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


Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas Officially Shut It's Doors

After 25 years, The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas (located on the corner of Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue), known for its innovative music scene where legendary acts including The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, KISS and Guns N’ Roses have all performed, shut its doors for the last time on Sunday, February 3, 2020.

02 01 20 HardRock FinalParty Ragazzo KPG 13
Photo credit: Jeff Ragazzo/Kabik Photo Group

After hosting one "Last Great Party Weekend that offered free live music, discounted drinks and food and a chance for guests to win memorabilia, and a final toast, a ceremonial closing event was held at 6 pm. on Sunday, led by property President and CEO Richard “Boz” Bosworth as the city said goodbye to an iconic Las Vegas resort. The property, which opened in 1995, will undergo a complete transformation and reopen as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, sometime in the fall of 2020. It will feature a modern desert design, a 60,000-square-foot casino and 110,000-square-feet of meeting and event space.

02 01 20 HardRock FinalParty Ragazzo KPG 17
Photo credit: Jeff Ragazzo/Kabik Photo Group

02 01 20 HardRock FinalParty Ragazzo KPG 65
Photo credit: Jeff Ragazzo/Kabik Photo Group

02 01 20 HardRock FinalParty Ragazzo KPG 122
Photo credit: Jeff Ragazzo/Kabik Photo Group

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

Three MGM Resorts International hotels in Las Vegas were named to the 10th edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “TOP 100 HOTELS IN THE U.S.” ARIA RESORT & CASINO (58), FOUR SEASONS HOTEL (62) AND SKYLOFTS AT MGM GRAND (85), were the only Las Vegas hotels earning a spot on this prestigious list.

STEAK 'N SHAKE inside South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa recently received the 2019 FRANCHISE OF THE YEAR AWARD from Steak ‘n Shake Corporate. The award is a result of the restaurant’s ongoing dedication to ensuring a one-of-a-kind experience for its guests.

ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES has launched the first ever BUFFALO BAR located at RAMPART CASINO in Summerlin. The newest evolution of the fan-favorite brand, Buffalo, offers an all-new experience for players that combines gaming and leisure for locals and visitors alike. The Buffalo Bar officially opened with a ceremony on Feb. 8 at 5 p.m.

Legendary comic, singer and impressionist GORDIE BROWN returns to THE GOLDEN NUGGET Las Vegas's showroom, in an exclusive and limited-time run, beginning Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Billed “Lasting Impressions,” Brown’s latest show will feature an extraordinary mix of well-known stars including singers, bands and other legendary celebrities. His unique blend of high-energy comedy and music has been captivating audiences in Las Vegas for decades, including a highly successful seven-year run at Golden Nugget. With more than 200 impressions in his full repertoire, Brown is re-mixing some of his classic and popular acts with dozens new and modern acts, ensuring an exhilarating presentation of music and laughs for all audiences. Gordie Brown “Lasting Impressions,” will play at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for a limited-time run beginning Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. PT on Friday, January 13, 2020 and will be priced starting at $25.

Longstanding comedy club and entertainment company, THE COMEDY WORKS, has a full slate of nationally acclaimed stand-up comedians and up-and-coming talent scheduled to appear at the PLAZA HOTEL & CASINO in downtown Las Vegas with ticket prices starting at only $20. Live stand-up performances are at 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in the Plaza’s classic Vegas showroom. New shows are added regularly, and the upcoming lineup currently includes:

Feb 13-15: Mike Gaffney – Gaffney is a comedy club favorite thanks to his likability, high energy and quick wit.

February 20-22: Jade Catta-Preta – A Brazilian Comic who was recently tapped to host The Soup on the E! Network beginning in February of 2020, Catta-Preta performs stand-up comedy all over the country and features for Bill Burr, Kevin Nealon and Bobby Lee.

February 27-29: Kevin Farley – He is a regular comedian at notable venues such as The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles and Chicago and The Improv in Los Angeles and Palm Beach, Florida.

March 5-7: “The America I Grew Up In” with Jeff Allen – Now in his fifth decade as a working comedian, Allen has been on Comedy Central, VH-1, Showtime, TBN, CBN, Family Net and many other television networks.

March 12-14: Thea Vidale – An American stand-up comedian and actress, she has made numerous guest appearances on sitcoms, including Ellen, The Wayans Bros., The Drew Carey Show, and My Wife and Kids

April 9-11: Vic DiBitetto – Called a “cross between Rodney Dangerfield and Ralph Kramden” and “The Italian Hurricane of Comedy,” Brooklyn born comic DiBitetto is famous for his frenetic pace, vivid language and punchline-a-second style.

