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

Winning Vinny Named In New York-New York Spokesperson Competition

The winner of New York New York’s Vinny vs. Vinny spokesperson competition was announced on Tuesday, November 17. After weeks of spirited challenges, guests of the property, through voting on property and online, declared Vinny Blue the ultimate go-to guy for all things New York-New York.

Winning Vinny, New York, New York spokesperson
Photo credit: Dianne R. Davis

As the official spokesperson, Vinny will embody the New York-New York brand. A true ambassador of fun, Vinny will be a hands-on-host, available day in and day out to tell guests where to go, what to do, what’s hot and what’s not, in a totally honest, no-apologies New York kind of way.

A Las Vegas-wide search brought many competitors for the title of official spokesperson for New York-New York. From October 20 through November 12, the two Vinnys, dubbed Red and Blue, battled for guest votes by competing in over-the-top contests including a Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest, an arcade challenge at ESPN Zone and an Irish jig showdown at Nine Fine Irishmen. In addition, the Vinnys took to the casino floor daily, winning the hearts and votes of many with their New York charm. Out-of-town guests also had the opportunity to witness the competitions online and cast their votes.

Upon winning the new title, Vinny Blue took to the stage and said, “Today is a new day at New York-New York and I’d like to welcome everyone down to the hotel for a big celebration. The party is happening every day so come see this native New Yorker and learn why New York-New York is the place to hang on the Las Vegas Strip.”

Golden Nugget’s Rush Tower Celebrates Grand Opening

On November 23, Rush Tower, the $150-million newest addition to the legendary Golden Nugget, located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, celebrated its Grand Opening with a gala party. This is the first new hotel tower to be added to the downtown area since Golden Nugget opened its Carson Tower in 1989.


Attendees included VIPs, local celebrities such as impressionist Gordie Brown, magician Nathan Burton, Fantasy headliner Angelica Brides, the hunky men of Thunder Down Under, the current Miss Nevada USA, and members of the media, including yours truly.

Also on hand was Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman who cut the ceremonial ribbon in the center of Rush Tower’s impressive lobby, marking the official opening of the property. Alongside the mayor was Tilman Fertitta, President/ CEO of Landry’s Restaurants Inc., the Golden Nugget’s parent company.

Mayor Oscar Goodman cuts the ribbon with Tilman Fertitta, President/ CEO of Landry’s Restaurants Inc., the Golden Nugget’s parent company
Photo credit: Dianne R. Davis

“This is a very special day in downtown Las Vegas,” said Goodman, the self proclaimed happiest mayor on Earth before jokingly adding, “and not because I have my special libation.” Before everyone joined the mayor in raising a glass of champagne for a toast, Goodman went on to say, “All I can say to the strip, is you have nothing on us. This establishment in downtown Las Vegas invites guests to experience the best of the very best as far as luxury.” Goodman thanked Fertitta for investing in downtown Las Vegas and for his commitment to finishing the project during these hard economic times.

“Rush Tower will now define the ultimate Las Vegas experience providing exceptional accommodations as well as add to the already supreme dining opportunities and exceed the unparalleled customer service already delivered to our guests,” said Tilman Fertitta, prior to the opening. “The tower is the latest in our ongoing renovation and expansion projects at the Golden Nugget, which now total more than $300-million, and which will certainly up the ante for other properties in Las Vegas.”

The 500-room, 25 story tower includes four Penthouses suites, 70 Junior corner Suites and standard rooms that are 20 percent larger than the property’s North and South Tower rooms. Guest rooms are all “non smoking”; range in size from 439 square feet to one-bedroom parlor suites at 1,326 square feet and are funished in a sleek contemprary design with a color scheme of brown, gold and burgundy. Standard features include pillow-top mattresses, feather down comforters, 42-inch plasma televisions and marble bathroom fixtures.

Guests were invited to take an elevator to the 20th foor and tour three of the guest suites, which I found to be spacious as well as beautiful and offers a fantastic window view.



As a dining option Rush Tower offers the Chart House, an upscale seafood and steak restaurant owned by Landry’s Restaurants that seats 200 and has a dazzling 75,000-gallon aquarium as its centerpiece filled with more than 1,000 colorful and exotic fish. During the grand opening event guests were treated to delicious menu samplings of crab cakes, skewered shrimp tempura with avocado topping, ahi tuna on a won ton cracker, and prime rib sandwichs.


