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vegas rated magazine

Departments 17 the hit list 10 things we love about Vegas right now.

33 strip search makeup artist whitney urichuk shines with her new mascara line; songstress sabriel hobart takes a soulful step; concierge michelle Jeannest brings fve-diamond service to residential living.

38 36 hours in ... plenty of options for healthy dining and round-the-clock fun await at aria. spend the better part of a weekend getting to know the place.

42 artifact Te reinvention of planet hollywood’s axis theater.

46 the scene Te sound and the fury of indieelectronic duo black boots.

The Guide 76 shop

80 Dine

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chef Kc fazel sets the rules straight on oyster eating; four romantic restaurants to take a date.

84 relax Te best in men’s massages; manscaping that goes down smooth.

86 happenings concerts, art galleries and other notable cultural outings.

88 play the greatest night of your life is happening seven days a week— here’s where to party.

96 the enD who can command their own fireworks display on the strip? tiësto, that’s who.

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fishcart: anthony mair; miley cyrus: tyrone lebron; tiËsto: powers imagery

Keep it classy at these cigar lounges; suitsupply tailors its way onto the backs of Vegas gentlemen.


editor’s letter WHERE THE BOYS ARE … There is no better subject for the cover of our Men’s issue than diplo. his irreverent, trendsetting and always-surprising infusions into pop culture are defining this era (if you have any doubt about that last statement, Google “harlem Shake” or “express Yourself”). We also love him for his fashion sense, his carefree good looks and his affable personality—in case you couldn’t tell, i was a fan long before i met Wesley Pentz, and when i finally did, i wasn’t disappointed. it was only fitting that his cover shoot took place inside the Wynn recording studio. From the moment i heard about plans for such a space back in 2011, i was determined to feature it—i always love revealing these types of insider-y nooks, as i like to call them, to our readers.

DON’T MISS Joseph James Brewing Company Beer and Bites Dinner, February 26, 6:30 p.m. the popular beer dinner series at the Pub at monte carlo showcases local brewery Joseph James for one special night. Interestingly, the beers are chosen before the dish, so the five courses of food are built around the brews, not the other way around. (don’t miss Joseph James’ Fox russian Imperial Stout—just brace yourself, as it’s potent.) $64.05, Monte Carlo, 702.730.7420; montecarlo.com

COMING SOON From the creators of Hyde at Bellagio, Double Barrel Roadhouse opens march 6 in the new promenade space in front of monte carlo. Tis modern-day saloon ofers guests the option of reveling on its Strip-side patio or grabbing a table inside while enjoying interactive entertainment from mascots such as Barrel Billy and the dB girls, who will perform on elevated catwalks surrounding the bars. Te sound system, projection screens and lighting are much like you would fnd at a nightclub; the culinary program emphasizes american classics such as corn chowder and crackling pork shank; and the bar serves up a wide variety of whiskies and beer. Tere is also a stage for live music and, of course, a barrel swing for when things really get crazy. Tis has all the making of the perfect spot for bachelor or bachelorette party shenanigans. 702.222.7735; sbe.com doUBLe BarreL roadHoUSe

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Of course, while diplo may be our cover boy, what’s an issue entirely devoted to manly pursuits without a few “Women We love”? in that vein, meet Sabriel, Whitney and Michelle—not only are they beautiful, but their careers are taking them to impactful places in the worlds of entertainment, beauty and hospitality, respectively. These are three names you won’t want to forget. if you are visiting Vegas with the boys, these pages are filled with the nuts and bolts on how to build your dream “brocation,” from Zero Gravity flying experiences to owning your own $400,000 fast car to ziplining through the desert. after all that fun, put on your drinking shoes and hit the Strip for the ultimate Grey Goose cocktail crawl, then check out the state of live music, as the much-anticipated Brooklyn Bowl at linq makes its debut. Whether you’re a man or a woman, this is the perfect time of year to visit las Vegas, as winter gives way to spring. So come and “express Yourself.” (i’m not exactly sure what that means, but i know it would make diplo proud.)