April 23-25: Craig Gass - He first gained fame as the guy who did voices for The Howard Stern Show and his Gene Simmons impression sparked an on-air feud between him and the real Gene Simmons.

Three Legends come together to celebrate Vegas. The longest-running headliner in Las Vegas history, FRANK MARINO, joins the longest-running production show, LEGENDS IN CONCERT in its legendary home at Tropicana Las Vegas, for an all-new Vegas extravaganza. Starting February 10, audiences will celebrate Vegas with three Queens and a King. The Queen of Las Vegas, Frank Marino will star as comedic legend Joan Rivers, alongside incredible tributes to the legend of Queen, Freddie Mercury, and the King and Queen of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley and Tina Turner. Legends in Concert performs at Tropicana Las Vegas Thursday through Tuesday (dark Wednesday) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and start at $59.99 (excluding tax and fees). VIP booths and preferred seating are also available, ranging from $79.99 to $99.99 (excluding tax and fees). Tickets can be purchased in person at the Tropicana Box Office.

MARRIAGE CAN BE MURDER's award-winning, whodunit mystery, dinner show will take over the private room in HENNESSEY'S TAVERN, located at 425 Fremont St, Unit 110, on February 14, 15 &16 for a killer POP-up Valentine's Day experience. “Marriage Can Be Murder is celebrating 20 years of shows in Las Vegas, and Valentine's Day has remained one of our favorite traditions. Guests will receive a rose and chocolate treat this weekend,"  said creator and actor Eric Post.Guests can use code "LUCKY" for 20% off. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 702-205-2775.

During the month of February, MADAME TUSSAUDS LAS VEGAS, located inside the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian® Resort, will invite guests and locals alike to celebrate BLACK HISTORY MONTH by meeting some of the most influential figures in music, film and sports while highlighting the impact they’ve made in their respective industries, helping shape the world we live in today. It will be a month of celebration and education as the attraction looks to elevate the experience with a specialty event hosted in partnership with UNLV’s African American studies program and the local Mastering Mindsets organization.

On Feb. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Madame Tussauds will partner with UNLV and Mastering Mindsets to host an event at the Las Vegas attraction to demonstrate the importance of Black History Month. This event will feature a panel discussion held by the faculty from The African American and African Diaspora Studies program as they discuss the contributions of important figures throughout history, including those on display daily in the attraction. Additionally, Mastering Mindsets’ will bring their yearly “Emancipation Circle” event, an educational event allowing families to display artifacts from their ancestors, to the attraction. Members of Mastering Mindsets will display important artifacts throughout the attraction to further educate the community on Black History. Las Vegas locals don’t forget to show your ID at the box office for our special locals’ discount.

The city of Las Vegas will host two music events in February for people of all ages. The improvisational “BROADWAY'S NEXT HIT MUSICAL” will be staged at the CHARLESTON HEIGHTS ARTS CENTER, 800 S. Brush Street on Friday, February 14 at 7 pm. and The Finest Hour Concert, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the music that ended World War II, will be held at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth Street, on February 20 at 7 pm. Tickets are $25 for each music event.

Artist TOM EVERHART, world-renowned for his paintings of Charles Schulz influenced art, will present his latest exhibition entitled “Everhart: Recent Works”. This extraordinary Collection of works will be on exhibition and available for acquisition at the venerable ANIMAZING GALLERY IN THE GRAND CANAL SHOPPE inside the Venetian Resort  beginning February 13, through March 1, 2020.  Tom Everhart will make a live appearance to present the presentation on February 15 from 6 -8 pm. Tom Everhart’s newest painting series “Hero’s” Artwork is available for acquisition and the artist reception is open to the public.

The 16th ANNUAL DAM SHORT FILM FESTIVAL will be held February 13-16, 2020, in beautiful and historic Boulder City, Nevada. Featuring 146 short films of varied style, subject, and origin, categories include Drama, Comedy, Documentary, Animation, Sci-Fi/Horror, Music Video, Student, and Nevada Filmmaker.The festival, held in the historic 400-seat BOULDER THEATRE, will include meet-n-greets, award galas, special screenings and more! Go to damshortfilm.org for more schedule, tickets, and more information.

