Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - Las Vegas Round The Clock
Entertainment Reporter/Film Critic - Las Vegas Tribune
Owner/Editor in Chief/writer - The Flick Chicks
Lavo Restaurant and Nightclub Opens at the Palazzo
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn
While Tao is Asian inspired, Lavo, Latin for “to bathe or cleanse”, is inspired by the look of Mediterranean bathhouses, and incorporates 20,000 square foot of space that houses a lounge, restaurant and nightclub with twenty-foot ceilings, tile walls, a sleek curved bar, leather seating and Moroccan tables and a 110 seat outdoor patio. The Mediterranean influence in its décor is prominently seen throughout the venue. Upon entering the lounge, on the way to a curved marbled bar, your attention is drawn to the low chandeliers and a trove of authentic Moroccan antiquities. Located on the second floor is the nightclub that offers exquisite views of the action below and on the Strip, and features a VIP area with posh banquettes, embossed leather walls, and mirrored mosaic tile. But, to get there you must first trek up the stairs and walk across a glass-and wood-screened bridge, that is flanked by more than a dozen Turkish water basins.
The restaurant includes a 180 seat main dining room, a 20 seat private dining room and 100 seats on the outdoor patio overlooking the famed Las Vegas Strip and features a dining menu that highlights the best of the Mediterranean region’s cuisine. Lavo Executive Chef Ludo Lefebvre, who has earned a James Beard Award for “Rising Star Chef” and was the city’s only chef to earn the Mobil Travel Guide Five Star award at two different restaurants, leads guests through a culinary journey with his creation of signature dishes from countries such as, Spain, France, and Italy that are designed for sampling and sharing among friends.
Photo credit: StephenThorburn
At the media event, I was able to taste some of the dishes as accommodating servers passed around trays of delectable goodies for guests to indulge in that included samplings of chicken parmagiana sliders, ahi tuna tartar, margherita pizza, mushroom pizza, eggplant and goat cheese bruschetta; all of which were heavenly. Admittedly hooked by these palate pleasing teasers, I plan on returning with friends for a complete, great dining experience that is enhanced by the exotic environment.
The restaurant at Lavo is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with late night dining until 2 am, and can be reached at 702-791-1800. The nightclub at Lavo is open six nights a week from 10 pm to 5 am and can be reached at 702-791-1818.
The Mirage Unveils Plans for Iconic Volcano
On Wednesday, September 10, The Mirage held a press conference to reveal details of the dramatic transformation to their signature front-feature attraction, the Volcano. It was announced that The Mirage has joined forces with Grammy award winning musicians, legendary Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Indian tabla sensation Zakir Hussain and Fountains of Bellagio design firm WET, to create an all-new audio/visual spectacle exclusively for the iconic blast.
Bringing the latest innovations to the project, WET will forge a primal volcanic environment of sound, light, music and heat. WET’s choreographed FireShooters - which send massive fireballs more than 12 feet into the air - were designed specifically for The Mirage using the latest developments in flame-expression technology. The FireShooters will punctuate the performances with eruptions of fiery “lava” that will flow down the mountain’s fissures in a series of lively flames. As the eruption ignites the surrounding lagoon, the FireShooters will bring Las Vegas’ signature blast within feet of spectators.
Photo courtesy of WET
Further enhancing the overall experience, The Volcano will feature a new Meyer Sound state-of-the-art sound system, as heard in theaters throughout the world, including The Mirage’s own LOVE Theater.
“The Mirage and our fiery Volcano have long been symbols of the energy and excitement Las Vegas offers,” said Scott Sibella, President and COO of The Mirage. “We recognize that to remain at the forefront of this dynamic destination, The Mirage must deliver trendsetting attractions that excite and entertain, giving our guests a reason to visit again and again.”
The top-to-bottom overhaul is the final step in the property's ongoing transformation and is scheduled for completion late 2008.
