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Vegas Carnivals, Concerts and Dining Tidbits

In Vegas VIP Scene-ery by Jackie Brett

BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW

by Jackie Brett

BETTER THAN EZRA ADDED TO DOWNTOWN SUMMER CONCERT SERIES: Fremont Street Experience’s free concert series, Photo Greg MilesDowntown Rocks, will continue Sunday, Sept. 3 with a free performance at 9 p.m. on Main Street Stage by alternative rock band Better Than Ezra.  The New Orleans trio, best known for their signature blend of college rock influences and mainstream aspirations, will perform a playlist of their chart-topping hits including “Desperately Wanting,” “Crazy Lucky” and “A Lifetime.” Their debut studio album, “Deluxe” in 1993 went double platinum with the help of the now-classic hit single “Good.” Other Downtown Rocks upcoming headliners include: Seether Aug. 26; Collective Soul Sept. 1; and Chevelle Sept. 30.

NEW SHOW ‘WOW SPLASH’ WILL OPEN AT THE RIO:  The new show coming into the Rio Showroom, which has been vacant since “Rock blue set renderingof Ages” closed on Jan. 1,  will feature a custom-built stage and pool. This will mark the North American debut for a show that has been seen by more than 2.5 million people in Israel. The long-running, circus-styled show on water was created and directed by famed director Hanoch Rosènn. He’s known globally for his extravagant and large-scale production including “Festigal” where he directed “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot in her stage-acting debut in 2008. The WOW cast with more than 30 international performing artists, acrobats and dancers will include “America’s Got Talent: semi-finalist, archery act Sylvia Sylvia. The water spectacular will play Tuesday through Sunday at 7 p.m. with additional shows at 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Tickets range from $49-$169.

MIKE TYSON IS RETURNING TO THE STAGE AT MGM WITH ROUND 2: Legendary boxing champ Mike Tyson, who premiered Photo Jerry Metellushis one-man show “Undisputed Truth” in 2012, will return to the stage at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club inside the MGM Grand with a limited run of “Undisputed Truth – Round 2,” which will pick up where his first show left off. With the gloves off, Tyson will deliver an unapologetic look at the ups and downs of his tumultuous post-boxing life and career Thursday through Sunday from, Sept. 7 through Nov. 19, with select dark dates. Tickets for his 10 p.m. show start at $54.95.

***AROUND TOWN CONSTRUCTION HIGHLIGHTS***

Multi-Michelin star chef and Emmy-nominated television personality Gordon Ramsay helped with some demo work at the site of his newest restaurant under construction at Caesars Palace. Scheduled to open this winter, Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen is the first eatery inspired by a hit television show and will be hisPhoto Erik Kabik fifth Las Vegas outlet. It will seat nearly 300 guests, feature indoor and Strip-adjacent patio dining, and offer a daily themed brunch, dinner and spirited bar menu. The Cosmopolitan is investing more than $100 million to upgrade its rooms by stripping them down to the drywall and concrete floors. The two-tower, high-rise casino will gut 2,895 rooms in its first major renovation since opening nearly seven years ago. Rooms will have 65-inch TVs, iPads and technology upgrades. Caesars Entertainment Corp., which is exiting bankruptcy, is also upgrading thousands of hotel rooms in the city. The Flamingo is starting a $90 million upgrade and recently completed a room upgrade at Planet Hollywood in excess of $100 million. More Caesars upgrade plans are for Bally’s.  MGM Resorts is in the middle of a $450 million makeover of the 3,000-room Monte Carlo, which will include a name change. Palace Station is losing its train theme and the makeover is going to include a new restaurant, casino bar, race and sports book and renovated poker room. This is in addition to recent renovations including two restaurants, porte-cochere, casino valet, and new bingo room. Stations Casinos now owns the Palms and changes are happening there too. The list includes two restaurants, upgraded movie theaters, renovated meeting and convention space, a rooftop ultra-lounge, new high-limit area, new hotel registration and VIP check-in areas, and renovated pool.

