“The Minus 5 Experience” Debuts As First Permanent Ice lounge In the U.S. Made Entirely of Ice
M Resort Spa and Casino’s Flying Lightship Arrives in Las Vegas

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

“The Minus 5 Experience” Debuts As First Permanent Ice lounge In the U.S. Made Entirely of Ice

On September 25, the new Minus 5 Experience, the first permanent ice lounge in the United States, opened across from Rick Moonen’s rm seafood in Mandalay Place adjacent to Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The highlight of event was the revealing of a one-of-a-kind ice sculpture unique to Las Vegas, a life-sized ice Elvis, complete with signature pompadour, glasses, side-burns, and guitar.

Minus 5 Las Vegas Life Size Ice Elvis

Consisting of more than 24 tons of imported ice from the Canadian tundra, the 2,000 sq. ft. winter wonderland attraction inside the Las Vegas desert features ice sculptures, architectural fixtures and blocks form the walls, bars, seats, tables and decorations.

Guests are invited to come in from the Las Vegas heat and slip into Minus 5-issued parkas and booties over their t-shirts and flip-flops before entering the shimmering Minus 5 ice lounge.  Once inside, guests are served an ice glass filled with exotic vodka-based cocktails (“mocktails” are also available for non-drinkers). Then, they can relax on ice couches and enjoy what is literally the coolest lounge on the planet where the temperature is a constant -5 degrees Celsius or 23 degrees Fahrenheit.

Anthony Lenders and Craig Ling

Owned and operated by the Minus 5 Group, a New Zealand-based company that has “ice-cool” attractions with six other Minus 5 ice lounges currently in operation in three countries around the globe.  Since opening in 2002, the Minus 5 locations in Australia and New Zealand have become one of the most visited man-made attractions in their respective cities. The Las Vegas location is the first of many U.S.-based Minus 5 ice lounges, with other locations currently in the development stage in New York, Miami, Hawaii, and Los Angeles. Admission into the ice lounge is $30.

M Resort Spa and Casino’s Flying Lightship Arrives in Las Vegas

On Wednesday evening Oct. 1, M Resort, Spa and Casino, the all-new $1 billion resort to be completed in March of 2009 on South Las Vegas Boulevard, revealed the newest resident to Las Vegas – its   178 foot M Lightship – the resort’s electronic blimp with the world’s largest 70’ x 30’ aerial television screen on the side.

The M Lightship and its 2,100 square foot advertising screen/light sign, comprised of 235,000 LED (light emitting diodes) that allow the messages to be seen for miles away, will be visible to thousands of residents and many of the nearly 40 million visitors coming to the city each year. Offering vibrant full-color clarity, it is also able to broadcast a multitude of media from live television and streaming video, to Web sites and static images.

M Resort Lightship

The M Lightship will be the only airship in the world offering the public a close-up, hands-on experience. The resort intends to create a center, which will provide information about the Lightship as well as offer the public a chance to meet the captain and crew, take photos and obtain Lightship souvenirs.

We envision the M Lightship as an exciting addition to the Las Vegas community,” said M Resort Chairman and CEO Anthony A. Marnell, III. “Plans are underway to house the lightship on a property adjacent to the resort and we are looking forward to offering tours of the lightship to the public.”

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

Disney Theatrical Productions and Mandalay Bay has announced that the award-winning Broadway phenomenon THE LION KING is coming to the Mandalay Bay Theatre May 2, 2009 with preview performances beginning April 20, 2009. This sit-down production will join the six other highly successful companies of THE LION KING around the world in New York, London, Hamburg, Paris, Tokyo and Fukuoka.  The Las Vegas show will be virtually identical to the other companies and will be staged with all of the same spectacular music, sets, and costumes that have made it a worldwide phenomenon.  Ticket prices, on-sale dates and performance schedules will be announced at a later date.

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art has extended its popular “American Modernism” exhibition through January 2, 2009.    The compelling collection, organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA),  features masterworks by Georgia O’Keeffe, Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, Arshile Gorky and others.

Strip House at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino received Las Vegas’ coveted top steakhouse honor in the “Best of Citysearch” 2008 awards. A leading online lifestyle guide, Citysearch names Strip House as the audience winner of the “Best Steak 2008” award. The dining guide praised Executive Chef John Schenk’s tantalizing menu comprised of prime cuts of beef, seafood dishes and signature sides. In addition, Citysearch commends Strip House for its sensual ambiance and burlesque feel, spotlighting the restaurant’s deep red walls and original 1900s Studio Manasse black and white photographs.

