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

Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Celebrates Spring with Gardens from Around the World

In celebration of spring, Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens has unveiled a vibrant horticulture display that pays tribute to the gardens of the world.  Pairing lush foliage and fragrant blooms with cultural symbolism, four enchanting displays represent the gardens of England, France, Italy and Japan.

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In one corner of the exhibit, a charming English garden pays homage to the free-flowing, random nature of England’s countryside.  Just steps away, a jardin à la française honors the French principle of orderly landscape while an Italian giardino showcases an elegant villa-style design with cascading water features and a seemingly ancient stone sculpture by renowned artist Igor Mitoraj.  Represented by the Japanese character 庭, a traditional Japanese garden completes this botanical journey around the world by featuring a perfectly raked rock landscape.

The spring exhibit within Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is free to the public and is on display through May 16.

Head Shaving Parties at Irish Pubs Raise Funds to Battle Childhood Cancer

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day McMullan’s Irish Pub and Quinn’s Irish Pub joined forces to raise funds for the St. Patrick’s Foundation by hosting head-shaving parties on Saturday, March 7.  Amongst the many volunteers at McMullan’s Irish Pub were staff members of the N9NE Group, who gathered together to support a great cause.  Cheering them on were N9NE Group’s own Managing Member, Michael Morton and Director of Community Relations, Jenna Morton.  Hair was done by volunteer-licensed barbers and cosmeticians, including Las Vegas well-known personalities Robin Leach, Monica Jackson, Nate Tannenbaum, Kevin Janison, Paula Francis and Gerard Ramalho, amongst others.

2009 is the 10th year of St. Baldrick’s events.  St. Baldrick’s began as a casual conversation between friends and has evolved to be the world’s biggest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer. Over the past years, events have taken place in 18 countries and 48 U.S. states, raising over $50 million and shaving more than 72,000 heads.


Cashetta’s “Magic is a Drag” Show Opens at Krave Theatre

Las Vegas features several headlining magicians and/or magic acts.  But, odds are visitors and locals alike haven’t seen anything like Cashetta, the “Queen of Magic” who has brought her show “Magic’s a Drag” to the Harmon Theatre located on the south east side of Planet Hollywood Resort.

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Cashetta - Queen of Magic
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Cashetta, aka 38 year old, New Jersey born Scott Weston, is described as a mix of Bette Midler, Dolly Parton along with a bit of David Copperfield’s talent.  But what makes her/he unique is that Cashetta is one of the only female impersonator magicians in the world, which certainly adds a new spin on what to expect from a magic act.

Cashetta’s stage at the Harmon Theatre is small with just a few props. So guests shouldn’t expect a fancy schmancy production with shiny staging.  What you get is the star of the show, a larger than life, over the top, big and blonde wigged drag queen decked out in a gown, with lots of personality to woo even the most persnickety crowd. There is no room for lions or tigers, a rabbit, bird, or for that matter, any grand illusions.  Cashetta’s shtick is her gift to gab and she knows how to work the audience to perfection with plenty of charm, lots of off color, but very funny humor (definitely for adults only) and, of course, a few tricks.

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Cashetta - Queen of Magic
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Relying heavily on audience interactions and several volunteers to assist in a few simple illusions, Cashetta’s act includes cards that disappear and reappear in unlikely places, a gypsy rope illusion with a twist, inspired by master illusionist Houdini, and teaching the audience on how to perform a traditional, oldie but goodie trick requiring an egg and scarf or hanky.

Cashetta may not be the best magician in the world, but what she lacks in expertise and large repertoire of illusions, she makes up by offering an evening of fun and laughter.

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Cashetta - Queen of Magic
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

As for Cashetta’s greatest trick, I am sure everyone must wonder where this female impersonator hides his most private part. Talk about a puzzling illusion?  Come to think of it, I probably don’t want to know.  What I do know for sure, is this is one trick that is not up his sleeve.

Show times for Cashetta’s “Magic is a Drag” are 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. General admissions tickets are $44.95 and $59.95 for VIP which includes all you can drink wristband. Prices do not include tax and processing fees.


