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There's Magic in the Vegas Air

David Copperfield unveils his new slot machine at MGM Grand
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David Copperfield performed some “reel” magic in the middle of the casino of the MGM Grand when he unveiled his latest adventure – one that can make money appear (or disappear, as the case may be) right before your very eyes with just the slight motion of a hand. Now you see it -- and it's great fun.

The famed illusionist is truly on a roll, so to speak, thanks to Bally Technologies, which took 30 years of his illusions and incorporated them into The Magic of David Copperfield signature slot machine. David was joined by Bally Technologies Vice President of Product Management and Licensing, Jean Vennimen as he whisked away a black curtain, behind which the bank of slot machines stood. These machines at the MGM Grand are the very first in the state of Nevada. The slots took two years to create and there are things happening all around a player, including bonuses such as Levitation Games and Flying Free Games. The jackpot started at $2.5 million

Afterwards, David, who is the resident headliner in the MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theater joined the media at a private party in Whiskey Down off the casino floor where he chatted with individual press members, answered some questions, and joined in some food and libation. David’s looking marvelous, by the way. He told me that he was happy to be part of the collaboration with Bally Technologies and that the company did the entire technical part – he didn’t have to create any new principles of magic for gaming!

Steve Rossi, whom I had known for nearly 30 years, may be gone but that didn’t stop him from getting a standing ovation at his own funeral service. The applause was led by his 50-year partner Marty Allen – together they had comprised the comedy team of Allen and Rossi, one of the most loved and successful comedy teams of all time. Allen and Rossi were introduced to each other by the legendary Nat King Cole and began their performing relationship and friendship in the 60s. Known for his signature “Hello Dere” greeting, Allen introduced himself to the church congregation that way and then went on to talk about Steve and his contribution to his friends and to the world of entertainment and asked everyone to stand up and applaud him. There was a lot of humor in Allen’s tribute, as was very befitting. Although Rossi played straight man to Allen’s troll doll-haired zany humor, Steve had a great sense of humor himself.

Among the other celebrities present at the service were Rich Little, Frankie Scinta, Lance Burton, Carrot Top, Clint Holmes, Kelly Clinton, and Nelson Sardelli -- Rich and Nelson were pallbearers. Rich also gave a funny speech immortalizing the man he called his best friend, noting that they were joined at the hip and that they had the same sense of humor. “I was going to call Steve and ask him how I could make this tribute to him funnier,” he said, “but then I realized that I didn’t know the area code.” Rich also told some funny stories about how Steve had to always have a newspaper and never missed mass on Sunday, no matter where he was. Rich ended his tribute by saying, “Steve’s not gone; he’s just out looking for a newspaper.”

Frankie Scinta also gave his tribute as did Steve’s daughter, Gina, and his stepdaughter, Tiffany, the daughter of Steve’s widow, Karma. Steve’s granddaughter, 19-year-old Gabriela, the daughter of Steve’s son, Dean, sang a beautiful rendition of the song “Smile.” The most poignant moment, however, came when the pallbearers brought the casket up the aisle to the church lobby as Clint Holmes sang a heartfelt version of the song “More,” which was Steve’s one big hit song. It brought many to tears, including Rich and Nelson.

Unfortunately, those who planned the service did not leave time for all the tributes and, although we were told that they were going to last at least 45 minutes, they were cut short. Much to the family’s dismay, one that was left out was from Steve’s 46-year friend, international superstar Engelbert Humperdinck, who was unable to attend the service. Ironically, Steve and Karma had met in Engelbert’s dressing room through Karma’s daughter, Tiffany, who was friends with Engelbert’s sons, Scott and Bradley. Steve was an often seen presence backstage, wearing one of his brightly colored shirts, his big cowboy hat and his western boots, cracking jokes with Engelbert, who is also very witty and has a marvelous sense of humor. Engelbert wrote a beautiful tribute to his friend who, among other things, was known for his love of buffets and golf.

Engelbert said: “It was 1968 when Steve first walked into my life so it makes it hard to sum up a friendship and bid farewell in a few short words. Like any good friends, we always picked up where we left off so let me do that now.

