Friday, October 17, 2008

The Petcast is LIVE on Saturday

We're recording another set of Petcasts on Saturday (tomorrow) from 10-11:30 a.m. PT. Join us at LVRocks.Com to hear the live shows and jump into the chat room. Here's the lineup:

10 a.m.: Marlene Richter, executive director of Noah’s Animal House, one of the nation's first animal shelters located besides a human domestic-abuse shelter.

10:30 a.m.: Emily's sister, Marcy, relates a wild hamster story and small-animals expert Debbie Widoff of Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, offers an opinion about it.

11 a.m.: Freelance journalist Abby Ellin talks about her recent New York Times Sunday Styles piece on the growing popularity of single men with cats.

See ya there!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This N That

I've been a neglectful blogger lately, mostly because I've been immersing myself in studying up for a few larger projects. But there were a few very random things I've been meaning to say. So here goes:

1. Brendan Buhler rocks. I've been meaning to say this for quite a long time now. Buhler is a staffer at the Las Vegas Sun and he almost always, consistently makes me at least smile, if not laugh out loud. In a newspaper largely devoted to a diet of in-depth pieces on politics, health, education and science, it is a relief sometimes when Buhler does one of his trademark pieces about battling with his swamp cooler, beard-trimming mania or resale graves. Sometimes he does odd topics that I also notice but would have no place to write about, such as his effort to debunk a recent ad campaign claiming to cool a house on a hair dryer's power usage. There's substance and an engaging point of view behind his writing and reporting, which is why it's not just clowning around stuff. And no, I'm NOT just saying this because this week I got to be the target of his shaming for my incorrect O.J. predictions on the Papa Joe Chevalier show. I've been tearing out a stack of Buhler pieces to mention here for months now. But, yes, it is an honor to be embarrassed by a pro.

2. A few more good things. Check out Benjamin Spillman's R-J piece on the conflict at Forum Shops over where patrons of the Poetry nightclub should be lined up. Also from Sunday, Corey Levitan did a terrific job going through the history and current circumstances of nine Old Vegas structures that somehow have averted wrecking balls. Liz Benston at the Sun had a really interesting report about how South Point has avoided laying off workers that I found refreshing amid the sea of economic-news misery we're all drowning in.

3. A few less good things. I really, really wish the R-J would stop John Przybys from doing his Entertainment Weekly knockoff feature on Sundays because, as you can see, it's unoriginal AND usually not terribly funny. (I probably shouldn't say that today because, as I recall from my days at the R-J, Przybys and I share today as our birthday, but that's how I feel. Happy birthday, though, John.) And I'm really sorry to hear that Jane Ann Morrison broke her inlay on a caramel that she says brings her, uh, "soulful satisfaction," (?!?) but wasn't she just last month moralizing about not wasting precious time and space on meaningless stories of little importance? Just sayin'. Now, Brendan Buhler might've turned that costly misfortune into something funny and socially relevant.

4. And Now, A Total Non-Sequitur. I was catching up on newspaper reading the other day and came across this question by a Dick Case of Petroleum, W. Va., asking if there are other kinds of ketchup besides the red tomato-based variety. I had no idea. Could make a good column for Jane, actually.

Show is UP: Springer-board To Vegas

Oct. 16 (a.k.a. Friessmas): Jerry Springer

You know him as the ringmaster of one of the trashiest, low-class and successful syndicated TV shows of our time, but Jerry Springer may have yet another act coming: Vegas headliner. Springer, the host of the NBC reality contest “America’s Got Talent,” gets his first taste of that Friday as the emcee for a concert at the MGM Grand featuring this season’s winner and runners-up. Also, Springer defends the virtue – yes, virtue – of his talk show.

Plus: Taking apart a nasty Vegas-bashing comment, Wynn's new eateries, hi and bye to Point Break Live, some GOOD economic news and a gay hotel-casino.


Buy tickets to see AGT finalists at MGM Grand here
America’s Got Talent site here
Jerry Springer’s site is here
More on the M blimp can be found here
Steve’s column about the gay casino is here
The good news about the Vegas economy can be found here
Read Steve’s USAT piece on Tony Curtis here
Info about Bette Midler’s appearance for Obama at Krave is here
Steve’s NYT piece about the conclusion of the eco-friendly road race is here
Wynn’s restaurant lineup can be found here
An obit for Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal from the R-J’s Benjamin Spillman is here
A Las Vegas Sun report on why Point Break Live opened and closed quickly is here
Steve’s NYT piece on the outcome of the Plaza v Plaza case is here

This Week's LVW Col: Jerry-Rigged Vegas

Merry Friessmas, everyone! Here's this week's column, which is based to some extent on the interview that is on this week's episode of "The Strip." Enjoy!

Jerry-rigged Vegas

A Springer residency here could be a huge boost


It’s not being billed as such, but there’s a concert this weekend that could very well redefine Vegas entertainment.

Okay, that’s overstating it a smidge. But the big show on Friday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena featuring newly crowned America’s Got Talent winner Neal Boyd and five of the show’s also-rans has the potential to spawn not one but two show-biz innovations that could finally move the Strip past its predictable diet of magicians, Cirque, past-their-prime vocalists and Broadway.

First, and most obviously, the success of the MGM event could reinvigorate the moribund variety-show genre in a sensational way. Thus far, America’s Got Talent has not gone the American Idol and Dancing With the Stars route with national tours featuring its top talents, and that may very well be because the correct approach to bounce off the NBC talent show’s phenomenal ratings would be to get a Vegas showroom and stage an AGT-branded show of rotating favorite acts.

This isn’t mere speculation; no less than AGT emcee Jerry Springer is working on it.

“I would love to do that, I have started some talks with them to do that,” said the 64-year-old trash-TV talk-show host, who will be here to emcee the MGM gig. “We have enough acts now in our stable that you wouldn’t have to do the same acts every night; you could work out schedules. Doing America’s Got Talent in Vegas is a natural because that is the place of variety.”

Read the rest HERE

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tony Curtis Exclusive in USA Today

Tony Curtis has a new memoir that hits shelves today, "American Prince." It's full of sex from start to finish and in my conversations with him I got him to admit he was probably a sex addict. I got to read the whole thing first and do the first print interview with him. (A steamy excerpt appears in November's Vanity Fair.) Part of the results of that is out today in USA Today. I'll be airing the rest of the provocative and in-depth interview with the film legend later this month on "The Strip." Here he is below in his backyard along Anthem Country Club overlooking the golf course and the Vegas skyline.

So Curtis is a respected artist. He has a studio where he paints. His works are in the permanent collection at NYC's MOMA, in fact. Among his projects, he spends a bit of his time retouching a blown-up publicity photo from his youth, see?

So, since I was the first to read and ask him about his book, he signed it in a special way...

Ain't that a blast?

See the USA Today piece here and stay tuned for the blockbuster interviews on "The Strip."

The Strip is LIVE tonight with JERRY SPRINGER

We're back on our normal schedule tonight, 7-8 p.m. PT at LVRocks.Com, for our live show with "America's Got Talent" host Jerry Springer chatting about the show's potential influence on Las Vegas, how his own public image has changed over the years and why he's unrepentant about the trash-TV show that made him a star. Springer emcees an "America's Got Talent" finalists concert at the MGM Grand on Friday.

Plus, hear the WHOLE nasty comment about Las Vegas from the organizer of a eco-friendly Berkeley-to-Vegas road race that concluded here yesterday. Part of the quote is in my New York Times piece today, which can be found here.

As I said, join us live at LVRocks.Com for the chat and live show or pick up the podcast in the next day or so!