Monthly Archives: December 2009

Best New Year’s Eve Deal in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Backstage Access has scoured the plethora of deals (and steals) in Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve and we think for the money, the best place to be is the Crazy Horse III.  They’re offering unlimited well drinks the entire evening, free admittance, and free limo rides all for $40.  If you want a bottle of good champagne, it’s $100. 

More than that, their entertainment complex, now called Party On (was Afterhours) is featuring a free birthday celebration party for Scott Ian of Anthrax.   And you can also hang out to listen and dance to Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and the Junk Beer Kidnap Band.  They’ll be having lots of surprise guests during the evening. 

Equally important, instead of fighting the over 300,000 revelers on the Strip to travel anywhere, their conveniently located off of Interstate 15 at 3525 W. Russell Road. Phone 702-673-1700.

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Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas Offers Affordable New Year’s Gala

Everything in Las Vegas does not need to emphasize the new and expensive ritzy venues.  Take for example the Fremont Street Experience in “old” Las Vegas.   For only $10 (locals) to $20 (visitors) they’re offering a “TributePalooza” this New Year’s Eve featuring the tribute bands of INXS, U2, Depeche Mode, Van Halen, No Doubt, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will lead the countdown in a fireworks show in a specially designed New Year’s show that will take place under the street-long video screen canopy. 

Only people age 21 and older will be allowed.  

The concerts start at 6 p.m.  For more information, please call 702-678-5600.

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Las Vegas Pops for $500,000 New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show

It must be nice.  Despite record Las Vegas unemployment, layoffs, foreclosures, and other nefarious economic indicators, this evening at the stroke of midnight, somehow $500,000 of fireworks will shoot skyward from the rooftops of MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, The Venetian, Stratosphere, and the brand new entry this year- the top of CityCenter’s Aria. 

In seven minutes and eleven seconds the fireworks extravaganza, dubbed “America’s Party: A Vegas Celebration” will be over and one for the history books. 

For the past four days, 65 pyrotechnicians from the famed Grucci brothers have been rigging the big bangs to delight Las Vegas locals and mesmerize an estimated 315,000 out-of-town partiers. 

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will have every commissioned officer – all 3,200 of them – keeping order in Sin City.  The Strip will be close to vehicular traffic and several on-ramps and exits on Interstate 15 will be shut down starting about 6:30 p.m. 

And if you were thinking on bringing your six-shooter and firing it wildly into the air, think again.  Police are promising to step up enforcement of firearms laws to reduce celebratory gunfire to ring in the New Year. 

Anyone for just imbibing on sparkling grape juice and crackers in their abode?

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New Las Vegas Nightclubs Opening Doors

Despite high Las Vegas unemployment, foreclosures, and a stifling recessionary environment, that’s not stopping Las Vegas casinos from pulling out all the stops and opening new nightclubs this New Year’s Eve. 

The 25,000-square-foot Haze nightclub, the newest offering from the Light Group, will be opening its doors tomorrow night at Aria in the new CityCenter.  Also at CityCenter, Eva Langoria Parker’s Eve nightclub will be opening. 

The new rock bar Smokin’ Hot Aces is also having its grand opening in The Venetian’s retail shops on New Year’s Eve, following a soft opening that started Monday. 

The 14,000-square-foot Vanity nightclub – featuring a $1 million chandelier with 20,000 crystals and another 20,000 LED lights – will open on New Year’s Eve at the base of the Hard Rock’s new HRH tower (previous article by Las Vegas Backstage Access). 

For fans of the Hard Rock’s Body English nightclub, the basement club will fade into oblivion on Jan.1, having its last hurrah on the same night Vanity opens.

One of the Vanity club partners is Las Vegas major leaguer Jason Giambi says celebrities will have to earn their keep.  “Gone are the days where you would pay a celebrity $200,000 to just show up and you had a chance to make your make your money back,” says Giambi, adding, “I’m thankful that’s over.”

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Paris Hilton Gets Married in Las Vegas

It’s been awhile since the ditzy, aging socialite Paris Hilton has been in the news.   Over the weekend, however, Hilton reportedly got hitched in Las Vegas at the iconic Little Church of the West wedding chapel. 

Just don’t get all excited- it was all staged for publicity during a mock wedding.  The faux groom was Piers Morgan, from “Britain’s Got Talent.”

Hilton — and her revolting rat-looking dog — were dressed in white for the occasion. And there were plenty of witnesses- all dressed as Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.

The wedding will air Jan. 2 on VH1’s “Piers Morgan” show.

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FREE Las Vegas Bus Rides on New Year’s Eve

Southern Nevada transit officials say they are again offering free bus rides to partiers in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve and early New Year’s Day. 

The free rides on all fixed-service routes are given in hopes of keeping traffic down and intoxicated drivers off the streets. 

The free rides will run from 6 p.m. Thursday until 9 a.m. on Friday. 

Officials say some routes will be detoured, including the Deuce bus along the Las Vegas Strip. That’s because much of the Las Vegas Strip will be closed to vehicle traffic as revelers party in the streets.

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New Hotel Rooms Aplenty in Las Vegas Create Buyer’s Nirvana

Recession?  What recession?  Apparently, Las Vegas is being true to its persona- betting heavily that 1,575 new hotel rooms are just what the doctor ordered- if not now, maybe in the future? 

A mere two weeks after the debut of the Aria at the $8.5 billion new CityCenter, two more casino properties have entered the Las Vegas lodging fray in a market already straining to fill the rooms it already has, witnessed by an average mid-80 percent fill rate and drastically declining room rates. 

The 52-story PH Towers at Planet Hollywood Resort have just added 1,201 rooms yesterday.  The rooms are being marketed at $229 midweek and $349 weekends.   And the top four floors will be 16 condominiums for sale, ranging from 6,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet.

Not to be outdone, the Hard Rock Hotel also yesterday added their HRH tower, bringing 374 more rooms that include seven penthouse suites and eight spa villas.  Opening with their tower is the 25,000-square-foot Reliquary Spa, a new parking garage with a porte-cochere and 40,000 square feet of new casino space.  Think it ends there?  Hardly.  A new Hard Rock nightclub, the 14,000-square-foot Vanity, waits opening on Dec. 31, which will also mark lights out for the venerable celebrity hangout, Body English.

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Aria’s New Poker Room in Las Vegas

Fans of Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio will be happy to hear there is an equivalent in the Aria poker room in the new CityCenter complex and it has already been put to use.  Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, Davide Benyamine, Tom Dwan, and Patrik Antonius were all spotted recently playing in the secluded VIP lounge. 

While the room is semi-private, ogling railbirds can still get a peek at their favorite high-stakes players through the glass front door.  According to one of the employees at Aria, Phil Ivey is currently in talks to loan his name to the room in the same fashion that Bobby Baldwin did at the Bellagio, so news of big games being played in “Phil’s Room” could be on the horizon. 

A number of poker pros have taken time to check out the new poker room, including Jimmy “Gobboboy” Fricke and and UB.com sponsored pro Bryan “Badbeatninja” Devonshire.  Both had generally positive remarks about the new room and they took the time to relay their sentiments recently to Poker News Daily. 

