YOUR TYPICALLY BRITISH GUIDE TO LAS VEGAS. SEP 2 012.
CIRQUE DU S O LE IL
G O RD O N R A M SAY
NI CKI MINA J
The famous circus weaves an aquatic tapestry of artistry, surrealism and theatrical romance at the Bellagio
Gordon has opened his first Las Vegas restaurant, ‘Gordon Ramsay Steak’ in the heart of Paris Las Vegas.
Planet Hollywood welcomes the female rap star to Las Vegas this month
there is a very british idea of Las Vegas. A perception often based on whispers and hearsay. Even for those who have experienced it first hand, it is so frequently a misunderstood place. From movies to press releases, mass media seems much more comfortable feeding the British audience the side of Vegas which portrays it in a negative light. Either that, or simply focussing on the aspects of Vegas which are very stereotypical – the gambling, bright lights, and general ostentatiousness of the city. Unfortunately, with this communication, the more sophisticated European traveller may be somewhat dubious to what Las Vegas can offer them to invigorate their cultural appetite. Welcome, Bespoke LV: interjecting to illuminate the infinitely overlooked side of Vegas.
To describe Las Vegas as cultureless or tasteless is simply a misconstrued insult. Being from a nation with such deep history and high social standards, it is understandable that we interpret ‘culture’ in a very specific way. From The Royal Family to Shakespeare, these values of British heritage carry such weight that Las Vegas would inevitably be excluded from being considered a ‘cultured’ city.
Bespoke LV interprets ‘culture’ slightly differently. We believe that culture is about the true development of humanity, specifically creativity and innovation. It is about enhancing our pleasurable experiences and stimulating our imagination. When it comes to the arts and leisure, no city is more effective than Las Vegas. Once the more obvious Las Vegas associations have been removed, there is a wealth of culture waiting to be explored.
“Bespoke LV intends to reveal this more luxurious side of Las Vegas through a series of exclusive, handpicked features.”
Only The Sublime
Put simply: Las Vegas is very cool. Furthermore, Las Vegas can be very classy. Las Vegas is home to an incredible fashion industry with the world’s greatest designers all offering retail options in a variety of elite malls. There is also the most exquisite cuisine, chefs, and finest wines. The night-life scene is already infamous. We only need to look at the development of Vegas post millennium to see how the direction of the city has so clearly changed. The elaborate, themed hotels are now the more dated side of Vegas, with new projects centring their plans on elegance, style and panache. On a monthly basis, Bespoke LV intends to reveal this more luxurious side of Las Vegas through a series of exclusive, handpicked features.
Having said this… We are under no illusions – Las Vegas can be an intimidating place, especially for the first time visitor. It is unlike anywhere else on the planet, and the unfamiliarity can lead people to experience a more generic and ‘uncomfortable’ side of Vegas. While Las Vegas admittedly still offers the ridiculous, Bespoke LV wishes to only focus on the sublime.
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THE EDITOR — IT IS MY PERSONAL PLEASURE TO WELCOME ALL TO THE FIRST EDITION OF BESPOKE, LV – YOUR TYPICALLY BRITISH GUIDE TO LAS VEGAS. —
it is no secret that Las Vegas is becoming a more popular destination, particularly for Brits. Over the past 10 years, Las Vegas has evolved as a city. The idea of it being a novelty, once in a lifetime, holiday experience is a thing of the past. Nowadays, it is simply impossible to put it on the shelf and say, “I’ve done Vegas”. The investment in constant and innovative development ensures that Vegas remains fluid. However, that fluidity can potentially leave consumers in the dark – especially those living 5,000 miles away. Bespoke LV guarantees to keep you in touch with the beautiful side of Las Vegas. With the most talented designers, developers and writers,
we want you to indulge in this publication, in a way Vegas would be proud of. In this month’s edition, we simply had to touch upon the Olympics. Never has there been more pride in being British, and let’s hope that indeed the Games do have the ability to ‘inspire a generation’. We take a look at how world class Olympians find a home in Cirque du Soleil following their competition days. Our very own Gordon Ramsay has launched himself on to the Vegas Strip with the opening of his new restaurant, simply ‘Gordon Ramsay Steak’. Whilst ‘Working for Perfection’, our dining focus this month is on Gordon’s new venture.
