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Sunday, May 21, 2006 PRIOR ISSUE   -   ARCHIVES
Morgans Hotel Group Buys Hard Rock, Dirk Arthur's Magic Continues, 'Beatlemania' Members Perform, Caesars Palace Offers Poolside Luxury, Blue Man Group Launches Album, World Extreme Fighting Slams Town, Social House Sets Opening, Vegas's Hot Dog Champion, Chicken Wing Cookoff Takes Flight, Siegfried & Roy received Ellis Island Medals of Honor, Las Vegas Walk of Stars Honors John Stuart, More...

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Jackie Brett
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The Hard Rock with its icon neon guitar sign has been sold to New York-based Morgans Hotel Group for $770 million. Morgans owns a collection of hotel brands like Mondrian in Los Angeles and Scottsdale, Ariz., and Delano and The Shore Club in Miami. Now they will take over the 647-room Hard Rock Hotel, the 30,000-square-foot casino, and 24 adjacent acres that were planned for a hotel-condo expansion.

Peter Morton built the Hard Rock in 1995 for $80 million and expanded the property in 1999 with a beach club and swimming pool.

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Morgans has an agreement with Boyd Gaming to build a 600-room Delano and 1,000-room Mondrian hotel at Echelon Place, which is planned for the current site of the Stardust on the Strip.

The successful afternoon production show "Xtreme Magic Starring Dirk Arthur" in the Tiffany Theatre at the Tropicana has been extended through Jan. 2, 2007. The show is performed at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily except Friday. Tickets are $29 and $34, call 702-739-2411.

Arthur, who began headlining at the Tropicana in March of 2005, is known for grand illusions including the appearance of a Robinson helicopter and an Amtrak train. He is also recognized for showcasing many exotic cats including orange Bengal tigers, white striped tigers, a pure white snow tiger and black African and spotted leopards.

Classical Mystery Tour (CMT), a tribute to The Beatles featuring original members of the Broadway show "Beatlemania," will perform with a 42-piece symphony orchestra at the Las Vegas Hilton on May 28. Tickets are $55 and $70, call 702-732-5755 or 1-800-222-5361.

CMT is more than a rock concert. The show presents some 20 Beatles tunes sung, played, and performed exactly as they were written, such as "Penny Lane" with a live trumpet section and "Yesterday" with an acoustic guitar and string quartet. The orchestra score is exact, right down to every note and instrument that was on the original recording.

Big band swingers Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (BBVD) will jump and jive at the Silverton's Outdoor Events Center on Friday, June 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40, call 702-914-8557 or 1-866-946-4373.

Formed in Los Angeles in 1992, BBVD led the big band music revival armed with flashy zoot suits and catchy pop lyrics infused with Rat Pack lingo straight from the swinging days of the '40s and '50s. When the movie "Swingers" was released in 1996, it featured the band's now famous singles "You & Me & The Bottle Makes Three Tonight (Baby)" and "Go Daddy-O."

By the end of 1997, the band had self-released two albums on an independent label, which led to a major-label contract with Capitol Records. In February 1998, the group released its major-label debut, "Americana Deluxe," and followed with a second album, "This Beautiful Life," a year later. Since 2003, the band has released three more albums, performed at Super Bowl XXXIII and had their music used in over 60 films and TV trailers.

Caesars Palace's Venus Pool Club, which will open Memorial Day weekend, will offer a sophisticated, hip poolside environment to locals and hotel guests. On Mondays, Venus will offer an industry day party from noon to 8 p.m. with a DJ spinning eclectic sounds and house music.

Caesars' poolside area will incorporate elements such as luxurious cabanas, oversized chaise lounges, air-conditioned bars with flat screen TV's, frozen towel service, cooling Evian face spritzers and body massages, all provided by nightlife experts, the Pure Management Group. Venus' new pool experience will feature a traveling drink cart steered by an expert bartender with the ability to create multiple flavors of mojitos and margaritas. High-end food ranging from lobster sandwiches to white ceviche will be available and made to order.

Blue Man Group Records will release "Live at The Venetian - Las Vegas" in June, with the single and video for "Rods and Cones" available in advance of the full album. Inspired by music industry advancements in distribution, the critically acclaimed Blue Man Group will digitally release the new live recording of their ongoing Las Vegas production at The Venetian on iTunes. video and audio podcasts. The digital distribution will offer instant availability.

Although Blue Man Group is best known for their crowd pleasing theatrical shows currently playing in New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, London, Berlin and Toronto, they have also launched two full albums and scored various film and television projects.

"One world... One World Extreme Fighting Championship" is back by popular demand for the second time at the Orleans Arena on Saturday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets ranging from $48 up to $128 for ringside seats, phone 702-284-7777.

The WEF will have Mixed Martial Arts match ups with world class fighters from Holland, England, Spain, Thailand, Mexico and the U.S. Some highlights on the evening's 12-bout card will include Marvin "The Beastman" Eastman in a rematch for the Light Heavyweight WEF world title against Chicago's Jason Guida, the first female MMA fight in Nevada with two tough, beautiful, female combatants, and sexy Ring Girls, who have graced the pages of "Playboy."

Famed illusionists Siegfried & Roy received Ellis Island Medals of Honor recognizing their remarkable commitment to entertainment and conservation. The ceremony, hosted by The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, Inc. (NECO), was last weekend on Ellis Island.

