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

TV Actors Participate in Offbeat Charity Competition

In the spirit of the hit TBS improv series, “10 Items or Less,” that premieres on TBS Tuesday, January 6 at 11 p.m. EST/PST, the first-ever star-studded celebrity bagging competition took place Sunday, November 23 during The Comedy Festival at Caesars Palace.

Cast of "10 Items Or Less"

Daytime Emmy-nominee Judge David Young served as the competition’s judge, and Mark DeCarlo hosted the event.  Celebrities who participated in the wacky contest were Kyle Howard, Michael Bunin, Kellee Stewart and Jamie Kaler from TBS’s “My Boys;” John Lehr, Kim Coles, Roberta Valderrama and Greg Davis Jr., from TBS’s “10 Items or Less;” “Mad Men’s” Vincent Kartheiser, Aaron Staton and Alison Brie; and Eva Marcille from “The Young and the Restless”.  They were judged on their grocery bagging speed, technique, and the equal distribution of weight in bags that were successfully completed.

The “10 Items or Less” team, whose show in set in a grocery store, put their on-the-job training to good use and were declared the competition’s victors. The winning team comprised of Lehr, Valderrama, Davis & Cole, earned a donation of $500 for, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young people to take action in their community around causes they are passionate about.  All of the food used in the competition was also donated to the Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas. 

The Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower Hosts Inaugural “Cocktail Server Blackjack Tournament

The Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower recently hosted its first annual “Cocktail Server Blackjack Tournament” and the event was a huge success. 37 teams of cocktail servers representing the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Venetian, Palms, Blackjack Lodge, Big Dog’s and many others competed for the first place trip to Hawaii and $1,500 in the “Creative Costume Contest”

Sommer Horris, Brenda Magiros and Melissa Merrick

The first place winner of the “Cocktail Servers Blackjack Tournament” was a team representing the MGM Grand - GiGi Bukner, Jodi Saliba and Lucille O’Hara. Each team member won a trip for two to Hawaii with airfare and 5 day/4 night hotel accommodations. They also had a chance to win $100,000 in a blackjack-themed promotion. Walking away with a prize of $500 each as winners of The “Creative Costume Contest” was Sommer Horris, Brenda Magiros and Melissa Merrick, a team from the Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower.

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

Beginning November 28, The Springs Preserve (333 Valley View Blvd) celebrates the holiday season with its second annual Winter Lights Festival featuring half-million LED holiday lights set aglow throughout the Preserve, a leading example of a sustainable holiday celebration.  In addition, the Springs Preserve offers guests the chance to ride a horse drawn carriage donned in LED holiday lights, and the little ones can take the mini-train from the North Pole and snap a photo with Santa Claus.

Cost of admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 5-17 (annual pass members and children 4 and under are free) and includes admission to the galleries and museums.  Additional charges apply for the horse and carriage ride and the mini-train ride. The Winter Lights Festival will be open Fridays-Sundays, November 28-December 21, 5-9 pm Daily, December 22-30, 5-9 pm (closed Christmas Day)    

LBS: A Burger Joint, located inside Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa at 11011 W. Charleston Blvd, is offering a free appetizer with the purchase of any burger to all guests who bring in a gift card valued at $10 or more.  All gift cards will be donated to The Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping young unaccompanied street youth between the ages of 12 and 18 with emergency shelter, food, rental assistance, bus passes, and calling cards.  LBS will begin collecting donations on Friday, November 29th through Saturday, December 18th.  

On December 1, Deven May takes over the role of Tommy DeVito in the Las Vegas production of the smash Broadway musical Jersey Boys at The Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino as current cast member Erik Bates returns to the JERSEY BOYS national tour. May, well known for his portrayal of Tommy DeVito from the first national tour, joins Erich Bergen (Bob Gaudio), Rick Faugno (Frankie Valli) and Jeff Leibow (Nick Massi), and will have the unique opportunity to perform in DeVito’s hometown.

Saturday, December 6 at 1-3 PM and 7-9 pm, and Sunday December 7 11am -1 pm and 4-6 p.m., The North Stars Dance Academy presents the 4th annual Nutcracker Production at Cashman Theatre with up to 85 talented girls and boys participating. Tickets are now on sale for each performance. General admission seats are priced at $20.00, orchestra seating is $25.00. Call 702-942-7827 for more information.

At 9 a.m., Saturday Dec. 6, 2008, Las Vegas’ only “Underwater Santa” will make an appearance at Silverton Casino Lodge’s117,000 gallon aquarium. The “Underwater Santa” (using a special underwater communications mask) will be available to talk with visitors about what they would like for Christmas from the comfort of a submerged holiday throne.  The Silverton mermaids, regular inhabitants of the aquarium, will serve as Claus’ special helpers.   “Underwater Santa” will be available for 30-minutes at a time, taking 15-minute breaks to get out and feed the reindeer from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Dec. 6 - 7 and Dec. 13 - 14.  Everyone that visits Silverton Casino Lodge and speaks with “Underwater Santa” will receive a special holiday treat.

