Thursday, March 11, 2010

This week's LVW col: Roger That!

Here's this week's column. Hear the podcast interview here and take a tour inside Roger's Architectural Digest-acclaimed home here. Enjoy! -sf

Roger that!
The Hangover may have struck out, but Vegas still scored a Wynn at the Oscars



Roger Thomas was trying to keep perspective and some distance from the goings-ons at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday evening. It was Oscar night, of course, and Steve Wynn’s design alter ego had a handful of his friends at his Architectural Digest-featured Summerlin home for a viewing party.

In many ways, it was a standard-issue gathering for the annual event the Advocate magazine gratingly dubs the Gay Super Bowl. Everyone enjoyed wine (or bottled water) and cheese and filled out mock Oscar ballots as they snarked at the more disastrous dresses parading by during the pre-game. Then the assembled feasted on homemade enchiladas and salad as the show crawled along to its inexorable conclusion.

Predictable debates ensued (Zac Efron vs. Taylor Lautner, etc.), cheers went up over openly gay Neil Patrick Harris’ official displacement of is-he-or-ain’t-he-already Hugh Jackman as the world’s reigning song-and-dance man, marveling was done over Queen Latifah’s weight loss, Matthew Broderick’s paunchiness and Tom Ford’s utter physical perfectness.

You could even forget with whom we were watching—until Thomas suddenly piped up as Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper strode on stage to deliver, uh, what were they doing there again? Also, who cares?

“Gerard and Bradley really loved my Bianca daybed,” Thomas said with a smirk. “They sat on it—together!—yesterday and remarked how comfortable it was.”

We could say that Thomas was name-dropping, except that it was one of the precious few times in the entire evening that he discussed or even alluded to how important he was to this year’s Academy Awards. He displayed for us his Oscar credentials (because he was asked to), let me track the telecast’s progress with the impossible-to-get run-of-show document he snagged the day before, and at some point early on mentioned as some star walked off the stage that they were heading “right into the green room.”

His green room, that is. The green room that Thomas, the man whose design aesthetic has revolutionized Las Vegas via the Bellagio, Wynn and Encore, was tasked to divine and then construct. The editors at Architectural Digest, who select the green-room designer each year, picked him from among the “AD100,” the 100 creative minds that the world’s most prestigious design magazine has declared as our best designers.

And so it was that he took a break from installing the Switch Beach Club at Encore Las Vegas and redesigning the 5-year-old rooms of Wynn Las Vegas to create the backstage area where the stars shook out their jitters over bottled water and, as he calls it, “nibbly bits.” For an old-film buff like Thomas (you should’ve seen his glee upon seeing a snippet of Bette Davis in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? during the Oscar telecast’s horror-flick montage), the assignment was about as plum as it gets.

Read the REST at LasVegasWeekly.Com