Melinda SheckellS Editor-in-Chief Follow us on Twitter @vegasrated


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CrystalsAtCityCenter.com • Located next to ARIA ® Resort & Casino • Clothing and accessories provided by Donna Karan • Jewelry provided by Bulgari


contributors

LAUREL MAY BOND Writer A recent refugee from San Francisco’s exploding startup scene, Bond was eager to learn what makes Las Vegas entrepreneurs tick (“Local Ventures,” page 54). “I’m pretty convinced that the main ingredients for success are passion, determination and resiliency. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to also have just a bit of a rebellious streak.” Follow her on Twitter for a curated feed of bizarre Internet detritus and barely controlled outbursts @laurel43.

HOMA SAFAR Grooming

ROBERT SPUHLER Writer Spuhler’s frst music moment in Las Vegas was gambling at the dearly departed Boardwalk Casino while listening to Prince tribute band Purple Reign. Since then, he’s watched the city’s musical renaissance (“All the Right Notes,” page 68) while on assignment for outlets such as MSN and amNew York. “With the festivals and new venues,” Spuhler says, “Las Vegas has become more relevant in the music industry than perhaps at any other time in its history.” Follow him on Twitter @RMSpuhler.

XANIA WOODMAN Contributing Editor Even after 12 years in Las Vegas, balancing work and play in such a vibrant city can be daunting. But the seach for balanced cocktails is what drives award-winning editor and beverage writer Woodman. At a recent seminar, she learned about the pedigree of Grey Goose vodka and overcame her own prejudices about the brand that has a reputation for being more of a party animal than a mixology nerd. “I was so inspired that I set off on a Goose hunt! This month, we present the best Grey Goose cocktails in Las Vegas (‘Straight Up and Fly Right,’ page 48).”

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Makeup artist and hairstylist Safar, a Las Vegas native and now Los Angeles resident, has worked as the right-hand woman to many industry leaders and is well on her way to becoming one herself. She’s been published in magazines such as Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan and Flaunt, painted the faces of many celebrities and has worked runways from New York to Milan. “My experience with Diplo (‘Keeping Up Appearances,’ page 60) was pretty amazing. It was fun, playful and humbling— I just vibe better with artists.”

ANTHONY MAIR Senior Contributing Photographer Mair’s aesthetic is infuenced by his travels throughout Europe, the United States and parts of Asia. However, he refuses to let this worldliness or his current hometown of Las Vegas dictate his fashion sense. For that, he’s sticking to his British roots. “Besides admiring all the clothes that Avo, our stylist, selected, I most enjoyed capturing Diplo bring his swagger to the shoot. It was like watching Major Lazer with an English sensibility.” Follow Mair on Instagram and Twitter @amairphoto.


miChaeL skenanDoRe pubLisheR assoCiaTe pubLisheR eDiToR-in-ChieF Design DiReCToR

christy corda melinda sheckells s.a. lien

managing eDiToR

genevie durano

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jessica acu単a

Copy ChieF Copy eDiToRs eDiToRiaL inTeRns

paul szydelko sean defrank, matt jacob alena cruz, kel dansby, devin howell, jessica kantor, susanna kelly, allison kyler, tye masters, john r. schmitz

ConTRibuTing eDiToRs

grace bascos (dining), geoff carter (culture), jen chase, michael shulman, xania woodman (beverage)

ConTRibuTing WRiTeRs

danny axelrod, laurel may bond, steve bornfeld, camille cannon, maureen hank, al mancini, todd peterson, robert spuhler

gRaphiC DesigneR gRaphiC Design inTeRn senioR ConTRibuTing phoTogRapheR ConTRibuTing phoTogRapheRs Vp business DeVeLopmenT DigiTaL saLes manageR aCCounT manageR aCCounT seRViCe manageR DiReCToR oF pRoDuCTion/DisTRibuTion aDVeRTising manageR DisTRibuTion CooRDinaToR

jesse j sutherland chase cifelli, chris widlowski anthony mair jana cruder, jon estrada, francis + francis, zack w, lucky wenzel jacqueline bicknell nicole scherer brittany quintana nicole bullis marc barrington james bearse jasen ono

