Las Vegas Guide
Las Vegas News

Sunday, May 28, 2006 PRIOR ISSUE   -   ARCHIVES
Columbia Sussex Buys Tropicana, Toni Braxton Signs A Deal, Brooks & Dunn Long Term, Rita Rudner Extended, The Scintas Move To The Strip, Sapporo Opens, Steely Dan & Michael McDonald Headline Golden Rainbow Charity Show Celebrates 20, Herman's Hermits Pop In, Steve and Eydie Cancel, Sirens Hold Auditions, Swimsuit Contest Begins, Summer Theatre At Spring Mountain Ranch, More...


Jackie Brett
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Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex Corp. has finally come out on top of the two-month long bidding war for control of Aztar Corp. They are spending $2.75 billion to take over the 1,800-room Tropicana and its prize 34 acres in Las Vegas and in Atlantic City, and three smaller casinos in Laughlin, Missouri and Indiana. They hope to close the deal by the end of November.

Singer Toni Braxton, 38, will debut her show, "Toni Braxton: Revealed" at the Flamingo on Aug. 3. Her show will be fully produced with dancers and costumed changes. She'll perform in six-week increments for the initial commitment of 40 to 42 weeks.

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Braxton has experience with stage production after doing Broadway roles in "Beauty and the Beast" in 1998 and "Aida" in 2003.

Next month, Braxton will make a trip to Germany for the opening ceremonies of the World Cup. She's recorded and anthem for the games called "The Time Of Our Lives" with the light-classical quartet II Divo.

The Las Vegas Hilton has signed Brooks & Dunn to a multi-year performance contract.

The superstar duo will kick off their schedule by headlining during the National Finals Rodeo, Dec. 4-6. Tickets are $135, $100 plus $195 VIP seating, which includes a meet-and-greet with Brooks & Dunn, call 702-732-5755 or 1-800-222-5361. Their performances are part of "The Long Haul Tour" presented by Toyota Tundra. Other future performance dates are scheduled for March, July and December 2007.

Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn debuted as Brooks & Dunn in 1991 and became the nation's premier country music singer - songwriter duo. They have won the "Vocal Duo" Award of the Country Music Association every year between 1999 and 2005 (except for 2000). B&D's music covers the full range of modern country music, and both band members write, sing, and play guitar.

The Hilton recently completed a multi-million dollar construction and renovation enhancement project that included the porte-cochere, front lobby, and main casino, as well as the addition of the Tempo lounge and Fortuna, a coffee and wine experience.

Comedienne Rita Rudner is extending her run at New York-New York through Saturday, Aug. 26. Since April 20, 2001, Rudner has performed over 1,600 shows in the casino's Cabaret Theatre, which was built specifically for her. After vacationing with her family in September, Rita will begin performing at Harrah's Las Vegas on Oct. 2. Meanwhile, her latest novel, "Turning the Tables," will be published in August by Shaye Areheart Books, and imprint of Crown.

After a long run at the Rio, the musical family group The Scintas opened this past week at the Sahara and began a three-year, $20 million contract. The show runs Tuesday through Sunday, at 7 p.m. in the main showroom. Tickets are $59.95 for general admission; $69.95, VIP.

The Scintas are opening with a mix of new material and established audience favorites. They have been entertaining Las Vegas audiences six nights a week for the past six years. Hailing originally from Buffalo, NY, the family - Frankie, Joe and Chrissi Scinta - along with the "Irish Scinta," Pete O'Donnell - has been performing for more than 30 years.

Through Sept. 9, the Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is celebrating summer with a three-dimensional exhibit depicting a rail journey across America. Created by famed landscape architect and model train builder Paul Busse, the enchanting display features small-scale trains, replicas of historical and fantasy sites and spectacular gardens.

The increasingly popular art of train gardening, a combination of model railroading and landscape gardening, will take visitors coast-to-coast using miniature architectural reproductions of beloved American landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol building and Mt. Rushmore and even a replica of Bellagio with its own lake and a working fountain show.

