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

Criss Angel Raises More than $1.3 Million at Birthday Party to Benefit Make-A-Wish® Southern Nevada, Cure 4 The Kids Foundation, Johnny Crisstopher Foundation

Superstar magician Criss Angel recently celebrated his 55th birthday with a private concert and auction event at House of Blues Las Vegas to benefit families battling pediatric cancer and other critical illnesses. In addition to a personal donation of $1 million from Angel, the event raised over $315,000 from other donors and auction items. Local nonprofit organizations, Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada and the Cure 4 the Kids Foundation,each received $250,000 from the event’s proceeds. The remaining proceeds will be distributed within the community through future grants. No expenses for the event were deducted, following Angel’s mandate that 100% of proceeds always go directly to the specified charities.

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Photo credit: Jerrry Metellus

“Criss Angel has been a true angel for our organization,” said Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada’s President & CEO, Scott Rosenzweig. “As a longtime wish-granter turned wish-dad, he has been an incredible advocate for kids and families faced with the unimaginable. Even before his son was diagnosed with cancer, he generously shared his time and money with Make-A-Wish to help us create hope and joy for critically ill kids since 2001. With this most recent gift, his generosity has risen to a “.new level. We are humbled to have his support

In 2015, Angel’s son, Johnny Crisstopher, was diagnosed with leukemia and received treatment at Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. Johnny received his Make-A-Wish to meet You Tuber Ryan Toys Review in December 2018. In 2022, Angel announced that Johnny was finally able to ring the cancer-free bell symbolizing his remission and the end of treatment.

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Photo credit: Jerrry Metellus

“Our family has a superhero,” Angel said. “A boy who went through more than six years of fighting pediatric cancer with the amazing benefit of the medical team at Cure 4 The Kids who oversaw his treatment, and then the team at Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada who helped him emotionally and filled him with hope during an otherwise dark time. That combination was paramount and powerful for Johnny Crisstopher, helping him to get to the finish line of ringing that remission bell on January .28, 2022.”

Angel has been an active supporter of the children and their families in our community, donating millions of dollars through his Johnny Crisstopher Charitable Foundation and lending his time and support.

"We are so grateful for the ongoing support and incredible generosity of Criss Angel" said Annete Logan-Parker, Founder and CEO of Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. “Criss' contribution has allowed us to expand our charity program in an extremely meaningful way, because of his generosity we can provided financial assistance to many more families struggling with the financial toxicity of childhood cancer."   

Angel’s star-studded birthday party featured Paul Stanley, Robin Zander, Stephen Pearcy, Sebastian Bach, Tony Orlando, and a host of other music legends, celebrities, and comedians.

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Photo credit: Jerrry Metellus

Vegas Stand Up & Rock, New Comedy and Music Venue at OYO Hotel & Casino Celebrated Grand Opening

Vegas Stand Up & Rock located inside The OYO Hotel & Casino celebrated its grand opening on Friday, January 20 with invited members of the media in attendance experiencing the new showroom along with a night of stand-up comedy and live music.

The opening night lineup of stand up comedians included opening act, Michael Robertson followed by Carlos Anthony and resident headliner Byron Kennedy, each bringing their own comedic style and laugh out loud humor to the stage. Also providing live entertainment during the grand opening celebration was rising country star Jordan Harvey. Other guests include  Joaquin Trujillo  and  Matt Chavez, co-owners Vegas JEM, the producers behind Vegas Stand Up & Rock and the award-winning L.A. Comedy Club.

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Michael Robertson - Photo credit: Judy Thorburn

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Carlos Anthony - Photo credit: Judy Thorburn

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Byron Kennedy - Photo credit: Judy Thorburn

Featuring music and comedy on the stage, the new Vegas Stand Up & Rock, located inside the OYO Hotel & Casino at 115 E. Tropicana Ave., showcases live entertainment by Vegas JEM, the producers of the award-winning L.A. Comedy Club inside The STRAT. Home to comedy and live music nightly, Vegas Stand Up & Rock features nationally touring comedians during its 7 p.m. with host, Byron Kennedy, and live music on Thursday through Sunday at 9 p.m.

Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino Celebrates New Caesars Sportsbook Opening

Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino commemorated the official opening of the new, state-of-the-art Caesars Sportsbook with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The festivities continued with a ceremonial first bet and an appearance by author and professional gambler Anthony Curtis. Curtis is one of the most recognized and quoted Las Vegas experts in the world and  assembled the consulting group that assists in formulating the record-setting sports bets made by Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, including the record win of $72.6 million when the Houston Astros won the 2022 World Series.