Ryan T. DoheRTy | JusTin WenigeR pResiDenT ChieF FinanCiaL oFFiCeR assisTanT ConTRoLLeR eDiToRiaL DiReCToR

michael skenandore kevin j. woodward donna nolls phil hagen

CReaTiVe DiReCToR

sherwin yumul

CReaTiVe DiReCToR CusTom pubLiCaTions

benjamin ward

ViCe pResiDenT, maRkeTing & eVenTs

kyle markman

maRkeTing CooRDinaToR

maureen hank

geneRaL aCCounTing manageR

erica carpino

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Vegas/Rated速 is a registered trademark of Sandow Media, LLC and used in partnership with WENDOH Media Companies. Vegas/Rated (ISSN 2162-6340) Vol. 3, No. 6 is published monthly by WENDOH Media Las Vegas, NV.

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Painting Women

Works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston February 14 – October 26, 2014

Tickets and information 702.693.7871 • bellagio.com/bgfa Lef image: Gretchen Woodman Rogers, Woman in a Fur Hat, Gif of Miss Anne Winslow, Photography ©2013 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Right image: Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, Portrait of a Young Woman, Robert Dawson Evans Collection, Photography ©2013 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


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the hit list

Te Backpack attack

It’s back to the schoolyard for this season’s hottest bag for men. Whether sporting one strap over the shoulder or wearing it like it was intended— both straps ftted snugly against your rear side (no judgment here, Urkel)—it’s form meets function. From fashy to sleek looks, toting around your belongings never looked so good. Ladies, go ahead and play, too, if you dare. –JESSI C. ACUÑA TopMan From psychedelic and galaxy designs to full-face animal images, we expect nothing less from TopMan’s backpack collection. Keeping in line with the brand’s history of steering away from the mundane, there’s an assortment of styles, including rucksack and baroque, so whether you’re on campus, at the airport or perusing the streets, no one will touch your beat. TopShop in Fashion Show, 702.866.0646; us.topman.com Mi-Pac If it’s endearing you’re going for, then Mi-Pac’s got you covered. The classic canvas bag keeps it simple with a faux-suede bottom, while the Nordic and pocket prints offer a little more bounce to the plainer versions. Check out the Gold line faux-animal patterns such as ostrich and python for a whole lot of swag. There’s even a top carry handle if you can’t be bothered with straps. mi-pac.com Herschel Supply Co. The options are endless with Herschel designs. From its vintage-inspired Heritage bag, which comes in a variety of

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colors and prints such as polka dot, chevron and camo, to the mountaineering-like Little America backpack, each comes with laptop pockets. The plus series is made for the electronic-savvy in mind—it comes with designated accessories pockets and outlets. Urban Outftters in Fashion Show, 702.794.4011; herschelsupply.com Tumi Keep it classy with a brand that’s built its reputation on luxury travel and lifestyle accessories. The nylon-made Bravo collection features multiple organizer pockets for arranging doodads, or there’s the T-Tech Forge packs made from cotton canvas, distressed leather and detailing of brass hardware. The Tumi Store in The Forum Shops at Caesars, 702.369.5885; tumi.com MCM Vibrant colors with embellishments such as 24-karat gold-plated gunmetal studs is how German-born MCM does backpacks. While some looks highlight its bold signature Visetos pattern on hues like paradise green, chalk pink and cognac, others simply stand out for the namesake logo brass plate. With spring right around the corner, a foral and spiked backpack is available for the most brazen of men. Feature Sneaker Boutique, 702.463.3322; featuresneakerboutique.com, Saks Fifth Avenue in Fashion Show, 702.733.8300; saksffthavenue.com and mcmworldwide.com

