Monthly Archives: February 2010

College in Nevada Offers First Dining Card

The College of Southern Nevada has launched its first Dine About Card to raise much needed funds for student scholarships and educational programs.

The $20 card is sponsored by Metro PCS and provides cardholders with exclusive monthly dining offers and discounts at a host of Las Vegas restaurants, ranging from fast food to primo gourmet dining. 

A sampling of participating restaurants include Hash House A Go Go, Pizza Hut, Panda Express, Sonic, Ricardo’s, La Scala Ristorante and Jamm’s.  A full list of restaurants is included with the card at the time of purchase.

The dining card is good through Dec. 31 and includes offers such as free appetizers, free desserts, two-for-one entrees or special pricing on specific menu items.

The card can be purchased at www.csnfoundation.net or by calling 702-651-5947.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Celebrate National Pig Day in Las Vegas

The ‘lil deceased oinkers are finally having their long overdue special day in Las Vegas.   To celebrate, you’re invited to attend any of Famous Dave’s locations in Las Vegas and enjoy all the delightful squeals of National Pig Day on Monday, March 1.  For showing your concern, you’ll receive a free lunch-size pork sandwich for anyone who comes in wearing pink.

Each location will also will be holding a contest where the general manager will pick the best pig costume from 5 to 6 p.m., and the winner will receive a $100 Famous Dave’s gift card for having to go through the dress indignities.

Locations in the Las Vegas Valley are 1951 N. Rainbow Blvd. (702-646-5631), 4390 Blue Diamond Road (702-633-7427), 9695 W. Flamingo Road (702-871-5631), and 2630 E. Craig Road in North Las Vegas (702-399-8000).

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Battle of the Bands Seeks Talent in Las Vegas

Smokin’ Hot Aces in Las Vegas will host an as-yet untitled battle of the bands beginning March 7.   

This is not your run-of-the-mill band contest.  The winner receives $10,000 in cash and prizes, the opportunity to open for a Universal act during Memorial Day weekend performance at the Venetian’s new rock bar, and exposure to major record labels. 

Judging the event will be Las Vegas musicians, Strip performers and celebrities to later be announced. 

Band performances will be spaced two-per-night (9 and 10 p.m.) every Sunday from March 7 through Memorial Day. 

Judges scores will be combined with online and in-person ballot voting to determine the competition’s four finalists. 

If you think you’re smokin’ hot enough, please contact Steve Slaughter at steve@thirtythreegroup.com

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Las Vegas red carpets center stage this weekend

Red carpet A-lister celebrity types of events in Las Vegas have largely been on the wane, what with the drastic downturn in the economy and the policy of many venues to have celebrities pay their way. This weekend shows an inkling of an exception to that rule.  

Kim Kardashian promotes her perfume by walking on the red carpet at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Venetian’s club Tao. 

Controversial Lindsay Lohan will pick up her much needed check for strutting her stuff Saturday on the Pure nightclub red carpet in Caesars at 11:30 p.m.  And, if you believe the Sun of London, she’s now free of drugs and alchol, saying, “I tried to mask my problems with alcohol, cocaine and mind-altering substances…Now I’m in a place where I don’t need to use anything.”  This of course begs the question why in the hell would she want to show up clubbing at a venue where strong drinking is the rule.  And if her on-again, off-again flame Samantha Ronson will sneak in, is anybody’s guess. 

Mariah Carey will air out her pipes earlier on Saturday at the Colosseum.  Undoubtedly, she will be seen lurking in the many nook and cranny shadows of Las Vegas later in the evening. 

At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday their will be a red carpet fundraiser at the Bellagio for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Helath, promising to showcase Danny DeVito, Buzz Aldrin, Brad Garrett, Leeza Gibbons, Wolfgang Puck and Thomas Keller.

 Iyaz sings “Replay” after an 11:30 p.m. red carpet Saturday at the Bellagio club Bank. 

“American Idol” guy Larry Platt appears after midnight tonight at Mirage club Jet.

Ciara gets her carpet call after midnight Saturday at CityCenter club Haze.

 If you enjoy gawking sports stars, Pierre Thomas and Lance Moore of the Super Bowl winning New Orleans Saints will be paid to appear on the red carpet at 11 p.m. this evening at Palazzo’s club Lavo. 

If all this NASCAR weekend and red carpet stuff is just too much for you, please check out the fuzz-guitar weirdo-rock of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday at Wasted Space at the Hard Rock.  Oh, and bring $20 to get in.

1 Comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, travel

It’s not easy being Mr. Las Vegas

Entertainer Wayne Newton’s money woes and legal skirmishes are continuing at warp speed. 

Newton has had a long history of financial problems.  Newton famously declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy after becoming mired in roughly $20 million in debt about 18 years ago and the IRS said in 2005 that Newton owed $1.8 million in back taxes and penalties. 

Then, earlier this month it was learned that Newton abandoned his plane at the Oakland County International Airport three years ago and now owes more than $60,000 in storage fees and now faces lawsuits. 

Also this month, a civil lawsuit was filed in Clark County District Court by Bruton Smith, chairman and founder of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Smith is seeking to seize Newton’s home for repayment of a $3.35 million loan. 

Smith alleges Newton and his wife intentionally defrauded him and misrepresented their ability to repay the loan. 

A lawsuit was also filed last summer for nonpayment of $32,000 worth of hay for his horses. 

To top that off (if that’s possible), yesterday a large posse of Clark County sheriff’s process servers and moving vans showed up in the morning at Newton’s 38-acre ranch at Pecos and Sunset roads in Las Vegas, trying to serve the entertainer with judgment documents and take his property pertaining to a civil lawsuit brought by his former pilot, Monty Ward.  

Clark County District Judge Michelle Leavitt in September ordered Newton to pay Ward about $455,000 in back wages with interest accruing at the rate of roughly $129 per day. Court records show Newton paid less than $4,000 to Ward as of September. 

A similar action by Ward is simultaneously being pursued in U.S. District Court. 

Ward filed a federal breach-of-contract lawsuit in 2006 against Newton and a Nevada company called Desert Eagle. 

According to the lawsuit, the defendants asked Ward around February 2003 to work as their private pilot for the next decade. He was to start at a minimum annual salary of $92,000, plus medical and dental benefits, according to the complaint. 

“In reliance on assurances of continued employment and payment from defendants for a minimum of 10 years, Ward left his employment of 16 years as a captain and pilot with Horizon Airlines and became defendants’ private pilot,” the lawsuit alleges. 

Then, around August 2005, according to the document, Newton and Desert Eagle decided to discontinue using their private aircraft. The lawsuit claims Ward sent the defendants invoices for his services and benefits for periods after they decided to discontinue using their private aircraft, but despite repeated demands, they refused to pay him. 

In January 2009, then-U.S. District Judge Brian Sandoval ruled that Newton and Desert Eagle had breached a settlement agreement they had reached with Ward, and Sandoval entered a judgment of about $455,000 against the defendants.

Late last month, a writ of execution was issued in the case by the U.S. District Court clerk. The writ directed the U.S. Marshals Service to enforce the judgment, which, with interest, has grown to more than $500,000. 

This Tuesday, Ward filed a notice of his intention to take Newton’s deposition on March 4 in Las Vegas.

Yesterday, deputies left Newton’s compound without being able to properly serve him  The documents were returned to District Court marked “unexecuted,” and no further service will be attempted pending civil court actions, police said. 

The Wayne Newton saga is hardly over.   If anything, it will be rapidly ramping up in the next few months.  Please stay tuned to Las Vegas Backstage Access for developments.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

NASCAR in Las Vegas Will Exceed Super Bowl Fan Draw

The many NASCAR driver meet-and-greet events and deafening varooms befitting plenty of exciting dirt track racing action all started yesterday in Las Vegas.  By the time the marquee Sprint Cup Shelby American on Sunday is over, an estimated 300,000 people will have experienced the roar of racing in their ears and smell of gasoline enticing their nostrils.   That’s four times the attendance at the Super Bowl, according to Chris Powell, president of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

For the Sprint Cup race alone – the biggest event of the weekend – in 2009 about 140,000 spectators saw the race.  That’s down from about 152,000 in 2008 and the record attendance of 156,000 in 2007. 

Regardless of the ending attendance figure this year, the significant question is if those people can translate into record spending.  Most Las Vegans are hoping and praying it does, giving their languishing economy a much needed economic bump. 

Out-of-towners hold the key trump card to this weekend’s economic prosperity, comprising 70 percent of the race crowd invading Las Vegas. 

Attempting to lure more tourists to the track than prior years, race ticket prices at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been greatly reduced this year. With more people attending, hopefully, that will translate into more ancilliary spending on goods and services. 

Las Vegas hotels will undoubtedly be the major economic beneficiaries. The recessionary price levels of hotel rooms that have plagued Las Vegas for the past year have virtually disappeared, albeit temporarily. The Riviera, mirroring what most Las Vegas hotels are doing, is jacking their weekend’s room rates to a whopping $224 per night.  But next weekend the Riviera will zoom back down to their customary $79 level. 

Budget hotel are also raising their rates, as well the higher priced Strip hotels, such as Harrah’s that is sold out all weekend, and Wynn Las Vegas and the Hard Rock Hotel, both sold out on Saturday. 

VEGAS.com reports their Web site’s hotel room sales are up 30 percent. 

Rolling up the total revenue picture, excluding gambling revenue, the associated revenues from last year’s NASCAR weekend raked in $107 million, according to the Las Vegas convention and Visitors Authority. 

But that doesn’t come close to 2008 revenue, when the haul was $134 million. Most don’t think this year will equal that level. However, should the heavy rain that is anticipated to blanket Las Vegas intermittently on Saturday postpone Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 race and cause the race to move to Monday, that might be just the silver lining needed to help close the revenue gap, keeping race fans in Las Vegas and extra day or two, perhaps aided in no small part by the dangling carrot of being able to see heartthrob racer Danica Patrick strut her stuff. 

Will this year’s racing events add up to yielding the top revenue producing weekend in Las Vegas?

