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vegas rated magazine
Features 46 Wynn Las Vegas celebrates Le Rêve’s 4,000th show and opens the backstage area for the frst time to public tours.
56 Te hidden treasures of the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace.
66 Te Madness of Jef Beacher’s cabaret show arrives at MGM Grand. Meet his wacky cast of characters.
FraNcIS + FraNcIS
We aren’t talking fortune cookies here. Te Chinese New Year celebration kicks of with fve dishes—from dumplings to fsh—to bring prosperity. Find out which restaurants are serving the wealth. On the cover: HERVE LEGER dress, ALEXANDER MCQUEEN cape and ALEXIS BITTAR bracelets Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show. OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE COSMETICS lip tar in Hush Sephora in Te Forum Shops at Caesars. On this page: AZZEDINE ALAÏA top and STEPHEN DWECk necklaces Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show. Photography: Francis + Francis.
vegas rated magazine
9 things we love about Vegas right now.
33 Tim Hancock angles himself for success one picture at a time; Ashley wynn sings a new tune at her yoga studio; DJ Ikon works daily to live up to his name.
38 A trifecta: sherry, jamón and Jaleo by José Andrés.
42 The house always wins, even in these fictional casinos. This is our take on their takes.
The Guide 80 Container Park gives local fashion retailers a home; Christie moeller styles and blogs her way into The Book; tech-loving shoppers rejoice at the new microsoft Store.
Vdara Spa teams up with ESPA for an extra touch of green; month-to-month memberships at Four Seasons Las Vegas; start the new year revived.
84 Concerts, art galleries and other notable cultural outings.
get to know ... mandy Domingues, a server at Hyde, majored in accounting at the University of massachusetts Dartmouth.
86 Te best night of your life is happening seven days a week— plus highlights from Vegas’ wildest parties.
96 A New year’s Eve to remember.
JALEO: ELIZABETH BUEHRING; LVCK: JESSE J SUTHERLAND; mANDy DOmINGUES: ZACK w
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M A R K E T.
CrystalsAtCityCenter.com • Located next to ARIA Resort & Casino • Clothing and Accessories provided by Donna Karan • Jewelry provided by Bulgari
editor’s letter There’s really noThing beTTer Than a new year. it’s a time of renewed commitments and resolutions, and no matter how much 2013 fell short of our expectations, it offers the chance to wipe the slate clean and start anew. With that in mind we dedicate our first issue of 2014 to all that’s fresh—and beautiful— in the dynamic and vibrant city of las Vegas. On the beautiful side, there’s our cover story. “nobu Mon amour” takes inspiration from the 1959 French film Hiroshima Mon Amour and was a concept brought forth by photography duo Francis + Francis. during a private party last year, soon after the
in this issue:
meet yogi ashley Wynn, producer dJ ikon and photographer tim hancock.
opening of the nobu hotel inside caesars Palace, i stumbled upon a gem most will never know even exists: On inside facing walls of two of the resort’s towers are murals by Mark edward harris from his series “The Way of the Japanese Bath.” and if you know me, i never let a good location go unphotographed. The murals posed
WHERE I’LL BE i can’t wait to see what all the hype is about when “social club” rose.rabbit.lie in Te cosmopolitan hosts its ofcial grand opening January 17 and 18. roserabbitlie.com
WHAT I LOVE a night out at container Park in the center of town. shopping, food and outdoor entertainment have never come together in such a way in las vegas—much less downtown. my favorites include american vagabond, JoJo’s Jerky and Jessica galindo couture and Fine art. See Page 80. downtowncontainerpark.com
WHO I AM Te Year of the horse! i turn to dining editor grace bascos to show me what i should be eating to rack up prosperity points during “my” year. and i no doubt will be celebrating at the newly reopened Wing lei inside Wynn las vegas. wynnlasvegas.com
quite a challenge, since the vantage points are best from outside the rooms, so Francis + Francis scaled balconies and rooftops to capture the images. See the finished product on Page 56, then visit markedwardharris.com to see more of harris’ work. On the fresh side, down the block at MGM Grand, Beacher’s Madhouse returns to the city that made it infamous. Ringleader Jeff Beacher, along with his cast of characters, sat for exclusive portraits with British photographer Matilda Temperley. a collection of oddities, there is a beautiful disaster quality here that we all find intriguing. (“The Really Big Show,” Page 66.) and since this issue is also dedicated to aesthetics, make sure and take note of our spa guide on Page 82. Making news is the recent transformation of the spa at Vdara to an eSPa-branded location—the first on the West coast. among other goodies, this means 100 percent naturally sourced aromatherapy essential oils used in body treatments—a factor that helps one’s mind and body here’s to a fresh and clean 2014!
