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A New Year, A New Entertainment Scene

Imagine Dragon frontman Dan Reynolds, his wife Aja, and two performers from KA at the MGM Grand
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Photo by Judy Thorburn

On Thursday, March 8, in the KA Theatre at the MGM Grand, the frontman of the Grammy Award-winning group Imagine Dragons, Dan Reynolds, dared to imagine what the world would be like if he could help slay the fire-breathing beast of derision and unacceptance. Reynolds, a Mormon and the executive producer of a Live Nation documentary called “Believer,” which will air, on HBO in June 2018, attended a special VIP screening of the project with his wife, Aja, along with the film’s director, Don Argott, and others, including entertainer Carrot Top. The moving documentary chronicles a very personal year in Reynolds' life as he risks his relationships with his faith, family and fans to stand up for what he believes in –that we should all be loved and accepted for who we are.

At the root of the issue is the spurning of LBGT members of the church, by the church, due to their sexual orientation. Since 2008, teen suicides have skyrocketed, which many people attribute to the church’s unyielding stance on same -sex marriages. Director Argott follows Dan and openly gay former Mormon Tyler Glenn, lead singer of Neon Trees, as they decide to create LoveLoud, a music and spoken-word festival designed to spark dialogue between the church and members of the LBGTQ community.

Las Vegas residents Dan and Aja, the parents of a beautiful 4-year-old girl and infant twin daughters, walked the red carpet and took questions from the press. Dan also took questions after the screening. I asked him if he had been threatened in any way by the church as others who had stood up against them had been and were actually excommunicated. He said that it was hard not to let himself go there in his head but that all that mattered to him were his relationships with his friends and family. He then mused that excommunication would be a PR nightmare for the church.

“I’m still a Mormon,” he said. “I’m just a unique Mormon."

The documentary is very well done and definitely worth watching.

It’s two for the show over at the Westgate as beloved acclaimed entertainers Clint Holmes and Earl Turner take the stage together every Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. “SOUNDTRACK: Your Songs. Our Stories. The Show” is based on the music of our lives, past and present, with music that makes us reminisce along with the music of some of today’s great contemporary artists, including Michael Jackson, Al Green, Bruno Mars and Blake Shelton. This high-energy performance will pay tribute to musical greats such as Stevie Wonder and Prince, as well as Las Vegas legends, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., and composer Irving Berlin.

Earl and Clint combine their unique energy, voices, humor and life experiences to bring new life to the music that makes up the soundtracks of our lives backed up by a live eight-piece band and the musical direction of Christian Tamburr, a three-time Down Beat Magazine Music Award winner. Whether on the stage solo or complementing one another, these artists bring back a feeling of “old Vegas.” The show also highlights female vocalist Serena Henry, whose credits include performing with Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson.

While much of the country is still bundling up against the cool weather, Playboy and global nightlife leader TAO Group are heralding the return of their ultimate pool party series in Las Vegas, two months early this year. Playboy Fridays at TAO Beach kicked-off on March 16 and will continue every Friday through spring and summer this year, culminating on Labor Day weekend, Friday, August 31. Every Friday, TAO Beach will be transformed into the World of Playboy, complete with Playboy Bunny servers, Playmate hosts and Playboy-inspired poolside cabanas, with a lineup of the hottest DJs and dayclub experiences that only Playboy and TAO Group can provide.

Clark County Parks and Recreation will kick off summer with their annual Jazz in the Park Concert Series, which celebrates its 29th year. This year, the free series will feature Ghost-Note (featuring Nate and Sput from the multi Grammy Award-winning Band Snarky Puppy) on May 12, Bill Frisell feat. Trio Tony Scherr & Kenny Wollesen on May 19, Diane Schuur on May 26, The Groove Project featuring Marcus Anderson, Oli Silk and JJ Sansaverino on June 2, and Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers on June 16. Seating for those with picnic baskets, blankets, and low-back chairs will begin at 5 p.m. with performances beginning as early as 6:30 p.m. at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway. Food and drinks will be available on site. Admission and parking are free.