When Poker News Daily paid a visit to the new room, the emphasis on service was apparent.  There was a short wait for $1/ $3 No Limit Hold’em, but everyone was being seated in a relatively short amount of time and the use of chip runners helped to speed up the process even further.  Beverage service is currently available and food service is said to be supposedly coming in the near future.

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Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Shutters Two of Three Towers

For the first time in recent memory, a Las Vegas hotel is closing rooms in December, just before the New Year’s Eve holiday. 

A representative for the Sahara Hotel and Casino cited weak room demand as the reason it is closing two of its three towers, but said the closing is not permanent and reservations were still being taken. There was no word on whether staff members would be laid off. 

Last week, the resort’s buffet closed due to shrinking sales. A reopening date hasn’t been announced for the buffet or the towers. 

The Sahara’s announcement, coming on the heels of Binion’s closing of its hotel downtown earlier this month in yet another devastating blow for owners of smaller Las Vegas casinos. 

With the Decemeber opening of the 4,004-room ritzy ARIA resort in the $8.5 billion CityCenter, it just could be the result of competition that may be too much for properties that aren’t tied to massive gaming conglomerates. 

The Sahara is owned by Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment, which purchased the resort in 2007.   

When it opened in 1952, the Sahara was among the most famous hotels on the growing Las Vegas Strip, attracting mega-superstars such as Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. 

In recent years, it has become the lone casino-resort at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. Although the Las Vegas Monorail (now facing bankruptcy- previous Las Vegas Backstage Access article) extends to the Sahara, its distance from the resort corridor and a lack of development at the intersection has left it in the shadow of other properties.

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Las Vegas Monorail Faces Bankruptcy

Administrators say the Las Vegas Monorail might seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to restructure its bond debt. 

Despite handing out extravagant raises for a losing operation, Board member Bruce Woodbury said the company hasn’t raised enough money from fares to pay off the $650 million in construction and startup loans floated to build and start operating the system in July 2004. 

The 3.9-mile system runs on an elevated track linking several large hotel-casinos and the Las Vegas Convention Center east of the Las Vegas Strip. 

And, despite its dismal failure, Woodbury says plans still call for building a whopping $500 million extension to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport and other Strip resorts to boost revenues that didn’t happen with original monorail.

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Gift of Lights Offers Plenty of Las Vegas Holiday Fun

Looking for a fun holiday season activity?  Then come and celebrate the holidays by experiencing more than 400 animated and sparkling scenes and millions of lights all displayed in a convenient, comfortable totally drive-through setting.  

The Gift of Lights attraction is at Sunset Park in Las Vegas, located on the southeast corner of Sunset Road and Eastern Avenue, running nightly until Jan. 4.  Show times are Sunday – Thursday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

The cost is $13 per vehicle Sunday – Thursday; $15 per vehicle, including Sundays and Holidays.

For more information, please call (702) 451-1641.

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Steve Wynn, Light Group Plan Las Vegas Nightclubs

Steve Wynn is apparently ready to counter the opening of ARIA’s new nightclubs in the $8.5 billion CityCenter project with some nightlife of his own, according to a report in the New York Post.

Wynn is planning to spend $100 million to build a new nightclub, called Surrender, and a new Encore Beach featuring three pools, 30 private bungalows and a gaming pavilion.  

Wynn’s Encore resort, which opened in December 2008, has been enjoying the great success of its XS club, which extends into the pool area and features two levels of private bungalows.

Not to be outdone, The Light Group, which has established itself as one of the premier nightclub operators in Las Vegas, is also getting ready to open the 25,000-square-foot Haze club at ARIA. It will also open the Liquid pool venue in the spring.

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Super Las Vegas Holiday Hotel Deals

The Las Vegas Advisor says some grand deals are to be had this holiday season in Las Vegas.   In its annual December rate roundup, the Advisor found 43 Las Vegas casino hotels with rooms for less than $40, vs. 38 last December. Among them are Strip properties such as Bally’s, Excalibur and Harrah’s. 

The total below $30 was 27, two more than 2008. They include Arizona Charlie’s Boulder; Boulder Station; Circus Circus, El Cortez; Ellis Island Super 8; Fiesta Henderson; Fitzgeralds; Four Queens; Imperial Palace; Lucky Club Ramada; Plaza; Riviera; Sahara; Sam’s Town; Santa Fe Station; Stratosphere; Tropicana; Tuscany; Vegas Club. 

A whopping seven Las Vegas casinos had rates below $20, versus just one in 2008. Texas Station came in lowest ($14.99). Others in the under-$20 club: Fiesta Rancho; Gold Spike; Golden Gate; Hooters; Palace Station; and Wild Wild West. 

Other good December deals found included Luxor ($40), Las Vegas Hilton ($41), Monte Carlo ($46), Hard Rock ($47), New York-New York ($48), Rio ($49), Paris ($55), Palms ($59), TI ($60), Planet Hollywood ($68), MGM Grand ($70). 

The survey used multiple sources available to the public, Advisor publisher Anthony Curtis says, including casino reservation lines and Websites, third-party reselling Websites and the rate search engine Travelaxe. Rates change frequently, and the lowest ones may be sold out. 

Rates are “marginally higher than in July,” Curtis says. So, casinos may have “finally drawn their line in the sand” on lowering prices. “However, I think the low rates will hold for awhile and when they begin to nudge up, there will be tremendous and more targeted (packages).” 

The Advisor (lasvegasadvisor.com), which costs $37-$50 a year, is currently offering a $9.95 special at the Golden Gate downtown for members through Dec. 24.

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Second Minus 5 Ice Lounge Plans Las Vegas Freeze

With winter just officially being declared and nips of cold air and alcohol flowing in the veins and arteries of the denizens of Las Vegas, the Monte Carlo is joining in the spirit of the season, announcing a second Minus 5 Ice Lounge, in the space currently occupied by the Lance Burton Magic Show and an MGM Mirage Players Club kiosk. 

The new boomerang-shaped lounge will be unveiled early-to-mid February and will not feature a lodge bar like its older sister in the Mandalay Place shops, though it will be 300 square feet larger. 

From the outside, guests will be able to gaze through a regenerating ice wall at television screens inside.  From there they will suite up in Minus 5’s gear including a parka, hat, mittens and booties to prepare guests for temperatures of 27 degrees Fahrenheit, not to mention $100,000 worth of icicles, chandeliers and ice chaise lounges complete with draped faux-animals skins. 

Accommodating up to 110 guests (as opposed to just 65 at Mandalay Place), guests sip vodka cocktails from ice cups made from New Zealand water.   

Up in the development air are new possibilities of a stripper pole and a fireplace– fire and ice gone wild?

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Harlem Globetrotters Dunk Into Las Vegas

In their 84th consecutive season touring the world, the venerated Harlem Globetrotters bring their basketball hi-jinks as part of the 2010 Magical Memories World Tour to the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for one-night-only, February 10 at 7:00 p.m.. 

Also known as the Magicians of Basketball® and the Ambassadors of Goodwill®, the Harlem Globetrotters entertain audiences with a dose of slapstick comedy and a unique mix of trick shots, high-flying dunks and basketball handling wizardry. 

The legendary team has played more than 25,000 games in their nearly 85-year history.  They have played in 120 countries, on six continents and for more than 130 million fans—including everyone from Presidents of the United States to the Pope. For the North American leg of their 2010 Magical Memories World Tour, the team will play nearly 270 games in more than 215 cities in 44 states, five Canadian provinces and in Puerto Rico. 

