Judy Thorburn | Editor in Chief | Writer | Columnist

Judy 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

Magician Tommy Wind's Family Friendly Magic Show Honored with 2016 Merlin Award

Twenty six year old magician Tommy Wind was presented with the prestigious Merlin Award for "Best Family Friendly Magic Show 2016" by Tony Hassini, President and founder of the International Magicians Society, which has over 37,000 worldwide members, on Monday evening, June 20.

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Tony Hassini and Tommy Wind
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

The Merlin Award is presented to those magicians who have achieved the highest level in their craft, both on the national and international stage.  The criteria that the voting members consider are talent, showmanship, originality, skills, and above all the rare ability to entertain under any conditions.

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Wind with dad Tom, mom Arlene and wife Stacy

Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Past recipients of the Merlin Award have included Harry Blackstone, Doug Henning, David Copperfield, Penn & Teller and Criss Angel, just to name a few.

The presentation took place during a ceremony on stage at Wind's own self named theatre on The Las Vegas Strip prior to the start of his family friendly show that blends music and magic. Truly a family affair, the show stars Tommy and features his musician father Tom who performs a drum duet with Tommy, mother Arlene as DJ M-O-M, and wife/stage assistant Stacy.

Upon accepting the award, the talented and personable Wind, who was born and raised in Staten Island, New York, said, "I was literally ecstatic when I learned I would be receiving this award. I want to thank the International Magicians Society for recognizing me. I started out as a kid doing card tricks at a pizzeria and it has been my dream to perform on the Las Vegas stage.

Hassini said, "Tommy Wind isn't the youngest person to win the Merlin Award but definitely deserves it. His entertainment talent is well recognized in the world of magic."

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Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Along with VIP's and members of the press, in attendance to show their support for their fellow magician were several magicians including Las Vegas headliner Comedy Magician Murray Sawchuck and his on stage sidekick, master slight of hand trickster Douglas “Lefty” Leferovich, Val Valentino (aka The Masked Magician), Jarrett Parker (half of the music and magic duo Jarrett & Raja), The Shocker (aka Greg Dow), Chris Funk and others.

Wind won Best Magician of the Year at the World Magic Awards in 2009. If you haven't yet seen him perform live, tune into the CW network's Summer TV series, “Masters of Illusion”, viewed by over 4 million, where he is one of the featured magic acts.

Tommy Wind performs his family friendly magic show nightly at 6 p.m in The Tommy Wind Theatre, located north of the MGM and behind Walgreen’s and Fatburger on Las Vegas Blvd. For tickets call the box-office at 702-895-9787.

Check out Dianne Davis' video interview with 2016 Merlin Award recipient Tommy Wind in this week's edition of her column, Views of Vegas.

Local Media Personalities Compete in Charity Cooking Competition at Trevi Italian Restaurant

TREVI Italian Restaurant, located at the heart of The Forum Shops at Caesars, hosted a pizza cook-off Wednesday afternoon, June 15 featuring local news personalities competing for charity.

TREVI Charity Pizza Competition Contestants PRESS
Doug Elfman, Beth Fisher and Dave Hall in front of TREVI Italian Restaurant
Photo credit: Tara Woodall

Celebrity Judges at TREVI Italian Restaurant PRESS
Celebrity judges at TREVI Italian Restaurant
Photo credit: Tara Woodall

Dave Halls winning charity pizza PRESS
Dave Hall’s winning charity pizza
Photo credit: Tara Woodall

Chef Jose Presenting Winning Check to Dave Hall
Chef Jose Navarro presenting the winning check to Dave Hall
Photo credit: Tara Woodall

Winner Dave Hall with Judges
Dave Hall with Chef Jose Navarro and celebrity judges
Photo credit: Tara Woodall

Competing “chefs” included Dave Hall of FOX 5 KVVU, Beth Fisher of ABC 13 KTNV, and 2015’s champion, Doug Elfman, of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Each participant worked with TREVI Executive Chef Jose Navarro to create a pizza using individually-selected ingredients. The pizzas were scored on taste, creativity and presentation by a panel of guest judges including: famed hypnotist and Paris Las Vegas headliner, Anthony Cools; radio personalities, Big D and Johiah of 93.1 The Party KPLV; and the cast of FANTASY at Luxor.
In a close race, Hall was crowned champion and earned a $500 donation from TREVI and Landry’s, Inc., to F.E.A.T (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) of Southern Nevada, a non-profit organization of parents and professionals designed to help families with children who have received a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Hall’s winning pie featured barbecue sauce, chicken, basil, purple onion, mozzarella and cilantro.
Fisher competed for Hope for Prisoners, and crafted a pizza featuring basil, mozzarella, pesto sauce, pine nuts and red bell peppers. Elfman cooked for Community Cat Coalition of Clark County and created a pizza featuring sliced breaded eggplant, Vidalia onions, roasted peppers, sliced mushrooms, red sauce, a blend of mozzarella, parmesan and fontina cheeses, garnished with shaved parmesan cheeses and an olive oil drizzle, served on a seeded crust with poppy and sesame seeds, along with dried onion and garlic flakes.
In addition to the competition, TREVI also offered specialty priced cheese pizzas for $10, with all proceeds benefiting the winner’s charity.

