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

The Newly Redesigned “The Buffet” at Excaliber Opens

What was formally called the Roundtable Buffet at Excalibur, has gone through an entire makeover and renamed The Buffet. The resort’s newly redesigned buffet opened December 23, and everything is brand new, beginning with the welcoming entrance, a front facade made from warm, wood panelin and crisp metal accents, to the room's décor including furniture, fixtures, lighting, and eye catching vibrant graphic illustrations of fresh produce that line the walls.

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The Buffet entrance
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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The Carvery
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Serving stations
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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The desert station
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

The contemporary dining room features six food stations serving a variety of cultural/international cuisine including American, Asian, Italian and Latin, and the venue’s focal point, a dessert station filled with sweet treats and two interactive stations where guests can enjoy made-to-order crepes and ice cream pops hand-rolled and dipped. Those with dietary restrictions have also been taken into consideration and to accommodate them, the chef will gladly prepare a dish from the station, accordingly. There are also several scrumptious sugar free as well as gluten free options to satisfy the discriminating palate.

Seafood lovers are in for heavenly experience when they visit The Buffet on Fridays. That's when the all you can eat buffet transforms into a seafood extravaganza featuring crawfish, blue crab, crab legs, sushi, peel-and-eat shrimp, lobster polenta and more. In addition, menu items will rotate seasonally and change during holidays to highlight the freshest produce and ingredients, elevating The Buffet to a fresh new dining experience.

The media was invited to celebrate the Grand Opening on January 20. On hand to greet guests and talk about the new and improved dining venue were several casino executives including Ann Hoff, General Manager of the Excalibur and Executive Chef Tommy Gorball.  In speaking about the room's transformation and the creative team that put it all together, Hoff stated, “I am proud of the extrordinary team that brought this buffet to life, making it an extraordinary experience”.  While giving me a personal tour of the available food stations and its offerings, the charming and accommodating Chef Corball said, “Keeping the fresh factor in mind, it is about making memories, which we try to set up along the stations.”

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Ann Hoff, General Manager of the Excalibur
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Executive Chef, Tommy Gorball
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

That said, by providing good, quality food along with a friendly, accommodating staff and eyecatching environment, The Buffet at the Excalibur delivers a tasteful, memorable experience.

Located on the Castle Walk near the Thunder From Down Under Showroom, The Bufffet is opened daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Hours of Operation are 7 am to 10 pm. For pricing call (702) 597-777.

The dining room seats 610 guests and can easily adapt to accommodate groups of all sizes with a variety of booths, banquettes and loose seating.

Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Unveils a Picturesque Display Honoring Chinese New Year

In celebration of  the Chinese New Year, Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens unveiled a captivating display commemorating the Year of the Yang, that guests can enjoy now through March 15. Brought to life by 22,000 flowers in vibrant hues of red and gold, the display features an assortment of silk-lantern chandeliers and unique Asian vignettes that incorporate elements of Chinese design.

In Chinese and other Asian cultures, the upcoming new year is the celebration of the Year of the Yang which simultaneously honors the Goat, Sheep and Ram. Paying homage to the different forms of the Yang, the Conservatory will recognize the Goat while the Ram will be honored elsewhere around the resort.

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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

To honor the Goat, the centerpiece of the Conservatory is a 14-foot-tall grassy mountain featuring a family of five animated goats stands proudly on the mountaintop, turning their heads to observe the gardens below. Peeking out from the mountainside into which it is built is an Asian home with jade doorknobs.  Nearby, water cascades off the mountain into a pond surrounded by citrus trees, bromeliads and cyclamen. Bringing luck to the Conservatory’s visitors, the West Garden’s front fence is lined with I-Ching coins while a pair of oversized pots topped with incense diffusers are positioned around the mountainside.

In the East Garden, a 12-foot-tall lantern sits atop a pond that holds 21,000 gallons of water, live Koi fish and four bonsai trees perched atop pedestals.

Additional illuminated lanterns sit in the corners of the garden, casting a soft red glow on the yellow chrysanthemums and red bromeliads below.

Beneath a moongate wall in the South Garden, three Chinese children, with clothes adorned with 1,000 hand-cut flowers each, dance around a pond surrounded by bamboo and trees brimming with lanterns. Every evening from 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., the Las Vegas-based Beijing Trio performs traditional folk and pop music with authentic Chinese instruments.

A Chinese pavilion serves as the focal point of the North Bed where three Chinese children play at the end of a brick bridge that connects the pavilion to the lush garden of overflowing bromeliads, red cyclamen and chrysanthemums.

