becomings and Goings,” continues Weldon’s social commentary.  However this series appears to have a dejected quality beyond what was in his past works. 

In “Lazy Daze”, two young girls sit side by side cradling a Lazy Daze RV in their arms.  From the despondent frowns on their faces to the bare trees in the background, you are left with the distinctly sorrowful knowledge that their holiday or summer has come to a close.    For this particular image, Weldon drew on the memory of girls he met during a camping trip when he was a boy.  It was both a time to celebrate and a sad close to the holiday. 

According to Weldon, “My previous paintings have one-liners or a joke or a punch line. I’m not trying to get rid of that, but I wanted to have a more serious tone. There is an innocence lost. I have friends and family who are having children. Some are dying. It seemed the best way for me to depict the cycle of life.” 

Admission is free.  Call 702-366-7001 for the viewing schedule.

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Donald Trump Productions (NBC’s “The Apprentice”) and Juma Entertainment (ABC’s “The Superstars”) have Teamed up tor a Groundbreaking New Las Vegas Reality TV Show

The strong duo is currently conducting a nationwide talent search for successful, eligible bachelors who think they have what it takes to win the heart of a well known bachelorette, who is a major TV personality and Donald Trump’s close friend. bachelorette

Donald Trump Productions and Juma Entertainment are presenting a relationship show unlike any other, titled “The Ultimate Merger.” Donald Trump will take on the role of matchmaker to help a well known bachelorette achieve the “ultimate merger” – a successful relationship. For more information  

Single men should be 21yrs and older, all races and ethnicities, able to work in the U.S., legal US resident, outgoing with big personalities and financially successful. 

If you think you have what it takes to win the Bachelorette’s heart, please email the following information ASAP (no deadline stated in release, but earlier the better), to tripletcasting@earthlink.net  a brief description of yourself, recent photos of you, and contact number/s where you can be reached.

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Major Rugby Tournament comes to Las Vegas

A huge sporting event is coming to Las Vegas starting early next year. The USA Sevens Rugby Tournament is moving to Las Vegas from San Diego, California. Rugby

Tournament organizers have just signed a multi-year commitment. 

Officials say they chose Las Vegas for a number of reasons, including its name recognition and its ability to attract visitors of all kinds. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman expects thousands of fans from around the world to come for the tournament each year. “You pick your favorite team, your favorite player, and they play in great spots. They come from all over the world. They’re going to be coming here to Las Vegas,” he said. 

Goodman also says he expects rugby’s popularity to grow now that it’s been added to the Olympics starting in 2016. 

The first tournament will be held in Las Vegas in February.

 

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Garth Brooks Out of Retirement, Announces Las Vegas Residency

In a couple short hours from now country music king Garth Brooks will confirm in Las Vegas his new residency at Steve Wynn’s casino hotels, most notably the Encore Theatre at the Wynn. GarthBrooks2

The planned run of performances ends the black Stetson-wearing king’s self-imposed retirement that began back in late 2000 when the 47-year-old wanted more time with his three children. 

The announcement will be made at 1 p.m. PT today, Oct. 15, inside the Danny Gans Theatre in the Wynn with Steve Wynn by his side. 

We expect the run to start as a total of 16 weeks of concerts starting in 2010. Garth’s appearances will be keyed to major holidays, and he will most likely move into a Las Vegas home with his wife, country singer Trisha Yearwood, and his three children. 

Brooks has sold more than 128 million albums in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America, second only to the Beatles’ 170 million albums.  Brooks has outsold the Fab Four — more than 68 million, to the Beatles’ 58 million. 

During the 1990s he also was one of the most popular concert attractions in the world. Amusement Business magazine ranked his 1996 tour the biggest country music tour in history after he sold 1.8 million tickets that year. 

Interestingly, though, he plans not to tour or make records for another five years, leaving his retirement a quasi-so proposition in Las Vegas. 

The Las Vegas shows, which should sell out by this weekend, will be a tremendous tourism boost to Las Vegas.

UPDATE:  He will be performing at Wynn’s Encore Theatre in Las Vegas for five years, three nights each week (one show Friday, two on Saturday, and one show on Sunday) starting sometime in 2010.   Under the terms of his deal with Steve Wynn, each week after his show he will be flown in his jet provided by Steve Wynn back to his home in Oklahoma so he can spend time with his family.)

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“Sugar” Shane Mosley to fight Andre Berto in Las Vegas on Jan. 30

The chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions said  he has “finalized” a deal to match Pomona’s Shane Mosley, right, (46-5, 39 KOs) versus Andre Berto (26-0, 19 KOs) in a world welterweight title unification bout on Jan. 30 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. 

Mosley, who aspires to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. and/or Manny Pacquiao, had a TKO victory over Antonio Margarito earlier this year. ShaneMosley

Bernard Hopkins will fight Enrique Ornelas on Dec. 2 in Philadelphia. If he wins, as expected, Hopkins will fight Roy Jones Jr. sometime in 2010.

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Las Vegas Hosts “America’s Got Talent”

What do you do for fun when your personal resume includes things like being a former mayor, TV news reporter, talk show host and lawyer?  You head out to Las Vegas, silly, and jump on the stage of Planet Hollywood to serve as the emcee of “America’s Got Talent Live!”    Or, at least, that’s what you do if you’re Jerry Springer and have recently completed a run on Broadway in the musical “Chicago.” JerrySpringer

Springer says that hosting the Simon Cowell produced television show “America’s Got Talent” in Las Vegas was “…the best show I’ve ever done on television…”  Springer approved of the democratic process of selection and enjoyed the overall atmosphere of the show during his time as host.  

Springer also participated in last year’s one-night performance of the live show at the MGM Grand.  The success of the 2008 event encouraged the producers to bring a longer run back to Las Vegas leading to the current 10-week engagement at Planet Hollywood. 

According to Springer it’s the perfect tie-in opportunity:  “When people come to Vegas, whatever they’ve been planning to do, they walk along and see the billboard ‘America’s Got Talent,’ and they’re going to like at least three of the eight or 10 acts.”  

The current Planet Hollywood show includes eight of the top acts from the last season of the television show, including the winner, Kevin Skinner – a former chicken farmer now turned country singer.

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Pamela Anderson Models Her Own Fashion Line

Pamela Anderson, a frequent partier in Las Vegas, is now reportedly  in New Zealand, debuting her fashion line A Muse.  Anderson showed up at a press conference, along with collaborator Richie Rich, wearing almost nothing but a printed pink scarf as a dress. 

As she turned around exposing her back tattoos and butt crack, she was wearing just a thong.  

Pammy is apparently desperate and willing to try almost anything, as she reportedly is drowning in financial debt and needs a lifesaver. 

The former Baywatch star, 42, allegedly owes $1.1 million to various construction companies for remodeling work on her Malibu home as well as back state taxes, L.A. County records show.

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Las Vegas Lap Dance Police on Dirty Dancing Manhunts

Serious crime in Southern Nevada?  Surely it must be waning.  Credit Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie for finally halting vehicle thefts, break-ins, gang violence and domestic disturbances in the Las Vegas Valley.   9-1-1 calls are apparently down to dispatchers taking calls for wayward pets and playground disputes between 2-year-olds —  local Las Vegas cops apparently have oodles of time on their idle hands. dirtydancing

How else can Las Vegas police justify making watching for dirty dancing inside strip clubs a law enforcement priority? 

Last week Las Vegas police made it official, asking the Clark County Commission to approve a new code that would allow undercover officers to ticket exotic dancers who get a little too friendly with their customers.