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, news, sports, travel, Uncategorized

Belly Dancing a Go-Go in Las Vegas

Belly dancers galore will be performing at the Massive Spectacular in Las Vegas in a weeklong affair that starts Sat., Feb. 27 and runs through Thurs., March 4 at the Railhead in Boulder Station in Las Vegas, 4111 Boulder Highway. 

Billed as the “Massive Spectacular,” the event will feature dozens of belly dance performers from Tribal Massive performing a wide range of the dances under the big umbrella of belly dancing. On the evening of March 4, dancers, many of whom are instructors for the proceeding week’s workshops, come together on the stage at the Railhead in Boulder Station. 

The doors for the Massive Spectacular open at 6:15 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m. March 4 in the Railhead at Boulder Station, 4111 Boulder Highway. Tickets are $35 in advance at http://www.TheMassiveSpectacular.com or $40 at the door. Admission for children 13 and younger is $5. Only cash will be accepted at the door. 

Proceeds will benefit the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Become a Playwright, Actor or Composer in Las Vegas

Insurgo’s No Shame Theatre in Las Vegas may just be the ticket you’re looking for to show you can write plays that people will flock to see. 

No Shame is a longtime national movement that has finally arrived in Las Vegas.  The first 15 written works arriving each week at Insurgo Theatre will be cast, rehearsed and performed- on the same night.

You can bring literally anything in to showcase- from avant-garde to music- or movement-based pieces to improvisational works, monologues and scenes.

Non-writers interested in acting can also show up and let the Insurgo staff know they’re ready to perform whatever’s thrown at them.  The only rules for actors and playwrights is that you can’t hurt yourself, the audience or the space.  And no breaking the law.   Anything else is fair game.

No Shame Theatre on Thursdays beginning Feb. 25 at 9:30 p.m.  $5 for both general audience and participants.  Insurgo Theatre Movement, 900 E. Karen Ave., Las Vegas, 702-369-3692.  www.insurgotheater.org

1 Comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Nevada’s $6.8 Billion Casino Loss in ’09 the Largest Ever

As a result of declining gaming revenues, reductions in hotel rates and reduced consumer spending, Nevada’s highest-grossing casinos generated a net loss of almost $6.8 billion in fiscal year 2009- the largest ever for Nevada. 

The huge loss resulted from a total revenue of more than $22 billion including money spent by customers on gaming, hotel rooms, food, beverage and other attractions.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Gamblin’ in Las Vegas is Human Nature

What does the very popular Austrialian vocal group Human Nature when they’re not performing at Imperial Palace in Las Vegas?  Gamble.   What else?  It’s Sin City! 

Human Nature, who formed as a doo-wop band in 1989 in Sydney, Austraila, has now been performing “The Ultimate Celebration of the Motown Sound” to rave reviews at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas for the past nine months. 

Tight harmonies and rich vocals are what make Human Nature standout in concert. Songs like “Reach Out”; “Just My Imagination”; “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch);” The Jackson Five’s “ABC,” and the group’s moving version of Robinson’s “Ooh Baby, Baby,” are their mainstays.  

Motown music legend Smokey Robinson has acted as their official envoy and presenter of the LasVegas show and its touring production.   Now, it appears that Robinson has switched gears somewhat, gearing up for doing his own shows and promoting his own music including his new CD on his own label, “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun,” which is an album that embraces Robinson’s favorite theme: Love.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Burning Man Festival Gains Momentum

The official once-a-year celebration in Nevada occurs in Black Rock City, starting on Aug. 30 and running through Sept. 6.  But if you can’t afford to lose that much time from work – or simply don’t want to fry your ass with some 48,000 or so other radical and self-reliant Burning Man participants (called ”Burners”)  – there are other alternatives close to Las Vegas to get your radical art and nature urges on.

The first major event is “Forgotten City,” running April 22 through 25 in Nipton, California, one hour south of Las Vegas. 

The next artist conclave is on May 6 through 9 called, “Toast!” an Arizona burner event in Witch Well, Arizona.   Four days of large scale art, music, performance, and interactive participation. The Azburners are an interactive group of artists, performers, musicians and participants.  

Vegas Backstage Access has written many articles on “Burning Man” which can be searched on our site in the right hand column. 

And, here is a cool 360-degree movie style panoramic of the various enclaves comprising the big daddy Black Rock City event.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, entertainment, news, Uncategorized

Danica Patrick, NASCAR, Sprint Cars & Food Mix in Glorious Las Vegas Weekend

Yes, there really is NASCAR racing in Las Vegas next weekend, Feb. 26-28.  (Did you really think it was just an outing to ogle Danica Patrick?) 

Dale Earnhardt Jr., though, isn’t getting overly excited about his late charge to a surprise second-place finish at Daytona.  After the season-opening Daytona 500, the restrictor plates are now off during the 1½-mile Las Vegas oval track races and the focus is back on the the kind of tracks that dominate the 36-race championship season.  

It can be anyone’s race. 

Earnhardt said he feels good about his team and crew chief Lance McGrew, who is starting his first full season after replacing Tony Eury Jr. last May and having the interim tag removed by Hendrick in late October. That gave them a whole off-season together to get ready for 2010. 

“We built a lot of new cars. We did a lot of hard work, Lance especially, during the off-season to put us in a position to bring better cars to this race and to Vegas and so forth,” Earnhardt said. “Just give me a good car and I can run real good.” 

“Everybody in the garage kind of feels like this is the start of the regular season. Daytona is so different than every other kind of racing that we do and of course it’s the Daytona 500,” said Jimmie Johnson, the four-time Sprint Cup champion and California native who has won four times at his home track. 

“Everybody is really interested and anxious to understand where we are with the cars,” says Johnson. 

The added good news is that even before the entire NASCAR contigent fully descends on Las Vegas next weekend, racing fans will get two opportunities to add a little dirt to their diet as the USAC Sprint and Midget Series and the World of Outlaws Sprint Series come to town.

The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the United States Auto Club (USAC) on Thursday, February 25 and the World of Outlaws the next night for three thrilling A-mains between the two groups of talented drivers. 

To keep up your energy while walking endlessly around the track, don’t forget to first eat your fill before heading to the track, stopping by the NASCAR Café inside the Sahara.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, sports, Uncategorized

Las Vegas NASCAR Complete Schedule

Everywhere you look this week it’s NASCAR all over Las Vegas. Here’s the definitive NASCAR meet and greet schedule: 

First, click here for the complete schedule for what’s happening at NASCAR only at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Next, here are the sequential driver events occuring BEFORE the Las Vegas NASCAR events:

Thurs., Feb. 25  

Noon – Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Michael Waltrip, crew chief Pat Tryson at Martin Truex Jr. Foundation’s No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino. Spectator admission is free; $225 to play. 

2-4 p.m. – Raybestos Rookie drivers Terry Cook and Kevin Conway (and others TBA) from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will participate in a cooking competition at the ESPN Zone in the New York New York Hotel & Casino. 

4-6 p.m. – Tony Stewart at Office Depot, 1435 W. Craig Road 

4 p.m. – Brad Keselowski at Discount Tire, 6565 E. Lake Mead Blvd. 

4 p.m. – Dale Earnhardt Foundation Poker Tournament, Stratosphere Hotel & Casino: Kerry Earnhardt, Kenny Wallace, Kirk Shelmerdine, Casey Mears, Matt Crafton, Regan Smith, Aric Almirola, Eric McClure, Todd Bodine, Mike Bliss, Scott Lagasse Jr, Andy Ponstein, Danny Efland and car owner Tommy Baldwin. Spectator tickets are $20. 

5 p.m. – Sam’s Town Live! inside Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall – 12th annual AutoTrader.com NASCAR Driver Auction. Drivers scheduled to appear include: Greg Biffle, Bobby Labonte, David Ragan and Kyle Petty. Event also includes silent auction, appearance by Home Improvement TV star Mickey Jones and music by Skid Rodeo. Admission is $20. 

5:30 p.m. – Kasey Kahne at PT’s Pub, Interstate 215 at Decatur Blvd.   

6 p.m. – Kurt Busch at Pole Position Raceway, 4175 S. Arville 

6:30-8:30 p.m. – Kyle Busch at M&M’s World on Las Vegas Blvd. 

6:30-7:30 p.m. – David Reutimann at NASCAR Café at Sahara Hotel & Casino 

8-9 p.m. – Trevor Bayne at NASCAR Café at Sahara Hotel & Casino 

FRIDAY, FEB. 26  

7-9 p.m. – Bobby Labonte, Terry Cook at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino 

7-7:30 p.m. – Trevor Bayne at The Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino 

7:30-8 p.m. – Michael McDowell at The Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino 

8:15-9:15 p.m. – Kurt Busch at Indigo Lounge in Bally’s Hotel & Casino 

Show cars only:

Friday, Feb. 26
10 a.m.-5 p.m. – Joey Logano’s No. 20 at Home Depot at Lamb Blvd. at E. Charleston 

SAT., FEB. 27  

5 p.m. – Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman at Lagasse’s Stadium in the Venetian Hotel & Casino. Stewart will be honored as part of The Venetian and The Palazzo’s Legends of the Sport series. An $89 package is available for purchase which includes premium seating in Lagasse’s Stadium for the Q&A session, meet-and-greet with Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, and autographed photo by both drivers. 

5:30-6 p.m. – Marcos Ambrose at The Pub at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino 

Race Tickets 

Tickets for the Feb. 28 Shelby American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Feb. 27 Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event and the fabulous Neon Garage fan experience may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.LVMS.com. Follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, sports, Uncategorized

Free Food for Starving Las Vegas Residents that Pay Their Rent on Time

It’s seen prominently throughout Siegel Suites’ advertising in Las Vegas: “Live Here. Eat Free.” The free-food concept is simple. Daily food vouchers for a meal at the Golden Grill at downtown’s Gold Spike—which Siegel Suites owns—are given to tenants who pay their rent on time. Stay a week and it’s five vouchers; two weeks, 10.

Siegel Suites has 16 Las Vegas locations and gives away a whopping 15,000 free food vouchers a month. 

The program will also soon expand to the Barcelona hotel-casino, one of Siegel’s recent acquisitions, when that site’s restaurant is remodeled later this year.

