BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW
Contributed by Jackie Brett
NEW SPAGO OPENS AT BELLAGIO: Wolfgang Puck’s new Spago restaurant has made its debut at Bellagio as a lakeside dining destination. The new home for Spago is inspired by California living with casual elegrance and farm-to-table spirit. Spago is open daily for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and dinner at 5 p.m. Spago commissioned Las Vegas artist Katie Lewis to create a series of 20 topographical map images inspired by the Nevada desert landscape. A piece crafted by Jacob Hashimoto, known for his three-dimensional wall hangings inspired by his Japanese heritage, covers one wall. Other highlights include: the circular and covered al fresco patio; main dining room with two impressive chandeliers; bar and lounge with a classic bar and wine cellar focal point; and two private dining room seating up to 20 guests each.
TREE OF MANY COLORS WILL BRIGHTEN FRONT OF ‘ABSINTHE’: A standout visual at Burning Man 2017 was an enormous tree illuminated with 25,000 LED leaves of constant-changing colors. The Gazillionaire from the “Absinthe” show at Caesars Palace has been working with the designers of that tree from Symmetry Labs in San Francisco to create his own 35-foot tall arborous art installation to be planted on the forecourt outside the show’s distinctive tent. The Wormwood Tree will be launched in September with a music soundtrack, which will be synchronized with the colorful patterns.
MADAME TUSSAUDS OPENS THE HANGOVER BAR: The Hangover Bar is the latest addition to The Hangover Experience at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, which currently features the infamous hotel suite and wedding chapel along with wax figures of Alan / Zach Galifianakis, Phil / Bradley Cooper, and Mike Tyson. The full-service bar offers specialty drinks inspired by “The Hangover” including the Wolf Pack, the Buttery Nipple, the Royal Flush, and the 3 Leg Monkey. The Hangover Bar takes guests to the scene of movie characters’ rooftop toast, which kicked off “The Hangover” film’s crazy series of events. Industrial design elements include the roof of Caesars Palace, where the scene takes place, ducting tables and pipes, an aircon feature, an LED backdrop of the Vegas skyline, plus more. An option is The Highroller Package for $75, which includes admission into Madame Tussauds, a half-hour open bar at The Hangover Bar, and a day-time admission ticket to the High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel at The Linq, with an in cabin open bar and bartender for 30 minutes.
BLUE MOON BAR WILL OPEN AT PLANET HOLLYWOOD RESORT: A new spot for beer lovers will open this month. Blue Moon Bar at Planet Hollywood Resort situated adjacent to Zappos Theater will feature Blue Moon’s flagship beer, Blue Moon Belgian White, as well as seasonal and limited-release beers from Blue Moon Brewing Company. Inside the new space will be bar and lounge seating with video poker machines and multiple televisions.
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE SET FOR FIVE VEGAS SHOWS IN DECEMBER: Multi-Platinum artists Florida Georgia Line (FGL) will visit Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood performing five shows Dec. 1, 5, 7, 8 and 11 with special guest opening act Big Loud Records and Atlantic Records artist Mason Ramsey. General ticket prices begin at $49. FGL has surpassed 30 million tracks and sold more than 4.2 million albums worldwide. The group remains the first and only country act to achieve RIAA’s Diamond certification for their breakout song “Cruise.”
COMEDIAN BILLY GARDELL RETURNS TO GREEN VALLEY RANCH: Billy Gardell, Emmy nominated actor and comedian, is returning to Las Vegas for a special performance at the Grand Events Center inside Green Valley Ranch on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. Ticket range is $25-$55. Gardell is most famous for playing Officer Mike Biggs in the hit TV series “Mike & Molly” from 2010-2016. Going the dramatic route, he has played Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Park in the CMT series “Sun Records,” inspired by the Broadway musical. In 2016, Gardell received a Daytime Emmy nomination as Best Gameshow Host for “Monopoly Millionaires Club.”
GONDOLA SINGER IS VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS STANDOUT: The inaugural Vegas Golden Knights (VGK) season has created a new singing sensation Carnell “Golden Pipes” Johnson. His initial singing of the National Anthem at a VGK’s game has had him repeat his rendition since February by popular demand. It turns out Johnson is a gondola singer at The Venetian® and The Palazzo®. The resorts honored him with fellow employees, resort executives, and representatives from the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation honoring him at the hotels’ three-story atrium. Johnson was given a plaque and hockey stick fashioned from an authentic gondola oar. Johnson, or Pippo, as he’s known on the Venetian waterways, works Monday through Friday at The Venetian’s outdoor gondola attraction, which runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Schedule is subject to change.
