This week has been an eventful one for downtown with The Life Is Beautiful weekend fete and the opening of the Downtown Grand Hotel (formerly the Lady Luck).
It was open to the public and everything was perfect with the first guests checking in on Sunday, Oct. 20. The formal ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Nov. 12. The Lady Luck was a downtown mainstay.
I remember seeing Steve Wyrick at the show room as well as Melinda, the First Lady of Magic. It has been completely refurbished and word has it the Grand will be one of the centerpieces of the new downtown.
Back to Life is Beautiful. Music, art and food were the centerpieces of this pedestrian-friendly experience. At least 20,000 people mulled around the East Fremont St. area, going in and out of the many clubs, bars and restaurants. The Grand Hotel opened at just the right time. It looks like this will be the beginning of a successful annual attraction.
The great Lou Reed – the Velvet Underground, Walk on the Wild Side star – died at the age of 71. He had a liver transplant last May. I knew Lou from New York City and the days I was hanging out downtown with the Andy Warhol gang. Lou will be missed, especially by those of us who come from that era. May he rest in peace.
Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s drug doctor, is out of jail after serving two years of a four-year sentence. He is reportedly looking to practice medicine again in Las Vegas and has other projects in the fire so as to earn a living.
AEG was found not responsible for the wrongful death of Michael Jackson, whose estate is said to be worth $1 billion. Murray was not the only one responsible. What about all the enablers, yes-people, and even some family members, who closed their eyes to what was really going on?
Now Corey Feldman has written a book that just hit bookstores titled “Coreyography.” It covers, among many other things, his relationship with the late Corey Haim and Michael Jackson.
According to Feldman, Michael was one of the few male “friends” who never tried to sexually abuse him. Both he and Haim were targets of Hollywood pedophiles. Feldman alleges many of the abusers who hurt him are still working in showbiz, making millions and continuing to sexually abuse child actors. He also talks about the effects of cocaine abuse on both himself and Haim. It is not a pretty tale.
Anita Mann held a special showing of Fantasy to inaugurate the 2014 Girls of Fantasy calendar. These gals are something else as they are shown in the best light thanks to Anita. I have to give special kudos to Sean Cooper, the only male in the show, and singer/dancer Jaime Lynch. Sean proves to be a really great anchor for the show as well as an extremely talented performer.
Krave is coming back to the Strip after a failed move to downtown. The original owner is back and the club will be open on weekends at the Wind (formerly Boulevard) Theater. This is the venue that was to be the world’s largest gay-themed club, but too many problems arose and here we are, back to where it all began, on the Las Vegas Strip.
HBO is presenting the Mike Tyson “Undisputed Truth” film Nov. 17. I saw the show in its infancy when producer Adam Steck took a risk and put it together at the MGM Grand. Spike Lee directed the movie version.
Adam is used to taking risks. Among his current productions are Thunder From Down Under, Divas, Australian Bee Gees, and the smash hit Human Nature – The Motown Show. Adam, you are definitely one of the best.
Jubilee, the last of the old Vegas showgirl revues, will take a break in January. This show is noted for its beautiful performers and lavish costumes. The Jubilee Theater will be renovated and the show will add contemporary choreography and music to attract a new and younger audience. The new choreographer, Frank Gatson Jr., will be giving the production his magic touch. He has worked with Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez, to name a couple of stars.
It looks like the new name for the former Bill’s Gambling Hall will be Drai’s now that Caesars has dropped the Gansvoort title. Victor Drai’s late night hotspot has been a mainstay on the Strip for years and will be one of the featured attractions of this new and lavish boutique hotel/casino.
One of the other features will be the first celebrity chef Giada de Laurentis restaurant. She is currently supervising the decor and working on the menu. Giada has become one of the more popular chefs on TV’s Food Channel.
Criss Angel celebrated a five-year anniversary event with Believe at the Luxor. Criss will undergo surgery on his damaged shoulder in January and return in April. His TV reality series, “Mindfreak,” can be seen on the A&E channel.
Cher has put down Las Vegas during her guest shots on the Graham Norton and “The View” TV shows. She complained of having to perform for senior citizen audiences and other sedate groups, however she did walk away with approximately $180 million for her three years at the Colosseum. C’mon, Cher, these are the people who grew up watching you. Maybe it’s time for you to grow up!
Carla Pellegrino is leaving town to open a new restaurant in Miami, where she will reside for the next several months. Then she will be commuting between Miami and Las Vegas to run her establishments in both cities.
Carla is known here for her involvement with Rao, Bacio, Meatball Spot and Bratalian where she created many exciting dishes. This beautiful and talented lady is always on the go, opening new and exciting restaurants wherever she goes.
Chris Brown was arrested again for allegedly punching a young man trying to photo bomb a picture being taken by some young girls. This 24-year-old singer cannot stay out of trouble. Instead, he’s going out of his way to have his probation revoked. He has just opted to go into rehab, which better work or jail time is sure to be the next step. Giving him break after break has not solved his problems.
David de Alba is getting ready for his latest Judy Garland Tribute show named “Dorothy…the Later Years.” It concentrates on some of Judy’s favorite and best known songs along with anecdotes about this great lady. The show will be at The Onyx Theater on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 2 p.m. Tickets are now available at the Onyx box office (702-7225).
As always, the Rev. Monti wishes you all the best.
Monti Rock, who starred with John Travolta in the classic Saturday Night Fever, is a legend, performer, GamingToday entertainment columnist and marketing expert. Contact Monti at [email protected].