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

Jarrett & Raja Open their new show Magician vs Maestro at Hooters Hotel & Casino

You've seen them on America's Got Talent, Masters of Illusion and Shark Tank. Now the talented music and magic duo of Jarrett & Raja have opened their own brand new residency show, Magician vs, Maestro, in a showroom built just for them at Hooters Hotel & Casino. Appropriately titled, the show is a perfect blend of magic, music and comedy, under the guise of friendly rivalry between Julliard trained concert pianist, Raja vying for his turn and time to perform on piano against Jarrett who appears to take front center stage with his magic tricks.

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Jarrett & Raja Magician vs Maestro - Jilly in the box - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Jarrett & Raja Magician vs Maestro - JR Phelps sings - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


Along with the occasional comical back and forth banter, the duo offer their own unique twists on familiar illusions, such as mind reading between Raja and an audience member, orange pieces of paper miraculously transforming into live goldfish, sight of hand card tricks, a levitation, and the classic sawing in half trick, among others.  But this time, the twist has Raja's upper body half moved over to the piano where he then reaches up and plays it upside down.  The effect is mind boggling, to say the least.

The cast also features assistant/dancer Jilly and dynamic singer JR Phelps who belts out apropos song selections such as  Heart's “Magic Man” and Jefferson Starship's “Miracles” while the guys take a break from the stage to prepare for what comes next.

Although the specially built stage is not large with limited space and ability to perform large, grand illusions, Jarrett and Raja still managed to work their magic and create a magical show with a different spin, unlike any other on the strip that is fun to watch, entertaining, and family friendly for people of all ages.  Add the fact that that they are great showmen, easy on the eyes and very likable, and well... that should do the trick (yes, pun intended) of attracting audiences from all over.

Jarrett & Raja perform“Magician vs Maestro” in the Jarrett & Raja Showroom on the second floor at Hooters Casino Hotel, Thursday through Monday at 7pm. Dinner at 6 pm. Tickets are $49.99 for general admission (no dinner), $69.99 General (Dinner and Show), $79.99 (General, plus priority seating, signed poster), and $89.99 for Platinum VIP (VIP, plus signed poster, private meet and greet). Guests under 21 years must be accompanied by an adult.  Locals and military receive 50 percent off VIP ticket prices.

Red carpet arrivals on media night, April 3 included award winning production designer/producer Andy Walmsley, singer Clint Holmes, celebrity magician Murray Sawchuck and his sidekick/sleight of hand trickster Doug "Lefty" Leferovich, American Idol season 3 finalist Jasmine Trias and singer/magician Ben Stone, comedy juggler Jeff Civillico, husband and wife magicians Kyle and Mistie Knight, Donald Trump impersonator John Di Domenico, actor/musician and flambouyant Las Vegas personality Monti Rock III, magician Tommy Wind and his wife/stage assistant Stacy, Steampunk professor Doc Phineas,  comedian Tommy Lama and actress/singer Joelle Righetti.

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Full cast, crew, and production team - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Andy Walmsley - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Clint Holmes - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Doc Phinneas - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


Douglas Leftey Leferovich and Murray Sawchuck Jarrett Raja 3753
Douglas (Lefty) Leferovich and Murray Sawchuck - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Jasmine Trias and Ben Stone - Photo credit: Stephen Thotburn


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Jeff Civillico - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Joelle Righetti - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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John Di Domenico with Hooters Girls - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Kyle and Mistie Knight - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Monti Rock III - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Tommy and Stacy Wind - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Tommy Lama - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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JR Phelps, Jarrett & Raja, and Jilly - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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

Ben and Jerry’s at the District and Sunset Station recently participated in a the national FREE CONE DAY.  Some of the celebrity scoopers included Comedy Magician Adam London with Jennifer Romas of Sexxy and the Ben & Jerry’s scoopin’ crew, DD (Jayne Post) of Marriage Can Be Murder with Flavor Flav. Local donations received supported CASA Foundation.