Deana Martin returns to the South Point Showroom for her second edition of, The Deana Martin Celebrity Roast honoring “The Man of the Hour” – world-renowned actor, producer, writer and director, Joe Mantegna on Sunday, April 15 at 6 p.m. Following a sold-out roast honoring Dennis Bono in 2017, Deana Martin will continue her father’s legacy by recreating “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast,” which ran on NBC between 1974 to 1984. Joe Mantegna, best known for his role as David Rossi in the CBS hit-series “Criminal Minds,” is the Man of the Hour, and will have his life and career roasted by a variety of special celebrity guests. In addition, Mantegna is known for roles in box office hits including “Three Amigos,” “The Godfather Part III” and “Up Close & Personal.”

Two of the hottest stars from 2017’s "So You Think You Can Dance," FOX’s hit summer competition series, are joining Maks, Val & Peta, the sensations from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” on their brand-new tour, “Maks, Val & Peta Live on Tour: Confidential.” The tour will stop at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas on May 16. Tickets start at just $35.50 with a limited number of prime seating VIP meet and greet tickets available. Chris “Kiki” Nyemchek and Koine “Koko” Iwasaki, finalists from Season 14 of the Emmy Award-winning “So You Think You Can Dance,” are hitting the stage with Maks, Val, and Peta and a dazzling cast of the industry’s best dancers in this highly anticipated new show. The tour, launching March 19, will see this extraordinary group conquer 49 cities in America, with a spectacular dance show driven by a narrative of true love, family and stories that up until now, have remained confidential.

 The sizzling cast and crew of Las Vegas’ newest production, INFERNO, brought the heat to Paris Las Vegas with its opening night celebration. Utilizing a dazzling display of pyrotechnics from the minds behind the Super Bowl, Coachella, and more, the crowd was wowed by Merlin Award-winning illusionist Joe Labero and the fiery Fuel Girls as they brought the packed house to their feet with a dangerously alluring performance.

Labero, a four-time Merlin Award winner and “illusionist of the decade” who has performed for sold out arenas globally, is the heart of INFERNO, in which he uses his mind-bending magic to tame nature’s most powerful element through all-new jaw-dropping illusions. The Fuel Girls, just off Fall Out Boy’s UK Tour, dazzle with huge fire props, including flaming swords and whips, crowns of fire, arena-scale pyro rings, dragon canes, pyro staffs and spinning fire cubes, performing in and around while manipulating the fire itself in death-defying floor and aerial acts.

On Saturday, March 3, Rí Rá Las Vegas held their seventh annual St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser where participants went bald all to raise more than $10,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation that is dedicated to fighting childhood cancer. This year, 24 people went under the buzzer in an effort to raise funds for the cause. To date, Rí Rá Las Vegas has raised over $100,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. This year, Las Vegas Lights FC players Joel Huiqui and Juan Herrera served as the celebrity head shavers, taking their shot at being a professional hairdresser for the afternoon.

Rap pioneers and forefathers of flow, Eric B. and Rakim, along with special guest Yo-Yo harness the funk and soul of ’80s New York hip-hop in The Technique Tour coming to House of Blues Las Vegas on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

Comedy Magician Adam London will co-host the Brookman Elementary School Weekend of Reading Celebration. The weekend celebration kicked off on Friday, March 9 when students and staff attempted to break a Guinness World Record by laying 62,000 feet of pipe cleaner chain out on the school grounds. The links represented each book the students read and tested on with an 80 percent comprehension or better from August 2017 to March 2018. If successful, this will be Bookman's second Guinness World Record that is reading-related. On Saturday Adam hosted his monthly "I Give A Duck" celebration at the D Las Vegas. All proceeds from Laughternoon ticket sales on March 10 went back to Bookman Elementary School to help support their library and reading endeavors.

For the first time in a decade, the World Men’s Curling Championship will return to the United States at Orleans Arena on March 31 – April 8, bringing talented curling teams from around the world, including Sweden’s Olympic Curling Team, which took home the silver medal during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This year’s Championship follows the historic first-time gold medal-win by the U.S. Men’s Curling Team in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, giving fans an opportunity to experience the international sensation of curling in Las Vegas. A total of 13 teams from the European Zone, Americas Zone and Pacific-Asia Zone will compete for the championship title. Each participating team will play 12 games during the seven-day round-robin portion, followed by a playoff round featuring the top six teams. From there, the teams will be pared down to a medal round for the final four. The crowning of the new world champions will take place on Sunday, April 8.