CELINE DION RELEASES 24 NEW SHOW DATES INTO 2019: Superstar Celine Dion, who has performed more than 1,000 shows to over 4 million fans at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace since March 2003, has just added 24 performances to her Las Vegas-residency. The new scheduled shows run Oct 30 through Nov. 17 and Dec. 28 through Jan. 20, including a performance on New Year’s Eve. Tickets start at $51.This summer, the Grammy-Award winning singer will head overseas with her Celine Dion Live 2018 Tour for 22 shows across the Asia-Pacific region starting off in Tokyo on June 26.
AL DI MEOLA WILL BRING OPUS TOUR 2018 TO SANTA FE STATION: Guitar legend Al Di Meola is bringing the Al Di Meola Opus Tour 2018 with special guest Jordan Rudess to the Chrome Showroom inside Santa Fe Station on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45. During a 40-plus year career, Di Meola has regenerated the jazz idiom three times over. And at age 63, this guitar master was inspired to begin a new chapter in his career with the release of “OPUS” on EAR Music in February 2017. Rudess is best known as the keyboard player for the Grammy-nominated rock band Dream Theater.
ELVIS TRIBUTE ARTISTS COMPETE IN MESQUITE: The 2018 Elvis Rocks Mesquite competition is a three-day event with the world’s best Elvis tribute artists competing for prize money Thursday-Saturday, June 21-23 at the CasaBlanca resort in Mesquite, Nev., about a 90-minute drive from Las Vegas. There will be three preliminary rounds – 50s, 60s and 70s with 22 tribute artists competing this year. Finalists from each preliminary round move to the final round. Judges will be industry experts from Las Vegas including master impersonator Rich Little, talent agent Steve Beyer, and veteran singer Genevieve Dew. Kelly Clinton Holmes will host the contest and after-hours events such as movies by the pool and a late-night karaoke party with DJ Jimmy Z. Single show tickets range from $15 to $25 and packages for all four shows run $40 to $75.
AUTHOR OF MAFIA BOSS FRANK COSTELLO BOOK VISITS MOB MUSEUM: Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Anthony M. DeStefano will make an appearance at The Mob Museum as part of the Wiseguy Speaker Series on Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. with a book signing to follow. DeStefano’s latest book is “Top Hoodlum: Frank Costello, Prime Minister of the Mafia,” which he researched in-depth using newly available FBI files, eyewitness accounts, and even family mementos for a complete picture of the man the press called the “prime minister of the underworld.” Cost is free for museum members or with regular admission.
This week, the Westin kicked off a week-long celebration honoring National Jerky Day on June 12 and National Bourbon Day on June 14. The whiskey-inspired Jake & Eli restaurant with its signature homemade beef jerky is hosting a variety of free interactive experiences throughout the week, culminating Saturday, June 16 with dinner and dancing along with complimentary passed small plates and samples of limited-edition cocktails from 4-6 p.m. Carnevino Italian Steakhouse at The Palazzo is holding a Cigar/ Whiskey Dinner in partnership with Westland Distillery and La Palina Cigars on Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m. The four-course dinner will be prepared by Chef Arnold Corpuz and accompanied by Seattle’s award-winning Westland Distillery whiskey pairings presented by sales manager Matt Freerks. La Palina will add its artisan cigars to each course. Guests will receive two of each cigar: one to smoke during dinner and one to take home. Sam Phillips, president of La Palina, attend to answer questions and discuss the manufacturing and blending process. Alder & Birch inside of The Orleans is hosting a four-course wine dining experience with Justin Vineyards on Thursday, June 28 at 6 p.m. The dinner is $90; call 702-365-7111. Boteco will hold a Grgich Hills Estate Dinner on Thursday, June 21. Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the 1976 “Paris Tasting” where a now-historic blind tasting with a panel of eminent French judges swirled and picked the upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley, which sealed Grgich’s reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world. This year the wine maker turns 95. Tickets are $75 and Boteco is located at 9500 S. Eastern Ave. #170. This summer, Martorano’s at Paris is offering a three-course tasting menu of Steve Martorano’s signature Italian-American dishes for $50. For $25 more, guests can partake of expertly selected paired wines with their meal. Andre’s Bistro & Bar at 6115 S. Fort Apache Road, Suite 112 has started an afternoon tea program available every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. This version of high tea features an assortment of tea, sandwiches, classic pastries and desserts. The experience for adults is $26 and $15 per child. Honey Salt at 1031 S. Rampart Blvd. will hold a Summer Farm Table Dinner menu to highlight Fruit and Vegetable Month and Chef Anthony Taormina’s passion for seasonality on Tuesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. The chef will put together a prix fix menu based on the produce he cultivates year-round in his personal garden. Cost for the family-style meal is $49 with an optional beverage pairing for an additional $25.