Other additions in the renovation includes a luxurious new reservation desk, an expanded casino floor and pool complex, upscale retail shops and the Rush Tower’s own porte cochere, which is accented by a new, million dollar landscaped entrance at First Street and Carson Street.

According to Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, “The debut of the new tower will not only add to the excitement of the area but will establish Landry’s Restaurants as a leader in the redevelopment of downtown Las Vegas.”

I could not agree more. With this new multi million dollar expansion, the Golden Nugget stands as the crown jewel of downtown Las Vegas.

Rooms at the Rush Tower start at $69 on weekdays through December while weekend rates are between $89 and $129. Rates for New Year’s Eve start at $229.


Rocker Sammy Hagar Opens Signature Cabo Wabo® Cantina ON The Strip

Rocker Sammy Hagar recently opened his hard rockin’ dining and nightlife experience, Cabo Wabo Cantina at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. The two-level, 15,000-square-foot Cantina brings the best of Cabo San Lucas to Vegas, combined with Hagar’s signature blend of killer margaritas, flavorful Mexican food and rock ‘n’ roll style. This venue is the flagship U.S. location for the legendary restaurant. The original opened in Cabo San Lucas in 1990, and has been credited for transforming the sleepy Mexican town into a major tourism destination and becoming the inspiration for one of the most recognizable tequila brands in the world, Cabo Wabo Tequila.

Photo by Carlos Larios, courtesy of Cabo Wabo Cantina

To celebrate its opening on the Las Vegas Strip, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will host the official Cabo Wabo Cantina grand opening bash on Friday, December 4. The event kicks off with a live performance by Sammy Hagar and The Waboritas at 9 p.m. A limited number of complimentary tickets will be given out at Cabo Wabo Cantina in Las Vegas on December 4, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The concert will also be broadcast live on Miracle Mile Shops’ 5,000-square-foot LED screen that faces the Strip.

"I’m ecstatic to introduce Las Vegas to the Cabo Wabo lifestyle," said Cabo Wabo founder, Sammy Hagar. "The cantina's fun-loving, fiesta atmosphere brings rock ‘n’ roll right to the heart of Las Vegas. We are going to rock the Strip!"

Cabo Wabo’s vibrant outdoor patio offers prime views of the Las Vegas Strip, combining Cabo San Lucas’ laid-back, beach-town vibe with the excitement of Vegas. The savory menu blends Tex Mex cuisine with coastal Mexican fare, specializing in fajita selections. The cocktail menu highlights Hagar's favorite spirit, tequila, featuring specialty margaritas and cocktails.

Guests can also visit the Cabo Wabo retail store which is packed with world-famous logo merchandise and a Daiquiri Bar serving frozen cocktails in a variety of Cabo Wabo souvenir cups, including Sammy’s signature 100-ounce guitar cup that also plays five different Hagar tunes.

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

Monday, November 23, The Walmart Foundation presented the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation with a donation of $20,000 at the annual Fill the Fire Truck Toy Drive luncheon. The event was held inside Hennessy’s Tavern located at Fremont Street Experience. The funds will be used to buy toys and gift cards for children served by 38 charities supported by the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation.

(from left to right):
Warren Whitney - FFBF Public Relations - Clark County FF Captain Catherine Siefert - Developmental Market Manager Ben Costa - Store Manager 2838 Jill Long - Market Assistant Nino Galloway - FFBF President and North Las Vegas FF Candace Vandervaart - Regional Compliance Manager Cherie De Wilde - Office Associate Mike Lofton - Store Manager 2837 Sean Evans - Market Manager

Wynn Las Vegas’ evocative aqua spectacle in the round, featuring an ambitious blend of aerial acrobatics, provocative choreography, powerful performances and elaborate effects Le Rêve, celebrated its 2,000th performance on Friday, November 27, 2009 at 7 p.m. The show opened concurrently with Wynn Las Vegas on April 28, 2005 and has since astounded audiences.

“Le Rêve,” will be dark (no performances) December 8-16. The show will resume its normal schedule on Thursday, December 17.