A supped-up drum tempo combined with island chords and atypical guitar riffs will blend together for the perfect beachside musical cocktail. Hailing from Oceanside, Calif., progressive math rock group Chon brings their jam session sound to House of Blues Las Vegas in their headlining 2018 North American Tour along with Polyphia, TTNG, and Tricot on May 24

Rachel Lindsay, the most recent bachelorette to star on ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” dined at MB Steak at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas recently. She was joined by a group of friends, who were also former contestants of “The Bachelor” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” including Astrid Loch, Raven Gates, Kristina Schulman, Alexis Waters, Danielle Lombard and Jasmine Goode.Dressed in chic attire for a night out in Vegas, the reality stars were in town celebrating Loch’s 28th birthday.

Chef Stephen Sullivan, the accomplished Executive Pastry Chef at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” at the 29th Annual U.S. Pastry Competition on Sunday, March 4, 2018. Held in New York City at the 2018 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, Chef Stephen showcased eight signature desserts, a plated dessert and a custom-made show piece made of chocolate. The 2018 showpiece theme was “The Great Race,” meaning competitors’ inspiration was derived from recognized forms of race, including car racing, swimming, horse racing, running, cycling and boating.

GRAMMY Award-nominated and legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli has announced his return to the U.S. for a seven-city tour. Timed around the release of an exciting new project, fans can catch the Maestro when he makes a stop in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, Dec. 1. As one of the most recognizable and romantic voices in the world, Andrea Bocelli has been thrilling audiences for over 20 years with more than 90 million records sold worldwide. In 2016, he was nominated for three Latin Grammy Awards including “Album of the Year” and received a 2017 Grammy Award nomination for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album” for Cinema.

Comedian Bill Burr will return to the Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas to perform his hilarious stand-up routine Saturday, Aug. 18. The Boston native will take the stage at 9 p.m.

Country music superstar Brantley Gilbert is returning to Las Vegas for a special performance at the Green Valley Ranch Amphitheater at Green Valley Ranch Resort on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 8 p.m., alongside special guest Lauren Alaina. Located outdoors at Green Valley Ranch Resort, this will mark the first performance at the Green Valley Ranch Amphitheater in several years.

Henderson and South Vegas folks can now get their hands on fluffy, buttery, delicious cookies from The Sugar Cookie. Serving South Las Vegas and Henderson, The Sugar Cookie offers patrons gourmet sugar cookies in a variety of different flavors including lemon, cherry, chocolate, red velvet, coconut, and many more.

Alan Parsons Live Project comes to Las Vegas for a special performance at the historic Westgate International Theater inside Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 8 p.m. produced by Danny Zelisko Presents. This legendary talent began his storied career as an assistant engineer at the famed Abbey Road Studios working on projects such as The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and ”Let It Be” and quickly became one of the most sought-after names in the recording industry, for his engineering work on Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon,” and as sound engineer and associate producer for Steve Wilson’s album “The Raven that Refused to Sing (And Other Stories).”

Reggae in the Desert, Las Vegas’ largest Reggae festival showcasing the unifying power of reggae music and the Caribbean lifestyle, announces the 17th annual music festival on Saturday, June 9 at the Clark County Amphitheatre (500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas). This year’s music festival will feature headliners Collie Buddz and Third World. Other musical performances include Mr. Vegas, Kabaka Pyramid, Cocoa Tea, The Mighty Diamonds, Arise Roots, Ras Kronik, and The Reggae Warriors.

Claude Baruk, the internationally renowned hairstylist behind Claude BARUK Salons at Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, was honored with a “Celebrity Hairstylist of the Year” award at the fourth annual Hollywood Beauty Awards on Sunday, Feb. 25. Actress and model Angie Everhart, who was one of Baruk’s first celebrity clients nearly 20 years ago, presented the award. The event, held at the Avalon Hollywood, also honored other top names in the industry, including Britney Spears, Jane Seymour and Smokey Robinson.

