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

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition Celebrates Las Vegas Grand Opening

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition celebrated its Grand Opening on Thursday evening, June 6, with a red carpet at the reimagined Las Vegas attraction inside the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. Notable attendees included The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Part 2 actor Elden Henson (Pollux), local Las Vegas celebrities Frank Marino, Adam London, cast of Friends! The Musical Parody and Marriage Can Be Murder, as well as Lionsgate, Cityneon, Victory Hill Exhibitions and MGM Resorts executives.

The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is based on the world-renowned films from Lionsgate, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Josh Hutcherson, which grossed over $3 billion at the worldwide box office. It celebrates the epic journey of Katniss Everdeen (played by Lawrence), from her humble beginnings in District 12 to her rise as the Mockingjay. This is the second family-friendly attraction in Las Vegas that has been reimagined and recreated by international entertainment and exhibition company, Cityneon Holdings Limited, and its subsidiary Victory Hill Exhibitions. A dynamic exploration of the world of Panem, The Hunger Games: The Exhibition is a family-friendly Las Vegas attraction that immerses visitors in the films which brought Suzanne Collins beloved books to life.

Prior to guests getting a private tour of the exhibition, there was a reception where The Hunger Games: The Exhibition was awarded a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for the Largest Interactive Touchscreen Display at the attraction. The 60-foot wide interactive touchscreen display is utilized for an archery training experience designed to provide guests with the skills to “join the rebellion,” a climactic highlight of the exhibition and the first of its kind on the Vegas Strip.

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Hunger Games: The Exhibition - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Hunger Games: The Exhibition - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Hunger Games: The Exhibition - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Hunger Games: The Exhibition - Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Additional highlights of the evening included a private tour of the exhibition that features new interactive rooms, curated sets and costumes, several inspirational galleries including the Hall of Justice, President Snow's office, the Tribute Train, District 13  as well as the above mentioned new state-of-the-art, fully-immersive archery training experience set withina 60 foot wide interactive digital training lab.

Read more about the new 'The Hunger Games: The Exhibition” in this week's edition of Jacqueline Monahan's column About the Town.

Celestia Celebrates Grand Opening with Otherworldly Affair at the Strat Hotel, Casino and Skypod

The all-new, one-of-a-kind immersive production experience, CELESTIA, celebrated its grand opening in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 5 with one incredible acrobatic feat after another. Produced by Intrigue Shows, the tour de force of acrobatics, technology, artistry and imagination, which performs eight shows a week in a unique 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art theatrical tent located along the Las Vegas Strip, welcomed guests with a red carpet and cocktail reception attended by celebrities, VIPs and special guests to commemorate the show’s opening at The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod.

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Celestia at The Strat Hotel & Casino and Skypod - Photo credit: G Creative Advertising

Among those in attendance were mentalist Anthony Cools, sleight of hand card trickster Douglas “Lefty” Leferovich, dancer Dani Flahive and magician Murray Sawchuck, Emilia Arata of ABSINTHE,Eve Dawes, Heidi Morgan of The Princess Wendy's Late Night Tease Room, hypnotist Marc Savard, magician Niels Sayers and Jordan Hamner, BMX pro rider Ricardo Laguna, Sabina Kelley, Santiago Michel, Steve Falcon and AnnaRose Einarsen, Vinny Adinolfi of Bronx Wanderers, as well as the casts of “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel in Concert,” FANTASY, FRIENDS! Parody the Musical, Marriage Can Be Murder, OPIUM and Thunder From Down Under.

Set within a celestial world that brings the journey of our protagonists to life through elite acrobatics and dance, aerial feats, live music, state-of-the-art technology and overwhelming imagination, CELESTIA showcases a talented troupe of more than two dozen multicultural performers to create an eye-popping, immersive experience. 

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Celestia at The Strat Hotel & Casino and Skypod - Photo credit: G Creative Advertising

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Celestia at The Strat Hotel & Casino and Skypod - Photo credit: G Creative Advertising

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Celestia at The Strat Hotel & Casino and Skypod - Photo credit: G Creative Advertising

Suitable for audiences of all ages, the 70-minute show is perfect for both Las Vegas locals and those visiting from around the world. Staged in a never-before-seen proprietary tent, this awe-inspiring show is the first production of this magnitude to take place on this part of the Las Vegas Strip, which appropriately serves as the gateway to the city’s burgeoning Arts District.