Steve, I know you hear me…I’m not sure if you are listening because you are already working on your next line but I had 46 years of banter with you. Your talent was extraordinary. I was always happy to be the straight guy to your heckling whenever you came to see my show. I was the straight guy’s straight guy!!!

Your wit was remarkable and hard to keep up with but I always enjoyed the challenge. Tennis and golf and dinner with you were welcome ‘Moments in Time’ that always brought a smile. The backstage door was always open to you and it is very hard to imagine you not walking through it, my friend.

I know…I know…you got a better gig…a bigger backstage door with a lot more gold and a better buffet. You always fit in anywhere and with anyone so I know you are a most welcome addition. Keep an eye on us, Pal. Love you.” Your Friend, Engelbert

Speaking of legends, folks will have a chance to spend an evening at The Mirage Hotel & Casino with one of cinema’s most riveting stars, Al Pacino, when he brings his “Pacino: One Night Only” show to Las Vegas Saturday, Aug. 16. Pacino’s will share his passion for acting and directing in an up-close-and-personal setting in the Terry Fator Theatre. With an enduring devotion to acting, Pacino is one of film and theatre’s most respected players and a beloved actor to cinema fans worldwide. The evening will explore his life beginning in the 1960s when he performed Off-Broadway and will follow his iconic career to present day. The show will include previously untold stories and never-before-seen clips as well as offering guests the rare chance to speak directly with Pacino during an audience question-and-answer session.

LIPSHTICK—THE PERFECT SHADE OF STANDUP is set to debut at The Venetian Las Vegas this July with a lineup of fabulous female comedians. The unprecedented comedy series will kick off with weekend performances from headlines including Wendy Williams, Heather McDonald, Iliza Shlesinger, and Rita Rudner inside The Sands Showroom

The witty Kathy Griffin recently announced her return to the Aces of Comedy lineup at The Mirage Saturday, Aug. 9.

Comedian Ray Romano will return to the Terry Fator Theatre with four new 2014 show dates Sept. 19 – 20 and Nov. 14 – 15, bringing audiences his signature comedic style. Romano is a talented actor and stand-up comedian best known for his Emmy-winning sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and, more recently as the voice of Manny in the Ice Age franchise.

On Monday, July 21, Jubilee at Bally’s Las Vegas, the longest-running show on the famous Las Vegas Strip and the last remaining showgirl production of its kind, is holding auditions for female and male dancers and singers. An entertainment legend in itself, Jubilee has outlasted every showgirl production—and every Las Vegas show in history—since its 1981 debut. Jubilee maintains the glitz and glamour of a classic Vegas revue flocked in feathers and rhinestones. It’s truly a Sin City showgirl institution. Male Dancers: 10 a.m. Female Dancers and Showgirls: Noon. Male and Female Singers: 2 p.m. Callbacks: 4 p.m.

The dazzling Green Fairy, Melody Sweets, from the Strip’s “Best Adult Show” ABSINTHE at Caesars Palace will host a Wild Wild West Burlesque show on Tuesday, July 22 at 10:30 p.m. at the ABSINTHE Spiegeltent. In celebration of the premiere of her latest music video “Shoot ‘em Up,” featured on Sweets’ debut album Burlesque in the Black, fans get an exclusive look at the tantalizing video and a night of sultry and seductive Wild West burlesque. Revelers can also enjoy special guest appearances by the ABSINTHE cast as they’ve never seen them before, including The Gazillionaire and Penny Pibbets performing as Cowboy Summerlin Sam and his trusty steed Phallus.