From now on, and always, we will keep you up to date in what is happening next month on the high profile side of Las Vegas: sporting events, concerts, theatre, and of course, the super clubs. From your favourite deejays, to A-List celebrity appearances, all you need is Bespoke, LV. Don’t forget, this is not like any normal magazine. Your experience will be entirely interactive, so feel free to click around, and discover more of Vegas than is simply in these pages. — Ross George Facebook Twitter
F 7 EATURE DINING 13 16 NIGHTLIFE 22 REVIEW 31 MUSIC —
THE OLYMPICS MEETS CIRQUE DU SOLEIL —
GORDON RAMSAY’S NEW RESTAURANT —
YOUR CLUB SCHEDULE TO NEXT MONTH —
TWITTERSPHERE, WHAT YOU SAY —
NICKI MINAJ IS IN VEGAS —
GOLD MEDAL MOMENTS many olympic athletes have hard decisions to make once the quest for medals comes to an end. Training is an all-consuming lifestyle, leaving a synchronized swimmer little time to think about the next chapter in life or for a gymnast to scope out future coaching jobs. The emergence of Cirque du Soleil during the past three decades has led to an ever-growing list of options for performers of all stripes, but for athletes it provides a bridge to the future. The training lifestyle continues, but the emphasis evolves from competition to pure performance excellence. The idea of performing with Cirque hadn’t crossed synchronized swimmer Suzannah Bianco’s mind before her team won the gold in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. “You’ve been working your whole life, the last four years, towards this goal, and that’s the focus,” she says. “That’s the end of your life as you know it, so there’s actually something quite terrifying about it as much as it’s a release.”
— FORMER OLYMPIC ATHLETES APPLY THEIR COMPETITIVE EDGE TO CIRQUE DU SOLEIL —
Bianco never looked back and currently swims alongside fellow former Olympians Maurizia Cecconi (Italy, 1996 and 2000) Christina Jones (USA, 2008), Kanako Kitao (Japan, 2004) and Miho Kono (Japan, 1996), while Siarhei Kudrevich (Belarus, 1996) dives from overhead. In Mystère, Ben Wilden (Australia, 2008) applies his talents to trampoline acts, springing into the air with aplomb. The first ex-Olympic athlete that the audience at “O” may see, however, is Terry Bartlett (center right photo), who started as an acrobat with Mystère. The sailor-suited clown represented Great Britain as a gymnast in Los Angeles in 1984, in Seoul in 1988 and in Barcelona in 1992. When he moved to “O,” though, comedy seemed like a perfect segue.
Bianco had been training since age 8. Like her teammates, she had received a post-Games letter inviting her to audition for a new aquatic-themed show in Las Vegas titled “O.” The audition was unlike anything she could have imagined. “They want to know what you can do, but they want to know what else you can do,” she says. “Can you sing, can you whistle, can you juggle, can you climb ropes? Can you do all these other things? Then all of a sudden you get to challenge yourself and your own beliefs about what you can do.”
Now he interacts with guests before the show and is featured in two acts in which he performs graceful slapstick on a floating barge. When he first joined Cirque, he eagerly applied his fiercely competitive edge. “I wanted to be the best gymnast I could be, and that’s what I trained for,” he says. “Then, coming into Cirque, we’re novices at brand-new acts, but I wanted to have the best somersault in there. If somebody else was going to do a double, I was going to do a double. So that competitiveness didn’t go away, but the net result is a superb show that’s bigger than I am. I’m still competitive and I still want to be the best, but it’s bigger than me.” — Matt Kelemen
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as an eleven time recipient of the aaa five diamond award executive chef julian serrano’s menu is inspired by the regional cuisine of france and spain where pablo picasso spent much of his life. www.bellagio.com/picasso
Winner of Michelin’s Three Star, Forbes Five-Star, and Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, Joël Robuchon has redefined Las Vegas fine dining. www.mgmgrand.com
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WORK ING FOR PERFE CTION
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quick, cutting hand movements of Ramsay himself. How’s that for a personalized space?
Top: Interior design
a fury for flavor. That’s the feisty way the new Gordon Ramsay Steak is being advertised on billboards all over Las Vegas. Thanks to his empire of TV shows (Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef, to name but two) and an even larger collection of restaurants, Ramsay is one of the most recognized culinary figures in the world today, never failing to live up to expectations as a passionate, frequently fierce kitchen commander. That’s the fury. Experience Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas and you’ll get the flavor. Oftentimes the celebrity chef factor can play against the restaurant, with fame overshadowing cuisine. Not the case at Ramsay’s first foray onto the Strip. The beef is big and boldly satisfying. The side dishes are hearty and flavored powerfully.
