BRETT’S VEGAS VIEW
by Jackie Brett
WOLFGANG PUCK’S SPAGO IS ON A TAKEOVER MOVE: Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at the Forum Shops at Caesar Palace, which is often hailed as the beginning of Las Vegas’ dining renaissance with celebrity chefs and haute cuisine since debuting in 1992, will close that location sometime next year because it will open at Bellagio next spring. For this move to happen, Todd English’s Olives at Bellagio will close this winter. The new Spago with its celebrated contemporary California cuisine will be located along the Via Bellagio retail promenade and offer an open-air patio with views of Bellagio’s fountains. Spago in Beverly Hills was reimagined more than 20 years ago and they want to do the same in Las Vegas with a sleek look and feel. The space will be designed with brass fixtures, oak wood floors, leather chairs and couches and a bar and wine room lit by a commissioned neon light fixture. In the main dining room, floor-to-ceiling floating glass windows will surround the space. Two exquisite chandeliers will highlight the room’s modern art pieces, while bold accents featuring rich hues of black iron, velvet walnut and polished grey will express a contemporary aesthetic.
THE PALAZZO’S CASINO FLOOR GETS $15 MILLION MAKEOVER: A major multi-million dollar investment devoted to remodeling 60,000 square feet of The Palazzo’s gaming floor will include a new casino floor carpet, painting all the walls and ceilings, lighting replacement and the creation of new stone walkways. Other changes will include removal of escalators to The Grand Canal Shoppes on the northern section of the casino floor, reworking its collection of bars and adding The Corner Bar, which is taking over 1,000 square feet. An estimated construction budget of $1,383,000 has been allocated for the yet-to-be-announced project. Another new casino floor bar is described as a $1,485,000 “remodel,” overhauling 1,450 square feet of space.C
CASH AND CREDIT CARDS, MAKE ROOM FOR DIGITAL WALLETS: The digital wallet platform is now entering the U.S. market with Las Vegas seizing opportunities to join the payment movement but not for gambling. MGM Resorts has begun accepting various digital forms of payment at nearly all points-of-sale at its 12 Vegas properties with some limitations at Circus Circus. The company has been installing the needed equipment the past three months. MGM Resorts’ guests can now use Android Pay, Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Samsung Pay. Caesars Entertainment has begun rolling out WeChat Pay, which is a huge mobile electronic pay platform in China. WeChat Pay technology is pretty simple. After downloading the app and linking it to a bank account, consumers scan their unique QR code to make a purchase. All transactions in Las Vegas are in U.S. dollars. Handheld scanners are now available at 16 locations at Caesars Palace, Paris and the LINQ Promenade. Wynn/Encore and the Venetian/Palazzo resorts don’t accept digital payments; however, a limited number of shops within The Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes do.
PAUL SHAFFER SCHEDULES SHORT CAESARS PALACE ENGAGEMENT: Celebrated bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and comedian Paul Shaffer along with his talented full band, The Shāf-Shifters, will perform an exclusive three-week, nine-date engagement at Cleopatra’s Barge, a 180-seat venue at Caesars Palace, on select dates in December and January 2018. General tickets begin at $49, Legendary Paul Shaffer was David Letterman’s musical director and sidekick for 33 years. Shaffer also served as musical director for the Blues Brothers, the 1999 Concert of the Century at the White House, the closing concert of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and Paul McCartney’s “Concert for New York.” Shaffer spent five years with the original “Saturday Night Live” cast where he played keyboards, composed special musical material and became a featured performer in 1980. His endless accomplishments also include appearances in several films, playing the voice of Hermes in Disney’s animated feature “Hercules” and the television series, appearing on Broadway, recording his own albums, producing a best-selling memoir, “We’ll Be Here For The Rest of Our Lives,” published by Random House, and much more.
THE STRIP AT LVMS IS GOING FOUR WIDE: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway plans to widen to four lanes and debut four-wide drag racing in the western United States. Construction is under way and the first four-wide event will be the NHRA DENSO Nationals April 4-6, 2018.
IT’S TIME FOR THE ANNUAL HARVEST FESTIVAL: The Las Vegas Harvest Festival® – Original Art & Craft Show will take place Sept. 8-10 at Cashman Center. The artisans displaying at this indoor event are chosen through a strict process based on the quality and uniqueness of their work. With more than 24,000 gift items to see and purchase, there are also many “Demonstration Artists” who show how they create their handiwork right in their exhibit booth. The items touch your senses with products like food, spices, bath salts, soaps and fragrances. Crafted handmade gifts will offer traditional and contemporary items including such articles as woodcarvings, jewelry, ceramics and pottery, hand-painted clothing, leather wear, fiber art, hand blown glassware, wooden toys, original oil and watercolor paintings, metal stone and wood sculptures, lithographs, seasonal wreaths, hand-turned furniture and candles, and much more. The show, which opens at 10 a.m. each day, is a family affair with live entertainment and plenty of activities for kids. General Admission is $9, $7 for seniors 62 and older, $4 for ages 13-17, and free for children. You can pay one price for the entire weekend. Harvest Festival® offers $2 off general admission for attendees who bring a can of food, baby food, formula or paper products with all donations going to Safe Nest.