Melinda SheckellS Editor-in-Chief Follow us on Twitter @vegasrated
american vagabond: Jesse J sutherland
rest at ease.
MATILDA TEMPERLEY Photographer
FRANCIS GEORGE + FRANCIS BAYTAN Photographers
Temperley is an exploratory photographer based in London. She photographs fashion and extraordinary characters. “My week with Rated went from Beacher’s Madhouse (“The Really Big Show,” Page 66) in L.A., where I was enamored of Amazon Ashley. I came up to her waist and watched as two men trailed her every move around the club for the duration of the night. Le Rêve (“Water World,” Page 46) was wonderful to photograph, although I would have spent the whole week there.”
Presented with two antipodes, the rigidity of architecture and fluidity of fashion, digital artist Baytan dexterously manipulated the images to create a cohesive visual that exudes the poetic aesthetic the duo was looking for. Photographer George says, “I am intrigued with the minimalism of the Japanese culture. ‘Simple imagery’ was my mantra throughout the process for this issue’s photo essay, ‘Nobu Mon Amour.’” (Page 56)
SABIN ORR Photographer Specializing in food photography, Orr is grateful to work with some of the most well-respected chefs and restaurants in the country. For this issue, he captured some of Vegas’ best Chinese plates (“Lucky You,” Page 72). “The Chinese colors are red and gold and it’s the Year of the Horse. I got a thin piece of wood and stained it red. Then, I scrubbed it with a thick bristle brush in order to see the wood grain. The horseshoes I spray-painted a metallic gold. To avoid the mundaneness of fve dishes shot the same way, I decided to show each dish’s raw ingredients symmetrically, but in a simple way. Now everything is woven in, but the food remains the hero—as it should!”
GRACE BASCOS Contributing Dining Editor This Lunar New Year welcomes the Year of the Horse, and Bascos asks, “Why the long face?” For our feature celebrating the holiday, Rated’s dining expert navigated what seemed like every Chinese menu on the Strip to fnd what you need to eat to increase your luck (Page 72). “My pro tip: There’s no such thing as too many dumplings.” You can follow Bascos’ global dining and raving adventures on foodplustechno.com or on Twitter @gbascos.
Steve Bornfeld Writer Journeying through the jungles of entertainment journalism for more than 30 years, from New York to Las Vegas, Bornfeld has had unique moments—fumbling his entrance doing a bit part on One Life to Live, nearly injuring a cast member on the Law & Order set, getting nationally lambasted by Howard Stern. Conducting interviews for his Le Rêve story (“Water World,” Page 46) provided another. “I was on their circular pool set surrounded by water. I didn’t want to ask anything to make them mad. I wasn’t in my Speedo.”