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Comedy Magician Adam London with Jennifer Romas of Sexxy and the Ben & Jerry’s scoopin’ crew


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DD (Jayne Post) of Marriage Can Be Murder with Flavor Flav - Photo courtesy of Ben & Jerry's


The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) announced on Wednesday, April 5, that SHARK REEF AQUARIUM at Mandalay Bay was granted accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, making it the only facility of its kind in Nevada. “By meeting the highest standards, Shark Reef Aquarium is regarded as among the world’s best zoos and aquariums,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “Shark Reef Aquarium is a proven leader in the care and conservation of wildlife, and in inspiring people to take action to protect the natural world.”  To be accredited, Shark Reef Aquarium underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.

For the month of April, the renowned Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino has gone purple, celebrating all things Prince, including month-long promotions and the debut of PURPLE REIGN AFTER DARK on Friday, April 7 at 10:45 p.m. Purple Reign After Dark is a funk fusion after-party held inside The Crown Room above the famed International Theater, following each Friday performance of Purple Reign, the AWARD WINNING PRICE TRIBUTE SHOW FEATURING JASON TENNER AS PRINCE.  A sophisticated, free-wheeling dance environment, Purple Reign After Dark offers guests a VIP musical experience alongside the talented performers of Purple Reign. Purple Reign After Dark is FREE with the purchase of a VIP ticket to Purple Reign.  Held inside the famed International Theater every Wednesday through Saturday at 9 p.m., tickets to Purple Reign are $49.47 for general admission, $67.82 for VIP and $76.99 for the Purple Velvet Package, which includes pre-seating, VIP seats and a souvenir t-shirt.

Guests can enjoy incredible ENTERTAINMENT ACROSS STATIONS CASINOS IN APRIL. Highlights include: Silent Savasana Yoga at Red Rock Resort on Thursday, April 20; Boulder Blues at Boulder Station on Thursday, April 20; Live entertainment at Hearthstone at Red Rock Resort on Saturdays and UFC 210 viewing parties on Saturday, April 8 at Santa Fe Station, Red Rock Resort, Sunset Station, Boulder Station and Palace Station. Entrance is free unless otherwise noted.

TAPE FACE is winding down his limited engagement at Flamingo Las Vegas with shows April 18-May 7, with the Tuesday, April 18 date just added. Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday He’s been busy visiting shows during his days off. Most recently he stopped by “Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil”.

The dynamic duo of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel – better known as the electro-rock outfit PHANTOGRAM – are headed back to Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas at The Linq Promenade on Wednesday, April 19 at 8:30 p.m. Doors for Phantogram at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas open at 7:30 p.m. This show is for ages 18+. General admission tickets start at $29.50 (plus applicable service fees).  The addition of Phantogram, with Barthel at the helm, bolsters a spring lineup already rife with explosive female talent, all making the trip from (or on the way to) the festival grounds in Indio, Calif. to play at the famed Brooklyn Bowl stage. The Head And The Heart (April 11), Oh Wonder (April 12), Kehlani (April 20) and Tove Lo (April 21) will all headline Brooklyn Bowl. In addition, Margo Price, the throwback country sensation from the Midwest, will open for Jamey Johnson (April 28).

The UNLV campus will be immersed in the rich, wide palate of all things baroque during the inaugural LAS VEGAS BAROQUE FESTIVAL, which will be held in multiple campus locations April 18 - 23. The program is open to the community and features the Bay Area's Archetti Baroque String Ensemble, prize-winning Notre Dame University organist, Craig Cramer, faculty and student performances, and a baroque play-along welcoming musicians who want to join in. Music professor Jonathan RhodesLee's lecture, "What is 'Baroque' about Baroque Music?", opens the festival on the 18th, and members of UNLV's dance department will head an audience participation dance party on the 23rd.