Anthony Curtis makes first bet to celebrate opening of new sportsbook at Downtown Grand Hotel Casino Jan. 24 2023
Anthony Curtis makes first bet to celebrate opening of new sportsbook at Downtown Grand Hotel Casino Jan. 24 2023

“We’re known for delivering elevated hotel experiences and the new Caesars Sportsbook is no exception,” said Andrew Economon, General Manager of Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino. “We know  our guests will enjoy the exceptional offerings of this all-new sports betting venue.”

Caesars Sportsbook at Downtown Grand marks the first Caesars Sportsbook location in downtown Las Vegas. The new sportsbook offers  three betting windows, multiple self-service betting kiosks, and a massive LED TV viewing wall to accompany multiple odds boards.  The unique space also features a sophisticated, modern design with an inviting, lounge-like atmosphere.

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

Recently, Circa Sports’professional football contests – CIRCA MILLION IV and CIRCA SURVIVOR – concluded the 2022-2023 season by awarding $12 million total in prizes. Circa Survivor broke professional football contest records with the highest individual payouts ever with two checks for over $3 million each. Circa Million IV delivered $6 million in prizes and awarded $1 million to the first-place finisher.

After a months-long holiday break, DONNY OSMOND returned to his Las Vegas Residency on Tuesday, Jan. 24 inside HARRAH’S LAS VEGAS SHOWROOM AT HARRAH’S LAS VEGAS With over 65 albums to cover in 90 minutes, Osmond fills the stage with energetic performances of his greatest  hits like “Puppy Love,” “Soldier of Love” and his latest single “Who.” Throughout the show, Osmond reminisces about his illustrious career with audience members, sharing stories of his greatest moments.  Performances take place nightly from Tuesday to Saturday with all shows beginning at 8 p.m. 

MIKE E. WINFIELD, stand-up comedian from season 17 of “America’s Got Talent” and Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer recipient on the current season of “America’s Got Talent: All-Stars,” takes the stage as guest host for the variety-style spectacle AMERCA'A GOT TALENT PRESENTS SUPERSTARS LIVE AT LUXOR HOTEL & CASINO through Sunday, February 12. Winfield joins the new lineup of incredibly talented artists including percussion group  Pack Drumline  and aerialist  Aidan Bryant,  as well as original showstoppers  Kodi Lee, Light Balance  and  The Silhouettes. America’s Got Talent Presents SUPERSTARS Live  performs  Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and  Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.  inside  Luxor Theater. Tickets starting at $49, not including taxes and applicable fees, are now on sale and can be purchased by visiting any MGM Resorts International box office.

BOTTIGLIA CUCINA & ENOTECA, located at GREEN VALLEY RANCH in Henderson, and HEARTHSTONE KITCHEN & CELLAR, located at RED ROCK CASINO RESORT & SPA in Summerlin, will host a “SPREAD THE LOVECAMPAIGN throughout the month of February. The “Spread the Love” promotion encourages guests at both Bottiglia and Hearthstone to demonstrate  acts of kindness by treating the table next to them to both restaurants’ specialty heart-themed desserts. In return for the kind gesture, they will receive 20 percent off their entire bill.

BattleBots, the world’s premier robot combat competition, has named BIL DWYER as host and STEVE JUDKINS as co-host for the daily “BATTLEBOTS: DESTRUCT-A-THON” live show opening Friday, Feb. 3, at the BattleBots Arena in Las Vegas. The brand-new, 75-minute robot-combat theater show features live robot fights, and no one will know which robot will be victorious each night. Each show will be full of shocks, surprises and the kind of robot-on-robot carnage for which BattleBots is famous.“BATTLEBOTS: DESTRUCT-A-THON” shows take place Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 12 p.m. at the BattleBots Arena next to the Las Vegas Strip.

EIGHT LOUNGE AT RESORTS WORLD LAS VEGAS will welcome Las Vegas Raiders defensive end, MAXX CROSBY on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity for a meet and greet with the esteemed player while indulging in rare cigars and craft cocktails.

Guests can enjoy incredible entertainment across Station Casinos in February. Entrance is FREE unless otherwise noted. Highlights include RICK DUARTE at GREEN VALLEY RANCH RESORT on Thursdays; BAILONGO A LA MEXICANA at SANTA FE STATION on Friday, Feb. 3; THE FAB FOUR at GREEN VALLEY RANCH RESORT on Friday, Feb. 24.Tickets are $32.50, $42.50 and $52.50 plus applicable fees; PLEASURE CRUISE at SUNSET STATION on Friday, Feb, 24; UFC 284 viewing parties at RED ROCK RESORT AND SUNSET STATION on Saturday, Feb. 11; PRIVATE EYES: HALL & OATES TRIBUTE at SUNSET STATION on Saturday, Feb. 25. Tickets are $20 plus applicable fees. Guests must be 21 years or older; and ROCK ROULETTE at SUNSET STATION on Saturday, Feb. 18.

FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE and 95.5 The Bull has announced ‘COUNTRY'S NEXT BEST THING’ will return for its latest installment on Monday, Feb. 6 with a FREE 7 PM performance by DALTON DOVER on the 1stStreet Stage. Country’s Next Big Thing represents a first of its kind collaboration between Fremont Street Experience and 95.5 The Bull. The music franchise was created to provide a platform for up-and-coming artists to perform and share their talent with the masses.

Enjoy live music from some of country’s hottest rising stars at STONEY'S ROCKIN' COUNTRY (6611 Las Vegas Blvd. So., Unit 160 at Town Square) in February. Dates and performers include: Fri., Feb. 10 – JOE PETERS; Fri., Feb. 17 – ALLIE COLLEEN; Fri., Feb. 24 – JASON CROSS. Advance tickets start at just $10 and are on sale now. Hop on the mechanical bull or take a spin line dancing! Stoney’s has you covered with free line dance lessons Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

International rock duo CAIRO KNIFE FIGHT are bringing their one-of-a-kind live experience to THE SAND DOLLAR DOWNTOWN AT THE PLAZA HOTEL & CASINO. Joined by renowned drummer MATT GARSTKA, from Animals As Leaders, the band will also offer an exclusive drum clinic prior to the show. CAIRO KNIFE FIGHT and special guest MATT GARSTKA will perform Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023. Tickets are available for $10 plus applicable fees. Tickets for the exclusive drum clinic with Matt Garstka are available for $25 plus applicable fees. Drum clinic tickets also include access to the show. All tickets are on sale now. Matt Garstka’s drum clinic will be held at 7 p.m., with the show beginning at 9:30 p.m. Guests must be 21 years or older.

DRAI'S BEACHCLUB • NIGHTCLUB, located 11 stories high on the rooftop of The Cromwell,  is set for an electric February lineup featuring iconic artists, LIL BABY (Sunday, Feb. 5), JEEZY (Feb. 12), NE YO (Feb. 18), RICK ROSS (Saturday, Feb. 25) and more taking over the stage for full-length  Drai’s LIVE  concerts. 

CLIQUE BAR & LOUNGE, located in the heart of THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS, will host a “BIG GAME” VIEWING PARTY. Guests can enjoy the game along with the bar and lounge’s craft cocktails and a special game day menu on Sunday, Feb. 12. CliQue will be showing the game on its 10 HDTVs, with doors opening at 1 p.m.

THE BARBERSHOP CUTS & COCKTAILS, the hidden gem inside THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS, will host a “BIG GAME VIEWING PARTY” viewing party on Sunday, Feb. 12 with Prohibition era-inspired cocktails and a special buffet-style, game day menu.  The Barbershop will be showing the “Big Game” in their Prohibition-era inspired parlor with doors opening at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12. VIP tables and bar seating will be available by reservation only and will include access to a buffet of elevated game day fare. VIP seating reservations are available for groups as well as bar seating.

THE MOB MUSEUM, THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ORGANIZED CRIME & LAW ENFORCEMENT, located at 300 Stewart Avenue in downtown Las Vegas, will commemorate its 11-year anniversary with FREE museum admission for Nevada residents  as well as buy one, get one admission for non-locals on Tuesday, Feb. 14. A special presentation of historically significant artifacts will also be held in the Museum’s historic courtroom on this day.  

Each year on the Museum’s anniversary it hosts a free day furthering its mission of advancing the public’s understanding of organized crime’s history and impact on American society, while recognizing its commitment to community by opening its doors, to ensure accessibility and reach.

The special presentation of artifacts will feature a selection of newly acquired personal artifacts from Chicago mobster Al Capone as well as the complete collection of evidence from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, including the newly acquired and only firearm recovered from the scene of the horrific gangland shooting. Among the crime scene evidence displayed will be the Museum’s regular collection of evidence inclusive of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Wall. The two firearms used to commit the heinous crime will also be onsite for this one-day event, courtesy of Berrien County, Michigan’s Sheriff's Department.

The College of Southern Nevada, School of Arts & Letters, and Department of Fine Arts will be hosting an exhibition of paintings by nonbinary artist and Midland College (TX) Associate Professor of Art, Michael Hubbard. WALLFLOWER: PAINTINGS BY MICHAEL HUBBARD will open on Friday, February 17 and run through Saturday, April 22, 2023, in the FINE ARTS GALLERY on the North Las Vegas campus of the COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA. A special Preview, Artist Talk, and Opening Reception with refreshments will take place in the Fine Arts Gallery on Thursday, February 16th, and will begin at 6 p.m.