CARLOS SANTANA’S RESIDENCY AT HOUSE OF BLUES EXTENDED: House of Blues at Mandalay Bay has been home to Carlos Photo Erik KabikSantana’s live concert since 2012. His residency, “An Intimate Evening with Santana: Greatest Hits Live,” is extended into 2018 with just added dates Jan. 24, 26-28, 31 and Feb. 1-3. Tickets start at $99.50. A portion of ticket sales are donated to Santana’s charitable foundation The Milagro Foundation to benefit children worldwide. Another contribution is made to the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation.

BOY GEORGE STARS AT SUPER SUMMER BASH AT ORLEANS ARENA: Singer-songwriter Boy George will headline 96.3 KKLZ’s Super Summer Bash at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25 at the Orleansbearded singer in blue hat Arena. The event will be hosted by local radio personalities Mike O’Brian and Carla Rea and will highlight classic hits of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The event lineup will feature The Romantics, Tiffany, Tommy Tutone, Nu Shooz and original members of When in Rome U.K., Farrington and Mann. General admission tickets are available from $39.

COUNTRY STAR SARA EVANS VISITS TROPICANA: Country music artist Sara Evans will perform at the Tropicana Theater on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 9 p.m. Since emerging country singer in leather jacketin the late 1990s, Evans has had five chart topping No. 1 country music singles including “Born To Fly.” Her latest album release was “Words” in July. Tickets are $49.95 to $69.95 with a special two-for-one ticket offer available through Aug. 19.

COUNTRY STAR JERROD NIEMANN HEADLINES AT SANTA FE STATION: Radio station 95.5 The Bull will present country superstar Jerrod Niemann in the Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station over Labor Day weekend on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $9.55, $25 and $35. Nashville’s prolific hit maker is impacting country radio with his new romantic single, “God Made A Woman.” Niemann first burst onto the scene in 2010, with his major-label debut, “Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury,” which featured the platinum-certified, No. 1 tune “Lover, Lover” and gold-certified, top five hit “What Do You Want.” Niemann has toured with country acts such as Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban.

CELEBRATING 70 – FLAMINGO CHALLENGE HELPS FIGHT CANCER: The Flamingo started the #FlamingoChallenge cause-marketing campaign to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society. Already Celine Dion, Marie Osmond, John Rich (of Big & Rich), Piff the Magic Dragon and many others have taken part and so can you by posting a picture or video of you and your friends mimicking the flamingo one-legged pose in fun and different places.  You can also nominate your friends. They have 24 hours to respond or forfeit and make a financial pledge to the American Cancer Society at the website: ACSFlamingoChallenge.com. The goal is to raise $70,000 by Tuesday, Oct. 31 in celebration of the Flamingo’s 70th anniversary year.