Actress/Anti-Cancer Activist Fran Drescher Appears at Nevada Cancer Institute
Last Friday afternoon, actress Fran Drescher, who gained fame as TV’s The Nanny, appeared in person in front of a standing-room-only crowd at The Nevada Cancer Institute to talk about her personal experience as a uterine cancer survivor and to sign copies of her best selling book, Cancer Schmancer. Drescher first met with NVCI executives to tour the facility where she greeted patients in the chemotherapy infusion suite with words of encouragement.
Photo courtesy of Nevada Cancer Institute
Appearing healthy, and vibrant, the very personable Drescher spoke to attendees about the importance of self empowerment and education in the fight against uterine cancer. Preferring to speak from her heart, rather than reading a passage from her book, she discussed her struggle through two years and eight doctors before receiving the proper diagnosis. According to the medical profession, she didn’t fit the profile of post menopausal or obese women that are at high risk. But after finally getting an accurate diagnosis Drescher decided to become pro-active and take control of her life, combining alternative means with working with doctors to battle the disease. Now cancer free, it has become her life mission to share her story and help save the lives of others before it is too late. She created the Cancer Schmancer Foundation, whose goal is to make sure all patients are diagnosed early, in Stage I, when they are most curable.
Drescher’s motivational talk, although indeed about a very serious subject was, nevertheless, injected with her wonderful sense of humor, and it inspired the patients, survivors and guests as she pushed for them to be proactive about their health with screenings and opportunities for early detection. She told the group, “I got famous. I got cancer, and I lived to talk about it, so I’m talking.”
The intelligent actress was also adamant about the need to educate women of the danger of toxins that we are continually subjected to and is a strong proponent of the high alkaline diet as a preventative to ward off disease. She went on to say, “Remove toxins from your life, raise the alkaline level in your body and remove acids that build up in your body. By changing your lifestyle, and the way you eat, it changes your (body’s) structure and suppresses cancer”.
Fran Drescher and Judy Thorburn
Fran Drescher was recently named as a public diplomacy envoy where she will work with health organizations and women’s groups to raise awareness of women’s health issues, cancer awareness and detection, and patient empowerment and advocacy. She chose to visit NVCI, the official cancer institute of Nevada, after learning that education is one of the its three pillars and early detection is stressed in all outreach opportunities in Nevada, the Southwest United States and beyond. “The Nevada Cancer Institute should be the model for what other cancer institutes should be throughout the country, and I applaud them today,” said Drescher.
Paris Hilton, the Philanthropist, Attends Fundraising Party in Support of Nevada Cancer Institute
Saturday night September 13, Paris Hilton and Jeff Beacher attended the Fifth Annual Summer’s End Beach Party benefiting Nevada Cancer Institute held at the home of Jim and Joan Hammer in Las Vegas. The annual event raises funds for Nevada Cancer Institute.
Paris, whose own grandmother battled breast cancer, took the stage and encouraged party-goers to open their hearts and their wallets and give generously to NVCI, saying "everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another". This is the second time that Paris has attended a Nevada Cancer Institute fundraiser to support the cause so close to her heart.
Photo courtesy of Elegant Images
The event raised more than $1.5 million and included the announcement of a $20 million gift from the Engelstad Family Foundation to be used to fund the cancer research building, currently under construction on the NVCI campus, which will be named the Ralph and Betty Engelstad Cancer Research Building.
Magicians of the Century Siegfried & Roy Kick off Oktoberfest 2008 at Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas.
Saturday, September 13 AT 7 p.m. magicians Siegfried & Roy officially started this year’s celebration of Oktoberfest by tapping the ceremonial first keg of beer at Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas. This century’s old tradition commenced with Siegfried & Roy striking the keg tap with the wooden Bürgermeister’s mallet. Siegfried & Roy have been performing opening night ceremonies for Oktoberfest at Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas for the past four years.