Affirming its commitment to bring a new level of environmental consciousness to the Las Vegas Strip, CityCenter has earned its fifth and sixth LEED Gold ratings from the U.S. Green Building Council with the certification of Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas and Veer Towers. The accomplishment completes the certification process for all CityCenter components opening this December, and marks the highest LEED achievement by any hotel, retail district or residential development in Las Vegas. The 18-million-square-foot metropolis is one of the world’s largest sustainable communities.

Legendary vocalist Sonny Turner, former lead singer of The Platters, will perform in the Suncoast Showroom, December 4, 5 and 6. Tickets are $19.95, plus tax. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

The World Vibration Concert Series will wrap up 2009 with the music of Mariano Gonzalez in concert at 2 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Winchester Cultural Center Theater, 3130 S. McLeod Drive. The master Paraguayan harpist will showcase native Paraguayan and contemporary music. Tickets for the concert are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and children ages 12 and younger.

Country Superstar Randy Travis will perform inside the Monte Carlo Theatre Sunday, Dec. 6 at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $59 and $75, not including applicable services charges and taxes.

On Friday, December 11, local Las Vegas comedy-magician Mac King will honor Spread the Word Nevada Kids to Kids with a magic show and storybook reading at the Barnes & Noble bookstore, 567 N. Stephanie St. in Henderson. The event starts at 7 p.m. and is FREE and open to the public.

Heavy metal rockers, Twisted Sister, are coming to the Las Vegas Hilton, December 15, 16 and 17 with their holiday extravaganza, Twisted Sister, A Twisted Christmas featuring a memorable assault of lights, sound and staging, filled with holiday thrills. Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark “The Animal” Mendoza and A.J. Pero will perform their iconic hits including, “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “I Wanna Rock,” “The Price” and “You Can’t Stop Rock ’N’ Roll.” Tickets for Twisted Sister: A Twisted Christmas, December 15 – 17 at 8 p.m., are priced at $29 - $59. The $59 ticket includes stage VIP seats and a meet & greet.

“This holiday season, N9NE Group is offering partygoers the gift of complimentary admission and at Rain Nightclub, Moon Nightclub, ghostbar and Playboy Club throughout the month of December (excludes New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31).

Multi-talented singer-songwriter, exhibitionist and media magnet Lady Gaga is set to perform at The Pearl inside the Palms Casino Resort on Friday, December 18, 2009. Tickets are $100 and $125, plus any additional service fees. This date is part of her “The Monster Tour” that has her performing in select cities throughout the U.S. as well as various dates in the U.K.

The Scintas return to the Suncoast Showroom with their first-ever Christmas show, A Very Scinta Christmas, December 18, 19 and 20. Tickets are now available starting from $29.95, plus tax. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

The Winchester Players musical theater troupe has updated the classic “White Christmas” with a twist in their performance of “Saving Christmas” for two shows at 7 p.m. Dec. 22 and 23 at the Winchester Cultural Center Theater, 3130 S. McLeod Drive. All tickets are $5.

Celebrity sightings:

Sunday, November 22…

In the evening, choreographer Cris Judd was spotted dining at LAVO with members of his touring dance show. Judd, once married to Jennifer Lopez, was celebrating his recent engagement to girlfriend Kelly Wolfe.

Friday, November 27

Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo and Miles Austin hung out with friend Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl) in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. They did some gambling and then later partied in Body English.

Aussie hunk Ryan Kwanten of HBO's True Blood celebrated his 33rd birthday in true Vegas fashion. Friday night the actor was joined by a large group of friends for dinner under the watchful eye of TAO’s famed Buddha.

Ryan Kwanten
Photo Credit: Denise Truscello

Saturday, November 28

Kwanten and friends lunched at Dos Caminos, and Saturday night the celebration continued with his official birthday party at LAVO.

Ryan Kwanten
Photo Credit: Denise Truscello

Also spotted at LAVO were the two blonde villains from The Real Housewives of Orange County, Gretchen Rossi with Slade Smiley along with Alexis Bellino and husband Jeff.

Jeff, Alexis Bellino with Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley
Photo Credit: Denise Truscello

I will be back next week with more “happenings” in and around Las Vegas.

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