On Thursday, October 9 .The Fabulous Thunderbirds will appear in concert at The Canyon Club Las Vegas, located inside the Four Queens Hotel & Casino.  Doors open at 7 p.m.   Tickets are $20 for locals and $30 general admission.

LBS: A Burger Joint, recently opened at the Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa.  LBS reinvents the classic American burger joint by offering home-style items prepared in an environmentally-friendly fashion with organic, artisanal ingredients. LBS also offers fresh, non-frozen or pre-packaged, all natural one of a kind veggie burgers with more than 22 farm fresh vegetables and grains, served on a whole grain roll with fresh vegetables.   Additionally, LBS will make fresh sauces to top all of its high quality burgers.  “At LBS we have a commitment to organic, never-frozen, ingredients to create healthy natural meals, which incidentally, result in the best tasting burgers in Las Vegas”, said owner and creator of LBS, Billy Richardson.

The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company is inviting all Las Vegas-area automotive enthusiasts to bring their vehicles to Gaudin Ford, 2121 E. Sahara Ave on October 11, 2008 from 10 am to 2 pm, for the First Annual Barrett-Jackson Cruise-In.  Entry into the car show is free and all makes and models are welcome.  Barrett-Jackson president, Steve Davis, will be on hand to meet enthusiasts, judge entries and select three “Barrett-Jackson Choice Awards.”  The first 100 entries will also receive two weekday tickets to the inaugural Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Oct. 16-18, 2008.  Hot dogs, hamburgers and additional refreshments will be on sale to benefit the Lili Claire Foundation.  A “split-the-pot” raffle contest will also be held to support Lili Claire Foundation, which helps children living with neurogenetic conditions.

October 11, 2008 and Sunday, October 12, The True Dharma Buddhist Assembly of Las Vegas is sponsoring Free Buddhism Seminars open to the public. Saturday will be a lecture with questions and answers from 2:00pm to 5:00pm at the Lochan School of Shaolin, 3850 Schiff Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada, the school is located off of Wynn Road near the entrance to the China Town Mall. Sunday will be meditation from 10:00am to 12:00pm at the West Sahara Library, 9600 West Sahara, Las Vegas, Nevada (if attending this session please bring pillows, mats or blankets for your comfort).

Teachings and discussions by the Venerable Xiangge Qiongwa, IV DuoZha Xinxiong Rinpoche, the Dean of the Los Angeles Buddhist Academy, and the Respected Geshe Dorje Jueba, II Longzhou Rinpoche, Co-Founder of the Academy. This event will be given in both Chinese and English and space is limited. Please contact one of the following people for more information and to reserve your seat.

Lin Zhang 702-426-1764 for Chinese speaking
Naomi Wang 702-296-7237 for Chinese speaking
and Katie Hughes-Appel 702-292-4341 for English speaking.

On October 14,  Famous Dave’s BBQ invites all people named “Dave” to eat for free at the Famous Dave’s restaurant at 9695 W. Flamingo Road (Flamingo and 215) between 11am – 8 pm. It’s the end of summer, lots of people are feeling the tough economic times and we just thought it would be fun to give a break to some people in our community and honor all those regular folks who share our namesake,” said Dave Dworak, of Sonoran Barbeque Nevada, LLC, the franchisee that owns and operates five Famous Dave’s locations in Las Vegas and Arizona. “We also are honoring Famous Dave’s founder, Dave Anderson, who really is the epitome of the American success story, a man who started with a single restaurant and a quest for BBQ excellence and now has a nation-wide company of award winning family eateries.”

As part of the UNLV School of Architecture Klai Juba Lecture Series,  Kennedy Lawson Smith, director of the Alexandria, VA-based Community Land Use Economics Group will be giving a lecture on Wednesday, October 15 at 7 p.m. in the new Downtown Design Center at the Fifth Street School, located at 401 South 4th St. Lawson Smith is one of the nation's foremost experts on commercial district revitalization and development, independent main street businesses, and economically and environmentally sound community development. The lecture is preceded by a reception at the Downtown Design Center at 6 p.m. Both the reception and lecture are FREE and open to the public. For more information, please call 895-3031.