Renowned rapper, producer, and founding member of the underground rap collective Living Legends, THE GROUCH, is returning to Las Vegas for a performance at BACKSTAGE BAR & BILIARDS (601 E. Fremont St.) The Grouch will perform Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023 at 8 p.m., alongside special guest REVERIE. Tickets start at $20 plus applicable fees and are on sale now. Guests must be 21 years or older and doors are at 8 p.m.

FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE, located in historic downtown Las Vegas, will celebrate NASCAR Weekend with its FREE RACEJAM CONCERT headlined by country music star GRANGER SMITH featuring EARL DIBBLE on Saturday, March 4. The highly anticipated performance will begin at 9 p.m. on 3rd Street Stage.

Known as the National Atomic Testing Museum since its inception, THE ATOMIC MUSEUM introduces a new brand and a new mission of attracting more visitors, by embracing the popular appeal of the Atomic Age, thereby increasing general knowledge about the history and impact of the nuclear industry throughout the world. Aiming to appeal to Las Vegas locals and visitors from around the globe, the museum seeks to highlight programming, exhibits and content emphasizing not only nuclear history, but also a broader understanding of social, political and popular culture impacts associated with the Atomic Age. Continuing to tell the story of the Nevada Test Site and the country’s nuclear weapons program, the museum highlights the atomic fever that spread throughout the United States as atomic tests became televised during the 1950s. From the museum’s “Atomic Testing in Pop Culture” exhibit showcasing atomic-themed comic books, candy, children’s toys, liquor and more to artifacts related to atomic tourism in Las Vegas, visitors to the museum will learn about the cultural phenomenon that was the Atomic Age. The Atomic Museum is located at 755 E. Flamingo, Las Vegas.

THE ATOMIC MUSEUM (755 E. Flamingo Rd.) presents a brand-new exhibit  titled “SPY” in partnership with the National Security Agency’s (NSA) National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War mystery and intrigue seen in Hollywood films, this boutique exhibit is slated to open to the public on Tuesday, Feb. 14 and will examine covert intelligence gathering from that era. 

Open while undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, the once famed Artisan Hotel Boutique is evolving into THE LEXI – Elevations Hotels and Resorts. Scheduled to debut this spring, the new 64 room hotel concept will be the first in Las Vegas to introduce the idea of cannabis-friendly hospitality, while also putting a focus on providing guests and locals with transformative spaces that are inviting, approachable and completely unique. Embracing its small and cheeky mentality, The Lexi will feature all new guest rooms and suites, including an entire fourth floor that will be designated cannabis-friendly with each room featuring a state-of-the-art RestorAir filtration system that employs Advanced Oxidation Cell (AOC) technology. While normalizing the idea of cannabis in travel, The Lexi is focused on creating a premium hospitality concept for all guests with a promise of delivering personal and superior service, along with a delicious and inspired culinary and cocktail program, and launching a spring/summer pool party season that is designed to provide a high-energy good time.

AREA15, the immersive art and entertainment district located minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, has announced a monumental expansion spanning 20 acres to its north along Interstate 15. Universal Parks & Resorts will anchor the District expansion with a new, year-round horror entertainment experience inspired by its popular Halloween Horror Nights. The new development extends beyond AREA15’s main complex, renowned for its iconic immersive experiences such as Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, Illuminarium and Lost Spirits Distillery. AREA15 is seeking tenant partners to bring even more best-in-class immersive experiences, attractions, curated retail, unique entertainment and adventurous food and beverage destinations to the immersive entertainment District

The AREA15 District’s expansion will include more than 450,000 square feet of customizable retail, office and residential space featuring different types of building structures, with tenant leasing opportunities ranging from 1,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet. The  recently unveiled anchor experience, Universal Parks & Resorts, will occupy over 110,000 square feet in a stand-alone building on the southern end of District. Additionally, more than 85,000 square feet will be dedicated to pop-ups and outdoor experiences, including a salvaged Boeing 747 aircraft to be repurposed as an event space.

Five-time Las Vegas Headliner of the Year, FRANKIE MORENO brings his high-energy show, Live and Electric, to PALMS CASINO RESORT LAS VEGAS with a series of monthly performances at KAOS beginning March 23, 2023. Performance dates are: Thursday, March 23, 2023 and Friday, March 24, 2023; Thursday, April 20, 2023 and Friday, April 21, 2023; Thursday, May 18, 2023 and Friday, May 19, 2023; Thursday, June 15, 2023 and Friday, June 16, 2023.Tickets are available for purchase Friday, February 3 at 10am. Show times are 8 p.m. Tickets start at $32 (excluding applicable service charges and fees.)