VIVA VERACRUZ! THE SHOW, a journey through the enchanted folklore of Veracruz, Mexico will be making its American premiere on the Las Vegas Strip in the PH Showroom inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Monday, July 28. An amazing adventure told with spectacular dance and music, traditional and modern elements, artisanal handicrafts and cutting-edge technology, VIVA VERACRUZ! THE SHOW was commissioned by the state government of Veracruz, Mexico. Produced by renowned Mexican producer Luis De Llano-Stevens and Alex Esqueda, VIVA VERACRUZ! THE SHOW creates a remarkable stage production as an homage to the “Son Jarocho” or folklore, songs, music and dance of Veracruz. The music is a combination of original compositions and traditional songs such as the world-famous “La Bamba.” Salsa, Danzon, contemporary dance and, of course, Jarocho, the original Veracruz dance, confront each other, resulting in a beautiful combination of cultures and traditions.

Pop legend Lance Bass enjoyed an Independence Day celebration at FIZZ, the lavish new champagne lounge at Caesars Palace, fashioned by Creative Director David Furnish. The former *NSYNC heartthrob, alongside fiancé Michael Turchin, arrived at FIZZ shortly after 6:30 p.m. before heading to see Celine Dion perform at the nearby Colosseum. The couple sipped Ruinart Rose at FIZZ’s exclusive “Owner’s Office,” a private VIP table on the upper level. The duo was seen admiring FIZZ’s award-winning design and the personal art collection of Furnish and Sir Elton John that adorns the walls throughout the venue. Bass and Turchin enjoyed the luxurious hotspot so much that they returned after the show for a Luc Belaire Rose nightcap.

American actress and producer, Vivica A. Fox, dined at TREVI Italian Restaurant inside The Forum Shops at Caesars last week with two friends. The group enjoyed sharing Executive Chef Peter Scaturro’s shrimp and pesto pizza, fettuccine carbonara and a Caesar salad while sipping on chardonnay. Fox, who is set to star in the upcoming season of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” has visited TREVI numerous times before and commented: “Every time I’m in town, I come here.”

More than 125,000 meatballs, 25,000 gallons of marinara, 1,200 Titanic sundaes and 14,800 pounds of garlic is the recipe for a successful first year and many wow moments for Carmine’s in The Forum Shops at Caesars. These numbers are no surprise for the family-style restaurant that serves up gigantic portions with dishes that feed four to six people. Throughout the month of July, the Carmine’s is inviting Las Vegas locals and visitors to join in the party for their first anniversary. After 365 days of dishing out family-style feasts for birthdays, weddings, conventions and more, the West Coast incarnation of the iconic New York eatery is celebrating with exclusive offers, events and bubbly.

RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT has announced that bassist Hugh McDonald has joined its official lineup at LVH – LAS VEGAS HOTEL & CASINO. The esteemed musician, best known for his longtime work with Bon Jovi, has also performed throughout his career with music icons including Alice Cooper, Ringo Starr, and more.

Having toured and performed to sold-out venues across the globe over the last 28 years, comedian Jeff Dunham will be calling Las Vegas his exclusive home with the announcement of his residency show “JEFF DUNHAM: Not Playing with a Full Deck” opening Friday, Nov. 28 at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. The show is produced by AEG Live. Joining Dunham on stage in his new Las Vegas home is his famed troupe of sidekicks: Walter the Grumpy Retiree, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, redneck Bubba J, the manic purple creature Peanut, the spicy pepper from south of the border José Jalapeño, and Peanut’s own ventriloquist dummy Little Jeff, a mini-version of the ringmaster himself. They may have all been conceived and hand crafted by Dunham, but his characters, who are anything but dummies, have now taken on a life of their own, each with their own legion of fans.

The “MJ Live” show at the Rio is going strong – 14 shows a week strong. Press was treated to the show’s second anniversary celebration last week in which a performer named Jallas, who is from Brazil, displayed his amazing right-on vocals, mannerisms, dancing, and facial expressions of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. His performance was mind-blowing as he performed one MJ song after another surrounded by fabulous musicians and energetic dancers. Because of the number of shows every week, there are actually four entertainers who rotate as Jackson. We can only assume that the other three are wonderful as well. The show is produced by Dick Feeney and Darin Feinstein and before the show, the media was able to mingle with the cast and Feeney and Feinstein as well at the new El Dorado Cantina Restaurant, which is conjoined with the Sapphire Club on Industrial Road but has its own entrance. If you enjoy authentic (and spicy Mexican food, Sangrias and other liquid fare, this is the place for you!