MCM backpack from Feature Sneaker Boutique. PHotoGraPH BY JeSSe J SUtHerLaNd

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STRIP SEARCH

OnestOp shOp

Concierge Michelle Jeannest makes residents feel at home

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Hair and makeuP: LyLe maLaPit

hen Michelle Jeannest is in the room, her warmth instantly makes you feel at home. And it’s a good thing, since as the concierge manager at The Martin—a 376-unit residential high-rise just west of the Strip and one of Las Vegas’ chicest addresses— it’s in her job description. What’s it like to live in a Vegas high-rise, a residential setup more commonly found in New York and L.A.? Imagine a well-appointed home with views that rival any luxury resort, and you get some idea. But it’s the support staff, headed by Jeannest, that makes living at The Martin feel like one is on a never-ending vacation. The concierge desk handles anything residents—some who live there only part of the year—could possibly need, including in-house car service, housekeeping, and show and restaurant recommendations. Jeannest developed her intuition for what guests need from a lifetime of traveling. Her father was in the diplomatic service, and she and her family traveled extensively, with longer stays in the Philippines, Iraq (prior to the Gulf War) and Belgium. Fluent in French and Tagalog, Jeannest had an early love for the hospitality industry, sparked by countless stays in hotels around the world. Her career began 12 years ago in Paris, and later L.A., where she managed front-offce operations and oversaw more than 40 employees. She has been in Las Vegas for three years, and she considers her position at The Martin the perfect ft for her passion to curate an experience for people. With her at the helm, The Martin is a hotbed of social activity. She organizes three or four off-property mixers every week at some of the city’s best spots, including Lily at Bellagio and The Barrymore in the Royal Resort. “Our residents get a chance to really explore the city,” she says. In addition to these happy hours, she also comes up with fun activities, including trivia nights, football potlucks and hiking. “There are always opportunities to network and get to know your neighbor,” she says. And the outings are popular with the residents, whom Jeannest affectionately calls her “Martin family.” Personal and professional fulfllment come in many forms for this mother of two, who juggles work and home with “love, patience and affection.” Luckily for The Martin residents, she’s got plenty to go around. themartin.com –GENEVIE DURANO

ask Jeannest for a brunch recommendation and she’ll happily steer you to Simon at Palms with its bottomless mimosas and bloody mary bar. For the best entertainment? a show at Te colosseum in caesars Palace or an up-and-coming act at Te cosmopolitan is just the ticket.

PHotoGraPH by Lucky WenzeL

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DESTINATION

From the grand entrance to the spacious Sky Suites to the luxurious spa, everything at Aria is sleek and modern. 38 vrated.com


Hide Out Take a break from the ordinary ... lose yourself in Aria for 36 hours

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By Jessi C. Acuña

irst impressions are everything, and pulling up to Aria Resort & Casino on a sunny Friday feels like you’re approaching Atlantis. Amid the Strip’s rainbow lights, Aria stands unique—a collection of sophisticated mirrored buildings that artfully angle and curve like a vision of urbanity smack in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard. A pair of majestic waterworks greet guests. Find “Lumia” in the porte cochere, which magically marries frework-like splashes of dancing water and varying colors in an unforgettable union. At the casino entrance, encounter the “Focus Water Wall.” Growing from a trickle to a gushing fow, the 270-foot-long feature resembles a waterfall. It all makes for a grand entrance to this megaresort and whets the appetite for what’s inside. In addition to being a popular destination for the convention crowd with its 300,000 square feet of meeting space, Aria sets itself apart through its fne-art collection, hearty selection of restaurants and chic suites sophisticated enough to garner AAA Five Diamond recognition. Along with its neighboring properties Mandarin Oriental, Vdara Hotel & Spa, The Shops at Crystals and Veer Towers— originally collectively known as CityCenter—Aria paved a new industry standard for environmentally conscious and sustainable practices. Aria not only exists in the heart of the Strip, it’s established itself as the new pulse of the city. And, the next 36 hours are about exploring its beat.

