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

Hong Kong's Mott 32 Debuts at the Palazzo

Mott 32, one of Hong Kong’s most award-winning restaurants and a culinary icon in contemporary Chinese cuisine, officially opened its first U.S. location with a star-studded reception and gala at The Palazzo at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas on Friday, December 28.

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Mott 32 General Manager Nathan Grates Group F&B Director Kaitlyn Ix, and Senior Group Director of Operations Michael Main - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Mott 32 Chefs at the Palazzo Las Vegas - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Among the VIP invited guests and celebrities in attendance were Christian Siriano, fashion designer and winner of the fourth season of Project Runway; Carrie Ann Inaba, “Dancing with the Stars” judge and guest co-host “The Talk”; pop group R5; actor Ross Butler, actress Jamie Chung and husband Bryan Greenberg; actor Justin Hartley of TV's This is Us; model Kelsey Merritt and her boyfriend Olympic Gold Medalist Conor Dwyer; Vegas headliners Australian singing quartet Human Nature; Xuan Mu, Mott 32 Managing Director; Michael Main, Mott 32 Senior Group Director, Operations; Katelyn Ix, Mott 32 Group Food & Beverage Director.

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Mott 32 at the Palazzo Las Vegas Christian Siriano - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Mott 32 at the Palazzo Las Vegas - Carrie Ann Inaba - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Mott 32 at the Palazzo Las Vegas R5 with Ross Butler - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Mott 32 at the Palazzo Las Vegas - Ross Butler - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Mott 32 at Palazzo Las Vegas - Jamie Chung - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Mott 32 at the Palazzo Las Vegas - Justin Hartley - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Mott 32 at the Palazzo Las Vegas - Kelsey Merritt - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Mott 32 at the Palazzo Las Vegas - Human Nature - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Mott 32 at the Palazzo Las Vegas - violinist Lydia Ansel - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

During the grand opening celebration, guests were able to sample signature dishes from Mott 32’s acclaimed menu,  including barbecue Pluma Iberico pork, minced duck in a lettuce cup and crispy sugar-coated barbecue pork buns, sipped cocktails prepared with Mott’s exceptional mixology methods, such as the Mott St. Mule, Joe’s Elixir and “It’s Five O’clock in Hong Kong”, all while taking in the stunning design elements and unique Las Vegas details created by renowned interior designer Joyce Wang.

Additionally, throughout the evening, guests enjoyed music by 1920s speakeasy-inspired band, Moonshiners, had their fortunes told, posed for photos and took home signature drawings from Napkin Killa who showcased the event through his unique artwork on Mott 32 cocktail napkins.

Celebrating Hong Kong’s culture and culinary traditions Mott 32 brings their farm-to-table cooking style led by Group Executive Chef Man-Sing Lee – a two-Michelin star chef in his previous role – and Vegas-based Head Chef Alan Ji. The culinary team prides themselves by sourcing the finest ingredients to showcase the Cantonese, Szechuan, and Beijing cultures. Signature dishes include applewood roasted Peking Duck with Mott 32’s “Signature Cut,” barbecue pluma Iberico Pork glazed with yellow mountain honey, Iberico pork with soft quail egg and black truffle siu mai and crispy triple cooked wagyu beef short ribs.

Overseen by renowned interior designer Joyce Wang, Mott 32’s design dares to be different and pays tribute to the history of Las Vegas by showcasing dining tables made out of vintage roulette wheels, a chandelier adorned with a feather boa, neon signs, and more. Wang, who oversaw the designs in Mott 32’s Hong Kong and Vancouver locations, won the “World Interior of the Year” award for Mott 32’s Hong Kong outlet.

Hours of service will be Monday – Sunday from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Global Winter Wonderland Opens at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino

Global Winter Wonderland, a spectacular lantern festival and multicultural theme park, celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, December 15. On hand was Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager who presented a proclamation declaring Dec. 15 “Global Winter Wonderland Day” and Planet Hollywood headliner, magician Xavier Mortimer, who wowed the crowd with some sleight of hand including magically lighting the 80 ft. Christmas tree!

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(L to R): Anthony Horn, Global Winter Wonderland Director of Marketing, Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager, Lulu Huang, Producer/Creator of Global Winter Wonderland, Penny the Penguin, Planet Hollywood headliner magician Xavier Mortimer and his assistant Alexandra Madison - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Magician Xavier Mortimer - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Global Winter Wonderland - Amusements - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Spanning more than 15 acres, Global Winter Wonderland features giant illuminated lanterns depicting scenes that include a Christmas holiday village and landscapes from around the world. Highlights include recreations of some of the world’s greatest architectural achievements, including the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Chichen Itza, and much more. The eco-friendly lanterns, some of which tower more than 50 feet high and span nearly 100 feet long, are illuminated with low voltage LEDs and fluorescent lights. The new family event of the holiday season also features numerous carnival rides and games, international cuisine, arts and crafts, photos with Santa, live entertainment, and celebrations of holiday traditions and various cultures from around the world.

