Saturday, December 1, 2007

Urgent: Petcast Re-Taping Dec. 2!!!

We recorded three excellent shows this morning, but a studio glitch mangled all the audio. SO, we're redoing it Sunday, 12/2, same times and same place -- join the chat and live show at! Our lineup, all of whom are gracious to return with us:

10 am: Iraq War vet Ron Portillo, Canines for Combat Wounded, on his effort to match rescue dogs with other injured vets.

10:30 am: Steve's mom asks for advice on her new Silky Terrier.

11 am: Frederick Lynch on his "My Turn" essay in Newsweek about spending $11K to save his cat.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Four Worst Ideas In Vegas

From my "The Strip Sense" column in this week's Las Vegas Weekly:

Big, bad and ugly: The four worst ideas in Vegas


Most of the time, the brains behind the Strip and Las Vegas get it right, at least when it comes to investing private money. The really great, viable big ideas get built in record time—hello, CityCenter and Palazzo—and the dumb ones—Las Ramblas and Ivana’s Tower spring instantly to mind—fade away before anyone is seriously hurt. And then there are the decisions and actions that baffle. Lately, there have been quite a few. Let’s take them out to the woodshed, shall we?

Read the rest HERE

Those Video Peepholes...

It has been brought to my attention that the video peepholes at the Skylofts at MGM Grand of which I was so enamored during this week's podcast have been noted previously by loyal listener and all-around Vegasophile Mike E in a 15-minute video tour he recorded last summer of one of the units. He's surprised the PR folks just got around to showing it off, but I suspect that's because they hadn't finished installing them in all 51 units when Mike filmed this. In any event, it's a terrific review of the entire space, and the video peepholes come up around the sixth minute. Click here or on the pic below to watch.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Thought this was kind of funny. As many of you know, my dad and I own a Panorama Towers unit that we haven't yet been able to flip. So I'm still getting loads of mail to my real home address from a variety of folks who wish to sell us stuff as new home owners. Oh, and there's a really heated battle on for the condo board elections, but who really cares?

Anyhow, today's mailing was a first. It came from Wynn Las Vegas. It read: "We cordially invite our Panorama Tower neighbors to come and discover Wynn Las Vegas and all it has to offer." And then there's the 411 on a cocktail party on Dec. 13 at DB Brasserie at Wynn.

I suppose it makes sense. There's no place to eat or shop or have any kind of fun at Panorama. Heck, the swimming pool at Tower II isn't even done and the closest restaurant is a very ghetto In-N-Out Burger. But Panorama and Wynn are neighbors the same way California and Colorado are.

I may go, just for sh*ts and giggles. And to see who else from Panorama is so starved for entertainment that they'll freeload off Wynn for an evening. Not to mention, what sort of pitch the Wynn folks have for us. And perhaps find out who everyone else is using to try to flip these turkeys. Howdy, neighbor!

Very Busy Today

I'm just very busy today, so I leave you with this really great piece from Monday's Las Vegas Sun, which I finally got around to reading this morning, about something we all take for granted -- the art at McCarran. Anyone who's ever arrived at the D Gates must have wondered about the giant map and some of the sculpture there.

Read the piece here.

And here's hoping Kristen Peterson, the only competent arts writer in Las Vegas, will follow up this piece as the D Gates turn 10 years old in 2008 and track down some of the then-elementary school artists immortalized on the fabulous cities-of-the-world tile murals seen by the D-Gate tram. I'd love to know what those kids are up to now.

Podcast Problems

UPDATE: As requested, I've posted an 18-min file that includes the Ellen interview and then the rest of the 11/22 show. Download it here or right-click to save it here.

OK. So here's what I did. First, I put the Ellen/Patti show up without cutting off five minutes of LVRocks.Com music in the front. So I went in and reposted that show. And when I did, somehow I cut off the last 10 minutes of it, so in the middle of Ellen, the audio just vanishes.

So now I've posted a fully corrected version. AND, a little later today, the Wynn Part I episode will go up. HOWEVER, if you just can't wait, you can click here to hear it or right-click here to download it to your computer.

Sorry for the confusion. I'm a boob.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Venetian + Palazzo + Sands Expo = ...

MEGACENTER. No, really. That's what they're about to start calling the entire 19-million-square-foot complex. So writes Tamara Audi in a Wall Street Journal piece today. MEGACENTER is to be used in all-caps, according to the story.

Good piece in general about the convention-space boom in Vegas. Wish I had thought of that one.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Breaking: Palazzo's Soft Opening Date Shifts to 12/28

Las Vegas Sands Inc has pushed back the soft opening of the $1.6 billion Palazzo to at least Dec. 28. I had heard rumblings today but then confirmed it on the Palazzo's website. No reservations are being taken for dates prior to 12/28. I understand about two-thirds of the rooms will be open, the casino and a couple of restaurants. But the grand opening will Jan. 18, when Barney's and all the rest of the place will be unveiled.

