By Judy Thorburn
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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
www.theflickchicks.com


Criss Angel “Believe” Opens at the Luxor


Photos courtesy of Cirque du Soliel

After more than a month of preview performances, Believe, the highly anticipated $100 million production which partners Mind Freak illusionist Criss Angel with the theatrical creativity of Cirque du Soeil has officially opened at the Luxor.

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The good news is Believe is visually dazzling and imaginative, as one would expect from any Cirque du Soleil production.  It is another thing to say the show’s central focus is on the spectacular illusions of its headline star Criss Angel, because that is where Believe fails.  Mind Freak fans may be in for a disappointment if they are expecting the same sort of grand and edgy illusions like those seen on Angel’s TV show.  Fact is, the world class Cirque creative team and its performers are essentially the stars of Believe.  It is their show and Angel is relegated to featured performer in a dream sequence storyline that incorporates several basic illusions, none of which stage audiences haven’t seen before, other than his astounding vertical walk down a wall made out of a dress train.

Believe starts off with video highlights from Angel’s Mind Freak TV series before the illusionist dares to perform a dangerous trick. When it appears to go tragically wrong, the ball is set in motion for the rest of the show when Angel is thrust into a dark and mysterious fantasy world that comes to life from his unconscious mind.  As dream sequences unfold, elements come to mind reminiscent of a Tim Burton-esque world mixed with hints of Alice in Wonderland and similar fantastical creatures and characters woven into the fabric of the story.

In other words, Believe is yet another captivating work of visual and performance artistry from the creative team and cast of Cirque du Soleil.   The dancers, acrobats, aerialists, and soloist singer are all superb and some of the images including costumes and set designs are stunning, if not breathtaking. However, I could do without the four annoying male characters that are supposed to lend some comic relief and lead the audience into Angel’s haunting, surreal journey. They are unnecessary and a distraction.

Though this production is a collaboration between the master illusionist and Cirque, right now the show desperately needs some tweaking to further showcase and emphasize more impressive magic from Criss Angel before Believe can be viewed as a “magical” production. As it presently stands, Believe is another fine Cirque show.  Only this one “features” Criss Angel. Is that enough to win audiences over?  That depends on what you believe.

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Criss Angel Believe performs Friday through Tuesday at 7 p.m.  and 10 p.m. (dark on Wednesday and Thursday) inside the Luxor, Las Vegas.  Tickets are priced at $59, $79, $125, and $150 plus taxes and service fees.


Silverton Hosts Retirement Party for Famed Bull Rider Justin McBride

On Sunday, November 2, Silverton Casino Lodge hosted a retirement party for famed bull riding competitor Justin McBride, On hand to host the evening’s event and help celebrate with McBride were Riders Brendon Clark and Sean Willingham.  As McBride entered the party he was welcomed with a thunderous applause by hundreds of fans. During the party guests enjoyed DJ spun music, bull riding competitions and live entertainment from Sterns County 17.”

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Left to Right - Sean Willingham, Justin McBride, Brendon Clark at McBride's Retirement Party inside Silverton Casino Lodge

 

Planet Hollywood hosts World Premiere of “Repo! The Genetic Opera!”

Photos credit: Stephen Thorburn

On November 6, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino was the setting for the World Premiere of the futuristic Goth rock opera film, Repo! The Genetic Opera! which stars Alexa Vega (Spy Kids) Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy The Vampire Killer), Paul Sorvino, Ogre (from the band Skinny Puppy), Terrance Zdunich, Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects) and socialite diva Paris Hilton.

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Paris Hilton and Benji Madden

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Terrance Zdunich

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Director Darren Lynn Bousman and wife

 

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Alexa Vega

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Cast of "Repo! The Genetic Opera"

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Holly Madison and Criss Angel

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Miss USA, Crystal Stewart

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Keith Barry

The special screening was held in the Stomp Out Loud theatre, and several stars from the film, the director, producer and other celebrity attendees were in attendance and walked the Red Carpet before making their way to their seat. Check out the photo gallery for a glimpse of those who made a grand entrance in front the press and crowds of onlookers.  You can read my review of Repo! The Genetic Opera! at www.theflickchicks.com. 