And the signature Ramsay dishes on the menu, most notably beef Wellington, are simultaneously rustic and refined. His Wellington is perfectly medium rare, with lovely texture and lots of juiciness, encased in a delicate pastry crust. It’s a study in a classic re-imagined, not to be missed. Also re-imagined is this sleek, strong new restaurant space. Formerly home to Les Artistes Steakhouse, this casinoside escape begins with a trip through “the Chunnel,” virtually transporting you from Paris to London. Grab a stiff martini at the hip bar—just spritzed with vermouth—before taking your seat in the two-story dining room, augmented by a shining rendition of the Union Jack on the ceiling. The wild neon sculpture installation above you was inspired by the
The menu is a hybrid of British favorites and classic steakhouse fare. Begin with a shellfish platter stocked with tiger prawns, oysters, clams and lobster, or opt for onion soup flavored with Boddingtons Pub Ale and accompanied by a cheesy bite of Welsh rarebit. The roasted beet salad is a perfect
“The menu is a of British favo classic steakho summer starter, incredibly fresh and tender beets with housemade ricotta cheese and oyster mushrooms in a crisp champagne vinaigrette. The new restaurant already has some favorite appetizers, including fried Blue Point oysters with crème fraîche
tartar sauce and butter-poached, chorizo-stuffed Maine lobster. Ramsay’s place is only the second steakhouse in Las Vegas to make use of legendary New York butcher Pat LaFrieda’s beef, dry aged for at least 28 days. The highlight cut is the Royal long-bone chop for two, 32 ounces of beefy bliss. One of the more unique steaks on the menu is the American Kobe rib cap, an 8-ounce selection that boasts the decadent flavor of a ribeye with a seemingly lean, velvety texture you would find in a filet. Rounding out the entrée options are fish and chips—with delicate loup de mer and truffle-flavored fries—and braised short ribs with potato purée and wild mushrooms.
a hybrid orites and ouse fare.”
Top: Gordon in Vegas Right: Beef Wellington Bottom Right: Crispy beef salad
Gordon Ramsay Steak is also building a reputation for amazing desserts, and the unmissable choice is the sticky toffee pudding with brown butter ice cream, another classic flavor reworked into a sumptuous, addictive treat. It’s a power closer for a power steakhouse, a new Vegas restaurant that makes good on the promise of its fearless leader. — Brock Radke Photos by Peter Harasty
@Cristiano: Las Vegas, I will see you next week. we’re excited to play Santos Laguna @samboydstadium. See you there. #WFChallenge
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@victoriabeckham: Cameron Diaz looking amazingly fit inVegas wearing #VictoriaBeckham Those arms!!!!!!!!!!!WOW!!! X vb
@MarkWright_: Just got in the car in Begas to head back to L.A I generally feel so upset I am leaving after the best 4 days in my whole life. Thanks boys x @MaxTheWanted: Vegas here we come!!!
@iamwill: I’m about to go dj at @encorebeachclub in vegas... :) #summerfun
@CherylCole: #DearVegas you win!! I officially bow down.. It wasn’t a knock out I just took a graceful seat! I came I saw YOU conquered #isaluteyou..
@katyperry: people watching in las vegas never gets old
@JLo: #Vegas bound this weekend! #EnriqueJLoTour & some fun @ PureLasVegas, August 18! #GOININ
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@Fearnecotton: @jamesttotti yes go for it! love a place name drop! VEGAS woop! @coldplay: Raining hard in NYC. Heading to Las Vegas. Sharing a stage with Jay-Z tonight, amongst others... Guy
@MissKellyO: @Cosmopolitan_ LV im so sorry i forgot to tweet you to say what a wonderful time i had its my new fav place to stay in vegas #ThankYou
AT BELLAGIO, LAS VEGAS
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Cirque Du Soleil ‘Dralion’ Juggler, Vladik Miagkostupov
almost instantly turning the pool into a dry, conventional stage, which allows divers to plunge into the water from 60 feet one minute and the next, allows characters to dance across a dry stage. With 1.5 million gallons of water (kept at a comfortable 88 degrees), 1,200 costume pieces reminiscent of several periods from the 15th to the 20th centuries, 90 performers from 22 countries and 150 technicians, “O” is a theatrical experience unlike anything ever seen on stage.