As altruistic as free food may sound, it’s still a solid marketing tactic. Siegel Suites residents are introduced to a Siegel gaming property via the token hot dog or grilled cheese sandwich plate. Of course, giving away food and drink to lure in gamblers is as Vegas as neon. And it’s just one of many ideas that owner Stephen Siegel likely has for putting bodies in front of slots at the Gold Spike.

Siegel and his investors have put some serious cash into the Gold Spike, about $5 million and counting. It’s an effort that seems to have gone beyond a labor of love to more of a labor of, well, labor. Underneath every decayed layer peeled back at the old property, Siegel admits, lies another layer that could eat up more time and money.

The trials of renovating an old property have pushed back the project’s completion about six months, to the first quarter of this year.

The Golden Grill has been updated with a modern-diner look. The menu is standard American-grill fare: burgers, wraps and a $4.99 prime rib. But the Siegel Suites vouchers are tied to a limited menu tucked between salt and pepper shakers and sugar packets. The menu has a single offering for each day. Items tend to be less exciting—chicken fingers, BLTs and hot dogs to grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti with marinara—but still perhaps worth the price of a bus fare.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news

‘Queen’ Celine Dion Saves Las Vegas Single-Handedly

Let’s face it:  Celine Dion operates like a city within Las Vegas.    When many performers are looking to hang it up, or at least slow down, Dion, 41, who started singing professionally when she was 12, churns full speed ahead with no end in sight.    

Keeping a relative secret for over a year, Dion recently officially revealed that she is returning to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on March 15, 2011 with an all-new show and a three-year contract, while planning to stay in her Lake Las Vegas home.    Tickets are now available.

During her last five-year reign at Caesars, a custom-built Colosseum was completed for her at a cost of $95 million, who then proceeded to sell more than 200 million copies of her 25 albums in French and English.   The queen singer also drew celebrities galore into Las Vegas, refreshing the entertainment scene like few others before her.  Most can’t wait for her Las Vegas comeback. 

Her Las Vegas show, A New Day, took in more than a whopping $400 million at the box office and in merchandise, and the production employed hundreds – the 50 dancers, musicians and others visible onstage were just the half of it. 

It has been announced that she’ll be employing 31 musicians, a full orchestra and a band.   Not bad for a city starving for any economic bumps it can get. 

Talking about bumps, after four unsuccessful rounds of in vitro fertilization, Céline Dion is not giving up hope for a second child, with her husband, Rene Angelil, 26 years her senior. 

“I’m going to try until it works,” says Dion, who continues giving herself daily hormone shots — and enduring the roller-coaster ride of emotions they bring — after the heartbreaking loss of a pregnancy in August and three other failed IVF attempts last fall.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Death by Chocolate in Las Vegas

Willy Wonka has nothing over Max Brenner, or should we say Oded Brenner, right, the real Max Brenner.

Brenner, the epitome of the consummate professional sweet tooth, whips up a cavity-inducing array of pure chocolate decadence including such entrees as chocolate pizza, chocolate quesadillas, chocolate s’mores and, if that is not enough to smash competition, their utterly chocolate extravagance called The Sticky Caramel Chocolate Concoction. 

The Israeli-based premiere chocolate-to-die-for chain of Max Brenner stores, owned by the Strauss Group, now has worldwide domination squarely in their sights, planning to open this summer an enormous branch store in the Forum Shops in the Caesars Palace mall in Las Vegas, facing the H&M flagship store. 

The chocolate bar alone will spread over two floors and 9,310 square feet including more than 200 seats and a bar with 12 stools and bar tables. The Las Vegas branch will also offer a chocolate shop and a room for private parties of events of up to 45 people. 

Another Max Brenner branch is also expected to open soon in Boston, in the Restaurant Row area. It will spread over one floor measuring 5,844 square feet in size and will include about 150 seats as well as a full-service bar with stools, a chocolate shop and, yes, even a chocolate restaurant. 

According to Giora Bar-Dea, CEO of Strauss-North America:  “This year we began implementing our strategy to build Max Brenner as an international brand.  The opening of new branches in central Las Vegas and in Boston is aimed at introducing the brand in the West Coast of the United States and strengthening our international exposure, with the goal of opening additional branches in the continent.” 

About $5.35 million was invested to open both branch stores. 

The new branches will join the chain’s 30 branches worldwide: two in Manhattan, 18 in Australia, two in the Philippines, two in Singapore, and six in Isreael, the company’s headquarters, which houses 15 staff people, led by founder Oded Brenner. 

The Max Brenner chain was established in 1995 by Oded Brenner and Max Fichtman, and is now owned by the Strauss Group after it was acquired by Elite in 2001. The chain’s global sales turnover is $32 million annually.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Elvis Presley Comes Back to Las Vegas

And you thought he was…dead?  Pshaw!  Elvis performed his last show in Las Vegas and now is back to his old Sin City haunts, if only in spirit.  But his show will, hopefully, run forever. 

Viva Elvis premiered on Feb. 19 and is the seventh Cirque du Soleil show on the Las Vegas Strip. It is one of the centerpieces of the new $8.5 billion MGM Mirage CityCenter, located in a new theater in the Aria Hotel and Casino. 

Viva Elvis features all of his greatest hits set to music and embellished with spectacular sets and effects, dancing and acrobatics. It positively fills the eyes-all the time steering clear of the somber and darker sides of Elvis, thanks to the untiring efforts of Priscilla Presley and Elvis Presley Enterprises to protect the Elvis legacy. 

This is a spectacularly beautiful show and it is one of only two Cirque shows in Las Vegas to employ a proscenium stage rather than using a theater-in-the-round setup. 

There are other singers, but the only male voice belongs to The King himself. The evening opens witha huge video-jukebox. On the screen is Elvis singing Blue Suede Shoes. It’s light, fun and immediately gets the audience in the mood for more of his music. Don’t Be Cruel is next, followed by Junior Clay, the only actor in the show. He is Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker. He comes out to explain that Elvis had a twin brother who died at birth and Elvis missed his twin his entire life. Thus he introduces the next number, One Night– a love song, more shouted than sung and is very effective. But here, for some reason, it’s used to portray brotherly love. 

Two acrobats do their schtick on a large wire guitar suspended upstage center. As they’re doing their acrobatics, there’s a woman sitting at an old upright piano softly playing and singing the song. No argument that Elvis missed his twin. And no argument that these two guys on the guitar are really good at what they do. The only argument is against taking such a passionate number and doing this to it. 

The next scene goes back to Elvis’ childhood in Tupelo, MS. Old photos are projected on the screen as the townsfolk carrying umbrellas come out on the stage and perform All Shook Up as a gospel tune. And the woman singing the song actually changes the lyrics to say “I’m itchin’ like a woman on fuzzy tree.”

The spectacle is a grand and joyous event that will stick in your mind for a long time — a terrific celebration of Elvis’ music. The dancing and acrobatics are lavish and exuberant. The on-stage band is exellent. And the production values are incomparable. It’s just plain fun to watch with wonderful sets, colorful costumes and captivating special effects. 

Yes, the show is a bit pricey in a struggling Las Vegas economy, tickets ranging from $114 to $200, but well worth the price if you can afford it.  Shows are at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Fridays though Tuesdays.  702-531-2031. 

Long live The King!

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Music

Las Vegas Deathfest

If blood-curdling, gut-churning heavy metal (emphasis on ‘heavy’) music is your relaxing Las Vegas cup of tea on a leisurely weekend, best to plan to make tracks  to the 2nd Annual Las Vegas Deathfest.  

Details are still being received on the timing and venue, but last year it was held on July 16 and 17 at Cheyenne Saloon, 3103 N. Rancho Drive, 702-645-4139. 

Their eclectic music lineup includes such bruiser bands as Putrification, Despondency, Incinerate, Inherit Disease, and Pathology.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, Performances, Uncategorized

Down Goes Hawaiian Tropic Zone in Las Vegas

The Hawaiian Tropic Zone, located inside the Miracle Mile Shops in Las Vegas, known for its great drinks, wild parties and innovative promotions, has succumbed to bad economic times. 

Sadly, the restaurant, bar and lounge will close in the wee hours this Sunday morning.   No news forthcoming on exactly what will fill the physical void or when.

The Hawaiian Tropic Zone in Las Vegas opened its doors in January 2008.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, Music, news, Uncategorized

Wayne Brady returns to Las Vegas, follows Chazz Palminteri, Joan Rivers

Entertainer Wayne Brady, right, to many, may not have left Sin City.  But that he did.  Now, Brady of “Let’s Make a Deal” fame, which taped at the Tropicana, is returning to the Venetian in Las Vegas on Memorial Day weekend.  

Brady, produced by Zeiger’s Base Entertainment, is scheduled to perform 15 weeks scattered though the rest of this year, while presumably working around the new taping schedule of “Deal.” 

But before Brady arrives, Chazz Palminteri and Joan Rivers will keep his Venetian stage warmed up. 

Palminteri performs his autobiographical one-man play “A Bronx Tale” April 28-May 9 and Oct. 6-18.  It’s a Las Vegas exclusive engagement- the only booking this year for Palminteri. 

Joan Rivers will host Venetian dates in April, times to be later announced.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin to Receive Las Vegas Star Tributes

The Las Vegas Walk of Fame will install sidewalk star memorials to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in ceremonies at 1 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22 in the Flamingo showroom. 

Deana Martin will speak on behalf of her father, Dean. 

So, why did these mega-stars of the Las Vegas heyday get their stars after Tony Sacca and Wayne AllenRoot?  Simple:  These latter guys were paid for by the recipients’ families, while Sinatra and Marine families didn’t see the need to pay for an honor that virtually existed anyway through their mass audience appeal for decades.  

The Walk haunchos, apparently, had a soft spot in their heart and is financing Sinatra and Martin on their own dime.  That’s nice. 

Money talks- and for sure in Las Vegas.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Fly into Las Vegas, Buy Booze while at Luggage Carousel

Buying booze at an airport luggage carousel will soon join the “only in Vegas” list.