MGM-ZERO LATENCY INTRODUCE FREE-ROAM VR ARENA AT LEVEL UP: The arena, “Virtual Reality Powered by Zero Latency,” opening Sept. 8 will immerse up to eight players in a completely interactive digital universe, allowing everyone to physically navigate considerable distances through the 2,000-square-foot arena while collaborating with other players in challenges. Teams can choose from three different games – Zombie Survival, Singularity set in a secretive research space station, and fantastical world puzzle adventure Engineerium – for a 30-minute experience. Featuring an open space with no obstacles, the arena enables teams to freely explore the virtual environment together. Wireless goggles and wearable computers make the adventure more realistic, letting players lose without being tethered. While battling through the simulation, teammates will see each other as full-motion avatars and stay in constant communication to strategize, call for backup and ultimately compete for the highest score. Integrated into LEVEL UP, MGM Grand’s tech-savvy gaming lounge, this VR technology complements the existing collection of new-to-market skill-based games and traditional favorites.
MICHAEL BOLTON PERFORMS AT CANNERY: Grammy Award-winning recording artist Michael Bolton will bring his soulful hits to The Club at the Cannery on Sunday, Sept. 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $49.95. Singer-songwriter Bolton has sold more than 65 million records worldwide. He’s renowned for his hits “When A Man Loves a Woman,” “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” and “How Can We Be Lovers.” Bolton has enjoyed broadcast success as a performer and producer, starring in his own Netflix Special “Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Valentine’s Day Special,” featured in the Emmy-nominated YouTube viral video “Jack Sparrow” with more than 170 million views. Bolton has also appeared on primetime shows like “Two and a Half Men” and “Fresh Off the Boat.”
ROB SCHNEIDER RETURNS TO TROPICANA: Emmy-nominated actor and comedian Rob Schneider will headline at the Tropicana over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2 and 3 at 9 p.m. Schneider has starred in comedic hits such as “Grown Ups,” “50 First Dates,” “You Don’t Mess with The Zohan,” “Big Daddy” and “The Waterboy.” Well known for his trademark blend of character and comedic acting, he’ll be performing stand-up and he has broadened his focus to include directing, producing and writing. Ticket range is $39.95 to $69.95.
DLVEC HOLDS FOOTBALL ‘DOWNTOWN WATCH ZONE’: It’s tailgate time! On Sunday, Sept. 10, Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC) will start a new football season with the Downtown Watch Zone, which will be season-long free tailgate parties featuring $15 bottomless mimosas from 9 a.m.–1 p.m., special VIP tables, stadium-style food and beverage and much more. Downtown Watch Zone parties will take place throughout the entire season with select Oakland Raiders games, presented by Beasley Media Group. Doors will open at 9 a.m. and the event will run until 8 p.m.
FRANKIE MORENO SERENADES THREE TIMES AT SUNCOAST SHOWROOM: Multi-faceted singer-songwriter, musician and showman Frankie Moreno will bring his top hits to the Suncoast Showroom on Saturdays, Sept. 9, Oct. 14 and Nov. 11 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $19.95. Moreno rose to fame at the age of 10, when he competed on CBS’s “Star Search” as a child prodigy playing the piano and singing. Since then, Moreno has showcased and headlined shows on the Strip and had sell-out concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Hollywood Bowl. Moreno with his vintage funk sound has played stages around the world, including in Paris and Tokyo, and toured regularly with headliners such as Billy Currington, Sugarland and Air Supply.
LABOR DAY WEEKEND HAPPENINGS
At The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan headliners are heavyweights starting Friday, Sept. 1 with eight-time Grammy-Award winner Usher and tickets starting at $49. Kevin Hart & Friends will follow on Sept. 2, tickets beginning at $49, and comedian-actor Dave Chappelle on Sept. 3, tickets starting at $69.
The Foundry at SLS has Jon Lovitz-Dana Carvey Reunited on Sept. 1-2, Oct. 6-7 and Nov. 3-4. Both talents have been SNL cast members, impressionists and movie stars with Carvey in “Wayne’s World” and “The Master of Disguise” and Lovitz in “Rat Race” and “The Wedding Singer.”
Air Supply will headline at the Orleans Sept. 1-3 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $39.95.
Tito Puente Jr., who carries the legacy of his famous mambo musician father, Tito Puente, will appear at the South Point Showroom Sept. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25.
Parties and Cocktails
SLS Las Vegas will celebrate Labor Day Weekend with daily poolside cookouts at Foxtail Pool with beer buckets and more Sept. 1-4. The grill will be fired up from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. cooking ribs and chicken with sides for $15.
Cabo Wabo Cantina with beer bucket specials, live music and Strip-side views will be partying Sept. 1-4.
Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant in Downtown Summerlin will celebrate Labor Day Weekend with a happy hour menu with drink and appetizer specials from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, and 2 to 7 p.m. on Monday.
Therapy restaurant downtown will offer a specialty $10 Therapy Twist cocktail Sept. 1-4 and Happy Hour from 2-5 p.m.
CHEF NOBU MATSUHISA HOSTS ARUGA BRANCA WINE DINNER: Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and master of wine, Yuji Aruga of Aruga Branca wines from Katsunuma Jyozo Winery, will host an exclusive seven-course Japanese wine dinner in an intimate setting at Nobu at Caesars Palace on Saturday, Sept. 9. Cost is $395. While sake is most often tied with Japanese cuisine, wine has been produced in Japan since the early 1800s. Katsunuma-cho is now one of the world’s great winemaking regions and Katsunuma Jyozo Winery is one of the region’s primary creators. Founder Yoshichika Aruga started making wines in 1937.
Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Las Vegas chefs are joining forces for a third collaborative dinner in their “Tour de Emeril” series on Tuesday, Sept. 8 starting with a reception at 6:30. This will be a lavish affair at Delmonico Steakhouse in The Venetian dubbed “A Return To Delmonico” and will have Chef Emeril’s four Las Vegas restaurants and their respective chefs de cuisine revisit and update some of the classic dishes that defined fine dining in New Orleans during the gilded age. Tickets for the five-course formal dinner in a private dining room costs $250; call 702-414-3737.
Aureole is holding an Orin Swift Cellars one-night five-course wine-pairing dinner with a reception on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Based in St. Helena, Orin Swift Cellars was founded in 1998, by winemaker Dave Phinney, who was influenced by his time abroad in Florence, Italy, and named it for his parents. Dinner is $225.
National Coffee Day is Friday, Sept. 29, but Carnevino Italian Steakhouse at The Palazzo is celebrating Sept. 1-30 with the debut of the coffee-infused cocktail “Calexico” for $24.
PIGS FOR THE KIDS BBQ COMPETITION IS CANCER FUNDRAISER: North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee has thrown his support behind Pigs for the Kids. The barbecue competition for area cancer charities, will take place at Craig Ranch Regional Park on Saturday, Sept. 23, from noon to 9 p.m. Mayor Lee, a survivor of stage IV cancer himself, will serve as the judge for his very own category—the Mayor’s Most Wanted—in the spirited pork, beans and sauce-oriented competition. Registration for barbecue teams continues through Friday, Sept. 8. General admission tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door with one Piggy Buck included.
ABOUT TOWN ITEMS
Recording artist and South Point afternoon headliner Dennis Bono will have his new studio album, “To Laugh, To Love, To Life” released on Sept. 1 and available on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Bono is a great interpreter of songs from the Great American Songbook. On hand for a private celebration at The Bootlegger restaurant were his arranger and legendary jazz guitarist Joe Lano and award-winning producer Dan Slider.
The live “America’s Got Talent” show with this season’s winner and other acts will appear at Planet Hollywood, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, on Nov. 3 and 4. Last week, the “Circus 1903” cast from the new variety production show at Paris gave a featured showcase performance live on NBC’s mega-hit talent show competition.
In time for last Saturday’s big fight and football season, The Cromwell opened its brand-new sportsbook with boxing champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley placing a commemorate bet on the boxing match.
To commemorate National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada will turn Las Vegas gold this September with its shineGOLD campaign. The international awareness symbol for childhood cancer is the gold ribbon. To kick off shineGOLD, an illumination event will be held at the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign on Friday, Sept. 1 at 9 a.m. Clark County Commissioners will help Candlelighters transform the sign’s lightbulbs into gold. Everyone is encouraged to wear gold on Sept. 1.
More than 2,500 guests dressed for a cause at Aid for AIDS of Nevada’s (AFAN) recent 31st annual Black & White Party at the Hard Rock and raised more than $130,000.
“Mimosas and Mozart,” is a benefit brunch-concert fundraiser and kick-off event for Season Two of Notes with a Purpose, a nonprofit bringing high-quality musical experiences in creative ways to unprivileged and under-served populations. This brunch and two-set classical music concert will be held Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at JW Marriott. Tickets are $125.
Las Vegas entertainers and volunteers are teaming up with Beanies for Warriors and American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event to host celebrity car wash fundraisers at Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas Resorts from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 31 at Caesars Palace and Sept. 7 at Bally’s. Anthony Cools, Jeff Civillico as well as cast members from “X Rocks,” “X Burlesque” and Chippendales are among participating celebs.
From Sept. 1-30, Nevada teachers can have a free ride on the High Roller with family and friends with them receiving 50 percent off their ticket prices.
The film “48 Hours To Vegas” by KTF Media Productions/Emerald Motion Pictures won Best Film of 2017 and will represent Las Vegas against all the other city winners around the world at Filmapalooza in Paris, France, 2018.