Judy Thorburn | Editor in Chief | Writer | ColumnistJudy Thorburn's 'Vegas Happenings' column

By Judy Thorburn This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - Las Vegas Round The Clock

Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - The Flick Chicks
Director of Communications - Nevada Film Alliance

TORUK – THE FIRST FLIGHT Soars Into Las Vegas With Breathtaking Premiere at T-Mobile Arena

Cirque du Soleil, which is known for bringing wonder and delight to millions of spectators across the globe, dazzled audiences once again with the Las Vegas premiere of its newest touring show TORUK – The First Flight. The visually spectacular production kicked off its limited time run at T-Mobile Arena with a standing ovation on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Inspired by James Cameron’s wildly successful movie AVATAR, the show transported more than 3,000 guests to the world of Pandora, bringing the mythical planet to life on a 20,000 sq. ft. stage buoyed by some of the world’s greatest technology, acrobatics and cinematic score.


Raymond ONeill portrays the Storyteller in TORUK The First Flight at the shows Las Vegas premiere Jan. 18 2017 Al Powers
Raymond ONeill portrays the Storyteller in TORUK The First Flight at the shows Las Vegas premiere Jan. 18 2017
Photo credit: Al Powers


TORUK The First Flight tells the story of two brothers on a journey to save their clan Jan. 18 2017 Al Powers
TORUK The First Flight tells the story of two brothers on a journey to save their clan
Photo credit: Al Powers


TORUK The First Flight tells a heroic story as Entu venture to save his clan Jan. 18 2017 Al Powers
TORUK The First Flight tells a heroic story as Entu venture to save his clan
Photo credit: Al Powers


TORUK The First Flight artist performs gravity defying Tissu act during Las Vegas premiere Jan. 18 2017 Al Powers
TORUK The First Flight artist performs gravity defying Tissu act during Las Vegas premiere Jan. 18 2017
Photo credit: Al Powers


TORUK The First Flight clan leader makes majestic entrance during the shows Las Vegas premiere Jan. 18 2017 Al Powers
TORUK The First Flight clan leader makes majestic entrance during the shows Las Vegas premiere Jan. 18 2017
Photo credit: Al Powers

Among those in attendance was Jerry Nadal, senior vice president, resident shows division at Cirque du Soleil, along with the casts and crews from Mystère, The Beatles™ LOVE™ and KÀ, who praised the show for its accuracy in portraying Pandora and its Na’vi inhabitants. Taking place thousands of years before humans ever set foot on Pandora, TORUK – The First Flight,  narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, acts as a prequel to the hit film, combining Cameron’s extraordinary storyline with the unmatched creativity of Cirque du Soleil.

As the first touring Cirque du Soleil show to perform at the arena, TORUK – The First Flight performs in Las Vegas for a limited engagement through Sunday, Jan. 22. Tickets are on sale now starting at $39.

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Unveils Vibrant Floral Display in Celebration of Lunar New Year

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens’ Lunar New Year display honoring the Year of the Rooster was unveiled on January 11, and will continue to bring good fortune and prosperity to visitors through March 4.  The gardens, created by renowned event designer Ed Libby, in collaboration with the Bellagio Horticulture team and Feng Shui Master George Yau, are brought to life with over 20,000 flowers, silk-lantern chandeliers and a stunning preview of the highly anticipated Bellagio by MGM Shanghai resort.

North Bed1 low
Photo courtesy of Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens


Lunar New Year South Bed low
Photo courtesy of Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Upon entering the Conservatory, visitors walk through a 16-foot Moon Gate, serving as an inviting entrance into the gardens. Four ding pots burn incense to protect against bad fortune and four 17-foot standing red roses made from lentils line the corners of the East Bed from a shallow pond. Light from a 19-foot crystal chandelier adds a warm glow, complementing golden hues found throughout the East Bed.

East Bed4 low
Photo courtesy of Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Celebrating Bellagio’s expansion into China, the North Bed showcases an 8-foot-tall model replica of Bellagio by MGM Shanghai, a luxury resort set to bring an entirely new, unforgettable and stunning experience to the renowned international metropolis of Shanghai beginning in summer 2017. The resort is a partnership with the Suning Group, a premier Chinese real estate developer and retailer, and will be managed by Diaoyutai MGM Hospitality, a joint venture of MGM Resorts and Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

Located on Suzhou Creek, adjacent to the historical Waibaidu Bridge, Bellagio by MGM Shanghai will feature 165 guest rooms and 25 suites, the first restaurant abroad by acclaimed Chef Julian Serrano and panoramic views of the Lujiazui skyline.

