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


Wynn’s Newest Resort/Casino “Encore” Opens

Just prior to the New Year, on December 22, 2008, Steve Wynn’s highly anticipated new mega resort, Encore, opened its doors.   The gorgeous property, which cost $2.3 billion, is comprised of spacious 2,034 suites and is located next door to its flagship, sister property, Wynn Las Vegas. Although I haven’t yet had the time to visit the resort, I understand that in keeping with the high standards equated with the Wynn brand, Steve Wynn has created yet another spectacular strip destination that defines elegance and luxury.


Among the amenities that are distinct to this new strip destination are dining options that include 5 signature restaurants led by an all star team of master chefs, The Spa and Salon for relaxation and pampering, The Esplanade at Encore consisting of 11 boutiques, as well as a brand new nightclub XS that embraces the combination of European outdoor pool environment with the sizzling club atmosphere, and the Encore pools which were inspired by the festive energy of the French Riviera.


In addition, as the headlining act, in early February, 2009 impressionist/entertainer Danny Gans (who formerly headlined at the Mirage) opens his one man show inside the Encore Theatre.
I have been invited to experience Encore during the middle of January.  If I am able to attend, I hope to check out the luxurious property and its many amenities on a more personal basis and plan on reporting back with more detailed information.

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

On Thursday, Dec. 18 Golden Tavern Group hosted a “Holla” Day event at Sierra Gold ultra-tavern on 6515 S. Jones Blvd. (215 & S. Jones). Admission for the event was a $10 donation. Proceeds raised in the amount of $ 1,300 went to benefit the Southern Nevada Adopt- A- Family Program.

Guests who attended enjoyed delicious food from Corporate Executive Chef Joe Romano, as well as the opportunity to enter contests and win prizes. The first contest was The Bad Holiday Sweater/Outfit Contest that allowed guests to be creative and have an opportunity to show off their most ridiculous sweaters or outfits that they own or received as gifts in previous years. The second contest was The Best “Worst” Fruit Cake Contest for guests who thought they could bake or buy the most authentic, edible and delicious fruit cake. The two winning categories were “Best in Show” and “Most God Forsaken” fruit cake. The third and final contest was Christmas Carol Quartet Karaoke in which guests who always dreamed of superstardom were given the opportunity to form a quartet (a team of four) and perform a Christmas carol, karaoke style.

Starting December 26 Valley residents have the opportunity to take part in this year’s Christmas Tree Recycling Program by dropping off their used Christmas tree at the Springs Preserve. 333 S. Valley View Blvd. Before dropping trees off, all non-organic material such as lights and decorations must be removed. Flocked trees cannot be recycled.

The trees will be turned into mulch, which helps conserve soil moisture and provides nutrients to keep plants healthy. Residents who cannot drop off their tree can call 1-800-GOT-JUNK to have it picked up. The service is offered during the program from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and includes removal of the tree and vacuuming of all pine needles in the home for a $20 fee.

Pure Management Group’s Las Vegas nightclubs Pure, LAX and Christian Audigier The Nightclub have been nominated for top honors at the 7th Annual Club World Awards. PURE Nightclub at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, is recognized in two categories including Best Party (2008 Summer Surprise Series) and, for the third year in a row, Best Superclub.  LAX Nightclub at Luxor is nominated for Best Club, Best One-Off (DJ AM and Travis Barker on June 18, 2008) and Best Bottle Service.  Also earning a nomination in Best Bottle Service is the company’s latest venue on The Strip, Christian Audigier The Nightclub at TI, which is nominated in the Best Interior Design category as well. Winners are chosen by a panel of industry-expert judges and will be announced at a ceremony held in early 2009.

On Friday, January 2 and Saturday, January 3 the Legends of Motown Old School Tribute Show will be presented each night at 8 p.m. at The Club inside the Cannery Casino & Hotel. Filling the house with Sounds of the Motown era will be acts paying tribute to The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, The Ojays and more. Admission is $5 at the door.

December 30, 31, and January 3 at 1:00 PM The Liberace Cabaret Series presents Jersey Boys’ conductor Keith Thompson in concert at the Liberace Museum Cabaret Showroom, 1775 East Tropicana Ave. Thompson will play, sing, and charm the audience with songs and stories from his life and career, while paying homage to Liberace. Admission price is $17.50.

Here’s some more ways to celebrate the countdown to 2009:

On New Years Eve afternoon, December 31 at noon, Shades of Sinatra will perform in the Suncoast showroom.  Shades of Sinatra is an original musical production celebrating the extensive music and career of the great Frank Sinatra.  Featuring over 30 of Sinatra's biggest hits, this show pays tribute to most of the signature Sinatra tunes, as well as several that may be new to casual fans. Tickets are priced at $19.95 plus tax and are available at the Suncoast box office.

McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino has reduced its price for its New Year’s Eve celebration.  Instead of $100 the venue is selling tickets for $75 per person for unlimited food and cocktails. Table reservations are $200. The party kicks off at 9 p.m. and the open bar will last until 1 a.m. For more information, call 702.270.6200.

Usher will be hosting a countdown to the New Year at Bank Nightclub inside the Bellagio.

Donnie Walberg and Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block will be hosting a party and countdown to the New Year at Jet Nightclub inside the Mirage.

