In just one week, this columnist saw five wonderful shows, experienced two brand new showrooms, two almost new theatres, and participated in an entertainment awards show. It's easy to understand why Las Vegas is called the "Entertainment Capital of the World."
"Crazy Horse Paris" at the MGM Grand had a special guest star in the show for about a week, the international Queen of Burlesque Dita Von Teese. She performed her sensual 'Le Bain' bathtub act, evoking the spirit of the 1950s Crazy Horse star Candida, who lathered and bathed herself on stage more than 1,500 times. This show formerly called "La Femme" is elegantly sensual.
Hooters converted a lounge into the small Night Owl Showroom by enclosing it and putting in leveled seating. It's a cozy intimate room for Bobby Slayton's comedy in spite of the fact that two pillars block some views.
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Actor Slayton is referred to as "The Pit Bull of Comedy," which is a rather appropriate description for this edgy, acid-tongued comedian. Be prepared if you're sitting down front because you may end up as part of the show. Slayton shares the stage with two fellow laugh makers opening for him. Tickets are $36.95, call 866-807-4697 or 800-851-1703. Slayton's show runs Wednesday through Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m.
"Stomp Out Loud" at Planet Hollywood, the official name now for the former Aladdin, is a noisemaking delight in a new fabulous showroom. The show begins like "Stomp," the show's predecessor and inspiration, with a solo fellow pushing a broom and starting the rhythmic sound and extends to more dramatic spectacles with an expanded cast of 16 talented individuals, who create musical sounds with everything from newspapers and car keys to 55-gallon drums and tubular pipes in a rectangular tank of water. Like "Blue Man Group" this show is without dialogue and very ingenious. Tickets are $50, call 702-785-5000.
Adding to the show is a showroom and theatre lobby decorated from floor to ceiling in a junkyard style that is totally appropriate and inviting. The show and showroom are part of Planet Hollywood's dramatic and successful transformation away from the old Aladdin theme.
The marvelous nationally recognized ventriloquist Ronn Lucas and his colorful sidekicks Scorch the Dragon and Buffalo Billy are settling into the new comfortable showroom in the Steve Wyrick Entertainment Complex at Desert Passage now being called Miracle Mile Shops. There's not much you can say about Lucas other than he's amazing and totally entertaining. He has a show everyone should see. Tickets are $29.95 and $34.95, call 702-777-9974.
A real "Dream Girl" and one of the original "Supremes," Mary Wilson did a two-night gig at the new Golden Nugget showroom and really strutted her stuff. With great finesse, she connects with an audience and demonstrates good old-fashion charisma and stage presence. She had the audience on their feet for the last part of her show.
The week was capped off with the Third Annual Meatball Awards at Imperial Palace. The fundraising soiree recognized and honored Las Vegas talent of yesteryear and support media. After the awards show, there was a gourmet meatball reception. It was a nostalgic and heartwarming evening produced by the very talented singer Grant Griffin.
Wayne Brady's new show, "Making It Up," at The Venetian has been extended. Originally scheduled to appear only through April, Brady becomes a Venetian fixture with shows from May 17 - July 1. Tickets are $69 and $89, call 702- 414-9000 or 866-641-7469.
Brady is best known for his improvisational skills and creating full-blown scenes out of nothing, on any topic. His quick wit turns a scramble of words volunteered from the audience into a hilarious rap, alternates through different movie genres within one scene and even manipulates audience members into on-stage props. Backed by a three-piece band and two dancers, Brady proves his versatility with a musical tribute to some of his favorite musicians and Las Vegas Legends.
Red Rock Lanes, a 72-lane, state-of-the-art bowling center, opened on April 18 in celebration of the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa's one-year anniversary. The $31 million establishment is the most expensive bowling venue ever built in the United States with 12 lanes featured in a separate VIP suite within the center. Red Rock Lanes with its high-tech computerized system can be instantly transformed into a party environment that includes custom glow lighting effects, strobes, fog machines, image generators and disco balls.