Tickets are on sale now and are priced at $21.00, $29.00, $36.00, $56.00, $76.00 and $114.00, inclusive of tax and fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Orleans Arena Box Office by calling 702-284-7777 or by visiting www.orleansarena.com.

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Strippermobile Shuns Las Vegas, Launches U.S. Tour

Just because it doesn’t happen in Las Vegas anymore, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense- and money. Though the strippermobile is no longer trolling for customers down the Las Vegas Strip due to earlier Clark County Commissioner’s admanat objections based on safety concerns, in the next few weeks it will be going up and down Main Street, USA. 

On January 10, it will become a Las Vegas-born – and banned – business that took its show on the road. 

As previously reported by Las Vegas Backstage Access, the last and only time the vehicle rolled was November in Las Vegas, when bikini-clad strippers hopped aboard and gyrated inside the truck’s Plexiglas-enclosed cargo area, swung around a brass pole affixed to the middle of the truck bed. 

Launching what arguably may be one of the greatest marketing ploys ever, the  “Strippermobile Winter Tour 2010,” as it is dubbed, will be filmed as a documentary, carrying a full production crew with them.  Larry Beard, marketing guru for Déjà vu gentlemen’s club in Las Vegas, hopes to have it broadcast on cable television, albeit most likely adult on-demand channels. 

With three select strippers ready and willing to tout their wares, Beard expects the truck to roll out of Sin City on Jan. 10, making its first stops on their national tour in Southern California.  That state has almost 20 Déjà vu- operated strip clubs.  The strippermobile with then go up the coast, lingering in Portland, Ore., because, says Beard, the decency laws there are lax and the dancers will be totally nude during that stretch of the trip.   

After Portland, it’s off to Seattle, then to the Midwest- Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan- all of which have Déjà Vu clubs.  Then it’s off to New York City and Times Square, down to Maryland, over to Kentucky and Tennessee, down to Florida for the college spring break and over to Louisiana for Mardi Gras.  Then their itinerary takes the crew to Colorado before the wayward truck comes home to roost once again in Las Vegas in the spring. 

“And on our travels, of course, we’ll get pictures of the girls alongside Mount Rushmore and other famous sites,” Beard says.

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Welcome to Las Vegas Sign Vandalized Again

For the second time this year, the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip has once again been vandalized.  

On Friday , Dec. 18 police say 69-year-old Joseph Pepitone, wearing his trademark barrel and a red Santa cap, splattered red and black paint on the most visible part of the iconic sign at Las Vegas Blvd. and Russell Rd.. 

This vandalism was more visible than the incident earlier this year which basically caused damaged to the bottom of the sign. Clark County commissioners and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman immediately had that mess cleaned up. No arrests were made in the first incident.  

Friday’s incident marked only the second time the “Welcome” sign has been vandalized in 50 years, officials said. 

Pepitone was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center on a charge of injuring/damaging the property of another. 

Pepitone is the cousin of the former famed New York Yankee with the same name.  He’s had an ongoing well-documented 12-year beef with Las Vegas casino Arizon Charlie’s, where he claims his $463,895 slot machine win was voided because casino officials said the machine malfunctioned. 

He appealed the decision as far as the Nevada State Supreme Court, but lost each time. 

Pepitone has continued to protest the decision, doing so in an unorthodox way:   He wears a barrel fastened with suspenders from his shoulders as marches frequently in public at demonstrations (including O.J. Simpson’s murder trial), carrying signs that read claims such as, “I was robbed!” in bold, large print.

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Guy Fieri’s ‘Roadshow’ Rocks into Las Vegas Today

It must be the pits constantly traveling around the country, especially at the holidays.  But for the Food Network Star (“Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives”) at least it’s old home week in Las Vegas today.   High-energy spiky-haired chef/restaurateur/author and TV personality Guy Fieri, a UNLV alum that loves the university, will be bringing his 16-person road crew and their $150,000 stage/demo kitchen to put on his audience participation rock ‘n’ roll style “Guy Fieri Roadshow” to the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas at 8 p.m. today. 

Los Angeles-based DJ Cobra will spin all the punk, rock and metal music. 

The tour kicked off in Lowell, Mass., on Nov. 17 and by the time today’s Las Vegas date wraps, it will have hit 21 cities in 30 days. 

At each stop of the tour, Fieri teams up with local chefs and culinary students to celebrate the alluring combination of food, drink and fun.  In Las Vegas, his opening act will be executive chef John Gremo of UNLV’s hotel college, who was a colleague of Fieri’s during their student days at the university. 

For his segment of the show, Gremo will prepare pan-seared Nantucket diver scallops served on wild mushroom and fennel ragu, topped with truffle oil, roasted red pepper, roasted tomato capers and a tomato tapenade and covered with wild greens and assorted micro greens.   Hungry yet? 

Accompanying Gremo will be some his culinary students, UNLV mascot Hey Reb and a few UNLV cheerleaders.  

Assisting at the show will be students in the ProStart culinary programs at Silverado High School in Las Vegas and Carson High School in Carson City, California.  The students will prep food ingredients before the show, and help out behind the scenes during it. 

Tickets are from $35 to $150.  For more information, please call 702-632-7600.

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Las Vegas Strippers Slither into Gooey Ice Cream Fray

Times are tough.  And wise businessmen know that without reinvention, their business death in imminent- or, for strippers, they lose the pole touch.  Knowing that, Little Darlings Strip Club in Las Vegas has just started experimenting with icy cold idea- free complimentary gooey sundaes with all the ‘toppings’ to all patrons every Sunday night. 

But it doesn’t end there.  Heavens no. The real treat takes place when two lovely ladies are squished into a giant oversize glass situated at the center of the adult entertainment venue.  Canisters of whipped cream are then handed out to salivating patrons who are invited to build a sundae directly on the gals while they smother one another with gobs of ice cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles and cherries.  After awhile, dollars fly into the sundae-making fray, making a mess beyond compare while boosting profits for the club and hostesses. 

From all indications, the business promotion is a smashing success.  The only complaints are when the guys run out of whipped cream.

Need photos?  Please contact us in the reply and we’ll get back to you.

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World’s Largest Cut Christmas Tree Displayed in Las Vegas

M Resort in Las Vegas has a Christmas tree that stands 109-feet tall, making it the tallest cut Christmas tree in the country, M Resort execs contend. The largest living, non-cut Christmas tree is in Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho and stands 161-feet tall. 

This year, Anthony Marnell III and family, the M Resort execs, found their tree in Oregon – a 109-foot, 11-ton White Fir — the tallest non-living Christmas tree, M Resort executives contend. 

The tree made its journey from Oregon on a truck Nov. 29 and arrived in Henderson, Nevada on Dec. 2. Since the tree arrived at M’s Villaggio Del Sole Piazza, workers on cranes and ladders have been busy decorating it with thousands of lights and ornaments. 

But how is M Resort sure it has the tallest tree in the nation? 

“We have a guy up in Oregon who has done this for us in the past,” Executive Vice President and General Manager John Lipkowitz said. “He takes care of all the measurements, weight and calculations. We really didn’t know it was going to be the tallest until others released their numbers.” 

A close second goes to Costa Mesa, Calif.’s 96-foot-tall White Fir. 