Clark County commissioners are actively looking for a vendor to run a liquor store at McCarran International Airport’s baggage claim areas.

McCarran will be the only airport in the U.S. where highly spirited travelers could shop for euphoric fueling spirits as they await their bags to come down the turnstile. 

Randall Walker, the airport’s aviation director, estimates that the store would bring in $400,000 to $600,000 a year.  Definitely not chump change in a stale economy.   Equally important, the innovative approach would help the county help curb the fees on airline, which, in turn, would give airline carriers less reason to cut flights into the Entertainment Capital of the World. 

It’s wasn’t a slam-dunk decision, though.  Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak resisted the idea and asked that the board put off action for at least a month so that businesses, travelers, the taxicab authority and others can weigh in.  But his colleagues rejected the feeble plea, so he finally gave in and joined the pack in approving the booze store.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized

Naked in Las Vegas

Greg Friedler is a fine art photographer.  Translated, he has a passion for capturing unique still photo scenes.  But his other finely honed artsy ability is taking photographs of willing people posed clothed and naked in front of a studio canvas. 

Las Vegas, undisputed City of Sin, was squarely in his camera’s viewfinder years ago and is now part of a documentary film, “Stripped: Greg Friedler’s Naked Las Vegas,” by David Palmer, which will premier in March 2010 and is planned to be on Showtime for two years. 

Their creative effort started in 1973, working from scratch and with no confirmed photo subjects nor even a confirmed location to shoot, Denver, Colorado-based avant-garde photographer Friedler and Los Angeles-based filmmaker David Palmer embarked on a multi-dimensional and highly emotional 30-day Las Vegas roller coaster ride, that would eventually bring together 173 naked human beings of every shape, size, and walk of life. 

Participants in the project entered a small white room with a red curtain and opened themselves up, literally, for what eventually became “Stripped: Gred Friedler’s Naked: Las Vegas,” baring not only their naked bodies, but, equally important, a bit of their inner souls. 

In 2008, with a pre-release copy of Greg Friedler’s book “Naked Las Vegas” in hand, David Palmer would journey back to Las Vegas and follow up interpersonally with 40 of the book’s true-life characters whom he had documented during Friedler’s initial Las Vegas shoot.  What would become apparent was that not only had the city of Las Vegas gone through very drastic changes, so too, on multiple levels, did the people whom Friedler and Palmer had photographed. 

Through Palmer’s discerning lens, which at times becomes so humanizing that even clothed, the film’s characters feel more naked than ever; viewers are privileged to see what happens when everyday human beings stripped of clothing, comforts and society’s judgments discover an even playing field of beauty, humanity and ultimately self love. 

The variety of visual candy is amazing.  From a homeless man who strips himself of his past regrets to find employment, a home of his own, and along with it his dignity; to a hermaphrodite couple exposing the truth that beauty and love can be shared beyond social stigmas; to an Elvis impersonator nakedly confronting his own lack of trust in society and finding faith in others by keeping his own commitments, “Stripped” prevails by sharing an honest, true story of ultimate triumph over what may seem like insurmountable social and personal odds. 

In our society that is overwrought with an obsession for money, fame and beauty, this collective of unique and sometimes bizarre individuals, living in one of the world’s most infamous cities, shows all of us it is possible to grow from crisis, to find the betterment of humanity through vulnerability, and ultimately be uplifted and inspired by the triumphs of coming to terms with who we all really are.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Eva Langoria Parker to be honored for Latin Chamber of Commerce Business Leadership Award in Las Vegas

Eva Longoria Parker, entrepreneur and owner of two new, successful CityCenter ventures, Beso steakhouse and Eve nightclub, will host the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce 35th Installation Gala on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Eve in Crystals at CityCenter in Las Vegas.  Red carpet starts at 6 p.m. for media. 

Part of the official swearing-in ceremony of the 2010 Board of Directors. Luis Valera, Chairman of the Board, will share his vision for 2010 and present Longoria Parker with the first-ever “Premio de Oro – Distinguished Leadership” award. The award recognizes Longoria Parker for her success as the Las Vegas Strip’s sole Latina restaurant and nightclub owner and for her commitment to expand opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses. 

In addition, the City of Las Vegas and Clark Country will declare February 20 as “Eva Longoria Parker Day.” 

Following the proclamation ceremony starting at 6:45 p.m. and award presentation at 7:45 p.m. for media, Longoria Parker will host an after-party celebration at Eve nightclub. Eve event is open to the public.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Las Vegas Pawn Shop Doubles as Reality TV Show, Proving Junk Sells

Well, it’s not all junk.  But many may think their dust-collecting, largely abandoned asset won’t bring much money- that is until they haggle with Rick Harrison, center, or his father, Richard, left, or son Corey who co-own a hugely successful Las Vegas pawn shop, Gold and Silver Pawn. 

Recession?  What recession?  Boom times are out the roof, thanks in no small part to the History Channel’s hit reality TV series “Pawn Stars.” 

Back in July, before the show started, the family business about 70 customers a day that showed up at the 713 Las Vegas Blvd. South address. 

And now? “We do about 1,000 a day,” said beaming Rick Harrison. 

The 35 episodes of national TV exposure have doubled revenue and generated a non-stop waiting line of 50 customers throughout the day, which usually ends at 11 p.m. 

The Harrisons have even added a surreal touch for their customers: a velvet rope for crowd control, ala a Las Vegas nightclub. 

Two of the more shocking items that recently arrived: a bronze medal from the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics and a 1998 Denver Broncos Super Bowl ring.  Rick Harrison said he paid $700 for the medal and $11,000 for the bejeweled ring.  The medal came from a shoebox found in a garage by a son-in-law who was cleaning up after his wife’s father died. The family, who lived in the Midwest, was vacationing in Las Vegas and decided to sell the medal. 

“Names aren’t etched on Olympic medals so we have no idea who it belonged it to,” Harrison said. 

Harrison said the ring owner identified himself as a former landlord of Bronco safety Tori Noel, a late addition to the team roster. The former University of Tennessee standout saw little action that year in Denver, the first of back-to-back Super Bowl titles, and suffered a career-ending injury the next year during training camp. 

It’s not the only Super Bowl ring pawned at Gold and Silver. Harrison said he purchased Brock Williams’ ring from the 2002 Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots. 

Williams, a former cornerback at Notre Dame, was paid about $2,000 for the ring. He never returned to buy it back, Harrison said.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Las Vegas Foodies Offered 50 Percent Discount

One of the focus areas of Las Vegas Backstage Access is fine dining, so it’s a big deal when supermarket food can be purchased at a 50 percent saving– that leaves more money in the budget for dining out at lots of cool Las Vegas restaurants! 

Today, Friday, from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Star Theater in the Greek Isles Hotel, 305 Convention Center Drive a launch party is being held for the Las Vegas Food Co-op, operated by The Verve Foundation, where multiple vendors offer a monthly menu of food items at a tremendous value.  There are no membership fees or monetary qualification to join.

The free kickoff party features The Sturdy Band, Imagine Dragons and A Crowd of Small Adventures.  A cash bar and menu is available. 

Food can be ordered online at www.thevervefoundation.org with credit cards.  Or, to pay with cash or food stamps, people may call the foundation office at 702-425-3951. 

Food orders placed can be picked up the last Saturday of each month at the foundation’s Las Vegas warehouse, 7850 Dean Martin Drive, Sutie 503.

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Lake Las Vegas Continues Death Throes

Casino MonteLago, which opened in 2003 – the only gaming location inside the upscale, now bankrupt Lake Las Vegas, located approximately 50 miles south of Las Vegas – has announced it will close on March 14, eliminating in its wake 177 jobs. 

The 40,000 square foot casino has 635 slot machines, a dozen gaming table games, a race and sports book, and two restaurants. 

This venue casualty follows a notice a week ago of the impending shutdown of the Ritz-Carlton in Lake Las Vegas, planned for May, costing an additional 350 jobs. 

Two of the three luxury golf courses have already been shut down during the community’s prior Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. 

Lake Las Vegas already has more than $700 million in liabilities- and growing. 

The only holdout, for now, is the 493-room nongaming Lowes Lake Las Vegas and the MonteLago Village retail center. 

Come June, the environmentally pleasing alternative to the fast-pace and glitter of the Las Vegas Strip, will be largely transformed into a gem of a ghost town.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Welcome to Sin City, Mr. President!

With an unprecedented 30-mile radius air traffic prohibition in place (usually it’s half that) during his trip to Las Vegas, costing commercial air tour travel operators thousands of dollars of lost revenue, President Barack Obama remains undaunted, planning to land his Air Force One gas guzzling hog later tonight, marking his second presidential visit to Sin City– you know, the little hideaway berg that encourages corporations to blow their government bailout funds or simply have students waste their college savings on gambling forays. 

Despite having such a notorious moniker, Las Vegas tourism officials have weathered the multiple gaffes and predict a million more visitors in 2010.  Thank you, Mr. President. 

He’ll probably need to bring a strong suit of armor and sharp swords when he speaks Friday for select invitees at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, where his prior barbs were specifically aimed.

His olive branch offering, if you will, will be his quest to seek congressional approval of the Travel Promotions Act- an overseas $4 billion promotion program that could bring more moneyed foreign tourists to Las Vegas.   Morevover, the bill promises it could bring 40,000 new American jobs and $320 million in new federal tax revenue, according to the U.S. Travel Association. 

If that doesn’t stick when the Prez throws it against the wall, his backup plan (or an add-on, depending on crowd rancor) could be to announce the Department of Transportation’s $30 million project for a new Sahara Avenue – one of the most traveled byways in Las Vegas – bus project as part of the multibillion stimulus package. 

But outspoken ex-mob lawyer turned Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman will not being rolling the red carpet out.   Goodman remains upset at President Obama. Goodman said he needs to be true to his conscience and, therefore, won’t accept invitations to greet the president of attend any town hall meeting unless he personally gets “some kind of retraction.”  

If you like to be part of this surely politically entertaining event, you can line up for tickets now at Green Valley High School in Henderson for Friday’s 10 a.m. town hall meeting. 

