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

Legends in Concert Celebrates the Season With Annual Holiday Show

In celebration of the festive winter season, Las Vegas's longest running live tribute show, Legends in Concert at the Flamingo Las Vegas recently debuted its annual holiday show featuring a dynamic cast of celebrity tribute artists performing hits by legendary music superstars as well as classic holiday songs.

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Sharon Owens, Bill Cherry, Katie Murdock, and Jason Jarrett
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Michael Jackson, portrayed by Jason Jarrett, brings the King of Pop back to life on stage with his spot on take of Jackson's mega hits "Thriller" and  "Billy Jean" complete with Jackson's famous moon walk from the NBC special Motown 25 and a rendition of the jolly “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”;  Art Vargas performs several of the late and great pop singer Bobby Darin's hits, “Somewhere Beyond the Sea”, “Dream Lover”, “Splish Splash” and “Mack the Knife” and rocks the house with “Jingle Bell Rock”; Britney Spears, portrayed by Katie Murdock, entices the audience with a medley of the Pop Princess's hits plus “Santa Baby”; Barbra Streisand, look and soundalike Sharon Owens delivers uncanny, pitch perfect vocals with “Don't Rain on My Parade”, “Memories”, “Somewhere”, and elicits some merriment with “Jingle Bells”; and Elvis, portrayed by Bill Cherry, warms up the showroom with “C.C. Rider”, “Burnin' Love”, “Suspicious Minds”, “Glory Glory Hallelujah” (in memory of the the men and women who gave their lives for this country) and “Blue Christmas.”

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Jason Jarrett as Michael Jackson
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Sharon Owens as Barbra Streisand
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Art Vargas as Bobby Darin
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Katie Murdock as Britney Spears
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Bill Cherry as Elvis Presley
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

For a very merry finale, the full cast perform “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and the Legends band play a stunning tribute to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo” (“Carol of the Bells”) that brings the magic of the season to Las Vegas.

The night I was in the audience, the Coronado High School Madrigal Singers kicked off the evening with a couple of beautiful Christmas tunes. Also performing during the show were young dancers from The Innovation Dance Company and Studio One Summerlin Dance Company. Additional incredible choirs and dance groups such as Las Vegas Performing Arts High School, The Alexander Dawson School and Green Valley High School, have also been invited to perform in the holiday production, providing young talent an opportunity to perform on the historic stage in the Donny and Marie showroom

Guests will be able to watch the stars align at Legends in Concert during special holiday through December 25. Show times are 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (Dark Fridays). Tickets are on sale at all Caesars Entertainment box offices. There is a special 2 for 1 ticket offer for locals through the holiday season. Present your local ID at the box office to get discount.

For more than three decades, Legends in Concert has proudly entertained more than 6.6 million Las Vegas visitors and residents, produced over 18,500 performances on the Las Vegas Strip and performed to more than 30 million fans worldwide.

Master Magician Dirk Arthur Celebrates the Return of Big Cats to the Strip with New Show Dirk Arthur's Wild Illusions!

Dedicated to thrilling audiences with spectacular illusions while increasing awareness for preserving wildlife and the environment, Dirk Arthur has returned to the Las Vegas Strip with a new show, Dirk Arthur’s Wild Illusions! at the Starlite Theatre inside the Riviera Hotel & Casino. In this fast-paced show, breathtaking big cat magic is interwoven with comedy, beautiful dancers and large-scale effects.

“I’m so excited to bring big cats back to Las Vegas and especially the famed Las Vegas Strip where majestic white tigers truly first gained worldwide attention. Debuting ‘Wild Illusions’ at the Riviera Hotel & Casino is an amazing highlight in my career,” said Arthur. “I know the Riviera is a pet friendly hotel so I’m thrilled that includes cats of all breeds and sizes.”

Photo credit: Chris Holloman

Arthur is a leading advocate of preserving endangered species and for the humane and proper care of all animals of the world. During his show, audiences can instantly see his love for his animals as they are treated with the utmost respect and gentleness. To that end, 100 percent of the proceeds from merchandise sales at his show will be donated to various animal care and conservation programs, animal sanctuaries and developing educational programs in schools to create awareness for endangered animal preservation.

Photo credit: Chris Holloman

Photo credit: Chris Holloman

“Magic has been a mainstay in our entertainment family for quite some time. The combination of Dirk’s magnificent illusions featuring big cats and the Riviera’s rich entertainment history will create a stellar, one-of-a-kind experience for our guests,” said Alex Rangel, Riviera Hotel & Casino’s Vice President of Marketing and Entertainment. “We’re honored to bring this degree of entertainment to the north end of the Strip.”

