JudyThorburn1 Judy 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
Founder - Nevada Film Critics Society

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Celebrates Year of the Rabbit With Spectacular Display

In celebration of Lunar New Year, Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens unveiled its breathtaking new display, “Year of the Rabbit” on Tuesday, January 10. Through March 4, guests will be immersed in a space reflecting peace and tranquility, where Asian culture is celebrated and honored in thoughtful fashion.

Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 South Bed Rabbit
Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 South Bed Rabbit

Upon entering the Conservatory, visitors are invited to embrace what’s to come in the Year of the Rabbit with each bed welcoming new beginnings, layered with meaningful creations that convey messages of harmony, good luck, enlightenment and prosperity. Created by designer Ed Libby, in collaboration with Bellagio’s Horticulture team, the display honors the Black Water Rabbit, which signifies deep wisdom and a connection to Earth.

“We’ve designed a beautiful space of tranquility and cultural enlightenment where we hope guests will gather to usher in the Year of the Black Water Rabbit and embrace the good fortune it will bring,” said Libby. “We look forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to enjoy the Conservatory as it delivers a symbol of hope and prosperity for the new year.”

Tucked within the West Bed is an elegantly sculpted, 32-foot-tall medallion honoring the Year of the Water Rabbit. Through its use of red-and-gold colored metallic and floral materials, the two-sided piece represents the dual masculinity and femininity of nature. Gorgeous cherry blossoms crafted from the ancient Eastern metalwork technique of cloisonné hang above a pair of fierce Fu Dogs guarding the Conservatory and its guests. Beneath twin bonsai trees, flowing waters signify the showering of riches and pay homage to the rabbit’s wisdom and connection to Earth, while gilded water lily fountains adorn a gorgeous pond.

Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 West Bed
Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 West Bed

The Temple of Six Banyan Trees sits at the heart of the North Bed where five floral topiary children made of carnations and botanical accents play amidst moving water to invoke symbolic messages of play, commerce, sustainability, celebration and enlightenment. Bringing guests good fortune and luck is the money tree set at the bed’s center, comprised of 88 gold I-Ching coins made of metallic material. Hanging high above the display are pomegranates and Chinese lanterns detailed with gold patterns, guiding guests to prosperity and peace. LED screens reflect fireworks and falling gold I-Ching coins while the unique and distinct ginger-and-amber scent “Serenity” fills the air.

Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 North Bed
Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 North Bed

Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 Money Tree
Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 Money Tree

Standing tall atop a trove of gold coins is a 17-foot-tall statue of Caishen, the benevolent Chinese god of wealth. Two pairs of jade talisman drape over the East Bed  to showcase the brightness of the year ahead, while a family of eight golden rabbits, representing abundance and new beginnings, pose below. Finely detailed bronze ding pots, symbolizing a ritualistic offering to the heavens as a sign of gratitude and hope, are artfully placed across a 46-foot wooden garden bridge adorned with festive pink cherry blossoms and gold-crowned red railings.

Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 East Bed
Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 East Bed

Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 West Bed Fu Dog
Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 West Bed Fu Dog

In the South Bed, visitors can gaze upon a glowing moon of the jade rabbit as it smiles down upon them while listening to the happy chirps of live zebra finches, being cared for by an expert team of dedicated staff.

Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 South Bed with Jade Rabbit Moon
Bellagio Conservatory Lunar New Year 2023 South Bed with Jade Rabbit Moon

Stretching across the South Bed, a majestic cherry blossom tree accompanies cranes and pink lunar moths crafted of botanical materials, symbolizing resilience, transformation and success.  A gentle rabbit journeys across the steppingstones to the banquet of the  Jade Emperor. Within this bed, guests will find a traditional tea house, representing hospitality, discipline and grace, where Bellagio is pleased to host The Garden Table, an immersive dining experience.

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is complimentary and open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Iconic Vegas Marquees Illuminate Blue to Show Support for Law Enforcement

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Foundation kicked off its annual Go True Blue campaign On Monday, January 9, beginning a year-long drive to honor hardworking law enforcement professionals.