Every detail on the 40 buildings found inside this impressive exhibit was created entirely by hand using natural plant materials. A towering 120-year-old banyan tree in the display's center is surrounded by trains, both below and overhead.

Visitors are also transported back to the "Wild West" through the recreation of an old western village, see a Midwestern farm scene, marvel at a miniature Grand Canyon, and enjoy memories of the Eastern seaboard. In addition, there is an American fantasyland featuring scenes from such classic childhood fairy tales as "The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe" and the "Three Little Pigs." Guests can immerse themselves in the exhibit through a network of bridges allowing visitors to walk through and under the display.

A tiny camera, with a 70-degree wide angle lens, is on one of the trains to provide a unique conductor's eye-view of the Conservatory's summer exhibit. The live feed is broadcast onto screens inside the Bellagio's Conservatory and also in Giardini, a nearby garden-inspired retail shop selling model trains and miniature botanical buildings.

The Bellagio's Conservatory is transformed five times a year - winter, spring, summer, fall and Chinese New Year.

Kokomo's was completely redesigned by Adam Tihany and reopened last December with a very open contemporary look highlighting natural materials such as stone, wood and a live bamboo planter. The first noticeable change is Kokomo's has moved its entrance to the main hotel lobby and added a sleek new bar that is open 24 hours daily.

The exquisite 180-seat restaurant, located in the hotel's tropical rainforest, features towering palms, a waterfall, and a field of iridescent silver fish sculptures suspended beneath undulating canopies. Kokomo's serves fine steak and exotic seafood dishes nightly from 5 to 10:30 p.m.

Movies al Fresco will begin at the MonteLago Village at Lake Las Vegas on June 1 and run every Thursday night at 8 p.m. through Sept. 7. Movies in the outdoor setting are free. For information call 702-564-4766.

The Sirens of TI will be holding auditions for beautiful ladies between ages 21 - 30 on Saturday, June 3 at 1 p.m. for dancers and 3 p.m. for singers. The free outdoor pirate show plays nightly at 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. in front of Treasure Island and features swordplay, high-diving acrobatics. pyrotechnics, music and dance.


Sapporo, which originated in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2001, is a new high-energy Japanese-influenced restaurant located in Southwest Las Vegas at Flamingo Road and I-215. The 300-seat eatery features three distinctive menus with Teppan Yaki, Sushi and Pacific Rim dishes crafted by experienced chefs.

Sapporo offers 10 Teppan tables, a sushi bar, a main dining room and bar, plus two private dining rooms - one for Teppan Yaki and the other for Pacific Rim. The décor is eye-catching from the outside entry with two lavish fire elements and mosaic tiles to the indoor tranquil shades of calming blues and silver throughout the dining area, which consists of an 11,600-square-foot main interior and 800-square-foot patio.

Service begins at 4 p.m. daily with seating in the dining room continuing until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are encouraged; phone 702-216-3080.

On Saturday, July 21, Steely Dan and Michael McDonald will perform in the Aladdin Theatre. Tickets are $125, $70 and $50; call Ticketmaster at 702- 474-4000.

Legendary jazz - rock icons Walter Becker and Donald Fagen reunite with a band mate from the '70s when Steely Dan shares the bill with Michael McDonald and his band for their 32-city Steelyard "Sugartooth" McDan and The Tour this summer.

Steely Dan helped define the soundtrack of the '70s with seven platinum albums issued between 1972 and 1980. They reunited in the early '90s and toured throughout the decade, releasing multi-Grammy winner "Two against Nature" in 2000 and its acclaimed follow-up "Everything Must Go" in 2003. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Michael McDonald's distinctive voice first emerged as a 70's contributor to Steely Dan. He joined the Doobie Brothers in 1975, sending them hit-climbing. As a solo artist, McDonald charted with James Ingram, Patti LaBelle, and others. Recently, he's found platinum success interpreting classic Motown hits on his albums "Motown" and "Motown II."