CELESTIA has eight performances per week, with 7 p.m. shows on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and is dark Mondays and Tuesdays. Tickets ranging in price from $29 - $89, not including taxes and fees.

Blue Man Group Raises $9,00 to Benefit Grant A Gift Autism Foundation with Fifth Annual Sensory-Friendly Performance

Blue Man Group Las Vegas raised $9,500 to benefit Grant a Gift Autism Foundation at their fifth annual sensory-friendly benefit performance on Sunday night , June 9. The special show was suitable for children and adults living on the autism spectrum.

DSC 2391 PHOTO CREDIT Ricardo Guzman
Photo credit: Ricardo Guzman

“Blue Man Group is honored to host one of the only sensory-friendly performances in Las Vegas for the fifth year in a row,” said Thomas Randall, resident general manager of Blue Man Group. “It is amazing to see the connection between the Blue Men and individuals on the autism spectrum come to life at the show. We are so grateful for our partnership with Grant a Gift, whose work helps so many families in the Las Vegas community.”

DSC 2659 PHOTO CREDIT Ricardo Guzman
Photo credit: Ricardo Guzman

Prior to the show, there was a modified drum circle for children with performers from Blue Man Group.

Guests were also provided with complimentary popcorn, sunglasses, earplugs and glow necklaces to enjoy during the show. All attendees were welcomed into the theater and enjoyed opening remarks from Terri Janison of Grant a Gift Autism Foundation. Following the sensory-friendly show, guests were treated to a special meet and greet with the Blue Men and Band members.

“For the past five years, Grant a Gift Autism Foundation has had so much fun partnering with Blue Man Group for this event,” said Terri Janison, president and chief executive officer of Grant a Gift Autism Foundation. “Families with loved ones on the autism spectrum don’t always have the opportunity to experience these types of shows, but Blue Man Group has made a safe and judgement-free environment for everyone to enjoy. Their generous donation will continue to enhance our efforts to assist children and families in our community living with autism.”

Slight modifications were made to the performance including reduced sound and light levels at various moments and limited amounts of direct audience interaction by the Blue Men. There were also quiet environments in the theater’s lobby for families seeking a break from the excitement.

Motley Brews Hosts Third Annual Hopped Taco Throwdown

Motley Brews hosted its third annual Hopped Taco Throwdown at Zappos Headquarters’ backyard in Downtown Las Vegas, a venue typically closed to the public, on Saturday evening, June 8. The festival offered unlimited samples of over 100 craft beers and an assortment of tacos, showcasing the creative skills of some of Las Vegas’ top chefs in a culinary competition.

Hopped Taco 2019 Brian Chapin and Chef Phillip Dell
Hopped Taco Brian Chapin and Chef Phillip Dell - Photo courtesy of Motley Brews

Hopped Taco 2019 Grilling
Grilling - Photo courtesy of Motley Brews

Demonstrating innovative culinary skills and vying for the title of “Hopped Taco Champion,” chefs from across the city competed in a fiery taco competition with three categories: Hopped Taco, for best-beer-infused taco; Taco Loco, for most creative taco; and Taco Dulce, for best dessert taco.

This year’s competitors included Chef Adam Pusateri from Cut and Taste, Chef Chris Bulen from Andiron Steak & Sea,Chef Bryan Forgione from Buddy V’s Ristorante, Chef Oscar Amador Edo from EDO Gastro Tapas & Wine, Chef Marc Marrone from Graffiti Bao and Pina by Graffiti Bao, Chef Roy Ellamar from Harvest by Roy Ellamar and more.