Global Winter Wonderland is open through Jan. 20 in the north lot of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino with free parking available.

Las Vegas Walk of Stars Honors Jalles Franca

The Las Vegas Walk of Stars honored sensational performer/ dancer/percussionist/ Michael Jackson impersonator, Jalles Franca, with the 86th star dedication ceremony on Monday December 17, in the Main Showroom of Stratosphere Hotel. It was a great turnout with about 125  VIP guests in attendance to celebrate the recognition. That evening the star was installed in front of the Paris Hotel and Casino.

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Walk of Stars

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Walk of Stars

Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Walk of Stars

"We are very proud to honor Jalles Franca," said Bob Alexander, president and founder of the Las Vegas Walk of Stars.

Jalles Franca moved to the United States from Brazil at the age of 16, to fulfill his dreams as a professional dancer in Las Vegas. At the age of 21, he began a seven-year residency as a performer, dancer and percussionist at Studio 54 Nightclub at the MGM Hotel and Casino.

A long time fan of the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson, Jalles began imitating the star’s signature dance moves during his routines at Studio 54 and various other venues.  Soon after the passing of his idol, Jalles began dedicating his talents to pay tribute to the late Superstar; and winning numerous local competitions for “Best Michael Jackson impersonator,” Best overall “Look” and “Best Moonwalk." Over the last eight years, he has been featured in multiple tribute shows on the Las Vegas strip, developing his tribute as “MJ The Legend."

Honored to be coined one of the “top” MJ Tribute Artists in the industry, Jalles enjoys sharing his love and respect for Michael with the millions of MJ fans here in Las Vegas, the United States and throughout the world.  He currently resides in the nation’s #1 Michael Jackson tribute show, MJ Live at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  In addition, he holds the title as the Official MJ tribute artist for “Thriller Villa,” Michael Jackson’s preserved Las Vegas mansion and the home of Jackson and his children during his final years.  He is very grateful to have appeared and performed at the property on numerous occasions, a special place for any true MJ fan.

Jalles continues to mesmerize Michael Jackson fans and non-fans alike in his performances at private and corporate events, festivals and arenas, including but not limited to: the Los Angeles Lakers, Brazilian main stream television, Dubai royalty, Maldives islands and NYC’s Madison Square Garden.

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

CANDLELIGHTERS CHILDHOOD CANCER FOUNDATION OF NEVADA, Nevada’s oldest, premier pediatric cancer nonprofit, commemorates 40 years of service to the community and more than 2,500 families served. Since 1978, Candlelighters has provided emotional and financial support as well as quality of life programs for local families facing a pediatric cancer diagnosis. Taking a holistic approach to treating the whole family, through all stages of treatment and across the spectrum of services, Candlelighters was the first nonprofit organization established in southern Nevada to fill this critical gap in the community.

THERAPY restaurant, located in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas at 518 E. Fremont St., has been acquired by budding entrepreneur, Chris Morganelli, who assumed operations on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

As part of the second leg of his"ASTROWORLD: WISH YOU WERE HERE" tour, TRAVIS SCOTT will make a Las Vegas stop at T-Mobile Arena Wednesday, Feb. 6. The show is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ranging in price from $39.95 to $129.95 (not including applicable service charges) went on sale to the general public Thursday, Dec. 20.

Due to popular demand following six sold-out shows earlier this year, legendary music group EARTH, WIND, AND FIRE will return to The Venetian Theatre inside The Venetian® Resort Las Vegas for a six-show limited engagement in 2019. The show will be held on March 20, 22, 23, 27, 29 and 30 at 8 p.m.. Tickets start at $59, plus applicable fees, and went on sale to the general public Friday, Dec. 21.  A limited number of VIP packages will also be available. Tickets will be available for purchase at any box office at The Venetian Resort.

11 year older singer, ANGELICA HALE, NBC’s America’s Got Talent Season 12 runner-up, hosted a Holiday Slime Workshop where she played with children while helping them make fun and festive holiday slime at the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum on Sunday, Dec. 23. All proceeds from the afternoon will be used to help build awareness for Sepsis Alliance, the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and reduce suffering from sepsis.