Rapper Vanilla Ice, best known for his 90s hit “Ice, Ice Baby”, will host ‘Iced Out’ on Saturday, December 6 at McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon in the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. The musician will present a diamond necklace worth $1,000 from The Jewelers of Las Vegas to one lucky lady.  Each woman entering McFadden’s will receive a raffle ticket and Vanilla Ice will draw the winner later in the evening.

Rapper - Vanilla Ice

There will be an open bar for everyone with a local ID, $20 for men and $10 for women, from 10 p.m. to midnight with $3 drinks from midnight to close. As an added bonus, anyone who brings in an unwrapped toy for charity will pay no cover charge.

For the second year, the award-winning National Finals Tonight program will be presented in the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino’s Showroom. The program will run nightly at 10:30 p.m. during the WNFR, scheduled to run from December 4-13. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Las Vegas Marathon is seeking local volunteers from large groups to individuals for its annual race on December 6. Large groups are urged to join the Adopt-A-Mile program, which encourages local businesses, organizations and entertainment acts to show their support by decorating a mile of the racecourse and cheering on runners. Participants are asked to provide 50 to 75 volunteers to staff their mile. To volunteer as an individual, small or large group, or learn more about the Adopt-A-Mile program, please call 702.731.1052.

On Tuesday December 9 at 6 p.m. Mayor Oscar Goodman will flip the switch to light Las Vegas’ official Christmas tree, placed directly below the 12.5 million lights of the Viva Vision screen at the Fremont Street Experience. Directly following the ceremony, the Holiday Lights on Ice skating show will debut on the 1st Street stage. The official Las Vegas Christmas tree will be on display at the Fremont Street Experience through the Christmas holiday.  Holiday Lights on Ice is free and open to the public every night from December 9-20 at 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 13, 2008 Mix 94.1 will be holding their Christmas party inside the Sportsbook Bar & Grill at The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino.  The evening’s event will feature acoustic performances by O.A.R. (short for Of A Revolution), Ed Kowalczyk, lead singer of Live, and Safety Suit, a powerhouse rock band from Tulsa, OK. Doors open at 6:00pm. First band takes the stage at 8 p.m. Tickets for the concert are $10 plus tax and fees.

After 25 years at the Imperial Palace, Legends in Concert, the world’s longest running celebrity tribute show, will begin performances in its new home - the Harrah's showroom beginning Dec. 15, 2008. Schedule performance at the Imperial Palace will continue through Dec. 13. The award-winning production show will share the Harrah's showroom with renowned comedian Rita Rudner.

From Dec. 15-30, for only the second time in its 25-year run, Legends in Concert will turn its stage into a holiday celebration, with specially-produced musical arrangements, sparkling costumes and a unique multimedia presentation. Special guests will drop in to join the most celebrated tribute acts in show business representing the likes of Elvis Presley, Donna Summer, Madonna, Ann Margaret, Justin Timberlake and Jay Leno. Legends will combine holiday classics with a selection of the original artists' most popular hits.  Topping it off, there will be an unforgettable finale.

Defending the Caveman,” Broadway’s smash hit about the sexes, starring seasoned comedic stage actor, playwright and director Kevin Burke, is moving to a new venue the Excalibur, for a limited engagement December 15 - January 11.  Performances begin 7 p.m. nightly inside the Thunder from Down Under Showroom with additional matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.  

Celebrity Sightings:

Sunday evening November 23, Benji Madden, a member of Good Charlotte and recent (ex) boyfriend of Paris Hilton was seen at Wasted Space inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino hanging out with friends including motocross superstar, Carey Hart.  Madden and his group arrived at Wasted Space around 11 p.m. and he took the DJ booth around 12:30 a.m.  After his set, Madden, Hart and friends headed over to Body English to listen to hip-hop legend, KRS-One perform inside the nightclub.  The group stayed and partied into the early hours of Monday morning.

Benji Madden

Carey Hart and Benji Madden

Spotted on Monday, Nov. 24, rapper Paul Wall enjoying dinner at Strip House inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

Tuesday night at LAVO inside The Palazzo, Scott Weiland celebrated the release of his second solo album, “Happy in Galoshes”, which also marks the 10th album over his incredible career.  Scott made his way down from his room in the hotel joined by his longtime collaborator and producer Douglas Grean and his backing band.  He hammed it up for photographers before adjourning to dine in the restaurant with a selection of Chef Ludo’s signature dishes.

Weiland, Grean and Band
Photo Credit: Bryan Haraway

Also on Tuesday night,  two-time IBF and IBO Light Welterweight Champion, Ricky Hatton was seen at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino shopping at The Retail Store with a tall blonde.  The two left the store with no purchases after trying on a few items of clothing.

Ricky Hatton

On Friday night Julianne Hough of Dancing With The Stars fame gathered for dinner with her family at LAVO inside The Palazzo to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and her sister Marabeth's birthday.

Saturday night, Alexander Skarsgard of the HBO series True Blood was spotted dining in Strip House at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas.

Wasted Space inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was packed to capacity as Dizzy Reed of Guns & Roses hit the stage to play some of the new songs from the new Guns & Roses album.  In addition, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins also performed at Wasted Space (Smashing Pumpkins performed at The Pearl earlier that evening).  

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


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