Once the duo did the honors, the Octoberfest beer (a rich, flavorful seasonal brew made in strict accordance with Bavaria’s century-old Purity Law) began flowing throughout the beer hall. S&R enjoyed their dinner amongst friends and patrons and interacted with the crowd, even signing the Good Times newsletter as memorabilia.
The Oktoberfest at Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas celebration runs through Friday, October 31, 2008.
Additional recent and upcoming “happenings” in and around Las Vegas include:
On Saturday September 6, The Las Vegas Philharmonic kicked off its 10-year anniversary celebration with a grand gala reception and Masterworks I concert. The evening began at 5:30 p.m. in the Grand Hall when Philharmonic guests arrived for a celebration catered by Chef Gustav Mauler, and a lecture given by Las Vegas Philharmonic music director, David Itkin. At 8 p.m. the Las Vegas Philharmonic played a spectacular performance of Maurice Ravel’s one-movement “Boléro,” followed by legendary pianist Misha Dichter’s performance of Edvard Grieg’s piano concerto in A minor. The evening closed with The Las Vegas Philharmonic playing Dvorák’s intricate “Symphony No. 7” in D minor.
Last Thursday afternoon, The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino announced that singer/impressionist/entertainer Gordie Brown has signed a multi-year contract to headline at the legendary downtown property. Brown, who is currently touring North America with Celine Dion, will begin performances in February 2009, in the property’s new state of the art theatre, which, in his honor, will be renamed The Gordie Brown Showroom. Brown will perform five nights a week with a four-piece band.
In celebration of his 1000th show at the Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood Resort, on Friday, Sept. 12 at 9 p.m., magician Steve Wyrick, revealed the magical SW-1000 chopper he had specially created by Orange County Choppers. The event, which took place in front of Hawaiian Tropic Zone’s strip-side patio and was open to the public, will soon air on cable TV’s TLC channel. Following the unveiling there was an after party for invited guests inside the restaurant.
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak/Getty images
The Teutuls (Paul Sr., Paul Jr. and Mikey) from Discovery Channel’s American Chopper were on hand for the presentation of their custom creation that was specially made with a request from Wyrick that there be one “invisible” part. To grant his wish, the creative team designed a gas tank on the chopper that is invisible. Only the flames on the outside are visible in a bright yellow décor.
On Saturday evening, The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino celebrated the grand opening of its brand new, first of its kind, 7,000 square foot Hard Rock Poker Lounge with a star-studded red carpet VIP poker tournament. Earlier in the afternoon Honorable Mayor Oscar Goodman joined Hard Rock President Randy Kwasniewski and Doyle Brunson for a commemorative ribbon cutting ceremony. Mayor Goodman was presented a custom-made tricycle for his grandson and he was delightfully surprised and grateful stating, "Only at the Hard Rock!" Read more about the Red Carpet Grand Opening of the Hard Rock Poker Lounge in Dianne Davis’ column “Views of Vegas” that includes photos of some of the celebrities in attendance.
Mayor Oscar Goodman cuts ceremonial ribbon at Hard Rock Poker Lounge
In honor of Hispanic Heritage month Madame Tussauds Las Vegas (located at the Venetian) has launched their first-ever Hispanic Heritage exhibit. The exhibit, which is on display in the attraction’s Spirit of America room through October 15, consists of well-known celebrity Hispanic wax figures such as Salma Hayek, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, along with biographical presentations of other Hispanic leaders that have impacted our growing community.
On Wednesday, September 10, Texas de Brazil, which combines the bold flavors of Southern Brazil with the generous spirit of Texas, opened its doors in Town Square Las Vegas. Guests at the Brazilian steakhouse are offered a truly unique Brazilian experience, complete with sword carrying Gauchos a.k.a. Brazilian cowboys, who roam the dining area serving various delectable cuts and types of meat cooked in the traditional Brazilian “Churrascaria” style. The Las Vegas location marks the restaurant’s 14th location worldwide. Texas de Brazil is open for dinner Mon. – Thurs. from 5 -10 p.m., Fri. from 5-10:30 p.m., Sat. from 4-10:30 p.m. and Sun. from 4-9 p.m. For more information call 702/ 614.0080.