Dirk Arthur’s Wild Illusions! runs Saturday through Thursday at 7 p.m. (dark Fridays).  Tickets are priced at $80 (VIP), $55 (Preferred) and $40 (GA). All prices include taxes and fees and are available for purchase at the Riviera Box Office.

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Unveils Breathtaking Winter Display

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens recently unveiled a holiday display where guests can discover a breathtaking winter wonderland complemented by seasonal favorites, thousands of twinkling lights, 28,000 poinsettias and a 42-foot tall holiday tree.

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Photo courtesy of the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

“Bellagio’s winter display is a must-see in Las Vegas during the holiday season.” said Randy Morton, president and COO of Bellagio. “We look forward to sharing this one-of-a-kind Las Vegas experience with guests from around the world and are excited to spread holiday cheer within this spectacular setting.”

The majestic holiday tree stands as the Conservatory’s focal pointand is decorated with 7,000 warm white LED lights and 2,500 ornaments,  Below, a model locomotive runs past four chocolate houses and through two chocolate stations, both created by Bellagio’s pastry team. Two 12-foot-tall animated snow globes placed on each side of the tree, showcase classic winter scenes. In one globe, ice skaters glide across an ice pond while carolers sing at the base of a spinning holiday tree in the other.

At the Conservatory’s entrance, oversized ornaments and four 18-foot-tall LED white holiday trees covered in faux snow create a sparkling path toward a walk-through snow globe – a perfect opportunity for guests to share special holiday moments and capture lifelong memories.

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Photo courtesy of the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Nearby, a mother polar bear adorned with 12,000 white carnations keeps a watchful eye on her three cubs as they slip and slide across icebergs floating in a winter pond. Like mother bear, the cubs are each adorned with 5,000 white carnations. Coca-Cola and Bellagio encourage guests to share their favorite photo of the Coca-Cola polar bear at the Conservatory on social media using #BellagioHoliday and #MakeSomeoneHappy; Coca-Cola will donate $1 to Toys for Tots for every picture uploaded throughout the season, up to $50,000.

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Photo courtesy of the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

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Photo courtesy of the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Across the Conservatory, animated penguins can be found building igloos and frolicking with one another near a stage for live holiday performances, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. nightly. Glimmering millennium stars ranging from 12 to 18 feet hang from above, illuminating the garden with a soft glow.

The holiday display inside the Conservatory will be on view through January 3, 2015. Entrance is free to the public and open 24 hours a day.

Mayor Goodman and Robin Leach zip down Slotzilla for $10,000 Challenge Benefitting Opportunity Village

To kick off festivities for Opportunity Village's 10th annual Las Vegas Santa Run on Saturday, December 6, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and entertainment personality Robin Leach raced down Fremont Street Experience’s mega-zipline SlotZilla, in a stunt that raised $10,000 toward the beloved local charity’s largest yearly fundraiser.

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Santa with Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Robin Leach
Photo courtesy of Fremont Street Experience

“I wouldn’t zipline for anything other than Opportunity Village,” said Mayor Goodman. “I am so proud of everything Opportunity Village is doing and I’m very excited for the Great Santa Run.”

Before the race began, some friendly banter took place as Leach and Mayor Goodman prepped for the ride of a lifetime. Santa Claus himself joined in on the fun, and the trio clocked in at 30 seconds with the race ending in a dead heat. The challenge resulted in a $5,000 donation from Mr. Leach and $5,000 from Mayor Goodman, all which will go directly to Opportunity Village.

Flying 80 feet above Fremont Street Experience, Mayor Goodman and Mr. Leach put Santa’s reindeer to shame as they traveled at upwards of 30 miles per hour.

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Santa with Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Robin Leach
Photo courtesy of Fremont Street Experience

Donned in their most festive Kris Kringle attire, Opportunity Village leaders including Linda Smith, Associate Executive Director and Dawn Newburg, Chief Development and Operations Officer, also dashed down SlotZilla.

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Dawn Newburg and Linda Smith
Photo courtesy of Fremont Street Experience

Smith said, “The Great Santa Run is a fun, family event and a gathering of Las Vegas community members. The mayor has challenged the world to draw the highest amount of Santas and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone in Downtown Las Vegas.”

The friendly competition between Mayor Goodman and Mr. Leach was inspired by Fremont Street Experience’s generous fundraiser taking place on race day, Saturday, December 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All proceeds from SlotZilla rides went toward the Great Santa Run to benefit Opportunity Village.

The 10th annual Great Santa Run took place on Saturday, December 6 at 10 a.m., with pre-race festivities beginning at 9 a.m. at the Third Street Stage at Fremont Street Experience. This long-standing Las Vegas tradition was hosted by E! reality TV star Holly Madison with The Chippendales as the grand marshals.