The Chinese New Year exhibit is complimentary and open to the public seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

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

On Friday, January 6, AAA awarded MGM Resorts International seven 2015 FIVE DIAMOND AWARDS for its resorts and restaurants in recognition of exceptional service and accommodations. Included on this prestigious list are BELLAGIO RESORT & CASINO, ARIA RESORT & CASINO, ARIA SKY SUITES AND SKYLOTS AT MGM GRAND. Renowned restaurants PICASSO AND LE CIRQUE, both at Bellagio, and JOEL RUBUCHON RESTAURANT at MGM Grand also received the accolade. Bellagio, the first resort in Las Vegas to achieve this milestone received its 14th consecutive AAA Five Diamond this year. Two of the resort’s restaurants were also bestowed Five Diamond status: Chef Julian Serrano’s celebrated Picasso received the distinction for the 15th consecutive year and Le Cirque for the 13th year.

SHERRY GORDY, daughter of the legendary music Motown mogul Berry Gordy, received a Las Vegas proclamation from Mayor Carolyn Goodman on January 22 during her TV variety show, Take The Stage at the Fiesta Rancho hotel-casino.  Currently in her second year, Gordy has set up shop at the Fiesta Rancho featuring an open mic forum every Thursday Night in the Club Tequila Showroom where she is committed to continue presenting the legendary Motown music inspired by her family through talented entertainers in Las Vegas. Her weekly shows, produced by TV host and entertainer Tony Sacca, enlist a combination of established nationally known artists, singers, poets, comics, musicians and veteran performers.

Sherry Gordy with hat
Sherry Gordy

On Saturday, January 31 at 12 p.m., Bill Boyd, Executive Chairman of Boyd Gaming, will attend the official 40th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AT THE CALIFORNIA HOTEL – open to the public – featuring a champagne toast, cake, hula dancers, live Hawaiian music and special anniversary giveaways. City of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is scheduled to join Mr. Boyd in the presentation during the festivities, along with numerous “day one” employees who will be honored for their dedication, hard work and impressive tenure at the California Hotel and Casino. In honor of the anniversary, the Downtown Las Vegas landmark will offer various casino and dining promotions.

Kicking off its second year, the January edition of “MONDAYS DARK WITH MARK SHUNOCK” will be held Monday evening, 8:30 p.m on January 26 with proceeds benefiting The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.  Each month,  several local celebrities and entertainers take the stage at Vinyl inside The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for an extraordinary 90 minute show. This month, the theme is "Music of the Mouse," with each performer singing a Disney song. The lineup of entertainers include Josh Strickland, Norma Llyaman, Brandon Nix, Felice Garcia, Andrew Ragone, and more. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door.  Tickets can be purchased online at or you can get tickets at The Center.

Mondays Dark January 2015

M RESPORT SPA CASINO will host a six-day JOB FAIR to recruit candidates for a variety of seasonal positions for the 2015 pool season. The resort will hire for both of its pools, during two separate job fairs in January and February.  Available positions include cocktail servers, bartenders, barbacks, lifeguards, security officers, cashiers, pool supervisors, VIP sales representatives and cooks. Cocktails server applicants are required to audition in swimwear. Auditions will be held inside Ravello Lounge at the M Resort:  Tuesday, Jan. 27; Wednesday, Jan. 28; Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015.  All interested candidates should apply online in advance of the job fair by visiting and clicking on the “Employment” link at the bottom of the page.
The famed orange MERSK ALABAMA LIFEBOAT in which Somali pirates held Tom Hanks hostage during a tense standoff in the multiple Oscar nominated blockbuster "CAPTAIN PHILLIPS" is now part of the incredible growing collection of movie, TV and custom vehicles on display at the new HOLLYWOOD CARS MUSEUM BY JAY OHRBERG, located at Hot Rod City, 5115 Dean Martin Dr. in Las Vegas. The museum acquired it from the Picture Car Warehouse in Los Angeles. Museum admission is $15 for adults; children 16 and under are free.

Producer Andy Walmsley recently announced the lineup of speakers for the second installment of his ENTSPEAKS which will be held at Inspire Theatre in downtown La Vegas on Feruary2.  The roster includes entertainment journalist Robin Leach, producer/choreographer Anita Mann, pasty Chef Nicole Kaplan, comedy magician Mac King,  president of the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Foundation Myron Martin, and singing impressionist Bob Anderson. EntSpeaks is a series of one-night only, intimate evenings with the people who made Las Vegas the "Entertainment Capital of the World." The show is for invite only guests.

MERCADITO AT RED ROCK RESORT hosts “CHICAS NIGHT OUT”, an all-new Ladies Night, beginning  Thursday, Feb. 5, Chicas from all over the valley can leave the men at home and delight in their favorite Mercadito libations and dishes while hanging with BFFs in the spiciest location in Southwest Las Vegas.