Local McDonald’s Donates $5,000 to the Injured Police Officers Fund

Local McDonald’s owner-operators donated $5,000 for the Injured Police Officers Fund (IPOF) on Wednesday, June 15, at Las Vegas Metro Police Department - Downtown Area Command.

The check was presented to IPOF, Las Vegas Metro Sheriff Joseph Lombardo and Henderson Police Chief Patrick Moers and officers from multiple jurisdictions, including the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Henderson Police Department and North Las Vegas Police Department. The donation will help provide financial assistance to local police officers and their families when officers are injured or killed in the line of duty.

Image 1 IPOF Check Presentation  Owner Operators with Metro and Henderso
McDonald’s owners/operators: Bill Wong, Henderson Police Chief Patrick Moers, Michael Kiel, James Vance, Las Vegas Metro Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, Kellie Vander Veur, Andy Vander Veur and Jeremy Burningham.

During National Police Week, select Southern Nevada McDonald’s restaurants hosted personnel from multiple jurisdictions for its annual fundraiser benefitting IPOF. Local owner/operators committed to donate net proceeds from the sale of each coupon card to the IPOF.
Following a shooting in North Las Vegas in June 2014, McDonald’s Southern Nevada restaurants held a one-day fundraiser benefiting the IPOF and the families of fallen officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, as well as civilian victim Joseph R. Wilcox.
Local McDonald’s owner/operators aim to provide continued support for valued community partners like the IPOF and are proud to provide support where it is needed most.
The mission of IPOF is to help reduce the financial burden suffered by police officers and their families in the event of a line of duty injury or death.

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

Victory Hill Exhibitions’ global, interactive experience – Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) – is now open to the public at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. You can read more about it in this week's edition of Jacqueline Monahan's column, “About The Town.”

Fremont Street Experience and Tiësto officially premiered the newest Viva Vision show, Tiësto - A TOWN CALLED PARADISE, on Thursday, June 16 during EDC Weekend in Las Vegas. The new light and sound show is built around the music of iconic Vegas DJ Tiësto. The show title pays homage to his 2014 album A Town Called Paradise, and features three songs hand-selected by the artist himself – “Secrets,” “Red Lights” and “Wasted” – custom-synced to stunning graphics.Tiësto visited Fremont Street Experience on June 16, just before EDC Weekend in Las Vegas kicked-off, for a special ceremony to introduce the new show. Coinciding with EDC and the official world premiere, the new show was featured at 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. June 16-19. Beginning June 20, Tiësto – A Town Called Paradise airs nightly at midnight as part of the ongoing Viva Vision® show schedule.

Photo credit: Tom Donaghue

Photo credit: Tom Donaghue

Photo credit: Tom Donaghue

The public is invited to join Dennis Bono every Thursday afternoon for the live taping of "THE DENNIS BONO SHOW"  in the main showroom at Michael Gaughan's South Point Hotel & Casino." Tickets are available on Wednesday & Thursday at the main box office starting at 12pm.  All you need is your players card and your ticket is FREE. Appearing on the show, Thursday, June 23 is wonderful classical guitarist and stage performer aka“Cuchi Cuchi Girl” CHARO, British comedian and writer of the Benny Hill Show LENNY WINDSOR, singer/entertainer KELLY CLINTON HOLMES, talented jazz singer Toscha Comeaux, singer JOHNATHAN KARRANT and singer/entertainer CORRIE SACHS.

As the 2016 World Series of Beer Pong approaches, BEER PARK at Paris Las Vegas will host its own qualifying tournament starting at 10 p.m. on Thursday, June 23.  The tournament will feature 32 teams consisting of two people per team. Each team will receive a complimentary pitcher of beer and the winning team will receive complimentary registration into the 2016 World Series of Beer Pong, a value of more than $500. Taking place Wednesday, July 6 through Sunday, July 10 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, teams will compete at the 2016 World Series of Beer Pong for a chance to receive the grand prize of $50,000.  The event is complimentary to enter, but space is limited.