THE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION OF SOUTHERN NEVADA (RTC) AND THE CITY OF LAS VEGAS have received a $300,000 GRANT from the FEDERAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY (FTA) to develop a transit-oriented development (TOD) plan for Maryland Parkway. TOD is a type of development that incorporates a mix of residential and commercial buildings with walkable neighborhoods near public transit. TOD can stimulate economic investment in a neighborhood while offering residents easy access to many types of activities, like employment, housing, restaurants and shops. This grant will evaluate the potential for TOD opportunities along transit stops on Maryland Parkway from Sahara Avenue through downtown Las Vegas to the Medical District.

HOFBRÄUHAUS LAS VEGAS will usher in 2019 early with an AFTERNOON PARTY that starts at 2 p.m. and BALL DROP HOSTED BY SPECIAL GUEST, MURRAY SAWCHUCK, who will count down to midnight in Munich, 3 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, to celebrate the new year. The afternoon party will include live entertainment, German food specials, and raffle prizes, in addition to the celebratory ball drop and complimentary beer toast.

The ladies of FANTASY at Luxor Hotel & Casino will stage an EXCLUSIVE NEW YEAR’S EVE PERFORMANCE, Monday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. Following the seductive performance, the award-winning female revue will treat the audience to a deck of FANTASY-branded PLAYING CARDS as a COMPLIMENTARY New Year’s Eve gift while supplies last. Attendees may redeem the complimentary playing cards at FANTASY’s merchandise counter following the show. Attendees are also invited to a meet and greet with the cast for photos and autographs.

Ditch the craziness of the Strip and celebrate NEW YEAR'S EVE with friends and family at REMEDY'S AND DISTILL as they ring in the New Year with a property-wide extravaganza. The New Year’s Eve party starts at 9 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31 and is FREE to guests 21 years or older with valid ID. Whether in Summerlin, Centennial Hill, Henderson or Southern Highlands, get ready to groove into 2019 with a live DJ spinning the latest hits, tons of dancing, drink specials, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. New Year’s Eve festivities will take place at the following locations: Remedy’s St. Rose – 3265 St. Rose Pkwy. Henderson; Remedy’s Conestoga – 530 Conestoga Way Henderson; 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.

LIFE TIME ATHLETIC GREEN VALLEY & SUMMERLIN will open its doors on New Year’s Day to the entire Las Vegas community and invite people to enjoy the clubs’ facilities, group fitness, indoor cycle, yoga classes and more, FREE. Plus, Life Time in Green Valley will host its annual Commitment Day 5K on New Year’s Day. The run will span the area surrounding Life Time. Immediately following the run, guests will enjoy a festival of bites, beverages, and more on the resort-style pool deck.

MAJESTIC REPERTORY THEATRE starts the new year with the very first Las Vegas production of the Tony Award-winning rock musical SPRING AWAKENING, inspired by Franz Wedekind’s scandalous 1890s play about the conflict between rural German teens discovering their sexuality and the negligent adults in their lives. Using the original script, writers Duncan Sheik and Stephen Sater crafted a story about Melchior Gabor, a young man rebelling against bourgeois mores while finding love and friendship - and ultimately tragedy - through his relationships with the virginal Wendla and struggling Moritz. All sung to an alt rock score. Performances of SPRING AWAKENING will be January 17 through February 10, 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 $28 and high school students are $15, and are on sale now.

Actor and Performer SHANGELA and ALEC MAPA will be the hosts at the 2019 GAYVN AWARDS SHOW presented by ManyVids, set to take place Monday, January 21 inside The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.Recognizing excellence in the gay adult entertainment industry, the GayVNs will honor winners in 15 categories judged by a group of industry professionals and 11 categories voted on by fans. Gay adult stars are invited to flex their social media muscles and call on their devoted following to participate in the 2019 GayVN Awards Fan Voting.

AID FOR AIDS OF NEVADA'S (AFAN) SIXTH EVENING OF CABARET returns with television and Broadway star JOHN DAVIDSON on Friday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. A tthe home of Penn and Emily Jillette. Proceeds from the evening will benefit AFAN's support services to more than 1,500 clients living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in Southern Nevada. Guests will be treated to a reception beginning at 8 p.m. featuring culinary samples by Honey Salt. Following the reception will be an intimate performance from Davidson. Vacation packages, luxury retail items, show tickets and more will be available for attendees to bid on during a live auction. Tickets are extremely limited and guests are highly encouraged to purchase early. For more information or to purchase tickets visit afanlv.org.