The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is complimentary to the public.

UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm Donate $50,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America

UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm Incorporated, through its wholly owned subsidiary Qualcomm Life, Inc. donated $50,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America on January 11,2017.

The donation, which will be shared by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada and the nonprofit’s national organization, is the culmination of a fundraiser that was held during the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017. UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm gave away 500 activity trackers to CES attendees, encouraging participants to each walk 10,000 steps on Saturday, Jan. 7, for a combined total goal of 5 million steps; participants collectively walked 6.5 million steps as part of the challenge.

UHC NERF Donation 1
At the Lied Memorial Clubhouse in Las Vegas, the two companies presented a $50,000 check to Andy Bischel, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada.

UnitedHealthcare also donated 200 NERF Energy Game Kits, a limited-release game that tracks physical activity and rewards kids for being active. As children participate in physical activity, they earn “energy points” that are tracked by the activity band, and these points turn into screen time to play the mobile game on a smartphone or tablet. The Nerf Energy RUSH mobile game is an “endless runner” game that requires players to turn, jump and avoid obstacles to complete courses and earn power-ups to continue playing.

The donation is part of a recently launched national initiative featuring Hasbro’s NERF products that encourages young people to become more active through “exergaming.” UnitedHealthcare is donating 10,000 NERF ENERGY Game Kits to elementary schools and youth-focused organizations across the country, enabling children ages six to 12 to receive the kits at no cost.

“This generous donation from UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm will help us improve the lives of young people in Nevada by encouraging healthy living, good nutrition and regular physical activity,” said Bischel. “We believe these new NERF ENERGY Game Kits will help young people in our community learn that exercise can be fun.”

Studies indicate that “exergaming” has the potential to reduce the growing obesity epidemic among children and adults. A study by George Washington University found exergames “spurred students to move enough to meet the recommended intensity criteria for vigorous activity,” and that these games are “a useful alternative to traditional physical education.”

Additional recent and upcoming “happenings” in and around Las Vegas include:

Associates from FIRTSERVICE RESIDENTIAL, Las Vegas’ leading association management company, volunteered at Las Vegas’ OPPORTUNITY VILLAGE MAGICAL FOREST on Thursday, December 15, 2016. The annual holiday event benefitted over 600 local at-risk elementary students. More than 30 associates from the Las Vegas valley manned activity stations and rides as a part of Cheyenne’s Magical School Bus Tour program. FirstService Residential also sponsored a class of students from Doris Hancock Elementary School, which provided them transportation, admission, and backpack of goodies to take home.

IMG 3478 cropped
photo courtesy of Opportunity Village

FirstService Residential is a long-time sponsor of this program, which allows 5,000 students in 125 classes from 60 schools to take part in the program. “It is truly a rewarding experience to be able to provide these children with, in some cases, the only holiday magic they may receive this year,” said Maurice Talley, corporate trainer for FirstService Residential in Nevada. “We always aim to make a difference and bring value to the communities we live in.”

THE BEATLES LOVE celebrated its 5,000th performance at The Mirage on Tuesday, Jan. 10, where nearly eight million guests have marveled at the show’s supreme artistry since it opened in 2006. In honor of the show’s milestone performance, JERRY NADAL, senior vice president, resident shows division at Cirque du Soleil, made a special appearance at the theater to thank the cast and creative team, Cirque’s partners at The Mirage and MGM Resorts International and The Beatles company, Apple Corps Ltd, for their continued support – congratulating the show with a champagne toast and gorgeous five-layer cake handmade by Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak. He then addressed the audience, praising them and the millions before them for being the most important contributors to the show’s success.

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, Marnell Properties, one of Las Vegas’ premier development companies, broke ground on TWO NEW BUILDINGS in the MARNELL AIRPORT CENTER at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport and within the Foreign Trade Zone.  The expansion will feature two buildings, offering more than 133,000 square-feet of new light office/industrial space to the master planned airport development. Located off Spencer Street and Russell Road, the project will feature two buildings, each with 9-foot by 10-foot dock doors, 12-foot by 14-foot grade level doors, 28-foot minimum clear height, 277/480v power, ESFR fire sprinkler system and natural gas capabilities. MAC 2 will cover more than 58,000 square feet and MAC 3 will span more than 74,000 square feet.  The expansion is expected to be completed in the Third Quarter of 2017. Once all phases are complete, Marnell Airport Center will span across 14 acres, with two industrial buildings at 133,000 square-feet, one three-story office building at 80,000 square-feet and one single-story building at 6,300 square-feet.

