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

The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas Celebrate Chinese New Year with Traditional Dragon Dance and Festive Décor

In honor of the Chinese New Year, on Saturday a traditional dragon and lion dance began at 3 pm. in The Venetian porte-cochere and made its way thru the hotel and casino, into the Atrium of The Shoppes at The Palazzo and eventually out The Palazzo porte-cochere.  The colorful spectacle featured a parade of dancers and musicians dressed in elaborate costumes playing authentic music.  Sheldon Adelson (Chairman/CEO of Sands Corp., which owns The Venetian and The Palazzo), his doctor wife Miriam and Rob Goldstein, President of the Palazzo, were all in attendance for the eye painting ceremony of the dragon dance.

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As a way of commemorating the Chinese New Year, both The Venetian and The Palazzo added decorations throughout the venues in the customary color scheme of red and gold and traditional tangerine trees.  Banners, lanterns, gold I Ching coins, and spectacular floral décor are also featured. The Atrium of The Shoppes at The Palazzo has undergone the most dramatic transformation with the inclusion of a custom-designed 12 foot ox with gold-leafing welcoming visitors in the first water pond, among other embellishments.

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Decorations celebrating Chinese New Year will be available January 16 through the end of February.

Check out the photo gallery below to see the colorful parade of dancers and some of the dazzling decorations now on display at the Venetian and the Palazzo.

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Poker Pros Participate in Poker Tournament at Hard Rock to Benefit Environmental Charity “Protect Our Winters”

On Tuesday evening, January Ollie Pop Bubble Gum, along with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, hosted a No Limit Texas Hold ’em poker tournament inside the Poker Lounge to benefit Protect Our Winters, a non-profit organization dedicated to reversing the global warming crisis. The event coincided with the first day of the final Snowsports Industry Association show in Las Vegas.

Participants who supported this event included: professional poker players Allie Prescott, Angela Brunson, Todd Brunson and Erica Schoenberg;  professional snowboarders Jeremy Jones, Ross Powers and Jeff Bruschi; musicians John Dolmayan of System of a Down, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Gregg Tribbett of Mudvayne and Jason McNabb of Marshal Reign; as well as Courtney Carroll (2008 Miss Alaska) and  Trishelle Cannatella (actress and former MTV Real World cast member).

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Scott Ian of Anthrax

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Trishelle Cannatella

At the end of the tournament, Never Summer Industries VP of Sales, Sean MacAllister cleared out the final table, winning the grand prize (50% of the final pot was donated to Protect Our Winters).  MacAllister bested a final table that included Protect Our Winters founder Jeremy Jones, Dave Duncan, Summer Zemel, and the “Impossible Read” Marius Otterstad.  The event raised more than $6,000 for the non-profit organization and was presented at the Transworld Snowboarding Riders Poll Awards.


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

On January 30, Tito Ortiz, one of the most popular mixed martial arts fighters and husband to adult film star Jenna jameson, opened a clothing store at Hooter Casino featuring Ortiz’s very popular line of clothing called “Punishment Athletics”.  In addition the “Punishment MMA Store”  will carry other top MMA clothing lines such as “TapOut”, “Sinister”, “DeathClutch”, “Throwdown”, “Hitman” and “Warrior”.

International jewelry company TOUS, represented by Grammy award-winning recording artist and actress Kylie Minogue, opened its first Las Vegas location inside Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. TOUS’ only Las Vegas location features a wide range of the brand’s distinctive designs and collections including handbags, watches, perfumes, sunglasses and leather goods including a variety of chic, trendy gifts for Valentine’s Day such as heart shaped bracelets and pendants and a special item just for men - a sophisticated sterling silver and leather bracelet inscribed with a variety of romantic expressions.

The Venetian, and its sister-property The Palazzo Las Vegas, have been honored with Mobil Travel Guide’s prestigious Mobil Four-Star Awards. This is the first year The Palazzo has been rated and it joins the list of overall 2009 recipients as one of its newest additions. For the fourth consecutive year, The Venetian tops the list as the largest property on the highly-regarded list of 137 hotels in North America.

Beginning Tuesday, February 3, Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular is offering Phantom Student Talk-Back Workshops which gives students an opportunity to interact with cast members, lighting operators, technical staff, musicians or company managers and ask the professionals questions about their craft, experience and theater career. The second The Phantom Student Talk-Back Workshop will be Tuesday, February 10 with additional dates to follow.  The show begins at 7 p.m. with the talk-back taking place immediately after the performance at approximately 9:30 p.m. Student groups of 10 or more can enjoy this educational experience for $52.90 each. For more information on booking your student group for the above mentioned dates or another date, please contact Scott Snowden at (702) 785-5394 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Starting Feb. 1 and continuing through Feb. 28 guests at PT’s and Sierra Gold Taverns will have an opportunity to win a state of the art Blu-Ray disc player every day. Every 10 points earned by a Golden Reward member will grant them one entry to win a Blu-Ray. For more information, please visit www.goldentaverngroup.com 

Auditions for model cocktail servers, model beverage runners, model VIP hosts, model door hosts, model bar backs, model cashiers, & model bartenders will take place on| February 3rd & 4th, 11am to 4pm at Tabu Ultra Lounge for Wet Republic, The Ultra Pool at MGM Grand, that will be opening in March 2009.  Interested applicants are required to bring along a headshot & resume and must audition in swimwear. Callback will take place on February 5 & 6 from 11am-4pm inside Tabu.

