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


ABSINTHE Celebrates Seven Years in Las Vegas with the Gazillionaire’s Gala of Gluttony

ABSINTHE, the “#1 Greatest Show in Las Vegas History” celebrated its seventh anniversary in Las Vegas on Thursday, May 7, with a history-making day that began with the Las Vegas Strip being renamed in honor of the show’s outlandish host, and ended with The Gazillionaire’s Gala of Gluttony, a one-night-only dinner theatre gala at Caesars Palace.

In a gesture granted to very few, Clark County recognized The Gazillionaire for his outstanding contributions to the Las Vegas entertainment landscape by temporarily renaming the Las Vegas Strip “Gazillionaire Blvd.” During the confetti-filled afternoon event in front of Caesars Palace, Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly presented the bodyguard-flanked Gazillionaire with his very own namesake street sign and Key to The Strip before proclaiming May 7, 2018 “ABSINTHE Day” on The Strip and throughout Clark County. Caesars Palace president Gary Selesner and general manager Sean McBurney helped close the event by congratulating The Gazillionaire and sharing their excitement for ABSINTHE’s continued success at Caesars Palace.

The milestone day culminated in an unprecedented dinner theatre experience inside the wondrous Absinthe in the tent at Caesars Palace with all proceeds from The Gazillionaire’s Gala of Gluttony benefiting Three Square Food Bank, resulting in 36,000 meals contributed to southern Nevada’s largest hunger relief organization.

The exclusive event featured unbelievable, never-before-seen performances by artists from Spiegelworld’s Las Vegas productions, Absinthe at Caesars Palace and Opium at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – including sidesplitting clowning, daring feats of athleticism on and off the ground, a flying hula-hooper, a burlesque gorilla, and so much more – as well as a jaw-dropping extreme motorcycle demonstration inside the Globe of Death and a live band who kept the party going long after the cast took their bows to a full standing ovation. To close the gala, Spiegelworld Impresario Extraordinaire, Ross Mollison thanked the audience and Caesars Palace for their continued support, adding “I love this city. I love entertaining people. I want to thank our incredible artists and creative team but it’s the residents of Las Vegas who have really made Absinthe the success it has been over the past seven years.”

ABSINTHE Celebrates 7 Years in Las Vegas with The Gazillionaires Gala of Gluttony 5.8.18 credit Powers Imagery 2
ABSINTHE Celebrates 7 Years in Las Vegas with The Gazillionaires Gala of Gluttony 5.8.18 - Photo credit: Powers Imagery

ABSINTHE Celebrates 7 Years in Las Vegas with The Gazillionaires Gala of Gluttony 5.8.18 credit Powers Imagery 11
ABSINTHE Celebrates 7 Years in Las Vegas with The Gazillionaires Gala of Gluttony 5.8.18 - Photo credit: Powers Imagery

ABSINTHE Celebrates 7 Years in Las Vegas with The Gazillionaires Gala of Gluttony 5.8.18 credit Powers Imagery 17
ABSINTHE Celebrates 7 Years in Las Vegas with The Gazillionaires Gala of Gluttony 5.8.18 - Photo credit: Powers Imagery

ABSINTHE Celebrates 7 Years in Las Vegas with The Gazillionaires Gala of Gluttony 5.8.18 credit Powers Imagery 19
ABSINTHE Celebrates 7 Years in Las Vegas with The Gazillionaires Gala of Gluttony 5.8.18 - Photo credit: Powers Imagery

Ross Mollison The Gazillionaire Caesars Entertianment CEO Mark Frissora at ABISNTHE Las Vegas 5.7.18 credit Powers Imagery1
Ross Mollison The Gazillionaire Caesars Entertianment CEO Mark Frissora at ABISNTHE Las Vegas 5.7.18 - Photo credit: Powers Imagery

Guests were treated to a specially curated menu prepared by standout Caesars Palace restaurants, including a delectable artichoke and black truffle soup with brioche from Restaurant Guy Savoy, savory pork potstickers from Café Americano, tuna nacho bites paired with a signature Mesa Margarita from Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, a succulent short rib dish with horseradish potatoes and crispy onions from Searsucker, mini meatballs from Rao’s with fresh baguette bites from Delices Gourmands French Bakery, salt and pepper chicken from Beijing Noodle No. 9, and an incredible paired desert featuring lemon cookies from Pronto by Giada and mini sticky toffee pudding from Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen.

The anniversary shenanigans also heralded Absinthe's unprecedented switch to a seven day per week performance schedule in celebration of seven wildly successful years in Las Vegas. Tickets for the new every day performance schedule, launching May 14, are on sale now and can be purchased online in-person at the ABSINTHE box office.