Update (9:35 a.m. PT): Just reconfirmed this by calling reservations. The lady told me up front that the date was now Dec. 28. When I said I had heard it was Dec. 20, she said they gave the reservationists the updated information last week.

"The Strip" is LIVE tonight w/ WYNN (Part I)

Here we go – again. Steve Wynn returns to the program this week and next for an exclusive two-parter following his triumphant showing in the inaugural Las Vegas edition of the Michelin Guide. In this week’s portion, Wynn traces the rise of fine dining in Vegas, explains the Venetian’s failure to earn any stars from Michelin and reveals some shocking sales statistics for shops at Wynn Macau.

Plus, the SkyLOFTS at MGM Grand have a really cool new tech feature and new details on the Palazzo you'll only hear about here.

Join us live at 7 pm PT for the live show and chat at LVROCKS.Com. Or wait for the podcast on Thursday.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Bitch and Moan, Bitch and Moan

In a piece I wrote for the Agence France Presse about Steve Wynn that went out on the wire this weekend, Las Vegas Advisor publisher Anthony Curtis boasted of the strong showing of Vegas in the inaugural Michelin food guide: "For Vegas in general, this means the international snobbery regarding things like great culinary offerings here almost has to be swept completely out."

Would that it be so. Now comes the Esquire food critic John Mariani, whining in his weekly online newsletter that Vegas got the Michelin treatment before Chicago or Washington and intimating that the star-ratings for Vegas must be based largely on spectacle rather than culinary achievement. And he quotes a particularly sore loser in L.A. Times food editor Leslie Brenner, whose city got just one or two more star-rated restaurants even though Michelin checked out at least double the number of eateries there as in Vegas. "What shocked me wasn't who did and did not get stars; rather, it was that the book that purports to be the bible of fine dining is so poorly researched and lamely written that the ratings have no credibility."

Mariani, whom I fall in and out of love with routinely and often within his articles, follows up with this brilliant line: "Brenner should know about errors: The L.A. Times prints an embarrassing number of egregious corrections of its own food articles." Yowza!

Why did Michelin come to Vegas now? Maybe because they want to sell books and far more Vegas-goers buy guidebooks than those who go to, uh, Chicago? But that doesn't make their assessments invalid. Clearly, though, Curtis' dream of widespread respectability will take at least a few more rounds.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Shocking Before and After

This is the same dog. Really. This is Grace, who was rescued from Dead Dog Beach in Puerto Rico and is now in the loving care of Katie Block, a Baltimore-based activist whose Island Dog organization is working to bring awareness to the plight of dogs in the U.S. commonwealth. P.R. is getting lousy PR for a pet-massacre scandal, and Katie joined Emily and guest co-host Dayvid Figler on "The Petcast" to discuss the situation. You really should take 20 minutes and listen to that show, Episode 115, by clicking here or save it to your computer by right-clicking here. Or, better yet, subscribe (free) to the show via iTunes here.

Either way, when I received these pictures in my e-mail yesterday, I felt compelled to share them. That dog was hit by a machete, we're told. Amazing.

A record-setting betting line today in Vegas

We rarely deal with gambling too much here or on the podcast and I generally never place bets on any games other than the Super Bowl, but this weekend's Patriots-Eagles match-up has drawn unusual interest because the Patriots are favored by bookies for a record-setting number of points, 23.5 the last I saw on the news. So my brother-in-law, Tom, in New York has called upon me to go place a $100 wager for him on the Pats. I'll probably toss $50 on there myself just to make it interesting. Isn't Miles gonna be excited that we have to watch football tonight! But, hey, at least I get to employ a totally gratuitous picture of Tom Brady on the blog. So there.

Welcome TMZ Readers!

The power celeb-gossip site TMZ picked up the bit about Chuck Woolery's feud with Merv Griffin here, which we put out as a press release this weekend, and linked to "The Strip." So I suspect that we're seeing an influx of folks checking us out. So welcome one and all and subscribe to the podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

Wynn: My Macau Louis Vuitton Shop Sets Records

We're playing the first half of my conversation with Steve Wynn this coming week on "The Strip," and you can hear it either live on Tuesday night in the chat room or on the podcast on Thursday. But here's a tease. In this part, Wynn talks a lot about the evolution of food in Vegas and his big plans for Macau, and he reveals some stunning figures for the sales at his Louis Vuitton shop at Wynn Macau as well as his Rolex shop at Wynn Las Vegas.

Good stuff, although I admit the second half is even better and that'll be played the week after. Why? We're going to try to keep the shows a bit shorter from now on because we're hearing from listeners that episodes that come in at 1:10 and 1:20 are just too much, look too daunting on their iPod playlists.

Join us and an ever-growing group of folks on Tuesday night at 7 pm PT at LVRocks.Com.