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

Christian Audigier The Store has opened inside T.I.  The chic retail outlet, adorned in luxurious red and black décor, provides rock and roll, glam inspired clothing and accessories from Audigier’s popular lines, including Ed Hardy.  Christian Audigier The Store is located next to the Sirens’ Cove entrance and is open Thursday through Sunday from noon to midnight; Monday through Wednesday from noon to 10 p.m.  To contact the store directly, call (702) 894-7757.

After completing a successful 22 month run at Planet Hollywood, the high-energy production STOMP OUT LOUD, will perform its final show at the casino resort on January 4, 2009. Locals have the opportunity to take advantage of a two-for-one ticket offer on the top two tiers ($79 and $99) for the remainder of the run.

Hawaiian Tropic Zone is now offering STOMP OUT LOUD ticket holders a free entrée with a purchase of another entrée from David Burke’s eclectic menu. The two for one entree offer is available through November 26.


Flamingo Las Vegas has announced that due to their phenomenal success and continuing sold out shows, sibling entertainers Donny & Marie will extend their contract as the resort's headliners for two years, through Oct. 2010. Their show opened on Sept. 9.

Each week during Monday Night Football, Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops invites football fanatics an opportunity to win a trip to the 2009 Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Fans can enter to win the 2009 Pro Bowl trip by purchasing the $25 all-you-can-drink Coors and Coors Light special. Two lucky fans will be chosen during each Monday night game to be entered into the giveaway. During the final Monday Night Football game of the season, all winning entries will be combined and one winner will be drawn.

On Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 7 p.m., The Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower will host the first annual “Cocktail Server Blackjack Tournament”. The free tournament will feature 48 teams of three competing for the grand prize of a trip to Hawaii along with a chance to win $100,000 in cash. There will also be a “Creative Costume Contest” and drink specials throughout the casino. 

The following are some special offerings for local movie goers:

Beginning Friday, November 14 with the opening of the new James Bond film, “Quantum of Solace,” Galaxy Cannery Theatres, located in North Las Vegas at 2121 East Craig Road, inside the Cannery Casino & Hotel, will be the first movie theatre in Clark County to serve beer. The beer will only be served in select theatres inside Galaxy Cannery daily after 6 p.m. Only guests age 21 and older will be permitted inside the theatres serving beer.

Galaxy Cannery Theatres is also giving away a FREE Quantum of Solice t-shirt to each of the first 500 ticket holders in line to see the 11:59 p.m. screening of the new James Bond film “Quantum of Solace” on Thursday, November 13. The film premieres nationwide Friday, November 14.

During “Customer Appreciation” weekend, starting Friday, November 14 at noon and continuing through Sunday, November 16. Galaxy Cannery Theatres will provide one free 85oz bag of popcorn with each ticket purchased.


On Saturday, November 15 from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., The Firefighters of Southern Nevada Foundation is presenting the 1st Annual 70’s Karaoke Night with Local Firefighters at the House of Blues Courtyard. Proceeds from the event will benefit the 6th Annual "Fill the Firetruck Toy Drive". The 70’s themed event will feature Las Vegas valley Firefighters performing their best karaoke performance for a great cause! There will be an award for best dressed 70’s attire.  Admission is $15 per person at the door. Those who bring a brand new unwrapped toy that evening will receive a free drink. There will be a silent auction and raffle to help raise funds for the foundation.

Saturday, Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. local families are invited to come out to the aquarium inside Silverton Casino Lodge to record holiday messages for airmen stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar.  All messages can be accessed on www.KVEGAS.com. In addition, airmen are still available for adoption. Patrons looking to “adopt” will be randomly paired with a member of the 820th RED HORSE Squadron currently overseas.