Thursday, February 5 at 7:30 p.m. impressionist, singer and entertainer Gordie Brown will debut his new show “Gordie Brown Live” in the newly named Gordie Brown Showroom at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino.  Brown will perform Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. with a live band. Tickets prices range from $39.95 to $99.95 (plus taxes and fees) for front row VIP tickets, which include an artist meet and greet.

Saturday, February 7 from 3 – 7 p.m. inside the Hilton Center at the Las Vegas Hilton, Southern Nevada Public Television presents the 20th Annual Splendor in the Glass, a yearly wine and beer tasting event benefiting Vegas PBS. This year the event will also celebrate Vegas PBS’ 40th anniversary with 65 wineries and breweries on hand to offer tastings, a live wine auction, a silent auction and smooth jazz music as entertainment. All funds raised from the annual event go toward the continued funding of Vegas PBS’ quality programming and productions.  Tickets are $65 if purchased in advance and $80 at the door.

On Saturday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter LeAnn Rimes will perform at Buffalo Bill’s in the Star of the Desert Arena. Tickets are $43.95 and $71.45. Buffalo Bill’s is part of Terrible’s Primm Valley Casino Resorts, located 25 minutes south of Las Vegas on Interstate 15 at the Southern Nevada/California state line.

Singer Mikalah Gordon, a former contestant on American Idol and Gone Country will celebrate her 21st birthday on February 7 at Tabú Ultra Lounge inside MGM Grand.

On Feb.12 the Latin themed nightclub experience, “ND’s Fuego – The Evolution of Nightlife” will debut at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The concept fuses both entertainment and nightlife providing a total sensory experience with state-of-the-art technology and integrated performances by talented dancers and singers, live music along with interludes with surreal characters, elaborate costumes, high-tech digital imaging and guest performances from world-renowned DJs. Tickets are on sale now at the Rio box office or by calling (702) 777-7776.

Dozens of dancers from many of the city’s productions including American Storm, Chippendales, Jubilee!, Le Reve and Studio 54 will be getting “Naked” this Valentine’s Day for the “4th Annual Naked Hearts,” to raise money for the Las Vegas-based HIV/AIDS charity Golden Rainbow. This year’s bare-as-you-dare event takes place (appropriately enough) on the Strip inside KRAVE Nightclub. Doors open at 11 p.m. Tickets priced at $20 for locals; $40 for visitors are available at www.goldenrainbow.org or by calling (702) 384-2899. Tickets will also be available at the door on the night of the show.

On the evening of February 14 guests are invited to join Bridget Marquardt of The Girls Next Door as she hosts a sexy Valentine’s Day affair at legendary nightclub Studio 54 in MGM Grand.

At 8 p.m. on Tuesday, February 17, The UNLV Performing Arts Center continues its Classical Guitar Series with Bosnian-born Denis Azabagic, one of the more compelling classical guitarists on the international concert circuit today. Tickets to Denis Azabagic are $35 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting pac.unlv.edu.

Comedian Bill Engvall will perform Thursday, Feb. 26 and Friday, Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. inside the Treasure Island Theatre. Tickets priced at $65 and $49 plus tax and handling fees

Sunday, February 1, marked the third anniversary of the death of 37 year old Las Vegas Metro Sgt. Henry Prendes who was killed in the line of duty in response to a domestic violence call in the Valley.  To help keep his memory and dreams alive, the 3rd Annual Henry Prendes Charity Golf Classic will assist in the fundraising efforts for “Henry’s Place Foundation” a 14 acre youth camp for under privileged youth located in the foothills west of Cedar City, Utah purchased by Mrs. Prendes through the generosity of  Southern Nevada citizens. The tournament will be held at Angel Park Golf Club on Friday, March 27, 2009.  Proceeds from this event will be used to build cabins at the new camp facility and also lend support to send needy children to camp through “Henry’s Place Foundation.” For more information on “Henry’s Place Foundation,” to make a donation or to participate in the 3rd Annual Henry Prendes Charity Golf Classic, please visit www.henrysplace.org. Mrs. Prendes is also seeking tournament participants and raffle prizes/silent auction items.

Legendary entertainer, Wayne Newton will perform inside MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre for a five-night engagement February 28 – March 4.  Show time is 8:30 p.m. nightly.  Tickets are priced at $65 inclusive. VIP packages including a meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with Newton also are available.


Celebrity sightings:

Hot off their win for Best Ensemble from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, several cast members from AMC’s Mad Men attended Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular last week at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino.  After the show the two-time Golden Globe-winning ensemble visited backstage with the cast to congratulate them on a rousing performance.

Last week, rock legend Gene Simmons was spotted dining lunchtime at Pink Taco restaurant two days in a row.  Simmons hosted a launch party for his Moneybag clothing line Wednesday night (Jan 28) inside Wasted Space.  He arrived at 10:30 p.m. with an entourage that consisted of a bachelorette party and Carrot Top.

