Saturday, November 21, 2009

Live shows TODAY!

Join us 4-5 pm PT for two live episodes of "The Petcast" and then from 5-6 pm PT for "The Strip" featuring my interview with new Vegas headliner Frank Caliendo. Come to LVRocks.Com and listen via your smart phone and chat in the chatroom with other listeners! See ya there!

Friday, November 20, 2009

AWOL Blogger!

Sorry everyone. I've got a deadline on a pretty substantial CityCenter magazine piece to finish up in the next day or so. I'm still Tweeting aplenty because it's easy and quick, but I've just got to get this piece done so I apologize for sparse blogging.

That said, we'll still have an hour of The Petcast and an hour of The Strip tomorrow live at LVRocks.Com from 4-6 p.m. PT. I'll blog the details on that a little later today. So we're not shutting down the store. We're just, if anything, making sure the store is properly capitalized to continue operating!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Show is UP: Bill Boyd

Here's this week's show. At the end of it, Miles shouts out for your Vietnamese and Thai favorites (no Lotus of Siam, please), so go ahead and share if you wish in the comments here. Otherwise, the banter this week is especially amusing and we hope you enjoy it all. Click on the date below to make it play or right-click to save it and listen at your leisure. You can subscribe, too, (it's free!) in iTunes or in Zune.

Nov.16: Good Ol' Boyd
[Update 11/17: New link and show audio fixed -sf]

At 77, William S. Boyd could just sit back, count his money and let his children carry on his family’s casino and philanthropic legacies in Nevada. But for Boyd, retirement from running the company means being active in it in other ways, and he remains very much involved in the important decisions of Boyd Gaming. Mr. Boyd speaks to Steve this hour about halting construction of Echelon, making a play for the properties of bankrupt rival Station Casinos and old versus new Vegas.

In banter: Frank Caliendo opens, Steve bets on Cotto for a friend, WSOP ratings are flat, the Rio is NOT all suites, three popular attractions are now neighbors, crazy Bette fans attack and Jim Murren claims he listens to this show.

Links to stuff discussed:

Steve’s blog post and column on the Main Street Station walkabout
Frank Caliendo’s home page
The VegasHappensHere.Com explanation of how the MJ money was spent
Steve’s Bette Midler failure column and WSOP’s ratings drop
The new locations for the Gambler’s Book Shop and Pinball Hall of Fame
See the weird Aubrey O’Day YouTube rant after the first Peepshow performance

The VegasHappensHere.Com rant against the wrap on The Harmon
The first CityCenter pictorial on the blog
The latest from the R-J’s Howard Stutz on the Boyd-Station tussle
The Dave Berns chat on KNPR with Bob Arum about maybe-gay UFC

This week's LVW col: After The Flop

Here's this week's LVW col. Let's see if the poker peeps can muster the shock and awe that Batsh*t Bette fans did. -sf

After the Flop
Poker's time in the sun may have come and gone, if recent ratings are any indication By STEVE FRIESS

If there were ever a year when the World Series of Poker should have enjoyed a renewed boost, it was 2009. The stars had aligned in every conceivable way, and grandiose predictions seemed warranted.

“This is going to be the most-watched Final Table in history,” legend Phil Hellmuth predicted to me before it took place in two spurts on November 7 and 9.

And I believed him. It certainly made sense. Alas, he was wrong.

After all the noise in recent weeks about the conclusion of the 40th WSOP Main Event—the $10,000 Buy-In No-Limit Texas Hold ’Em tournament viewed as the pinnacle of the game’s prestige—virtually nobody bothered to report the outcome that actually mattered. TV ratings for the two-hour Final Table broadcast on ESPN on November 10 were actually down from the 2008 broadcast. The difference was nominal—this year’s show drew about 1.8 million viewers, and last year’s drew 1.9 million—but still, down is not up. Worse yet, ESPN says the 2009 ratings for the 31-telecast, 15-week season had a 1.0 share, which was even with the 2008 season.

All of which invites this important question: Now can we say that poker has plateaued in the United States?