It’s a touchy subject in many ways with the commission. Four former members were sent to federal prison this decade for taking bribes from a local strip club owner, who bought the votes he needed to protect the bump-and-grind trade. 

The practices of this lucrative business model are no secret. The central transaction at strip clubs, known as a “lap dance,” involves physical contact between flittering strippers and their clothed, seated clientele. The more contact a stripper makes, generally speaking, the more the paying customer hopefully hands over in tips. 

However, Vice unit Lt. Karen Hughes says some dancers deliberately arouse patrons, and then try to upsell bigger payouts later as prostitutes. 

Current county code allows police to go after only club owners for dancer misconduct, such as straddling a customer. Because dancers work as freelancers and owners aren’t always on the premises, it’s difficult for police to prove that owners know about lap dances that go too far, Sgt. Glen Lowe said.

Police want the county’s code to mirror the cities. That language doesn’t impose stricter lap-dancing rules, which the commission briefly considered in 2002. Instead, police say, it makes exotic dancers directly accountable for misconduct and deters the kind of contact that leads to illegal acts of prostitution.

This is all very silly. For starters, undercover police have to be in, ahem, extremely close proximity to any lap dance to judge whether it’s appropriate or illicit. So how many vice officers will Las Vegas police dedicate to the enforcement of this code, assuming it’s approved? And how many lap dances will they have to endure before they issue a citation? 

Moreover, in this economy, a new code is not going to discourage dancers from performing in ways that guarantee their income. This valley’s strip clubs carry reputations known all across the country. One even has its own reality TV show. 

So should Las Vegas police ignore strip clubs altogether? Of course not. Allowing these venues to operate largely unchecked leads to lawless environments, which invites the kinds of abuses that led to the 2001 brutalization of Kansas tourist Kirk Henry by Crazy Horse Too employees over a bar bill. 

But Southern Nevada law enforcement agencies need to focus their attention on serious crimes that pose a major and growing threat to public safety and private property. And if Las Vegas police can’t have cruisers respond promptly to every home burglary, if they can’t curtail the “Lord of the Flies” culture that dominates our streets and highways, then they certainly don’t have the time to crack down on lap dances.

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Tiffanys Plans Las Vegas Opening in New CityCenter

Tiffany & Co. announced design details of its soon-to-be-opened store at CityCenter in Las Vegas Strip. The new two-level store will face Las Vegas Boulevard and will be located in Crystals, CityCenter’s 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind and Rockwell Group, which features a crystalline canopy. 

Slated for a December opening, the approximately 10,000-square-foot store features an 85-foot-high glass façade that is canted slightly over the street and shaped like a diamond. The façade incorporates the store’s entrance of polished black granite framing deco-inspired stainless steel doors, and serves as a great window that reveals the store’s interior with its spiral steel and glass staircase and curved, multi-layered ceiling.

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Pure Management Group in Las Vegas Promotes Deborah Krause to COO

Nightlife and restaurant leader Pure Management Group (PMG) announced the promotion of Deborah Krause to Chief Operating Officer. Since joining PMG two and a half years ago, Deborah Krause has earned many honors as theDeborahKrause company’s Executive Vice President overseeing Food & Beverage and Development and with this new appointment, Krause will now oversee all operations for PMG and its venues.
 
With more than 15 years of experience in developing and maintaining hotels, restaurants and nightlife destinations throughout the country, Krause has earned the respect of her peers in the Las Vegas community and beyond. Her efforts have led to many awards including the “American Express Gold Star” for service, an Epicurean Award, several “Best of Las Vegas” awards including “Best New Restaurant” (2004) and most notably the coveted “40 Under 40 Business Award” (2006) which honors Las Vegas’ top business executives – all under 40 years of age – who have changed the face of the city.

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Las Vegas Finishes Second in Race to Open Snow Resort Season

In a time when Las Vegas seems to be coming in near the bottom of every list for housing, education, health care – you name it – The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort brought us to a number two ranking for 2009 Ski Season Openings.                    

Wednesday, October 7, the resort opened one of the beginner hills at noon coming in second to the Loveland Ski Area in Colorado which opened at 9 a.m. the same day. 

Last year the Las Vegas resort opened the day after Thanksgiving.  The 2009 opening is about 7 weeks earlier than normal– a phenomenal record. Josh Beam and his crew worked three 14-hours nights to get a heavy layer of artificial snow ready for skiing. 

Savanna Jason was one of the locals and tourists who took advantage of the mountain’s first ‘snow day’.  

“It’s astronomical to be skiing in Las Vegas before Thanksgiving, let alone before Halloween,” said Jason. 

Las Vegas base operations manager and resort spokesman Craig Baldwin said “It feels great to tee it up with the Colorado guys.  This season’s gonna be good.”    

And if it turns out that you’re not up for a quick run down the slopes quite yet, the resort is also offering scenic tours.  The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort will be open on weekends until the weather turns colder and natural snow fills in the other runs.  Daily lift tickets are $20.

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Las Vegas Mayor & Tart Queen Film “Planet Holly” in Las Vegas this week

Colorful Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, an-Mob lawyer, and Las Vegas’ version of Lady Gaga, Holly Madison, will be joined together this week as filming begins on her VH1 reality show, “Planet Holly,” at Planet Hollywood Resort.bachelorette

His appearance will involve him naming five things that will make Las Vegas better; she will then go out and do those five things.  

During his weekly media sit-down meeting last Thursday, the mayor talked about his participation in the reality show and also mentioned he will be narrating another reality show about Las Vegas.

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Las Vegas Locos Roll California Redwoods in UFL Season Opener

The UFL is off to a great start. It is somewhat hard to gauge what kind of start since the expectations for this league are pretty low.  But, regardless, they held their first game Saturday night on the cable channel and live from Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Locos (full name:  Locomotives) defeated the California Redwoods 31-17 in what was a pretty entertaining game. Locomotives

What this league is exactly is still yet to be known. What it is not is the NFL, and that may be a very good thing. It is also not College Football and it is also not an Arena style league. 

This is going to be a niche league for hardcore football fans that can’t get enough of football and see players who never quite made it in the NFL, or are on the way up to the NFL. The best thing for this league would be to get a few of its players to play the full UFL season and then move up to the NFL to replace injured players there later in the NFL year. 

This is going to be some kind of unofficial minor league to the NFL. While that may sound harsh, it is the kind of league that there seems to be a market for. 

Football fans like, for example, QB JP Losman of the Locomotives who was a first round pick of the Buffalso Bills and spent five years there essentially doing nothing, Seeing Losman go out in his UFL debut and throw for two TD’s and 226 yards, while going 21 for 31 in the process, was a very good thing.

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Michael Jackson Keeps Beat Alive

The single from the eagerly anticipated Michael Jackson movie ‘This Is It’ is set to premiere online on Monday, Oct. 12. 

Sony Music tells the Associated Press that the unreleased single, also titled “This Is It,” will debut Monday at midnight on www.MichaelJackson.com

The song, which will play over the closing sequence of the film (in theaters Oct. 28), includes backup vocals by Michael’s brothers, The Jacksons, says the AP. 

The tune will also be included on a two-disc CD set featuring Michael classics such as “Thriller” and “Billie Jean.”

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Las Vegas ‘Star Trek’ Project Trekking Along

Bringing “Star Trek: The Experience” attraction to a Las Vegas 250,000-square-foot mall called Neonopolis is still on track despite the continuing economic downturn. 

The attraction had been slated to coincide with the May 8 premiere of the “Star Trek” movie but it was called off. 

Neonopolis owner’s representative Rohit Joshi says he’s been working with several consultants to design the attraction which could include more than one ride, a restaurant and bar and a Star Trek museum. 