Clark County Commissioners Michael Naft, Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Justin Jones, LVMPD Captain Greg Munson, and LVMPD Foundation Executive Director Tom Kovach gathered at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign” on the Las Vegas Strip to launch the initiative.   January was proclaimed Go True Blue month by the commissioners and the renowned sign illuminated blue in recognition.

Strip resorts, downtown properties, and businesses around the valley (see list below) illuminated their iconic marquees and building facades in blue light to express their support. 2023 marks the 50th  anniversary of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and the marquees featured the new badge to commemorate the occasion.

2023 01 09 GTB 14

2023 01 09 GTB 21 1

2023 01 09 GTB 37

2023 01 09 GTB 24
Photos courtesy of The LVMPD Foundation

The LVMPD Foundation created Go True Blue as a vehicle for community members to show their support for LVMPD and to strengthen partnerships between LVMPD officers and residents of Southern Nevada. The event is in conjunction with Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (LEAD).

“While LEAD is officially just one calendar day, we promote the Go True Blue campaign throughout the entire year to show gratitude to our officers for all they do,” says Tom Kovach, Executive Director of the LVMPD Foundation.   “Thanks to the generous support from many organizations and individuals, the Foundation works to advance community engagement initiatives, technology and training, and build trust between the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the community it serves.”

The LVMPD Foundation funds and supplements hundreds of Metro programs and initiatives including:

Area Command Community Engagement Activities

Back to School  

Crimestoppers of Nevada

Good Ticket Program

Holiday Gift & Give campaign

K-9 Section

Law Enforcement Empowerment & Athletics Program (LEEAP)

Metro Volunteer Program  

Reality Based Training Center on the campus of the Joint Emergency Training Institute.

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

Las Vegas' oldest and first hotel/casino, THE GOLDEN GATE CASINO, located at the corner of Fremont and Main streets in downtown Las Vegas, celebrated its 117TH ANNIVERSARY on Friday, January 13.  It opened in 1906 as the 2 story Hotel Nevada and was then renamed Sal Sagev (Las Vegas spelled backwards) until 1974, when the 1930's San Francisco themed property was renamed (quite appropriately) The Golden Gate. According to Golden Gate, the property's legacy spans the birth of Las Vegas, the Roaring 20s, the Rat Pack era and now the 21st century. "Since its inception in 1906, the downtown mainstay has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the city’s hospitality and gaming industry," the property said in a release."

Credited with bringing the shrimp cocktail to the city, the hotel still has its original 10 rooms but more than 100 have been added, including two suites.  The property was also expanded to include a casino entrance from the pedestrian mall. It was the first gaming property purchased by Derek Stevens (also co-owner of the nearby D Las Vegas) and his brother, Greg, in 2008 who became full owners in 2016.

THE NEON MUSEUM, the non-profit organization dedicated to collecting and preserving Las Vegas’ most iconic neon signage, has been named by  Travel + Leisure  as one of the 27 Best Museums in the United States.

PARK WEST FINE ART MUSEUM & GALLERY is kicking off its 2023 artist showcase series with a special three-month exhibition from Made in Vegas 2022 winner, surrealist artist CHRIS ELLIMAN. Selected from nearly 500 Las Vegas-based artists, Elliman’s one-of-a-kind work will hang alongside masterpieces by Picasso, Rembrandt, Renoir, and other art legends at Park West’s Las Vegas location from Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 through Friday, March 31, 2023. In celebration of the showcase, fans will have the opportunity to meet Elliman, while he hosts a live painting, meet-and-greet and Q&A on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Park West Gallery inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

L.A. COMEDY CLUB has announced a  hysterical  January lineup for the club’s custom new Dragon Room showroom at  THE STRAT HOTEL, CASINO & SKY PODKABIR SINGH (Monday, January 9 through Sunday, January 15); EDWIN SAN JUAN (Monday, January 16 through Sunday, January 22); JC CURRAIS (Monday, January 23 through Sunday, January 29);  and  PETER BERMAN (Monday, January 30 through Sunday, February 5) whose combined credits span Family Guy, Comedy Central, FOX, ABC, HBO, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and more, will headline the club’s 8 p.m. shows. The club’s lineup of popular resident comics also includes the nightly Happy Hour Variety Show starring JULIO GONZALEZ at 6 p.m.; comedian Butch Bradley at 10 p.m. Thursday through Monday; and comedian BRET ERNST at 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.    Minors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their guardian. No minor under the age of 15 is allowed in the showroom.  Ticket prices start at $39.95 plus taxes and fees, with the option to purchase L.A.  Comedy’s  famous “$25 All You Can Drink Special.” Nevada locals with valid ID receive 50 percent off.