Probably the most famous Christmas tree in the nation — the one in Rockefeller Center in New York — is 76 feet tall. 

The National Mall tree in Washington, D.C., is an 85-foot Blue Spruce from the White Mountains of Arizona, while the Obama family tree is an 18.5-foot Norway Spruce from Shepherdstown, W.Va. 

There are several categories by which cities and resorts measure their trees. 

There’s tallest non-living tree (M Resort’s category), tallest living tree, tallest floating tree and the tallest artificial tree. 

The Coeur d’Alene Resort in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, says it has the world’s tallest living tree this year at 161 feet. 

Mexico City’s 367-foot tower of lights shaped like a tree is the tallest artificial tree, while Rio De Janeiro has the tallest floating artificial tree. 

Lipkowitz said the Marnell family had the nation’s tallest tree another year, at the Rio, but former staffers can’t remember the year. The family’s goal, regardless, has been to open its spaces for family-orientated, holiday fun, Lipkowitz said.

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Go Ahead, Splurge on a $750 Cupcake in Las Vegas

Forget about having a dinner fit for king- how about just ‘settling’ on a $750 cupcake in Las Vegas? 

The Sweet Surrender cupcake and candy store opened today in The Palazzo in Las Vegas.  It brings together remarkable pastry chefs and the finest ingredients to create irresistibly indulgent treats. Cupcakes, cookies, lollipops, toffee, licorice, hard candies and dipped treats, are just some of their many indulgent treats to satisfy any discerning sweet-tooth. 

The shop’s variety is wide and sweet-tooth satisfaction endless with the crème de la crème of Sweet Surrenders offerings being only for the most passionate cupcake lover: the $750 Decadence D’Or.  It’s a sumptuous cupcake, handcrafted from the most exclusive, rich, and enterprising ingredients around the globe.  One luscious ingredient is the Palmira Single Estate Chocolate derived from the rare and fragile Porcelana Criollo bean and cultivated to its fullest state of richness exclusively at the Valrhona plantation in Venezuela.  Complementary to the Palmira Single Estate Chocolate is Tahitian Gold Vanilla Caviar- the world’s most labor-intensive agricultural crop.  This fruit, after it is ripened for nine months, then hand-harvested, cured, sweat, dried, and hand-split, is obtained only by tedious manual extraction; it is truly a delicacy, both in taste and exclusivity. Topping the Decadence D’Or is the masterfully smooth Louis XIII de Remy Martin Cognac, 100 years in the making, and edible, metallic gold flakes, each painstakingly hand-placed.  Finally, once baked to perfection, this grand dessert is encased in a stately, hand blown sugar Fleur-de-Lis and presented on a handmade exclusive elegant crackled-gold glass curved plate and bowl. Your palette never had such a royal treatment! 

Chef Long Nguyen, executive pastry chef of The Venetian and The Palazzo is the visionary genius behind all the exotic cupcake flavors and Chef Johann Springfield, head baker makes the cupcakes a reality.  In addition to the exclusive specialty cupcake Decadence D’Or Sweet Surrender carries: Red Velvet, Lemon Strawberry, Chocolate Ganache, Carrot, Black Forest, Strawberry, Coconut and Chocolate Fudge cupcakes. 

Sweet Surrender, located on The Palazzo casino floor next to guest elevators, is open Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m. through 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. through Midnight.  Special orders can be placed directly by calling 702-607-0753.

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Las Vegas has Third Worst Tap Water Quality in U.S.

A new study just out this weekend shows how unsafe our Las Vegas tap water can be. 

The Environmental Working Group released the results of a three year investigation of city water supplies across the U.S., looking at how contaminated some water supplies are. 

Some 49 million Americans in 45 states were found to be drinking contaminated water, to varying degrees.

Las Vegas came in third place for worst water quality. 

Worst water quality:

1. Pensacola, FL
2. Riverside, CA
3. Las vegas, NV

Best water quality:

1. Arlington, TX
2. Providence, RI
3. Fort Worth, TX

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Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas Planning Series of Beyonce Concerts?

It is rumored in media circles that Steve Wynn is presently exploring the possibilities of arranging a string of concerts by popular American Rhythm and Blues (R&B) singer and song writer Beyonce Knowles.  It is further speculated from sources that the agreement amount with Beyonce will be in the tune of $750,000. The number of concerts and durations are not yet decided. 

Wynn Resorts spokesperson Jennifer Dunne reportedly said that the deal is yet to be finalized and contract has not been signed. The association between Beyonce and Wynn Casino started few months back when this year during July 30 and Aug. 2 the singer visited the casino for recording a DVD for her concert. It is said that during her shoots both Wynn and its sister resort Encore saw a huge fan following and increase in number of guests. Soon after this the singer has been spotted too often in the casino.

It is said that Beyonce will be following the footsteps of famous Canadian singer Céline Dion who signed a contract with Caesars Palace casino of Las Vegas few years back. In this she performed in 717 concerts within 5 years and earned a reported $400 million. 

The casino also experienced a huge surge in its popularity and earning during the concerts. It has been observed that fans from faraway places come to watch their favorite singers perform in Las Vegas casinos.

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Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort Hosts Performance of The Darling Stilettos’ Rock-N-Roll-A-Go-Go by Matt Sorum

The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas will host a special performance of The Darling Stilettos’ Rock-N-Roll-A-Go-Go, presented by rock legend Matt Sorum. 

The rock music show features four sexy female leads, takes the audience on a rock-fueled journey through the history of rock music from the British Invasion to Punk and Classic Rock. Backed by Sorum on drums and a guitarist, the show is an experience for any rock music enthusiast.  

These special performances of The Darling Stilettos’ Rock-N-Roll-A-Go-Go will take place on Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19 at 11 p.m. 

The good news is the show is complimentary and is open to the public. Must be 21 years of age and older. For more information, please visit www.darlingstilettos.com.

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Nevada’s Shady Lady Ranch First to Offer All Male Prostitutes

If you are between 21 and 40 and service-oriented, you could be Nevada’s next male prostitute!

The Shady Lady Ranch in Nye County, a quick two-hour drive from Las Vegas, is set to add male prostitutes to its roster of good-time, fun-lovin’ ladies. 

The change is thanks to Nevada’s recently altered health laws. In the past, all prostitutes had to undergo regular cervical testing for sexually transmitted diseases — a slight problem for the menfolk.  But now urethral testing is also OK’d by law.  

With that bit of anatomical housekeeping out of the way, Shady Lady owner Bobbi Davis is ready to give the men a tumble. The ranch’s website is already looking “for a few good men.” 

Their stated requirements:

– Between 21 and 40

– Have a good work ethic

– Have a willingness to please

– Must be service oriented

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Michelin Three-Star Chef Masayoshi Takayama to Open First Las Vegas Restaurant

Michelin three-star chef Masayoshi Takayama — who opened Ginza Sushi-ko in Los Angeles in the ’80s, transplanted his temple of sushi from a mid-Wilshire Los Angeles strip mall to a second-floor aerie off Rodeo Drive (where Urasawa is now) in the ’90s and moved to New York to open Masa and Bar in 2004- is set to debut his first Vegas venture on Dec. 17: another Bar Masa and Shaboo, a shabu-shabu restaurant. 