“The show has awed more than 10 million spectators.” cirque du soleil weaves an aquatic tapestry of artistry, surrealism and theatrical romance in the breath-taking production, “O.” Inspired by the concept of in¬finity and the elegance of water’s pure form, “O” pays tribute to the beauty of the theatre — from the simplest street performance to the most lavish of operas — where anything is possible and where the drama of life plays itself out before the audience’s very eyes. Designed to be classic and timeless, the show’s name was inspired by the concept of in¬finity, as well as the French word for water. Bellagio, home to world-class exhibitions of art, is the perfect setting for this
aquatic masterpiece. As elegant and luxurious as Bellagio, the custom-built theatre is reminiscent of a 14th century European opera house. Built to meet the exact speci¬fications of the 90-minute show, the 1,800-seat theatre is an engineering marvel. The theatre built to deal with the aquatic, pyrotechnic and aerial performance demands of highcalibre acts that feature divers, synchronized swimmers, aerialists, contortionists and acrobats. The stage consists of a pool that is 25 feet deep with seven hydraulic lifts that can move independently of each other. These lifts can sink 17 feet or emerge from the water,
Hailed by critics as “spectacular and inventive” (Chicago Tribune); “downright stunning” Photographer: Julie Aucoin, Costume: Dominique Lemieux, Copyright: Cirque du Soleil (Daily Variety); and “liquid magic” (Los Angeles Times), the show has awed more than 10 million spectators. “O” is a theatrical triumph that is known throughout the world as the must-see show on the Las Vegas Strip.
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NIGHT LIF SCHE DULE
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D R I N K R E S P O N S I B LY. W W W. B E LV E D E R E V O D K A . C O M
Mike Snedegar and Kim Kardashian celebrating her birthday at TAO nightclub
— JACK COLTON INTERVIEWS TAO GROUP MARKETING MANAGER, MIKE SNEDEGAR, AS HE DISCUSSES THE CELEBRITY TRENDS IN LAS VEGAS NIGHTLIFE, AND DESCRIBES HOW CELEBRITIES ARE AS CLOSE PERSONAL FRIENDS. —
jc: What first began your career in Las Vegas nightlife? ms: My career in Vegas nightlife began in 2002 when Derek Silberstein (now with amg) hired me to be a busboy at The foundation Room at Mandalay Bay. At that Time foundation Room was the spot, very exclusive and is still a great venue. I worked in the restaurant mainly and on weekends they would pull me over to clean up the lounge which was packed on Fri and Sat nights, It sounds silly but I really loved it, at that time I had been in Vegas for a year – working horrible jobs, making no money, now I was hustling for sidetips and seeing
Celebs non stop. Loved it. At Foundation Room they started doing a Monday night which would be open to the public, a club night, Godspeed. Michael Fuller did this night, along with Derek , Justin Fralick, and Jason Hancock. I was a busboy on this night, and that is where I met Mike Fuller. Mike took me under his wing and started giving me side projects outside of work, training me. It was because of Fuller that I progressed, I was then promoted to vip host on Mondays, and then Head Host. I stayed there for 4 years. I followed Fuller and Silberstein to ice Nightclub in 2004, where I worked for the amazing
Neil Moffit and at that time, Godskitchen. While doing vip Hosting ice and foundation Room at the same time, I started writing a nightlife column for 944 magazine. I was asked to write an editorial piece by 944 on newcomer to town, Jason Strauss, Owner of tao. After spending some time with Jason, and learning what he was about, and what he was going to bring to Vegas, I Knew where I wanted to go next. I left both vip hosting jobs and took a paycut, to become Jason’s Asst in 2005. Taking 2 steps back to move forward over time in a new career was one of the best moves I ever made.
