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Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino Celebrates 80 Years!

Plus: Beach Boys' Al Jardine Opens at The Riviera, Mayor Goodman to Open Oscar's Steakhouse at Plaza Hotel, Bikinis, Bands and Burgers at Silverton and more...

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The big day finally arrived for the Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino on Monday morning. Yep, gang, the “Grand Lady of Gaming” turned 80-years-young on August 1st. She was honored with proclamations from our United States Senators, and Congress representatives (who couldn’t be there in person as they sorta had some pressing business in Washington to clear up), and our Governor (who wasn’t present because he was secretly on his way to visit the troops in Afghanistan). Mayors of the neighboring communities of Henderson, Andy Hafen, and Boulder City, Roger Tobler, however, were present and were warmly greeted by Railroad Pass Operations Manager, Curt Thompson, who hosted the event.

Railroad Pass Casino Anniversary

The cake design competition, between all the local MGM properties, of which Railroad Pass is a member, was hotly contested with the Mandalay Bay Hotel design barely edging out the Bellagio Hotel. Mandalay Bay swept both the VIP Choice award, and the Peoples Choice award. Both cakes were designed and assembled by the pastry chefs (they also called on their respective engineering departments for assistance) and their staffs. The Mandalay Bay entry had a revolving roulette wheel and other distinctive depictions that voters took a liking to. The Bellagio cake had a working train that climbed to the top of the cake and returned to the bottom. All entries magnificently carried the theme of a railroad, in honor of the Railroad Pass Hotel heritage. Thompson presented the prestigious awards to the Mandalay Bay chefs.

Railroad Pass Casino Anniversary

All this week, gang, during the Railroad Pass Casino celebration, if you are a hot dog lover like me, you can get them for 80-cents along with a beer for 80-cents. There are all kinds of deals going on this entire week, so drop by the historical landmark and take a tour of the oldest existing legally licensed casino in the nation, let alone the State of Nevada.

Al Jardine of The Beach Boys opened Wednesday evening in the Starlite Theater at the Riviera Hotel, for a two-week stand. Wow, what a show. I can remember listening to the group, which consisted of the Wilson brothers (Brian, Carl and Dennis), Mike Love and Jardine, on the radio during the early ‘60s and into the ‘80s. My two oldest daughters, Robin and Denise, were big fans of not only the “Boys,” but also the Beatles, who were briefly challenged in popularity by them. The Beach Boys were often referred to as “America’s Band,” as opposed to the band from England.

Al Jardine

Jardine, in his performance at the Riviera, does not disappoint the fans of the era, when the music of our (mine and others of the Older Generation) era was all about surfing, cars, and romance on the sands of Southern California. Jardine includes many of the hits made famous by the group, including a few he was responsible for personaly during that period. Al also includes a few songs from his new solo album, “A Postcard from California.” The musical group backing him, “Endless Summer Band,” is led by a long-time personal friend, and a resident of Las Vegas, Billy Hinsche, he of the famed group, Dino (Martin), Desi (Arnaz) and Billy.


This engagement is a romp through memory lane for me, when my life (and many others) was a breeze, and everything was turning up roses. We had survived high school, the Korean War, and we had hardly ever heard of Viet Nam. President John Kennedy had just been elected, and I was working for the former heavyweight champion of the world, Joe Louis. I was soon to join Copley News Service as a sports reporter, and would move to Las Vegas in 1965. Life was wonderful then. I owned a Chevrolet convertible (didn’t everyone own a Chevy?). My third daughter, Lisa, was born and I was really a happy camper. Gosh, what ever happened to those carefree days? My point being, if you want to relive some great moments in your life, or want to hear and be mesmerized by what we older generation enjoyed (if you are of the younger generation), then you just have to go see the Al Jardine show at the Riviera Hotel. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.


Well, gang, it hasn’t taken the former Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, long to get his feet planted in a downtown adventure. Goodman will open “Oscar’s,” a uniquely Las Vegas steakhouse, inside the iconic dome of the Plaza Hotel and Casino overlooking Fremont Street and the heart of his beloved Las Vegas. Expected to open later this fall, the new fine dining restaurant will serve dinner nightly and a Sunday brunch.

“I can’t wait to open Oscar’s – my own steakhouse – that will have the charm and glamour of the Las Vegas that I love,” said Goodman. “Many people may remember that I once called for the Plaza to be torn down, but the much-needed investment by its committed owners has transformed it into the coolest place in Vegas.”

Oscar's at the Plaza

The decor of Oscar’s will be glamorous and uniquely Vegas, incorporating memorabilia from Goodman’s 12-year tenure as mayor, and classic photographs of Las Vegas over the years. Adjacent to the steakhouse will be a new Italian restaurant and speakeasy – paying homage to Goodman’s years as an advisor and private attorney, representing high-profile clients that played a role in making Vegas what it is today. Serving the customers of both restaurants will be a new bar and lounge that will offer a variety of cocktails, including martinis, the former mayor’s signature drink.

We are honored that the Plaza will be home to Oscar’s, one of the mayor’s first ventures since he left office this summer,” added Tony Santo, president and CEO of Play LV, operator of the Plaza Hotel and Casino. “We are very proud of the new Plaza which is due to re-open next month, and Oscar’s steakhouse will give local residents and tourists alike another great reason to visit.”

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Music lovers can look forward to the June installments of the Bikinis, Bands and Burgers Poolside Concert Series at the Silverton Casino Hotel. Hosted by DJ Rama, this month’s performance lineup includes the legendary and talented Marcia Griffiths on August 6. This Jamaican-bred reggae artist has been a powerful influence to others through the combination of her impressive vocal talents and humanitarianism. In 2002, Griffiths was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence during Jamaica’s independence celebration. This poised performer will take you to paradise and she is definitely a “must see.” Griffiths will be joined by reggae group, Lady Reiko & Sin City Prophets. The reggae music will continue into the next weekend with Michael Black and Detour Posse on August 13. Attendees can enjoy this eclectic mix of artists while relaxing poolside at Silverton Casino Hotel’s luxurious Sway Pool, while taking advantage of delicious summer snacks and plenty of drink specials. For more information on performers, please visit Must be 21 years of age or older to attend.

While on the subject of the Silverton, it is that time again, when the 820th Red Horse Squadron of the United States Air Force, stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, is preparing to deploy to Southwest Asia to defend our country. What they need right now is support from their fellow citizens. Adopt An Airman is an event that first took place at Silverton in 2008, and it gives Las Vegans the chance to come out and meet military personnel, and become their pen pal for the duration of their deployment. Show your support for these men and women and Adopt An Airman. It will take place Saturday, August 13 in the Veil Pavilion beginning at 3 p.m. You can also visit for more information about the program.

Well, gang, I’m off to the Riviera Hotel for another dose of memory lane, via Al Jardine. I’m outa here!

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