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tel o. er in g insid Crush’s lo dle? mid at Look uy in the nken, g a dru little Tat a satyr— ek godlike ’ ’s e r e sus G H e land Diony wood re—a.k.a. leading th r u d t o f n a a n e r t c now rrimen e ick, k sidek toward m g a little y a ucin ior.” w d in r v fo beha “wild
Tough it may seem like crush: eat, drink, Love at mGm Grand is borrowing from a certain book-and-flm title, founders michael and Jenna morton claim the name of their new restaurant and wine bar goes way deeper. “When you frst hear it, it suggests the memory of new love,” say the husbandand-wife team. and while giving a nod to crushing grapes during winemaking and the euphoria of drinking it afterward, what crush most evokes is “the gathering of bodies in one place for the communal enjoyment of eating, drinking and loving the celebration.” Not that crush needs a gimmick, especially for folks familiar with executive chef William “billy” demarco, the Long Island native responsible for the menus at the mortons’ other restaurants (La comida in downtown Las vegas and La cave at Wynn). Tink “cosmopolitan shared plates” featuring demarco’s simple ingredients with enlightened favor, a concept the mortons love having demarco spin by ofering tapas-style portions with traditionally sized meals still meant for multiple forks. If the menu and wine list (thanks to wine director mark Hefter) don’t get you, crush’s philosophy might. Look for scripts from texts such as Te Epic of Gilgamesh, among the oldest known epic poems, that are carved into doors leading from the terrace to the bodega. Tey are meant to alight our inner hedonsism, indulgence and verve for living out our time at the table (and life) real big. (too deep for your blood? Keep it simple and just check out demarco’s wood-fred pizzas and “happy endings” desserts.) –JeN cHaSe
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Among the masterfully curated wine offerings at Jaleo, assistant general manager and wine buyer David Oseas is especially proud of the sherry pairings that support chef JosĂŠ AndrĂŠs creations. vrated.com 38
the taste of time
Rated’s resident wine expert, Christopher Calicott, takes fight with sherry at Jaleo by José Andrés Photography by Elizabeth Buehring
hef José Andrés is known for applying modern culinary techniques to traditional Spanish dishes. At Jaleo in The Cosmopolitan, the Las Vegas version of the Washington, D.C., restaurant that put him on the map in the late ’90s, the focal point is a wood-fred grill where meats are seared next to simmering paellas. Can’t get any more Spanish than that, right? Of course, any authentic Spanish meal should be matched with Spanish wines. The assistant general manager and wine buyer of Jaleo (and É, the adjoining tasting-menu room) is David Oseas, who came to Jaleo in early 2012, bringing with him a number of years in restaurant management, including a stint as assistant general manager at Hubert Keller’s Fleur in Mandalay Bay. Oseas, who has a long-term passion for wine and spirits, is proud of the sherry pairings that support Andrés’ creations. The Generoso sherry fight ($19), one of several available, begins with a Fino sherry. All sherries are fortifed and aged in a system that incorporates various vintages, but Tio Pepe’s Fino En Rama—meaning “raw”—is meant to be drunk young with food and served quite cool ($8 per glass or $65 per bottle). For Oseas, that means Jamón Ibérico de Bellota Fermín—a traditional cured Spanish ham—with which all three wines were tasted. The black-hooved pigs from which the ham is made roam freely, eating only acorns the last few months of their lives before becoming this rich, aromatic, dried jamón. Tio Pepe’s Fino sherry has olive-like aromas and favors, and when tasted with the jamón, a certain briny quality plays with the savory favor of the meat. The second wine tasted, Lustau’s Palo Cortado Península sherry ($11 per glass or $81 per bottle,) is much more rich. Its caramel, fg and roasted almond notes and favors synergize with the ham. When you take a bite, you taste maple syrup and walnut. This tasting experience embodies the way that regionally made products harmonize with their wine counterparts in an almost magical way. The favors melt into a fnish that is long and delicious. Oseas completes the fight with a Bodegas Tradicíon 30-year Oloroso sherry, which is another deeper take on this fortifed wine-producing region. You might already guess its effect on the Jamón Ibérico: Oseas shows us how, with the right wine pairing, one regional food product is at once the same and yet so very different and incredible. cosmopolitanlasvegas.com
In Las vegas, sherry is not a very common ofering in restaurants, to say nothing of sherry fights. Jaleo features fve sherry fights, including one with three wines, from a 1905 Solera to Peréz Barquero ($300).
Bodegas tradicíon’s 30-year oloroso sherry is actually substantially more than that. oseas explains that all the wine coming from this particular Spanish “solera” barrel system must be at least 30 years old, but the average wine age is 42 years. tradicíon’s 30-year sherry ofers hazelnut, barrel-derived wood aromas like vanilla and other spices, and on the palate it shows a certain orange liqueur and cognac favor, reminiscent of Grand marnier. In addition to Jamón Ibérico, oseas pairs it with a Paella de Ibérico, made with this prized Spanish pig. ($19 per glass or $142 per bottle.)