Giada De Laurentiis, star of Food Network’s Everyday Italian and Giada’s Weekend Getaways, will appear in person at Sur La Table inside Miracle Mile Shops Friday, Oct. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. De Laurentiis, also a regular contributor to NBC’s Today Show, will visit Sur La Table to meet fans and autograph copies of her latest cookbook, Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites.  Culinary enthusiasts must have a ticket to gain access to the cookbook signing and meet and greet.  Fans must purchase a copy of Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites at Sur La Table’s Miracle Mile Shops location beginning Oct. 1 to get a ticket to the event.

On Friday, October 17th, 8:00 p.m., The Myron Heaton Chorale and The Nevada Opera Theatre will join forces with their combined talents to present an exciting evening of opera at The Doc Rando Recital Hall in The Thomas Beam Music Center at UNLV.   A special ticket price of $20 for students, seniors, military and the handicapped are now on sale along with $30 for general admission. Preceding the concert is a hosted champagne reception at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby followed bythe Patron Dinner at 6:00 p.m.  There will also be a reception in the lobby after the 8:00 p.m. opera concert. For ticket call the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office at (702) 895- 2787(ARTS). Tickets may also be purchased online at UNLVTickets.com.  Dinner tickets at $100 per person or $1,000 for a table of 10 that includes the reception can be purchased by calling (702) 731-3370.

Singer Robin Thicke’s concert at the House of Blues, originally scheduled for Fri Oct 17, has been moved to Sat. Nov. 8, due to a scheduling conflict.  Tickets for the original date will be honored on Nov 8.

The Sixth Annual Fall Fine Arts Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 18 &19, at the MonteLago Village Resort, Lake Las Vegas.  Fine artists and unique crafts persons from California, Arizona, Colorado and Utah as well as many of Nevada’s best will be exhibiting their newest creations throughout the weekend. Featured artist for the weekend festival will be singer and artist Lena Prima, daughter of entertainer Louis Prima. Her artistic talent extends from her music to her fine art drawings and paintings as well as her jewelry designs. The event is open to the public from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. both days, with free admission and free parking. For more information, call Mark Vranesh Studio at 702.245.6077 or visit www.montelagovillage.com.

On Saturday, October 25, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m,  The second annual event Klip it for Kidz, benefiting the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation’s programs and services for critically ill children and their families will be held at the Metro Enterprise Area Command Center,6975 W. Windmill Rd. (Windmill & Rainbow). At least twenty local executives, physicians and business leaders are going to be shaved bald or donate at least 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love http://www.locksoflove.com to raise money. The event is FREE to the public and will include food, drinks, entertainment and demonstrations by Metro’s S.W.A.T. and bomb squad. Contact the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation (nvccf.org) for more information at 735-8434.

This October 25, the Sirens of TI show will be celebrating its fifth anniversary at Sirens’ Cove in front of Treasure Island Hotel & Casino.  As the brand ambassadors for TI’s revamped image, the Sirens offer the best free show on the Las Vegas Strip and perform to thousands nightly.

On October 25th and 26th MonteLago Village Resort at Lake Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Hawaiian Civic Club will host the 7th Annual Hawaiian Isle Festival & Outrigger Canoe Regatta featuring a weekend of festivities including Hawaiian cuisine, crafts, art and live entertainment interwoven with the outrigger canoe racing.  Teams from California, Hawaii, Arizona and more will compete in sprints on the 320-acre luxurious Lake Las Vegas throughout the weekend from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the MonteLago Village Marina. Corporate races are also featured on Sunday, register your company today. Admission and parking are free.  For questions or more information, please call Janet Ronan at (702) 649-9232, or visit www.montelagovillage.com.

On Saturday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 26 beginning at 8 a.m. each day, Cool Blue Entertainment, a leading Las Vegas professional model and talent agency, will host a Fusion Model Talent Search. Models, actors, singers and dancers will have the opportunity to showcase their talents for agents and managers from top agencies in New York, Los Angeles and international cities. The two-day showcase will be held in the David Saxe Productions building located at 920 S. Commerce St. To attend Fusion Model Talent Search, call (702) 737-3800, visit www.123pickme.com or attend an open call at Cool Blue Entertainment located at 3960 Howard Hughes Pkwy. Suite 500. Open calls will be held twice a week until the event and are open to all age groups. Please check the Web site for audition dates and times.

