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Sunday, March 9, 2008 PRIOR ISSUE   -   ARCHIVES
Reunited "The Verve" Play, Voga Bistro & Brio Tuscan Grille Open, Ago Arrives, 'Up On The Roof' Sneaks A Preview, Tony Sacca Star Recipient, Gatlin Brothers Headline, Jersey Boys On Stage, Nevada Palace Torn Down, Don Learned And Dave Russo Make Laughs, Bare Pool Gets In The Swim, Jazz In The Park Returns, 'Elvis My Way' Presented, St. Patrick's Festival, More...

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Jackie Brett
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The British contemporary rock band, The Verve, best known for their hit Bittersweet Symphony are back with a new album and tour that will stop at The Pearl at the Palms on Saturday, April 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $53 and $78, call 702-474-4000.

After splitting in 1999, members of The Verve went their separate ways, some doing solo projects until 2007, when they announced their return to the pop/rock scene. The group's new album is their first original album since 1997's Urban Hymns. Originally their tour was taking place in the U.K.; however, new dates include United States cities.

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Voga is a refreshing new innovative bistro at the Flamingo that made its debut in January in a space formerly featuring an Italian Tuscany restaurant. Voga stands out because of its dramatic hip atmosphere and interesting eclectic dishes being served with highly stylish presentations.

In Italian, Voga translates to "fashion" and the name fits the restaurant's eye-catching black and white dcor with stark ivory booths. The dining room mirrors the new Flamingo "GO" rooms with contemporary accents and hints of the hotel's signature hot pink color accompanied by minimalist fixtures. The urban chic vibe is really captured by the distinctive look featuring modern black and white artwork by Las Vegas artist Maile Austraw. You can't help being drawn in by the repeated wall half-face murals of a lady with severe black-hair, and big eye and lips. There's also back and white drapes and columns, candles for a dim glow, an inside dining room area and a sleek open-area lounge.

The diverse American bistro menu while limited has something for everyone. Some examples include: Voga Rocks, a sizzling stone plate brought to the table allowing quests to prepare their own appetizer of veal and prosciutto scaloppini; Crab Cake Caviar, Filet Mignon with Italian blue cheese crust and potato galette, and the Roasted Bell Pepper Soup this reported loved. Can't pass up the attractive desserts like a Fried Twinkie and Doughnut dish with dipping sauce, or the decadent Cheesecake Fondue platter with an assortment of different flavored mini cheesecakes artistically arranged to resemble colorful sushi rolls.

Voga's opening is the latest in a series of exciting undertakings at the Flamingo over the past year that includes the renovation of more than 1,000 rooms and suites. The restaurant is opened daily from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m., call 702-733-3333.

The atmosphere at the new 9,400-square-foot BRIO Tuscan Grille at the recently opened Town Square is visually breathtaking with a 35-foot replica of the facade of the Roman Coliseum. Part of the ambiance includes the very high ceiling and an exhibition-style kitchen. There's indoor seating for 260, an outdoor terrace with seating for 200, a bar area with the window creating and indoor/outdoor setting, and two private rooms: one for 25 and the other for 60 that gets curtained off in a domed area.

The menu is marvelous and you can check it out by trying the nine-item $2.95 taster menu that's available during happy hour at the bar only from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. until closing, Monday through Friday. BRIO is open daily at 11 a.m. for lunch and dinner. Special features are the Bellini Brunch from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and "Martini Night" on Thursdays with an array of martinis available for two dollars off.

The new Town Square located on 117 acres on Las Vegas Blvd., south of Mandalay Bay has dozens of shops and restaurants integrated throughout the 1.5 million-square-foot center's 22 buildings. The buildings feature more than 70 different facades with authentic materials such as marble, stone and hand-painted plaster. A mission-style building is situated within the center of Town Square, and as the buildings move outward, they take on new looks that reflect different places and eras.

