Friday, June 6, 2008

The Show is UP: The Win and Yang of Poker

Here we are with 2007 WSOP champ Jerry Yang (center) and his father and brother-in-law at the LV Rocks studio last week for a really great and rare in-studio conversation. Also, hear on the show what the Fontainbleau folks are saying about their mysterious plans for their Vegas showroom.

Here's the show 411. Click on the date to hear it or right-click to download the show and listen whenever you want. Or subscribe via iTunes here or via Zune here:

June 5: The Win and Yang of Poker

A year ago, Jerry Yang was a just a 39-year-old social worker from Temecula, California, with six kids, a hefty mortgage and a wife who worked nights to make ends meet. Today, he’s living proof of why the annual World Series of Poker is the one championship that anyone can win. Yang spent $225 to enter a local satellite tournament that led him to a seat at the 2007 Main Event where he walked away $8.25 million richer. Next month, he begins a defense of that crown but this week, he’s live in our studio to talk about the year that was, what he’s done with all that money and how he feels about the changes being made to this year’s W.S.O.P.

In Banter: CityCenter's brief strike, more details on Fontainebleau, a tour operator thinks straight men are neglected in Vegas and K-Fed is Father of the Year?!?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Riv's $20m Room Remodel

When we were at The Riviera the other night for this...

...I spotted these signs below showing the sleek new room product coming soon to the aged property. It's not quite the "gleaming gem" that this press release about the $20 million renovation effort over-enthuses, but it's something. I mean, at least there'll be iPod docking alarm clocks, which is more than can be said for the brand-new "world's most beautiful hotel" Palazzo!

I do wonder why properties like this go all-out on prettier rooms when it's the gross, stinky casino that makes people want to pack a gun. The press release said the casino was DONE being renovated, in which case the contractor is fired because it's unnoticeable. But at least they're doing something noticeably nice to the sports book.

Thank GOD it's "smoker friendly." Where else on the Strip would they boast that?

Revisiting Manilow, Le Reve, Shark Reef

Hey kids. Miles and I are just now going to sleep after a treacherous travel day from Vegas to Long Island on that trailer park in the sky, Southworst. I didn't realize we were committing to two layovers -- in ABQ then BWI -- and in BWI we had weather problems that grounded us for five hours. Then we got on the plane and sat because, well, in five idle hours they forgot to make sure there was someone on hand to fly the bird. Sheesh. Anyhow, we're here now, will be in NY for a few days seeing some shows and unveiling my late grandfather's headstone, a Jewish year-after custom. So, for now, I leave you with this week's Weekly column about the spree of shows and attractions my niece and I saw last week and my thoughts on revisiting them.

The Manilow Principle

Why some shows are better the second time - and why some are not


About 15 minutes into Barry Manilow’s Music & Passion show at the Las Vegas Hilton last week, I received a mocking text message from my partner. Miles had ducked out of having to go with me, my 16-year-old niece, Courtney, and my mother because he had to go to work at the last minute, but he hardly seemed unhappy about that twist of fate.

“So, does it suck yet?” the message taunted.

I missed the message. To my utter shock, I was having much too good a time.

Yes. At Manilow.

But, faithful and puzzled readers might be thinking, didn’t you just a few weeks ago mention how much you despised that very show in that commentary about all that was wrong with the new Cher production?

Indeed, that is why I was so bowled over. When your family visits, you tend to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily want to, and my mother was, is and probably always will be a Fanilow. So off I went, preparing both myself and poor young Courtney to suffer. I prepped the teen for the idea that this would fall into the so-bad-it’s-good category.

Except it wasn’t. It was so good it’s good. Really. In my guidebook, Gay Vegas, I had given this production a “C” and complained that it was a “rush job” with “dancers who seem confused about what they’re doing.” Yet on this night, a good 75 percent of the songs were not in the prior edition, Manilow was unstoppably exuberant and energetic, and even the closing “Copacabana” was less grating and, so it seemed, mercifully a little bit shorter. Also, unlike Bette, Celine or most notably Cher, Manilow remained on the stage for all but about three minutes of the concert. Of course, his “costume changes” involved changing his sportcoat. But still.

This revolution in my thinking led me to a spree of revisiting shows and attractions I hadn’t seen in a long while.

Read the rest HERE

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Strip is LIVE tonight @ 7:05 p.m.

For the second week in a row, we've got a live interview, this time with an in-studio guest, the sitting World Series of Poker champion Jerry Yang. Yang spent $225 to enter a satellite tournament and ended up besting more than 6,300 players to win $8.25 million last July. (Here's my L.A. Times piece previewing this year's WSOP, which opened on Friday.)

Listen live and chat with us and fellow listeners from 7-8 pm at LVRocks.Com. Or wait until Thursday and the podcast will be up.

CityCenter: Unsafe At This Speed?

The sixth construction-worker death this past weekend at the $9.2 billion CityCenter, the nation's most expensive construction site, has prompted workers to walk off the job last night and demand more independent scrutiny of working conditions there.

MGM Mirage says the problem needs to be worked out between their general contractor, Perini, and the trades. So far, nobody in the media has been able to get a comment from Perini. Perini stock is down 3.65 percent so far today; MGM stock is down nearly 2 percent.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fontainebleau: An iMac In Every Room

I had been sitting on this because we thought I had it exclusively for a major publication but then the Fontainebleau folks prematurely and accidentally posted a new brochure online and it got out on other blogs, so here goes:

The new $3 billion Fontainebleau in Vegas opening fall 2009 and the one renovated for $500 million in Miami opening this September will offer a groundbreaking amenity: A full-fledged iMac in every room. There are a number of thoughts behind that and I'll have a lot more really soon.

But my question is: Is that cool? Would it persuade you to stay there? Does it add a coolness factor?