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

Thursday night, Dec. 4, renowned performer Clint Holmes joined the cast of the smash-hit musical MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET onstage for a special encore performance at Harrah’s Las Vegas. Performing on the 58th anniversary of the legendary night that inspired the production, Dec. 4, 1956, Holmes sang a rendition of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” alongside the cast.

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Clint Holmes with the cast of Million Dollar Quartet
Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

Following the finale of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, Holmes was welcomed to the stage with applause from the crowded Showroom. Audience members sang and danced along to the rockabilly tune, giving Holmes and the cast a standing ovation at the conclusion of the performance.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, famous for its award-winning, hand-tossed, coal-fired brick oven pizzas and calzones, collected more than 5,000 entries for the PERFECT PIZZA ART AND ESSAY CONTEST. The contest, a partnership with the Clark County School District School-Community Partnership Program, was open to all students in grades K-8. Students were encouraged to express in a one-page essay their vision of the perfect pizza along with a picture of what the pizza would look like. Neil C. Twitchell Elementary School was awarded the top prize for the school with the most entries at nearly 750 submissions. The school received a $1,000 donation from Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Every student that entered the contest will receive a $5 gift card to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

TAHITI VILLAGE the Tahitian paradise at the South end of the Las Vegas Strip (7200 S. Las Vegas Blvd) has announced the newly-renovated Mahana Spa is now open for the public. Previously reserved for Tahiti Village guests only, Mahana Spa provides a sleek and modern Tahitian sanctuary with a sophisticated menu of soothing massages, exquisite facial treatments, waxing packages and body rituals aimed to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.

Actor BURT REYNOLDS is selling off a large portion of his personal items at an auction to be held December 11 and 12 at the Palms Casino Resort. Among the hundreds of items up for bid will be the actor's 1998 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in Boogie Nights, a red jacket from Smokey and the Bandit II, numerous awards, prop guns, boots and even a monogrammed surrey carriage given to Reynolds by his Best Little Whorehouse co-star, Dolly Parton. "I've collected so many things that I truly adore, but at this stage of my life I find it very difficult to manage them all," he said in a statement released by organizer, Julien's Auctions.

Emmy Award winning historian FARRIS ROCKSTOOL III former FBI analyst and JFK expert will address key issues in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy at the JFK Exhibition at the New Tropicana on Saturday December 13 at 11 am and 3 pm. The talks are included with the price of admission. Admission is $24.95 plus fees, Las Vegas locals are admitted for $19.95 plus fees. Discounts are available for military, seniors and students.

The 6th annual TOYS FOR TOTS BENEFIT CONCERT will take place 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 13 at the Westgate Resort & Casino.  The annual holiday show, sponsored by Cadillac of Las Vegas, is directed by Jonathan Scott, LJ Harness, and Mary Shriver. Zowie Bowie's Chris Phillips will emcee the event that will feature many Las Vegas entertainers performing popular music with the theme “Pop! Goes Las Vegas!” under the musical direction of David Perrico and Pop Evolution.The lineup of performers include singer/actress Pia Zadora, singer/dancer Adrian Zmed, British singing sensation Ben Stone and former American Idol finalist Jasmine Trias, Purple Reign's Jason Tenner, comedians Paul Scally, Dennis Blair, and Geechy Guy, the cast of American Trilogy, with Gary Anthony, Justin Shandor, and Rob Garrett, Vegas! The Show star Lorena Peril, a special appearance from the lead singer of Motley Crue, Las Vegas local Rock Star Vince Neil, and many more. There also will be a special tribute to the late Michael Jackson from The Rock Center for Dance.  Active and retired military personnel and first responders with a valid ID will receive free admission. Those who bring a new and unwrapped toy valued at $20 or more will also receive a free ticket. Tickets can be purchased for a $20 donation at the Westgate Box Office. Red Carpet is at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m.   A post show party begins at 10:30 pm in the Tempo Lounge  featuring the musical sounds of Lisa Gaye and Tony Drake.

"Our goal is to have every child in Las Vegas wake up on Christmas morning and have a new toy," says Jonathan Scott, Executive Producer of this concert. "It's great to have the new Westgate Las Vegas carry on the tradition of this great U.S. Marine Corps benefit concert."