Guitar legend CARLOS SANTANA has extended his residency at House of Blues, solidifying the fifth year of performances of An Intimate Evening with Santana: Greatest Hits Live  at the intimate venue.  Previously announced show dates and additional 2017 performance dates are on sale now. All shows begin at 8 p.m.

Due to overwhelming response, legendary comedian, impersonator and author RICH LITTLE has announced his hilarious one-man show Rich Little Live! has once again been extended at the world-famous Laugh Factory inside  Tropicana Las Vegas.  Little will perform five nights per week through June 2017.

TREVOR NOAH, host of “The Daily Show,” will make his ‘Aces of Comedy’ debut at  The Mirage Hotel & Casino January 20 – 21, 2017 at 10 p.m. Noah, who replaced Jon Stewart in September 2015 on the Comedy Central Show, will entertain audiences with his signature blend of global perspective and cool-guy comedy. Tickets priced at $49.99, $59.99 and $69.99, plus service charges, are now on sale and can be purchased at the Terry Fator box office.

Late 1980s  pop superstar RICK ASLTLEY is returning to Las Vegas for a special performance at the Pearl Concert Theater inside Palms Casino Resort on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $29 plus tax and applicable fees.

WIN-WIN ENTERTAINMENT is launching a NEW ONGOING MONTHLY ENTERTAINENT PROGRAM AT ST. JUDE'S RANCH FOR CHILDREN in Boulder City, NV on Saturday, January 21. Each month, a professional Las Vegas entertainer will travel to St. Jude’s Ranch, and give of his or her time and talent to perform for the children and staff.  With this monthly show series, the children of St. Jude’s Ranch will be treated to a variety of family-friendly, inspirational entertainers including magicians, jugglers, puppeteers, storytellers, actors, singers, dancers, musicians, and more.  The children will have opportunities to engage with the performers through interactive workshops and post-show question and answer sessions. Win-Win Entertainment Founder & Chairman Jeff Civillico is leading off this program with the first show on January 21st, at 2 p.m.

XCYCLE Las Vegas, located in Boca Park at 750 S. Rampart Blvd., hosts its first ever NSPCA CHARITY RIDE TO BENEFIT NEVDA SOCIETY FOR THE  PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (NSPCA) organization beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21.  Dozens of riders will participate in a 45-minute RYTHMX class that is set and choreographed to high-energy music in a state-of-the-art cycle studio, located in Boca Park. The XCYCLE class is open to the entire Las Vegas community and participants are asked to bring a cash donation of $25 or donate items with $25 value or higher for the NSPCA. Suggested items to donate can be found on the non-profits’ Amazon wish list, or found at www.nevadaspca.org. XCYCLE Las Vegas will also host a number of dogs during the event that will be available for adoption from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are required for the charity ride, and will be available to a limited number of participants. To make a reservation, riders may visit www.xcyclelv.com, or by calling 702-489-6099.

An impressive collection by WORLD RENOWNED ARTIST ROMERO BRITTO will be on exhibition and available for acquisition at the GALLERY OF MUSIC & ART AT THE FORUM SHOPS inside Caesars. With an iconic style, Romero Britto is an international artist that uses vibrant, bold and colorful patterns to reflect his optimistic view of the world around him. His playful themes and hard‐edged compositions, combined with his unique talent, unshakable resolve and belief in his art, have granted him worldwide recognition, with exhibitions in galleries and museums in over 100 countries and counting. The Las Vegas exhibition opens on Tuesday, January 24 with a live Artist Appearance from 6-9 pm. The gallery appearance is FREE to the public and RSVP’s are strongly suggested at 702-985-7947.

LIFE TIME ATHLETIC GREEN VALLEY, located at 121 Carnegie St. in Henderson, invites Las Vegas residents to burn calories with flair at its “HIPS AND LIPS” FTNESS SOCIAL EVENT from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The event will begin with an exclusive sampling of LipSense lipstick shades, followed by a high-energy hip-hop class from 6 to 7 p.m. To refuel after the class, Life Time will offer a build-your-own taco bar and complimentary signature Berry Kiss margaritas. “Hips and Lips” is complimentary for members and priced at $30 for non-members, with the purchase of a 24-hour guest pass. RSVP and more information is available by contacting Life Time Athletic Green Valley at 702.802.7300.