PHOTOGRAPH BY XX
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By JAson scAvone
Water World Le Rêve Celebrates a Dreamy Milestone Story by Steve Bornfeld Photography by Matilda Temperley
amber dutenhoefer in “Splash.”
ater encircles us, but on this odd, hydraulically powered little island, we could be instantly submerged. That makes this either Atlantis at low tide—or the set of Le Rêve–The Dream. Atop this aquatic upsie-downsie carousel— surrounded beyond the water line by 1,600 seats on terra frma, arching upward into the back of a theater in the round at Wynn Las Vegas—this Rated writer chats with key members of the production. “You’re not really part of the family until you’ve fallen into the pool,” says Louanne Madorma, director of casting and artistic implementation. Thanks, but I’m content to remain just a friend of the family, landlubber-style, and admire from a dry distance a watery spectacle that will reach the milestone of 4,000 performances on January 31. As part of the splashy celebration, beginning this month the show is offering patrons a 55-minute tour of the mechanics of the Le Rêve pool set—which plunges 27 feet down in the middle in 1.1 million gallons of water—as well as a peek at the precise backstage ballet of diving, automation, rigging and lighting that keeps the show going swimmingly. “Some nights it’s Dorothy meets Oz, some nights it’s Alice meets Wonderland,” says Colby Lemmo, one of fve women who plays The Dreamer in a show that’s essentially a dream from which you have to towel off. … Well, not you, just them—a cast of 93 dancers, swimmers, clowns and “generalists” diving to the depths and soaring again on harnesses—using about 1,000 towels a night. Debuting in 2005, Le Rêve—“the dream” in French, named after a 1932 Picasso painting—is the non-Cirque du Soleil creation of Franco Dragone, Cirque’s onetime creative director. Presented as a wordless, abstract pinwheel of aquatic acrobatics and sumptuous but head-scratching tableaus, it initially left showgoers perplexed and critics cold. Drawing comparisons to Dragone’s own “O” at Bellagio, which opened on the Strip seven years earlier. “It did have a rocky beginning, like every huge show like this,” says Madorma of the production that reportedly came with a price tag of $35 million, plus $75 million for the custom theater, designed so no seat is more than 42 feet from the stage to create a quasi-immersive experience. Fixes were made—particularly when the show went dark from March to June 2007. Wynn Las Vegas took over creative control. Scenes were deleted or rethought. Sunny gardens and playful creatures appeared, fantastical moments were inspired by the Sistine Chapel and the Garden of Eden, and a redesign of the theater pared it down from a 2,087-seat venue to its current, more intimate confguration. Now, Le Rêve is freshened every six months with changes and new elements.
“As the show has taken on life, the dreamer story has become much more prevalent,” Madorma says. “We started to fnd moments, and they were received so well that we built on those. There are dark moments in the show, but it’s more balanced now and you have a real arc in the story.” Shifting the central character from male to female, the story was sharpened to follow The Dreamer, who has both a real-world lover and a dream lover, and learns the difference between the two. “It’s her journey of fnding herself. She starts as a girl and ends as a woman,” Lemmo says. “Her dream lover is what she envisions as the perfect man—statuesque, gorgeous, gentle and kind. Later she fnds out he’s not all that. He gets very aggressive and shows his true colors. Then she accepts the proposal from the man she wasn’t sure was the one in the beginning.” Taking on the role in early 2011, Lemmo found the key to expressing that revelation in advice from current choreographer Danita Salamida-Eldridge. “She told me to think of my ex,” Lemmo says about the dream lover who turns out less than dreamy, giggling at the memory. “We had recently broken up. And I was like, ‘Ah, I get it.’” Emphasizing dance and romance—including ballroom dancing vignettes created in 2007 by Maksim Chmerkovskiy of Dancing With the Stars—also helped to tonally turn the tide from downbeat to uplifting. However, unlike Lemmo, who comes from a dance background, many of the
and shift props and other show elements, and 12 infrared cameras monitor the action for safety. Every cast member is required to become scuba-certifed, and the divers provide breathing regulators to submerged performers and swim with them through a tunnel to return backstage. “The [divers] are choreographed like the artists are choreographed. They have hundreds of duties during the show,” Madorma says, noting that performers must execute their moves with absolute precision. “Artists are catapulting 18 feet off [the raised platform] and they have to land in fve feet of water. They have to go in at an angle and do it in a scooping position. When I hire a kid out of the NCAA and they’re a competitive gymnast, they start to get anxiety, but it becomes second nature after a while.” To approximate the feeling and timing of being out of breath while waiting for a diver to arrive with a regulator, during their training performers are required to run half a dozen or so laps around the stage and then jump in the water. “I had a lot of trust that when I was in the water, someone was going to fnd me, and I would always have air when I needed it,” Lemmo says. “I’ve had a couple of little mishaps under the water, and they tell you to just stay calm. You get yourself into trouble when you panic. I dive in, my eyes are closed and when I don’t feel anything, I just go like this,” she says, demonstrating how she faps her hands vigorously in the water.
