Culture beyond the petri dish!

May 25, 2004 12:57 AM

Believe it or not, we do have culture in our city. The Performing Arts Center at UNLV just released its 2004-2005 season schedule, and it’s a masterpiece. Included are Itzhak Perlman, the Prague Symphony, the St. Petersburg State Ballet Theatre, Tommy Tune and the Manhattan Rhythm Kings, the National Acrobats of Taiwan, the Vienna Choir and more. In addition to a great program, showgoers probably won’t have to contend with 350 pound tourists in Bermuda shorts!

Memorial Day weekend is very special to me. For the fifth and final year I’m celebrating my 60th birthday and it’s also my fifth anniversary of settling in Las Vegas, the greatest city on the planet. I can’t believe how quickly the years have past; how much abuse I have taken; how much laughter was tossed my way; how many jokes I was the brunt of. Who could have asked for more?

But enough about me. I know with all my humbleness, that my GamingToday readers hang on every word about the entertainment scene in Las Vegas. Here are some gems unearthed from the jumbled cityscape.

We all know the famed Strip has had as many face lifts as Phyllis Diller. That will continue. Next April will mark the beginning of a new era when Wynn Las Vegas debuts. Insiders say his new hotel — it should have remained Le Reve ”¦ kind of classy — will set a new standard for mega resorts. Would we expect less from the Magic Man?

Three or four additional hotels will follow and then I’m predicting a holding period to see if the economy catches up with the building.

It will seem like every Strip hotel with have a Cirque du Soleil or similar show or a performer that will cost you your paycheck. Don’t be surprised to see tickets hit the $300 mark on a steady basis as we’ve already passed that plateau for concerts.

Of course, Las Vegas regular headliners will still be around, but instead of jokes and patter betweens songs or routines, they’ll take a couple of breaths from their oxygen masks. The centennial celebration will be a huge success with everyone taking credit for it.

The LVCVA will keep reminding people that what happens here, stays here; the hotels will continue to challenge the gentlemen’s clubs for late-night action; the alternative lifestyle will have a greater financial impact in the city despite the chagrin of many; Mayor Goodman will be re-elected and will continue to try to get a professional sports team here with no luck; and I will continue to be just plain Monti Rock III with anyone new who sees my trying to figure out who and what I am.

This weekend The Mirage will launch Cravings, it’s new buffet concept designed by renowned designer Adam D. Tihany. Summing up a long release, Tihany has created "Cravings to echo the experience of a gourmet culinary journey." However, nowhere in the release does it mention the cost of the trip! (Figure about $20 bucks for dinner, the new standard for upscale buffets in town.)

Experience the MGM Grand’s signature cocktails at it’s new frozen drink bar 32° located along the hotel’s Studio Walk. I tried it out the other day and got a quick case of brain freeze.

My contacts in New York are telling me that if "Saturday Night Fever" is a success at the Sahara, it will be followed by a continual run of current and past national Broadway road companies, which will be great alternative entertainment and will be fairly priced for visitors and locals. The same folks are saying that "Fever" is "looking great" in rehearsals in New York and will be more than ready for its June 14 Sahara debut. Needless to say, I’ll be leading the cheers opening night since the play’s title character happens to be named Monti!

Country superstar Faith Hill’s first performance following a four-year hiatus will be at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Aug. 10, 11, 13 and 14. Once again, tickets aren’t cheap ranging from $75.50 to $175 (plus taxes and convenience charges). I’m sure they’ll go clean as soon as they’re on sale. Speaking of the Colosseum, I sure feel bad for the 40,000 folks whose vacations got messed up when my darling Celine had to cancel two weeks worth of shows due to her neck injury.

If you want to see something special, catch Soul Desire at The Big Apple Bar at New York-New York. I’m predicting stardom for this group.