The Grand Canal at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino is Turned Green in Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day

At 10 a.m. on March 12, Liam the Leprechaun officially kicked off The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration with an inaugural gondola ride along the Grand Canal, which was turned green with 40 quarts of green food coloring.  Liam led a parade of gondoliers adorned in green sashes, scarves, ribbons, and shamrocks. After one complete ride, Liam stopped the parade in St. Mark’s Square and spun his boat around in circles throwing magical gold confetti into the air officially opening the lucky green canal for riders while musical entertainers and gondoliers sang a traditional Irish song “Tipperary.”

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Liam will return once again on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 at 10 a.m. for a second parade on the green canal. After he exits the gondola he will retreat through The Grand Canal Shoppes. Any guest that is lucky enough to find Liam from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. must say to him, “Luck o’ the Irish” and he will reach into his pot of gold and hand over a prize which could be anything from chocolate gold coins to a free gondola ride on the lucky green Grand Canal.  This celebration is open to the public. Guests over the age of 21, who purchase a gondola ride March 12 – 18, may redeem their ticket stub at the Mercato store inside The Grand Canal Shoppes for a bottle of Guinness.

While the canal is green, in addition to traditional Italian songs, gondoliers will sing traditional Irish tunes and will continue to be dressed with green accents. The cost of a gondola ride is $16 per person (max of 4 people) or $64 for a private, two-passenger ride.


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

On Sunday night, March 8, Bobby Slayton, aka The Pit Bull of Comedy, was in top form during his final (his 500th) R rated and hilarious, show at Hooters. He will be taking a 2 month hiatus from working in Las Vegas but he won‘t be gone for long. Slayton announced that he will be opening in another venue, at the newly renovated showroom, formerly called The Comedy Stop inside the Tropicana in late April or early May.

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Bobby Slayton
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Monte Carlo Casino headlining magician Lance Burton announced on Thursday that he accepted an offer to become an honorary member of the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), a no-kill animal sanctuary in Las Vegas whose mission is to save and protect animals in the Las Vegas Valley.

Disney’s THE LION KING hosted a special on-sale event Saturday March 14 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Box Office. Fans began purchasing tickets at 7 a.m. for Las Vegas’ much anticipated show. Purchasing guests received commemorative gifts during the event.  John Morgan, a Las Vegas native, spent 36 hours at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Box Office to ensure he’d be the first in line to purchase THE LION KING tickets. He arrived at Mandalay Bay Thursday evening in preparation for the Saturday morning event. Morgan  received a one night stay at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino; an autographed copy of “THE LION KING: Pride Rock on Broadway” and “How Does the Show Go On?” by Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Group; and tickets to THE LION KING for opening night on May 15. Behind Morgan, numerous fans of THE LION KING eagerly awaited their turn to purchase tickets.

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Casting has been announced for the Las Vegas production of Disney’s THE LION KING, which will begin preview performances May 5, and celebrate its official opening May 15 at Mandalay Bay. Disney hand-selected an international cast of performers who have won acclaim in productions of THE LION KING around the world. The cast includes nine South African natives, and three ensemble members, Joseph Rivera, Renata Renee Wilson and Deon Ridley from Las Vegas. The group assembled in Las Vegas on Monday, March 9th to rehearse together for the first time. Thomas Schumacher, President of Disney Theatrical Productions, welcomed the cast and crew and set the creative vision for the production. The cast later joined to sing Elton John’s “Circle of Life” together for the first time. Roger Allers, co-author of THE LION KING musical and co-director animated film, and Irene Mecchi, co-author of THE LION KING musical and animated film, were also in attendance to help celebrate the first day of rehearsals.

Tickets for the Lion King start at $53, continuing up to $86 and $113.50 (plus service fees). VIP packages, which include premium seating, a complimentary souvenir program and a complimentary VIP show merchandise item, will be available for $168.50 (plus service fees).

The 11th annual LEGENDS of Bartending competition at LAX Nightclub held March1-3, 2009 crowned the world’s best flair bartenders as approximately 70 professional competitors from around the globe vied the coveted title and a piece of the $30,000 in cash prizes. The competition was broken into three divisions, Pro, Advanced and Tandem.  The participants were judged on speed, precision and pour by a panel of industry judges.    

The Pro division winner was LEGENDS veteran Rodrigo Delpech. Delpech returned to form and captured his fourth enviable title after previously winning three years straight from 2005-2007. The Advanced division winner was Miyuki Kamimura from Japan while Team UPT, also from Japan, took the title in the Tandem division.    