Hakkasan Group Hosts Second Annual Charity Golf Invitational Benefiting Keep Memory Alive

Hakkasan Group hosted its Second Annual Charity Golf Invitational at the Spanish Trails Golf Course on Monday, May 7. As a part of the renowned hospitality group’s Hakkasan Gives Back initiatives, the company partnered with the Keep Memory Alive Organization supporting the mission of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and raised over $90,000 for the local organization between sponsor donations, tournament entries, and silent auction items.

Kicking off at 9:30 a.m., over 200 guests headed to the destination for a day filled with golf and fun, all to benefit a truly important cause. Around 10:30 a.m. Joe Haro, Executive Director of Corporate Partnerships of Hakkasan Group and Rich Kenny, Executive Director of VIP Marketing and Customer Development of Hakkasan Group, joined Keep Memory Alive Co-Founder and Chairman Larry Ruvo and Kevin McCracken, Senior Vice President, Spirits – Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits on the green to present them with a commemorative check with the initial donation of $75,000 for the organization.

 Check Presentation Joe Haro Kevin McCracken Larry Ruvo Rich Kenny Photo Cred. Joe Janet
Check Presentation: Joe Haro, Kevin McCracken, Larry Ruvo, and Rich Kenny - Photo Credit: Joe Janet

As the day went on, participants enjoyed their time golfing on the stunning 18-hole course, where surprises were waiting at each stop hosted by local sponsors offering delectable cocktails, giveaways, and additional contests with chances to win prizes including a hole-in-one car giveaway by Findlay Toyota, Skullcandy’s longest drive, Closest to Pin Contest by Park MGM, Ace of Spades Long Put, and much more.

The day was a result of true community thanks to all of the sponsors for their contributions in hosting such a rewarding event.

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

The UNLV REBEL HOCKEY CLUB revealed an 11 foot and 9 inches wide by 5 feet and 4 inches tall MEMBER PUCK WALL at its Mixer and Members event on Thursday, May 3. Attendees included President of the Vegas Golden Knights Kerry Bubolz, radio host Steph Mckenzie and title sponsor representative Kris Engelstad McGarry.UNLV hockey players, supporters, friends and family enjoyed an evening of raffles, a silent auction, c cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

UNLV Hockey Players
UNLV Hockey Players - Photo credit: Joe Durkin

VGK President Kerry Bubolz with UNLV Hockey Staff and Board Members
VGK President Kerry Bubolz with UNLV Hockey Staff and Board Members - Photo credit: Joe Durkin

All guests had the opportunity to purchase pucks that will be personalized and mounted as a part of the legacy wall display. Each level provides donors a more prominent location for their puck. Donors made their selection for an annual or multi-year commitment.  The Mixer and Members event raised $56,180 in efforts reach the club’s fundraising goal of $200,000. Donation placement on the puck wall is still available through www.rebelhockey.com. All proceeds benefit UNLV Rebel Hockey and donations are tax deductible.

With the lighting of its new marquee and hotel tower signs, Monte Carlo has officially shed its name for a new identity – PARK MGM – making way for the resort set for completion later this year. Following a transformation that will touch every element of the central Strip property, Park MGM is a welcoming social hub that evokes the residential spirit, intimacy and individuality of a boutique experience on a resort scale.

In celebration of May being National Military Appreciation Month, Remedy’s and Distill are hosting their annual USO OPERATION: CARE PACKAGE DRIVE throughout the month. Locals can show their support for the troops and their loved ones all month long by donating items at any Remedy’s and Distill locations across the valley. All donations can be made in the form of goods or monetary contributions and can be dropped off at the following locations: Distill Summerlin – 10820 W. Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas; Distill Southern Highlands – 4830 W. Pyle Ave. Las Vegas; Distill Centennial Hills – 6430 N. Durango Dr. Las Vegas;Remedy’s St. Rose – 3265 St. Rose Pkwy. Henderson; Remedy’s Conestoga – 530 Conestoga Way Henderson

Remedy’s and Distill are collecting items on the USO wish list including snacks and candy, small-increment gift cards, tickets to local events, electronics and video games, health and skin care products, cleaning products, toys, and gifts of services such as babysitting or house cleaning. Donations and monetary contributions will be accepted until May 31.

In celebration of the Electric Daisy Carnival, which attracts thousands of concert-goers to Las Vegas annually, Luxor will once again open the LUX RAVE STORE store Wednesday, May 16 – Sunday, May 20.  The pop-up retail shop will be located in the Galleria Square, adjacent to the moving walkway off the hotel’s north entrance. In addition to clothing and fluorescent accessories, LUX Rave will offer hair braiding and makeup from the hotel’s Nurture Spa and Salon, temporary tattoos, a virtual reality simulator and the ambiance of a music festival with electronic dance music and enhanced lighting fixtures.