***MISC. NEWS ITEMS***

 The final “Jarrett & Raja” comedy, magic and music show at Hooters with singer Megan Ruger from NBC’s “The Voice” closed Saturday, Aug. 12. The Cromwell has an updated Interlude bar and lounge, new high limit slot area, enhanced concierge technology, and eKey technology. Opening Sept. 1, the resort will unveil an all-new Sportsbook featuring best-in-the-city technology, Photo Tom Donoghuea 32-foot-long by 9-foot-tall LED video wall, and a 9-foot-by-5-foot LED odds wall with ticker capabilities to see scores and updates from a number of vantage points throughout the casino. TREVI Italian Restaurant located at The Forum Shops at Caesars will hold its third annual media pizza making competition on Wednesday, Aug. 16 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.  The public is invited to watch and children 12 and under will receive a complimentary slice of cheese pizza. Local personalities will compete to raise money for their charity of choice by creating and implementing their own pizza recipe. The judges will be local performers…Mariah Rivera of “Fantasy,” The Gazillionaire from “Absinthe,” and Chippendale James Davis. Colorado River rafting outfitter, Black Canyon River Adventures, is offering a vantage point for observing the solar eclipse river and bridgetaking place on Monday, Aug. 21. The eclipse will be at its peak when the Boulder City tour company launches its 12-mile, smooth-water rafting trip near the base of Hoover Dam at approximately 10:30 a.m. Guests will be able to track the progress of the eclipse for another hour and 20 minutes. Reminder: Wynn and Encore are now charging for parking. First hour is free. Cost after that is $7 one hour, $12 two to four hours, $15 four to 24 hours, and $15 every additional 24 hours. It’s $30 for a lost ticket. The Animal Foundation, which takes in an average of 80 pets a day, will participate in the nationwide Clear the Shelter Day event from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 655 North Mojave Road. The shelter will waive adoption fees for all animals and will include spay/neuter surgery, microchip and up-to-date vaccines. CraftHaus Brewery established in 2014 launches a new beer style, Southwest IPA.  Aptly named, Mojave is the newest seasonal release available in six-pack cans and on draft for a limited time. The Sanders Winery in Pahrump is holding its first “Big Band Night” starring Marc Love and Denise Clemente with the LS&T Big Horn Band on Saturday, Aug. 26.

***DINING NEWS***

 Two years after opening Downtown, the popular 100 percent plant-based eatery VegeNation with Chef Donald Lemperle is bringing the environmentally-conscious menu to Henderson this month at 10075 S. Eastern Avenue. The Cromwell has added a 24-hour casual eatery called eatwell. The Bootlegger Italian Bistro on the “South Strip” offers a vintage Vegas experience. The family-owned restaurant has new happy hours available daily at its bar and lounge from 2-6 p.m. and midnight to 3 a.m. with drinks from $3.50 to $5 and appetizers for $5. BRAVO! with a location at Galleria at Sunset is celebrating its 25th birthday by offering special menu features, events, a social media contest and more through Sept. 5. Guests can sign up on BRAVO@’s Facebook page to win prizes and Aug. 21-Sept. 5 there’s an in-restaurant scratch-off sweepstakes. Double Helix Wine & bloody Mary with waffleWhiskey Lounge at Town Square has new additions to its weekend brunch and $20 bottomless drink offerings from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Guests receive Arancini, which is fritters made with mascarpone, roasted mushrooms and truffle aioli. There’s a new signature Bloody Mary for $18, which is a hearty combination of Tito’s Vodka, bacon, pickle, olive popper, salami, lemon, lime and waffle square. For $4 a guest, Double Helix presents “Rose All Day” on Sundays.

PITBULL, VOLI 305, SUGAR FACTORY DEBUT NEW SIGNATURE GOBLETS: Grammy-award winning artist and entrepreneur Armando Christian Perez, better known as Pitbull or “Mr. Worldwide” recently debuted three new signature goblets at Sugar FactoryDJ with sweet cocktails American Brasserie at Fashion Show mall. Founded and owned by Pitbull, Voli 305 will be the exclusive vodka used in Sugar Factory’s signature cocktails including the 60 oz. alcohol-infused smoking candy goblets; Watermelon Patch (Meloncito 305); Fuzzy Peach Penguin Mango (The Tongue Twister); and Hot & Wild Spicy 305 Pineapple (Esto Esta De Pina). Voli 305 Vodka is made with Florida corn, distilled 17 times, triple filtered with freeze filter, coconut filter and anti-gravity filter. It is a non-GMO and gluten free extra smooth vodka gaining national distribution.

FREEDOM BEAT’S NEXT CULINARY ROAD TRIP HIGHLIGHTS PHILADELPHIA: Chef Scott Commings’ next monthly themed diners at tabledinner is set for Wednesday, Aug. 23 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. inside Freedom Beat at the Downtown Grand. Philadelphia, the city of “Brotherly Love,” will mark the sixth stop on the culinary excursion. The intimate dinner series is family-style, interactive and only seats 25 guests. Cost is $35 on a first come, first serve basis.