Town Square (www.townsquarelasvegas.com) had more retailers and restaurants open in February and new ones are on tap to debut this month. Robb & Stucky, Tommy Bahama's Emporium, J. Crew and most recently the BRIO Tuscan Grille opened their doors in February. March is welcoming Yard House, Tommy Bahama's Tropical Caf, Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Borders, Teavana, MAC, LeSportsac, and Blue Martini.

AGO, the Italian trattoria named after its celebrated Executive Chef Partner, Agostino Sciandri, has officially opened at the Hard Rock, The opening of the Las Vegas restaurant, which is the resort's first new eatery in five years, coincides with the tenth anniversary year of the landmark Los Angeles eatery. One of the restaurant's Hollywood heavyweight partners is Robert De Niro.

Singing comedy impersonator Tony Pace made his Las Vegas debut this past week in a sneak preview at the Greek Isles. Ironically, he has lived in Las Vegas for more than a year, but he's only been in the city a few weeks due to his hectic performing schedule around the world. Described as "The Man with the Voice...Who Just Happens to Be Funny," he may end up with a permanent Las Vegas entertainment base with his improvisational fun.

Tony Sacca is receiving the 23rd star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars that extends from Russell Road to Sahara Ave. Some past recipients include Wayne Newton, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr., Rich Little, Siegfried & Roy, Liberace, and more.

Encouraged by magicians Siegfried & Roy, who he met in Puerto Rico, Sacca came to Las Vegas with his identical twin brother Robert in 1981 and performed in many hotels. Along with contributing his time and energy to many charities, producing shows and commercials, Sacca has produced and hosted the longest running entertainment television show from Las Vegas featuring hundreds of notable celebrities.

Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers will headline at The Railhead at Boulder Station on March 15. The country trio of brothers began performing more than 50 years ago in their hometown of Abilene, Texas. They will be followed on March 21 by jazz saxophonist Najee, whose most recent release, 2007's Rising Sun, peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart. The rock group Blue yster Cult will take the stage on March 22. In 2007, they released re-mastered editions of the albums Spectres and Some Enchanted Evening.

At Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, there will be Reggae music with The Wailers on March 21 and 22. Formed in 1969, the band is currently working on a live album, due out in June. Then there will be modern-day swing music with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on March 29. They performed at the Ovation 500-seat venue's opening last summer.


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At Sunset Station in Henderson, Vince Neil will rock Club Madrid on March 29. Neil rose to fame in the '80s as the front man for heavy metal group M”tley Cre.

At the beautiful Red Rock resort in the northwest part of the valley, Funk R&B group Earth, Wind & Fire will cover a gamut of musical genres on March 28. The concert will celebrate the release of business mogul Tom Breitling's book Double or Nothing: How Two Friends Risked It All to Buy One of Las Vegas' Legendary Casinos. Concert goers will receive a free copy of Breitling's book.

Tickets, which typically range from $22.50 to about $55, can be purchased by calling 702-547-5300.

Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons is the newest hit musical getting ready to hit the Strip at The Palazzo. The first preview performance will be on April 4 and the grand gala opening will be held on May 3. Tickets are on sale now and range from $54 to $135. The show will be dark on Wednesday with 7 p.m. shows the other nights plus 10 p.m. shows on Tuesday and Saturday, call 866-641-7469.

The Nevada Palace sign on Boulder Highway has been taken down and donated to the Neon Museum. The sign will join many other famous marquees ranging from the 1940s to present day that have made the Neon Museum their final resting place.

With all the dining choices and prices in Las Vegas increasing, there are still hidden treasures to be found. It had been years, but discovering Roberta's Steakhouse again at the EL Cortez downtown was a prize. The historic property had a fairly recent remodel and its fun to re-connect. One of the weekly specials at Roberta's is served on Friday and Saturday nights. For $25, there's stone crab that's flown in fresh from Florida served with coleslaw and cottage potatoes.