The Las Vegas Baroque Festival schedule is as follows:

April 18, 7:30 p.m., University Forum Lecture Series: Jonathan Rhodes Lee, "What is 'Baroque' about Baroque?," Marjorie Barrick Museum Auditorium.
April 20, 7:30 p.m., Baroque Chorale Masterworks, Doc Rando Recital Hall.
April 21, 7:30 p.m., The Archetti Baroque String Orchestra, Doc Rando Recital Hall.
April 22, 3:30 p.m., UNLV Student Ensemble, Doc Rando Recital Hall
April 22,  7:30 p.m, UNLV Faculty and Guests Chamber Concert, Doc Rando Recital Hall.
April 23, 1 p.m., Baroque Play-Along, Doc Rando Recital Hall.
April 23, 2 p.m.,  Baroque Dance Party,  Alta Ham Fine Arts dance studio.
April 23, 4 p.m., organist Craig Cramer, Doc Rando Recital Hall.
April 23, 6:30 p.m., Gregory Brown, "The Baroque Era and Cultural History,” location TBA.
April 23, 7:30 p.m., UNLV Chamber Orchestra, Doc Rando Recital Hall.

For more information go to http://www.lasvegasbaroquefestival.com/

The fifth annual PIRATE FEST is set to sail on April 21-23 at their new location in Craig Ranch Regional Park. This unique weekend festival is filled with pirate-themed activities, food vendors, live entertainment and Pirate Fest is home to the annual Zappos’ Cardboard Regatta - a friendly competition of hand-crafted cardboard pirate ships.

New York-New York Hotel & Casino will host NATHAN'S FAMOUS HOT DOG EATING CONTEST, Saturday, April 22 at 3 p.m.  Trained male and female competitors will gather at Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York to compete for the title “Nevada Hot Dog Eating Champion.” The two contest winners will advance to the July 4 finals in Coney Island,  New York.  A special employee contest will begin at 1 p.m. followed by the service men and women contest at 2:30 p.m. Admission is FREE and open to the public.

The LAS VEGAS FIREFIGHTERS BENEFIT ASSOCIATION (LVFBA), Vegas' premiere 501(c) 3 benefitting active and retired firefighters, will host its 19TH Annual LVFBA GOLF TOURNAMENT at Revere Golf Club, inviting guests to golf-for-a-cause in support of the Las Vegas Valley firefighters. On Thursday, April 27th, the LVFBA will host fellow firefighters, neighbors, local celebrities and golfers alike for a day filled with food, fun, a silent auction and 18-holes of golf at one of Henderson’s finest courses featuring panoramic views of the Las Vegas Strip. All tournament proceeds will benefit active and retired Las Vegas firefighters. Check-in for the 2017 LVFBA Golf Tournament begins at 7 a.m. followed by a shotgun start at 9 a.m. The event is open to the public and will follow a scramble format; guests can register individually or as teams of four. The entry fee is $110 per golfer and includes food, unlimited beverages from a Crown Royal-sponsored bar, two raffle tickets and the chance to rub elbows with the sizzling heroes of our local fire department.   Those looking to add some heat to the competition can purchase an extended Game package for $60, which includes golf tournament traditions including Longest Drive, a putting contest, and Closest to the Pin. Four additional raffle tickets will be included for eligibility for exclusive prizes. An award ceremony will follow the conclusion of play with silent auction items including packages from event sponsors.