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DESTINATION

Friday, 7 p.m., Check In to Check Out With a private entrance slyly located in the central artery of the hotel, the Sky Suites are the ultimate Vegas getaway. These one-bedroom penthouses, with foor-to-ceiling windows, give a bird’s-eye view of “Lumia” but two very important things help you tuck in for a chill stay: ambient music on the TV, and the modern, sleek decor of a bathroom ft for a Vegas socialite, including a shower that doubles as a steam room. The entire resort offers corner views, and many of the Sky Suites have a clear shot of the Strip with the desert mountains serving as a backdrop. Unpack and don’t be surprised if chocolate-covered strawberries and macaroons show up in the frst hour. Then, settle in for a catnap before a night of exploring.

10 p.m., Lounge It Up Gold Boutique Nightclub and Lounge is the perfect way to start the night. We recommend ordering a Jameson on the rocks and settling in for some people watching. The decor showcases a liberal use of sparkle, animal print, wood, leather, fora and fauna, and well, gold. Even the cocktail servers are decked out in lustrous metallic dresses. As the dance-foor vibes transition from mild to wild, it’s time to pursue a late-night snack. Javier’s delivers. Order a hand-shaken margarita and a bite at this chic Mexican restaurant. At the bar, meet Juan, who is knowledgable about the design intricacies of the space. Resembling the inside of a piano with its perfectly positioned ropes tethered from a central location, bursts of white brighten the shadowy leathers and Aztec-inspired carved wooden wall. The enchiladas de vegetales hit the spot, with an abundance of savory chilies. Order one more marg to help wash down the heat. At last call, it’s back to the room to enjoy the sleek feel of the sheets and custom-designed Posturepedic bed.

Saturday, 6 a.m., Work Hard, Relax Hard On any given day and at any given time the ftness center is crowded, but a quick workout is a means to an end before the more important tasks at hand: spa-ing. Aria’s amped-up spa offerings prove the property’s mettle. After lounging between its sauna-steam rooms and cold-hot tubs, it’s time for the co-ed ganbanyoku beds. Heated stones make up the only Japanese beds of their kind in the country. Useful in assisting to detox the body, if last night’s imbibing didn’t sweat itself out in the steam room, it is surely gone now. Next: the Shio Salt room, with its walls of illuminated Shio salt bricks that scream (quietly) to be your meditation space. It’s easy to forget you are still in Vegas where debauchery is only one step away, especially after trying a Thai poultice massage, which uses steamed poultices to deeply

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work out tension—almost replacing human hands. The full-body massage still incorporates the use of hands and forearms, but it’s the beauty of the mushroom-shaped poultices of lemongrass, ginger and prai extract wrapped in soft cloths that mirror a deep-tissue rubdown. As a treat, the two poultices are yours to keep and make a great aromatic addition to any room.

1 p.m., Afternoon Sustenance The Rooibos tea, fruit and fresh nuts in the spa can serve as breakfast, but later it’s time for a solid meal. Aria impresses with its collection of restaurants, particularly ones offering healthy delights to fuel the body, and Spanish chef Julian Serrano delivers with the small plates served at his namesake restaurant. At the bar, ask your server to walk you through the vegetarian/vegan menu (one of the best on the Strip). Start with the Pan Manchego—its lightly toasted bread, fresh tomatoes and Manchego cheese will take you back to the cafés of Madrid. The fnale: Piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese.

2:30 p.m., Center of Exploration Exploring the Aria Fine Art Collection is a welcome change of pace. MGM Resorts International, Aria’s parent company, invested $40 million in the collection, and offers both commissioned works and existing pieces. There’s an unmissable masterwork in the 84-foot cast of reclaimed silver that delicately hangs behind the hotel’s main registration desk. Meant to represent its commitment to sustainability (and artist Maya Lin’s dedication to the environment—she’s best known for her Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.—including “Where the Land Meets the Sea” at the California Academy of Sciences), “Silver River” is one of many standouts on the property. An afternoon tour with Tarissa Tiberti, executive director of the fne-art collection, highlights just a handful. (Check with Aria’s concierge for selfguided tours or download the free app—CityCenter Fine Art Collection—for previews and a GPS.) Start outdoors with her favorite, “Big Edge“ by Nancy Rubins. Located centrally in between Aria’s north valet dropoff and Vdara’s entrance, the elaborate work is made up of multiple recycled and reused aluminum rowboats and canoes, each delivered separately and assembled on-site. “The sheer engineering and complex composition of the sculpture is something to marvel at,” Tiberti says. “Rubins confronts the viewer the idea of one’s own space and the space around with the precarious jutting overhang boats.” Being able to explore culturally signifcant artworks in a public space, particularly in Vegas, alone is worth the trip to Aria. In the north valet pickup, take note of a piece by artist Jenny Holzer: a massive see-through LED screen that wraps around the backdrop of the valet with varying heights sharing her “Truisms,” phrases that Tiberti says are