“You’re not reallY part of the familY until You’ve fallen into the pool,” says Louanne MadorMa, director of casting and artistic iMpLeMentation. thanks, but i’M content to reMain just a friend of the faMiLy, LandLubber-styLe, and adMire froM a dry distance a watery spectacLe that wiLL reach the MiLestone of 4,000 perforMances on january 31. performers don’t come by their moves naturally. “There are 93 people in the cast, and 88 of them are from high-level sports. They’re Olympians and gymnasts,” Madorma says. “Danita has been able to teach them how to dance and project emotion, and that is no small feat.” Coming to Le Rêve from the New York theater scene, Salamida-Eldridge was impressed by their artistic evolution. “It’s pretty cool, seeing the growth,” SalamidaEldridge says. “I know very few dancers who could pass the strength tests for this show. But to see these big, brawly men moving so gracefully and portraying this emotion, it’s overwhelming and inspiring.” Above even that is what happens underneath— coordinating the aquatic complexities of Le Rêve. Beneath the water, 16 divers assist performers
Concluding the interview and gazing over the lip of the carousel into the water, I realize this is useful information if someone at Le Rêve impulsively wants to make their visitor a “part of the family.” Backstage tours are conducted between 4 and 5 p.m. prior to the 7 p.m. show and must be booked 48 hours in advance. Available Sunday and Monday, January 19-February 16. Friday-Tuesday, beginning February 23. Tour tickets are $249 (inclusive of tax and fees) and include preferred seating at a 7 p.m. performance, plus Le Rêve merchandise. Ticket prices begin at $105 for Splash Zone seating. Premium seating is $134. VIP Seating (including Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries) is $195. 702.770.2270; wynnlasvegas.com
Te chic hotel-in-hotel designed by david rockwell is the world’s frst bearing the Nobu stamp. Patchwork wood tiles made of four diferent types of wood— mahogany, oak, cherry and rosewood—dot the entry, a motif carried throughout.
Te restaurant was designed around the notion of wabi sabi (simplicity and beauty in natural states). Te lighting fxtures are even cloudlike.
â€œmt. Fujiâ€? by mark edward Harris faces the 10 one- and twobedroom Hakone Suites. Teir design draws on inspiration from the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park outside of tokyo, famous for its hot springs, natural beauty and views of nearby mount Fuji.
“[Robert De Niro has] traveled all over the world, so he’s eaten at all of the best restaurants, and he can be a quick judge of what is good and not good based on his experience. If it’s bad food, he’d never eat it. He never says, ‘Oh, Nobu, this is great!’ But if he keeps eating, that means it’s good food.” –Matsuhisa
columns of bamboo line the exterior of the restaurant and lounge to resemble the structure of the Japanese ikebana basket used for fower arranging. Natural design elements incorporate stone, wood and paper.
caesars Palace houses the largest Nobu restaurant in the world and the frst in the United States to have teppanyaki tables.
Te elevators feature Schindler PORT technology. Conventional buttons are a thing of the past, as these elevators are touch-screen and transport hotel guests via a trafcmanagement algorithm, resulting in fewer stops and less energy usage.