Joshi, however, won’t give a possible opening date for the attraction in downtown Las Vegas. He says it’s vital all details of the attraction be as faithful as possible to Star Trek history and lore. 

An official with CBS Television Distribution in Los Angeles says the Neonopolis project is still in development and that CBS licensed the rights to the attraction to Joshi’s group.

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83-Year-Old Singer Tony Bennett is Back in Las Vegas- and Rolling in the Dough!

Tony Bennett’s next Las performance will reportedly be sometime in January at the Las Vegas Hilton.  The ageless crooner has also just signed a new “unbelievable” $10 million contract with Sony-Columbia. TonyBennett

Apparently, the contract is to reissue songs and albums from Tony’s illustrious past. And if Tony, 83, cuts new albums, Sony will spend $1 million in marketing for each one, according to Bennett. 

“I’ve been there for 60 years. I’ve been there longer than any other artist and they have a full catalog of all my albums from 1950 to now,” Tony says.  

“They said they’d like me to do 12 more albums,” he says. “With each album, they’ll promote it with $1 million. But if I don’t want to do it, they’ll still give me the $10 million. I don’t have to produce anything to fulfill the contract. It’s really the best contract ever written.”

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Barry Manilow Leaves Las Vegas

Barry Manilow fans have just a few chances left to see their idol perform at the Las Vegas Hilton. Barry Manilow announced last Wednesday that he is ending his five-year stint at the resort on December 30. 

The show, “Ultimate Manilow: The Hits,” can still be seen Oct. 8-10, Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 28-30. Ticket information can be found on the Las Vegas Hilton Web site

The 66-year-old singer arrived in Las Vegas in February 2005 with a show titled “Manilow: Music and Passion.” Since then, the Hilton said he has performed more than 300 shows to nearly 450,000 people. 

Earlier this year, Manilow appeared on “American Idol” as a guest instructor during the show’s “Hollywood Week.”

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Mariah Carey to Make History Tonight in Las Vegas

Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Mariah Carey will be making history Saturday, October 10, 2009 despite that her album “Memoirs Of An imperfect Angel” didn’t make #1 on the Billboard Charts. Mariah Carey will be the first concert to simulcast to internet enabled mobile phones and other electronic digital devices for her performance “Mariah Carey Live In Las Vegas.” 

The concert will be presented by GDE Partners at www.iviago.com in association with Mariah Carey’s label home, Island Def Jam Group. 

To catch the concert, virtual tickets will have to be purchased at $9.99 and can be obtained by texting the message Mariah to 313131 or by visiting Mariah Carey’s official site, Facebook or Myspace by clicking the link “Mariah Carey Live In Las Vegas” or by visiting iviago.com

Once you purchase your ticket for the “Mariah Carey Live In Las Vegas” you’ll be able to stream the concert on October 10th and view it at that time or save it later for a one-time viewing. The concert will have the ability to be paused and also continued at a later time, but the down-side is that it cannot be rewound or replayed once the ticket buyer has viewed it. 

In addition, on October 20, downloadable video clips of Mariah Carey’s Las Vegas concert which was recorded September 11 and September 12 from her exclusive concerts at Palms Resort in Las Vegas will be made available through select mobile phone carriers around the globe. The video clips will also include Mariah’s two concerts from October 9 and 10 and will be sixty minutes long.

On October 24th, the digital broadcast will be available in HD (high definition) and will be made available via Iviago’s virtual global stage which will broadcast to over 200 countries in partnership with over 200 partners (mobile and digital) which includes iClips and iTunes. 

If you’re interested in catching a preview, a 60-sec preview is available at www.iviago.com for those interested in knowing more about the “Mariah Carey Live In Las Vegas” or those looking to purchase virtual tickets.

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Study Says Business Travel to Las Vegas Stimulates the Economy

At a time when companies are scaling back travel and attended costs, a new study shows it pays to invest in travel. It’s not only a win for those businesses, but a win for Las Vegas, which banks on those travel dollars. 

Las Vegas is not only the entertainment capital of the world, but it has long been the top destination for conventions, meetings, and trade shows which brings in an estimated $8 billion annually. That is until now. 

“When economy took a dip and there was some bashing of meetings by some federal officials, it really hurt Las Vegas,” said Cathy Tull with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association. 

Las Vegas saw a 26-percent drop in convention travelers this year compared to last. But there’s hope things will soon turn around, thanks to a new study. 

Adam Sacks of Oxford Economics, a global research firm, has established a clear link between business travel and business growth. “For every dollar a company spends on business travel, incrementally that drives $12.50 in revenue and almost $4 in profits,” he said. 

The study simply states that business travel will stimulate the American economy. The study also points out that for the average U.S. business that does not travel in the first year sees a 17-percent drop in profits. 

And that’s not a chance business owners like Mike Weeks gamble on. “When you specialize like I do in personal injury attorneys and you are looking for the premiere firms, you have to go where they go,” he said. Weeks owns an advertising company and is in Las Vegas for a four-day convention to network and stimulate business– which is what the LVCVA says corporations should keep doing in this economy.

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Bartending Throwdown: Season Two of Las Vegas’ On the Rocks

LXTV.com’s online bartending competition for season two’s On the Rocks, takes off from where season one left off:  bartender’s making a go at a $100,000 check (courtesy of Absolut Vodka) and the title of America’s Top Bartender at the two-time host city of Las Vegas. 

Where season one was filmed at bars throughout the MGM Grand, season two will take place throughout Caesars Palace over eight days, starting at the end of October and airing as three 30-minute episodes on NBC following Saturday Night Live, beginning November 7.   Up to three contestants may be voted off after each episode, making this both the shortest of the foodie reality television shows out there as well as that with the highest stakes for the competitors. 

Open casting calls were held in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas. 

Award-winning mixologist and Pernod Ricard brand ambassador Simon Ford will return on the show in the capacity as advisor on all things beverage. 

Among those made famous during season one were Las Vegas bartenders James “Franchise” Hadhazy, BarMagic of Las Vegas’ Kristen Schaefer and Stripsteak’s Amanda Gager, who, after outlasting and outmixing her competition, took home the check and the coveted title.  Gager is said to be returning this season as judge, as well as entertaining Italian playboy bartender Brienza. 

Among those called back this season was First Food and Bar bartender Mariena Mercer, 26, and a rare second-generation Las Vegas native.  Mercer has been bartending up to two jobs at once since she turned 21.

 “I really want to experience every type of bartending,” she says.  “I really would love to own my own bar some day.”

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Tanning Bed Use as Deadly as Arsenic and Mustard Gas

A new medical study is out that ties tanning bed use to an increased risk of contracting cancer, listing it among the top cancer causes, rating them as deadly as arsenic and mustard gas. tanningbeds

With the climate in Las Vegas now turning seasonally colder, this has magnified the intrinsic business and economic challenges faced by Las Vegas’ indoor tanning industry practitioners. 

For years, scientists have described tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation as “probable carcinogens.” 

The new cumulative study is a result of analyzing about 20 tanning bed studies which concluded the dramatic risk of skin cancer occurs with continued use. The study released in July by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, said skin cancer risk is increased by 75 percent for those who use tanning beds before age 30. 

The new cancer classification means tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet radiation are definite causes of cancer, alongside tobacco, the hepatitis B virus and chimney sweeping, among others. 

Most lights used in tanning beds give off mainly ultraviolet radiation, which causes skin and eye cancer, according to the International Agency for Cancer Research. 

The research was published online in the medical journal Lancet Oncology by experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon. 