Tables of ladies receive half-priced bottles of wine and traditional margaritas, complimentary chips and salsa and $7.50 small plates including flautas, queso fundido, nachos and corn masa quesadillas.  The full menu is also available at regular prices.  Ladies can also vie for luxury raffle prizes including spa and beauty packages, show tickets, watches, designer handbags, jewelry, designer shoes and more.  All ladies will receive one raffle ticket.  An additional raffle ticket can be obtained by checking in on social media or posting a photo of their fun and tagging Mercadito.  There is a limit of two raffle tickets per person.  Winner for the evening will be drawn at 9 p.m. and guests must be present to win.

Comedian TOM COTTER's Friday, February 6 performance at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino will take place as scheduled, but due to unforeseen circumstances he will no longer be performing on Saturday, February 7. Those holding tickets to the February 7 show will be contacted directly by the Suncoast Box Office to make arrangements. Now performing on Saturday, February 7 is comedian HENRY CHO.  Showtime each evening is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available from $15.95, plus tax and fees.

FIRST FRIDAY LAS VEGAS,one of the largest arts and culture festivals in the Western United States, celebrates in Downtown Las Vegas with “Carnival,” a fete of merriment and excess, on Friday, Feb. 6.

Keeping with the traditions that inspire “Carnival,” event-goers are encouraged to draw from the festival costumes of New Orleans, Brazil and Venice and fashion elaborate masks to dress the part. In addition, all attendees are asked to bring beads for a friendly, Mardi-Gras inspired bead exchange with old friends or new friends.  Beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Charleston and Casino Center, guests can delight in a real N’Awlins-syle parade complete with a second-line, marching band and decorated bikes.  A second parade commences at 9 p.m. from the same location featuring a Samba line and drumming, snaking through the First Friday footprint and gathering partygoers along the way.

Originally scheduled to be a part of the January event, First Friday welcomes back the Las Vegas First Friday Poets after a six-year hiatus from the First Friday scene.  This esteemed group of Valley poets return, giving the wonder of spoken word its due acknowledgment within the artistic platform that is First Friday.  Featuring widely-published performance poet Lee Mallory and local poet-host Lana Hanson, a variety of local poets are set to dazzle audiences with their media and messages on Colorado Ave., between Third St. and Casino Center Blvd. This February, both well-known and emerging artists will embrace the “Carnival” theme in Arts Row, running down Casino Center from Colorado to Charleston. The Arts District also features a variety of arts and crafts vendors made popular in The Bazaar.

THE BENEFIT CONCERT FOR POLICE UNITY TOUR returns to Sam’s Town Live! on February 7.  The Police Unity Tour is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty through an annual bike ride. This year’s concert will honor Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo.  Local classic rock cover band CROSSFIRE will perform hits from Led Zeppelin, Journey, Van Halen and more. Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased at any Boyd Gaming box office.Tickets will be available at the door for $15, starting at 7 p.m. the night of the show. Guests must be 21 years of age and older.

LISA LAMPANELLI, America’s Queen of Mean, will be at The Venetian to kick off season two of the successful all-female comedy series, LIPSHTICK – The Perfect Shade of Stand Up, on Saturday, February 7. Tickets are on sale now.

COMMONWEALTH - the popular downtown cocktail bar will team up with  CUPID'S UNDIE RUN, a mile-long run to benefit the CHILDREN'S TUMOR FOUNDATION, starting at noon on Saturday, Feb. 14.  Cupid’s Undie Run has recently expanded to 38 cities across the United States and Australia, and will arrive in Las Vegas for the first time in 2015. Commonwealth will serve as the starting and finishing point for the race, hosting more than 400 underwear-clad runners for an afternoon of fitness and Valentine’s Day festivities. Participants may enjoy both pre and post-race cocktails at Commonwealth, and will be able to use the venue to store any articles of clothing not needed for the run.   Tickets for Cupid’s Undie Run are available for advance purchase and are priced at $40 from Jan. 17 through Jan. 30, and $50 from Jan. 31 through Feb. 14. Proceeds from ticket sales and fundraising will benefit the Children’s Tumor Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing relief for those suffering from neurofibromatosis (NF).

MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL,  that launched a women’s movement and has 3,625 performances under its belt, will debut inside THE IMPROV AT HARRAH'S LAS VEGAS with preview performances starting February 3 and a grand opening February 20. New show times, along with an expanded stage, upgraded sound and lighting, as well as a fresh set and costumes, highlight the new production’s intimate setting. Performances are scheduled for Monday at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday through Sunday at 6:30 p.m., as well as an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.  Tickets are priced at $44.99 for orchestra seats, $54.99 for premium seating and $70 for VIP seating. A $35 VVIP upgrade is available on all price levels and includes a signed poster, meet and greet and photo with the cast and a $10 merchandise voucher. Locals can reserve the mid-level ticket for $34.95 with the code MMLOCAL. Additional fees may apply.

Award-winning gentlemen’s club and top after-hours party destination CRAZY HORSE III will  offer complimentary transportation and entry to all MAGIC convention badge holders from Monday, Feb. 16, through Friday, Feb. 20.

NEVADA BALLET THEATRE (NBT) presents a spectacular one-night only gala and performance in celebration of its beloved Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair NANCY HOUSSELS. Featuring a dazzling variety of works and special guest artists, this jubilant celebration of dance will be presented on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 7:30 pm at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Ticket prices start at $29 (plus fees).

Celebrity sightings:

Wednesday, Jan. 21...

In the evening, the sexy girls of X ROCKS  made a special performance at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for the annual AVN Awards. Following the performance, the cast was joined backstage by television personality Brody Jenner.

X Rocks and Brody Jenner
X ROCKS cast members with Brody Jenner
Photo courtesy of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Former NBA All-Star Chauncey Billups was spotted dining at Tao.

Sunday, Jan. 18...

In the afternoon, star of Bravo’s Flipping Out, Jeff Lewis was spotted at LAVO with friends.

Former NFL head coach and current NFL analyst for ESPN Jon Gruden was spotted in the evening enjoying drinks at Sammy Hagar’s hard-rocking Cabo Wabo Cantina.

Def Jam performing artist Jeremih hosted the only winter pool party in Vegas under the temperature-controlled Marquee Dayclub Dome where he treated bikini-clad crowd to a medley of his hits including “Birthday Sex”, “The Body” and “Don’t Tell ‘Em”.

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Photo credit: Al Powers/Powers Imagery

TLC’s “Sister Wives” stars Kody Brown, his wife Christine and their daughter Mykelti were spotted at Blue Man Group inside Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.

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Kody and Christine Brown with Blue Man
Photo courtesy of Blue Man Group

Saturday, Jan. 17...

Chris Jericho, professional wrestler and lead singer of the heavy metal group Fozzy, hosted the official after-match party at Body English Nightclub inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. To kick the night off, Jericho ate at the property’s premier dining destination 35 Steaks + Martinis with fellow professional wrestler Michael “The Miz” Mizanin and friends. They were then joined by HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul as they made their way across the casino to Body English Nightclub.

On night two of the the birthday celebration for cast member Katie Maloney of the hit TV series Vanderpump Rules friends and fellow cast members Jax Taylor, Tom Sandoval, Scheana Marie and Tom Schwartz, enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Japanese restaurant Katsuya at SLS Las Vegas.

The party culminated at  LIFE NIGHTCLUB where Katie and the group were greeted by " Life Welcomes the Cast Of Vanderpump Rules" and “Happy Birthday Katie” displayed on the nightclub’s large LED screen. Katie and the cast members enjoyed cocktails while taking in hot EDM beats by  R3hab. The night ended with a special birthday cake presentation for Katie carried out on the whimsical LiFE horse.

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Katie Maloney with birthday cake
Photo credit: SBE

Friday, Jan. 16...

Brody Jenner held court at TAO Nightclub, treating club goers to a special DJ set along with William Lifestyle. The reality star, along with girlfriend Kaitlynn Carter and friends first dined  at TAO Asian Bistro before heading up to the club where he and William Lifestyle manned the decks. After entertaining the crowd Jenner and friends made their way to Marquee Nightclub to take in the sounds of DJ Vice.

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Brody Jenner and Kaitlynn Carter
Photo credit: Al Powers/Powers Imagery

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William Lifestyle and Brody Jenner
Photo credit: Al Powers/Powers Imagery

The cast of the hit TV series Vanderpump Rules had a birthday bash for cast member Katie Maloney at the new SLS Las Vegas  hotel. Joined by friends and fellow cast members Jax Taylor, Tom Sandoval, Scheana Marie and  Tom Schwartz, birthday girl Katie Maloney, turning 29, kicked off the weekend-long celebration with a Southern-style dinner from Double Barrel Roadhouse.

Katie Maloney and friends celebrating at Double Barrel Roadhouse 2
Katie Maloney (center)
Photo credit: SBE

Thursday, Jan. 15...

Jamaal Charles was spotted at TAO Nightclub’s Worship Thursday. The running back for the Kansas City Chiefs was with his agent and friends, taking in the sounds of DJ Five.