“I started when I was 18. I’m over 60 now and I’m still cooking ... but when I was 18, I never thought of where I’d be today. I don’t think too much about, ‘Oh, I want this, I want this.’ I like to take things one by one. A goal, to me, is that I try to eat and work as much as possible; that I keep my health; and that I can still create new dishes.” –Matsuhisa
The Really Big Show Itâ€™s a mad, mad world, and Jeff Beacher is back in the house
Story by Liz Ohanesian Photography by Matilda Temperly
eacher’s Madhouse is an exercise in grand proclamations. “World’s Oldest.” “World’s Tallest.” “World’s Youngest.” “World’s Smallest.” It doesn’t matter if the titles bestowed upon Jeff Beacher’s performers are verifable. It’s part of the show. And the spectacle known as Beacher’s Madhouse calls the MGM Grand home as of December. The new Madhouse (Beacher had a residency in the early 2000s at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino) is the biggest and boldest one yet, spanning 8,500 square feet. All that room can hold a lot of little people (impersonators such as Mini Psy, Mini Kanye and Mini Britney) and big people (Amazon Ashley, the World’s Tallest Stripper). Beacher says the new venture is larger than his previous stint in Las Vegas and his current one in Los Angeles, which has played two nights a week inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for three years. In Vegas, the theater was built just for his debauchery. Onstage performers are backed by an LED wall, and Beacher’s signature cast of little people are propelled from four vantage points around the room to deliver bottles and cocktails: one from a red telephone booth, one from the stage, one from a cannon and one out of an elephant’s ass. A DJ drops dance tunes and more dancing follows, until it’s time for the next round of stage antics. “We have a bigger talent pool [this time around],” Beacher says. David Saxe Productions is in charge of hiring and managing the performers and with Beacher co-produces the show, which includes faces from the L.A. show, new acts and a few favorites from the Hard Rock days. “We’re just so cool. Little people, fat people, funny people who like to have fun,” he says. “We don’t break the law. There’s nothing that we do that’s illegal. We have a risqué reputation, but at the end of the day, a Lady Gaga concert is crazier.” Another partner on the project is Angel Management Group, which runs the nightclub. The Madhouse offers a concept not previously attempted in a Las Vegas nightclub—two shows per night. The early edition welcomes guests from 8 to 10 p.m. The showroom then opens for Round 2 at 10:30, and all tables are resold. Those who come to the early show and buy a table receive free entrance and a line pass to the second show,
which has expanded general admission. When Rated sat down with Beacher in Los Angeles a few weeks before the Las Vegas opening, he was answering questions while tweaking the details to a party that was set to start in less than hour. Phones rang. Conversations started and stopped. Even in the bustle of the 11th hour, Beacher remained a hype man. “I’m the best and biggest at what I do,” he said, admitting there simply aren’t many others in his game. “I’m the headliner of the MGM, one of the largest hotels in Vegas.” Outside, the real madhouse unfolded as the swelling crowd tried to gain entrance. The club may be a few years old, but it hasn’t lost its allure. People were pleading to get in, as the girl with the clipboard ignored the man waving a large bill in her direction. A group of model-pretty young women—all cheekbones, fowing hair and long limbs—were quickly ushered inside. It’s a true L.A. spectacle. Inside, the club was packed. People spilled out of booths. Girls danced on chairs and tables. Drinks toppled. Without a doubt, the patrons of Beacher’s Madhouse are as much a part of the show as the hired performers. Johnny Depp, Kim Kardashian, Mel Gibson and Ashton Kutcher are just a few who have turned up at Beacher’s events. Miley Cyrus isn’t just a clubgoer; she is a “good friend” of the party (she attended the MGM premiere on December 27). She brought Amazon Ashley onstage for her notorious performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards. Beacher’s team has done multiple private parties for Cyrus. One person noticeably absent from the new Vegas cadre is Bernie, the World’s Oldest Male Stripper, a lanky, gray-haired guy who dressed in black leather hot pants and a dog collar and danced through the crowd with a host of impeccably groomed ladies. “Bernie passed away,” Beacher says. “So we have a new one; he’s a little older.” Beacher has been riding highs and lows like this for more than a decade of Madhouse, and it doesn’t look like things will slow down soon. As long as hyperbole exists, so will Beacher. In The Theatre at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino; beachersmadhouse.com
Te vaudevillian-inspired show features characters such as mini Psy, mini Britney, mini Kanye and amazon ashley, the World’s tallest Stripper.