Nationwide, the $2.7 billion tanning salon industry is expected to experience a 5.1 percent decline this year as the negative impacts of a down economy and the study play out, according to market research firm IBIS World Inc.

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Nevada Leads U.S. with Highest Divorce Rate- 14.2 %!

Las Vegas has always been a town where people rush in, sometimes eloping, and quickly head down the aisle in a quick marriage.  Now, new figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that Nevada also has the the highest divorce rate of any state in the nation last year– 14.2 percent of the population has been through a divorce. divorce

Experts point to alcohol abuse, gambling addiction and the overall 24-hour environment filled with dancers, showgirls and brothels as likely contributors to the high rate across the state, including Reno—once known as the “Divorce Capital of the World.” 

Frank Lin is a divorce attorney in Las Vegas whose firm Lin & Associates uses the phone number 702-DIVORCE. He says there’s “a lot of temptation, so to speak, because it’s constantly in front of you.”

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Shhh! (Garth Brooks May Sign Las Vegas Contract!)

More Garth Brooks chatter that he has an Oct. 15 news conference scheduled regarding his Wynn Las Vegas entertainment offer.  As Las Vegas Backstage Access sorts out facts from fiction, we’ll keep you posted.

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Kanye West and Lady Gaga “Fame Kills” Tour in Las Vegas is Kaputt

Live Nation has confirmed to Las Vegas Backstage Access that the Gaga/Kanye “Fame Kills” tour is officially off. 

Mediatakeout claims it’s Gaga who wanted out, not Kanye, even though she was singing his praises recently in a Las Vegas radio interview for what would have been their Nov. 13 concert at Mandalay Bay Events Center. 

Readers, what do you think:  sad for the show you won’t be seeing, or was Fame never meant to live forever, nor to light up the Las Vegas sky like a flame?

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Snow Skiing in Las Vegas? Setting U.S. Record?

The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort on Mt. Charleston may be able to open earlier this year than ever before thanks to recent cold temperatures. If it opens this weekend – plans call for possibly opening this Thurs. or Friday – it will be their longest season ever.   And, if that happens, it may just well mean that this usually hotter than hell climate will be part of a new national record for winter snow– beating out every other ski resort in the country and open first. snow2

The staff at the resort says recent cold weather has allowed them to make plenty of manmade snow and that means the slopes can open early and they can hire more employees sooner- very good news for a very stale Las Vegas economy with unemployment running nearly 11 percent. 

The dip in temperatures this week is allowing snowmakers at the resort to create fresh powder sooner than ever before.   In order to pull it off and open sometime this week, the resort needs one more night of cold temperatures. He says snowmakers have been able to create all the snow in the last two nights when temperatures on Mount Charleston dropped to about 18-degrees at the 8,600-foot mountain elevation.

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Las Vegas Ranked the Second-Dumbest City in United States

When you think of someone perhaps “not having the sharpest knife in the drawer,” does that person necessarily live in Las Vegas? dumb

The Daily Beast does.  Las Vegas has just been “honored” by the Daily Beast as the second-dumbest city in the country in their first-ever study: “A city that prides itself on sin performs predictably for each of our intellectual-based criteria.” 

How was the ranking computed?  They only ranked metropolitan areas (the cities and their suburbs) of 1 million people or more, using Census data, with the definition of each greater metropolitan area defined by Nielsen. That gave them 55 U.S. cities n all. All data was then organized on a per-capita basis, so that a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, and New York, New York, had equal weight.  They we’re looking for the brainiest cities, not the biggest. 

Then they divided the criteria into two halves: Half for education, and half for intellectual environment. The education half encompassed how many residents had bachelor’s degrees (35 percent weighting) and graduate degrees (15 percent). No credit was given for “some college or some grad school”— only rewarded those who finished the race. The intellectual environmental half had three subparts. First, they ooked at nonfiction book sales (25 percent), as tracked by Nielsen BookScan, the nation’s leading provider of accurate point-of-sale data, which tracks roughly 300,000 titles each week. They focused on nonfiction as an imperfect proxy for intellectual vigor, because overall sales are dominated by fiction works that, while entertaining, aren’t always particularly thought-provoking.  They also measured the ratio of institutions of higher education (15 percent), as defined by the federal government—different than just measuring college degrees, this acknowledges that universities don’t just churn out diplomas, but instead drive the intellectual vigor of cities. Finally, many studies link intelligence and political engagement, so we weighed this, too, as measured by the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in the last presidential election (10 percent). (Their relatively small weighting acknowledges that numerous other local factors can affect turnout.) 

Once that had all these comparable, per-capita figures, they then ranked the cities in each category, assigning 10 points to those near the very top, and 0 to the bottom, with scores allocated between in a broad bell curve. They then added the totals, and multiplied by two, which made for a perfect score of 200, a wash-out score of 0, and an average score right at 100—close to the exact parameters of a classic IQ test. 

So, what do you think? Do you think Las Vegas deserves the IQ score of 11 that Daily Beast assigned?

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Las Vegas’ New City Hall Project Continues to Chug Along

Project plans for a new Las Vegas City Hall appear to be moving forward, despite higher than expected interest rates.  To provide a mechanism for more effective interest rates, Las Vegas is seriously looking now at using “Build America” bonds to finance their new city hall. 

By using these bonds to finance the project it will cost Las Vegas as much as $267 million, but save the city  $82 million over 30 years, based on current estimates of competitive funding methods. 

Las Vegas has already awarded a $107,800 engineering contract to design a 650-space parking garage adjacent to the proposed six-story, 303,000-sq-ft building City Hall complex at First Street and Clark Avenue.  

The complex, if and when it is finished, is planned to have a 250,000-sq-ft of office space, a 500-seat city council chamber and a public exhibition space, as well as an outdoor plaza with solar panel trees that serve as shade structures. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said recently that prospects for the project were bleak because the interest rates on one possible funding mechanism were as much as 8 percent too high. 

But Goodman says the Build America bonds are improving the viability of the project. 

The Build America bond program is part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package which lets state and local governments issue taxable bonds for capital projects and get a direct federal subsidy payment from the Treasury Department for a portion of their borrowing costs. 

The Las Vegas City Council will be meeting today to further discuss the issue, but the final vote on whether to continue to move forward on the city hall plan won’t occur until November or December.

If approved, the Las Vegas City Hall project is expected to finish by mid-2011– and create 13,000 new jobs.

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Celebrity Involvement Fuels Las Vegas’ 2nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

Some serious celebrity star power will fuel excitement at the 2nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Collector Car Auction  (link for schedule and info) in Las Vegas starting on Oct. 7, preceeded first by a road rally at 1:30 p.m. down the Las Vegas Strip before arriving at the event headquarters at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. 

Bruce Willis and Don Johnson will sell vehicles from their private collections; and the “Father of the Mustang,” Lee Iacocca, will provide an exclusive chance to own one of only 45 limited edition Ford Mustangs. In a special charity auction, legendary TV host Jay Leno will sldo donate proceeds from the sale of a one-of-a kind Yamaha motorcycle to Bailey’s Café, an arts education program based in Brooklyn, NY. 

Ranging from a Lincoln Limousine used during the filming of “Die Hard,” to a powerful off-road SUV, a total of six vehicles from the celebrities will all sell at a No Reserve auction from Oct. 7 through 10. 

Because no collector car auction in Las Vegas would be complete without a nod to the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley fans will also have the chance to own a race car used in the iconic 1964 motion picture, “Viva Las Vegas.” 

