Saturday, April 28, 2007

My interview with Five Hundy!

Just in case you don't get enough of either MY voice or that of Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight podcast, here's the Elvis-meets-Sinatra moment you've all been waiting for.

I interviewed Tim and Michelle as a guest host for Rob Walch, brilliant maestro of Podcast411.Com, who now has a job that doesn't allow him to do as many as he used to. I also interviewed Heather Smith from Rubyfruit Radio, and that show will go up in a few weeks, I gather.

Anyhow, listen to me pretend to be Rob interviewing Tim and Michelle. For those of you unaware, Rob interviews other podcasters about their shows, their technical set-ups and their advice for others. Tim and Michelle were terrific guests. Afterward, they even emailed me an egregious WHHSH violation that I've yet to post but will do so soon.

Friday, April 27, 2007

How large is CityCenter? Nobody seems to know

Everywhere you look, MGM Mirage's Project CityCenter is written as 66 acres. Oh, actually that abysmal and error-riddled New York Times piece by Gary Rivlin from earlier this week said 67 acres and nobody has any idea where THAT came from, but otherwise from USA Today to Howard Stutz's piece last week in the Review-Journal to the local CBS station KLAS-TV to real estate websites, it says 66. That's what CityCenter's original literature claimed.

But I was working on something related to CityCenter and noticed that CityCenter's own literature now says 76 acres.

So I asked. And MGM Mirage VP Alan Feldman responded thus: "Please use 76. There's some technical debate internally, but 76 is in use far and wide and it's not inaccurate."

A strange answer -- "not inaccurate" is a little discomfiting -- but an answer nonetheless. What it means is they're not really sure either. I suppose an intrepid reporter or blogger could head down to the county and add it up on a survey map. I mean, not me. I don't really care that much.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pam's New Trick @ Planet Ho

So our observation that Carmen Electra didn't seem to be "there" at the Planet Hollywood press event last week and rumors in Norm's column that she was being difficult proved prescient. She's out before the thing even starts.

Alas, Carmen always was the pretender "Baywatch" Babe, and so here comes the real thing, a much more jovial and upbeat Pamela Anderson, who popped out of a box today. She seemed very happy to be there and will serve as Klok's assistant in "The Beauty of Magic."

You can hear the raw audio -- it's about 8 mins -- of the big event here on a special edition of "The Strip", including a rare press-conference question asked by yours truly that revealed she'll start out on a three-month contract.

There were a couple of cringe-worthy moments on this audio:

* MAJOR WHHSH VIOLATION: "What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas," Robert Earl said. "Carmen is gone. She didn't stay in Vegas." Groan. Ick. Sigh.

* BROKEN GAYDAR?: Hans Klok has an extremely fey on-stage presence, not to mention he's the spitting image of Siegfried. But then he goes on about how he used to watch "Baywatch" and always thought Pam was "hot." So maybe it's not that he's gay; maybe he's just European.

* MALAPROP MAN - OR NOT: "Is that your first ever trick?" Earl asked Pam.

Finally, I know get no points for this because I didn't blog it, but last night I guessed the mystery star would be Pam both to the show's publicist, who wouldn't spill it, and to Miles. So there. But Norm tells me that they also tried to get Paris Hilton. I like this choice much better, don't you?

Want to SEE it instead of listening? Check out's footage!

Unbelievable courage

I spend a lot of time in this space snarking about bad writing and journalism and I'll have more of that later today after an early-morning dental appointment puts me in that mood.

No snark here. This piece stands on its own. Read it. Now.

You want to see what real courage is, read this Los Angeles Times piece by Mike Penner, a sports writer who is taking leave to transition to become Christine Daniels. A sportswriter. That's balls, regardless of his anatomical specifics.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell is riveting, like it or not

And so she goes.

I'm not really a Rosie O'Donnell fan per se. In fact, in 2002 when she went all super-dyke on the world, I wrote this piece wondering why she was faking a radical persona. (Apologies for the syntax problems there.)

But it's hard to see that her departure from "The View" won't harm the program, which has seen its ratings boom since she arrived with all her attendant, constant controversy. Particularly interesting is that, except for the Kelly Ripa-Clay Aiken thing, none of the many Rosie flaps really had anything to do with her sexual orientation.

That said, I find the American public's refusal to admit they're fascinated by Rosie so odd. There's an AOL poll up now asking (a) whether you're glad Rosie is leaving "The View" and (b) whether you think the ratings will suffer. So far, more than 207,000 people voted -- by far the largest number of votes on an AOL poll today -- and 77 percent said they're glad she's gone, 69 percent say it won't harm the show's ratings.

What's so odd there is that 207,000 people opted to read the story and vote. That's a lot of people. And three-fourths of them are acting like they don't care, aren't interested.

Oh, and one more thing. If Rosie cared what Trump thought, she'd have taken the one-year deal if only to shut him up. Just a thought.

Oh, one more thought. Rosie on a show of her own won't be nearly as fascinating as Rosie on an all-girl gabfest.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Denise Pernula of RawVegas.TV -- an ambitious new Internet TV channel with loads of original Vegas-oriented content -- was in the studio last Thursday to do a piece on "The Strip." They clearly don't screw around! Here's the fruit of their labor. (I have no idea why I appear to be speaking with marbles in my mouth, but Miles looks terrific!)