vip Hosting was a great experience but it wasn’t for me in the long run. From there I evolved and learned more than I ever could have imagined, going from Asst to Marketing, to events, to forming what is now the Entertainment Marketing Dept at tao Group. My Main focus now is celebrity relations & events, pr and Marketing. jc: You are infamously friends with many a celebrity. How do these relationships usually begin, and why do you feel you are able to break the protective wall so many high profile people tend to build around themselves? ms: I suppose its because I have been lucky to meet people in the beginning stages of their careers and I treat them the same then as I do now, and establishing trust is key. One of the best examples is Perez Hilton. I met Perez in
“People want to work with people they know and trust, and you build that over time.” 2005 when his name was Mario. He was a blogger with a funny site that I loved called pagesixsixsix.com. I reached by email to say I loved his site and he told me he was coming to Vegas and we should hang out. That’s how we met, Mario also happened to know my new Vegas friend who at that time had just moved here – Abby Tagnelia (Now the Editor of Vegas Magazine) and the 3 of us went out one night. From there we became friends and I watched as his career exploded. All of my best relationships have similar stories like that, not just with Celebrities, with
publicists, agents, managers as well. People want to work with people they know and trust, and you build that over time by putting work into getting to know someone, not just for what they can do for you. jc: How often do celebrities that are booked to host your parties become truly hands on in the planning process? And, when it happens, what all do they contribute to the process? ms: If its someone that ive worked with for years then I 100% involve them and we plan everything out , unless theres a surprise element of course. Contributions depend on the person but im always open to having their input if it makes them happier. jc: Many people who are planning their Las Vegas nightlife will often want to go to a nightclub that a particular celebrity was seen at, and this is obviously a part of why they were booked in the first place. How much of this after the party marketing is planned, accidental, or just the nature of the beast?
jc: G ive us some names of people you believe are under recognized in Las Vegas nightlife, and why they deserve props?
ms: Its case by case, but ofcourse I know when im planning someones bachelor/ bachelorette or birthday party that depending on how much press is covering that it will influence people in other states or even countries to do theirs with us too. Having Kim Kardashians Birthday televised 2 years in a row at tao on her tv Show, and that show being repeated constantly on E you cant put a number or figure on that, its endless the benefits and influence.
ms: Fantastic. Perfect demographic match up. The events ive done with Kim K and her family, have been some of the biggest and best ive done, and the most successful. Reality stars are much more approachable to people and fans and that’s part of their appeal.
jc: What is the difference in the overall numbers between an A List celebrity hosting an event versus a performance by one of the top internationally known dj’s? ms: They are both a great value – but they generally speaking, they value in different strengths. The A List celeb will have a big strength in press , The Big DJ will have a big strength in generating revenue at the venue. And if youre lucky – they do it all. jc: How do events hosted by reality television stars usually end up?
jc: I’ve noticed Tao Group has a habit of occasionally landing and promoting very high profile artists like Jay Z and P Diddy, but with only a few days notice. How do these on-the-fly bookings usually begin? Who calls who? ms: Its case by case basis, but that’s one of the things I love about my job – you never know what’s going to happen when you walk in the office for the day. jc: I nevitably, someone reading this wants to someday do what you do. What advice do you have for them to be successful in a similar career? ms: Start at the bottom and work your way up. I washed dishes, swept the floor, and emptied ashtrays in the beginning.
ms: When I not working and hopping around town, any employee who has a great attitude and contributes to a great experience captures my attention, could be a busboy or a bartender, or a security guard. You can tell when someone really loves their job, and you can really tell when someone hates their job – and that’s reflected in your experience.
Bottom: Mike with Holly
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before her recent album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded was released, rapper/singer Nicki Minaj told mtv that the release date was “gonna be important for—just hiphop culture and pop culture. It’s gonna be very big.” Never one to understate things, Minaj has ridden her over-the-top style to self-determined fame, with hits like “Super Bass” and “Starships.”
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With the success of Roman Reloaded, Minaj is becoming a pop diva in her own right, taking the chaotic rapping style that first got her noticed and mixing it up with radio-friendly dance-pop singing. Minaj is just as comfortable alongside hip-hop stars like Lil Wayne (who first discovered her) and Drake as she is performing with pop icons. Roman Reloaded is split down the middle, with songs representing Minaj’s hip-hop side (which showcase her impressive rapping) and her pop side (which feature her strong singing). In concert, Minaj is also a little bit hip-hop and a little bit pop. She has hip-hop’s swagger and pop’s spectacle in her show, which has been getting bigger and bigger as her profile rises. When she heads to Europe later this year, Minaj will play arenas, so this tour may be the last chance to catch her in a more intimate setting. It looks like her supreme self-confidence is paying off. — Josh Bell
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