Bruce Willis, action movie star and one of Hollywood’s most recognizable leading men, will sell his 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 and 1988 Lincoln Limousine.  The Copper Maroon 1967 Corvette convertible (Lot #659.3) features a powerful 427 c.i.d., 435 horsepower Tri-Power engine with a 4-speed manual transmission. Tri-Power ‘Vettes are considered by many collectors to be some of the most collectible versions of the celebrated American sports car. Willis purchased the car in El Paso, Texas, while filming “Last Man Standing.” He later shipped the car to Sun Valley, Idaho, to enjoy during summer trips.  Also a convertible, the black on black 1968 Pontiac Firebird (Lot #659.2) hails from Willis’ hometown of Penns Grove, N.J., where he used to drive to and from the Jersey Shore with his father. Originally used to take Willis to the set of his TV series “Moonlighting,” his dark blue 1988 Lincoln Limousine (Lot #659.1) was also used during the filming of the blockbuster movie, “Die Hard.” 

Lee Iacocca, known as the “Father of the Mustang,” presented the Ford Mustang to the world during a dramatic press conference at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. During his time as Ford Division president and general manager, Iacocca made the Mustang a household name. Now, Iacocca is selling one of the most anticipated limited edition versions of this iconic classic, the No. 5 Iacocca Silver 45th Anniversary Edition Ford Mustang (Lot #3000). 

Jay Leno, one of the most popular TV hosts and stand-up comedians in the country, and one of the world’s most ardent car and motorcycle collectors, will sell his Yamaha Star V-Max motorcycle (Lot #761.1) to benefit Bailey’s Café (www.baileyscafe.org) The educational program based in Brooklyn, NY, uses poetry, theater, video, writing, music, dance, cooking and fine arts to build community and inter-generational understanding and respect in inner-city neighborhoods.

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Las Vegas Airs Bizarre Version of “Let’s Make a Deal” TV Show

Is there a better place anywhere on the planet to launch a bizarre and outlandish game show then if not in Las Vegas, the king of all things untamed?  Of course not, silly. LetsMakeaDeal

As reported Aug. 16 by Las Vegas Backstage Access, the “Let’s Make a Deal” show was coming to Las Vegas- and now it’s a reality. 

Complete with lots of costumed, bizarre contestants oozing energy from every pore, TV history was rebooted yesterday in Las Vegas, as “Let’s Make a Deal” version 2009 started taping weekday mornings from the Tropicana’s 300-capacity studio, the show airing on CBS from 9 to 10 a.m., KLAS-TV, Las Vegas Channel 8. 

Boasting 2 1/2 times as many deals, new rhythm and audience members facing 1-in-18 odds of being selected, “Let’s Make a Deal,” is a new take on the classic game television show, featuring audience members dressed in outlandish costumes and jumping non-stopped like deranged jackrabbits, hoping to be selected as a zany contestant and win cash and prizes by making deals with game show host Wayne Brady, an Emmy Award winner and headliner at The Venetian in Las Vegas. 

This Vegas-based edition is the first daytime network game show to premiere in 16 years, replacing “Guiding Light,” which was snuffed out recently by CBS. 

The classic “Deal” aired on ABC and NBC from 1963-76; a weekly syndicated version was broadcast from 1971-77; a Canadian revival ran from 1980-81; an “All New Let’s Make a Deal” popped up from 1984-86; another daytime version resurfaced on NBC from 1990-91; and episodes of yet another weekly prime-time “Deal” aired in 2003. 

Want to be a member of the audience or possibly become a contestant?  It’s easy.  Just call 800-706-8767, or visit www.cbs.com/daytime/lets_make_a_deal or just arrive in costume at the “Deal” ticketing center on the casino level at the Tropicana, 3801 Las Vegas Blvd. South, in Las Vegas.

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Strip Club Reality TV Gives a Zesty Taste of Las Vegas

Embodying Las Vegas craziness, decadence and adult strip club allure, the new Playboy TV reality show King of Clubs is filmed in Las Vegas at the legendary Palomino Club, the venue’s second foray into adult TV (the first being the humorous lap top dance/quiz program Show Us Your Wits.) 

The show follows the Gentile family as they take over the only strip joint in town with a full-nude license and a full bar, plus dancers who are as young as 18.  But this show is not just merely a half-hour’s worth of lap dances and nudity on the small screen. 

King of Clubs premiered on September 25, and though sexuality is a strong component of each episode, it’s easy for the viewer to become wrapped up in the stories of the individuals involved in the night-to-night operations of the Palomino Club. 

The family running the club presents an interesting dynamic, but also that the show reveals that strippers aren’t as dumb as tacks, the prevailing stereotype. 

If you don’t subscribe to Playboy TV, no sweat.  Las Vegas locals and military are always free at the Palomino Club and they’re considering adding the channel to their cable package just to get the show. 

And even if you aren’t intrigued by the business side of King of Clubs, there’s plenty of titillating content.  One upcoming episode, for example, features “Design a Vagina” night, complete with a naked backstage cat fight.

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“A Bronx Tale” Takes Center Stage in Las Vegas Starting Oct. 7

Academy Award-nominated Chazz Palminteri and popular stage and screen actress Marilu Henner, left, will be celebrating the opening of Palminteri’s celebrated one-man play, “A Bronx Tale” at The Venetian Showroom in Las MariluHennerVegas with a post performance party at Lavo in the Palazzo on Wednesday, October 7. ChazzPalminteri

A Bronx Tale is a funny and touching memoir written by and starring Chazz Palminteri. In the celebrated play on which he based the legendary movie,  directed by and co-starring Robert De Niro (De Niro’s directorial debut), Palminteri brings 18 characters to life while vividly depicting a young boy’s rough childhood in the 1960’s-era Bronx and the unforgettable people he encountered. 

The classic coming-of-age story about reaching your true potential and trusting your heart play is directed by four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks and produced by GO Productions, LLC, a Las Vegas based production company. 

A Bronx Tale will be playing at The Venetian Showroom from October 7 through October 18. 

If your publication perhaps would like an article on the play or interviews with the cast, please contact Las Vegas Backstage Access by October 6. Just reply with a confidential comment to this article (all replies moderated) and we’ll promtly get back to you.

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Las Vegans Give Cold Shoulder to 66-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur

A fossilized dinosaur is still looking for a posh, retro burial home after bidders failed to meet the minimum sales price this Saturday at a Las Vegas auction. dinosaur

Not surprising.  

What the hell do you do, after all, with a 66-million-year-old, 40-foot-long, 7.5 ton dinosaur?  Serving up as freeze dried meals you say?  It’s really not an option, even if the delicacy was once the well known lumbering beast of all beasts, a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Samson.  Wall hanging?  Well, there’s gauche, then there is masse sickening.  Besides, how many of you honor and hang your dead relatives on your wall?  (We’re really not interested in your answer.) 

The 170 fossilized bones of  the T-Rex found on a South Dakota ranch in 1992, only garnered a top bid of $3.7 million (we don’t want to know about those sicko bidders either), falling way below the minimum target price of $6 million set by auction house Bonhams & Butterfield at the Venetitian auction in Las Vegas. 

To put this in perspective,  loveable “Sue,” a fully preserved female T-rex, sold for a whopping $8.36 million at a 1997 auction.  Cheapen the legacy of her death?  I don’t think so.

But Samson, which is a little less well preserved than Sue, was one of 17 dinosaur and fossil items which failed to sell Saturday, perhaps a sign of our depressed economy. 

Officials from the auction house Bonhams & Butterfields did attempt to put a positive face on the auction that netted more than $1.7 million dollars, selling 25 other dinosaur and fossil lots. 