The 2019 winners of the Hopped Taco Throwdown competition include:
Matt Meyer from Served with “The Pickled Mick” for “Best Hopped Taco”
Chef Phillip Dell with “The “Original” Pork Star Taco!” for “Most Creative Taco Loco”
Matt Meyer from Served with “Tropic Like It’s Hot” for “Taco Dulce”

Motley Brews brought together local and regional breweries to complement the event with endless samples of craft brews, including local favorites Crafthaus Brewery, Joseph James Brewing Company, Inc., Lovelady Brewing Company, Ellis Island Brewery, Tonopah Brewing Company, Big Dog’s Brewing Company and more. Guests posed for a photo booth and enjoyed entertainment and various wall art installations provided by Zappos throughout the evening.

RE:MATCH and The LINQ Hotel + Experience Celebrate Grand Opening with LED Ribbon Cutting, Electrified Entertainment and More

Introducing the interactive and immersive gaming and entertainment environment as well as the all-new RE:MATCH bar, The LINQ Hotel + Experience celebrated with a digitally-inspired ribbon cutting on Friday, June 7. Following a parade of hover board girls, electric drummers and Go Bots, Caesars Entertainment’s CEO and President Tony Rodio; EVP of Gaming and Interactive Entertainment, Christian Stuart; and SVP and General Manager of The LINQ Hotel + Experience, Ryan Hammer; ceremoniously opened the new spaces with an LED ribbon cutting.

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Ribbon cutting - Photo credit: Beau Caldwell

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Photo credit: Beau Caldwell

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Photo credit: Beau Caldwell

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Photo credit: Beau Caldwell

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Photo credit: Beau Caldwell

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Photo credit: Beau Caldwell

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Photo credit: Beau Caldwell

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Photo credit: Beau Caldwell

“Caesars Entertainment has been at the forefront of gaming and innovation for many years,” said Rodio. “What you see here at The LINQ is a diversified selection of experiences curated for a variety of visitors and offers adults new ways to play. I could not be more proud of the hours that went into this project, with gaming, IT, operations and marketing all collaborating to make The LINQ the epicenter of socially driven experiences.”  

The LINQ’s transformation began last fall with the opening of The Book, the next generation of race and sports book, and continued with the introduction of the all-new integrated Strip-side RE:MATCH bar. RE:MATCH features 27 touch screens that create a cohesive bar top underwater world with sporadic games, that are interactive and responsive, making it unlike any bar in Las Vegas.

Additional recent and upcoming 'happenings' in and around Las Vegas include.

IT'S SUGAR, the largest specialty candy retailer in the world, boasting an empire of over 100 retail locations, hosted a spectacular Grand Opening Celebration for its new Las Vegas flagship store on June 4th, with NERDS Candy who brought in celebrity guest actress Melissa Joan Hart, best known for 1990s sitcoms Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

P1. ITSUGAR Grand Bazaar Ribbon Cutting with ITSUGAR Team
ITSUGAR Grand Bazaar Ribbon Cutting with ITSUGAR Team - Photo credit: Denise Truscello

During the event, Melissa Joan Hart, who joined forces with NERDS to reintroduce the beloved candy brand and its adorable characters to a new generation of NERDS candy lovers, shared with guests how she "nerds out" and read a NERDS-inspired storybook, called "Sweet Little Sparks," which celebrates what it means to be a "nerd" and shows the beauty of what happens when NERDS band together.

P5. Sara Loiselle Jarett Levan President BBX Capital Ally Rubin Jeff Rubin Founder and CEO ITSUGAR Melissa Joan Hart Justin Clinger and Camille Cohen
Sara Loiselle, Jarett Levan President BBX Capital, Ally Rubin, Jeff Rubin Founder and CEO ITSUGAR, Melissa Joan Hart, Justin Clinger, and Camille Cohen - Photo credit: Denise Truscello

IT’SUGARs 6,000-square-foot store, located across from the world-famous Bellagio Fountain, offers the one-of-a-kind candy and novelty products that the brand is known for. The store is anchored by a giant 40-foot-tall kinetic gumball machine sculpture, which also serves as a grand entry-point for customers.