THE LIBRARY DISTRICT is doing A CELEBRATION OF THE UK ROYAL WEDDING in May! The Library District website showcases a vast collection of British books, eResources, movies and music the weeks leading up to the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19! Those hyped about the royal wedding can also visit select Library branches and take a photo of themselves with the cardboard cutouts of Harry and Meghan. At this time, The Library District's digital presence also happens to be making a dramatic evolution and they will be hosting a “royal preview” so library patrons can become familiar with the new interface, and also view the spotlighted British collection. At this time, the Library invites feedback from visitors, and encourages them to early register their Library card to the new website to continue online use prior to the new site hard launching on June 19.

Award-winning R&B legend, BRIAN MCKNIGHT, is bringing his extensive catalog of hits to The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Friday, July 27. Tickets start at $39.50 (plus applicable service fees) and go on sale Friday, May 11 at 10 a.m. at the Hard Rock Hotel box office.

SPEEDVEGAS, the award-winning supercar driving experience located at 14200 S. Las Vegas Blvd, 10 minutes from the famed “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, announced a unique, once-in-a-lifetime Mother’s Day gift for the adrenaline-seeking mom in your life.  Available Sunday, May 13 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., SPEEDVEGAS moms will ride along for two FREE laps in one of SPEEDVEGAS’ exotic supercars or American muscle cars, after the purchase of any five lap, or more, driving experience at regular price. Driving packages start at $39 per lap and guests are limited to one Mother’s Day package.

TEMPTATION SUNDAYS, the original, longest-running gay pool party in Las Vegas returns for its ninth season at Luxor Hotel & Casino starting May 13 with weekly parties through September 2. Hosted by J.Son of nakedboynews.com, the energetic atmosphere at Luxor’s North Pool will entice tourists and locals alike to take part in the only weekly LGBTQ-focused pool party on The Strip.DJ Mattmon will be the resident DJ this summer and guest DJs will make special appearances throughout the season.Temptation Sundays take place from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. with doors opening at noon on special weekends: May 13, Opening Weekend; May 20, EDC Weekend; and May 27, Memorial Day Weekend. General admission to Temptation Sundays is $20. MGM Resorts guests, locals, military and emergency service members can enjoy the party with a discounted admission of $10.

Celebrated magician JEN KRAMER is set to become the only female headlining magician in Las Vegas, performing her own show at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Featuring mind-boggling magic and mentalism, comedy and audience participation, THE MAGIC OF JEN KRAMER will debut Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $19.99 and $29.99 plus tax and fees and can be purchased at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino Box Office.

MAJESTIC REPERTORY THEATRE concludes their second season in the Las Vegas Arts District with a fresh adaptation by Ian Wooldridge of George Orwell’s stunning novella ANIMAL FARM.Performances of George Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM will be May 17 through June 3, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. Majestic Repertory Theatre is located at at 1217 S. Main Street. General admission tickets are $25; high school students are $15, and are on sale now.

Grammy-Award winning saxophonist KENNY G will appear at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts this fall for a one-night-only performance, Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale next Friday, May 18 at 10 a.m. and start at $35. Tickets can be purchased at The Smith Center box office.

“For The Love Of Cocktails,” the cocktail counterpart to high-end food events like Aspen Food and Wine Festival, returns to Las Vegas for the fifth annual “FOR THE LOVE OF COCKTAILS” Grand Gala starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 18, on the 64th floor of the Delano Delano Las Vegas overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. The event will showcase signature cocktails with more than 60 mixologist stations and gourmet cuisine from Alain Ducasse’s Rivea as well as a variety of leaders in mixology including “The Modern Mixologist,” Tony Abou-Ganim and dozens more. In partnership with the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG), FTLOC donates its funds to the Helen David Relief Fund, which provides financial support to bartenders affected by breast cancer. Tickets to the Grand Gala are priced at $99.99 for general admission and $149.99 for VIP.