Las Vegas bartender Greg Black best mastered the nine-step Belgian beer pouring ritual to win the Stella Artois Draught Master Competition. It’s a competition that starts with a “Purification,” includes a “Sacrifice,” “Beheading” and “Judgment”.  Black will now represent the U.S. against 32 other countries at the World Draught Master Competition in Belgium in October.

Las Vegas’ very own headlining magicians, Penn & Teller were spotted at CDI Studios on  Friday (March 6) filming their public service announcement to encourage the Valley community in joining them as they serve as the Grand Marshals for the 19th Annual AIDS Walk Las Vegas, April 19.  For the seventh consecutive year, Penn & Teller will host the Penn & Teller Challenge as their AIDS Walk team.  As they discuss in the PSA, Penn & Teller promises to match all monetary funds raised by pledges and donations to Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN).  This challenge raised more than $100,000 in 2008, and this year, they hope for the biggest team the AIDS Walk has seen yet. 

Anthony Cools’ newest production FREAKS debuted at O’Sheas Casino on March 13. FREAKS is a 70 minute variety show featuring the most extreme “freakish” human behavior, including human shish-kabobs, glass eating, knife throwing and sword swallowing,  intended to take audiences on an emotional roller coaster, inspiring spectators to laugh, cry, squirm, cringe, gasp and applaud. Show times are 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., Wednesday – Saturday. Ticket prices start at $29.95.

El Cortez Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas hosts ‘Beer, Brats and Basketball,’ a special NCAA Men’s Division Basketball Championship viewing party open to the public in its Fiesta Room from Thursday, March 19 to Sunday, March 22.  Drink and food specials available during ‘Beer, Brats and Basketball’ include Bratwursts and Bloody Mary drinks for $2 each and 12 oz. draft beer for $1.

In honor of Governor Jim Gibbons' proposed budget, the UNLV Music Department is sponsoring "Baroque in Vegas"! at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 23, 2009 at Doc Rando Recital Hall located on the campus of UNLV.  Admission is FREE!

The Winchester Players, Winchester Cultural Center’s theater troupe, will perform two consecutive productions based on the classic tale “The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum at 7 p.m. March 27 and 28 at the Winchester Culture Center Theater, 3130 S. McLeod Drive. “Two Nights in Oz” begins with a glimpse into the lives of the good, the bad and the ugly of Oz in “Witches,” which serves as back-story for the beloved “The Wizard of Oz,” the second show. The players take on this traditional story, adding unconventional twists along the Yellow Brick Road. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors.

At 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 The UNLV Performing Arts Center welcomes the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra – Eri Klas, conductor and Joyce Yang, piano, winner of the prestigious Van Cliburn competition, as the final performance of the 2008-09 Charles Vanda Master Series. The orchestra will perform a program featuring Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Tickets priced at $45, $60, and $90 can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting pac.unlv.edu.

Frankie’s Tiki Room located at 1712 W Charleston Blvd., will host a Bearded Clam Party to celebrate the introduction of the second series White Bearded Clam tiki mug on Mar. 25 beginning at 8 p.m.  Guests and collectors will be able to purchase the final remaining first series Brown Bearded Clam mugs, a limited edition tiki masterpiece and one of the eight original Frankie’s Tiki Room collectable mugs that were introduced when the bar first opened in December 2008.  Additionally, guests will have a first-look at the new White Bearded Clam signature mug and the opportunity to meet Dirk Vermin, the creative genius behind the original artwork and design.

The Palazzo presents Stroll. Swirl. Shop ,their inaugural wine walk,  featuring 7 wineries and 28 wines from across the country on Thursday, March 26 from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. at The Shoppes at The Palazzo. All net proceeds from the event will benefit, Three Square, the Las Vegas food bank that serves more than 200 agencies throughout Southern Nevada. In addition to the wine tasting, as guests stroll throughout the luxurious venue they will enjoy live jazz music from local artist David Van Such and cuisine from Dos Caminos and Woo. For additional information please visit www.threesquare.org.
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McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino will host a fashion show presenting designs by SweetLux on Friday, March 27 beginning at 11: 30 p.m.  In addition, McFadden’s will give away complimentary bottles of champagne to groups of six or more ladies. There will also be an open bar from 10 p.m. to midnight, $10 for girls and $20 for guys.