Other great full-meal deals at the El Cortez are served daily in Kitty's Caf. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., there's the 10-ounce rib-eye steak dinner for $7.95 and the 10-ounce New York strip and shrimp for $12.95. From 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., there are two eggs with choice of bacon or sausage, hash browns and toast for $3.75, plus New York steak with choice of eggs or dinner for $7.50.

The indefatigable Don Learned, who has opened for Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, David Brenner, Englebert Humperdinck and Sam Kinison, will headline the Riviera Comedy Club with fellow comedians Dave Russo and Gary Cannon beginning Monday, March 31.

Russo received national attention when he beat out more than 30,000 entertainers in 10 major cities to be a part of the E! Entertainment Network's 10-episode series The Entertainer starring Wayne Newton. He has also worked with entertainment heavyweights such as The Bare Naked ladies, Dave Chappelle, Lewis Black, Steven Wright, Paul Rodriguez, and Sinbad, to name a few.

Bare pool lounge at The Mirage, The Light Group's exclusive adult alternative to the typical Las Vegas pool experience, will open for the season on Thursday, March 13. It will be open Thursdays through Mondays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and as of May 1 be open daily. Admission Thursday and Monday: $10 for women, $30 for men; Friday, Saturday and Sunday: $20 for women and $40 for men. For information, call 702-791-7442.

For the 14th year, national acts will perform for the free Jazz in the Park concert series located at the Clark County Amphitheater, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, at 8 p.m. April 26, May 10, June 7 and 21. The Las Vegas Jazz Society will sponsor a yet unnamed local group for the May 31 concert. For information, call 702-455-8200.

Spyro Gyra will kick off the series on April 26. Their latest album, Good to Go-Go, was released in May 2007.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band will bring a little of New Orleans to the stage on May 10. The group released its current album What's Going On? as an emotional tribute to the members' experiences during Hurricane Katrina. The album was released Aug. 29, 2007, exactly a year after the disaster.

Dee Dee Bridgewater will light the stage on fire June 7 with her "musical kaleidoscope" of everything from vocal jazz to scat. Her latest project, Red Earth - A Malian Journey, mixes Malian voices, music and traditional instruments with American jazz music and lyrics.

Nick Colionne rounds out the diverse group with a performance on June 21. The Chicago-bred musician turned professional at the age of 15. Colionne launched his solo career in 1994 with It's My Turn. Recently, he won the International Instrumental Artist of the Year Award at the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards. His latest album, Keepin' it Cool, was the No. 9 single of 2006 on the Radio and Records chart.

Brandon Bennett will showcase his Elvis My Way at the 450-seat Suncoast Showroom, March 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are priced from $19.95, call 702-636-7075.

Born in Ponchatoula, La., Brandon has been labeled an Elvis clone. He and his band,

The Heartbreak Orchestra, have performed nationwide and appeared with such legendary people as The Jordanaires, D.J. Fontana and The Sweet Inspirations. Bennett appeared in the reenactment of the 50th Anniversary of Elvis' Return Home as a Star in 1956 at the Tupelo Festival in 2006. He was the 2002 International Images of the King World Champion, becoming the youngest contestant to ever place and win the competition. He also appeared on the NBC Nightly News and The Ricki Lake Show, where he won The 2002 Ricki Lake King of Kings Competition.

Henderson will hold a free, five-day holiday festival, March 13-17, at the Henderson Events Plaza on Water Street. The festival will feature a variety of authentic Irish entertainment, food, a carnival, beer garden, car show and more.

The Scintas, who headline their own show at the Las Vegas Hilton, and 11-year-old singer Ellie Smith will serve as the grand marshals for the 42nd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, March 15 at 10 a.m. in downtown Henderson.

Smith nicknamed "The Star Spangled Girl," has performed the national anthem in front of thousands since she was six years old. The sixth-grader was featured on CBS television's The Early Show, starred in Neil Simon's Jake's Women, and played an orphan along side Sally Struthers in Annie.

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