For the third consecutive year, the iconic water park WET’N’WILD LAS VEGAS, will be an official host venue in the global record attempt for THE WORLD'S LARGEST SWIMMING LESSON on Friday, June 24 at 9:30 a.m. Check-in will begin at 9 a.m.  Tens of thousands of kids and adults at aquatic facilities around the world will unite to set a new Guinness World Record™ while raising awareness about the importance of water safety and drowning prevention. To participate, each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The WLSL covers a 30-minute, basic swim lesson that will be held in the Red Rock Bay attraction.   To register, visit www.wetnwildlasvegas.com and click on the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson event page. Availability is on first come, first served basis. Once the maximum 400 people are reached, registration will close. Each child who participates must have a parent assisting for one-on-one attention. Participants will be able to enjoy the water parks more than 25 slides and attractions after the lesson, and will receive a certificate of participation.

With 50 years of celebrations on the Las Vegas Strip, the “SUMMER OF CAESARS” will blast-off on Sunday, July 3 at 9 p.m. (based on weather) with a colossal 13½ minute fireworks display set directly above the iconic hotel’s newly reimagined Julius Tower. While fireworks will light up the sky, a weekend long block party is planned, to thank the Las Vegas Community and visitors for supporting Caesars Palace during the last 50 years.

The Roman Plaza and Spanish Steps directly in front of Caesars Palace will be transformed for the massive block party which will feature live music, signature cocktails, life size games, patriotic decorations, homemade BBQ specials and more from noon to midnight beginning Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 3.

Comedian Adam Carolla brings his popular live podcast, “THE ADAM CAROLLA SHOW,” to Treasure Island for one night only on July 8 at 9 p.m.The show will feature Carolla interviewing a celebrity guest as well as fan favorite segments including “Blah Blah Blog,” “Totally Topical Tivo Trivia” and “The News by Gina Grad” featuring pictures, video and Bald Bryan Bishop sound effects.

THROWBACK SIZZLING JAM” returns to the Orleans Arena for its third-annual concert on Friday, July 8, with  Blackstreet,  K-Ci & JoJo, Warren G , 112 and more hit makers from the 90’s. 100% of the proceeds from the concert will benefit Andern Educational Research's “GEMs” program which provides scholarships for promising students to attend private high schools. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available from $40 plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased by calling the Orleans Arena Box Office

WIDESPREAD PANIC will make a weekend-long stop at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas for a three-night jam session July 8, 9 & 10 at 8 p.m. They will be joined by their good friends Dirty Dozen Brass Band for all three performances. Tickets start at $55 (plus applicable service fees).

The legendary rock and roll band with horns, CHICAGO, will perform live at The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort July 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $75, plus any additional service fees.

CHRIS COLLINS & BOULDER CANYON:  A TRIBUTE TO JOHN DENVER” will bring the iconic songs of the legendary singer-songwriter to the Suncoast Showroom July 9 and 10. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $19.50 plus taxes and fees, and can be purchased at any Boyd Gaming box office.

The long-running, popular game show “WHO WANT TO BE A MILLIONAIRE,” with host Chris Harrison, has relocated to Bally’s Las Vegas and visitors and area residents have the chance to be a part of one of television’s most iconic game shows. “Millionaire” currently is searching for outstanding contestants and enthusiastic audience members for the 2016-2017 season, which premieres in national syndication on September 12, 2016.  OPEN AUDITIONS will take place at Bally’s Las Vegas, located at 3645 S. Las Vegas Blvd., from 2PM to 7PM on the following dates: · July 7-9, July 11-15, July 18-22 and July 25-29. All potential contestants should line up outside of the Indigo Lounge in Bally’s, which is adjacent to the Tequila Taqueria restaurant. Audition space is limited. There are no sign-ups for the Las Vegas auditions, and admission to the audition sessions is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Celebrity sightings:

Friday, June 17...

Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman was spotted at Marquee Dayclub in a cabana where he took in the sounds of Cash Cash for EDC Week.

Cash Cash MarqueeDayClub6.17.16
Cash Cash
Photo credit: Mike Kirschbaum/Tony Tran Photography

Cash Cash MDC 6.17.16
Cash Cash
Photo credit: Mike Kirschbaum/Tony Tran Photography

Professional wrestler Dustin Runnels, better known by his ring name Goldust, was spotted attending the hit show Absinthe at Caesars Palace.

Following the show, Runnels met with The Gazillionaire, his assistant Joy Jenkins and the “Green Fairy” Melody Sweets for photos.

Goldust attends ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace 6.17.16 credit Joseph SandersSpiegelworld
Goldust attends ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace
Photo credit: Joseph SandersSpiegelworld

Saturday night, June 11...

American singer and actress, Christina Milian was spotted at JEWEL Nightclub inside ARIA Resort & Casino.

JEWEL Christina Milian and Steve Aoki Photo Credit Tony Tran 1
Christina Milian and Steve Aoki
Photo credit: Tony Tran

JEWEL Christina Milian and Steve Aoki Photo Credit Tony Tran 2
Christina Milian and Steve Aoki
Photo credit: Tony Tran



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