Friday, October 22, 2010

The Strip & Petcast Are Live @ 12:30p Sat

Here we go again!

We're live with The Strip from 12:30-1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday with Mr. Las Vegas himself as this episode's guest. We talk all about Wayne's big plans for turning his home into a tourist attraction but also about his support for Sen. Harry Reid and, yes, how he keeps that hair so dark.

From 1:30-2:30 p.m., guest host Jennifer Prosser and I will mint a pair of new episodes of The Petcast. Our guests will be Dr. Beth Davidow, medical director of ACCES Animal Blood Bank in Seattle, and Dr. Margaret McEntee of the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, who oversees the school's student-operated pet-loss support phone hotline.

As always, you can listen live at via LVRocks.Com and join the chat with fellow listeners. Or wait and grab the podcast version via iTunes or Zune or listen via that nifty "Listen Now" player on TheStripPodcast.Com.

A confusing Friday

Blog readers might have, until a few minutes ago, seen a very unusual post here. On advice of someone I trust, I just removed it. The purpose of that post was to take ownership of a journalistic decision I made that has caused a great deal of pain to people I did not mean to harm. But the post that was here only served to draw more attention to the problem. My thoughts and apologies are now posted in what we believe to be the correct place. Sorry for the confusion.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Big Robin Leach Scoop: Cirque's MJ Plans

A grand tip of the hat to Robin Leach for yesterday's big scoop -- which I just caught up on after a marathon of writing -- about Cirque du Soleil's plans for its big Michael Jackson extravaganzas. Leach caught Cirque CEO Daniel Lamarre at the 8000th performance of Mystere earlier this week and learned:

* There will be two Cirque-MJ shows, the first being an arena production debuting in the Mandalay Bay Events Center that will run twice a night for at least two months starting Dec. 15, 2011. It will then tour North America. Tickets go of on sale for that on Nov. 3 of this year.

* A second sit-down Cirque-MJ thing will be created for a Vegas showroom and open in early 2013.

* The budget for creation and staging of these shows is a combined $250 million.

There's more, including some detail about the technology, in Robin's account and Q-and-A with Lamarre. I do have one minor quibble with Robin, which is that $250 million to create and stage two shows does not seem like that much to me. Ka cost $140 million and "O" cost $100 million, and that was long ago. But then again, look at this economy, huh? Sounds like a Vegas stimulus package to me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

LVW Col: Defending Donny & Marie

I just realized I never posted last week's column, about the Donny & Marie lawsuit. The Las Vegas Weekly comments section has gone berzerk, with Osmond fans singing my praises. Since I normally fall on the wrong side of, uh, strident fan bases -- think Bette Midler or Matt Goss -- I'm enjoying being on this side. Read on. -sf

Defending Donny and Marie
An ex-manager’s lawsuit against the duo reeks of desperation

Before those who enjoy such spectacles start cackling that the wholesome, can-never-do-wrong Donny and Marie Osmond are about to be exposed as phonies and frauds amid the brutal breach-of-contract lawsuit that just hit them, they might want to consider the source.

That is, one Harold “Chip” Lightman Jr. Their now-and-forever ex-manager.

Normally, ex-managers are pretty good for the inside scoop on what stars and celebrities are really like. Except that Lightman’s move here smacks of a naked desperation and blinding anger that makes his claims harder to buy.

Lightman believes Donny and Marie breached their contract with him when they recently shitcanned him. Fine. Yippee. If he thinks that, he ought to go ahead and sue and let a judge decide that. It’s the American way.

But apparently, the American way these days is also to make a round of calls to journalists...

Read the rest at LasVegasWeekly.Com

The Show is UP: Don Rickles

Here's the latest show, which iTunes or Zune subscribers have had for days. Click on the date below to get it to play or right-click on it to download it to listen at your leisure. Enjoy. -sf

Oct. 18: A Very Rickles Friessmas

Rickles. His name is synonymous with the so-called insult comic, a label he alternately embraces and cringes over. He is, he insists, a whole lot more than that. For one thing, his voice is in this year’s top-grossing movie of the year, Toy Story III. Don Rickles is our guest this hour, discussing the late Tony Curtis, the pranks Sinatra and the boys played on him, how he first got to Vegas and how other so-called insult comics like Brad Garrett learned the craft from him. Also, find out where his toughest Vegas gig took place.

In banter: Zipline mania, Hoover Dam bridge mania, Harrah’s mania and more.