The Smith Center is thrilled to announce its forthcoming 2018 – 2019 Broadway Las Vegas Series. Running August 2018 through June 2019, the upcoming season, sponsored by Southern Nevada Ford Stores, will feature Tony Award®-winning productions, Grammy-nominated musicals and beloved favorites.

The 10-show series will feature Broadway smashes and will kick off with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new high-octane hit SCHOOL OF ROCK. Additional show stoppers include the unbelievable true story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, ON YOUR FEET!; the film baked into a musical, WAITRESS; beloved DISNEY’S THE LION KING; six-time 2017 Tony® and 2018 Grammy Award®-winning DEAR EVAN HANSEN; the awe-inspiring true story of kindness and friendship, COME FROM AWAY; the Tony Award -winning Best Musical Revival HELLO, DOLLY! starring Broadway legend Betty Buckley; the hysterical THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG; the can’t miss revival of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. and the magical world of Roald.

Legendary rockers Creedence Clearwater Revisited are returning to Las Vegas for a special performance at the Sunset Amphitheater at Sunset Station on Saturday, May 5, 2018. Located outdoors at Sunset Station, the Sunset Amphitheater is the perfect destination for a concert experience under the stars. Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rhythm section from the legendary group Creedence Clearwater Revival, launched the Creedence Clearwater Revisited project in 1995 to once again perform live Creedence Clearwater Revival hits. With a lineup featuring lead singer John Tristao, guitarist Kurt Griffey and multi-instrumentalist Steve Gunner, Creedence Clearwater Revisited continues to perform the Creedence Clearwater Revival songs that have become staples on radio, television and movie soundtracks, including “Bad Moon Rising,” “Fortunate Son,” “Proud Mary, “Susie Q” and “Green River” among many others. Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.

A free St. Patrick’s Day party will overtake the iconic dome entrance of the Plaza Hotel & Casino on Saturday, March 17 starting at 7 p.m. and culminating at 10 p.m. with a live green fireworks show shot from multiple locations on the property. The Plaza invites the public to join in the fun taking place throughout the evening under the dome, where guests will enjoy St. Patrick’s inspired entertainment and a DJ. The Plaza will also debut a new 10 ft. x 5 ft. Plaza pyrotechnic logo sign that will be behind the stage and flaming throughout the celebration, until the party culminates with the three-minute live fireworks show Emmy Award-winning and Grammy-nominated actor and comedian Wayne Brady will return to the Aces of Comedy series at The Mirage Hotel & Casino Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, Sept. 2. The actor, singer, dancer, improviser, songwriter and television personality is known for his work as a regular on the improvisational comedy television series, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” He has earned two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host for CBS’s “Let’s Make A Deal.” His television credits include guest starring on “30 Rock,” “Everybody Loves Chris,” “Dirt,” as well as a recurring role on “How I Met Your Mother.”

On Thursday, Feb. 22, singer, actress, dancer, and fashion designer Jennifer Lopez hosted her twin's, Max and Emme, 10th birthday party at Sugar Factory American Brasserie Las Vegas at the Fashion Show. Jennifer arrived at Sugar Factory wearing a black long sleeve shirt, plaid high-waisted pants, white sneakers, and a high ponytail. The entire group was completely stunned with the festive décor. The room was filled with colorful balloons, goblets filled with jelly beans and gumdrops as centerpieces, floral arrangements, and Sugar Factory's iconic rubber ducks from wall to wall.

Jennifer and her party of over 30 guests enjoyed macaroni pops, bruschetta, charcuterie board, mixed greens, virgin gummy worm goblets, virgin lollipop passion goblets, virgin watermelon patch goblets, rainbow sliders, pan-roasted NY steak, pan-roasted salmon, and chicken and waffles. For dessert, Max and Emme were surprised with a custom-made red velvet Mario Bros. cake and a chocolate sloth cake, as well as Sugar Factory's cookie jar sundae, and the world-renowned King Kong Sundae, made with over 24 scoops of ice cream and set ablaze with sparklers.