Mr. President, please be sure to enjoy yourself when you’re in the home of sin.  It’s a devilishly fun town.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized

First-Ever Amusement Expo Heads to ‘Fun’ Las Vegas on March 10

What a better place to go and have fun and be amused- and make money!- then in fabulous Las Vegas?

The first-ever edition of the Amusement Expo will take place from March 10 through March 12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where their exhibits will be commingled with a Fun Expo. 

Although fewer than 100 exhibitors had signed up for the combined Amusement Expo and Fun Expo as of mid-January, their numbers are expected to expand significantly by show time. 

One indicator of strong support for the combined show was the Jan. 15 announcement by Incredible Technologies that it would exhibit. This is first coin-op spring show that the maker of Golden Tee Golf will be a part of in eight years. 

During Amusement Expo, there will host a free seminar program for street vendor operators. 

Fun Expo’s seminar program includes the Fun Academy and a series of standalone educational events such as the Party Workshop. 

The new Amusement Expo is co-owned by the Amusement and Music Operators Association and the American Amusement Machine Association, both based in Chicago. The show is managed by W.T. Glasgow Inc. (Orland Park, IL), which has long managed AAMA’s Amusement Showcase International, AMOA International Expo and Fun Expo, which is now owned by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Las Vegas’ World Record Hug-Off

Need a hug?  Then big-hearted Jeff Ondash is your man. 

The 51-year-old Ohio man embraced the Valentine’s Day spirit faster than anyone before — passionately embracing 7,777 hugs in 24 hours for a new world record. Jeff Ondash, who sought the squeezes under the costumed alter ego Teddy McHuggin, broke the record Saturday night outside the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. 

In his quest, Ondash also broke another record:  1,205 hugs in one hour- another world record. 

Ondash did it all to raise money for the American Heart Association. He said that all of his hugs helped raise awareness of America’s Heart Month, a cause especially important to him because his father and brother died of heart problems. 

Ondash’s Las Vegas feat smashed the record 5,000 hugs in one day previously set by Siobhan O’Connor in Dublin Ireland.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Poker Pro Antes Up Las Vegas World Series of Poker Winnings “For a Song”

A professional poker player and award-winning songwriter, Jason Mershon, has come up with a unique and ambitious plan to promote his new poker song called “Playin’ Poker for a Livin’.” 

In what is believed to be the first offering of its kind, Mershon is planning on entering the 2010 Main Event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this summer, and is agreeing to share 50 percent of any Final Table winnings with the first 15,000 people who download and purchase his song at his website: www.playinpokerforalivin.com

“It’s just my way of saying ‘thank you’ to those fans who like my new song,” says Mershon. “I wrote the song to humorously tell what it’s really like being a professional poker player; the sarcastic attitudes of many professional poker players; and the monotony of actually playing poker for a living and grinding out the long hours in a casino card room.” The song itself, “Playin’ Poker for a Livin’,” has already received great reviews from poker players and card room owners alike, who have stated that it’s the best song written about poker in years. 

Mershon has spent most of his life in the entertainment business, and is now a recognized professional poker player in Southern California. He plans to update his progress during the tournament on his Twitter and Facebook page, thus giving people a “virtual seat” at the tournament. 

Since winning two awards at the Los Angeles Music Awards in 2006 for his rock musical, “Rock and Roll Heaven” (aka “Heaven Rocks”) which can be found at www.rnrheavenrocks.com, Jason Mershon has been a regular fixture in the California and Las Vegas poker circuit. 

“I probably spend 90% of my time playing in cash games,” says Mershon, “but I’m also considered a pretty good tournament player as well. So, I don’t want people to think I’m ‘dead money’ in the World Series of Poker,” he laughed. 

“Additionally,” he concluded, “I’m offering a special extended limited edition of my poker song which will only be available to the first 15,000 fans who purchase the song.”

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Uncategorized

Las Vegas Celebrates Chinese New Year by Ringing in Wealth, Casting Out Demons

In celebration of the Chinese New Year’s – Year of the Tiger – and as part of the Las Vegas diversity initiative, the famed Lohan School of Shaolin lion dancers will perform in the Las Vegas City Hall Plaza, 400 Stewart Ave., on Wed., Feb 17 from 8:30 to 9 a.m., prior to the start of the Las Vegas City Council meeting. 

The Lion Dance is meant to ring in wealth and prosperity in the New Year and scare away evil spirits galore.  (Heaven knows, Las Vegas need lots of wealth in 2010 and have possessed evil spirits galore lurking in Sin City.) 

Also, during the Council meeting that follows, Councilman Steve Wolfson will recognize the Lohan School of Shaolin for their continued dedication to promote Asian culture and arts for more than 15 years in Las Vegas.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Las Vegas Relics Get Rebirth

No, mobsters are not being dug up.  (Have they really left?)  Regardless, located behind chain-link fences, rests 150 relics of vintage Las Vegas.  The relics belong to the Neon Museum, which has been collecting old neon signs since 1996 and showcasing them throughout the city and at its Neon Boneyard. 

But with no place to adequately display its vast collection, the Neon Museum for five years has been forced to operate on an appointment-only basis. 

That has all started to change this week with construction starting on the Neon Boneyard Park. 

The park will be located on the corner of McWilliams Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard and will back up to what is now part of the Neon Boneyard. 

The $1.9 million improvement project will jumpstart a sluggish Las Vegas economy and be located along the section of Las Vegas Boulevard that was recently designated a National Scenic Byway and is at the heart of the Las Vegas cultural corridor.  

The project includes the development of the half-acre park and paving part of the Neon Boneyard for a parking lot. The Bureau of Land Management funding the project. 

When the park is completed, visitors will find landscaping, benches, picnic tables, a stage and informational kiosks. 

A sign made up of replicas of old neon letters will welcome visitors to the new park.  The company building the sign, Federal Heath, chose iconic letters from the old Horseshoe, Desert Inn, Caesars Palace and Golden Nugget signs to spell out the word “neon” in LED lighting. 

The Neon Boneyard will move across McWilliams Avenue, behind the restored La Concha Motel lobby, which will serve as the visitor center. 

The change will allow the Neon Museum to better serve visitors, expand public hours and operate under a general admission format, rather than visitors making appointments for tours. 

In light of the construction, the Boneyard is now closed to the public temporarily but will reopen in the spring for modified tours. The new facility should be up and running by the summer.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Gilley’s Returns to the Las Vegas Strip on April 16

Gilley’s is coming back, bull and all. The mechanical bull that has long been victorious in numerous battles waged by tourists, locals and bikini-clad riders is back to buck off all comers at it’s new ‘arena’ at Treasure Island, when Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall and Bar-B-Que re-opens April 16. 

A Las Vegas cousin of the famous Texas saloon, it was THE popular country honky-tonk and a huge attraction at the New Frontier for years until owner Phil Ruffin sold it and bought Treasure Island for $775 million. 

It will be going in the former Tangerine nightclub space now occupied by Christian Audigier the Nightclub, which overlooks the Sirens of T.I. gunbattle. Gilley’s will have retractable glass for outdoor Strip seating, and will be accessible from inside the casino and via a newly constructed bridge in front of the Siren’s ship.  

Gilley’s will be open for lunch and dinner, featuring a show kitchen and custom saddle seats at the bar, live entertainment Thursday through Saturday, line dancing and the world-famous Gilley Girls.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Uncategorized

Harrah’s Entertainment in Las Vegas Going… Retail

Harrah’s Entertainment is reportedly seeking a building permit for a three-story, 72,000-square-foot Strip-front build-out on the southwest corner of Paris Las Vegas. That space, which now has a fountain and an outdoor dining area, would get a retail store, new restaurants and a nightclub.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

China Comes to U.S. Rescue of Maglev Train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas

Long discussed and hotly debated for years, it appears if the magnetic levitation train (called ‘Maglev’) ferrying passengers (and tourists!) from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is really to get started in earnest, it will take Chinese funding- lots of it. 

China announced last week that it is willing to loan $7  billion to build the project. 

All that is needed for the loan to go though is a promise of support from the U.S. government. 

Maglev officials said the Export-Import Bank of China is willing to lend the money with the knowledge that if the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission is unable to pay the funds back, federal officials will. 

What’s a little petty cash transaction between friends?

{Also, a prior article is available on the high speed Maglev train issue by Las Vegas Backstage Access.}

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day in Las Vegas at Zero Gravity: Fly like a Superhero, Float like an Astronaut

Now, if you have daring-do, you too can take part in a weightless experience like no other in Las Vegas onboard G FORCE ONE, Zero Gravity Corporation’s specially modified Boeing 727-200 aircraft. 

Guests will have the unique opportunity to float freely and lighten up in complete weightlessness onboard the ZERO-G flight. It’s not a simulated flight.  Rather, the actual flight pattern replicates the same levels of weightlessness enjoyed on Mars (1/3-gravity), the moon (1/6-gravity) and zero gravity. 

Available on select February and March dates in Las Vegas for your romantic getaway weekend, this is truly a one-of-a-kind package, ranging in price from $14,500 to $15,500. 

For more information or reservations/bookings for Zero Gravity package in Las Vegas, please visit Pure Entertainment Group or email: concierge@purentonline.com

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Big League Baseball Sort of Comes to Las Vegas

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese and Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown all were on hand recently to praise the new baseball sports park as a world-class attraction for local and visiting ballplayers and families. 

“Big League Dreams (BLD) is a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility that raises the bar for baseball and softball in the city of Las Vegas,” Goodman said. “Las Vegas is known for having the best entertainment, hotels, restaurants and shopping, and now we also have the best ball fields.”

 BLD owners and representatives included former Los Angeles Dodgers star Bill Russell, a BLD consultant. 

“This is our 10th Big League Dreams Sports Park, and it’s a great fit for Las Vegas,” Russell said. “We know that this park, even more than our others, will attract visitors from all over the country.” 

BLD includes six fields designed for youth baseball and adult softball, two sports-themed restaurants, an indoor field house for soccer and other activities, batting cages, playgrounds and an area for picnics and private parties. 