This notion is one that makes World Series of Poker bosses groan. Skeptical journalists have long been taking note of poker’s relative weakness versus its white-hot years, 2003-2006, when poker TV shows were all the rage and Internet poker blossomed into one of the universe’s all-time most profitable enterprises. In 2006, when 8,773 players entered the World Series of Poker’s Main Event and the top prize hit $12 million, there seemed nothing that could slow the game’s stampede into the hearts and minds of American popular culture.

Poker overlords like to note that Congress put the kibosh on poker’s growth by passing a law in the fall of 2006 severely restricting the ability of most Americans to easily put money into their online poker accounts. This certainly is true and did result in a dramatic drop the following year in WSOP Main Event entrants. In fact, in the three years since, that figure has yet to top even 7,000.

That’s all well and good, but that does not explain the waning interest in watching poker on TV, and it is only via TV that tournament poker can become anything more than a peripheral part of mainstream American culture. Why would one’s inability to play online reduce one’s interest in following the pros? If poker wants to be compared to the big sports leagues, don’t they know that the vast majority of people who watch the NFL or NBA don’t actually play football or basketball?

Read the rest at LasVegasWeekly.Com.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How We Spent the Michael Jackson Benefit $$$

That 2.5-minute report was KVBC's Hetty Chang breaking news of some of what we're doing with the money we raised from "Las Vegas Celebrates The Music of Michael Jackson" at the Palms. Now I'm going to provide a fuller explanation.

First, I'm a wee bit bummed to say that after expenses were factored in, Erich Bergen and I actually did not hit the $100,000 mark I had hoped, believed and said we had. We're still waiting for the check from the concession sellers, but when it's all done we'll have raised a little bit more than $96,000. There were a couple of expenses that I wasn't aware of when I made the previous estimate, but that's just a function of we show-producing newbies having so much to do pulling this off that we didn't always remember to tell one another about some costs.

There's still the potential for more proceeds once we edit and package the DVD version sometime early next year and small donations come in every so often via our site VegasLovesMJ.Com. And, as previously stated, any credible journalist who wishes to review our records, including receipts, is more than welcome to contact me.

To answer one question that had been asked, though, nobody from the Jackson family received a dime for anything. Per union rules we did have to pay the members of our band, but every other performer on the Pearl stage appeared for free. Also, neither Erich nor I received a thin cent of compensation unless you count the box of leftover T-shirts in my garage, and the records we submitted for reimbursement held by the Clark County Public Education Foundation prove this. The money from our various revenue sources -- concessions, tickets, the Paypal donation account and the Moonwalker screening -- goes directly to them and then has been disbursed when we provided receipts and two members of the CCPEF board review them.

All that said, we DID raise $96,000! And here, after some meetings, is what we decided to do with it:

* 30 percent goes to the Artists 4 Kidz program, a partnership between the CCPEF and entertainer Clint Holmes that pairs aspiring student performers to be mentored by professional singers, dancers, musicians and actors of which there are so many in Las Vegas. That's about $28,000.

* $5,000 goes to pay to bring the Canadian group Barrage to perform at Sierra Vista High on April 7 for a concert for which several schools will be selling tickets. The schools keep the proceeds from the tickets and, since past years' shows of similar type have raised as much as $8,000, this arrangement allows our funds to grow. All proceeds of that ticket sales must go to music education programs, per our original edict.

* Eleven schools will receive $2,500 grants for their music departments to use buying instruments, risers, sheet music and whatever else they need. If the principals commit a matching $2,500, then we will give them another $2,500. It's a way to give principals, who have so many demands for discretionary funds, an incentive to push some of it this way. Those schools are Robison Middle School, Monaco Middle School, Findlay Middle School, Cashman Middle School, Swainston Middle School, Knudson Middle School, Cram Middle School, Lyon Middle School, Brown Middle School, Bonanza High and Desert Oasis High. That's $60,000 and, so far as I've heard, all principals are meeting the challenge.

We held back a small bit of the money just in case there are further expenses. In a few months, we'll give that to a 12th school if there's enough. Rick McEnaney, the director of secondary fine arts for the CCSD, chose those schools based on need and provided us with lengthy explanations for each pick.

As Hetty's KVBC report shows, the needs in this district are dire. It is so gratifying to be able to put on a show that Norm Clarke declared the best in Vegas this year and to do actual, tangible good at the same time.