Hundreds of singers and dancers from the best shows on the Las Vegas Strip will dazzle audiences with 20 years of entertainment at the Golden Rainbow's 20th annual "Ribbon of Life" stage spectacular. The show, staged as a fundraiser for Las Vegas-based HIV/AIDS charity Golden Rainbow, is the largest production show of the year in Las Vegas, and will take place June 10 and 11 at 1 p.m. in the Jubilee! Theater at Bally's. Tickets range from $50 to $200, call 702-384-2899.

The all-volunteer "Ribbon of Life" cast includes performers from the casts of "A New Day," "Fashionistas," "Folies Bergere," "Hairspray," "Jubilee!" "Mamma Mia," MGM Grand Productions, Missy Cochran Entertainment, "Mystere," "O," "Splash," Tim Searcy / Sing Out Loud Entertainment, UNLV Drum Corps, the Vamps Girlie Revue and more. One highlight of the show will feature dozens of famous past Strip performers, ranging in age from their mid-40s to mid-80s.

The classic rock and roll band Herman's Hermits will perform at the Silverton's Outdoor Events Center on Saturday, June 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets for Herman's Hermits are $30. For information, call 702-914-8557 or 1-866-946-4373.

After becoming a sensation with their first No. 1 hit record, "I'm Into Something Good," Herman's Hermits, led by one time teen idol Peter Noone, is still going strong. The band has sold over 52 million records and had 23 Top Twenty hits. Herman's Hermits was the highest grossing act and biggest recording sellers in the world in 1965 and 1966.

In addition to music, Noone hosted a number one-rated show on VH1 for four years, had over 1,000 national television show appearances and starred in two Broadway shows. Noone was named Cashbox Top Entertainer two consecutive years, starred in three major motion pictures and was named VH1's "Sexiest Artist of the Year" in 2000.

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme had to cancel their appearances this past week at the Stardust due to Gorme having a torn meniscus in her left knee. They will return Oct. 26-28.

This month, The District at Green Valley Ranch began a free trolley service linking the original component of the metropolitan lifestyle center "Main Street" to its newly expanded area "The Green" on the east side of Green Valley Parkway. The trolley runs continuously (except for operator breaks) Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. For information, call 702-564-8595.

Beginning Saturday, June 3, Hooters Casino Hotel and Hooters Restaurants of Las Vegas will give patrons the opportunity to cheer for their favorite Hooters Girls as they rise through the ranks in a four-part Las Vegas regional swimsuit competition. The top three Hooters Girls from the series will be entered as the Las Vegas candidates to compete with girls from around the globe for a $50,000 prize at the 10th Annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant, which will take place in Las Vegas this summer on July 25.

The first two competitions on June 3 at 7 p.m. and June 10 at 6 p.m. will take place at Hooters restaurants at 5675 W. Sahara Ave. and 1301 W. Sunset Road in Henderson. The third preliminary swimsuit competition will take place on June 17 at 7 p.m., poolside at Hooters Casino Hotel. The finals will be an invitation-only event at the hotel on June 24.

Now in its 10th year, the Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant brings together more than 100 Hooters Girls, chosen from more than 15,000 Hooters Girls worldwide who presently work in the chain's 400 restaurants.

The Super Summer Theatre has announced its 31st annual lineup of shows under the stars at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. The lineup is: "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" - June 14-17, 21-24 and 28-July 1; "Return to the Forbidden Planet" - July 12-15, 19-22, and 26-29; "Bells are Ringing" - Aug. 9-12, 16-19, and 23-26; and "Noises Off" - Sept. 7-9, 14-16, and 21-23.

The outdoor theatre is located at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park in beautiful Red Rock Canyon, just 10 miles west on I-215 on Charleston Blvd.

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