Rock ‘n’ roll icons/alternative rock band, JANE'S ADDICTION will perform at THE CHELSEA THEATRE INSIDE THE COSMOPOLITAN LAS VEGAS on Sunday, March 12. Tickets start at $64.50 and are on sale now.

GRAMMY nominated saxophone player, singer and producer MASEGO is bringing his sultry-smooth spin on R&B, hip hop and dance music to BROOKLYN BOWL LAS VEGAS on  Sunday, March 12. Tickets start at $27.50 and are on sale now.

Make a courageous move in the fight against childhood cancer and go bald with NEW YORK-NEW YORK HOTEL & CASINO during its 14th annual ST. BALDRICK'S DAY HEAD SHAVING EVENT Saturday, March 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is FREE and open to the public. Guests of all ages are invited to enjoy a fun day on the hotel’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge with live entertainment and celebrity guest head-shavers, as participants shed their hair to support St. Baldrick’s Foundation. “This event is one of the most special days of the year and we encourage everyone to join in however they can so we can continue supporting those impacted by childhood cancer” said Mike Neubecker, President & COO of New York-New York & MGM Grand. Participants interested in shedding their locks for the cause can register online or on-site the day of the event. Group registration is also available for teams and organizations. Throughout the day, friends, family and spectators can commemorate the day with photos with the city’s most celebrated names in sports and entertainment who will be lending a hand as celebrity head shavers and emcees.

Platinum selling comedian and actor DANE COOK returns to THE CHELSEA THEATRE INSIDE THE COSMOPOLITAN LAS VEGAS on Saturday, April 1. Tickets start at $59 and went on sale beginning Friday, Jan. 20.

Attention ABBA fans! ARRIVAL FROM SWEDEN, the Music of ABBA, will bring their world-famous show to the M PAVILION stage inside M RESORT SPA CASINO on Saturday, April 15, 2023.  Arrival from Sweden, The Music of ABBA, has all the features a great ABBA show needs: lovely costumes, extremely talented musicians, and breathtaking singers. Millions of people all around the world celebrate this show as the best ABBA show in the world.
  This production is the closest you will ever get to see ABBA!
 M Pavilion doors will open at 7 p.m. on April 15, 2023, and the show will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets for Arrival from Sweden, The Music of ABBA, starting at $25 plus applicable L.E.T. and facility fees, are on sale now.

In partnership with Urban Vibe Entertainment, The Black Promoters Collective has announced its first comedy tour, “STRAIGHT JOKES, NO CHASER COMEDY TOUR”. Hosted by MIKE EPPS, the event features standup comedy greats CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER, EARTHQUAKE, D.L. HUGHLEY and DC YOUNG FLY. The 23-city tour will make its final stop at the MGM GRAND GARDEN ARENA in Las Vegas Saturday, May 27. Tickets starting at $59.50 (not including tax and fees) and went on sale to the general public  beginning Friday, Jan. 20.

Platinum-selling jazz superstar CHRIS BOTTI is returning to Las Vegas for a performance at the GRAND EVENTS CENTER AT GREEN VALLEY RANCH RESORT on Friday, June 2, 2023 at 7 p.m.  Tickets start at $42.50 plus applicable fees and are on sale now.

Upcoming restaurant openings:

NIELSEN'S FROZEN CUSTARD expands from Henderson to Summerlin with the debut of the premium frozen custard joint at Red Rock Casino’s food court opening at noon on Friday, Feb. 3. Owned by husband-and-wife duo Howard and Amanda Zayon, Nielsen’s celebrates its grand opening with giveaways for customers including a free cone to the first 100 people in line.  

FLAVORTOWN SPORTS KITCHEN is slated to open this summer in the former Burger Brasserie space at Horseshoe Las Vegas, as part of the resort’s ongoing brand transformation. The restaurant will be a prime destination for guests to watch sporting events while enjoying Fieri’s  signature American-style cuisine and bold flavors.

BASILICO  an all-new, innovative Italian restaurant is coming to Evora, an upscale community offering a Live | Work | Play lifestyle on 42 acres in the Southwest of Las Vegas. Italian Chef  Francesco Di Caudo, who honed his culinary skills in Rome and Paris before arriving in Las Vegas, will bring his creative and edgy style to this novel, upscale dining experience. Basilico features an indoor-outdoor bar, an outdoor live performance stage, creative new cocktails from a team of next-generation mixologists, and a vibe that says, “come make new friends."



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