Red Rock Lanes has a pro shop, arcade, meeting rooms, welcome center, deli, and lounge complete with bar, self-scoring darts boards, custom billiard tables, shuffleboard, an array of plasma TVs, and slot and video poker games. The modern contemporary design features some of the finest natural woods and stones and a custom panoramic image of Red Rock Canyon runs the length of the bowling concourse. The bowling center is open 24 hours daily and offers open bowling, fall/winter leagues and cosmic bowling on the weekends.
Red Rock Lanes is Station Casinos' fourth bowling center joining 60 lanes at Texas Station, 60 lanes at Santa Fe Station, and 72 lanes at Sunset Station. In total, Station Casinos owns and operates 264 lanes, more than any other bowling operator in the state of Nevada.
Passes for the 2007 CineVegas Film Festival, running from June 6-16, are available for purchase either online at www.cinevegas.com or by calling 1-888-8VEGAS8. Individual movie tickets will be available for $10 starting on Monday, May 21, and at the festival's box office in the Brenden Theatres at the Palms starting May 26. Packages range from $100 for students up to $525 for an all-access pass. Individual party tickets are not available for sale. The June 6 opening night film is a fundraising event and a separate ticket is required for entry.
The CineVegas Film Festival's screening series at the Galaxy Neonopolis Theatres will continue through May with four more independent, underground, foreign and documentary films. Screening tickets range from $6 to $9, call 702-992-7979.
The lineup of remaining films is: Spanish film "Unconscious" (May 4 - 10); "The Situation" (May 11 - 17) set exclusively in Iraq; Israeli-Palestinian documentary "Encounter Point" (May 18 - 24); and "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" (May 25 - 31), which is set in Ireland in 1920 and was named Best Film at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
Station Casinos and KWNR will present the inaugural "Jam for a Wish" benefit Make-A-Wish concert at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 14 at 8 p.m. at Ovation, the new showroom inside Green Valley Ranch. The event will feature performances by confirmed artists Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Steve Holy, Ty Herndon and more. Tickets are $25, call 702-524-5300.
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The world's largest life-cast bonze statue, and one of the most fondled, will mark a day of remembrance on May 13, the day exactly 10 years after the "No, Ifs Ands Or Butts" artwork was unveiled. Seven statuesque "Crazy Girls" lined up for a media event in front of the Riviera where the 1,540-pound statue is anchored to the front wall. Since then, it has won "Best Public Art" in "The Review Journal newspaper's "Best of Las Vegas" and attracted media attention from throughout the world. Sculptor Michael Conine even created a Web site attributed to his greatest creation.
The MGM Mirage is purchasing two vacant Strip land parcels across from the Sahara for a combined $575 million. The company is spending $444 million for a 25.8-acre parcel from Gordon Gaming Corp., the current Sahara owners, and $131 million for a 7.6 acre parcel.
Pop superstar Jessica Simpson will take the stage around midnight for one night only on Friday, May 4 as the emcee of the Las Vegas Pussycat Dolls to help celebrate the Second Anniversary of the Pussycat Dolls Lounge at Caesars Palace. The Pussycat Dolls Lounge opened two years ago with the tantalizing Eva Longoria hosting the evening.
Lead singer Curtis Bridgeforth will be leaving the Platters group currently performing at the Sahara at the end of April because he has a lot of pressing health issues. He has been working at the Sahara seven nights a week for the past four years. You can keep up with Bridgeforth by visiting his Web site: www.spiritoftheplatters.com or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comedian Sammy Shore has moved to Las Vegas and will open for Tony Orlando at the Suncoast, May 25-27.
Tickets for comedy magician Mac King's show at Harrah's are now $24.95, up from $19.95.
Former Harrah's headliner Clint Holmes will have his biographical play, "Just Another Man," (or "JAM") performed at UNLV's Judy Bayley Theatre from June 1 through 24.
The estimated cost for the MGM Mirage's Project CityCenter has increased from $7 billion to a$7.4 billion. CityCenter is being built on a 66-acre Strip site and residential units are expected to open in November 2009.