World-renowned psychic medium and author of The New York Times best seller, “Crossing Over” John Edwards will be performing at Flamingo Las Vegas showroom for a Limited Engagement: Saturday, March 28, 2009  and Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 11 a.m. each day. Tickets for John Edward start at $100 (plus tax and fees). Guests are part of a larger audience, thus no one attending the seminar is guaranteed a reading.

Las Vegas’ only Club Tattoo, Rock & Roll Religion and DC Shoes  as well as the progressive fashions of American Apparel will open shop in late March or early April at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 29, 2009 “Praise” an original 90-minute musical written and conceived by Grammy Award winner Larry Hart will be presented in the Showroom at South Point Hotel Casino. Praise” is inspired by the world’s 10 major religions and in a fun and entertaining way celebrates the rural roots of gospel music while fusing it with the idea of higher consciousness. Tickets are 25, $30, and $35 (includes tax).

SUSHISAMBA strip is offering a viewing party in the Sugarcane Lounge for the NCAA Basketball Final Four festivities April 4-6.  Guests will be able to dine on SUSHISAMBA versions of all American favorites including organic chicken wings with spicy teriyaki, sesame and roasted cashews; tuna sliders with Pão de queijo, tomato marmalade and aioli; Anticucho Combo that features shrimp, beef, chicken and seabass with Peruvian corn on the cob; Berkshire Pork Ribs with aji Amarillo marmalade, lime zest, crushed corn and Brussels sprout slaw; and Mini Kobe Chili Cheese Dogs.  As an added bonus  attendees will have a chance to win a complimentary one-night stay at The Palazzo and dinner at SUSHISAMBA.  Tickets will be collected throughout the course of the weekend (one entry per person) and the lucky winner will be notified on Monday, April 6.

Legendary ‘Empress of Soul,’ Gladys Knight returns to The Orleans Showroom April 3-5. Tickets start from $74.95, plus tax. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Australian soft-rock group and 80’s sensation, Air Supply will perform in the Suncoast Showroom April 3, 4 and 5 for three 7:30 p.m. performances. Ticket prices start at $29.95 plus tax.

Iconic comedy duo Cheech & Chong are scheduled to perform inside The Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms Casino Resort on Saturday, May 23, 2009, 8:00 p.m. Tickets priced at $39.50 and $59.50, plus any additional service fees are on sale now.

The life and legacy of pianist and entertainer Liberace will be celebrated on Wed., April 15 with the 30 year anniversary of the glittering Liberace Museum.  A full day of festivities will be hosted by the Honorable Lorraine T. Hunt-Bono and Dennis Bono, who are serving as the event’s Rhinestone Chairs.  The Museum will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with 30 cent museum admission, and free performances by Liberace scholarship recipients and Liberace Piano Competition winners.  Philip Fortenberry, composer and "Jersey Boys" pianist, will perform his "Liberace and Me" cabaret show at 1 p.m.  The Liberace Museum will also debut a new 30th Anniversary Exhibit to run through May 31 commemorating three decades of milestones since 1979 and to celebrate Liberace’s legendary career mark as a part of the Las Vegas and international entertainment scene. 

Evening festivities begin at 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a celebrity and invited guest “red carpet reception,” and the public is encouraged to view the red carpet arrivals.  A ticketed event will follow with live entertainment from 7-9 pm in the Liberace Museum Cabaret Showroom with “Liberace through the Years – The Friends and the Music” hosted by and with performances by Lorraine Hunt-Bono, Dennis Bono, “Jersey Boys” cast members Keith Thompson, Philip Fortenberry, Erich Bergen, and other friends from the Broadway community.  To purchase tickets for the evening entertainment, call 798-5595 ext. 14 and proceeds from tickets sales will benefit the Liberace Foundation.

Iconic comedy duo Cheech & Chong are scheduled to perform inside The Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms Casino Resort on Saturday, May 23, 2009, 8:00 p.m. Tickets priced at $39.50 and $59.50, plus any additional service fees are on sale now.


Celebrity sightings:

Adam Levine, front man for Maroon 5, was spotted dining at Nove inside the Palms Casino Resort Tuesday night with a party of 10.  Levine and his guests sat in the main dining room.  Following dinner, Levine was seen in the kitchen signing Executive Chef Geno Bernardo’s famous door.