He joins fellow three-star chef  Pierre Gagnaire of Paris (who opened Twist, his first restaurant in the U.S.) as well as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Michael Mina, in the $8.5-billion CityCenter on the Vegas Strip.   

“It’s a new, gigantic building where I get to create my idea, my style,” Takayama says. “It’s more than the food. Very different from Ginza Sushi-ko style.” 

It’s also very different from Bar Masa in New York; the Las Vegas outpost — inside the Aria Resort & Casino — is about three times the size, decorated in high Strip style with 15-foot doors of teak and copper, curved red leather banquettes and arched ceilings. 

Takayama calls it coming full circle. On his first trip to Los Angeles from Tokyo, he got off the plane and drove directly to Las Vegas to see “flat land.”  

The menu for Bar Masa in Las Vegas will recall the one in New York, with Japanese small plates such as spicy cod roe pasta with purple shiso flowers; duck with foie gras; sizzling spicy octopus; or grilled eel with rice. (He says his fish will still be from the Tsukiji market in Tokyo.) 

The more-intimate 52-seat Shaboo is located inside Bar Masa, serving omakase (tasting menu) shabu-shabu at tables equipped with individual induction heating elements for cooking beef flown in from Chiba prefecture.

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Las Vegas Women’s Pro Tackle Football Team Looks for Good Smashers

The Las Vegas Showgirlz, Las Vegas’ only semi-pro female tackle football team, is recruiting for the 2010 season that begins in April. 

Tryouts will be held Sunday, Dec. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Ed Fountain Park near Vegas Drive and Decatur Boulevard. 

The team, which plays its home games at Faith Lutheran High School, competes in the Women’s Football Alliance, a national league comprised of 50 teams from the United States and Mexico.

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Magician Steve Wyrick Mysteriously Disappears from Las Vegas

Magician Steve Wyrick has been a solid mainstay in Las Vegas since 2007, performing in a $35 million showroom located in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.  He has disappeared nightly; but, this time the vanishing magic act is apparently a indefinitely canceled show. The performer failed to appear for last night’s show and, apparently, the show is no more. 

Wyrick shaped his reputation performing supposed dangerous stunts, but blew his magic cover when a July 4th vanishing act went awry after stage curtains around his “Death Drop” stunt burst into flames and a crew member was injured. 

Speculation about his Las Vegas reappearance has not materialized, yet.

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B.B. King’s Blues Club Grand Opening at The Mirage in Las Vegas

Looking for a great blues music experience while visiting or staying in Las Vegas?  Now’s you can have it all at the new B.B. King’s Blues Club in The Mirage in Las Vegas.  

With few blues clubs in Las Vegas, the club’s grand opening is a welcome addition to our entertainment and dining landscape.  The venue opens with a blue carpet gala this Friday, Dec. 11, from 7 to 8 p.m.. Confirmed celebrities include the legend himself, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Steve Cropper, Lee Ritenour, Robert Cray, Lee Roy Parnell, Matt Goss, Robin Antin, Taylor Barton, Cast of History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” Cast of Thunder From Down Under and many more. 

The empire of B.B. King is rapidly expanding, with clubs opened in Orlando, Memphis, Nashville, Itta Bena, West Palm Beach. 

Located across from The Beatles REVOLUTION Lounge, next to Samba Brazilian Steakhouse in The Mirage, the new Las Vegas venue offers music seven nights a week, ranging from funky and fast style to soulful and smooth tunes that emanate from the in-room stage. 

The house band, B.B. King’s All-Star Band, surpasses the standard of what many know to be a house band and friends of the King are very likely to stop by at any time to join them and jam the night away. 

And if you feel like cutting the rug, you can dance the night away on their spacious dance floor. 

Hungry?  Not only can you enjoy all the music, you can come in anytime for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining to check out Executive Chef Oscar Pena’s delicious Creole cuisine. 

It’s also a great place to book for your meetings and events. 

For more information, please visit www.bbkingclubs.com or call at 702-242-KING (5464).

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Oh Where, Oh Where has Julianne Hough Gone?

It’s been a rather long time since Las Vegas Backstage Access has written on the Dancing With the Stars Julianne Hough- on April 6, 2009 to be exact, when she garnered awards at the Academy of Country Music Awards show in Las Vegas. 

Hough, 21, who as a Las Vegas youth attended the Las Vegas Academy and whose mom still lives here, is reportedly recording a CD that will reflect her musical influences (such as U2 and Coldplay), and she’s also making two movies, the remake of Footloose, as well as Burlesque, starring along with Cher and Christina Aguilera.  If that’s not enough, she also has a cardio ballroom dance workout DVD, Dance with Julianne, due out in January. 

Is she done with Dancing With the Stars?  

“Never say never,” Hough says, “but at least for the next two seasons.”

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Sand Dollar Lounge to Try Anew in Las Vegas

The famous Sand Dollar Blues Nightclub & Lounge at 3355 Spring Mountain Road in Las Vegas is older than Schep is a pup (and that’s a damn old pup), known for providing some of the best blues music on the planet- let alone Las Vegas. 

Not only that, but every biker that’s anyone has kicked up their boots and stayed awhile at the music venue. 

But, sadly, as with many Las Vegas businesses, it has succumbed to economic plights, closing last month.  

But don’t throw in the towel just yet.  

New owner Steve Champlin says the venue should be back up and swinging sometime over the next couple of weeks.  He says to expect pretty much the same “blues-oriented” Sand Dollar us locals have come to know and love, but with more rotating bands, more benefit events and, eventually, multiple acts slated each night. 

That’s good news for a blues population that has been faced with fewer and fewer Las Vegas venues. 

The dank lighting, aromatic carpet and even the cobwebs taking up corner residences will remain part of the unique ambiance.

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Give the Gift that Keeps Giving on the Holidays in Las Vegas

One Warm Coat is a helluva great company.  The national non-profit has as its mission the procurement and distribution of donated winter coats to the needy. 

Recently, One Warm Coat, Burlington Coat Factory and ABC TVs Good Morning America teamed up for a national coat drive that runs through Jan. 15. 

Now’s your chance to do some real holiday giving.  C’mon, Sc rooge, you can do it… 

You can drop of a coat for men, women or children at drop boxes located in Las Vegas at the Burlington Coat Factory at 560 N. Stephanie Street, 5959 W. Sahara Ave. and 4750 S. Eastern Ave. 

For your effort – if helping the needy isn’t enough in these challenging economic times – you’ll also get a 10 percent-off-coupon for Burlington Coat Factory.

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Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Brings 27,000 Runners; Caroline Rotich Wins

Last year, only about 13,000 runners took part. This year, organizers say an international field of elite athletes helped round out and expand the registered runners, bringing out 27,000 racers on a brisk and wintry day today in Las Vegas.  

Runner Caroline Rotich led all runners, finishing with a kick and crossing the finish line with a time of 2:29:49 to win the Rock ‘n’ Rock Las Vegas Marathon today, Sunday.  She took home $25,000 for her win. 

The festive marathon started at 6:15 a.m. today on Las Vegas Blvd. north of Russell Rd, near Mandalay Bay parking lot.  And, for the first time ever for the marathon, nearly 7 1/2 miles of the Strip was closed to traffic.   