Doing it for money

As most freelancers do, I take and pitch all sorts of odd assignments to pay the mortgage. It's one of the neat parts of the lifestyle, that I can ask to write about anything that interests me and sometimes they even let me. And often they come at me with stories I wouldn't ever have gotten to do and they turn out to be really interesting.

To wit, here's two random bits to check out if you care:

* Some University of Chicago business profs did a really intense study of the costs of the U.S. having not invaded Iraq versus the various outcomes of the fact that we did. It's really fascinating -- they seem to think that financially, it's something of a draw, if not a bargain, that we did, even in the worst-case scenario.

* The folks at Brigham Young University, of all places, have loosened up their policy on gays on campus. I wrote about it for Newsweek. They're now allowed to say they're gay so long as they don't ever do anything and as long as they never suggest that it's morally acceptable. And that's progress.

Otherwise, just another busy day writing the plan for tonight's "The Strip," posting the latest episode of "The Petcast" on which Emily and I had quite a fun squabble, writing up my Vegas mag piece on The Killers and putting some finishing touches on the forthcoming gay guidebook.

Monday, April 23, 2007

"The Strip" Is Live TONIGHT - April 24

Just a reminder that we're recording live on Tuesdays for the forseeable future!

Come to LVRocks.Com and click on CAM/CHAT to join the live chatroom and webcam during the show and LISTEN NOW to hear it.

The podcast will still post on Thursdays. Tonight's guest: Paul Anka. And he was terrific.

A Topsy-Turvy World

A few things on my mind today...

* Saturday's Review-Journal wrote this at the end of an editorial about a prominent congressman: "Three cheers for XXX. Now, if only 300 more members of Congress shared his line of thinking..." To whom, pray tell, does one of the most conservative newspaper editorial pages in the nation refer? You'll never believe it. I'll keep you in suspense for a few minutes while we ponder a few other things.

* Dear Abby on Saturday was asked by a Eugene, Ore., woman what to do about her garrulous mother-in-law who visits two weeks a year and never, ever shuts up. Does she recommend the hapless woman get her spineless husband to tell his mother to stuff it? Does she suggest perhaps they engage in activities such as the theater or a day at the spa that might give the battleax a hint she should zip the trap? Perhaps Abby (aka Jeanne Phillips) thinks the woman's best hope is to lock the miserable old bat in a closet? No! Abby's answer is thus: "Because her visits are so stressful, ask your doctor for advice on how to alleviate the stress." Translation: "Beats me. Go get yourself a fistful of Xanax. I think I'll have one right now, in fact!" Time was when Dear Abby was criticized for always shunting troubled writers off to therapy. New approach: Pimp for Pfizer.

* I rode the Las Vegas Monofail last week (at $1 a ride because I have a Nevada ID, something they do not promote and have nowhere on their website so far as I can tell, fyi) and was alarmed by how fictitious the stop legend was about what hotel-casinos are accessible. For example, in some cases it suggests the Wynn, New Frontier, Bellagio and Venetian are "accessible," even though they're not on the rail line and require epic walks. Especially specious is the suggestion that the Aladdin/Planet Hollywood (it still says Aladdin, understandably) is "accessible" from the Paris-Bally's stop. That's outrageous since it's one of the monofail's biggest teases; even though you can almost spit on the A/PH doors from the P-B stop platform, you are forced to trek through the circuitous Paris, out to the Strip and then into the front of the A/PH to get there. I get that A/PH didn't pay to be on the route and P-B put a substantial investment in the project, but then just leave them off the signage. Unsuspecting tourists really would think from the legend that these are reasonable walks. Anything that requires more than about a half-mile walk ought not be included.

* A sidebar to a Las Vegas Sun story by Sam Skolnik today on an Orthodox Jewish cop who isn't allowed to wear a beard or yarmulke indicates that the Los Angeles Police Department "also bans beards ... excet in cases of medical necessity." Who here has any idea what sort of medical necessity would require a beard? An allergy to shaving cream?

* The praiseworthy congressman? BARNEY FRANK. Yep. Probably one of the most liberal - and openly gay! But Barney earns praise nonetheless for wanting to toss out the legislation that essentially banned Internet gambling in America and to free up Americans to flush their money down whatever toilet they see fit. What's more, the Review-Journal notes that the law amounts to protectionism for the major U.S. casino companies, keeping people from spending their gambling money on off-shore sites so they can spend it right here. But wait! Aren't those the same big casino companies that drive the Vegas economy and fill up untold ad pages in the newspaper? That's pretty daring -- and consistent. And principled. Scary, huh?

EXCLUSIVE: Coco Bongo to Replace 3121 at Rio

It's only been rumored thus far, but I've confirmed in the past few days that Coco Bongo, the ultra-hot "theatrical nightclub" out of Cancun will take over the space at the Rio All-Suite Hotel-Casino currently known as 3121 where Prince has been performing since the fall and is due to quit in a few weeks.

The club, the first in the U.S., would open in November after a multimillion-dollar renovation. That will enable the place to handle the sort of eye-popping shows -- think Cirque-style acrobats, La Cage-style celeb impersonators and South Beach-style Latin music -- that Coco Bongo has become known for.

Seems like an obvious home run for Vegas -- rather than have the shows competing with the nightclubs, as Steve Wynn bemoaned in his comments at the Spamalot press event in January (hear it here) -- why not fuse the two?