RANCID AND DROPKICK MURPHYS MAKE TOUR STOP AT DLVEC: Rancid and Dropkick Murphys will bring their off-the-wall, co-headlining punk tour to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC) on Friday, Aug. 25. Rancid has stayed independent and will release their ninth studio album this year. Dropkick Murphys are touring in support of their “11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory” album, released through the band’s own Born & Bred Records earlier this year. Tickets start at $32.

BOYCHUCK’S SALON IS EXCLUSIVE PARTNER WITH CALLIGRAPHY CUT: COLOR – A Salon By Michael Boychuck at Caesars Palace has an exclusive partnership with the globally-recognized hair cutting technology, Calligraphy Cut, as Las Vegas’ only certified scissors cutting bangspartner salon with highly trained stylists. The Calligraphy Cut uses the Calligraphy Pen’s original technology to achieve precise shape, volume and layers for ultimate customization. Owned by prestigious Intercoiffure member Michael Boychuck, the salon has been awarded “Top 100 Salon” by Elle Magazine and “Best Salons in Las Vegas” by Travel + Leisure.

SCOOPFEST 2017 IS COMEDY AND PODCAST WEEKEND AT THE SPACE: This year’s ScoopFest, a comedy and podcast festival hosted by local Ice Cream Social duo Matt Donnelly and Paul Mattingly, will be held at off-Strip arts complex The Space from 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22 until the end on Sunday, Sept. 24. General admission tickets are $195.95, and VIP $295.95, which includes an exclusive dinner on Thursday, Sept. 21 at Dave & Buster’s in Downtown Summerlin with event hosts. The three-night, two-day weekend festival will feature headliners, comedy, games, food, karaoke, fun, and lots of conversation. The eccentric cast of characters will include: Vegas headliner, podcaster, and actor Penn Jillette (“Penn’s Sunday School”); comedians Kurt Braunholer (“The Big Sick”), Joe DeRosa (“Better Call Saul,” “Inside Amy Schumer”), The Apple Sisters: Rebekka Johnson (“Glow”), Kimmy Gatewood (“Glow”), and  Sarah Lowe (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Jersey Boys”); magician Brian Brushwood (“Penn & Teller’s Fool Us”); Ptolemy Slocum (“Westworld”); and podcaster Nick van der Kolk (“Love + Radio”).

GROW YOUR OWN FESTIVAL OFFERS FREE ADMISSION: Helping with the “food revolution,” the Grow Your Own Festival is part of a movement to regain control of your food supply and health. It will take place 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 at Vegas Roots Community Garden, 715 N. Tonopah Drive. The valley’s top urban gardeners and farmers will be leading workshops and demos to teach growing year-round produce in Las Vegas. There will be displays, a wine and beer garden, entertainment, etc. Admission is free by reserving tickets at the website: growyourownfesitval.com.

MINUS5 ICE EXPERIENCE CELEBRATES NATIONAL RUM DAY: Minus5 Ice Experience at Grand Canal Shoppes and The Shoppes at Mandalay Place will celebrate National Rum Day, Aug. 16, with a summer rum-based cocktail featuring Blue Chair Bay® Rum. The ice experience continues its celebrity cocktail program by honoring Blue Chair Bay Rum creator and music superstar Kenny Chesney with his signature cocktail Riptide.

‘CANDY CARNIVAL’ IS FAMILY AFFAIR AT DOWNTOWN CONTAINER PARK: Downtown Container Park’s monthly Kids Camp series will return on Saturday, Aug. 19 with “Candy Carnival,” a sugary spin on a sideshow spectacle from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Families can enjoy an afternoon with face painting, grandstand games and a big top balloon artist staple carnival fare. Cost is $10 per child and kids under 12 years old are welcome. Everyone is encouraged to dress as their favorite sideshow character.