As the name Rock ‘n’ Roll suggests, there were more than 35 live bands, cheerleaders and themed water stations set up along each line of the Las Vegas Strip course. There were also be hundreds of running Elvi and 85 couples taking part in the Run through Wedding. 

Event organizers expect the Las Vegas economic boost to be around $30 million. There is a strong international presence of athletes who have come from 39 countries and all 50 states.

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December Brings Most Monthly Revenue Ever for Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority says this is the busiest December Las Vegas has ever experienced. They expect to see $250 million in non-gaming revenue this month that will bring in over 300,000 tourists. 

The National Finals Rodeo kicked off Thursday night in Las Vegas.  For years, it was the only major event in Las Vegas for the month of December, but that has changed. 174,000 people are predicted to attend the NFR.  The event is expected to bring in $50 million alone in non-gaming revenue. 

Not only is NFR in Las Vegas this week, so is the first ever Rock ‘n Roll Marathon on Sunday which brings World Class  and recreational runners from all around the world, racing down the entire length of the Las Vegas Strip for the first time accompanied by bands all along the route.

Throughout the week there were grand openings of CityCenter properties, which will culminate on Dec. 16 with the opening of the flagship property, Aria Resort.

NASCAR Awards Week with events all this week for an event that was previously in New York for three decades.   Three thousand NASCAR officials alone were in Las Vegas, bringing in an estimated $6 million of revenue.

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Jockstrap Maids Will Clean Your Dust Bunnies for a Wiggle & Coin

Ladies, you might want to step aside:  a jockstrapped good looking man may be just prancing in to invade your marketspace in Sin City. 

Owner Max McCammond has run a “traditional” maid service for almost a decade. 

He said he came up with the idea for Jockstrap Maid Service in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, which turned his Sugar Land home in Houston into “party central” for his power-deprived pals. 

The reponse towards the male maid service exploded from the get-go. The only choice was to take the enterprise national and the best way to do that was via an effective and agressive online presence. 

So, Jockstrap Maid Service then teamed up with nVisionMax Media of Los Angeles to develop a Jockstrap Maid Service Web site that was quite intuitive to use and great looking too. 

Founded by an MIT graduate, the team at nVisionMax “did everything to make our vision a reality.” “They were just fantastic,” Max comments, “Think about it, you can order up your chef, hairdresser, just about anything these days, so why not a maid?” 

At last count, almost 35 different U.S. cities think it’s also a pretty good idea.  Las Vegas is just one of them, at present featuring two hunky men.  

Supposedly, it’s not a bad gig.  Las Vegas Backstage Access checked out a Jockstrap Maid Service in Houson that was paying $50 per hour with a two-hour minimum.  Part timers were accepted for day and night.  However, the educational requirements were you had to be smart. Oh, well. 

So, if you want, log on and check out the newly launched maid service that’s stirring up more business than your dust bunnies. 

And while we’re on the subject of unique Web sites, there is a new one that for free tracks what you’ve borrowed from others or loaned out.   Like for panties and other unmentionables.  http://www.returnmypants.com/

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Las Vegas Freeze Approaches– 16-Foot Polar Bear Appears!

The Palazzo in Las Vegas is uniquely celebrating the holiday season with artic décor complete with a larger-than-life 16-foot polar bear poinsettia sculpture that raises awareness about conservation of polar bears and Arctic habitat. 

While guests of The Palazzo Las Vegas will enjoy the usual sunny weather for the holiday season, from December 9 through the New Year they’ll also encounter the winter décor display anchored by a special Arctic visitor: a 16-foot tall polar bear mother and 6-foot tall polar bear baby, made entirely of a specially-developed white poinsettia named “Polar Bear.”

The “Polar Bear” Poinsettia is developed exclusively by Ecke Ranch, the largest grower in the world of poinsettias.  The strong white coloration of the “Polar Bear” Poinsettia with its bracts of deep green veining is the perfect topiary fur for the polar bear display. The custom, hand-sculpted and hand-painted heads and paws, constructed by Design Solutions, bring the bears to life.  The mother and baby bear, consisting of approximately 10,000 poinsettias planted in sphagnum moss and weighs in at approximately 5,000 lbs. The bears snuggle on a custom-sculpted ‘arctic ice float’ that hovers over a water feature located at The Palazzo Atrium. 

In addition to the larger-than-life polar bears, The Palazzo embraces the holiday season with Arctic inspired décor elements that combine to create the breathtaking winter wonderland display. The gardens are filled with a variety of unique poinsettias and 25-foot silver tip pine trees; an 80-foot whimsical vine transitions to holiday with oversized pine cones, holiday berries, poinsettias and twinkling holiday lights; over 225,000 cranberries donated by Ocean Spray float above a water feature creating a sea of cranberries and snow will elegantly fall from above the décor adding to the Arctic theme. 

The white “Polar Bear” Poinsettias have an important message to promote awareness of polar bears and the loss of their Arctic habitat due to climate change. Ecke Ranch is donating a portion of the proceeds from each poinsettia cutting sold to Polar Bears International (PBI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of polar bears through research and education.  This event will serve as the official launching pad for Ecke’s “Pay-it-Forward for Polar Bears” campaign which benefits PBI.   

“In a part of the world that never sees snow, it can be challenging to explain why the most important initiative that we can undertake at this time is saving polar bear habitat in the Arctic. Polar bears need sea ice for their survival, and so does the rest of the planet. The Arctic is a key regulator of the global climate system, and loss of Arctic sea ice will impact people and wildlife around the world. So when we save the polar bears, we save so many other species from butterflies to frogs,” said Robert Buchanan, president of Polar Bears International. 

“Currently the world’s CO2 level is at 385 parts per million (ppm) and growing at an average of two ppm per year. Scientists believe that the tipping point in the Arctic is around 400 ppm. Once this level is reached, the domino effect may not allow the summer ice to return for tens of thousands of years. This of course will not only affect wildlife but the ocean currents and humans in the end. This is not an irreversible situation. Individuals can and must make a difference. It can be as easy as packing a reusable bag when you shop, buy carbon off sets for your flights and purchasing products with limited and/or recycled packaging,” continued Buchanan. 

On December 9, The Palazzo will host the unveiling of the Arctic-inspired winter décor display to kick-off the holiday season and raise awareness about conservation of polar bears. The event will take place at 5 p.m. in The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium and the general public is welcome to join in the celebration.

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New Store Openings Continue at CityCenter in Las Vegas

CityCenter, the largest $5.8 billion completed construction project in the U.S. this year, continues with gala Las Vegas store openings and special events.  40% of available space is reportedly currently occupied. 

Openings Today, Dec. 3:  

Huge high-class retail Crystals venue opens including Beso (Eva Longoria Parker’s restaurant), Mikimoto, CENTERPiece Gallery, H.Stern, Tom Ford, Marni, Bvlgari, Robert Cavalli, Nanette Lepore, Cartier, Assouline, ILORI, Porsche Design, Tourbillion, Tiffany & Co., de Grisogone, Louis Vutton, Bottega Veneta, Bally, Paul Smith, The Cup, Rodney Lough Jr. Wilderness Collection Gallery, Phillip Plein. 