This year's outdoor Super Summer Theatre lineup at Spring Mountain Ranch includes: "Ragtime" June 13-16, 20-23 and 27-30; "110 in the Shade" July 11-14, 18-21, and 25-28; and "Jesus Christ Superstar" Aug. 8-11, 15-18 and 22-25. Gates open at 6 p.m. and shows begin at 8 p.m. In addition, there will be two special events: a special Las Vegas Jazz Society concert on Sept. 7 and 8; and Johnny Guitar on Sept. 12-15 and 20-22.
The recent controversial non-smoking changes in Nevada law prohibiting smoking in dining establishments have been a boost to Gustav's Cigar Bar at the JW Marriott. The cigar bar is designed as a smoking establishment with a baron estate look, rich deep woods, gold foiled cantilevered ceiling, eight-seat bar, multiple TV screens, premium cigars, spirits, wines and vintage ports. It also touts a walk-in humidor with rentable private lockers. Hours are 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
The Seventh Annual Las Vegas Juneteenth Festival will be expanded this year to two days, Friday and Saturday, June 15 and 16 at the Sammy Davis Jr. Plaza in Lorenzi Park from 4 to 9 p.m.
The event will highlight the history of Juneteenth with cultural and educational activities, speakers, food and beverages and live entertainment including jazz bands, singing artists and dance groups. Howard Hewitt, successful R&B solo artist and former lead singer of Shalamar, will headline Friday night, followed by R&B soul legend Freddie Jackson, who recently released his tenth studio album "Transitions," on Saturday night.
Juneteenth dates back to 1865, when on June 19, Union soldiers, led by Major Gen. Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and all slaves were free. Since that time, the observance of June 19th as African-American Emancipation Day has become universal. For information, call 702.255.6659.
The free Jazz in the Park concert series will welcome national acts for its 13th year at the Clark County Amphitheater, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, at 8 p.m. on May 5, June 2 and 9. For information, call 455-8200.
Saxophonist and UNLV graduate Paul Taylor will launch the series on May 5. Taylor's most recent album, "Nightlife," was released in 2005 on Peak Records, a label started by The Rippingtons' Russ Freeman, which features an A list of contemporary jazz artists.
June 2 will highlight vocalist Jimmy Scott, who was born in 1925 with a physical condition. When he began singing professionally in the 1940s his distinctive falsetto voice lent itself to ballads and jazz standards. He made his recording debut in 1948 with Lionel Hampton. In 1962, a contract dispute led Scott to quit the music business and take a job as a shipping clerk. He didn't perform in clubs again until 1985 and Sire Records signed him in 1991.
Bill Frisell, performing June 9, is a jazz guitarist who spent a decade as "house Guitarist" for ECM Records. In New York, during the 1980s and 1990s, he collaborated with musicians of many genres. He moved to Seattle in 1989 and made four recording between 2000 and 2005.
JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa has teamed up with Child Focus again to host the Fourth Annual Mother's Day Tea at the Marquis Ballroom on Saturday, May 12 from noon to 2:00 p.m. Adult tickets are $50 and children 10 and under are $25, call 702-436-1624.
The event includes a complimentary glass of champagne or mimosa, silent auction, entertainment for the littlest set, a tea with snacks, a fashion show, and a 'balloon draw' with the event's grand prize of diamond Mother/Daughter pendants. Attendees are encouraged to wear their best hat.
A Mother's Afternoon Tea will be held at The Antique Mall, located at 1495 East Flamingo Road, on May 6. There are two seatings at 1 and 4 p.m., call 702-233-3795.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Hope is Eternal Ball will take place at the Rio on Sunday, May 7. Festivities include a silent auction, dinner, live music and dancing and entertainment with a variety-show theme featuring jazz singer Mary Ellen Span, the Arnie Webster Big Band, magician Jeff Hobson, the UNLV Jazz Band, magician James Dimmare, Johnny Potash, Patricia Welch, and the Pirates of TI. Tickets are $125, call 702-436-4220.
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