***HOLIDAY NEWS ITEMS***
Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17. Probably in no other city would there be a dad’s day offer like this one. The sexy ladies of the “Fantasy” show at the Luxor will offer a complimentary 2018 “Black & White And Nude All Over” calendar and deck of cards to fathers who attend the 10:30 p.m. show that day. Then leave it to Freed’s Bakery to come up with a custom cake for the holiday. Father’s Day cakes will include Freed’s signature quarter sheet Icing Tie cake for dad, decorated as a shirt and tie with the choice of any flavor priced at $50.35. SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium at the Boulevard Mall is offering free admission to all fathers on June 17, and if a dad is already an annual passport holder two complimentary feeding tokens. Cabo Wabo Cantina at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood will celebrate America’s birthday with a specialty cocktail and live entertainment on Wednesday, July 4. The All-American cocktail for $13 will be made with a blend of Absolut Citron, simple syrup, sweet and sour, Sprite, grenadine and blue Curaçao. Season two contender from NBC’s “The Voice,” Ryan Whyte Maloney, will perform on the restaurant’s Strip-side, outdoor patio.
WET’N’WILD PARTICIPATES IN THE WORLD’S LARGEST SWIMMING LESSON™: For the fifth consecutive year, Wet’n’Wild will be an official host venue in the global record attempt for The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (WLSL) on Thursday, June 21 at 9:45 a.m. Check-in will begin at 9:15 a.m. The WLSL covers a 30-minute basic swim lesson in the Red Rock Bay wave pool. Afterwards, participants can enjoy the park for free. Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. To register visit the waterpark’s website. Kids and adults at aquatic facilities around the world will unite to set a new Guinness World Record™ while raising awareness about water safety and drowning prevention. While team WLSL holds the current Guinness World Record™ with 40,000 participants representing 24 different countries, the hope is to better that number.
Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq Promenade for its lineup added eclectic electronic music duo, Ninja Sex Party, on Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m., and Jimmy Eat World on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. Comedic band Ninja Sex Party is made up of two roommates-turned-best friends who sing about love, relationships, mythical creatures, dinosaurs, seduction, and respect. Tickets start at $30. John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party will return to the South Point Showroom to pay tribute to the final Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Big Bopper tour Friday-Sunday, June 22-24, hosted by John Mueller at 7:30 p.m. The tribute show re-creates the final tour of these legends during a high-energy, two-hour long live performance. Tickets start at $20. The final free Jazz in the Park Series performance featuring Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers will be Saturday, June 16 at 5 p.m. at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater downtown. Grammy winner Paula Cole will be performing Friday-Saturday, June 15-16 at 7 p.m. in Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center. Over her 20-plus-year career, she has sold 3 million albums and had lasting hits such as “I Don’t Want to Wait” and “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone.” Cole is returning to her musical roots as a jazz singer. Tickets are $39-$49. There will be live music on Saturday, June 30 from 1-4 p.m. at E String Jazz & Pizza, 2031 W. Sunset Road, featuring the suMMit 16-piece Big Band with Gary Anderson. Tickets are $12 at the door.
Another venue, the Rio is offering dive-in movies this summer and viewing is free. Select Fridays, starting with June 15 with “Thor: Ragnarok,” throughout the summer will show flicks on a big projected screen. On Wednesday, June 20 VooDoo Beach will transform into open ocean waters for a special screening of “Jaws” with giant inflatable sharks and tubes for guests to use for lounging while watching the movie classic. The pool will be offering a theme including a blue raspberry and cherry Shark Attack Slushy. The Miss Teen and Mrs. Continents Pageant will hold preliminary rounds on Wednesday, June 20 at 1 p.m. in the South Point Showroom with the finals on Friday, June 22 at noon. Tickets are $40 and $50 respectively. TEDxUNLV 2018 is taking place on Friday, June 22 starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Judy Bayley Theatre on the university campus. More than 14 presenters will participate in the day-long event, which will include speaker presentations, lunch, art displays, and attendee activities. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Tickets are $100.
WINNING BIG IN LAS VEGAS: Winning big in Las Vegas is always possible. Early this month, the Golden Gate downtown on Fremont Street, which opened in 1906, had a lady from Wisconsin win the largest jackpot payout in the property’s history. She hit for $1.4-plus million playing the Million Degrees game by Scientific Game. She was in Las Vegas for a bingo tournament.