The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) Dance Program presents: THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN Friday, April 28, 7:00 PM and Saturday April 29 at 2:00 & 7:00 PM at CSN Performing Arts Center, North Las Vegas Campus - Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, 3200 East Cheyenne Avenue.The Bride of Frankenstein ballet scenario, takes its narrative cues both from the original story and the 1935 Hollywood film starring Boris Karloff as the monster. Noting the differences in literature, film, and theatrical presentations, choreographer Kelly Roth explains, “Director James Whale’s movie takes major artistic liberties with the book. We understand that Karloff’s riveting cinematic presence is the monstrous image etched in the mind of modern audiences,” he continues, “But for the dance we have, like so many others, done our own riff on the well-loved characters. We attempt to reflect the novel’s expression of the soulless creature’s longing for humanity and the film’s camp and special effects innovations, while acknowledging the inherent limitations and story-telling possibilities of a live theatrical dance production.” In addition to teaming up with the CSN Dance Ensemble for The Bride’s premiere, the College of Southern Nevada’s internationally acclaimed Concert Dance Company will unveil another new work featuring the added thrill of a live musical accompaniment. UNLV’s elite Graduate String Quartet will play Sergei Prokofiev’s revered First String Quartet as the dancers perform new choreography by CSN Dance Program Director, Kelly Roth. General admission is $8.00; students and seniors $5.00. For ticket information call the box office at 651-LIVE (5483).

Latin superstar GERARDO ORTIZ will perform in concert on Saturday, April 29 at Star of the Desert Arena in Primm. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $35.

Jazz enthusiasts will delight in the College of Southern Nevada's VOCAL JAZZ SOLO CONCERT on Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23, at 7:30 PM, in the Jay Morrison Recital Hall located in the Fine Arts Department at 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave. at the North Las Vegas campus. Audiences will be treated to a rhythmic evening of vocal entertainment as the CSN Jazz Singers take to the stage with featured student solo performances, lively ensemble numbers, as well as some traditional jazz pieces to round out the concert event. General admission tickets for each performance is $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. The event is presented by the CSN’s Fine Arts Department. For reservations, please call the CSN Box Office at 651-LIVE (5483).

The Nevada Conservatory Theatre presents the classic PETER PAN April 28-May 14 in the Judy Bayley Theatre. Tickets are priced at $33 reserved seating Section A; $27.50 reserved seating Section B. Discounts are available. UNLV students may receive one ticket for $10 with valid ID.

Country star DAVID NAIL is returning to Las Vegas for a special performance at The Railhead inside Boulder Station on Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale starting at $22.50.  Doors open at 7 p.m. and guests under 21 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased at any Station Casinos Reward Center and The Fiestas.

FAMILY TO FAMILY CONNECTION'S 13th ANNUAL TOUCH-A-TRUCK FAMILY EVENT will return to the Orleans Arena on Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Children will be able to get a hands-on experience in massive utility and first-responder vehicles. For the first two hours of the event (from 9 to 11 a.m.), a horn-free period will be offered for children with special needs or sensitive hearing. Tickets are available in advance for $6 per person, or $8 per person at the gate.

CSN Fine Arts Music Program presents a fun filled afternoon of classic and contemporary jazz selections performed by THE JAZZ SINGERS AND THREE JAZZ COMBO GROUPS on Sunday, April 30th at 2:00 p.m. in the Jay Morrison Recital Hall. CSN Saxophone and Jazz Combo Instructor, John Summers will direct the Monday and Wednesday Jazz Combos Group. CSN Music Instructor, Kevin Stout, will direct the Tuesday Jazz Combo Group and Dr. Mark Wherry will direct the extremely popular ensemble, The Jazz Singers. General admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.

Longtime Las Vegas entertainer Gordie Brown, known for his eccentric impressions of some of the biggest celebrities in the world today,  returns to the Las Vegas Strip, with the debut of GORDIE BROWN LIVE inside The Cabaret at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Tuesday, May 9 at 7 p.m.  In addition to favorite impressions of artists, actors, celebrities and politicians including Bruno Mars, Robert DeNiro, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks and Jack Nicholson, Gordie Brown Live will feature new voices and parodies. Gordie Brown Live opens Tuesday, May 9 in The Cabaret. Show times are Tuesday through Sunday (except Fridays) at 7 p.m. Tickets are priced at $59.95 (general admission), $69.95 (VIP) and $79.95 (Gold Circle seating), not including tax and service fees.