Opening Dec. 16: 

Aria, the centerpiece 4,004-room hotel casino, opens plus Kiton, Kiki de Montpamasse, Brasserie PUCK, Van Cleef & Arpels, The Pods by Wolfgang Puck, Carolina Herrera, the GALLERY featuring Dale Chihuly, The Art of Richard MacDonald, T.E. Pub 

Opening 2010: 

Mastro’s Ocean Club, Ermengildo Zegna, Emilio Pucci, Prada, Christina Dior, Hermes, Versace, Miu Miu

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Grammy List Lead by Las Vegas Performers

It was interesting to note that many of the top Grammy nominations on Wednesday night were garnered by performers that recently have performed in Las Vegas. 

Beyonce lead the pack, receiving ted nods, including nominations for Album of the Year for “I am…Sasha Fierce.” 

Country crossover sensation Taylor Swift wasn’t far behind, the 19-year-old got eight nominations, including Album of the Year for her multiplatinum sophomore DVD “Fearless.” 

Other nominees for album of the year – and Las Vegas entertainers – include Lady Gaga’s “The Fame,” (coming to Vegas shortly), the Black Eyed Peas’ “The E.N.D.” and Dave Mathews Band’s “Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King.” 

The Grammys are Jan. 31.  For a complete list of nominees, please go to:  http://www.grammy.com

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Harrah’s Entertainment Plans to Buy Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. has filed an application to purchase the struggling Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said Monday. 

The casino giant has formed a new subsidiary, PHW Las Vegas LLC, with the intent of taking over the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. PHW filed the application to casino regulators last week, a person at the Control Board said. 

The Las Vegas Planet Hollywood is a separate entity from the restaurant chain, which has locations around the world. 

Harrah’s began pursuing Planet Hollywood in September when it purchased a $140 million piece of Planet Hollywood’s $870 million debt for an undisclosed amount from Goldman Sachs Group. 

A person close to the situation said that it appears the slice of debt Harrah’s purchased could give the casino giant enough influence over the other lenders to control the property. 

Harrah’s controls six contiguous Las Vegas casinos just north of Planet Hollywood. Those properties are across the street from City Center, the $8.5 billion MGM Mirage resort has been opening all this week in Las Vegas. 

In an email to employees last week, Harrah’s Chief Executive Gary Loveman reportedly said the location made the distressed Planet Hollywood an attractive acquisition. 

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. currently manages the project’s hotel and also has a minority stake in Planet Hollywood. 

Restaurateur Robert Earl, who developed the movie-themed Planet Hollywood restaurant chain, and investment manager Bay Harbour Management acquired the Las Vegas property in 2007.

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AVN Adult Movie Awards Kick Off in Las Vegas in January

The nominations for the 2010 AVN Adult Movie Awards were announced and the winners in more than 100 different categories to be revealed live at the AVN Awards Show on Jan. 9, 2010, at Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. 

This year’s gala event is co-hosted by none other than two of the biggest names in the world of erotica, Kayden Kross, right, and Kirsten Price, left.

The 27th annual ceremony is the most important and star-studded night for the adult film industry as it rolls out its red carpet and celebrates the best and brightest in the business.  More than 5,000 releases were reviewed by the AVN staff during the year.  The event is a Herculean effort treated with the same seriousness and on par with the talent as the Academy Awards. 

Awards will be given out in 125 categories, including Best Video Feature, Best Parody, Female Performer of the Year, Best Adult Web site and numerous Best Sex Scene awards.  Movie titles receiving multiple nominations included 2040, Nurses, The 8th Day, Throat: A Cautionary Tale, Pure, Tori Black is Pretty Filthy, Flight Attendants, The Sex Files; A Dark XXX Parody, Ass Worship 11, Teachers and many more.  Stars such as Sasha Grey, Manuel Ferrara, Jenna Haze, Tori Black and others also received multiple nominations for their work this year.   A full list of categories and nominees can be found at www.avnawards.com

Tickets are available at avnawards.com for $300 each. 

First presented in 1983, the AVN Adult Movie Awards show is the adult industry equivalent to the Academy Awards for mainstream filmed entertainment.  Each January, industry talent, producers and technicians gather together in Las Vegas – THE Sin City – for a night of accolades, entertainment and fun.  The AVN Adult Movie Awardshonors the best movies, performers and production companies in adult entertainment in more than 100 different categories.  For more information on the AVN Adult Movie Awards show, please visit www.avnawards.com

AVN Media Network has become a global leader in the adult entertainment community.  AVN’s portfolio of business includes the widely-recognized industry journals:  AVN, AVN Online, GAYVN, and AVN Novelty Business.  In addition, AVN hosts the leading industry conventions: AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, Internext Las Vegas, Internext Summer, AVN Adult Novelty Expo and the consumer show Erotica LA.  It also provides online coverage through AVN.com news and AVN Live, along with cutting-edge industry e-newsletters.  AVN also hosts the annual AVN Adult Movie Awards and GAYVN Awards ceremonies.  For more information, visit the web site at www.avn.com 

For reservation information at the Palms, please call toll free at (866) PALMS-RES, (866) 725-6773, or visit www.palms.com. For groups of 15 rooms or more, contact the Sales Department at (866) PALMS-MTG or (866) 725-6768.

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Las Vegas Sun Newspaper Continues Staff Bloodletting

On Nov. 11, Las Vegas Backstage Access was one of the first media sources to break the story that Michael J. Kelley, 67, managing editor of Las Vegas Sun since 1997 and in the news biz since 1960, would be retiring from his post this December. 

Well, it’s December and from credible sources we’re hearing that the behind the scenes, camera shy, but dogmatic Kelley is retiring this week.   Timing is everything.

Curiously, though, no news on when or if a pink carpet or anything similar is planned.  But maybe that’s all for the better, what with all the Las Vegas CityCenter opening galas this week attendance would probably be low at the bon voyage happening- and perhaps for another reason… 

What we learned from Valerie’s Miller’s article today in the Review-Journal is that at least 20 Greenspun Media Group (publisher of the Las Vegas Sun) employees occurred yesterday, Dec. 1.

Interestingly, the lion’s share of layoffs were focused mainly on Las Vegas Sun staffers- Kelley’s “people” you might say.  Layoffs reportedly included at least 15 Las Vegas Sun staffers, an In Business Las Vegas editor and reporter, two Las Vegas Weekly staffers, a couple of support personnel and an unknown number of online employees, according to Miller’s sources.  Names of personnel were not provided. 

The reorganization of the continually dessiminated organization and layoffs were announced Tuesday in a statement released by Brian Greenspun, the Greenspun Media Group Chairman, who said his company will “reorganize into a single location, with the goal of fully integrating print and interactive operations.” 

So nicely said by the lawyer-trained kingpin, don’t you think?  What really happens only time – and money – will tell. 

Greenspun, however, who reportedly spends much time outside his Las Vegas office and Nevada, plans to combine the operations and staffs of its daily newspaper, tucked in the folds of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the Las Vegas Sun Web site and the tabloid style Las Vegas Weekly, Las VegasWeekly.com, In Business Las Vegas, Las Vegas Magazine, Vegas Magazine and Vegas2Go.  

That’s a tall combo order to trim from an already large media waistline and especially for the publishing industry that is among the hardest hit business segments in our recession– regardless if you’re lucky enough to have won the Pulitzer Prizer, as the Sun did earlier this year.