“We’re just so cool. Little people, fat people, funny people who like to have fun,” Beacher says. “We don’t break the law. There’s nothing that we do that’s illegal. We have a risqué reputation, but at the end of the day, a Lady Gaga concert is crazier.”
Lucky You January 31 rings in the Chinese New Year, and with it comes new opportunities for prosperity and success. The best place to start is at the dining table. Here are fve dishes that the Chinese believe can increase your luck in the Year of the Horse. By Grace Bascos Photography by Sabin Orr
Swimming in Riches
A whole fsh is a big deal to the Chinese this time of year. Te fsh is a symbol of prosperity, and the word for fsh—yu—is phonetically close to the word for abundance or riches. When it’s served, the head should point toward the guest of honor at the table. Dragon Noodle, whose name alone makes it an especially lucky spot to celebrate, ofers its whole fsh, such as the striped bass with pineapple, onions, bell pepper and sweetand-sour sauce, as an of-menu item. In Monte Carlo, 702.730.7965; montecarlo.com
In Cantonese, the words for “lettuce wraps” are homonyms with “rising fortune,” so they are de rigueur for the New Year’s feast. Tey’re even better when served with foods that are lucky as well, such as chicken and pork. Red 8 goes all out with its lettuce wraps, ofering them with minced chicken and pork in tidy little packages to be eaten in a few bites. In Wynn Las Vegas, 702.770.3380; wynnlasvegas.com
A Roaring Good Start
Don’t worry, Simba: Te lion’s head meatball is made of pork, and after a long braising in a broth, you’ll realize why it’s a Chinese New Year classic. Te “mane” of the dish is the cabbage that is simmered along with the meatball, and all together it represents happiness and wholeness. Hakkasan ofers one of Las Vegas’ most elaborate presentations of the auspicious dish, including—for even more prosperity— trufes. In MGM Grand, 702.891.7888; mgmgrand.com
Little Pockets of Gold
Jiaozi are Chinese dumplings that come with all sorts of fllingsâ€”pork, shrimp, even soupâ€”and they can be steamed, boiled or fried. At the Chinese New Year table, they represent the family coming together for the holiday. KJ Dim Sum & Seafood is a great place to gather and get a taste of this tradition, as it has one of best dim sum carts in Las Vegas. And its chefs keep with the time-honored practice of making these plump, pleated packages in the shapes that represent the gold ingots used as money during the Ming Dynasty. In Rio Las Vegas, 702.731.7778; riolasvegas.com
Long Live the Noodle!
Watching the master noodle makers in the window at Beijing Noodle No. 9 is like witnessing magic. A lump of dough gets pulled over and over by hand until itâ€™s transformed into long, dense, chewy noodles. And this time of year the emphasis is on long, as the strands represent a long life for the eater. Tey taste great, too, served in authentic dishes such as Sichuan dan dan mien or Beijing zha jiang mien. In Caesars Palace, 702.731.7604; caesarspalace.com
that’s entertainment Your guide to the Strip’s hottest shows ABSINTHE Absinthe is a carnival on acid complete with astounding acrobatic acts, presided over by a ringmaster called The Gazillionaire, who banters profanely with his assistant, Penny Pibbets, a kind of potty-mouthed Betty Boop. Dark: MondayTuesday. Tickets start at $99. In Caesars Palace, 800.745.3000; absinthevegas.com
THE BEATLES LOVE The breathtaking acrobatics of Cirque du Soleil coupled with the music of the Beatles make for a show that Sgt. Pepper would leave his yellow submarine to see. Tickets start at $79. In The Mirage, 702.792.7777; cirquedusoleil.com BLUE MAN GROUP Surrealism meets avant-garde in The Painted Ones’ revamped show that satirizes our obsession with technology, combining theatrics, music and art into a bizarre, interactive stew spiced with percussion and humor. Nightly. Tickets start at $83.50. In Monte Carlo, 800.258.3626; blueman.com BOYZ II MEN The R&B superstars mix hits and classics, including “I’ll Make Love to You,” as the crooners hand out roses to adoring female fans, then light the stage afre with a Motown tribute. Tickets start at $40. In The Mirage, 702.792.7777; mirage.com PRISM The masked members of Jabbawockeez let their imagination run wild in their unique fusion of hip-hop and theater. Dark: Tuesday-Wednesday. Tickets start at $55. In Luxor; luxor.com
JUBILEE! Classic showgirls keep the tradition alive in this paean to Old Vegas, a production show brimming with big numbers, classy ladies and lavish costumes. Dark: Friday. Tickets start at $57.50. In Bally’s, 702.777.2782; ballyslasvegas.com LE RÊVE Le Rêve creates a water ballet that incorporates swimming, fre and special effects for a show that could very well invade your nocturnal psyche.