The ladies of FANTASY, Luxor Hotel and Casino’s award-winning adult revue, will spread the love this Valentine’s Day with COMPLIMENTARY CHOCOLATE AND POSTERS for guests who attend the show on Friday, Feb. 14.  Prior to the performance, chocolate candy will be distributed to guests. Following the show, audience members will be treated to a complimentary FANTASY poster as a Valentine’s Day gift, while supplies last. Guests may receive an additional complimentary poster with purchase of the “2020: Vision of Beauty” calendar at the merchandise counter located in the lobby of the Atrium Showroom. In addition, guests are invited to a complimentary meet and greet opportunity with the cast for photos and poster signings following the show. Tickets are available for purchase at the Luxor box office.

BEER PARK AT PARIS LAS VEGAS will host “SPARKS IN THE PARK” on Valentine’s Day, where singles will be treated to a happy hour mixer that encourages mingling over games like checkers and Candyland on Friday, Feb. 14. The party, held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., will include a conditional buy one, get one cocktail – the second drink ‘on the house’ should someone catch another patron’s eye. The offer is valid with the purchase of any SKYY Vodka or Hornitos Tequila cocktail, as well as any Bud Light and Budweiser draft.. In the spirit of love, Valentine’s Day cocktails will include the Michelada Lover, Be My Peacharita, and Bouquet, an elderflower concoction to ignite the Valentine’s Day “feels.” Live music by one-man-band musician, Dan Fester, will set the mood for the night with upbeat tunes from the sounds of Johnny Cash and The Beatles, to Kendrick Lamar.

Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inductees, legendary girl group, THE SHIRELLES, whose classic hits include Soldier Boy, Mama Said and Will You Love Me Tomorrow? will perform in concert inside the M PAVILION AT THE M RESORT on Saturday, February 15. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets start at $15.

THE+SOURCE, with dispensaries at 9480 S. Eastern Blvd. in Henderson, Nev. and 2550 S. Rainbow Blvd. in Las Vegas, will host BLOOD DRIVES at both locations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24 in honor of American Heart Month. All customers who participate in the blood drive will receive a COMPLIMENTARY GREEN AND GOLD PRE ROLL STRAIN APTLY TITLED “BLOOD DRIVE”,” at The+Source with a minimum $20 purchase. Green and Gold will host a pop-up event at the stores throughout the duration of the blood drive. Visitors who plan on donating should eat a healthy, low-fat meal and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

FASHION SHOW LAS VEGAS, the premier shopping destination on the Las Vegas Strip, will host WEEK OF FASHION, showcasing a variety of diverse and innovative runway shows featuring high fashion designers at The Great Hall, in partnership with the Las Vegas Fashion Council, February 26 through March 1. Kicking off February 26, tourists and locals alike will be wowed by Fashion Show Las Vegas’ runway experiences. Guests will be treated to unique catwalk-inspired shows such as models walking on water, drones flying down the runway, and more. From high fashion shoes, Red Carpet couture, and swimsuits, there will be a spectacle available for every fashion lover. Located in the heart of Fashion Show Las Vegas at The Great Hall, each show will be available at 12, 2, and 4 p.m. each day, giving all guests an opportunity to experience the shows. 

One of the most influential bands in rock music, DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, will perform at THE CHELSEA AT THE COSMOPOLITAN of Las Vegas, Feb. 28. Tickets start at $99 with reserved seating starting at $129, plus applicable taxes and fees.

THE VOCAL JAZZ PROGRAM AT THE COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA has been presenting their Vocal Jazz Solo Nights for the past 20 years. To celebrate this special milestone, The Jazz Singers will present an ALUMNI VOCAL JAZZ SOLO NIGHT on February 28th at 7 P.M. in the Jay Morrison Recital Hall at the North Las Vegas campus. This concert will feature past members of The Jazz Singers who will be presenting jazz standards from the Great American Songbook. The concert will also feature this year’s Jazz Singers who will present their ensemble numbers.General admission is $10. All proceeds will go to benefit the CSN Jazz Club. P. For more information, call the PAC Box Office at 702-651-LIVE (5483). The CSN Performing Arts Center, provides quality artistic, cultural, educational, and entertainment opportunities for the college and the community. It is located at 3200 East Cheyenne Avenue in North Las Vegas.