On Halloween night, Friday, October 31 Voodoo Lounge at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino is hosting its annual Halloween bash ‘Mingle & Mayhem’ and $5000 cash costume contest. Doors open at 7 p.m. The cost is $20 women, $30 men (All guests must be 21 years or older). Tickets are available at the Rio box office and includes Bacardi hosted bar from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. For more information call 702.777.7776.

Now in its fourth year, THE COMEDY FESTIVAL, a three-day event, will take place Nov. 20-22 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Among the headliners slated to appear are Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Dane Cook, Katt Williams, Tracy Morgan and Jeff Dunham. Joining them will be Mike Epps, David Alan Grier, The Kids in the Hall, Russell Peters, Jim Breuer, Andrew Dice Clay, Jim Norton and John Oliver.  In addition, Caliente Comedy will feature comedians Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and Anjelah Johnson.  TBS will televise several programs from THE COMEDY FESTIVAL, including the variety special Ellen’s Even Bigger Really Big Show, presented by DeGeneres; Laffapalooza, an evening of performances by top comedians hosted by Morgan; and a celebrity roast of Cheech and Chong.  Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased for individual shows and packages.

Celebrity sightings:

New Orleans Saint Fred Booker, joined by a couple of friends, was spotted Sunday night (Sept 28) hanging out at Body English inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.  Mark Stoermer of The Killers was also seen drinking wine with Tommy Lipnick.

Fred Booker at Body English

Mark Stoermer at Body English

Michael Jackson and his three children were recently spotted dining at Behihana’s at the Las Vegas Hilton.

On Thursday, October 2, Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund went on a shopping spree at The Shoppes at The Palazzo and took home select pieces chosen specifically for her from such retailers as Edidi, Ralph Lauren, Catherine Malandrino, and Barneys New York. Emeril Lagasse’s Table 10 provided lunch to the reigning Miss America and her traveling companion prior to her retail rendezvous.

Actress and model, Molly Sims, hosted an intimate luncheon on October 2 at The Palazzo Las Vegas to celebrate the arrival of Chelsea Passage, Barneys New York’s area for gorgeous gifts for the home. Guests of the event were treated to a private showing of Chelsea Passage and enjoyed a delicious meal of gourmet spa cuisine provided by Canyon Ranch Grill. While at The Palazzo, Sims relaxed in a luxurious and spacious Lago suite, was pampered at the world renowned Canyon Ranch SpaClub and dined at the ultra-chic dining and nightlife venue, LAVO.

Molly Sims

Friday night Rap group Three 6 Mafia was spotted at AGO restaurant inside the Hard Rock Hotel enjoying dessert and drinks.  The group was friendly and chatted with several tables full of ladies.

Over at Body English , UFC fighters Brandon Sene, Arick Nelson and John Wood partied it up.  Sene was recently chosen as a cast member for the hit show, “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Sarah Underwood, playmate of the year, was spotted dining at Strip House inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.  Dining at a separate table that same evening was Tara Conner.

Saturday, Oct. 4....

VH1’s “Rock of Love 2” winner Ambre Lake hosted a Las Vegas BikeFest after party with an evening of drinking and dancing at Torrid at Hawaiian Tropic Zone inside Miracle Mile Shops. Guests enjoyed the beautiful Hawaiian Tropic Zone models as they showcased the latest from the  “Revolution Rock” clothing line. Rapper Vanilla Ice surprised party goers when he arrived with an entourage and rocked out with DJ Timbo in the DJ booth. The crowd went crazy when DJ Timbo played Vanilla Ice’s hit single “Ice Ice Baby.”

Mila Kunis, who gained famed on That 70’s Show, dined with a large group of friends at LAVO (The Palazzo).  After enjoying a selection of Chef Ludo’s specialties, the group adjourned to the nightclub, where they celebrated a friend’s birthday.

Former supermodel, Janice Dickinson was spotted enjoying dinner at Strip House in Planet Hollywood.

Three 6 Mafia joined the hosts from Body English’s packed to capacity Smashtime party inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.  Three 6 Mafia kept the energy going and even took pictures with people in the crowd.

Slash (Guns & Roses/Velvet Revolver), his wife Perla and a friend enjoyed a mid day lunch at Dos Caminos (The Palazzo).

On Sunday night, October 5, Celebs packed the nightclub at LAVO (The Palazzo)  for DJ Vice’s weekly party.  Notables including comedians Wayne Brady and Martin Lawrence at separate tables, Backstreet Boy AJ McLean and the cast of Showtime’s Dexter all jammed to the sounds of DJ Vice.

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