A pair of a less-known species of dinosaurs related to the triceratops, sold for $440,000 dollars — below the $500,000 estimate noted in the prospectus but, according to Bonhams & Butterfields, a world auction record nevertheless for such an item. 

They were  bought by Larry Lawson of Big Lake, Alaska, who spent about $1 million dollars in all. The 44-year-old oncologist said the items will adorn his home and offices and be available for schools to visit. 

Some items, however, did top their auction estimates, including several of those bought by Las Vegas Sands Inc. chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam Adelson. 

They dolled out $5,185 on an ancient cave bear skull found in Romania that was expected to only net $4,000.  They also chipped in $67,100 dollars for a colorful squid-like ammonite specimen found in southern Alberta, Canada that was expected to fetch at most $45,000 dollars. 

The Adelsons, whose Venetian Resort-Casino in Las Vegas hosted the auction and displayed the items as a tourist attraction for five weeks prior to the auction, reportedly spent more than $142,000 dollars at the auction. 

The rich old couple – probably with more money than time on their hands – coyly said they plan to display some of their purchases at the private high school they fund in Las Vegas and, yes, their home as well. 

OK, let’s be nice now and not cast any dispersions on the Adelsons and their tastes in haute giving and fine decorating. 

[If you want to read more on the auction, please read the Aug. 30 article by Las Vegas Backstage Access.]

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Hard to Say the Words: Las Vegas Pool Season Nearly Over

In calendar time, the summer season is sadly over, but, Las Vegas likes to hold on to any pool season remnants until the bitter end.  And nothing embodies summer in Las Vegas quite like bottomless cocktails, topless ladies and weekday pool parties.  Sadly, the summer pool season is waning and the final countdown is beginning: 

Bare – Final day tentatively set for October 17

Cherry – Final day is October 1

Daydream – Closed

Hard Rock – Rehab and Relax closed

Luxor South Pool – Sunkissed Sundays is closed

Palms Pool & Bungalows – Final Ditch Friday is October 16

Tao Beach – Final party is October 31

Venus – Final day is today

Voodoo Beach – Final day of operations is October 31.  The Fosters monthly nighttime poolside concert series will close after a just-added free performance by Our Lady Peace on October 22

Wet Republic – Closing party is October 11 with guest DJ Roger Sanchez; pool to remain open Friday though Sunday into late October.

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Las Vegas Locos Squash California Redwoods in UFL Season Opener

The UFL is off to a great start. It is somewhat hard to gauge what kind of start since the expectations for this league are pretty low, but they held their first game Saturday night on the cable channel versus live from Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. In that contest the Las Vegas Locos defeated the California Redwoods 31-17 in what was a pretty entertaining game. 

What this league is exactly is still yet to be known. What it is not is the NFL, and that may be a very good thing. It is also not College Football and it is also not an Arena style league. 

This is going to be a niche league for hardcore football fans who can’t get enough of football and see players who never quite made it in the NFL, or are on the way up to the NFL. The best thing for this league would be to get a few of its players to play the full UFL season and then move up to the NFL to replace injured players there later in the NFL year. 

This is going to be some kind of unofficial minor league to the NFL. While that may sound harsh, it is the kind of league that there seems to be a market for. 

Football fans like, for example, QB JP Losman of the Locomotives who was a first round pick of the Buffalo Bills and spent five years there essentially doing nothing, Seeing Losman go out in his UFL debut and throw for two TD’s and 226 yards, while going 21 for 31 in the process, was a very good thing- for Losman and the league.

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Las Vegas Rethinks Lavish Attractions Draw

Las Vegas may have to retool its lavish hotels and entertainment branding to attract a whole new breed of budget conscious travelers that won’t accept anything else- now or in the future when the economy improves.

Cirque du Soleil has been offering 40% off ticket packages for two, and the Bellagio has dropped nightly rates to as low as $90.

“You’ve got to drop your rates, but you don’t want to create a sense that this is a discount experience or that the experience itself has been diminished,” said Billy Vassiliadis, chief executive of public relations firm R&R Partners.

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Celebrity Birthday Party Soirees Galore in Las Vegas This Weekend

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash was in Las Vegas Friday headlining the 20th anniversary birthday party at The Mirage, dubbing the event” Slash and Friends.” The axeman’s so-called friends included fellow GNR bandmate Matt Sorum and previously-mentioned fellow drummer Tommy Lee; Hole’s unladylike leading lady, Courtney Love; Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry; Maroon 5 hottie Adam Levine; Pussycat Dolls’ stunner Nicole Scherzinger; musician/screenwriter Rob Zombie; Led Zeppelin drummer Jason Bonham; and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick. What’s more, Keifer Sutherland served as master of (the star-studded) ceremonies. 

Whew, try saying all that in one breath- and we’re just getting started…

 If club hopping and spotting celebrities are your cup of tea, don’t forget to check out Her Greatness, the inimitable Paris Hilton as she graces Body English, the nightclub at the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel.  This is THE favorite Las Vegas nightclub for Hilton, but don’t expect to spot her until around 11 p.m. – a gaggle of cackling groupies are a sure-fire sign of her presence. 

Hilton watchers will remember the mini firestorm that erupted about a month ago when a local gossip columnist suggested the scandal-prone heiress was “wasted” at Wasted Space via Twitter. 

Sober, tipsy, wasted or otherwise, Hilton will ensure Saturday night is a smash as she hosts “Smashtime” at Body English, along with E! Personality and BE Saturday night resident Clinton Sparks. 

But if being in a state of mindless DJ bliss is your ticket, might want to head down tonight to the Rain nightclub at the Palms Casino around 10 p.m. as Paul Oakenfold presents Perfecto. 

However, then again, if you’re a firm believer that a wholesome family celebrity life can indeed happen in Las Vegas, then put on your swimming trunks and head over to the Wet Republic ultra pool at the MGM this afternoon as the terrible actress, poor singer, and the sister of Jessica, an escalating train wreck and wife to an annoying band member, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz turns 25 today, blowing the candles out on her paparazzi pie.

Yep, the C-list celebritybirthday party guests will most likely celebrate by spending time with husband Pete and cute son Bronx Mowgli today and her family; though we’d really rather she would hang out with an acting coach. 

That said, it’s pretty safe to say the senior Simpson sister’s ex, Nick Lachey, won’t be anywhere near Wet Republic or the sisters’ SPF this weekend – though he will be in town this weekend. 

Lachey, however, has been spotted in and around the Venetian/Palazzo (including at First Food and Bar on Thursday) and will likely stay on property, for the most part. What’s more: Lachey’s current flame Vanessa Minnillo is rumored to be with him. 

There are a lot of other notable Las Vegas birthday candles to blow out this weekend.

The Mirage is turning 20; PT’s, a local dive chain, is celebrating an amazing fog-filled 27 years; Tao is toasting its fourth birthday; and Lavo is about to mark a year of success and excess on the Strip. 

All these birthdays mean three things: Lots of cake and lots of candles — and lots of celebrities, too. 

Paris Hilton was also at the Vision Expo yesterday, promoting her new line of sunglasses at the Gripping Eyewear booth (#18103), but the blonde ambition’s endorse-a-palooza didn’t stop there: Hilton took her fashionable show down the street to the Hard Rock Hotel, where she strutted her stuff in a poolside fashion show.  You might think of Hilton as a real life Barbie– you can dress her up, but be very careful when and where you take her out. 