Casting has been announced for the North American tour of the acclaimed musical comedy, SPAMILTON: AN AMERICAN PARODY. The tour will make a stop at The Smith Center’s Troesh Studio Theater in Las Vegas from Jan. 22 – Feb. 10, 2019. Tickets for the Las Vegas engagement are on sale now.

Mexican band LOS INVASORES DE NUEVO LEON will perform at the STAR OF THE DESERT ARENA IN PRIMM on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale starting at $25.

LAS VEGAS MARKET will host the 14TH HOUSEWARES DESIGN AWARDS CELEBRATION, the premier awards program focused on housewares design innovation, during 2019 LAS VEGAS WINTER MARKET. The event will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 29, and will encompass an industry networking opportunity, a celebration of finalists, announcement of winners and presentation of the Design Influencer of the Year Award. Winter Market runs Jan. 27 – Jan. 31, 2019.


EATALY opened December 27, in the city’s newest resort, Park MGM. The 40,000-square-foot culinary destination, located directly on the famed Las Vegas Strip, serves as Park MGM’s main entrance and features a vibrant space full of unique food counters, bars, cafés and dining experiences offering traditional, authentic Italian food, all helmed by Executive Chef Nicole Brisson.

BEAUMONT’S SOUTHERN KITCHEN, inspired by the Fertitta family’s Texas roots, is now open at Texas Station. The all-new restaurant brings the perfect blend of Southern-inspired fare to North Las Vegas, serving up an array of BBQ, beer and bourbon.

THE FACTORY KITCHEN, a popular Italian restaurant from the Los Angeles arts district, debuts at The Venetian Resort on Dec. 28, 2018. Chef Auriana’s Northern Italian cuisine has been described as “fine dining meets modern chic, without the price point.” Pastas are made fresh using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, with many of the dishes made to be shared.

Celebrity sightings:

Saturday, December. 30...

Ahead of their New Year’s Eve weekend performances at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tenacious D band members, including comedian Jack Black, enjoyed a lavish dinner at MB Steak. The evening concluded with a tour of the kitchen by Chef Munster.

MB Steak Tenacious D and Chef Patrick Munster
MB Steak Tenacious D and Chef Patrick Munster - Photo courtesy of MB Steak

MB Steak Chef Patrick Munster and Jack Black
MB Steak Chef Patrick Munster and Jack Black - Photo courtesy of MB Steak

Friday night, December 28...

Actor Zac Efron was spotted taking in the sounds of DJ Chuckie with a large group of friends at Marquee Nightclub inside The Cosmopolitan. Also at Marquee were Kirsten Maldonado and Matt Sallee of the a cappella group Pentatonix.

Pop superstar Katy Perry, DJ singer-songwriter Samantha Ronson, rapper and actor YG, actress Regina King, Academy Award-winner Marisa Tomei, and actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, dined at Best Friend, Roy Choi’s first Las Vegas restaurant, during Park MGM’s official grand opening.

Thursday, December 27...

EMMY Award-winning show host Jeff Probst, widely known for his hosting duties on CBS’ reality competition “Survivor,” and Foo Fighters founder and frontman Dave Grohl were spotted attending the 10 p.m. performance of ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace. After the show, the two stars went backstage for a photo with The Gazillionaire and his raucous cast.

Jeff Probst and Dave Grohl attend ABSINTHE 12.27.18 Credit Joseph Sanders Spiegelworld Photography 1
Jeff Probst and Dave Grohl attend ABSINTHE - Credit Joseph Sanders Spiegelworld Photography

Sunday, December 16...

Married celebrity couple and reality TV stars Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross partied at Hakkasan Las Vegas Nightclub inside MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. Joined by bandmates from the duo’s upcoming “Ashlee + Evan Tour,” the group enjoyed a VIP table experience in the Ling Ling Club of the acclaimed five-level nightlife destination.

Saturday night, December 15...

Stars of The Bachelor franchise including Jason Tartick, Blake Horstman and the latest Bachelor, Colton Underwood, were spotted dining at TAO inside The Venetian. After dinner, they made their way to Marquee Nightclub in The Cosmopolitan to take in the sounds of Tritonal from a VIP table.

Jonathan Scott of the Property Brothers attended MAT FRANCO –MAGIC REINVENTED NIGHTLY at The LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Immediately following the show, The HGTV star went backstage to take a photo with the magician.

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Jonathan Scott of the Property Brothers and Mat Franco - Photo courtesy of MAT FRANCO –MAGIC REINVENTED NIGHTLY


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We, at Las Vegas Round the Clock, are deeply saddened by the senseless act of violence that occurred in our city on Sunday evening, October 1, 2017 and send our deepest condolences, healing prayers and love to the victims, their families, and all those affected by the tragedy.