It was an exciting early morning on June 6, for one Paris Las Vegas guest as they HIT THE PAI GOW POKER PROGRESSIVE JACKPOT at its highest amount to date, $1,637,000 with a 7-card straight flush. The guest was in town for the World Series of Poker Tournament, which is currently underway at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

During the week of June 10, a guest, who wished to remain anonymous, was seated at an Ultimate Texas Hold’em table in The Palazzo casino at The Venetian Resort and hit the hand of a lifetime – a DIAMOND ROYAL FLUSH to win $1,080,485. This marks the fourth time in less than a year that The Millionaire Progressive has paid out.

THE ROGERS ART LOFT AT THE LUCY, a multi-disciplinary artist residency program dedicated to inclusivity, originality, and empowerment of artists, has finalized its inaugural roster of artists with the launch by conceptual artist Ayanah Moor on June 9. The newly-created residency offers artists, both national and international, the opportunity to live and work in a first-of-its-kind creative community – The Lucy - in vibrant Downtown Las Vegas. Curated by Patrick Duffy, President/CEO of the 41-yr, non-profit Nevada School of the Arts who is collaborating in managing this Las Vegas art incubator for The Rogers Foundation, each artist residency opportunity will range from two to eight weeks, depending on artist’s needs and art practices.  In addition to lodging in the brand-new Rogers Art Loft residence designed by Cindy Reid, all the visiting artists will be provided with access to studio space at surrounding partner locations, based upon their discipline and studio needs. An orientation of the area will occur over the first few days in residence, allowing artists to engage with the community, to give historical and geographical context to the Las Vegas valley, and to provide resources available throughout the residency period. Rogers Art Loft artists will participate in and lead lectures and programs that actively engage both the professional arts community and the public.

America’s all-time top-selling rock ‘n’ roll band AREOSMITH is set to kick off the second leg of their critically acclaimed Las Vegas residency “Aerosmith: Deuces are Wild” on Wednesday, June 19, and to celebrate they are allowing fans access to their MUSEUM showcasing incredible items they’ve collected over their nearly 50 years together. Initially only accessible to VIP ticket holders, the exhibit, located in the lower level of PARK THEATER AT PARK MGM where the band is performing, is open for tours staring from 12 p.m. on June 19.

THE PLAZA HOTEL & CASINO in downtown LasVegas continues to upgrade its guest experience with a $15 MILLION RENOVATION that transformed more than 100 hotel rooms and suites on the top floors of the North Tower. The NEW LUXE ROOMS offer enhanced guest accommodations with a variety of technology, energy efficiency and décor upgrades. Now available for reservations starting Aug. 1, Luxe Rooms can be booked online.

Las Vegas Strip headliner magician MAT FRANCO is expanding his partnership with THE ANIMAL FOUNDATION to help promote SHELTER PET ADOPTIONS during the busy summer season. A shelter dog owner himself, Mat has been one of The Animal Foundation’s most consistent celebrity supporters. In 2016 he launched an annual campaign to collect supplies and monetary gifts, which over the years have helped save hundreds of lost, unwanted and abandoned animals at the shelter -- the largest in Nevada. This summer’s campaign, featuring Mat in print, outdoor, radio and television advertising, strengthens Mat’s partnership with The Animal Foundation and his commitment to helping some of our city’s most vulnerable residents. It aims to encourage valley residents to adopt and not shop when looking for a new pet.

Giada De Laurentiis’ first restaurant, GIADA at The Cromwell celebrates five successful years with a new limited-time $5 aperitivo bites and new anniversary tasting menu, with a portion of proceeds benefitting America's largest school garden program, Green Our Planet.

Limited tickets for MADONNA'S MADAME X TOUR AT THE COLOSSEUM AT CAESARS PALACE on November 7, 9 and 10, 2019 will be available for general sales starting Monday, June 10, therefore giving fans who may have missed out an additional chance to attend these very special performances. There will be a four ticket limit per show and every ticket sold includes a copy of Madonna’s Madame X album releasing Friday, June 14. Madame X Tour VIP Packages will also be available and may include great ticket locations, an exclusive backstage tour, a photo opportunity on stage, a VIP pre-show reception, a limited edition Madonna gift item, fast pass access to designated VIP merch and concessions lanes, and more. Additionally, fans can access travel packages which include great ticket locations, exclusive merchandise, hotel accommodations and more.