Start of Life Foundation, a resource that provides educational services to families and teens in crisis, is hosting its inaugural cook-off "Cooking Up A Bright Future" from 3 to 7 p.m. on November 16 at Emerald at Queensridge, 891 South Rampart Blvd., Las Vegas. Tickets priced at $75 includes a wine tasting at 3:30 p.m., as well as “Taste of the Islands” cook-off at 5 p.m.  To purchase tickets, visit www.brighterlv.org. Entertainment will include The Hot Lava Polynesian Review. There will also be a silent auction. Funds raised will benefit Nevadan Families with Teens in Crisis.


On November 18 at 7 p.m. South Point Hotel and Casino will hold a special advance screening of “Twilight” to benefit St. Jude’s Ranch for Children – Boulder City Campus Prior to the screening; a reception will take place, complete with refreshments and entertainment. Tickets are on sale by phone at (702) 797-8055 or online at www.SouthPointCasino.com. General admission tickets are $25 and VIP reserved seating tickets are $100. All tickets include a pre-party beginning at 6 p.m., entrance to the movie, popcorn and a soda. South Point will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children to help restore the campus kitchen. Tom Jannarone, Director of Food Operations at the South Point, will oversee the restoration.

Beginning Nov. 19 through January 1, 2009, ethel’s Annual Chocolate Wonderland Cactus Garden,  featuring half a million lights decorating the three-acre Cactus Garden, will open to the public.  Ethel’s is located at Two Cactus Drive (Sunset & Mountain Vista), Henderson, NV

From 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday through Dec. 19, Silverton Casino Lodge is holding weekly Guitar Hero video game tournaments at Shady Grove Lounge. Interested players can hit the stage solo, with a friend as a duet, or with a group as a member of a headlining band for the chance to win an assortment of incredible prizes. Guitar Hero fanatics will go head to head and chord to chord until a nightly champion is crowned.  Winners will be determined by total points accumulated throughout the game. Prizes include Area 107.9 concert tickets, Silverton Casino Lodge concert tickets, Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch racing packages, dinner at Mi Casa Grill Cantina and the new Guitar Hero: World Tour video game.

For the second consecutive year, The South Point Equestrian & Event Center, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd South is hosting The Bill Pickett Invitational Finals Rodeo featuring African-American cowboys and cowgirls as they compete in seven different rodeo events to be crowned the 2008 champions. Featured events include Calf Ropin’, Bareback Ridin’, Ladies Barrel Racin’, Jr. Barrel Racin’, Bull Doggin, Ladies Steer Undercoatin’ and Bull Ridin’. The finals will consist of two regular performances taking place on Saturday, November 22nd at 1:30pm and 7:30pm. A special “Rodeo for Kidz Sake” takes place on Friday, November 21st from 10:00am to 12:00pm for kindergarten, elementary and middle school kids from various schools, churches, summer camps and other kid organizations. This special rodeo was developed to educate young people on the significant historical roles that African Americans played in the Wild West, while entertaining them. For more information visit www.billpickettrodeo.com/lv

On Wednesday, Nov. 26 PT’s Gold located at 10075 S. Eastern Ave. (St. Rose and Eastern) is hosting the first ever Lebowski Eve starting at 6pm and guests are encouraged to wear costumes that represent characters such as The Dude, Walter and Donny from the film. The guest wearing the best costume will win $100 and will also get the chance to take a bowling team to the 2nd Annual Big Le “bowl” ski on January 19 at The Orleans. A live DJ will be mixing from 6pm until midnight in addition to Nintendo Wii bowling and Lebowski trivia for prizes. Drink specials include $2 White Russians and guests who arrive in costume receive their first cocktail free.

On Saturday November 29 at 8 pm. Grammy award winning Motown legends, THE COMMODORES (hits include “Three Times a Lady,” “Sail On,”) will appear in concert inside the Silverton Casino Lodge Entertainment Pavilion. Tickets are $25.


PT’s and Sierra Gold taverns throughout the Las Vegas valley are giving their guests an opportunity to win an authentic Jack Daniel’s Varsity Jacket through Dec. 14. Guests will become eligible to win by hitting a four of a kind of jacks or by purchasing a Rodeo Jack cocktail. Three guests from each of the 36 PT’s and Sierra Gold tavern locations will win a jacket.