For only $20.09 guests at the new One Six Lounge atop the Eastside Cannery can celebrate New Years Eve and enjoy the breathtaking view of Las Vegas from its 3 sided balcony.
SUSHISAMBA, located inside The Shoppes at The Palazzo, is ringing in the New Year with a celebratory party that combines Brazilian flair with the traditional spirit of the season. The annual Carnaval-style party features an all-night DJ, special sparkling New Year's Eve cocktail, live broadcast of the Time's Square ball-drop, festive party favors and more.

On Wednesday, December 31st, SUSHISAMBA will celebrate their New Year’s Eve Party, Reveillon: a celebration in white, honoring Yemenja, Brazil’s Goddess of the Sea. In Rio de Janeiro, the awakening of a New Year, or Reveillon, is celebrated on the beach by setting candlelit offerings afloat on the waters.  To honor this tradition, SUSHISAMBA guests are asked to don their snowy whites as they do in Brazil.  SUSHISAMBA will follow suit inside the restaurant with white décor and staff  wearing white dress. Also shimmering samba dancers will perform alongside batucada drummers to the sounds spun by SUSHISAMBA DJs all night long.  Entry into the Sugarcane Lounge is complimentary for all guests.  Patrons of SUSHISAMBA will receive priority entry after their delectable meal. Diners can select from a number of special New Year’s Eve dishes, or simply order items à la carte.

More happenings in and around Las Vegas include:

Due to lack of business and the bad economy, Chef Luis Osteen’s, two eateries, Luis’ Fish Camp and Luis’ Fine Dining located at Town Square has closed it doors. Fuego Raw talent, the high energy dance and video illusion show at the Sahara will be closing on January 4.

Beginning Jan. 1 through Jan. 18, 2009, PT’s and Sierra Gold is offering a $25,000 giveaway to its patrons. 35 grand prizes will be awarded in all, including a party for nine friends on Super Sunday. On Sunday, Jan. 18, each tavern will host drawings with one winner being selected from each tavern location. Guests can enter to win by purchasing a Bud, Bud Light draft, Red Bull cocktail or by hitting any four of a kind. Sierra Gold ultra-taverns are located in Las Vegas at 1341 W. Warm Springs Rd., 6929 Aliante Pkwy and 6515 S. Jones Rd. For more information, please visit

Terrible’s Primm Valley Casino Resorts, located 25 minutes south of Las Vegas on Interstate 15 at the Southern Nevada/California state line, is extending its free ticket offer to every concert until the end of 2009. The following are concerts and/or sporting events scheduled in the Star of the Desert Arena at Buffalo Bill’s Resort & Casino during the month of January, 2009.
B.B. King                                                                               8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3
ESPN Friday Night Fights                                                    
5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9,
The Village People, Sister Sledge and Rose Royce          
8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10
Natalie Cole                                                                          9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16
Boyz II Men                                                                
8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17
Malina Moye
Michael McDonald                                                              
8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22
Willie Nelson                                                                         8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters
For a listing of available complimentary tickets and entertainment, visit Tickets must be booked at and booking fees may apply. There is a maximum of two tickets per household for the free ticket offer. For more information, please call 1.800.FUNSTOP (1.800.386.7867) or visit

The New Year brings some good news for the unemployed who reside in Las Vegas.  Beginning January 5, 2009 City Center, on the Strip, will be accepting applications to fill more than 12,000 jobs. This will mark the largest single employment opportunity in the history of Las Vegas. City Center will be hiring in positions at Aria Resort and Casino, Vdara Hotel and Spa, and Crystals, the development’s retail and entertainment district. Those interested in applying for employment should visit

Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, and the Harmon Hotel Spa and Residences will also be accepting applications through the internet website beginning in the spring. Positions to be filled include, but not limited to: food and beverage, entertainment, finance, hotel operations, casino operations, retail management, human resources and security.

Celebrity Sightings:

On Christmas Eve,Tiesto, the Grammy-nominated Dutch trance DJ and record producer, joined his friends - poker player and LAVO regular Antonio Esfandiari and one of Madonna’s back up dancers, at LAVO inside The Palazzo. 

Saturday night, December 27, UFC Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was spotted partying at Wasted Space inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. He was joined by friends Tito Ortiz and wife Jenna Jameson. Jason Giambi also stopped by to congratulate Rampage Jackson on his knockout.

French heavyweight and UFC Champion Cheick “Unstoppable” Kongo was seen eating with friends at Mr. Lucky's in the Hard Rock after his win at the UFC.

On Saturday, Dec. 27, UFC Fighter CB Dollaway teamed up with the MTX Audio Fight Team and hosted an action packed UFC 92 after-arty at Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops. Dollaway was later joined by Ultimate Fighter® season eight champion Ryan “Darth” Bader.

cb dollaway and ryan bader
Photo credit: J. Ludwig/NightVissions

On Sunday December 28,   During the weekly Sunday School party at Body English, inside the Hard Rock Hotel,   LL Cool J took the stage and jumped on the mic to hype up the crowd.  He was later spotted posing for pictures with his fans while he hung out in a private VIP booth and was joined by Jason Giambi.

body_llcoolj_12-28_hrh 17
Photo credit: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

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

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