The new PUNK ROCK MUSEUM has moved its opening date from January 13 to March 10. Once it opens, guests will be able to take guided tours with notable punk and hardcore musicians — including ROGER MIRET from hardcore pioneers AGNOSTIC FRONT. Some of the confirmed guides include: LOUICHE MAYORGA from SUICIDAL TENDANCIES, NOODLES from THE OFFSPRING, STACEY DEE from BAD COP/BAD COP, DON BOLLES from THE GERMS/45 GRAVES, ANGELO MOORE from FISHBONE, GREG HETSON from CIRCLE JERKS/PUNK ROCK KAROAKE, WARREN FITZGERALD from THE VANDALS, PETE KOLLER from SICK OF IT ALL, SMELLY from NOFX, JOE ESCALANTE from THE VANDALS,  and ZACH BLAIR from RISE AGAINST. Guided tours will be offered several times a day and will be limited to 20 people per tour.  Located at 1422 Western Ave., between the Las Vegas Strip and downtown, the museum will encompass 12,000 square feet and feature a bar, a tattoo parlor, a wedding chapel, a jam room and more. General admission tickets to the museum will be available early in the new year. Guided tours will start on April 1, with tickets available soon.

Producer, composer and vocalist BIG WILD will be bringing his high energy live performance to BROOKLYN BOWL as a stop on his “The Efferusphere Is Here Tour” on  Wednesday, April 12. On the “Efferusphere is Here Tour” Big Wild dives deeper into the Efferusphere realm, taking his fans on a journey of introspection and enlightenment where the spectrum of human emotions and their musical counterparts become one. Fans will experience an immersive show with moments of both euphoria and self-reflection guided by the music and Big Wild’s own journey through the realm. Tickets to Big Wild start at $29.50 at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas.

MJ LIVE, the award-winning Michael Jackson tribute concert highlighting the  talent of the legendary Michael Jackson moves to a new showtime -7:30 p.m. starting  Monday, Jan. 16 at the Tropicana Las Vegas.

ROGERS ART LOFT teams up with the Public Education Foundation and its Artists with Kids program to host “SPLIT DECISION” - A STUDENT ART EXHIBITION. The first show of 2023, “Split Decision” will showcase the artwork of 84 high school students representing 13 schools in Clark County School District. Kicking off with an opening reception for the exhibiting student artists and their families on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., the exhibition will take place at Rogers Studio Gallery, located at 620 S. 7th Street in Downtown Las Vegas and will run through January 30. “It is crucial for students and their families to understand the process of entering work and showing in a professional gallery space,” said Chrissy Pavesich, art teacher and Public Education Foundation Humanities Scholar.    “We need to continue to provide opportunities to students of all ages to work in professional environments and participate in real-life situations so that they can thrive and become successful creative humans.”

Presented as a collaboration between The Rogers Art Loft, a multi-disciplinary artist residency program dedicated to inclusivity, originality, and empowerment of artists, and the Public Education Foundation, the partnership provides an opportunity for students to exhibit their art in a public forum in the community and gain real-life experience to help them spark a lifelong interest in the arts and explore creative careers.

CHINESE NEW YEAR takes over RAMPART CASINO in downtown Summerlin Jan. 22 – Feb. 7 with the casino floor showcasing festive decor, and with a special Lion dance performance taking place Friday, Jan. 27 at 9 p.m. Guests are invited to fill red envelopes and feed romaine lettuce to the lion during the traditional ceremony.  There will also be dining specials, giveaways, and casino promotions to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. The Rabbit sign is said to be a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity with 2023 predicted to be a year of hope.