On Wednesday, November 19 at 5 p.m. House of Blues presents Who's Bad:  The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band.  Tickets are on sale for only $12.

For the fourth year, THE COMEDY FESTIVAL returns to Caesars Palace for three days: Thursday November 20 through Saturday November 22. Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Dane Cook, Katt Williams, Tracy Morgan and Jeff Dunham are among the headliners slated to appear. Joining them will be Mike Epps, David Alan Grier, The Kids in the Hall, Russell Peters, Jim Breuer, Andrew Dice Clay, Jim Norton and John Oliver.  In addition, Caliente Comedy will feature comedians Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and Anjelah Johnson.  TBS will televise several programs from THE COMEDY FESTIVAL, including the variety special Ellen’s Even Bigger Really Big Show, presented by DeGeneres; Laffapalooza, an evening of performances by top comedians hosted by Morgan; and a celebrity roast of Cheech and Chong.  Additional festival information and schedule updates are available at thecomedyfestival.com.

The Canyon Club Las Vegas concert venue located inside the Four Queens Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas will feature power pop rock band of the 1970’s, Badfinger (Come and Get it, Day After Day) on Friday November 21.  Doors open 7 p.m.

Then on Saturday, November 22, The Bacon Brothers (actor Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael) entertain audiences with their original collaborations and unique rock sound. Opening for The Bacon Brothers is singer/songwriter and former Broadway performer Malea McGuinness. Doors open at 6 p.m. Ticket prices for each of these concerts are $25 for locals and $35 general admission.

Saturday, November 29 pop rock music sensation Jonas Brothers will appear in concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The chart-topping band is scheduled to take the stage at 8 p.m. Tickets (limited to eight (8) per person) are priced at $89.25, $65 and $45, not including applicable service charges.


Celebrity Sightings:

On Wednesday, Nov. 5…..Actor Frankie Muniz, best known for his role as Malcolm from the hit television series “Malcolm in the Middle,” spotted enjoying dinner and a bikini pageant at Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops.

Professional wrester and actor, Bill Goldberg and UFC champ Rampage Jackson were spotted at AGO restaurant inside the Hard Rock   They enjoyed dinner and even posed for photos.


Wednesday night at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, wrestling legends Bill Goldberg and Hulk Hogan were seen eating dinner at Nobu.  Following dinner, Goldberg headed over to Carey Hart’s Wasted Space to party it up with Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees, who is also a co-owner of the rock n’ roll bar.

On Thursday November 6, Dave Navarro, wearing shades and dressed in black, was seen walking through the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino drinking a Starbucks and shopping at the Hard Rock Retail Store with a friend.

On Thursday, at 10 p.m. MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” cast member Mad Mike celebrated the 2008 SEMA auto show with a party at Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops.

Spotted dining at LAVO Restaurant inside The Palazzo on Friday was Amanda Bynes with celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton.

Saturday evening….

Famed choreographers Cris Judd, Shane Sparks and Lorianne Gibson all gathered to dine at LAVO Restaurant inside The Palazzo Saturday evening. DJ Paul from rap group Three 6 Mafia was seen partying inside in Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's premiere nightclub, Body English, and gave a surprise performance of his hit song "Lolli Lolli."

Also seen inside enjoying the performance was NFL's retired Keenan McCardell and Cowboys Big Tank Johnson and Keith Davis.

A number of celebrity players participated in the two-day Dream Team Poker Tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Players in the final two tables on Sunday included: Jamie Gold, philanthropist and 2006 World Series of Poker Main event champion; Jean Robert Bellande, who participated on the CBS reality TV series Survivor: China and is a promoter and poker player better known as "Action Bob" for his fast play and vigorous personality; Holly Montag of MTV's The Hills; and Actor Yancey Arias from NBC's Knight Rider. Bellande made it to the final table and came in third place at the tournament.

Montag and Mills were spotted at a VIP table in the exclusive parlor of Body English for the Dream Team Poker Tournament after party.

I will be back next week with more of what’s “happening” in and around Las Vegas.


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