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Tiger Woods – Las Vegas wants you to weigh in with your opinions…

News is rolling in like a broken water spicket on the reported Tiger Woods scandals since his car accident last week.  It’s all Tiger, all the time.  In the blinding media onslaught, the US Weekly tabloid feature that hits newsstands today alleges Woods had a 31-month affair with Rachel Uchitel, who was once a TAO VIP hostess in Las Vegas, having the voice mail smoking gun panic message from Woods and photos to prove it, and stories about a brief affair Jaimee Grubbs, a Las Vegas cocktail waitress and actress on VH1 Tool Academy, who claims she has over 300 text messages from Woods and also his voicemail which suggest his wife suspected the affair.

Undoubtedly, the iconic Woods will be flailing his nine irons until the unfortunate mess is resolved- if it is ever truly resolved.  Not only will there undoubtedly be microscopic scrutiny of his actions, but security will be beefed up at the events he attends and participates.

Las Vegas Backstage Access requests you to weigh in with your beliefs and comment on our post, below.  We’ll keep your contact details confidential. Do you think his private life and transgressions should be his own, secured from prying eyes and ears?  And, if you don’t like what he did, just don’t watch the golf matches or by his endorsed products?  Or, since he makes booku millions in public endorsements of products, there is a level of public trust and truth at issue here and honesty should be maintained on all personal fronts?

We’d like your opinions.  Thank you.

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Sammy Hagar to Open New Cabo Wabo Cantina in Las Vegas on Dec. 4

Legendary rocker Sammy Hagar will personally rock the red carpet at Cabo Wabo Cantina in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. with a grand opening fiesta and live performance with his band, The Waboritas.  

The rock and roll event is open to the public. Complimentary tickets will be given out to the first 400 lucky fans beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, December 4 at Cabo Wabo Cantina. 

Cabo Wabo Cantina, located at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, is Hagar’s newest flagship U.S. location for the legendary rock and roll restaurant. The two-level, 15,000-square-foot Cantina brings the best of Cabo San Lucas to Vegas combining Hagar’s signature blend of killer margaritas, flavorful Mexican food and rock ‘n’ roll style. Cabo Wabo Cantina is open daily at 11 a.m. 

For more information visit www.cabowabocantina.com.  More information about Hagar and his famous tequila can be found at www.redrocker.com and www.cabowabo.com.

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CityCenter Unveils Vdara Hotel and Spa in Las Vegas Today

MGM Mirage and Dubai World marked the unveiling of their CityCenter project today with the opening of the luxurious Vdara Hotel and Spa. 

Executives cut the ribbon on the 57-story, 1,495-suite luxury property shortly after 10:30 a.m. today. 

The hotel’s suites come in one- or two-bedroom variations, ranging from 500 square feet to 2,000 square feet, each featuring gourmet kitchens and washer and dryer units among their amenities. 

Other amenities in the non-gaming Vdara Hotel include an 18,000-square-foot spa, Asian fusion restaurant Silk Road and direct access to the Bellagio’s casino floor. 

Vdara has partnered with Vanity Fair for its private grand opening celebration tonight with appearances by actor Orlando Bloom, actress Rosario Dawson and photographer Sebastian Copeland. While VIPs will fill the hotel tonight, Vdara won’t welcome its first public guests until Wednesday evening. 

Following Vdara’s opening will be the unveiling of the high-end retail and entertainment district, Crystals, on Thursday, then the opening of Mandarin Oriental will be Friday. 

CityCenter’s crowning jewel and only gaming property — the 4,004-room Aria Resort and Casino — will round out the month with a Dec. 16 opening. Residential occupancies at Veer Towers will begin January 2010 while the Harmon will open in late 2010.

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Historic Binion’s Hotel in Las Vegas to Close

Another legendary landmark Las Vegas hotel has put up a permanent no vacancy sign. Binion’s announced Monday it will shut down its 365 rooms on Dec. 14. The casino and other operations, though, will reportedly remain open. 

Binion’s officials have said the reason for shutting down the hotel operations was because of the ever slumping economy which has forced room rates to drop and vacancies to rise. 

Even though the casino will stay open, there’s no question the decision will be a blow to a downtown that has struggled — even during the talks of revitalization. 

It’s been a staple on Fremont Street for more than half a century. Word of the closure spread quickly. 

Binion’s original coffee shop and Keno operation will also close, but the entire casino operation — including the Sports Book and the famed poker room which hosted the World Series of Poker from 1970 to 2005 — will stay open. 

But the hotel closure could impact gaming. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is trying to help Binion’s owners and lenders hammer out a deal to keep the hotel open. He said he does not think this will impact his plan to revitalize downtown. 

“Once you start saying you’re not going to do those things, then you recede. Vegas is a very funny place. We go through these ups and downs. We’ve been here before, perhaps not to this level, but I don’t blame this on Las Vegas. Las Vegas has the infrastructure in place. We’ve got the best hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment,” Goodman said. 

Goodman said it’s hard to find investors to come in with fresh money to refurbish rooms, but he’s not giving up.  “We have to keep pushing forward, now more than ever,” Goodman said. 

About 100 people will be laid off when the hotel closes. 

Anyone who has a reservation after Dec. 14 is being referred to Binion’s sister property across the street, The Four Queens. 

Most of the restaurants, including the famed Binion’s Ranch Steakhouse, will remain open.

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“Cowboy Up” in Las Vegas – National Finals Rodeo Buck into Las Vegas

On Dec. 3-12 the Wrangler National Finals rodeo — the sport’s answer to the Super Bowl and World Series — is back with latigo and spurs at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas– with some huge numbers to celebrate. 

This is the silver anniversary of the rodeo’s move to Las Vegas, and it comes with plenty of gold — a rodeo-record purse of $5.75 million. 

The move from Oklahoma City to the Entertainment Capital of the World in 1985 has worked out beyond all expectations for rodeo — and for Las Vegas. Every performance has been sold out for more than 20 years, and telecasts of last year’s 50th anniversary edition of the rodeo drew 15.4 million viewers. 

The non-gaming economic impact of the rodeo to the region last year was $54.7 million, according to figures compiled by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. 

But those numbers are just the by-product of the rodeo’s real business of determining world champions. Eleven months of crisscrossing the country in trucks and planes, going short on sleep and subsisting on fast food only qualifies a cowboy to compete for a gold buckle. Every world title is decided on Las Vegas’ big stage. 

If that’s enough cowboy action, the NFR Cowboy Christmas gift show also starts on Dec. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, running through Dec. 12. 

The Las Vegas Backstage Access calendar lists some of the many events.

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Ex-NBA Star Avoids Jail for Las Vegas Casino Bad Check Charges

Former NBA all-star Antoine Walker has agreed to pay more than $900,000 to settle bad check charges with three Las Vegas casinos and avoid trial on felony criminal charges, a defense lawyer and prosecutor said Monday. 

Walker wasn’t in court when his attorney, Jonathan Powell, described a plan for his client to pay a minimum of almost $13,000 a month over five years to settle a complaint stemming from casino debts at Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Red Rock Resort. 

Powell on Monday described his 33-year-old, 6-foot-9 client as unemployed, but said he hopes to sign with a team in the U.S. or Europe. If he does, Walker promises to increase payments to almost $21,400 per month and finish the repayment plan within three years. 

Las Vegas Backstage Access has written other articles on this case.

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