PAWN SHOP LIVE! is set to debut a completely reworked version of the show on Mon., July 14 in the Starlite Theatre at the Riviera Hotel & Casino. It is called  PAWN SHOP LIVE! - The Lost Episode and is a gritty new comedy based on the History channel's popular series Pawn Stars. Written by actor/comedian Howie Gold. PAWN SHOP LIVE! – The Lost Episode follows a day in the life of Rick, Corey, Chumlee and the Old Man as they encounter insane customers, street people and sleazy agents while trying to shoot their pilot episode. With original video clips featuring the actual “Pawn Stars” themselves, the show is a multimedia event.

On Saturday, July 12, Rick Michel will present his “Sinatra Forever” show that focuses totally on the music of Frank Sinatra in the M Pavilion at the M Resort Spa Casino. He will salute and interpret the songs of “Ol’ Blue Eyes” backed by a 24-piece orchestra. Variety called Michel “the closest thing to Sinatra we have ever heard.”

Performance art has been an important part of acclaimed Cuban contemporary artist residing in Las Vegas Angel Delgado, and on Thursday, July 17, from 6-9 p.m., the Amanda Harris Gallery of Contemporary Art will host a video presentation of select performances from his career.As part of the event, Delgado will also discuss his inspiration and commitment to performance art with the attendees. Delgado’s “Constancy” exhibit opened last month at the Amanda Harris Gallery. Inspired by the months Delgado was imprisoned in Cuba for a controversial performance art piece in 1990, the works examine the unique materials available to prisoners with limited access to supplies. The pieces include carved soap blocks, drawings on handkerchiefs and paintings. Delgado’s impressive work is largely based on the limitations, restrictions, prohibitions and controls that are frequently imposed on human beings in society.

The Texas Tenors will bring their country roots and classical sound to the Suncoast Showroom July 26 and 27.The classical crossover trio vocal group was formed in 2009 and showcased their talents on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” winning over the hearts and votes of millions of viewers. The Texas Tenors finished as a top four finalist in the fourth season of “America's Got Talent,” making them the highest-ranking vocal group in the show's history.

Continuing his record-breaking 55th consecutive year as a Las Vegas headliner, internationally renowned comedian, actor and entertainer Don Rickles is set to perform at The Orleans Showroom August 16 and 17. Having earned the nicknames “The Merchant of Venom” and “Mr. Warmth,” (the latter coined affectionately bestowed on him by Johnny Carson), Rickles’ style of comedyr is never mean-spirited and is all part of his act. It has been said that being “zinged” by Rickles is like “wearing a badge of honor.”

In May, Rickles was honored on SPIKE TV’s One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles, featuring luminaries from the world of comedy, television and the silver screen, including MuBill Cosby, Robert DeNiro, Johnny Depp, Tina Fey, Brad Garrett, Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman, Tracy Morgan, Eddie Murphy, Bob Newhart, Regis Philbin, Amy Poehler, Ray Romano, Martin Scorsese, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, and Brian Williams.

Your Vegas vacation may just end up being the latest reality show on TV! Las Vegas: The Game, nightlife experiences designed to prank your friends, which appropriately made its debut on April 1, April Fool’s Day, is now under contract with Langley Productions to secure a reality television show. Changing the way Vegas visits are done, Las Vegas: The Game specializes in a unique brand of scripted reality that has garnered praise from clients and media alike. Recognition by USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post, among others, has led to several television production companies, including Langley, to take notice of Las Vegas: The Game to develop a reality show.

Led by self-proclaimed wise guys Chad Hardy and Justin Oswald, Las Vegas: The Game designs interactive nightlife experiences for clients by targeting an entire group or an unsuspecting individual, and scripting an outlandish evening or entire weekend that promises to deliver an unforgettable Sin City story. Guests are advised to expect the unexpected, and ultimately enjoy a front-row seat to organized chaos where they are the stars of the production. The reality program plans to showcase the team’s outrageous pranks and to give viewers a behind-the-scenes perspective while featuring the clients and characters who make the magic happen.