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Don Rickles’ website, we think
Zipline on Fremont Street
Steve’s story breaking the zipline at Gadling.Com
Yelp on the Triple George in downtown Vegas
Steve’s AOL News piece on the hula hoop controversy at Fremont Street Experience
VegasHappensHere.Com on the original Excalibur-zipline rumor
A photo of the Slots-a-Fun carpeting in our neighbors’ garage floor
Steve’s coverage of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge and blog pictorial
A photo of the mammoth line outside the Pawn Stars shop
VegasHappensHere.Com on Harrah’s trifecta: the Petstay program, Wait Wait coming to Vegas and the All-Access Pass
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column on the Chip Lightman lawsuit regarding Donny & Marie
Tom Breitling left the Wynn month ago
Vegas native TJ Lavin’s big BMX accident in Vegas
Go here to sign up for a chance to meet Barack Obama
A link to what “eminence grise” means
Howard Schwartz’s podcast, The Gamblers Book Shop show
Get “Foul Play” on DVD on Amazon.Com

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Um, WOW: Cosmo Ad Debuts on Mad Men

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has rolled out its first ad and it is . . . quite an ad. Not sure what to make of it, to be honest. It's gutsy and provocative, but what does it all mean? (At one point, it seems like they're condoning male prostitution. Really.)

I guess it will really depend on what the place turns out to be when it actually opens. For contrast, here's how Aria Las Vegas tried to entice people before they opened:

[h/t Chuck King via Twitter]

Sunday Readings: Hoover, Reid-Angle, Wynn

This past week, I extensively juggled two significant stories out of Vegas, the Reid-Angle race and the opening of the Hoover Dam's bypass bridge. So which one, on this fine Sunday, did more Americans read about?

Well, lookit:

Parade Magazine, inserted into more than 30 million copies of Sunday papers and is the largest circulation magazine in the world, put the bridge on the cover. I can't say the piece is even all that great, but that's a pretty big hit for a built-within-budget $240 million public works project at a moment when public works projects and government spending in general get a pretty bad name. (See Dig, Big.)

Meanwhile, a few other things from the Sunday papers:

* Reid-Angle Ugly. I must agree with CityLife editor Steve Sebelius' assessments on Twitter of Laura Myers' strange side-by-side profiles of Harry Reid and Sharron Angle. As Sebelius notes, the opening anecdote of the one on Reid is about 30-year-old, unproven claims of Mob dealings while the opening for Angle's was all about her scrappy, up-from-the-bootstraps early life. By the time you finish both pieces, you probably have a reasonably well-rounded perspective on both people, but given that most people don't go much farther than the headline and first 300 or 400 words if that, it's weird. And, as Sebelius also said, the contrasting headlines -- referring to Reid as a focus-group-hated "career politician" and Angle as a focus-group-loved "political outsider" -- was disturbing and noticeable. Still, it is also worth noting that Sun publisher Brian Greenspun put yet another essay about Reid's greatness on the front of his newspaper without any disclosure that his family has given about $370,000 to federal Democrats since 2006. It just goes back to what I've been saying over and over again, that the R-J deserves its lumps for a lot of its Reid-Angle approach, but so does the Sun. And nobody else in the mainstream media seems to wants to point out that both are flawed in very similar ways. And, yes, that also includes the Sun's story placement and the tone of its political reporting.

* And Another R-J Thing. The state's paper of record never bothered to do any significant fact-checking of the claims made during Thursday's debate. That's shameful, an abdication of one of the paper's most significant roles.

* Reid-Angle National. There were two interesting columns about or involving the Senate race in today's Sun, one by Maureen Dowd of The New York Times and one by David Broder of the Washington Post. Each chose to shorthand the race in colorful ways. Dowd called it a battle between "the former boxer and the former competitive weightlifter," which sent me to look up that, yep, the 61-year-old marm was once a weightlifter and made me wonder why nobody else really has put that specific contrast to work. Broder, meanwhile, referred to the debate as a "contrast between the unacceptable and the profoundly uncomfortable" without actually specifying who was who. (Given that Broder's a liberal, I assume Angle's the "unacceptable.")

* Now I Get It. Howard Stutz does a pretty good job today of giving perspective on the confusing financial casino dealings of late and what it means. It helped me keep it all straight, anyway.

* Krolicki Love. I'm intrigued that incumbent Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki has somehow become the Republican who the left-leaning media can love. Or the Republican they can endorse to prove they're not completely in the Democrats' pocket. Today, the Las Vegas Sun endorsed him, a week after the consortium of gay publications did so as well. Perhaps it's because the lieutenant governorship has no power? Does anyone seriously think either of these groups would be writing such kindnesses of him if he had run against Reid for Senate, as he was expected to until he was sidelined by a fairly specious, now-dismissed indictment?

* Wynn's Villa Extravaganza: If you're curious what Steve Wynn's home at the Wynn looks like, head to Architectural Digest to see the slideshow. The article is a little strange, though: the Golden Nugget was not a 1990s Wynn creation, Parry Thomas was not a lawyer and there's nothing new about the fact that Wynn has an Ivy League education or waxes eloquent about the Precambian explosion. Still, the pictures are cool.