Doors open at 6:00 p.m., with a celebrity red carpet taking place at 6:30 p.m. After the concert, attendees can head to Tempo lounge for the concert after party

The SHINE FAMILY FOUNDATION  host a special FUNDRAISING EVENT AT THE FOUNDATION ROOM at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay on Tuesday, Dec. 16 from 5 – 8 p.m.  Guests are invited to mix and mingle over cocktails and hors d’ouevres knowing that a portion of the proceeds will go back to the Shine Family Foundation, the Las Vegas organization that helps active-duty military, veterans and their families cope with the struggles of long tours-of-duty and multiple deployments.  Admission is free, but all guests must be 21 years of age or older.  To attend the event, please register online at

For the 14th consecutive year PENN & TELLER will partner with UNITED BLOOD SERVICES to raise awareness of the need for blood donations during the holiday season. Those who donate blood between Friday, Dec. 19 and Thursday, Jan. 1 will receive two complimentary tickets to Penn & Teller’s show at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino. The blood drive will be held Friday, Dec. 19 through Thursday, Jan. 1 at designated United Blood Services locations and mobile units. Guests may donate at the following locations in Las Vegas 6930 W. Charleston Blvd.;4950 W. Craig R; .and 601 Whitney Ranch Dr. Bldg. D, Suite 20 in Henderson.

Ten talented Las Vegas vocalists will bring beautiful harmonies to the TEN TENORS HOLIDAY SHOW  returning to The Orleans Showroom December 20. The group assembles some of the best male singers in the Las Vegas Valley – Ken Young, Bruce Williamson, Antone Dotson-Parson, Giloh Morgan, Reggie Gonzales, Mark McCuthen, Markevius Faulkner, DeShawn Horne, Nate Pointer and Mathew Goins. Joe Pigee will serve as musical director and Aaron Arrington returns as producer and creative director for the group.The concert will feature holiday classics, jazz, Motown and more, all with a gospel twist. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets start at $32 (LET included) plus convenience fees.

Dubbed the “Crown Prince” of Swing LOUIS PRIMA JR. AND THE WITNESS will perform a special FREE SHOW at Red Rock Resort on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. There is no cover charge and guests must be 21 years or older. Entry is first-come, first-served and based upon venue capacity.

THE DOWNTOWN COUNTDOWN NEW YEARS EVE 2015 CELEBRATION will take place Wednesday, Dec. 31 from 6 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. at Fremont Street Experience in fabulous downtown Las Vegas. This year the ultimate New Year’s Eve street party is themed TributePalooza and features 13 of the world’s greatest tribute bands including: Fan Halen (Van Halen), Queen Nation (Queen), Led Zepagain (Led Zeppelin), Rio (Duran Duran), Generation Idol (Billy Idol), No Duh (No Doubt), Red Not Chili Peppers (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Doobies Inc. (The Doobie Brothers), Jumping Jack Flash (Rolling Stones), Aeromyth (Aerosmith), Crimes of Passion (Pat Benatar), Don’t Look Back (Boston) and Bonfire (AC/DC).Admission to Downtown Countdown is $30 per person when purchased online by Dec. 26. Beginning Dec. 27 tickets will be $40 per person and can be purchased online, in-person at any of the Fremont Street Experience member hotel-casinos, or at the event gates on Dec. 31. New Year’s Eve admission is restricted to persons 21 and over.

Celebrity sightings:

 Monday night, Dec. 8...

Actor and former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, joined by girlfriend Heather Milligan and her parents, was spotted dining at Strip House steak house inside of Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas before heading to the National Finals Rodeo.

Sunday, Dec. 7...

Glee actress Dot-Marie Jones was sighted at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition inside Luxor Hotel and Casino with her family. Upon entrance, they received boarding passes of real life passengers that actually boarded the Ship of Dreams where they perused the gallery, saw recovered artifacts from the bottom of the North Atlantic and took a picture at the Grand Staircase. After taking the photo, they continued through the Exhibition, posing for another photo in front of “The Big Piece,” a 15-ton section of the Ship. Lastly, they visited the Memorial Wall where all of the names of passengers, both those who survived and perished, are listed. Afterwards, Jones and her family headed next door to BODIES…The Exhibition, where they explored more than 200 human bodies and specimens.

Dot-Marie Jones at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition inside Luxor Hotel and Casino with her family
Photo courtesy of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Friday night, Dec, 5...

Sporting his new headline-making hair, country music superstar Jake Owen had a surprise performance at Gilley's at Treasure Island. The performance was part of a Budweiser/NASCAR celebration with 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick.

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Jake Owen
Photo courtesy of Gilley's

Former professional skateboarder Tony Hawk attended ABSINTHE at  Caesars Palace.  Following the show, Hawk posed for photos with ABSINTHE’s Gazillionaire, his raucous assistant Penny Pibbets and the “Green Fairy” Melody Sweets.

Tony Hawk Attends ABSINTHE 12.5.14
Tony Hawk with the Gazillionaire and Penny
Photo credit Joseph Sanders/Spielgelworld