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Gene Simmons and Carrot Top
Photo credt: Erik Kabik

With SnowSports Industries America in town, the city is buzzing with snow sports enthusiasts, and Thursday night, Snowboard Magazine hosted a party inside Body English inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.  Hitting the stage for exclusive performances were rapper Redman and alternative hip-hop group, Souls of Mischief.
Friday night (January 30)….

Former NFL quarterback Kenny “The Snake” Stabler and his family celebrated his granddaughter’s birthday by dining at LAVO inside The Palazzo.

At TAO inside The Venetian, actor Adam Rodriguez, who has been featured in People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive issue, from CSI Miami was spotted dining at the sushi bar.

AJ McLean was joined by Jason Giambi and John Connolly of the band Everlast at Wasted Space at the Hard Rock.

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Jason Giambi and John Connolly of the band Everlast
Photo credit: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

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Ben Lyons, Sal Masekela, Catt Salder and Clinton Sparks
Photo credit: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

 

On Saturday night….

Actress Lauren Conrad and a mixed group of close friends including rumored boyfriend, actor Kyle Howard and her BFF Lauren "Lo" Bosworth celebrated her birthday with a dinner in a private dining room at LAVO.   After dinner everyone piled on the TAO/LAVO Escalade for the ride over to TAO where they made their way to a private skybox. Lauren was surprised by more birthday sweets as cupcakes and sparklers made their way to the table.

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Lauren Conrad and BFF Lauren "Lo" Bosworth
Photo credit: Denise Trucello

Just next door to Lauren’s skybox, basketball legend Charles Barkley was in a skybox of his own, partying with a large group of friends at TAO for a second night in a row.  The celebrity spotting continued with Ashley Newbrough, who plays Sage Baker on CW’s Privileged.

Also starting their night at LAVO was Nicky Hilton at David Katzenberg, joined by Jeff Beacher and comedian Nick Swardson.  The group headed over to TAO to finish their evening and just missed the arrival of Stavros Niarchros, former fiancé of Nicky’s sister Paris who also stopped by LAVO before journeying to TAO.

Washington Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs took a VIP table at LAVO with a group of guys and girls from his hometown of Virginia.  Chris Pines, star of the upcoming summer blockbuster Star Trek, took a tour of the club and then sat outside on the LAVO terrace.

For the second night in a row, AJ Mclean of the Backstreet Boys was seen partying it up inside Carey Hart’s rock lounge Wasted Space at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.   Before that, Mclean was amongst the crowd at Body English’s weekly hosted by E!’s Daily 10 cast Ben Lyons, Sal Masekela, Clinton Sparks and Catt Sadler.  In addition, professional surfer Brad Gerlach and Olympic soccer player Kobi Jones were seen enjoying their Saturday night inside Body English.

Spotted enjoying Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino…

Actor Andrew Keegan….Model Natalie Marie hosting a MMA Sports magazine release party….and  MMA fighter Clay “The Carpenter” Guida, hosting an after-fight party with the Combat-In-Effect models.

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Natalie Marie

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MMA fighter Clay “The Carpenter” Guida

Retired NFL star Steve McNair, aka Air McNair (formerly of the Tennessee Titians and Baltimore Ravens), was spotted at Sierra Gold ultra-tavern (Jones & 215) Saturday afternoon.  McNair was overheard saying he had been seeking a bar located off the Strip and had been directed to Sierra Gold by a hotel employee who told him it was the best bar in Vegas.  Onlookers described him as “very laid back and a down to earth guy.” He was also overheard asking if there was anywhere close by to go fishing.
On Sunday…

Lauren Conrad, her boyfriend Kyle, BFF "Lo", and the rest of their crew celebrating Lauren’s birthday enjoyed the Super Bowl from a private VIP room at The Palazzo's Sportsbook & Grill. At half-time the Lauren, Lo and her girlfriends decided to go shopping at Barneys at The Palazzo while the guys stayed and cheered on their team!

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Lauren Conrad and her boyfriend Kyle Howard
Photo credit: Denise Trucello

McNair returned to Sierra Gold ultra-tavern for the second day in a row to watch the Super Bowl game.  McNair was joined by several friends and were spotted watching the game in the VIP lounge.  McNair’s prediction came true as he was overheard on Saturday saying the Steelers had it in the bag.

Returning for a second night, MMA fighter Guida partied at Hawaiian Tropic Zone.

Also spotted was UFC fighter Dan Cramer.

NFL wide receiver Carlyle Holiday was spotted at “Vice Bowl”, LAVO’s post game celebration Sunday night.  In town with friends to watch the big game, the former Green Bay Packer drank Grey Goose and Red Bull cocktails while chatting up the Laker Girls and enjoying the sounds of DJ Vice.

Frank Thomas, former designated hitter for the Chicago White Sox, visited LAVO with his girlfriend and several friends.
Decked out in a bedazzled white shirt, Rapper Too Short and friends took in DJ Vice’s weekly Sunday night party at LAVO as well.

Also spotted in the crowd was model, actress and Playboy Playmate Summer Altice.


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


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