This May, Las Vegans will bring awareness to domestic violence in the Las Vegas area at the 7th ANNUAL SPRING TEA AT THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL (3752 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas) on Saturday, May 19 from 1-4 p.m. Guest are invited to mix and mingle over afternoon tea and champagne while supporting SAFE NEST and their mission to help put an end to domestic violence in Nevada.  Upon entering, attendees will be able to bid on extravagant silent auction items including entertainment packages, beauty baskets, spa certificates, dining experiences, and much more. As attendees make their way into the grand ballroom, they will be treated to a full afternoon tea service featuring an assortment of delicious teas, cocktails, finger sandwiches, petit fours, and other sweet treats.  Throughout the tea, consummate emcee and radio personality, Chet Buchanan, will introduce the afternoon’s honorees and bring awareness to the issue that affects far too many people in Nevada.  This year, SafeNest honors three champions in domestic violence awareness, Captain Sasha Larkin of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Judy & Reed Alewel of Pinot’s Palette. Tickets are $85 per person in advance online at www.safenest.org pending availability.  For those who cannot attend the event, instructions to participate in the silent auction remotely will be available on www.safenest.org.

Henderson’s best-loved bar Remedy’s St. Rose will celebrate their 11th ANNIVERSARY with a ROCKER THEMED PARTY on Saturday, May 19. There is no cover for the party, however, all guests must be 21 years or older with valid ID to attend. Beginning at 7 p.m., rock stars will enjoy a jammin’ party with a dinner buffet, drink specials, and a DJ spinning ’80s rock classics. In addition, guests are encouraged to come in their best ’80s rock band attire for a chance to win at the costume contest. Other prizes will also be given away throughout the evening.

HAKKASAN LAS VEGAS NIGHTCLUB AT MGM GRAND HOTEL & CASINO will host the official 2018 BILBOARD MUSIC AWARDS AFTER PARTY on Sunday, May 20 with a special live performance by Billboard Hot 100 artist Post Malone. Tickets for the official 2018 Billboard Music Awards After-Party are on sale now. Guests must be 21 years of age or older. Cover charges and table reservations will vary.

Starting Monday, May 21, actor and comedian Eddie Griffin will headline a stand-up comedy residency titled, “THE EDDIE GRIFFIN EXPERIENCE,” inside The Sayers Club at SLS Las Vegas. Shows will run weekly, Monday through Wednesday, at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and start at $69, excluding tax and fees. Doors open at 7 p.m. for each of the 21+ shows. The Eddie Griffin Experience will be dark on Tuesday, June 5; Wednesday, July 25; Wednesday, Sept. 12; Tuesday, Oct. 9; Monday, Oct. 15 – Wednesday, Oct. 17; and Monday, Nov. 12 –  Wednesday, 14

Internationally-famed magician, Xavier Mortimer, invites guests to enjoy an unforgettable journey into his extravagant dream world with his spellbinding production, XAVIER MORTIMER'S MAGICAL DREAM, playing at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino's Sin City Theatre, with a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE TICKET DEAL throughout Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 26 through Monday, May 28. Guests may redeem this offer using a code at Sin City Theatre’s box office: XM1824TR. Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream is at 7 p.m. from Saturday through Thursday, with tickets starting at $49 for general admission and $69 for VIP, excluding tax and box office fees.

CABO WABO CANTINA, located inside Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, will celebrate Memorial Day Weekend with signature cocktails, drink specials and live entertainment on its Strip-side patio from Friday, May 25 through Monday, May 28.

Rising country star DYLAN SCOTT is returning to Las Vegas for a special performance at Rocks Lounge inside Red Rock Resort on Friday, June 1, 2018 at 8 p.m. Hosted by Big D and Tay Hamilton of 95.5 The Bull, tickets are $25 and are on sale now.

Critically-acclaimed saxophonist/producer and composer MICHAEL LINGTON, popular saxophonist PAUL TAYLOR and  Grammy-nominated R&B singer KENNY LATTIMORE will team up for a night of jazz at THE FOUNDRY inside SLS LAS VEGAS at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. Tickets are on sale now and start at $39.50, excluding tax and fees. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 21+ show.

The 11th ANNUAL LAS VEGAS FILM FESTIVAL, in partnership with CineVegas ,will be held at Brenden Theatres and Palms Casino Resort June 6 – 10. The lineup includes a mix of feature films and documentaries that have been favorites on the international festival circuit, as well as new additions to this year’s Festival - live discussions and live comedy. 2018 also marks the first year with seasoned film festival programming veteran Mike Plante serving as the Festival’s Captain of Strategy.Individual tickets for screenings and live comedy events go on sale Wednesday, May 16  at www.lvff.com, and in person at the LVFF Box Office, located at Brenden Theatres at Palms Casino Resort, starting Wednesday, June 6 at noon.

The VIP ALL ACCESS PASS is on sale now at $200 per person and is the perfect pass for patrons who want the best Festival experience. The FILM PASS is $100 and will go on sale Monday, May 14. Film and live comedy tickets are $15 each. Student and senior tickets are available for $10 each, and are only available for purchase in person at the LVFF Box Office with a valid student or government issued ID.