BLD is operating and maintaining the sports park in a public-private partnership with the city of Las Vegas. The 35-acre Big League Dreams is part of the city’s upgrade of its 68-acre Freedom Park on the city’s east side. BLD has a 30-year maintenance and operations agreement with the city, covering all expenses related to the sports park at no cost to the city, which shares gross revenue from the complex. 

Big League Dreams is at 3151 E. Washington in Las Vegas. Their website is www.BigLeagueDreams.com

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, sports, Uncategorized

Sara “Rogue” Palin Plans Tea Party U.S. Tour Launch in Nevada on March 27

Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice president running mate of Sen. John McCain, now morphing into a conservative Republican rock star and Fox News contributor, is saddling up her horse to ride smackdab into Democrat Sen. Harry Reid’s hometown in Nevada. 

Palin will be galloping into Searchlight, Nevada on March 27 to launch a Tea Party Express cross-country bus tour that ends in Washington, D.C. on April 15.  She is helping step up the Tea Party activists’ campaign to unseat Democrats and GOP incumbents who reportedly don’t espouse less spending, less taxes and less government. 

The GOP primary candidates seeking Reid’s seat who have confirmed they are coming to the March 27 shindig include Sue Lowden, Danny Tarkanian and Sharron Angle. 

Senate Majority Leader Reid, 70, who is seeking his FIFTH term, responded to Palin with a bring-it-on statement:  “Make sure you stop by the Nugget for a 10-cent cup of coffee with free refills- and make sure to say ‘Hi’ to Verlie.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, travel, Uncategorized

Tropicana in Las Vegas Taps New Marketing Vice President

The Tropicana hotel on the Las Vegas Strip has a new marketing vice president.

Tropicana Las Vegas President Thomas McCartney announced  that Cynthia Mun has been hired to head marketing of the property’s $125 million restoration and rebranding. 

McCartney says the effort will focus on the Tropicana casino, pool, restaurants and bars, guest rooms and conference center. 

McCartney says Mun has 20 years of marketing experience, most recently as executive director of business insights and strategy at casino giant MGM Mirage. 

Mun previously was a new product development executive at Dun & Bradstreet, and co-founded a wireless technology company based in San Francisco. 

She studied biophysics, biochemistry and sculpting at Yale University, completed Harvard Business School’s leadership and strategy programs, and attended Le Cordon Bleu’s California Culinary Academy.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Huge Church of Scientology Opens in Las Vegas without Tom Cruise

Fifteen hundred Scientologists and their guests from across Nevada and the Western United States gathered last Saturday for the grand opening of the new Church of Scientology of Las Vegas. The 40,000-square-foot Church, located at 2761 Emerson Avenue, will serve parishioners from throughout Nevada and represents significant growth for the congregation formed in Las Vegas 40 years ago. 

Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, presided at the evening dedication ceremony, welcoming the assembled Scientologists and guests to their new Church.

Special guests participating in the dedication of the new Church included United States Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas City Council member Steven Ross, and Las Vegas Neighborhood Services Department specialist and mayor’s representative to the Community Interfaith Council Maria Castillo-Couch.

In welcoming the parishioners and guests, Mr. Miscavige said, “You don’t get much closer to the spirit of what we represent than a city that rests on the dreams of artists and treats everybody as somebody. So, yes, we have opened new Churches in cultural epicenters before. But talk about ‘Center Stage Planet Earth.’ This one stands in a town so bright you can even see it glowing from deep space. And now it’s home to our newest Church of Scientology and Celebrity Centre Las Vegas.” 

Talking about the new Church, Mr. Miscavige said that Celebrity Centres are those special Churches of Scientology designed to enhance a culture by enhancing the artist.

“The first of this new breed was opened only just last year in Nashville-otherwise known as Music City, USA,” he said. “But as your honorable Mayor pointed out, what plays in this city now plays in every other cultural capital on earth. 

“And even more than that-and with all due respect to your Mayor’s modesty-it’s not a London, a Paris, a Tokyo, Milan or New York that tops the resume of international performers these days. No, it’s the fact one can say: ‘I do Las Vegas, which is Show Town planet Earth.’ 

Set on five acres of desert landscape, the former synagogue and school has undergone extensive renovation to accommodate all Scientology religious services and also serve as a home for the community services the Church provides through the many activities and humanitarian programs of its members. 

An expansive Public Information Center houses a permanent multimedia exhibit describing the Church’s beliefs and practices and the life and legacy of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard. Displays also cover the Church-sponsored humanitarian and social betterment programs that offer practical answers to the societal ills of crime, drug abuse, illiteracy, declining moral values and natural and man-made disasters. These programs represent the work of the Church of Scientology in servicing every community in which they reside as well as other communities around the world.

There is also a Chapel for Sunday services, weddings, naming ceremonies and other congregational gatherings including workshops and seminars for artists; spiritual counseling rooms; course rooms for religious study; seminar rooms; a bookstore containing the written and spoken materials of L. Ron Hubbard; and Community Relations offices and meeting rooms to coordinate social betterment programs with like-minded organizations in the community. There are spacious lounges and a central courtyard to serve as a gathering place for artists and community visitors, in keeping with the unique purpose of a Scientology Celebrity Centre to help the artist and thereby benefit the culture as a whole. 

In closing the dedication ceremony, Mr. Miscavige spoke of the significance for Las Vegas of the new Church: “Yours is a city that rose out of sand to become an artistic empire and inspire the world. As such, it really is a place of dreams-and extravagant dreams at that. So as we, too, know what it means to build upon a dream, let this new Church of Scientology signify the fact we believe in your artists, we respect the audacity of your vision-and together, we can light up this city so brightly, it will shine unto eternity.”

1 Comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

World Trade Center I-Beam Gets Las Vegas Home on Feb. 27

Photographs and news feeds are often the first thing to come to mind when remembering September 11 and the World Trade Center.  Most of us will never have the opportunity to visit Ground Zero in New York and so, to a certain extent, the 9/11 attacks remain almost an abstract event.  Something so important to our nation should be more than an intangible image which is exactly why the Atomic Testing Museum is including a beam from the shattered World Trade Center in their permanent exhibit. 

Since 2005, the Nevada Test Site and the international Cold War has been immortalized at the Atomic Testing Museum located just a few minutes from the Las Vegas Strip.   The exhibits reveal the progression of nuclear testing taking into account not just the act of detonation, but the impact of the nuclear age on the world.  The conclusion of the exhibit includes a piece of the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the end of the Cold War, and a three-foot Trade Center beam on loan from the Smithsonian, a symbol of the on-going war on terror.  

The ATM is returning the smaller beam to the Smithsonian and on February 27, will replace it with a 6 foot tall, one ton steel I-beam from the World Trade Center. 

The I-beam will be displayed in such a way as to allow visitors to touch the the scorched and damaged steel. Troy Wade, chairman of the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation said “this will allow people to get a step closer, to actually touch a piece of one of the most historic occasions in the history of this country.’ 

********************

Trivia:

What national catchphrase preceded  “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” and even pre-dates “Sin City?” 

During the Liberace and Frank Sinatra years, Las Vegas was known as “The Up and Atom City”, a direct reference to the mushroom clouds and atomic research conducted at the Nevada Test Site.  While active nuclear testing concluded in 1992, the test site is now used for developing counterterrorism devices.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Celine Dion Plans Baby, Las Vegas Comeback

Celine Dion, 41, is reportedly in a New York City fertility treatment center.  She was impregnated in August but it was announced in November that the embroyo transfer was unsuccessful. 

Dion will be reportedly announcing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” this week that she is returning to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in March 2011.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Media Finally Snags Interview, Photos with Nevada’s First Male Prostitute

Finally, “‘Markus,” Nevada’s first prostitude, spilled the beans about his erotic ways at the Shady Lady Ranch brothel in Nye County, Nevada.  

But it took lots of moxy and personal sacrifice from New York Post undercover (and we do mean “undercover”) reporter Mandy Stadtmiller to really stretch and lay it all out, going where no reporter before her ventured.

Her full article, complete with photographs, appeared in the Feb. 2 issue of the New York Post. 

Making a long story very short, Stadmiller paid Markus $500 for a two-hour session (Markus’ second client), showered naked with the dude, surreptitiously interviewed and photographed him, but, reportedly, they never had sex. 

Stadmiller exhibited rare passion and creativity for her journalist assignment and career.  But, sadly, in the end, when push came to shove, she didn’t take the football over the goal line.

{Also, a prior article on  the male prostitude  by Las Vegas Backstage Access.}

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Tropicana in Las Vegas Getting a New Nightclub?

The Tropicana in Las Vegas is reportedly negotiating a deal with nightclub chain Nikki Beach.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Uncategorized

Wynn Las Vegas Encore Named Best Nightclub in U.S.

Barely a year old, the megaclub at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas has been named the No. 1 club in the nation. Sister club Tryst finished fifth. 

The Las Vegas nightclub industry not only swept the first five spots — Tao at The Venetian was second, Pure at Caesars Palace, third; and The Bank at Bellagio, fourth — but almost one-fourth of the Top 100 are Las Vegas nightclubs. 

XS raked in an astounding $70 million. 

The awards will be presented March 8 during the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas. 

“Clearly, Las Vegas maintains its dominance as a nightclub destination,” said David Henkes, vice president of Technomic, the Chicago-based hospitality market research firm that partners with Nightclub & Bar magazine to determine The Top 100.  They provide the industry’s only ranking of leading nightclub, bar and lounge venues based on total revenue. 

Las Vegas has seven clubs in the Top 10. LAX at the Luxor was ninth and Jet at The Mirage was 10th. 

The other Las Vegas nightclubs that made the list: 

11. Lavo at the Palazzo. 12. Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel, now closed.) 13. Moon at the Palms. 14. Ghostbar at the Palms. 16. Drai’s After Hours at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall. 28. Christian Audigier at Treasure Island. 31. The Playboy Club at the Palms. 32. Rumjungle at Mandalay Bay. 36. Rain at the Palms. 37. Blush at the Wynn. 45. Studio 54 at MGM Grand. 49. Krave at Planet Hollywood. 52. Stoney’s Rocking Country. 94. Tabu Ultra Lounge at MGM Grand.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Uncategorized

Las Vegas Pot Convention Cancelled

A three-day convention for marijuana supporters will not happen in Las Vegas. Organizers of “Cannapalooza” say the March event at Mandalay Bay has been cancelled. 