For the third year, MARRIAGE CAN BE MURDER at the D Las Vegas will participate in THREE SQUARE’S LAS VEGAS RESTAURANT WEEK. The award-winning dinner show will help take a bite out of hunger by DONATING 20 PERCENT OF TICKET PROCEEDS from June 17 to June 28 to Three Square Food Bank when the code “3SQUARE” is used at checkout online or at the box office by calling 702-388-2111.

The ladies of FANTASY, Luxor Hotel & Casino's award-winning adult revue, invite Nevada locals to turn up the heat this summer with a sultry TWO-FOR-ONE ticket promotion, available now through Saturday, Aug. 31. All guests with a valid Nevada ID can purchase two show tickets for the price of one for a ‘hot’ summer escape. Additionally, audience members will be invited to meet the FANTASY cast, as well as have an opportunity for autographs and photos following the show. Tickets are available for purchase at the Luxor box office.

Live escape room experience,THE BASEMENT, located at 3440 Polaris Ave., has announced a locals discount for all state residents, available now. The Basement will offer all Nevada residents with a state ID $7 off by using discount code “LOCALS2019” when booking online at escaperoomvegas.com.

THE LAS VEGAS NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM (located at 900 Las Vegas Blvd N.) welcomes “DINOSAURS TAKE FLIGHT,” now on display through Sept. 15. “Dinosaurs Take Flight” explores the life of Archaeopteryx, the elusive full-wing maniraptor that lived during the Jurassic period, and is considered by many to be the missing link between birds and dinosaurs. The traveling exhibit from Silver Plume Exhibitions and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History blends science and art, featuring more than 50 pieces of original artwork, murals, sculptures, interactive displays and collection of fossils. Cost of admission is $12 per adult; senior/military/student $10; children 3- 11 years old $6; 2 and under free; LVNHM Members, ASTC (2 adults and 2 children) Free.

JUSTIN FAVELA AND RAMIRO GOMEZ come together for the first time in SORRY FOR THE MESS, an exhibition of new collaborative artwork about labor, childhood memories, and life in Las Vegas, on display at THE MARJORIE BARRICK MUSEUM OF ART, located on the campus of UNLV, now through August 3, 2019 This installation draws on key themes in the practices of both artists, merging a child’s imaginative experience with the adult realm of work and history.

UNLV CHORAL ENSEMBLE will perform “EUROPEAN HOMECOMING” June 18 at 7:30 pm inside DOC RANDO RECITAL HALL. Come celebrate UNLV's choral journey through the Iberian peninsula, where they share images, stories, music, and memories from the program's trip to Portugal and Spain. $10 - All Seats; $8 discounted tickets are available to seniors, military members, and UNLV Faculty and Staff. All students may receive one free ticket with valid ID. Tickets are available at the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office.

Christmas is coming early for Las Vegas! The beloved LAS VEGAS GREAT SANTA RUN will ring in its monumental 15thyear with a highly-anticipated REGISTRATION LAUNCH PARTY on Thursday, June 20th. The Las Vegas Great Santa Run is one of Opportunity Village’s largest annual fundraisers and helps enhance the lives of more than 2,000 Southern Nevadans with intellectual and related disabilities. Hosted by Las Vegas nonprofit, Opportunity Village, the launch will encourage early bird sign-ups with a host of special guests and performances at Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas. Prospective runners are invited to join the celebration to receive a limited-time $22 registration price. Beginning at 10:30 a.m.,CHIPPENDALES along with FIT4MOM – the nation’s leading prenatal and postnatal fitness program for mothers – will take over the Main Street Stage with performer George Dare to engage attendees and passersby in an energetic exercise program to the signature tune of “Run Santa Run!” Also taking the stage will be the Tony Marques Band and local sports mascots from the Las Vegas Lights, Las Vegas Aces, and Las Vegas Aviators. With performers from the Boyd Gaming Fine & Performing Arts Program at Opportunity Village and more! Early bird pricing of $22 is available online from June 20 – June 30. After that, pricing will increase to $30 per person.