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Adam Levine
Photo credit: N9NE Group

Magician Nathan Burton was sighted in the audience during media night of Cashetta’s show “Magic is a Drag” at The Harmon Theatre.

Friday night (March 13)…

At TAO Las Vegas, Whitney Port of MTV's "The City" fulfilled proper maid of honor duties by throwing her sister Ashley the perfect bachelorette party. She arrived with the bride-to-be, their sisters Jade and Paige and a group of girlfriends in tow, and first treated the group to a dinner of signature menu items, sitting at a table under the watchful eye of TAO's Buddha.

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Ashley, Jade, Paige and Whitney Port
Photo credit: Denise Truscello

After dinner, the girls headed to a VIP table in the moat section of the nightclub where bride Ashley was surprised with champagne, sparklers and cupcakes as they danced the night away to the sounds of DJ Reach.

Alison Waite, Playboy Playmate of the Month (Miss May 2006) was spotted hanging out solo at Rain Nightclub inside the Palms Casino Resort at a VIP table near the DJ booth.  Also spotted inside Rain Nightclub was mash up artist DJ Z-Trip who played into the early hours for the energized crowd.

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Alison Waite, Playboy Playmate of the Month (Miss May 2006)  and DJ Z-Trip

Spotted on Saturday, March 14…

NSYNC’s Lance Bass enjoying chips and salsa while sipping on Coronas at Pink Taco inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Wearing brightly colored glasses, Bass and a group of seven guys sat at a table near the bar.

Sasha Grey, the adult film star crossing over to mainstream with her starring role in Steven Soderbergh's new film "The Girlfriend Experience," celebrated turning 21 at TAO Las Vegas.   Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins and friends toasted the actress as they sat down to dinner at a long table in the center of the dining room. Backstreet Boy AJ McLean arrived at the tail end of the meal, just in time to head up to the nightclub where the celebration continued.

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Sasha Grey and Billy Corgan
Photo credit: Denise Truscello

Another former boy band star, Lance Bass, was at a VIP table nearby and AJ McLean came over to say hello. Lance was celebrating the birthday of his assistant following their dinner party at the restaurant below.  Brittany Snow, who just last weekend celebrated her own birthday at TAO, was spotted at their table on the dance floor.

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AJ McLean and Lance Bass

Over at LAVO, Whitney Port was seen continuing the bachelorette party weekend she threw for her sister Ashley.  The group of girls dined in the restaurant before heading up to the nightclub.

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Whitney Port and her sister Ashley
Photo credit: Denise Truscello

NFL linebacker for the Cleveland Browns William “Willie” McGinest dined at N9NE Steakhouse inside the Palms Casino Resort with a party of six guys.   Also spotted at the restaurant was Peter Rose, former Major League Baseball player and manager.

Over at Playboy Club, NFL linebacker and defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens, Terrell Suggs partied with a party of four. 

Actress / supermodel Amber Smith hosted an evening at Hawaiian Tropic Zone where she enjoyed dinner and afterwards took pictures with fans all night long.

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Amber Smith
Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Tropic Zone

At the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, AFI lead singer Davey Havok, Emmy nominated actress Kelly Monaco and the Daily 10’s Sal Masekela invaded Body English.

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Davey Havok
Photo credit: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

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Clinton Sparks, Sal Masekela and Kelly Monaco
Photo credit: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Sunday night (March 15)…

Rain Nightclub resident DJ, Paul Oakenfold was spotted dining with a lady friend at Nove Italiano inside the Palms Casino Resort.
Fresh from celebrating her birthday at Body English two weekend ago Paris Hilton returned to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to film her hit show “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF.”  Hilton arrived yesterday afternoon coming straight from her week long Hawaiian trip with new man, Doug Reinhart.  The Heiress checked into the hotel and laid low last night scouting various locations with a few of the show’s producers.  The Hard Rock will play host to Hilton and 20 hopeful BFFs as she wines and dines the contestants across the property for the first episode of the popular show’s 2nd season.

Hip hop superstar Ice Cube spotted enjoying dinner inside Strip House at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

Music mogul Dr. Dre was spotted dining at TAO Asian Bistro.

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


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