On Friday, September 19 from 6 - 7:30 p.m., The Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower will host a special NASCAR® Craftsman Truck Series free autograph session inside the casino near Polly Esther’s Nightclub to kick off the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s 12th Annual Quik Liner Las Vegas 350. Tentatively scheduled are the following drivers: 2005 winner Todd Bodine, 2001 winner Ted Musgrave, Dennis Setzer, Justin Marks, Matt Crafton, Shelby Howard, 2002 winner David Starr, 1997 Sam’s Town 300 winner Jeff Green, Terry Cook, Stacy Compton, Brian Scott, Marc Mitchell, Shane Sieg, and 2007 NASCAR® Whelen Modified Tour Champion Donny Lia. The cast of the Stratosphere’s hit show American Superstars will be on hand to meet and greet the line of NASCAR® fans starting at 4:30 p.m.
Club Armadillo at Texas Station has been transformed into the new South Padre bringing new, exciting and free entertainment acts to the stage weekly. In addition to the new name, South Padre’s exterior bar opens up for customers to see lounge entertainment taking place inside the venue. The new South Padre will also feature free weekly musical acts every Friday and Saturday night.
RA Sushi Bar Restaurant at the Fashion Show Mall (3200 Las Vegas Boulevard South) is hosting a RA’ck the Vote event on Thursday, Sept. 18 from 5-9 p.m. Guest will be able to register to vote and enjoy delicious food, live entertainment and giveaways including gift certificates to RA, t-shirts and other great prizes. Every guest that registers to vote will receive a complimentary California roll. A live acoustic performance by local musician Shawn Eiferman will take place on RA’s outdoor patio followed by VJ Stefan Gilmore on the turntables at 9 p.m.
Every Thursday in September, Seasons Buffet at Silverton Casino Lodge features an authentic Polynesian dinner menu beginning at 4 p.m. The price is $21.99 or $19.99 with Discovery Club card.
On Saturday, September 20th from 7 to 11 pm, Women in Film, a non profit organization is hosting The Nevada Screen Actors Guild’s 75th Anniversary Gala at DreamVision Motion Picture Studios @ 6705 South Eastern Avenue. A huge portion of the proceeds will benefit our very own Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas! Visit wiflasvegas.org for tickets and more information.
Jason Egan Fright, owner and creator of Fright Dome, which opens Friday, Oct. 3 in The Adventuredome at Circus Circus, is holding Monster Auditions for its haunted attraction on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. This open casting call includes a presentation by primary cast members and a brief informative discussion about Fright Dome by Egan. Auditions will be held in the Fright Dome Ticket Tent adjacent to The Adventuredome in the west parking lot at Circus Circus.
Illusionist Criss Angel’s spectacular new production “Believe” will begin previews at The Luxor on September 26.
On Friday, September 26th, at 7:30 pm., Dr. Dave Brodersen and a Green Team of Specialists will be giving a lecture titled “How Green Can You Go” in room 133 of Building C at the College of Southern Nevada’s Henderson campus. The exciting lecture will teach steps you can take to supplement and conserve energy in your home and tap into the solar energy industry. The lecture is FREE and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the lecture. Call 651-3000 for directions or more information.
The Osmonds, consisting of brothers Jay, Jimmy, Merrill and Wayne, from one of the most well-known entertainment families in the world, return to the Orleans Showroom September 26th – 28th. Show time is 8:00 PM. Tickets are priced from $29.95 plus tax.
Comedian Chelsea Handler, who is host of her own late-night talk show on E!, “Chelsea Lately”, brings her hilarious comedy stylings to The Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms Casino Resort on Saturday, October 4, 2008, at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $55.00 and $65.00, plus any additional service fees.