American icon WILLIE NELSON will headline a limited Las Vegas engagement, “VEGAS ON MY MIND,” INSIDE THE VENETIAN THEATRE at The Venetian® Resort Las Vegas, October 18, 19, 22, 23, 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets starting at $59.95, plus applicable fees, go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, June 21 at 10 a.m. PT.

THE SMITH CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS has announced that individual tickets for the critically-acclaimed Broadway production of ANASTASIA, performing inside REYNOLDS HALL Aug. 20-25, will go on sale June 21. Tickets starting at $30 will be available in-person at The Smith Center box office.

THE DISTRICT AT GREEN VALLEY RANCH invites the community to attend the following FOUR SUMMER CONCERTS IN JUNE, which are part of the center’s summer concert series featuring a different artist each Friday and Saturday evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. now through August. Alternative musician GRACEN REIGN will perform on Friday, June 21st. Talented funk, blues, pop, rock, indie, alternative and soul musician CAMERON DETTMAN performs on Saturday, June 22nd . Americana/folk musician RICHARD MANN will perform on Friday, June 28 and  progressive rock musician MIKEY TUCKER performs Saturday, June 29th. Concerts are held in the Courtyard off Main Street and are FREE and open to the public.

THE DISTRICT AT GREEN VALLEY RANCH will host “RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK,” the fourth movie in the series of five FREE ‘80s MOVIE NIGHTS outdoors in June on the green behind Whole Foods Market. The movie will be shown on Saturday, June 22nd at 7:30pm. Then, as the fifth and last in its series of free movies in June, “E.T.” will be shown at 7:30 pm on Saturday, June 29th. Moviegoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. No alcohol or glass allowed.

The SUPER SUMMER THEATRE continues its 44th outdoor Summer Series with “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM CONCERT FANTASTIC!” playing Wednesday, June 26 through Saturday, July 13. Presented by The LAB LV and Super Summer Theatre, this vibrant musical is an immersive experience for the whole family, combining Shakespeare’s classic text with today’s popular music. Tickets for the Summer Series are priced at $15 for general admission. Parking opens at 5 p.m. and Meadow Seating begins at 6 p.m. Super Summer Theatre is located at Spring Mountain Ranch, just 10 miles west of the 215/West Charleston intersection or 5 miles east past Blue Diamond from the intersection of Hwy 159 and Hwy 160. All performances are outdoors and run Wednesday – Saturday, excluding September’s production which runs Thursday – Saturday.

The LAS VEGAS ARTISTS' GUILD, will present a new collection of assorted original artwork from award-winning artists from across the Las Vegas valley at the new 2040 sq. ft. gallery, located upstairs next to Dillard’s, inside the Galleria at Sunset, 1300 W Sunset Rd., Suite 2109, Henderson, NV. This community art and cultural event is FREE and open both public and will feature all things art opening June 26ththrough August 11th during regular mall hours 7 days a week. Various mediums will be presented including oil and acrylic paintings, sculptures, glass, photography prints, custom jewelry, beautiful pottery, photography and more. The artists will offer both original works of artwork as well as fine art giclees for purchase. This is a great opportunity to support local artists and the community they serve. July Reception TBD. Additionally, enjoy live music and live painting every Saturday night at the gallery from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

On Saturday, June 29 MADAME TUSSAUDS LAS VEGAS, located inside the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian Resort, is hosting OPEN AUDITIONS in search for one talented individual to appear in its new GLOBAL MARVEL 4D FILM experience, premiering next year (2020). To have a chance of claiming this exclusive role in the 4D film, people must don their favorite Marvel super hero costume and arrive at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas between 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Whether someone is a budding amateur actor, major Marvel fan or fancies doing something a bit different in the city this summer, everyone dressed in costume will get the chance to come along and enjoy the Madame Tussauds experience for free. Auditions are taking place in six cities across the world, starting with the home of Marvel in Madame Tussauds Hollywood and ending at the original Madame Tussauds in London.

PABLO FRANCISCO, one of the most popular touring comedians worldwide, will rock the house with screams of laughter at the SOUTH POINT CASINO,  Friday, June 28th & Saturday 29th. Showtimes: 7:30PM / Tickets: $18.35 - $27.52.