meant to leave you with “life-challenging thoughts.”

6 p.m., Pre-Theater Noshing The Sky Suite’s spa-like powder room’s foor-toceiling mirrors make you feel like a supermodel as you primp and preen for a second night, which starts with drinks at Sage. The farm-to-table simplicity in Chef Shawn McClain’s American cuisine is evident in the restaurant’s mixology program. Its emphasis on seasonality is seen in its fruit selection and homemade bitters. The mixologist entices with a visit from the bewitching “green fairy,” and warns that you may fall hard. An absinthe presentation served in a fountain that uses ice water to slowly dissolve sugar over the liquor, making it seem smokey and seductive, will have you begging for a second round. This illusion is child’s play compared to what’s to come at McClain’s pizza bar, Five50. Set in a casual space with a sportsbook vibe, the James Beard awardwinning chef’s highlights aren’t limited to his pies. Kick it off with a Rogue Dead Guy Ale beer and a fennel salad (life’s about balance, right?). For the main course, opt for the make-your-own-pizza option that includes mushrooms, onions and olives. Despite the heaviness of the beer, you will still feel light.

7:30 p.m., A Show of Splendor Vegas is synonymous with Cirque du Soleil, and Zarkana is one of the company’s newest offerings. Set in an abandoned theater where the ghosts of circus’ past come to life, the show builds with impressive act after thrilling feat. One of the most exciting scenes is a live sand painting. Not to be outdone, revel in the venue itself. The theater forgoes the traditional and opts for plush couch-like seating in the center rows and chairs that resemble leather recliners on the aisles.

9:30 p.m., Nightcap Since it feels unwise to hit the sack right after so much visual stimulation, return to Javier’s for a nightcap. The bar and low-lit dining room are the perfect backdrop to come down from a Cirque high.

6 a.m., Farewell Bite If Willy Wonka were the dignifed French pastry chef of a Las Vegas pâtisserie and artful choco shop, his name would be Jean Philippe Maury. Fantastic for both shopping and eating, Jean Philippe Pâtisserie is the perfect fnale for a stay at Aria. After selecting a few boxes of truffes and chocolates—for friends and family, of course— fnd pleasure in a veggie crepe, fresh orange juice and watching men in suits and ties prep for their morning meetings. This experience will suerly remind you of one of Holzer’s truisms: “A single event can have infnite interpretations.” It’s the same for a single experience. Despite Aria being large in scale, 36 hours inside the property will leave you feeling cozy and blissful with no shortage of leisure and discovery. An experience defnitely worth a return trip. 702.590.7111; aria.com


The original Aladdin theater (shown here in the late 1970s) was designed as a state-of-the-art performance space. Every seat enjoyed clear sight of the stage while a translucent dome delivered pristine sound throughout. 42 vrated.com