According to the group’s website, the hotel “decided to cancel our contract for space,” and the event won’t take place. Organizer Lou Wozinski told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he had set up a meeting with Las Vegas Metro Police on “Cannapalooza” security last month, and found himself in a room with about 100 not to friendly law enforcement officers. 

Wozinski says he “felt ambushed, like General Custer surrounded by Indians.” One day later, Wozinski, says Mandalay Bay officials mysteriously cancelled the convention. 

“Cannapalooza” was billed by organizers as a “fun, safe, educational event,” and the “largest head shop on the planet.” Wozinski says the event would have brought about 50,000 marijuana fans to Las Vegas.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Screaming Cheerleaders Bring Pom Poms to Las Vegas on Feb. 14

The Cheerleaders of America organization is hosting their National Championship in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center on Feb. 14.  Thousands of screaming fans will be cheering on hundreds of competitive cheer and dance teams from around the U.S., competing for prizes and sis-boom-bang bragging rights.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Performances, Uncategorized

Ready, set, GO to Denny’s for FREE Grand Slam tomorrow!

Denny’s is doing it again.  They’re offering their FREE Original Grand Slam®, Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. everywhere.  (And don’t forget to visit Denny’s for a Free Original Grand Slam® on your birthday.)

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Super Bowl in Las Vegas Brings Reported $1 Million Bet

Adam Meyer, who has the license plates, “Bet on Me,” on his Bentley, has supposedly been approved for a whopping $1 million Super Bowl bet at the M Resort.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, sports, Uncategorized

Paula Abdul Ready to ‘Mate’ with Las Vegas

Paula Abdul and Las Vegas hotels are reportedly getting close to ink a deal to host the sometimes controversial performer.  Major announcements involving Abdul in Las Vegas are imminent. 

Abdul was spotted during the week in the valet area of Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas chatting with Hilton executive Ken Ciancimino, who confirmed that he’s been shaping a deal with Abdul for quite some time.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Music, news, Performances, Uncategorized

‘Mr. Las Vegas’ Wayne Newton asks for his Indian Tribe Recognition

“Mr. Las Vegas” Wayne Newton has reportedly abandoned his mouldy plane languishing at a Detroit airport, racking up bills of more than $60,000, but the good news is he’s asking Virginia legislators to grant state recognition to his Indian tribe. 

The Virginia-born entertainer has appealed to the House Rules Committee to officially recognize the Patawomeck, or Potomac, tribe, of which he is a member.

The recognition allows the group to be known as a tribe but does not grant sovereignty. 

Newton and Patawomeck Chief Robert Green said it would validate their identity and help them protect sacred burial grounds.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Where are the Super Bowl Parties in Las Vegas? Everywhere!

Why spend thousands of hard earned dollars to go to Miami when you catch all the action literally everywhere in Las Vegas for a comparative mere pittance? 

Apparently, thousand of people are of the same persuasion. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority anticipate 278,000 people to visit Las Vegas this weekend- that’s a whopping 13.5 percent increase from last year’s visitor totals.  The nongaming impact from all those visitors is expected to be up 2.4 percent to $89.7 million. 

So, why don’t you see advertising on Las Vegas’ Super Bowl activities?  It’s simply because of the National Football League’s half-baked and business-choking stance against sports betting, the league has threatened legal action against Las Vegas casinos that use the Super Bowl name in their promotions of parties and events surrounding Sunday’s game. But that hasn’t deterred casinos from promoting “Big Game” activities at their properties or kept Super Bowl bets from becoming a major draw at local sports books. 

Station Casinos, South Point and The Orleans, for instance, will show the game in a ballroom that is open to the public. NFL rules do not allow companies to charge admission to rooms where the game is being shown. 

Las Vegas casinos also can have free but private viewing parties for invited guests and VIPs away from the sports book. 

Station Casinos, which owns 10 Las Vegas casinos, are holding viewing parties for invited guests and are offering $1 hot dogs and $1 Budweisers. 

The Las Vegas Hilton is also having a huge viewing party. 

The Palms will hold its football viewing party for VIPs in its Fantasy Suites, including the Hardwood Suite where guests can relax and shoot hoops during breaks in the game. 

The Hard Rock Hotel, which just opened 824 new hotel rooms and 40,000 square feet of new casino space, is having a public party in Wasted Space and a party for invited guests at The Joint. 

For Boyd Gaming Corp., whose properties include Sam’s Town, The Orleans and Suncoast, this weekend is one of the biggest on its winter calendar. 

“It’s far more than just the sports book,” Boyd spokesman David Strow said. “On Sunday, you’ll be able to see the game pretty much in every nook and cranny of the casino.” 

MGM Mirage is also expecting a big weekend even without a lot of extra hype. The gaming company said it has sold out or is near selling out at its 10 Strip properties even though it is not holding any special game-day parties or promotions, other than offering free T-shirts at Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s with $25 parlay bets. 

Nothing boosts business at Las Vegas sports books like the Super Bowl.  With a record haul predicted for the contest (previous article on Feb. 4, 2010 by Las Vegas Backstage Access), still wagering has never reached the elusive $100 million mark.  It has steadily increased over the years, from around $50 million in 1989 (when the San Francisco 49ers nipped the Cincinnati Bengals) to $71.5 million in 2002 (when the New England Patriots upset the St. Louis Rams) to a record $94.5 million bet on Super Bowl XL in 2006, when Pittsburgh beat Seattle.   Maybe this will be the year?

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, sports, travel, Uncategorized

Michael Jackson’s Las Vegas Mansion Sells for $3.1 Million

Michael Jackson rented a 16,400-square-foot Las Vegas mansion in 2007/2008 for six months while looking for a place to call his permanent home. That estate, located at 2785 S. Monte Cristo, was later taken over by Eastern Savings Bank when the owners defaulted on the lender’s loan. 

On Jan. 30, after being on the market for a mere four days, a California couple reportedly plunked down $3.1 million for the mansion. 

According to Real Estate agent Zar Zanganeh in a statement issued regarding this 10 bedroom, 15,461-square foot house:   “It’s serendipity that we sold the home that we had also rented to Michael Jackson. 

The estate became famous and generated tremendous interest because of the MJ connection; in fact, the buyer is a big Michael Jackson fan.” 

That buyer’s name has not been released, but what has been released is the fact that Michael Jackson had bigger plans for living in Las Vegas in the form of a house at 7000 Tomiyasu Lane. 

On the block in October, 2009 for $16.5 million as noted in a Zillow.com listing, the Las Vegas Sun reported that real estate czar Zar Zanganeh claims Michael Jackson was ripe to buy the 10-acre, 15,000 square-foot Mediterranean/contemporary Las Vegas manse as soon as MJ returned from his London tour, ‘This Is it’. 

Zanganeh claims to have shown Michael and his three children the Sin City complex many times. 

Zanganeh, a Realtor with Fine Vegas Estates, said, “He got so excited, the minute we drove through the gates here he got that feeling of Neverland. As soon as he stepped out of the car, he said, ‘Zar, I love this place. I’m calling it Wonderland.’” 

Built by casino king Gary Primm, the enormous edifice is kidnapper proofed (obviously, a big draw for Michael Jackson), custom-designed with three secure gates. Other safety precautions include secret tunnels, bulletproof doors, and a panic room. 

As for the fun stuff at this so-called real Wonderland: A tennis/basketball court, a 20-seat theater, a cave room den, an orchestra loft, a car showroom, a fitness room and, of course, a dance floor.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Shane Mosley to Fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 1 in Las Vegas

Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have finally agreed to square off for a welterweight super fight on HBO Pay-Per-View at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 1. 

The hubbub for the anticipated fight started after Mayweather came out of his 18-month retirement last September. 

Mosley, 38, stepped up his interest after the 32-year-old defeated lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez. 

Later, in a post-fight interview, Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs) challenged Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) to his face. 

Mayweather became available to fight three weeks ago when negotiations for a Manny Pacquiao ticket stalled. 

All parties agreed to conditions for a March 13 bout when Mayweather wanted to have a random blood testing done in addition to the agreed random urine testing. 

The last time Mosley fought was against Antonio Margarito last January, winning his title in a ninth-round knockout.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, sports, Uncategorized

Michael Jackson’s Doctor to Face Charges Tomorrow – UPDATE

It appears now that Michael Jackson’s personal doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, with offices in Texas and Las Vegas, will most likely formally face involuntary manslaughter charges tomorrow in Los Angeles, California. 

UPDATE:  Dr. Murray WAS indeed going to face charges today, Feb. 5.  And, in fact, was in Los Angeles waiting – begging – to turn himself in, but Los Angeles authorities refused to act on his pleading, saying they will on Mon.,  Feb. 8.  We apologize for any inconvenience this caused in your day. 

Dr. Murray has been investigated for the past seven months since the pop icon’s untimely death. 

The charge results from improperly administering Michael Jackson the propofyl sleep inducing drug that ultimately ended his life. 

The charge, many feel, is a mere legal wrist slap, probably being a 4-year prison term, if that, if deemed guilty.

Yesterday, Dr. Murray was supposed to appear in a $130,000 civil suit in Las Vegas, but decided not to appear, losing the case. 

Las Vegas Backstage Access has covered the entire Michael Jackson case, with numerous articles posted.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Super Bowl Betting the Largest Total Ever

Most Super Bowl betting experts predict this year’s Super Bowl to be the biggest in terms of overall traffic and amount of bets placed at the online sportsbooks and in Las Vegas.  

A Las Vegas bookmaker makes the Indianapolis Colts an early four-point favorite to beat the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 Super Bowl and the bookies (both in Las Vegas and online) pushed the line up to -5 ½.  Sportsbetting.com and a few others have moved the line up to Colts -6. 

Sean Van Patten of Las Vegas Sports Consultants recently told the AP that the Colts’ experience on the NFL’s biggest stage (they won Super Bowl XLI three years ago) helped them take the decided edge. 

