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.

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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).

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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

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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