Today, the Vision Expo will be graced by rapper Pitbull who will take to the Revolution Eyewear booth at noon. Also at the Expo on Saturday will be PGA Tour golfer Kenny Perry, swing coach Matt Killen, and vision trainer Larry Lampert, who will be appearing n behalf of Transitions Optical (booth #10053). While the trio of golf pros will be chatting up Transitions lenses, they’ve also promised to share a few tips to help fans improve their golf game, too. 

Meanwhile, Mario Barth’s “Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth” also got under way on Friday, across the street from MGM at Mandalay Bay, with some 1,000 of the hottest tat artists. The three-day ink fest also features a sizeable collection of celebs, including Tommy Lee, Jack Osbourne, Mark McGrath, Evan Seinfeld, and Duff McKagen. 

Barth’s action will move to the Hard Rock on Saturday, where tattoo legend will co-host Inked magazine’s first annual Inked True Colors Awards, which will feature a special performance by The Bronx.  After that he and his entourage will likely move the party to New York-New York after the awards, however, as Beastie Boys DJ extraordinaire Mix Master Mike takes to the turntables at a tattoo show afterparty at Rok. 

While the Tao restaurant-nightclub has released the mile long list of confirmed guests for this evening’s four-year birthday party, everyone knows the place will be crawling with more celebrities and VIPs that what is listed. 

The big names on the list now include actress Amanda Bynes; actor Mekhi Phifer; Dr. Allison Cameron from “House,” aka Jennifer Morrison; and “Blade” vampire Stephen Dorff.  But it doesn’t end there, oh no… Aaron Paul, Adam Gregory, Amanda Righetti, Beth Ostrosky, Brandi Cibrian, Carson Kressley, Clifton Collins, Danielle Panabaker, Eva Amurri, Jason Kennedy, Jennifer Gimenez, Krysten Ritter, Patrick Sebes, Selita Ebanks, Spencer Grammer, Terrence Howard, and last but not least, Zachary Abel.

Naturally, the pre-released list of celebs attending the Tao party will likely serve as a mere starting point in terms of the who’s-who’s of the party. And, considering the plethora of stars in town this weekend, it’s not hard to imagine how much the guest list stands to grow by the end of the night.

 Meanwhile, at the MGM Grand tonight, AC/DC will entertain at the Grand Garden Arena.

 Another, though entirely different, Australian-born act will step into the spotlight tonight, too, however the second Down Under-born and bred show will go down at The Palms: Kylie Monogue will mark her return to North American soil and the North American stage tonight with a performance at the Pearl. 

A very different show will take place at Texas Station tonight, as all-American country superstar Randy Travis takes to the stage. 

Also, tonight, L.A. party boy Brent Bolthouse will bring the West coast party to Privé, where he will serve as guest DJ for the night. 

And as if the weekend’s worth of birthday bashes and anniversary soirées isn’t enough, there will be yet another blow-out on Sunday at The Bank.  Suffice to say those attending the tattoo show’s grand finale party on Sunday – yes, God doesn’t rest in Las Vegas – won’t be making it into the office first thing Monday morning: Dave Navarro is hosting the event, while DJ Skribble and DJ Slynkee will also contribute to the soundtrack.

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Get Drunk as a Skunk in Las Vegas

A few nice things about October in Las Vegas:  The fricken hot heat of summer which sears your eyelids to your eyeballs abates for six months; kids go back to school, giving their parents at least a semblance of renewed sanity; and an Oktoberfest is promoted in nearly every nook and cranny in Las Vegas, hopefully, to give the venue a revenue bump. 

One of the premiere events is the Jacktoberfest Beer Festival that runs today from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sunset Station in Henderson. beerdrinking

It features 30 different beers from all over the world.  And if that is not enough to satiate your needs, then maybe the live music from The King Mixers, Hair Nation and Sin City Sinners will- these are not your ordinary garage bands.

Included in the $20 entry fee for this event is a plethora of events that only drunkards could truly appreciate:  $500 for Sexiest Oktoberfest costume (or what many of you normally wear anyway), Hooters Bikini Beer-Chugging Contest, BBQ Grill Toss, Weiner Dog Races, and so much more. 

For the really commercial strength chuggers there’s an after party inside Club Madrid later in the day.  No word yet on whether escorts will be allowed to accompany the inebriated. 

Please call 702-547-7777 or log on to www.sunsetstation.com for more details.

Please, arrange for a cab to get back, enjoying the day even more. 

Bottoms up!

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Chicago Loses U.S. 2016 Olympics Bid? It can’t be! Recount!

Celebrities and politicians chimed in at the last moment and tried to convince more Olympic voters that Chicago is the only way to go for the 2016 Olympics.  Celebrities?  Barack Obama, the guy that’s the President of the United States whose trying to iron out healthcare?  RiodeJaneiro

Las Vegas Backstage Access wonders why so many writhed their hands and were in such a shock and awe tizzy when Rio de Janerio, right, received the city nod.  I mean, after all, didn’t we collectively spend over $200 million to attract the judges?  

Some argue that the upfront earnest marketing money spent could have been better applied to help feed the homeless or other socially viable programs.  After all, didn’t the unchecked national chicanery wipe out the life savings of thousands? 

Get a grip, people.   The U.S. didn’t just lose, it came in last place.   How could that be?   Maybe a contributor is that the U.S. has and is still suffering from the most devasting financial crisis and loss of consumer confidence on record. It’s not like the hotbed of high morale.  For a long time, charlatans, thieves by another name, ran the henhouse.  And it’s not over yet.   With each passing day new schemes are being discovered that rob people of their hard earned savings.

Ironically, on the same day of the Olympic city announcement, the national unemployment rates were also announced- which rose once again rose to 9.8 percent. 

The Olympics is all about having world competitive sporting games and crowning the winners at that moment in time. Nothing more and nothing less.  

Perhaps now some of this same fervor, if anybody cares, could be claimed and channeled into higher ROI projects, with a quicker return to a U.S. society that is crumbling with each passing day and on the potential verge of withering away due to misaligned priorities and just plain neglect. 

The U.S. didn’t really lose the Olympics bid– unexpectedly, we’ve just had a godsend infusion of good old fashioned common sense.  Thomas Paine is probably joyously rolling over in his grave.

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Las Vegas Billionaires Cry in their Dom Pérignon

The annual Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans for 2009 was released this week.  With deep sadness and regret Las Vegas Backstage Access reports that most Las Vegas gaming luminaries have taken multibillion-dollar net worth shellackings. billionaires

Most blamed their financial woes largely on the stock market’s collapse in 2008 and early 2009. 

Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder, chairman and chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson, 76, was the highest-ranking Nevada resident on the list, coming in at No. 26 with a net worth of $9 billion. 

But even that is chump change in comparison to Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates who tops the Forbes list with a net worth of $50 billion, followed by financier Warren Buffett, who comes in at No. 2 with $40 billion. 

By comparison, Adelson began 2008 as the third-richest person, but Forbes refigured its list later in the year and Adelson fell to 15th with a net worth of $15 billion. In March, when Forbes released its top billionaire list, Adelson was listed with a net worth of $3.4 billion. 

Las Vegas Sands avoided filing bankruptcy nearly a year ago when Adelson invested $1 billion of his own money into the company to make a debt payment. 

Kirk Kerkorian, the 92-year-old Los Angeles billionaire who owns about 43 percent of MGM Mirage, took the largest tumble of all gaming executives on the list, falling from 27th in 2008 with $11.2 billion, to 97th in 2009 with a net worth of $3 billion. 

MGM Mirage’s declining stock since the end of 2007 reduced the value of Kerkorian’s holdings in the company from $11 billion down to $1.5 billion. Other Kerkorian investments in the oil and automotive industries also suffered throughout the year. 

Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman Steve Wynn fell from 118th with $3.4 billion to 141st with $2.3 billion. “Tough year for the king of Las Vegas,” Forbes reported. 

The biggest Las Vegas challenge, according to the magazine, was opening the $2.3 billion Encore last December in the middle of the recession.  

Meanwhile, Wynn cashed out more than $100 million in shares of Wynn Resorts that will be used as part of his upcoming divorce settlement with his wife, Elaine. 

Other Las Vegas gaming industry executives making the list included former Stratosphere owner Carl Icahn, who recently became majority shareholder of Tropicana Entertainment. Icahn was 22nd with $10.5 billion in net worth. 

New York billionaire Donald Trump, who owns the Trump International Las Vegas and 30 percent of the company that controls three Atlantic City casinos, was 158th on the list with $2 billion in net worth. 

Other Las Vegans include Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin, No. 193 with $1.85 billion, and Silverton owner Ed Roski Jr., No. 236 with $1.5 billion, rounded out the list of gaming executives. 

Hilton Hotels scion Barron Hilton, who earned $800 million when the company was sold to Blackstone in 2007 and $300 million from the sale of Harrah’s Entertainment in 2008, is tied with Wynn for 141st on the list with $2.3 billion. 

Curiously, Las Vegas partier and socialite extraordinaire Paris Hilton, and even her pet monkey were left off the list. 

The only other Nevadan listed on the Forbes 400 is Henderson resident Nancy Walton Laurie, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. She was listed in 118th place with $2.6 billion. 

Three members of Mars family, whose family’s company owns the Las Vegas-based Ethel M Chocolate family, tied for 19th place on the list, each with $11 million in net worth. 

Now, a brief moment of silence for all the Las Vegas  billionaires who have lived gold-gilded lives and lost but a smidgeon of their fortunes– and for the majority masses who can’t even count to a billion, or even write it.

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Tommy Rocker Puts On His Rockin’ Shoes Again in Las Vegas

Tommy Rocker has been a Las Vegas club/restaurant owner and long time musician and entertainment fixture for decades- probably singing more Margaritaville ballads to locals and out-of-towners then Jimmy Buffet himself — and plucking more feelin’ good tunes from his guitar than his patrons drank Margaritas at his Cantina in Las Vegas. TommyRocker

So, it was no major surprise that about four years ago, during a talk after one of his trademark Saturday open-mic shows, Tommy Rocker (real name: Thomas Greenough) spun yet another euphoric and repetitive tale about how he was going to turn his Tommy Rocker’s Cantina into an adult club.  At which juncture, most patrons just so fit to call for another drink. 

Remarkably, he’d held a topless-club license for years but had never taken advantage of using it to ostensibly draw in the big bucks. Then, about a year and a half later, in the summer of 2007, Rocker converted mere bravado into action, turning the one-time Parrot Head emporium on 4275 Dean Martin Drive, just south of The Rio into a gentlemen’s club.  

But soon he found that even the lure of silicone boobies wasn’t enough to make him visit his business often, which was his usual modus operandi.  Inactions and neglect eventually translated into a suffering balance sheet, badly in need of life support and more than just mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, no matter how sexy the giver. The adult club was a good idea, in theory, but so not Tommy. 

So Rocker decided to give up on his “gentlemen’s club” and switch back to his old open-mic, live music beach-club format that was attended regularly by a standing-room clientele. 

“A couple of months ago, I found myself thinking, ‘I hate this bar. I hate coming here, and I own the place.’ I realized then it was time to change it back,” says Rocker. 

And not any too soon.  On Sept. 9 Tommy Rocker’s Cantina & Grill, received 19 demerits including violations for slimy and spoiled mushrooms. 

Under his new business name, Tommy Rocker’s Mojave Beach Bar & Grill, he’s not only vowed to clean up his food act but has scheduled a comedy night (Cozy’s Comedy Corner, the first Friday of every month, inadvertently giving First Friday more competition), his own sing-along show Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. and country night with Seth Turner at 8 p.m. Wednesdays, followed by open mic with Las Vegas singer/songwriter Joey Vitale. 

The grand reopening and 20th anniversary for Rocker’s business in Las Vegas is Oct. 3. 

This is a good thing. This is a very good thing. Tell your friends.  The conga line forms to the left.

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CineVegas Film Festival Cancels 2010 Event in Las Vegas

The organizers of the CineVegas Film Festival, which celebrates innovative U.S. films and their Indie-style filmmakers, have sadly and regrettably canceled their 2010 June event in Las Vegas. 

Festival President Robin Greenspun issued a statement citing “the current economic climate and the pressures it created” as the leading culprit. Greenspun says organizers didn’t want to let the economy affect the festival’s quality, so they put the event “on hold” until the turbulent economy shows stronger signs of life. 

Sadlly, this was the largest film festival in the Las Vegas and the exit leaves a big void in developing Las Vegas as a cultural destination and as an incubator of fine art, with only a few more niche festivals remaining, most notably the Dam Short Film Festival in Boulder City and the Las Vegas Jewish Festival. 

Meanwhile, CineVegas will continue to spread the good word in Sin City via special mini film screenings and events from time to time throughout the year. 

Creative Advisory Board Chairman and movie icon Dennis Hopper, right, is most likely not only recovering from hisDennisHopper latest operation, but probably also seething in semi-darkness, the glow from his colossal cigar creating hellfire glints in his narrowed eyes. 

This year’s CineVegas, the seventh edition, was held in June at the Brenden Theatres inside the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

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San Diego Zoo Helps Las Vegas Desert Tortoises

The San Diego Zoo is showing off work it is doing at a Las Vegas center to help repopulate an endangered species of desert tortoise. The zoo took over the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in rural Clark County in Nevada in March. deserttortoise

Since then, business has apparently been booming– they have hired five full-time and five seasonal employees. 

The zoo plans to study, breed and raise tortoises, train new researchers and educate the public. 

The facility was established in 1990 on more than 11,000 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took it over in 2007. 

It takes in about 1,000 tortoises abandoned as pets or found injured in the wild each year. Up to 4,000 tortoises already live there.

Since it opened, the center has released 8,000 tortoises into the wild.

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Michael Jackson’s Posthumous Single to be Released October 12

A new Michael Jackson single called “This Is It” will hit the airwaves on October 12, two weeks before it is available as part of a two-disc album released by the late pop star’s record label. 

Sony Music’s Columbia/Epic Label Group said it would release the “This Is It” album internationally on October 26 and in North America on October 27, to coincide with the simultaneous global release of the Jackson movie of the same name on October 28. 

A spokeswoman in London said that contrary to some reports, the posthumous single would not go on sale separately but would be available for radio stations to play from October 12. 

“This song only defines, once again, what the world already knows — that Michael is one of God’s greatest gifts,” said John McClain, co-producer of the album and an executor of Jackson’s estate. Jackson died of an overdose of prescription drugs on June 25, at around the time he was rehearsing for a 50-date, sellout series of comeback concerts in London. 

The “This Is It” movie, subject of a $60 million deal between Jackson’s estate and concert promoter AEG Live and Sony Pictures, is based on footage from the final concert rehearsals. 

Sales of Jackson’s records spiked after his death, and the release of the movie and album will add to the value of the “Thriller” singer’s estate, estimated at around $400 million. 

Sony Music said the first disc of the two-disc album will feature some of Jackson’s greatest hits plus two versions of the new single “This Is It.” The song includes backing vocals by Jackson’s brothers. 

The second disc will include unreleased versions of some of the singer’s classic tracks and a spoken word poem entitled “Planet Earth” performed by Jackson and never heard before.

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