ARTIFACT

As the World Turns The Axis’ reinvention intention

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By Todd Peterson

here was a time in Las Vegas when a resort had outlived its usefulness, we just blew it up and cheered as the charges ignited and the unwanted collapsed. When the dust settled and the rubble was cleared away, we built right over the graveyard of architecture past. This might have been the case for the large and—until recently—outdated theater in Planet Hollywood, but it happily followed a different path. The Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts was added during the original Aladdin hotel’s $50 million renovation in the mid-’70s. The 7,500-person venue’s amazing sight lines and low, domed ceiling made for visual and acoustical excellence, and Neil Diamond christened the space on July 2, 1976. The hotel itself changed hands multiple times over the next 20 years—two decades of intrigue and losses—until the hotel and the theater were shuttered in 1997 and the hotel was imploded the next year. The new Aladdin, completed and opened in August 2000, was beset with problems from Day One and was rebranded Planet Hollywood in 2003. During the last decade, phenomenal changes were ushered in, including a makeover of the adjacent shops and a comprehensive renovation of the casino. When Caesars Entertainment assumed ownership of PH in 2010, it had a hot and

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ARTIFACT

Renderings illustrate the fluid movement of energy and sound audience members feel, from entrance to lobby to performance space.

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opportunities. Brett Robillard, Gensler’s lead designer on the project, became enamored with the venue; its unique size and location, musical history and the singularity of the room. The opportunity to transform it, Robillard says, “was a onetime thing.” Gensler’s project team also included Brett Osness, Chris Koch, Alicia Wagner and Ryner Grubmueller. The frm capitalized on a wide range of talent to create a diverse, forward thinking group—and won the job. When Caesars Entertainment tapped Gensler for the project, it wanted a revamp that looked modernized and artistic, but soft. The challenge was to make it cohesive with the rest of the recent upgrades around the property; however, “much of the space was largely to remain unchanged,” Robillard says, as Caesars wanted to keep—and enhance—all the theater’s positive attributes, including its stage views and audio clarity.

renderings courtesy of gensler

happening property that was trending upward with the younger crowds. Also, it had that theater. Renamed the Planet Hollywood Theatre for the Performing Arts, the venue continued to be a favorite among locals and tourists alike, as performers ranging from Nine Inch Nails to Willie Nelson graced its stage, albeit sporadically. Caesars Entertainment renamed the space PH Live in 2012 and brought in headliners such as Nicki Minaj and One Direction. The theater, despite its architectural advantages, had some drawbacks. The lobby was narrow and confning. Plus, with just a handful of concerts a year, it lacked the luster of other music venues in town. Fast-forward to winter 2013. Architectural frm Gensler was invited to submit a proposal for a redesign of the theater, to be known as The Axis. They rapidly prepared a plan focusing on experiential design and enhanced revenue

One of the major faws with the theater’s ovalshaped design, surrounded on all sides by the Miracle Mile Shops, was that its doors funneled concertgoers into a narrowly confned lobby before they were able to enter the majesty of the main room. As the focal point of the redesign, the Gensler team turned the cavernous, closed area into a sweeping, elliptical space, allowing visitors ample square footage to enter and fan out. They extended the entry promenade to ease some of the previous crowding and create a more dramatic entrance sequence for the venue guests. The front of the stage also had to be reconfgured. Axis general manager Edward “Tex” Dike points out that it is now the coveted reserved seating area. “We wanted a real focus on the VIP experience for shows,” he says. For Britney Spears’ new residency, Piece of Me, which debuted in December, the VIP seating includes 28 “pods,” which are actually six-person VIP lounges. The lounges come with bottle service—a venture with Drai’s Management Group—and are as close to the stage as you can get. For a theater in which there isn’t a bad seat, it’s the sound that’s the star. The width of the room and its low, domed ceiling make for an “acoustically transparent” venue—meaning that sound easily travels through most its surfaces—a feature Gensler had to take into account when making changes inside. The addition of projectors, screens and hundreds of lights, as well as sound upgrades, submerges guests in what Axis production manager Mikey Albulet calls an “immersive experience” in the large but intimate space. Robillard says redesigning Axis was a “unique kind of collaborative experience.” He adds that the fact they were modernizing a live music and entertainment venue with legendary status wasn’t lost on Gensler’s team. “If I’m going to a concert,” he says, “there’s a chance of a lifechanging experience.”