Jamie Lynn Spears, former teen actress, is now focusing her career on country music with a performance at Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall and Bar-B-Que at Treasure Island Las Vegas on July 14 at 8 p.m. There is no cover charge to attend the performance. Throughout July Gilley’s patrons, including those attending Spears’ concert, have a chance to win tickets, airfare, hotel accommodations and more to the Budweiser Made in America Festival in Philadelphia, August 30 and 31. The festival line up includes Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Tiesto, The National, Steve Aoki and Pharrell Williams.

Miss Nevada Teen USA Alexa Taylor is set to compete for the title and crown of Miss Teen USA at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas on Saturday, Aug. 2. The Miss Teen USA competition comes on the heels of the Miss USA pageant, in which her “sister queen,” Miss Nevada USA Nia Sanchez, won. Since Sanchez is the first Nevada queen to ever bring home the Miss USA crown, Taylor is now gearing up to be the first Miss Nevada Teen USA to take home the national crown.

The Paula Nelson Band brings soulful vocals and their signature Americana sound to the Suncoast Showroom August 15. Surrounded by music royalty at a young age, Nelson was inspired to begin a singing career by high profile artists including Leon Russell, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newberry, Jesse Colter, Rita Coolidge, and her talented father, Willie Nelson. Nelson started singing and playing the piano at the age of seven.

Daryl Hall and John Oates, the duo that inspired a generation of today’s greatest rock bands, will make their first ever stop at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. The show is jointly presented by Caesars Palace and AEG Live. Daryl Hall and John Oates are the number one selling duo in music history! 2014 is a big year for Daryl Hall and John Oates, as they just got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Starting out as two devoted disciples of earlier soul greats, Daryl Hall and John Oates are soul survivors in their own right. They have become such musical influences on some of today’s popular artists that the Sept. 2006 cover of Spin Magazine’s headline read: “Why Hall and Oates are the New Velvet Underground.”

Television actor, Erik Estrada, dined at Tacos & Tequila at Luxor Hotel and Casino with his wife, daughters and friends for dinner on Saturday night.Estrada and his family enjoyed guacamole, chips and salsa, beef flautas, tortilla soup, shrimp tacos and T&T's famous alambre tacos prepared by Executive Chef Saul Ortiz. To wash down their meal the group sipped on virgin mojitos.

Las Vegas headliner Rita Rudner was spotted checking out Blue Man Group at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino on Saturday, June 28. The famous comedian stopped backstage following the show where she struck a pose with cast members during a private VIP meet-and-greet.

Showman Tony Sacca is making a return engagement at Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center presenting “Tony Sacca: A Celebration of Songs” with the 10-piece Michael T ensemble orchestra on Saturday, July 19 at 7 p.m. His first appearance at Cabaret Jazz in March drew outstanding reviews.

Following a successful engagement late last year, actress, singer-songwriter and musician Melissa Manchester returns to the Suncoast Showroom August 9 and 10.

Caesars Entertainment announced its newest property today, unveiling The LINQ Hotel & Casino as the latest addition to its portfolio of iconic Las Vegas resorts. Located at the heart of Center Strip at 3535 Las Vegas Boulevard, the LINQ Hotel & Casino is a complete re-imagination of the current Quad Resort & Casino. The Las Vegas hotel will feature 2,256 brand new rooms and suites, a completely renovated welcome experience built around a signature lobby bar, all new retail and spa amenities and a dynamic new pool deck to deliver an entirely new guest experience. Combined with the world’s largest observation wheel, the High Roller, and The LINQ retail, dining and entertainment promenade, The LINQ Hotel & Casino is set to become the new social center of Las Vegas and will welcome its first guests beginning on Oct. 30, 2014.