Founder and four-time world champion bull rider Tuff Hedeman has announced that the TUFF HEDEMAN BULL RIDING will be held another year at the SOUTH POINT ARENA AND EQUESTRIAN CENTER on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 7:00 p.m. Featuring Hedeman’s signature style event 24 of the world’s best bull riders will compete in an invitation-only, exciting three-round competition.Guests can enjoy top-shelf entertainment by past NFR Clown of the Year, Cody Sosebee, the Tuff Hedeman Bullfighters and grand pyrotechnics introduction. Doors open at 6 p.m. for ticket holders to enjoy the pre-event activities surrounding the event, including food, cold beer, shopping and autograph opportunities. Tickets are on sale now, starting at $30 and are available in-person at the South Point Box Office, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd South. Coupons for $5 off tickets will be available at Las Vegas’ two Boot Barn locations and 24 Discount Tire locations.

SPREAD THE WORD NEVADA will celebrate 18 years of providing literacy programs serving at-risk children at its annual STORYBOOK GALA, Saturday, Feb. 29 inside the Grand Ballroom at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino, 3600S. Las Vegas Blvd. 5:30 p.m.: Cocktails, Zappos for Good ‘Library of Dreams’ and silent auction 7:00 p.m.: Gourmet three-course dinner, program, entertainment and live auction.

To date, 567,692 children and families have experienced the life-changing programs in 62 schools. ZAPPOS FOR GOOD, THE CHARITABLE ARM OF ZAPPOS. COM. and its ‘LIBRARY OF DREAM’ will sponsor this year’s gala, featuring entertainment by the Australian Bee Gees, a silent and live auction, themed cocktails, jaw-dropping décor and networking opportunities, all embodying the spirit of Mary Poppins.

THE SUPER SUMMER THEATRE closes out the IN CITY SERIES season with performances of “THE RAT PACK LOUNGE,” playing Thursday, March 5 – Sunday, March 22, 2020 at Super Summer Theatre Studios. “The Rat Pack Lounge” tells the legendary story of Frank, Dean, and Sammy and their unfinished business back on Earth. It seems Frank made an unfulfilled promise to Vic, the owner of the Rat Pack Lounge. Now, he and the boys have one night to make things right. With more than 30 hit songs, The Rat Pack Lounge will leave audiences singing and savoring the days of highballs and high rollers with nostalgic hits like “My Way,” “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.”Experience the intimate thrust style theatre, boasting productions with the same flair and talent held during the summer season. Tickets for the In City Series are $20 for general admission. The lobby opens at 6 p.m. with seating at 6:30 p.m. Show time is 7 p.m. The studio is located at 4340 S. Valley View, Suite 208 Las Vegas, NV 89103.


Celebrity sightings:

Sunday, Feb. 9...

Members of the NHL team, Carolina Hurricanes were spotted attending the 8 p.m. performance of  ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace.

Carolina Hurricanes Attend ABSINTHE 2.9.20 Paul MattinglySpiegelworld
Carolina Hurricanes Attend ABSINTHE - Photo credit: Paul Mattingly/Spiegelworld

Saturday, Feb. 8...

Kansas City Chiefs stars Travis Kelce, Tyrann Mattieu, LeSean McCoy and other teammates, were spotted celebrating their Big Game win at Drai’s Nightclub at The Cromwell Hotel.

Tyrann Mathieu parties at Drais Nightclub
Tyrann Mathieu parties at Drais Nightclub

Tryann Mathieu recieves Drais bottle presentation
Tryann Mathieu recieves Drais bottle presentation

Deon Cain of the Pittsburgh Steelers was also spotted in the revered nightclub.

Friday, Feb. 7...

Former star of  ABC’s “The Bachelor” Arie Luyendyk Jr. and his wife Lauren Burnham Luyendyk were spotted attending the 8 p.m. performance of ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace.

Wednesday, Feb. 5...

Legendary singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka, best known for classic hits such as “Breaking up Is Hard to Do,” “Oh! Carol,” and Captain & Tennille’s Grammy Award-winning “Love Will Keep Us Together,” was spotted attending the the 8 p.m. performance of ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Neil Sedaka Attends ABSINTHE 2.5.20 Paul MattinglySpiegelworld
Neil Sedaka Attends ABSINTHE - Photo credit: Paul Mattingly/Spiegelworld

Tuesday, Jan. 28...

The “world’s most famous” drag queen RuPaul, producer and host of six-time Primetime Emmy Award-winning reality TV competition series “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” was spotted attending the 8 p.m. performance of ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

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