Thursday, October 9, from 6 – 9 p.m. Rosa Lladró, the president of Lladró, the worldwide makers of fine porcelain figurines and art, will unveil the company's new limited edition sculpture, Iris And Cherry Flowers Fan, during a personal appearance at the Lladró Boutique in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Ms. Lladró will unveil the new sculpture, greet customers and sign their purchases during the event. Her appearance is part of a nine-city, U.S. tour that begins Oct. 4 in Miami, FL.
October 10-12, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff will take place at the Tropicana Las Vegas to see who will be named the 2008 World Chili Champion. The event will be held in the northeast parking lot and include live music, chili tasting, retail vendors, food, drink, guest participation contests and more. WCCC is free of charge and open to the public. However, guests who wish to participate in chili tasting must purchase tasting tickets.
Cooks will compete in one or more of the following sanctioned categories: World’s Championship Salsa, World’s Championship Chili Verde and World’s Championship Traditional Red. Guests can join in the action as well by participating in the following events: Miss Chili Pepper Contest, Mister Hot Sauce Contest and the Shoot N’ Holler Contest. Additional information can be found at www.chilicookoff.com.
Recording artist Natasha Bedingfield has been added as a special guest for New Kids On The Block upcoming fall tour which will stop at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Saturday, Oct. 11.
Starship, starring Mickey Thomas will headline at the Hilton Theater October 10 at 8 p.m. Thomas has revamped his band and show, adding powerful female vocalist Stephanie Calvert to the group and an expanded set list. Thomas is currently celebrating his 30th anniversary with Starship since he joined Jefferson Starship as lead vocalist after the departure of Grace Slick and Marty Balin. Tickets are $29 & $39.
On Sunday, October 12, 2008 The Las Vegas Philharmonic will celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary with an exclusive concert and grand gala event at the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall. The concert will feature special performances by world-renowned mezzo-soprano Eugenie Grunewald, tenor Nathan Brian Wine, clarinetist Shelley Hanson, The Adelson Educational Campus Choir and four of the city’s top cantors. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus and the Las Vegas Philharmonic.
The gala event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a Kosher VIP reception. VIP tickets are $300 per person and include the reception and premium concert seating. The concert begins at 8 p.m. and tickets priced at$30, $60 and $90, are on sale now.
In honor of Halloween, the Springs Preserve proudly presents its first Haunted Harvest beginning October 16 with festivities continuing through October 31. The 8-acre botanical garden will be transformed into a fright zone with glowing lights and fog for people of all ages. Activities will include a haunted hayride throughout the trails and “Safe Street” trick or treating. Entertainment will feature local high school band performances in the Garden Amphitheater, theremin (a Russian instrument that is played without touch) demonstrations on the balcony of the Springs Cafe, and performances by The Ghosts of Shakespeare from Theater Las Vegas. In addition, visitors can enjoy storytelling and surprise creepy characters throughout the Preserve.
Haunted Harvest starts October 16 and will be open Thursday thru Sunday from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Cost of admission is $9 for adults and $6 for children ages 5-17 (ages four and under and annual pass holders admitted free) and includes admission to museums and galleries.
On the evening of Sunday September 7, actor Kevin Dillon of the hit series, Entourage, celebrated his birthday inside Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Also in the crowd was Olympic silver medalist, Tim Hutten, of the USA water polo team.
Ashley Spencer, one of the finalists of last year’s “Grease, You’re The One That I Want!” reality show on NBC, was seen taking in a performance of Jersey Boys at The Palazzo Las Vegas on Thursday, September 11. After the performance, she went backstage to say hello to the talented cast.
Ashley Spencer with cast of Jersey Boys
Eddie Griffin was spotted enjoying dinner inside Strip House at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Friday night, Sept. 12. Also spotted was Miss Washington 2007, Elyse Umemoto and Miss New York 2007, Elisabeth Baldanza spotted at Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas. The two were enjoying a VIP after party celebrating Miracle Mile Shops magician Steve Wyrick's 1000th show.