More than 100 “beauties for a cause” will descend on Las Vegas as MISS EARTH USA, part of the global competition that empowers women ages 5-59 through community leadership, eco-tourism and environmental education, is set to be crowned for the first time in Las Vegas at the SOUTH POINT HOTEL & CASINO, June 30. This pageant is the official preliminary to the world-wide title of Miss Earth. Miss Earth draws nearly 100 national representatives from six continents each year to compete at international festivities in the Philippines. Tickets for the multi-day pageant in Las Vegas, which runs June 27-30, are on sale to the public.

The PLAZA HOTEL & CASINO will host its annual INDEPENDENCE DAY PARTY on Thursday, July 4 at its rooftop pool. Free to attend, the party will again culminate with downtown Las Vegas’ only live fireworks show lighting up the sky at 9 p.m. Bigger and better this year, the fireworks will be staged from multiple locations on the Plaza’s roofs and towers, ensuring an amazing show for party attendees and one that will be visible for miles.  At the party, guests can swim or relax poolside while a DJ plays crowd favorites. Doors open at 5 p.m. and festivities start at 6 p.m. with downtown Las Vegas’ only hot dog eating contest in the style of the famous event held annually at Coney Island. The contest winner will receive a grand prize, which includes $200, a free two night stay at the Plaza, $150 to Oscar’s Steakhouse, a free pool cabana plus $50 towards food and beverage at the Pool at the Plaza. The contest is limited to 10 participants, 21 years of age or older. Registration is open online until June 21.

The entire Las Vegas valley is invited to CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY at the 25TH ANNUAL SUMMERLIN COUNCIL PATRIOTIC PARADE, Southern Nevada’s largest and most colorful Fourth of July parade from 9 am- 11 am.. The parade’s silver anniversary year will feature more than 70 entries, including the return of the popular Vegas Golden Knights themed float sponsored by City National Bank that debuted last year, a variety of traditional floats, giant inflatable balloons, American military heroes, bands, musical groups and a variety of kids’ favorite storybook and cartoon characters.  More than 2,500 people are participating in the parade and more than 500 volunteers from dozens of local schools and community groups are assisting with parade operations. Over 16,000 cubic feet of helium will be used for the more than 25 giant inflatables. Attendance along the parade route is expected to top 40,000 people. The parade begins at the corner of Hillpointe Rd. and Hills Center Dr. in The Trails village of Summerlin. Participants travel south toward Village Center Circle, then west on Trailwood Drive. The parade ends near the corner of Trailwood Drive and Spring Gate Lane.

Deadpan comic STEVEN WRIGHT will headline the Treasure Island Theatre July 5 at 9 p.m. Tickets are available starting at $39.95, plus taxes and service charges.

Starting Monday, July 8, SAMUEL J. COMROE, a top four winner on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” will headline a stand-up comedy residency inside the L.A. COMEDY CLUB AT THE STRAT HOTEL, CASINO AND SKYPOD.  Comroe will perform his routine live at 6 p.m. every Monday through Wednesday. The club’s nightly, three-show lineup includes Redneck Comedy Magic at 6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday; rotating selection of headliners nightly at 8 p.m.; comedian Butch Bradley at 10 p.m. Friday through Tuesday; and comedian Marsha Warfield at 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.  Guests must be 18 years or older to attend. Ticket prices start at $39.95 plus taxes and fees. Nevada locals with valid ID receive 50 percent off as well as $20 ticket upgrades for open bar offers.

Recent and Upcoming Boutique and Restaurant Openings:

PARK MGM PETS, is now open at The Sixth Space, a retail boutique within Park MGM. The one-of-a-kind shop offers an exclusive collection of branded Park MGM pet accessories and tasty treats for man’s best friend, as well as handcrafted art featuring fashionable canines by Oliver Gal.