Celebrity Chef Kerry Simon can now welcome Las Vegans “home” with the new Carson Kitchen, officially open inside the old John. E Carson Hotel at 124 South 6th St. in Downtown Las Vegas. Chef Simon partnered with restaurateur, Cory Harwell, and executive chef, Matt Andrews, to combine worldly gourmet flavors with the hip vibe of Downtown and an infusion of his own signature personality. Carson Kitchen uses locally-based ingredients to create an approachable menu, with all items under $20, along with a comprehensive drink collection of small-batch brews, global wines and microbrewed old-school sodas.

“Gotta Dance: A Tribute To…Life!” a new stage extravaganza celebrating dance through the years, is presented a World Premiere showcase July 2 and 3, 2014, at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in the Troesh Studio Theatre, presented by The HAND Company, directed and choreographed by Giulio Scatola, and produced by Steve Hand, with production design by Emmy Award winner, Andy Walmsley and music produced by Josh Connolly.

“Gotta Dance: A Tribute To…Life!” is about the uncontrollable urge to move and freely express yourself as you find rhythm and music in everything that surrounds you,” says director/choreographer Giulio Scatola. “It could be a song or an unexpected beat pulsing from ordinary, everyday sounds – from a machine engine hum to the sound of raindrops on the roof. As you liberate yourself through movement, you find connections with the vibrations of life and the people you come in contact with in a timeless celebration of who you are and who we all are!”

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal put Vegas into a frenzy last week as he made his official debut as DJ Diesel behind the turntables at Chateau Nightclub & Rooftop.Shaq arrived shortly after 1 a.m. with an entourage of friends who were ready to party at the Strip-side venue. Fans were in awe of the towering four-time NBA champion as he greeted the crowd and posed for photos on the club’s Rooftop. When asked about the future of his DJ career, DJ Shaq Diesel replied, “I would love to do a Vegas residency.”

L Makeup Institute, the newly expanded makeup artistry educational academy, announces its free consumer workshop series for the summer and fall seasons. Open to the public and touching on a wide variety of topics, the workshops will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. the first Saturday of every month and will be led by professional artists. The workshop series comes in conjunction with the institute’s recent retail area expansion which allows the general public access to brands previously available only to professional makeup artists. Consumers will have the opportunity to purchase brands featured in the workshops and educators will be on hand to assist with advice and questions. Spaces are limited. To reserve a spot call 702.685.9298.

Sam Villa’s HairShow Blowout Bar located inside LOOK Style Society is offering first-time Nevada residents a complimentary blowout now through Sunday, Aug. 31. The relaxing service includes a shampoo, invigorating scalp massage and personalized style. Additionally, guests who book a second blowout during check out will receive 50 percent off that service.

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens debuted its summer display on June 19, just in time for the first official day of the season. Celebrate summer in the cool 69-degree Conservatory with an array of colorful finches and canaries as they flutter inside a New England style open glass green house. An oversized tree with a tree house atop is a sight to see with larger-than-life birds made of organic materials including natural seeds alongside custom designed kites suspended overhead. On either side of the tree house, life-size horses gallop through dancing sunflowers and vibrant blossoming buds. Live harp and saxophone performances take place nightly from 5 - 6 p.m. A total of 83,000 fresh flowers including hydrangeas, bougainvillea, and sunflowers will be placed on display throughout the duration of the exhibit. On view through September 7, the summer display within Bellagio’s Conservatory is complimentary to the public and open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Dance crews and megacrews from more than 40 nations will showcase their dance skills to capture the world title and international bragging rights during the World Hip Hop Dance Championships at the Orleans Arena on Sunday, August 10. The highest-ranking crews will command the stage for the World Championship event that has been referred to as “the Olympics of Hip Hop Dance.” Last year, the Rockwell Family from Canada took home the top prize. In addition, various performers are set to entertain the audience in between competition rounds. Special guest and “America’s Best Dance Crew” judge Lil Mama is set to perform. Along with a crew of dancers, the actress and rapper will deliver a high energy excerpt of her “Foundation's Brick Nation” project, sampling the visual elements of Janet Jackson's iconic “Rhythm Nation” to promote fitness and good health through dance, music and the arts.


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