On May 30, the Las Vegas Walk of Stars will honor producer John Stuart, the creator and founder of "Legends in Concert," which opened on May 5, 1983 at the Imperial Palace. The show is expecting to reach its 5 millionth visitor within the month. Some of Stuart's current projects include being the executive producer of World Extreme Fighting (WEB) with matches planned at the Orleans June l0 and Aug. l2, producing Steve Connolly's "Spirit of the King" show at Fitzgeralds, and owning five First Choice Ticketing outlets. As a performer, he worked with Brian Wilson and Mike Love, who became the Beach Boys, took the stage for seven years with Steve Martin at California's Knott's Berry Farm and had a part in two of his movies, and sang and toured in many Broadway musicals.



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Veteran Las Vegas female impersonator Kenny Kerr will emcee the talent showcase on Tuesday, May 30, from noon to 2 p.m. at the 6th annual Celebrity Impersonators Convention taking place May 28 to 31, at the Imperial Palace. Kerr became famous starring in the long-running revue "Boy-lesque" at the old Silver Slipper. Tickets for the show only are available to the public for $15 at the Show and Tour Desk or by calling 888.777.7664.

The 16-story, 654-room Boardwalk hotel tower was imploded on the Las Vegas Strip in the wee hours of the morning nearly two weeks ago. The building was demolished to make way for the $7 billion MGM Mirage CityCenter urban hub that will include a 4,000-room hotel casino, two 400 room boutique hotels and 500,000 square feet of retail space.

OPM Nightclub, an 8,000-square-foot upscale hip hop club at the Forum Shops, is celebrating its third anniversary by launching White Linen Wednesdays, a new weekly summertime promotion that drapes OPM-followers in white tones and offers serious drink discounts to those who answer the neutral-colored bell. The new theme is apparent throughout the club with white curtains and decorations.

The Clubbers Ball Expo custom car and bike show will be held over Memorial Day weekend, May 26 - 28, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and will highlight more than 40 bands and 25 DJs from around the world. The headlining acts will include Rob Zombie on May 26, Bad Religion on May 27, and Lit and Cypress Hill on May 28. The ball will feature extreme sports from skateboarders, BMX and Super Moto and "over the top" Tattoo and Body piercing exhibitors.

Fundraising is moving along well for the La Concha motel project that will include dismantling the Strip's Paul Revere Williams - designed motel lobby piece by piece and moving it to a new home at the Neon Museum in September where it will become the visitors welcome center. The cost will be $1.5 million.

The Las Vegas Hilton's $10,500 "Flush With Cash" promotion will run May 28 - July 13. Cash prize drawings will be held Monday through Friday beginning May 29 at 10 a.m. with the final drawing on July 14. Three tickets will be drawn daily, and each player on the drawing ticket will win $100 in Las Vegas Hilton casino chips. Drawing tickets are earned for any red card flush made Sunday through Thursday.

Oscar winner Al Pacino will play the prominent casino owner Willie Banks in the third installment of the Ocean's 11 movie sequels "Ocean's 13," which will mark a return to Las Vegas for the close-knit band of misfits including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle.

Social House opening in mid-August will be the first restaurant from nightlife innovators PURE Management Group (PMG). It will be located within Treasure Island (TI) atop Tangerine Nightclub and Lounge and will revolutionize sushi restaurants and serve Pan Asian cuisine. The décor will showcase creative lighting schemes complementing the wood and steel-based design.

With an outdoor patio overlooking Sirens Cove and the Las Vegas Strip, Social House will accommodate 270 guests, operate as both a restaurant and lounge, and offer dinner daily and late-night dining five nights a week. Social House will feature a live DJ and an interactive sushi bar. As a tech-savvy place, it will easily be converted into a lounge as dining tables are mounted on a hydraulic system for conversion into cocktail tables.

Chef Joseph Keller launched his new Lake Las Vegas restaurant, Bistro Zinc, this month. The eatery featuring American cuisine with French influences is located in the MonteLago Village in a prime location overlooking the manmade lake. Open from 6:30 to 1:00 a.m. daily, the new restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a late-night menu, call 702.567.ZINC (9462).

Bistro Zinc has seafood flown in daily, an Oyster Bar, a small bakery that supplies fresh baked breads and pastries daily as well as a full wine menu, beer by the yard, Hurricanes, Martinis and more. The Keller Culinary Theatre is a cooking school open to the public that features surprise guest signature chefs. You can view video of the classes online and participate in virtual lessons.

Two new tanks have been installed at the gourmet Asian themed Garden of the Dragon restaurant that overlooks the Benihana Village at the Las Vegas Hilton because fresh crab, shrimp, lobster and rock cod are now being served.

Last Thursday, New York-New York held Nathan's Famous Las Vegas Hot Dog Eating Championship on the faux Brooklyn Bridge. The winner of the official qualifying round earned the right to represent the United States in the 91st Annual Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest Tuesday, July 4 in Coney Island.

The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest is sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE), the governing body of stomach-centric sport worldwide. According to archives, the Nathan's Famous International Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Championship has been held each year on July 4 since 1916.

This weekend, Hooters Casino Hotel has been hosting the 2006 Great International Chicken Wing Cookoff. This is a very appropriate special event when you consider 30 million Hooters Chicken Wings are sold each year.

Steve Wynn, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Wynn Resorts, Ltd. was honored in Time Magazine's May 8 issue as one of the world's most influential people under the "Builders and Titans" category. Those recognized as "Builders and Titans" were individuals who exhibit an extraordinary ability to influence the world of business. The article proclaimed Wynn "didn't invent Las Vegas - he just makes it work," and praised him for being one of the world's best salesmen, real estate developers and "the gaming industry's most brilliant designer."

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