The signature Downtown Summerlin® Lunar New Year parade returns on Sunday, Jan. 22. on Park Centre Drive.  Festivities start at 5 p.m. with the signature parade at 5:30 p.m. complete with fan dancers, stilt walkers, an oversized-dragon and more. The festivities are complimentary and open to the public.

On Sunday, Jan. 22, receive a complimentary lighted cheer stick - while supplies last - before the parade with your Experience Pass courtesy of the Summerlin app from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the redemption table located in the breezeway of the ONE Summerlin office tower.

January 23 through January 27, the property celebrates The Year of the Rabbit with festive décor throughout the common areas. Highlights include picture perfect oversized 2023 letters at the Macy’s Promenade, a larger-than-life Chinese dragon at the Dining Arroyo and an insta-worthy photo wall filled with festive décor located at the hallway near H&M.

Downtown Summerlin will also host a red envelope giveaway through the Summerlin app January 23-27. Guests have an opportunity to receive a complimentary red envelope filled with chocolate coins and surprise gift cards while supplies last. Redemptions take place at Concierge, located under the Breezeway of ONE Summerlin.

THE ATOMIC MUSEUM invites the public to its next DISTINGUISHED LECTURE: FORGOTTEN CREATORS OF THE GERMAN AOMIC BOMB WITH TODD H. RIDER on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m online via Zoom. Registration is FREE for museum members, $10 for students and $15 for non-members.Contrary to the conventional historical view that the World War II German nuclear program accomplished little, recently rediscovered evidence suggests the program may have progressed all the way to the design, production and successful testing of a fission bomb.

Dr. Rider will discuss how the German bomb appears remarkably similar to the U.S. Gadget and Fat Man bombs as well as the importance of carrying out further research in archives around the world and conducting industrial archaeology and scientific analyses at European sites where nuclear work may have taken place in order to elucidate the true extent and history of the wartime German program.

Come sip, shop and support those with bleeding disorders at the NEVADA CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL HEMOPHILIA FOUNDATION'S 8TH ANNUAL WINTER WINE FEST on Saturday, January 28 at 6 p.m. This is the first year since the pandemic where supporters and wine aficionados alike can join in person to support the more than 30,000 Nevadans living with bleeding disorders while sipping on great vino and bidding on luxurious auction items. All funds raised stay right here in Nevada to provide ongoing support and advocacy to local children and families living with bleeding disorders. A large portion of funds raised will go to send children and teens with bleeding disorders, along with their siblings, to a medically supervised summer camp. Festivities at  Winter Wine Fest  include an unlimited wine tasting, delicious hors d’oeuvres, while the Nevada Chapter has curated an amazing silent auction, along with a wine pull, all in a fun setting on the heated patio at BELLA VITA BLUE DIAMOND, 4965 Blue Diamond Road #130. Both VIP and General Admission tickets are on sale and available now at hfnv.org.

Iconic pop star TIFFANY is returning to Las Vegas with a one-of-a-kind entertainment and culinary experience, PRESENTED BY CHEF ALICIA SHEVETONE, AN EVENING WITH TIFFANY will celebrate the legendary vocalist and songwriter’s celebrated career with an acoustic performance and personal stories, accompanied with an exceptional dining experience in an intimate cabaret setting.  An Evening With Tiffany will be held Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023 at The Space in Las Vegas. Tickets are $60 plus applicable fees for general admission and $150 plus applicable fees for VIP, which include a special meet-and-greet, followed by a delectable selection of tapas and light bites, expertly prepared by Chef Alicia.

KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND, the American disco and funk band behind ‘70s hits like “That’s the Way (I Like It),” will perform at The Edge Pavilion, formerly the E Center, located at EDGEWATER CASINO RESORT on Friday, March  3.  Ticket prices start $55. The performance adds to The Edge Pavilion’s and Laughlin Event Center’s impressive upcoming lineups, including:

GRAND FUNK RAILROAD on Saturday, Feb. 18 at The Edge Pavilion

DIERKS BENTLEY on Saturday, April 15 at Laughlin Event Center

BROOKS & DUNN on Saturday, April 29 at Laughlin Event Center

LADY A on Saturday, May 6 at Laughlin Event Center

THE PLAZA HOTEL & CASINO will hold its annual BIG GAME VIEWING PARTY on Sunday, Feb. 12 inside its expansive convention space on its third floor. Football fans, 21 years of age or older, will enjoy a stadium food buffet and buckets of beer at the viewing party where they will be surrounded by the Big Game broadcast on giant high-definition screens. Doors open at noon. Tickets are now on sale and include the stadium food buffet and buckets of beer. There will be a cash bar for all other cocktails. Early bird pricing is available until Feb. 6 for $150 per person (plus taxes and fees) with offer code SAVE50 during checkout. Ticket prices increase to $200 per person thereafter.

Renowned gentlemen’s club, CRAZY HORSE 3, located steps away from Allegiant Stadium, will host a BIG GAME VIEWING PARTY starting at kick-off at 3:30 pm on Sunday, Feb. 12. Along with being able to enjoy unparalleled views of the game on 50+ 120-Inch TVs,  guests will be treated to delicious unlimited tailgate fare, including pizza and sliders, a premium open bar, seating and a chance to win over $5,000 in raffle giveaways. Tickets to Crazy Horse 3’s Big Game Party start at $199 per person and can be purchased on their website.

THE CHARLIE MIKE FOUNDATION (CMF), a new, locally based foundation established to connect veterans with employment after military service, will host “CAFFEINATE AND COLLABORATE” for local veterans on Monday, Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 2500 Anthem Village Drive, Suite 140.  Attendees will enjoy complimentary coffee, donuts and bagels, while learning how the Charlie-Mike Foundation serves the local veterans’ community. In addition, other local organizations serving veterans are invited to attend and collaborate to address any gaps within the community.

THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS will host the ultimate college basketball viewing experience, HOOPS & HOPS, from  Thursday, March 16 through Sunday, March 18, in the Belmont Ballroom.  The 40,000-square-foot space will transform into a reimagined basketball-lover’s dream featuring wall-to-wall high-definition projection screens, a dedicated on-site sports book along with 10 betting stations, a hardwood basketball court with regulation hoop, complimentary games including Golden Tee and Super Shot, an array of culinary offerings and more. Ticketed guests will also receive complimentary entry into Marquee Nightclub all weekend long with a valid Hoops & Hops wristband.



LEGENDS IN CONCERT AND TROPICANA LAS VEGAS ended their four yearlong successful partnership on Friday, December 30 with the final performance of the two month-long engagement of its first-ever Elvis themed production of “Back in the Building” at the Legends in Concert Theater.

After a three-month run, the first musical launched on the Las Vegas Strip after COVID-19 shutdowns, “BAT OUT OF HELL” featuring the music of rock legend Meatloaf, closed on January 1.

Upcoming restaurant openings:

New York based upscale Mexican eatery, ROSA MEXICANO, has announced plans to open its first Las Vegas location in the iconic  Miracle Mile Shops, located directly on the bustling Las Vegas Strip, with a fantastic Strip-front patio in late 2023. Marking the dynamic brand’s largest location, Rosa Mexicano Las Vegas features an immersive, vibrant atmosphere and an eclectic, made-from-scratch menu steeped in Mexican culture and tradition, including Rosa’s famous tableside guacamole, house-made mole, award-winning margaritas and more.

Celebrity Sightings:

Sunday, January 1, 2023...

Silk Sonic performers ANDERSON .PAAK AND MAURICE BROWN stopped by The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails, a hidden speakeasy inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, for a little bit of late-night fun. Brown, the band’s trumpet player took to the stage to join the Sunday night house band, The Wild Wolves, for an impromptu jam session.

Several celebrities came out to party late into the night on New Year’s Day at  Drai’s Nightclub . They included superstar comedian KEVIN HART, three-time Grammy-Award winning artist NE-YO, music superstar CHRIS BROWN, who performed to a sold-out crowd at Drai’s Nightclub for New Year’s Eve, and Las Vegas Raiders all-star wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS.

Ne Yo in the DJ booth at Drais Nightclub 1 1 23
Ne Yo in the DJ booth at Drais Nightclub



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