Dark: Wednesday-Thursday. Tickets start at $105. In Wynn Las Vegas, 702.770.9966; wynnlasvegas.com MATT GOSS Goss croons like Frank Sinatra, only unlike the Chairman of the Board, he even sits down to play piano and guitar. Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets start at $50. In Caesars Palace, 702.866.1400; caesarspalace.com MICHAEL JACKSON ONE Cirque du Soleil’s latest venture reimagines the King of Pop through music, costumes and some outstanding dance numbers. Dark: ThursdayFriday. Tickets start at $69. In Mandalay Bay, 877.632.7400; cirquedusoleil.com MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET In the jukebox musical based on Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, actors play their own instruments, blasting out classic hits from “Hound Dog” to “Great Balls of Fire.” Dark: Saturday. Tickets start at $45. In Harrah’s Las Vegas, 702.369.5111; harrahslasvegas.com “O” “O” consists of 85 cast members performing sensational acts in and above a 1.5 million-gallon pool. Dark: Monday-Tuesday. Tickets start at $109. In Bellagio, 702.693.8866; cirquedusoleil.com VÉRONIC VOICES You won’t believe your ears when Véronic takes the stage—the singer-impressionist is a veritable playlist of today’s most famous female performers. Dark: Sunday-Wednesday. Tickets start at $30. In Bally’s, 702.777.2782; ballyslasvegas.com
Million Dollar Quartet
DON’T MISS PARADE A CIRQUE DU SOLEIL EMPLOYEE ARTISTS EXHIBITION Trough January 31 Trifecta Gallery in Te Arts Factory 107 E. Charleston Blvd., Suite 135, 702.366.7001; trifectagallery.com
NATHAN COTÉ: CANNIBALS, SURVIVALISTS AND THE PLUS ULTRA HABITAT Trough February 2 Contemporary Arts Center 1217 S. Main St. 702.382.3886. lasvegascac.org
DANIEL TOSH February 1 Terry Fator Teatre in Te Mirage Tickets start at $82 702.791.7111; mirage.com
MAYER HAWTHORNE February 8 Vinyl in Hard Rock Hotel Tickets start at $20 702.693.5000; hardrockhotel.com
million dollar quartet: erik kabik; lisa lampanelli: andrew
JERSEY BOYS Jersey Boys is a tuneful journey through the careers of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, their dozens of hits propelling the compelling story of their rocky rise to fame. Dark: Monday. Tickets start at $59.30. In Paris Las Vegas, 702.777.7776; jerseyboysinfo.com
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Mandy Domingues has a wild streak bolder than most, even by Las Vegas standards. When she’s not serving drinks and charming customers at Hyde, she’s tending to a small zoo of animals. Domingues, who has worked at Hyde since its opening in January 2012, owns an English bulldog, two tortoises and, most exotic of all, a snow Bengal cat. “I’m a huge animal lover,” she says, “if you couldn’t tell.” Fitting for a woman who embraces the wilderness, the Fall River, Massachusetts, transplant admits that one of her favorite facets of Las Vegas life is the rugged terrain of Red Rock. It’s a “fun little getaway,” she says, and on top of that, “a great workout.” And beyond stretching her muscles, this girl’s got brains. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and she trained in therapeutic massage and bodywork at Lincoln Technical Institute. So while she might be gentle with you, keep an eye out for that Bengal cat. In Bellagio,702.693.8700; hydebellagio.com –CAMILLE CAnnon
PHOTOGRAPH BY zAck w vRATed.cOm