CLARK COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CITY OF LAS VEGAS, LAS VEGAS MEDICAL DSTRICT AND THE UNLV SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, are hosting a TOWN HALL FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND INTERESTED STAKEHOLDERS to learn about the vision, plans, progress and economic impact these entities will have on Southern Nevada. Topics include an overview of the Las Vegas Medical District; an overview of the UNLV School of Medicine’s curriculum, clinical enterprise, facilities, current and future programs; opportunities for local physicians and health care providers to advance health care access and research in our community; a discussion on the development of an Academic Health Center and what is means for Las Vegas; and Medicaid reimbursement. This FREE, informative event will take place Tuesday, January 24, 2017  at  Las Vegas City Hall, Council Chambers, 495 So. Main Street. 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. is registration and networking (complimentary refreshments) and the program and Q & A will be held from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. PARKING:  500 Main Street garage; validation available with ticket.  RSVP: 702-739-9989; or http://clarkcountymedical.org/rsvp4.php

In celebration of the many outstanding Clark County School District educators in the Las Vegas community, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts will host the second annual HEART OF EDUCATION AWARDS powered by The Rogers Foundation on Saturday, April 29. With 800 teachers already nominated, The Smith Center and The Rogers Foundation encourage the Las Vegas community to continue to SUBMIT NOMINATIONS FOR DESERVING CSD TEACHERS THROUGH TUESDAY, JANUARY 31. Anyone not related to the teacher is eligible to nominate a teacher and can do so by visiting TheHeartofEducation.org. For more information, interested participants can also visit TheSmithCenter.com.

Hard Rock Live at Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas will host a party in celebration of singer/songwriter CHADWICK JOHNSON’s anticipated CD release of Chadwick Johnson - Live in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 at 8 p.m. Johnson will be joined by special guests Jonathan Karrant and Zowie Bowie before performing tracks from the album, along with a selection of fan favorites. A portion of the evening’s ticket sales will be donated to Keep Memory Alive at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health to support Alzheimer’s disease treatment and research on behalf of Hard Rock’s Hard Rock Heals Foundation, a global charity which aims to improve lives through the power of music.  Tickets are on sale now and range from $25 for general admission (includes parking) to $35 for premium seating (includes a copy of the CD and parking). A limited amount of  VIP tickets are available for $50 that includes first row seating, a copy of the CD, souvenir VIP laminate, parking, a glass of champagne and Meet & Greet with Chadwick 6:30-7:30 p.m. (tax and fees are additional).

California-based GET A HAIRCUT, a classic men’s barber shop that combines classic hair cuts with classic rock n’ roll, is now open at The Promenade at Juhl, the 20,000-square-foot ground-level retail component at Juhl, a 344-residence, multi-building community that spans an entire city block in downtown Las Vegas.  Located on the corner of Fourth Street and Bonneville Ave. at 353 East Bonneville Ave. #181, Get a Haircut is open daily:  Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  This cash-only business offers value-priced services in an upbeat and lively classic rock environment.  Seniors are offered cuts for $7 on Sundays only (must be 65 years of age or older).

HAWTHORN GRILL, with its perfect balance of crave-worthy steakhouse fare and American classics alongside an extensive wine and cocktail program, is officially open at JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa, just 20 minutes northwest of the famous Las Vegas Strip. Bringing a new level of dining sophistication to the area, Hawthorn Grill features a rich bar area, perfect for an after-work or pre-dinner drink; a large, yet cozy dining room easily accommodating a large family dinner or a romantic date; and an expansive outdoor patio with a vibrant waterfall surrounded by lush foliage. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, including a signature breakfast buffet, Sunday brunch, dinner, and bar hours.

Celebrity sightings:

Wednesday night, January 18...

Actor and star of TV's Criminal Minds”, Joe Mantegna, was spotted at LAVO Italian Restaurant in The Palazzo enjoying dinner with friends.

Saturday night, January 14...

Hip hop artist French Montana performed at Marquee Nightclub in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as part of his TAO Group Las Vegas residency.

MQ French Montana 1.14.17jpg
French Montana
Photo credit: Tony Tran


MQ French Montana 1.14.17 1
French Montana performing
Photo credit: Tony Tran

In the crowd was social media star Dove Cameron who celebrated her 21st birthday at the nightclub with friends. The venue surprised her with a celebratory presentation in honor of her milestone birthday.

Compojoom.com - get some good Joomla extensions now!