ECLIPSE, a poolside gathering TO BENEFIT SHADE TREE, a Las Vegas-based shelter for women, children and pets that are victims of domestic abuse and homelessness, will be held at .Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa’s Crimson Nightclub from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 8. Eclipse attendees will enjoy live entertainment, complimentary signature cocktails, beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets to the event start at $100 per person, with corporate cabana sponsorships priced at $3,000. The packages include a private cabana at Red Rock’s pool, 15 tickets, a bottle of sponsored vodka, special gift bags for cabana guests, branded recognition at the event and an opportunity to address the audience at the event.

BILL MAHER, longtime host of HBO’s “Real Time,” will return to the Aces of Comedy stage. His newly added dates include June 15 – 16, July 20 – 21, September 7 – 8 and October 26 – 27. Tickets to see him live at the Terry Fator Theater inside The Mirage Hotel & Casino on sale now. All shows are scheduled to begin at 10 p.m.

New and upcoming venue openings:

Hooters Casino Hotel Las Vegas has opened its newest dining and entertainment venture, THE UNDERGROUND LOUNGE, which offers guests the opportunity to hang out, chill out, and relax while catching a game at the Sports Book or enjoying a night out with friends. Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., The Underground Lounge will host Karaoke Night with live entertainment and free karaoke. Karaoke participants will receive a free shot following their performance.

Following the success of its first Las Vegas location in Boca Park, BEVERLY HILLS REJUVENATION CENTER, one of the nation’s leading premier medical spas, has opened its second location in Downtown Summerlin.

SUGARBOO & CO., a family-owned boutique store, will debut its first Nevada location inside the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian® and The Palazzo® Las Vegas this spring. Known as the 'dealer in whimsy,' this one-of-a-kind store will soon become a happy place for shoppers looking for uplifting art prints, charming home goods, and quirky paper products.

Celebrity sightings:

Monday, May ...

“Vanderpump Rules” star Scheana Shay, joined by close friends like MTV “Real World: Go Big or Go Home,” cast member Kailah Casillas and her parents Ron and Erika van Olphen, celebrated her 33rd birthday at Andiamo Italian Steakhouse inside the D Las Vegas. The restaurant surprised Shay with a customized Unicorn Cake, commemorating her love for the whimsical animal. Following dinner, the group zipped down the world famous Fremont Street Experience on SlotZilla, a seven-story zipline attraction. They also stopped by the iconic Golden Gate Hotel & Casino for a night cap round at Bar Prohibition!

Scheana Shay celebrates birthday at Andiamo Italian Steakhouse
Scheana Shay celebrates birthday at Andiamo Italian Steakhouse - Photo credit:The D Las Vegas

Scheana Shay with friends including Kailah Casillas
Scheana Shay with friends including Kailah Casillas - Photo credit: The D Las Vegas

Sunday, May 6...

NFL Network anchor Erin Coscarelli was spotted attending the 10 performance of OPIUM at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Afterwards Coscarelli went backstage for a photo with the crew of the OPM 4.2.

ErinCoscarelliAttendsOPIUMatTheCosmopolitanofLasVegas 5.6.18 Credit OPIUMLasVegas
Erin Coscarelli Attends OPIUM at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas 5.6.18 - Photo Credit: OPIUM Las Vegas

Saturday night, May 5...

Country music star Travis Scott took over the party at Marquee Nightclub in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, with a blowout performance for fans.

Travis Scott - Photo credit: Tony Tran

Over at TAO Nightclub in The Venetian, rapper Gucci Mane hit the stage and performed his top singles.

Gucci Mane - Photo creditL Brenton Ho

At Beauty & Essex in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, “Vanderpump Rules” stars Ariana Madix and Scheana Marie were seen dining together with friends in the Pearl Lounge.

Friday, May 4...

'Magician Murray Sawchuck was spotted attending the 8 pm performance of the new hit show OPIUM at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Afterwards, the magician was treated to a VIP meet and greet and photos with the crew of the OPM 4.2. Comedians Tape Face and Murray Hill were spotted during the 10 p.m. performance.

MurraySawchuckAttendsOPIUMatTheCosmopolitanOfLasVegas 5.4.18 Credit OPIUMLasVegas 2
Murray Sawchuck, Attends OPIUM at The Cosmopolitan Of Las Vegas 5.4.18 - Photo Credit: OPIUM Las Vegas

TapeFace and MurrayHillAttendOPIUMatTheCosmopolitanofLasVegas Credit OPIUMLasVegas
Tape Face and Murray Hill Attend OPIUM at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas - Photo Credit: OPIUM Las Vegas

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