Saturday September 13, Wet Republic at MGM Grand welcomed Mario Lopez, as he took time out from his hectic schedule, to enjoy an afternoon partying at Las Vegas’ first ultra pool enticing the crowd with his stunning good looks and chiseled body during Mexico’s Independence Day weekend. Directly across the pool, Playboy model Brittany Fuchs began the celebration for her 23rd birthday in the cabanas.
Mario Lopez at Wet Republic
Photo credit: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images
Playboy model Brittney Fuchs
Photo credit: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images
Saturday evening (September 13):
Celebrities showed up in full force to celebrate the VIP Grand Opening of LAVO Restaurant and Nightclub at The Palazzo Las Vegas. Celebrities in attendance included Shannen Doherty, Bar Rafaeli, Paris Hilton and Benji Madden, Nicky Hilton and David Katzenberg, a pregnant Angie Harmon and her spouse Jason Sehorn, Stacy Keibler, Jack Osbourne, Olympian Amanda Beard, Amber Heard, Ashley Scott, Enrique Iglesias (with four blonde Anna Kournikova look-alikes), Jamie Foxx, Kevin Connolly, Slash, and Will.I.Am.
Angie Harmon and husband Jason Sehorn
Stacy Keibler and Jamie Foxx
Paris and Nicky Hilton
Jesse McCartney is such a huge fan of LAVO that he raced over to The Palazzo straight from a concert so that he wouldn’t miss the opening.
K-Fed went to LAVO Friday night and at the last minute, decided to stick around for Saturday night’s festivities as well. Kevin was escorted back and forth between TAO and LAVO all night in LAVO’s new Escadale golf cart.
While fiancée Scarlett Johansson was an ocean away in South Africa, Ryan Reynolds showed up to LAVO during a weekend in Vegas with the boys.
Over at Torrid at Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops, Dawn Richards, member of chart-topping pop group Danity Dane, celebrated her 25th birthday. Richard took photos with fans, sipped on Grey Goose vodka cocktails and enjoyed Hawaiian Tropic Zone's famed Cheesecake Lollipops.
Dawn Richards of Danity Kane with fans at Torrid Nightclub
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak/Getty images
NBA star Jermaine O'Neal celebrated his birthday at Body English. Onlookers said O'Neal was friendly and said hello to everyone. Just across the way, choreographer Chris Judd was spotted with two friends at Wasted Space. They sat at a table and enjoyed Veruca Salt's performance on stage.
Studio 54 in MGM Grand welcomed Playboy model Brittany Fuchs to celebrate her 23rd birthday as she hosted an action-packed after-fight party. Fuchs transformed the hot spot into her personal playground to ring in the celebration.
Club-goers headed to Studio 54 directly following the Casamayor vs. Marquez fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena to join the sexy model. Fuchs partied and danced with guests at the Las Vegas premier nightclub as DJ Eric Forbes and DJ Kiss were behind the decks spinning their hard-hitting tracks all night long.
Boxing greats, Mike Tyson and Vernon Forrest were also seen partying in Studio 54’s VIP section during the after-fight party.
Actress Alexis Bledel celebrated her birthday with a dinner at Strip House inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.
Actor Verne Troyer Dining was seen dining at a separate table that same evening.
Shannen Doherty dined at Dos Caminos at The Palazzo just prior to walking the red carpet at the LAVO opening. In with two friends, the group enjoyed Dos Enchiladas, Skirt Steak, Queso Fundido, and Guacamole along with Camino de Oro margaritas and shots of Patron.
Sunday, September 15, San Antonio Spur’s small forward and three-time NBA Championship winner (2003, 2005 and 2007) Bruce Bowen was seen at Café Martorano with his wife and casino host.
San Antonio Spur's Bruce Bowen at Cafe Martorano
I will be back next week with more of what’s “happening” in and around Las Vegas.