Coming on the heels of a successful inaugural run in 2017, Third Thursday on 3rd, DTLV’s newest tradition, returns to the 3rd street corridor at the Downtown Grand to claim it’s throne as “King of the Streats” and mark the beginning of its official 2018 residency. The monthly food truck and live art experience will hit the 3rd street blacktop every third Thursday of the month in 2018 (*weather permitting) beginning with a special “Shamrock the Street” edition on Thursday, March 15th just in time to kick-off St. Patrick’s Day festivities. This month’s event aims to give attendees of ALL AGES a bit of craic with five gourmet food trucks, street games, and O’swag give-a-ways PLUS additional property-wide celebrations on the luckiest day of the year. The Downtown Grand will be pouring All-You-Can-Drink Green Beer (21+ over) for just $20 from 6pm-Midnight (on 3rd Street as well as at Freedom Beat and Furnace Bar).

Menopause The Musical®, the longest-running scripted musical in Las Vegas history, celebrated 13 years entertaining audiences on the Las Vegas Strip and three years at Harrah’s Las Vegas on Thursday, February 22 with a celebratory cake ceremony. The show’s producers as well as Caesars Entertainment executives attended that evening’s performance.

International Queen of Burlesque, Dita Von Teese, will be thrilling fans once again with her new 2018 Dita Von Teese and the Copper Coupe tour, in partnership with luxury vodka Absolut Elyx. The group shimmies its way into House of Blues Las Vegas on Thursday, June 28, 2018. The tour will feature stunning new acts inspired by Absolut Elyx with special guest performers including Gia Genevieve, Dirty Martini, Ginger Valentine, Jett Adore, Zelia Rose and more.

The new ‘Dita Von Teese and the Copper Coupe’ show will be infused with glimmering copper elements throughout, inspired by Absolut Elyx and its unique copper distilling process for the luxury vodka. The grand finale act will feature the new ‘Copper Coupe,’ part of her stunning signature cocktail glass act with a new giant shimmering copper filigree cocktail coupe adorned with Swarovski crystal. Another Elyx inspired act will see Dita appearing in a giant-sized seashell on stage with 1,200 pearl balloons that float from the sky. Dita dances with a six-foot bubble pearl, a modern tribute to Sally Rand’s iconic 1930s era bubble dance.

Dennis Bono, recording artist and star of the "The Dennis Bono Show from Las Vegas" is celebrating 18 years of broadcasting his weekly worldwide musical variety show from Michael Gaughan's South Point Hotel and Casino. The show reaches 191 cities and 11 million homes across the nation as well as broadcasting worldwide on multiple platforms including radio, CRN Digital Talk HDTV, internet and podcasts.

Rising country star Tyler Rich will return to Las Vegas for a special performance at the Official Old Dominion After Party inside Crimson at Red Rock Resort on Friday, April 13, 2018. Doors open at 10 p.m.

Award-winning country superstars Old Dominion will bring their HAPPY ENDINGS WORLD TOUR, featuring special guest Michael Ray, to the Sandbar Poolside Stage at Red Rock Resort, as part of the 2018 ACM PARTY FOR A CAUSE.

Celebrated singer, songwriter and performer John Prine will return to Las Vegas for a special performance at the historic Westgate International Theater inside Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018 at 8 p.m. produced by Danny Zelisko Prine will release his highly-anticipated new album, The Tree of Forgiveness, on April 13 on his own independent label, Oh Boy Records. Produced by Grammy Award-winning Dave Cobb, the album is Prine’s first featuring new material in more than 13 years. In celebration of the album, Prine will embark on an extensive worldwide tour that will span throughout 2018. Every concert ticket sold will include a copy The Tree of Forgiveness (CD only) upon its release.

One of the most influential singer-songwriter-musicians in contemporary music, Alanis Morissette, will present a live performance at the intimate Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort on Friday, June 22, 2018 at 8 p.m. With sales of more than 60 million albums worldwide, Alanis Morissette’s deeply expressive music and performances have earned vast critical praise, 14 Canadian Juno Awards, seven Grammy Awards (with an additional 14 nominations), a Golden Globe nomination, and in 2015, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Besides some other TV appearances, she has also appeared as a celebrity guest on “The Voice.”

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