The total in this Super Bowl, with a number that has remained steady for the most part, is 56 ½, being the highest total ever posted. 

“In the Super Bowl, most people don’t mind if the defense doesn’t show up as much,” Jay Rood, director of the MGM Mirage’s Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas, said in a telephone interview last week with Bloomberg News Friday. “For the most part they like to see a track meet back and forth. This one could deliver.” 

John Avello, the race and sports book director at the Wynn Las Vegas, said he can envision several scenarios that would keep this year’s game from being a high-scoring contest. 

“For the most part I’d believe that the weather will cooperate, but there’s always the chance it won’t,” said Avello, noting that both clubs played their first two playoff games in domed stadiums. “Second, the Colts’ defense is a lot better than people anticipate and the Saints’ defense showed they can get to the quarterback. This game may not be quite the shootout that’s anticipated.” 

“This is clearly the highest total for a Super Bowl we’ve ever had,” said Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Hilton Race and Sports Book. “People like to bet on offense and it’s shaping up to be an offensive game.” 

Despite the high number, nearly 75 percent of those betting the total were still backing the OVER heading going into the contest.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, sports, Uncategorized

Super Bowl Parties Bring Out Cheap Drunks

Expect to see free-flowing Patron and Grey Goose at your upcoming Super Bowl party?   You say, “Whatz Dat?”

This year you’ll be lucky to imbibe on wood grain alcohol at your friends’ party.

Americans’ love affair with top-shelf booze apparently has really cooled last year, as recessionary woes took a dramatic toll on high-price tipples.

Although people drank more alcohol, it turned out to be much cheaper brands, according to a report by an industry group.  They also appeared to be more ‘closet’ drinkers, preferring to guzzle more at home and less in pricier bars and restaurants to save money- and, perhaps, to avoid costly drunk-driving arrests.

Industry growth slowed in 2009, with the amount of liquor sold by suppliers up by only 1.4 percent– the smallest hike since 2001.

And the lowest-priced segment, including brands like Popov vodka, reportedly grew the fastest, with volume rising 5.5 percent.  The most expensive brands – think Grey Goose, tumbled a whopping 5.1 percent.

So, better crank up your dusty still- it’s almost Super Bowl time!

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, sports, Uncategorized

Sports Illustrated Models Coming to Las Vegas

Gentlemen (and ladies), dust off your zoom lenses because the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models are returning once again to Las Vegas next week. 

Shortly after the cover-girl ceremony is held in New York City next Tuesday, the models will jet off to Las Vegas, where they will participate in numerous activities over two days. 

Their first scheduled stop will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Margaritaville at the Flamingo. From there they go to The Mirage for a poker tournament, followed by an appearance at the Garden of the Gods at Caesars Palace. 

Thursday’s schedule includes appearances in The Mirage lobby from noon to 2 p.m., Le Cabaret at Paris Las Vegas from 1-3 p.m. and Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo from 3-5 p.m. 

They’ll make nightclub appearances at Jet at The Mirage on Wednesday (9 p.m.), Vanity at the Hard Rock towers on Thursday (9 p.m.) and Tao (Venetian) at 1 a.m. Friday. 

All three are invite-only events. 

{Last year, Las Vegas Backstage Access covered the event and a video of the event and the gals is posted on Feb 14: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models Prove Life Exists After Football }   We could supply photos for your publication if desired.  Please  provide a reply to this post and we’ll get back to you shortly.

1 Comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, sports, Uncategorized

Go to Las Vegas- and Go Broke?

A careless remark by President Barack Obama about Las Vegas has triggered a furious backlash from Nevada’s cash-strapped gambling mecca and a key Democratic ally fighting a tough re-election battle in the state. 

Speaking about the economy yesterday at an event in Nashua, New Hampshire, Mr. Obama told Americans: “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices.” 

The economy of Las Vegas, the world’s most famous gambling and entertainment destination, is heavily dependent on tourism and Las Vegans were already incensed by a crack from Mr. Obama a year ago that companies should not use federal bail out money for trips to the city.   The city is still reeling from that comment, trying to keep bookings and revenues up on conventions and other events. 

Mr. Obama’s latest remark about Las Vegas prompted a swift and angry retort from Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, who is fighting an extremely uphill battle to win re-election in Nevada, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. – a whopping 13 per cent.

Mr. Obama hurriedly dispatched a letter to Mr. Reid. “I hope you know that during my Town Hall today, I wasn’t saying anything negative about Las Vegas,” he wrote. 

Oscar Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas and an independent, also got into the fray, raising his voice and describing President Obama as “a real slow learner” who has a “psychological hang-up” about Las Vegas. 

Mr. Goodman added that this time an apology from Mr. Obama wouldn’t be enough. “I’ll do everything I can to give him the boot.” 

Last year, Mr. Obama apologized for his prior gaffe and during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas said that it was good to get out of Washington and “there’s nothing like a quick trip to Vegas in the middle of the week.” 

Repercussions surrounding the current incident are not nearly over.  In a couple of weeks, Mr. Obama is planning another visit to Las Vegas, which surely will cause sparks to fly anew.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Nicolas Cage Gone in Sixty Seconds from Las Vegas

It seems no matter who you are – or how much you earn – it’s never enough to cover all the bills.  

In June 2009 Forbes magazine ranked actor Nicholas Cage 45th on its list of the 100 most powerful celebrities and estimated his income at $40 million for the previous 12 month period.  Just 6 months later Cage’s $8.5 million Las Vegas home went into foreclosure and has now reportedly been sold for $4.95 million after just one day on the market.  The 14,000+ square foot home on Spanish Heights Drive has six bedrooms, seven and a half bathrooms and features a theater and a subterranean 16-car garage.  

This is only the latest round of financial troubles trailing the Academy Award winner.  In November, 2009, the two homes Cage owned through Hancock Park Real Estate Company in New Orleans were sold at a foreclosure auction and this followed the loss of a residence in California.  This is all right on the heels of a lawsuit Cage filed in October against business manager Samuel Levin.  

In the lawsuit, Cage claims he has “discovered that he is now forced to sell major assets and investments at a significant loss and is faced with huge tax liabilities because of Levin’s incompetence, misrepresentations and recklessness. Rather than attaining financial security, Cage has been forced to dispose of significant assets in order to pay for Levin’s gross misconduct.” 

In addition to home losses, Cage also owes back property taxes and a substantial amount to the IRS.  

“Over the course of my career I have paid at least $70 million in taxes. Unfortunately, due to a recent legal situation, another approximate $14 million is owed to the IRS,” Cage told People magazine.  The good news for Cage is that as a bankable Hollywood actor, he won’t be finding himself on the unemployment line soon and his five projects currently in play should help him regroup and, hopefully, regain his financial footing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

‘Slick Willy’ Slithers into Las Vegas

President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, apparently never gets old.  He will speak at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Monday, February 22 at 7:30pm. President Clinton’s lecture is titled “Embracing our Common Humanity”. The special evening event is presented by Caesars Palace and AEG Live. 

Tickets for the evening event went on-sale Monday, February 1 at 10 a.m. and may be purchased in person at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Box Office, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, or by visiting http://www.ticketmaster.com  , keyword “Caesars Palace”

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized

Super Bowl Brings Football Legend Paul Hornung to Las Vegas

Football legend and Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung will be signing free autographs in the Tropicana Las Vegas’s Celebration Lounge between noon and 2 p.m., prior to the Big Game on Sunday, Feb. 7. 

Hornung is one of only five players to have earned both the Heisman Trophy as well as football’s prestigious Most Valuable Player award. He is known as one of the most versatile players in football, having played halfback, quarterback and placekicker. Nicknamed the Golden Boy during his tenure at the University of Notre Dame, Hornung moved quickly into professional football as a first-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers. He was named All-Pro twice and went on to win four league championships with the Packers including the very first Super Bowl in 1967. He was later inducted into the Football Hall of Fame. 

Following autographs in the Celebration Lounge, Tropicana Las Vegas guests can watch every play of the Saints as they crush the Colts on big screen TV’s throughout the casino as well as enjoy a variety of food and drink specials.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, sports, Uncategorized

Bette Midler Says Sayonara to Las Vegas, Receives Bitch-Slap

Entertainer Bette Midler on Sunday gave her final wave and curtain call – for now – for her show, “The Showgirl Must Go On,” ending her two-run at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. 

The Devine Miss M was honored during the finale from a variety of well-wisher cameos, including Marie Osmond, dissing Donny; Gladys Knight, Pip-singing “Memories,” and, via video, Celine Dion, who is reportedly returning to Caesars Palace soon. 

But minutes before going on for her grand entrance, she arrived to ride the elevator up to the stage and a Cher impersonator, Steven Wayne, from Frank Marino’s “Divas Las Vegas” show at Imperial Palace showed up holding a sign aloft that read: “Get off My Stage, Bitch.” 

The friendly rub came after 50 members of Midler’s cast and crew attended Marino’s show last week.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, Performances, Uncategorized

Las Vegas Does the Egyptian

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum in downtown Las Vegas is celebrating a milestone thousands years in the making.  Last Saturday, Jan. 30, the Museum opened a new permanent exhibit called The Treasures of Egypt, which features nearly 500 reproduced artifacts including the tomb of the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun. 

The exhibit, located in the museum’s new 4,000-square-foot Egyptian Pavilion expansion, provides a glimpse into the ancient past of Egyptian civilization. It features replicas generously donated by MGM Mirage that were formerly on display in the King Tut Museum & Tomb inside the Luxor Las Vegas, including the world-famous guardian statues, King Tut’s sarcophagus and an array of statues, vases, baskets and pottery. The Museum was able to recreate the tomb of King Tut as discovered by Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in 1922. This unique replica of the actual tomb is the only known exhibit of its kind outside of Egypt. 

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is located at 900 North Las Vegas Boulevard. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for students, seniors and military and $5 for children ages 3-11. Children age 2 and under are free. Admission includes access to the entire Museum, including the new exhibit. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Leave a comment

Filed under entertainment, Las Vegas, news, Uncategorized