The POKER ROOM Room at Monte Carlo will close Tuesday, April 25, 2017.  A variety of premier poker rooms in the neighborhood are available to guests including those at Bellagio, ARIA and MGM Grand. The Monte Carlo Race & Sports Book, adjacent to the Poker Room, will remain open.

Japonais at The Mirage will transform into OTORO Robata Grill & Sushi, effective Monday, May 1, 2017. Led by Executive Chef Fernando Sposato, Otoro will continue to serve classic Japanese cuisine with flavorful dishes such as Rock Shrimp Tempura, Chilean Seabass, Fresh Oysters, Sushi and more.

As part of the ongoing transformation into Park MGM, YUSHO AT MONTE CARLO will close Monday, June 5.

Celebrity sightings:

Saturday, April 15...

Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli were spotted at Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The LA Kings players partied in a cabana with friends while taking in the sounds of DJ Vice.

Actress Brittany Snow was spotted dining with friends at TAO in The Venetian.

Entertainment blogger Perez Hilton dined at Beauty & Essex for the second night in a row.

Friday night, April 14...

Entertainment blogger Perez Hilton was spotted at Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Tuesday, April 11...

Former “Jersey Shore” reality star  Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi celebrated her friend’s upcoming nuptials at TAO restaurant in The Venetian. Afterwards she and seven others from the bachelorette party were spotted enjoying a girls’ night out at OMNIA Nightclub inside Caesars Palace.

Monday, April 10...

the internet’s favorite new“Dancing Granny” Tonya Johnson visited Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil®. Following a dance on The Las Vegas Strip that has garnered more than 18 million views on social media* already, the 62-year-old pop locking granny was discovered by cast members from the show, who were inspired by her extraordinary spirit and impeccable dance moves.

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“Dancing Granny” Tonya Johnson visited Michael Jackson ONE - Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil®

 Sunday, April 9...

legendary music icon Sir Paul McCartney from The Beatles also visited The #BeatlesLOVE.

Saturday, April 8...

Singer-songwriter Austin Mahone was spotted celebrating his 21st birthday at JEWEL Nightclub inside ARIA Resort &Casino. The “Mmm Yeah” singer arrived at the nightspot just before midnight with 15 other guests. Upon arrival, Mahone was seated inside the DJ booth where he joined his good friend and headlining DJ of the night Steve Aoki.

JEWEL Steve Aoki Austin Mahone Photo credit Michael Kirschbaum 3
JEWEL Steve Aoki Austin Mahone - Photo credit Michael Kirschbaum

Friday, April 7..

Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis visited the show The Beatles™ LOVE™ by Cirque du Soleil® with her sister and daughter. Following the show, she went backstage to meet the cast, taking photos with several artists.

Viola Davis and daughter at LOVE
Viola Davis and daughter with LOVE cast members - Photo courtesy of Cirque Du Soliel


Viola Davis with LOVE cast
Viola Davis with LOVE cast - Photo courtesy of Cirque Du Soliel

Thursday night, April 6...

Holly Madison dined at LAVO Italian Restaurant in The Palazzo with friends.

Tuesday, April 4...

Former baseball player Mo Vaughn dined at LAVO Italian Restaurant in The Palazzo with friends.

Sunday, April 2...

GRAMMY® nominated pop star Leona Lewis celebrated her 32nd birthday at MAGIC MIKE LIVE LAS VEGAS, a new sizzling 360-degree dance and acrobatic striptease spectacular offered exclusively at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The audience also enjoyed a surprise appearance by Magic Mike star Channing Tatum, who thanked guests for coming to the show.

Leona Lewis Celebrates 32nd Birthday at MAGIC MIKE LIVE LAS VEGAS April 2 2017
Leona Lewis Celebrates 32nd Birthday at MAGIC MIKE LIVE LAS VEGAS April 2 2017 - Photo courtesy of MAGIC MIKE LIVE LAS VEGAS

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