Mexican-inspired restaurant LETICIA'S COCINA & CANTINA at Santa Fe Station is now open, serving up authentic flavors of Mexico from many different regions like Mexico City, Puebla, Guadalajara, and the Mayan Peninsula. Following in the footsteps of its sister location located inside Fiesta Henderson, guests can enjoy flavorful farm-to-table dishes, house made tortillas and sauces, entrees, tacos, burritos, sopas, ensaladas, Chef Specials and more.

FRITES LAS VEGAS, the first-ever French fry concept on The Strip, boasts an Instagram-able food truck façade that fires up June 24 inside Excalibur Hotel & Casino’s Castle Walk Food Court. Frites Las Vegas is the first original concept from Feel Good Brands, which has operated multiple franchises for more than 20 years in the Las Vegas valley.NTaking the most popular side dish and giving it the spotlight it deserves, Frites Las Vegas has modernized the average French fry, transforming the frites into a portable and crave-able meal on-the-go with flavors that embrace Americana nostalgia and add a kick of international flair.

New, Gourmet Asian Restaurant, JADE Asian Kitchen & Noodles debuts at JW Marriott Las Vegas this June.  Situated in the Promenade on the north side of the resort and steps away from the popular Clubhouse Deli, the new restaurant offers a culinary tour of Asia under one roof. Jade Asian Kitchen & Noodles is a flavorful journey through Chinese, Japanese and Pan-Asian cuisines featuring multi-regional offerings in a setting both vibrant and peaceful.

SIXTH +MILL, the popular pizzeria and bar in Downtown Los Angeles from Factory Place Hospitality Group is opening its second location at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. Slated to open September 2019 in the Grand Canal Shoppes, the Southern Italian inspired concept will offer a menu including Neapolitan-style pizzas, pastas, seasonal plates, all specially curated to reflect early memories in the kitchen from Chef Angelo Auriana’s childhood in Italy.

FLIGHTS, an aviation-themed eatery featuring a one-of-a-kind cocktail experience and tapas-style comfort food, will debut its fifth location, and first outside of California on the Las Vegas Strip at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in July 2019.

Celebrity sightings:

Sunday, June 9...

The winner of the tenth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Giovanni Palandrani, better known as drag queen Aquaria, dined at TAO.

At Beauty & Essex, Kahlana Barfield, who serves as a television fashion correspondent for E!, NBC, ABC and more, dined with friends.

Saturday, June 8...

Global superstar Celine Dion celebrated the conclusion of her famed 16-year residency at The Colosseum inside Caesars Palace by dancing the night away at OMNIA Nightclub with resident headliner and GRAMMY Award-winning artist, Tiësto.

Global Superstar Celine Dion Celebrates Closing Night of Her Famed 16 Year Las Vegas Residency by Partying at OMNIA Nightclub with Grammy Award Winning Artist Tiësto and Fiancé June 8 Photo Credit Wolf Productions
Global Superstar Celine Dion Celebrates Closing Night of Her Famed 16 Year Las Vegas Residency by Partying at OMNIA Nightclub with Grammy Award Winning Artist Tiësto and Fiancé.  Photo Credit Wolf Productions

Celine Dion and Canadian based DJ Dzeko at OMNIA Nightclub inside Caesars Palace on Saturday June 8 Photo Credit Wolf Productions
Celine Dion and Canadian based DJ Dzeko at OMNIA Nightclub inside Caesars Palace. Photo Credit Wolf Productions

Thursday, June 6...

R5’s Riker Lynch and his fiancé Savannah Latimer celebrated their bachelor and bachelorette parties, dining at TAO Las Vegas.The groups dined separately. Riker’s group of ten included brothers Rocky and Ryland and additional family and friends. Savannah was feted by a large group including future sister-in-law Rydell Lynch. Afterwards, the girls headed up to the nightclub where they danced the night away at a VIP table.

Wednesday, June 5...

President and owner of Lee’s Discount Liquor Kenny Lee was spotted attending the 8 p.m. performance of ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace. He went backstage after the show for a photo with The Gazillionaire and Green Fairy and to express his enjoyment of the show.

Dancing with the Star pros Emma Slater and husband Sasha Farber dined at TAO.

Tuesday, June 4...

Play-n-Skillz were spotted having dinner at Beauty & Essex.

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