Despite falling economy M opens big

Mar 10, 2009 4:07 PM
The Full Monti by Monti Rock III |

Can it be? Is it a recession or a depression? The conventions, the mob museum, a new city hall, bankruptcy, closings, openings, it’s Vegas.

With all that’s happening in the world economy, it’s somewhat surprising and a nice change of pace seeing the M Resort celebrate its recent grand opening. Some 4,000 guests and all the food critics they could round up were invited to the celebration. Good way to tout the fact all the restaurants are products of the M. No outsiders.

The Marnell family, creator of the M Resort, is certainly familiar with Las Vegas. They became well-known as builders of the Rio Hotel & Casino back in the 90’s. The M Resort is reportedly catering to locals.

For weeks the headlines have been shouting the struggles of Station Casinos. Boyd Gaming stepped up and made an offer that was rejected. Boyd suspended work last year on its Strip project, Echelon Place, and it seems that was the right move for the current economic conditions in Las Vegas.

Station Casinos and the Fertitta family have a good name here in Las Vegas as does the Boyd Gaming Group. Let’s hope everything works out for all.

Most of the hotels and resorts are offering 2-for-1 shows and special deals for rooms. Rooms at top hotels are listed on Expedia or Cheap Tickets and going for $75-80 a night, including a free buffet. Fact, no rumor. Even Cher’s show at Caesars Palace isn’t recession proof with special offers such as automatic seating upgrades for locals every Wednesday in March.

Even in the current economic downfall there are new shows opening. I was on the phone with Jerry Mitchell, who’s opening his latest creation "The PeepShow" at Planet Hollywood. Jerry assured me it’s something new, spectacular and divine. He was in the process of shooting a TV ad when we spoke. I’ll report on this latest venture after the special preview.

Many casino employees work for little more than minimum wage plus tips, which means if there are no customers, there’s no tips... and so it goes.

Would you believe it, Jerry Lewis a "new" father at age 82! Susan Lewis, who has claimed to be Jerry’s illegitimate daughter, has been found to have an 88.78 percent in common DNA with Gary Lewis, Jerry’s son, as reported on the March 5 telecast of Inside Edition. No comment from Jerry as yet.

Trent Carlini, who is probably the most handsome Elvis impersonator of all time, is settling in at the Steve Wyrick Theater at Planet Hollywood. Trent was the first place winner of the TV show "The Next Best Thing" and does a great tribute to the King. He is adding non-Elvis props to round out his big show.

Frank Marino, former star of "La Cage" at the Riviera, is still working on the "ultimate drag show." RuPaul has his own television show and looking for the world’s best drag queen. Ru, who makes an absolutely glam 7-foot tall doll, has been on the scene for some time and actually puts drag in the mainstream.

In TV land, I was glued watching "The Bachelor". He proposed and proposed and proposed. I like the way he cried. He’ll propose and propose again, no doubt.

Be sure to catch The Scintas and "Menopause the Musical" at the Hilton before the shows move out. The Scintas are going on tour and "Menopause" is still searching for a new venue.

Carluccio’s is offering the Classic Dinner Show featuring Wes Winters in two performances starting March 11. This is like vintage Vegas and maybe the start of a new trend. Call (702) 250-4506 for reservations.

One of the latest trends in Las Vegas is the building wrap. From the Flamingo you can see Donny and Marie Osmond smiling down on the masses and now Penn & Teller adorn the Rio as a way to acknowledge their 35 years together as the Bad Boys of Magic.

Michael Jackson’s return has been confirmed. Sounds like he’s about to make the comeback of the century. This tour, which Michael claims to be his finale, consists of 10 concerts at $1 million apiece in London this summer.

Finale? Remember what happened to the farewell tours of Cher and Tina Turner? Maybe Jacko will come to Las Vegas, as Steve Wynn has always wanted him at one of his properties.

I’m a great fan of Siegfried and Roy, those elegant men who provided visitors and locals alike with beauty and excitement like no other entertainers in Las Vegas. "Keep Memory Alive" was the name of their recent performance at the Bellagio, which was filmed for TV.

Before the tragedy that nearly took Roy’s life, this dynamic duo and yours truly were constantly running into each other at various events here in Las Vegas. We always managed to seek out each other at these events and shared many laughs. We’ve waited for five years to acknowledge Siegfried and Roy and all they have contributed to Las Vegas.

"Tony N" Tina’s Italian Wedding" has moved to Planet Hollywood with a new and revamped show. This latest version is geared to today’s younger audience and will have guest stars appearing at random.

Get ready for "Minute With Monti," my new radio segment which begins on Saturday, March 21 on KLAV (1230 AM). Gossip at its best.