PHOTOGRAPH BY XX

Indie-electronic duo Black Boots christened new nightlife spot After on February 1 with their residency at the Strip’s only dedicated after-hours venue. vRATed.cOm 47


straight up and fly right Think beyond bottle service to a sophisticated cocktail with Grey Goose

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rey Goose vodka is the darling of the nightclub, the belle of the disco ball, the life of every party’s bottle-service ritual. But don’t dismiss her from the mixology party just yet. The brand’s latest campaign asks you to “Fly Beyond,” to look past the pop-song name drops and showy sparkler parades to consider its pedigree and quality. Grey Goose is taking back its street cred by focusing on François Thibault (the Cognac maker who realized founder Sidney Frank’s vision in 1997) and the ingredients: just soft Picardy winter wheat, Champagne-limestone-fltered spring water and (in its favors portfolio) only fresh, ripe fruit. In addition to Las Vegas’ VIP tables and booths, you can fnd Grey Goose and Grey Goose Le Citron, L’Orange, La Poire and Cherry Noir in sophisticated, mixology-minded bars, lounges and restaurants up and down the Strip for when you’re ready to “Fly Beyond” bottle service.

FLY BY NIGHT The most served cocktail at Caesars Palace’s new Champagne lounge, Fizz, also highlights the newest offering from Grey Goose. Debuting in 2012, Cherry Noir is favored with ripe cherries, including handpicked black Basque beauties. Fizz beverage director Ken Hall is notable for his keen

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ability to re-create any dessert (and even a perfect PB&J!) as a delicious, balanced and simple cocktail. And he certainly knows his classics. But for Fizz’s opening menu, Hall created the Fizz Noir ($18), a triple-threat vodka sour of Grey Goose Cherry Noir, Cherry Heering liqueur and cherry bitters along with lemon juice, rock candy syrup and a little egg white, topped with brut Champagne. “The Fizz Noir fts well with the concept of the lounge,” Hall says, “and the Champagne adds some sparkle.” Hall expects that more classic cocktails will eventually fnd their way onto the Fizz menu (he already makes a bangup twist on the French 75 … for $2,500), but sheer popularity might just keep the Fizz Noir around for a long time. In a mixing glass, combine ¾ ounce Grey Goose Cherry Noir vodka, ¾ ounce Cherry Heering liqueur, ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice, ½ ounce Trader Vic’s Rock Candy Syrup, 2 dashes Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters and ½ ounce egg whites. Cover and shake without ice to froth egg whites (or use an electric frothing wand). Add ice, cover and shake again. Strain into a chilled 8½-ounce Champagne coupe. Top with brut Champagne and garnish with three brandied cherries on a cocktail pick.


Ken Hall holds the Fizz Noir, which includes Grey Goose Cherry Noir. He created it especially for the opening menu of Champagne lounge Fizz.


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Kirk Peterson of Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group enjoys the popular Blood Orange Cosmopolitan.

Bellagio’s assistant director of beverage and property mixologist Ricardo Murcia pours his signature Jasmine cocktail (left).

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FLY FIRST CLASS Before becoming a training manager for Grey Goose parent company Bacardi, Patricia Richards, the former Wynn Resorts property mixologist, created the Lychee Blossom Martini ($15) for Wynn’s Parasol Up and Parasol Down bars. Richards’ take on the lychee martini capitalizes on Grey Goose L’Orange’s fresh, zesty character and creamy softness with fresh sweet and sour, simple syrup and lychee liqueur and purée. “It’s all about combining complementary favors in a balanced, harmonious way,” Richards says. So the next time a liter of Grey Goose L’Orange hits your VIP table, impress everyone by telling them that, in addition to the highest-quality French wheat and artesian water, each liter of the frst of Grey Goose’s favor portfolio contains the natural essence of one kilo (about 2.2 pounds) of freshly peeled oranges. In a mixing glass, combine 1½ ounces Grey Goose L’Orange vodka, ½ ounce Soho lychee liqueur, ¼ ounce Perfect Purée lychee purée and 1½ ounces fresh sweet and sour. Add ice, cover, shake and strain into a pre-chilled 7½-ounce cocktail glass. Garnish with a speared lychee.

sought to infuse Grey Goose with the favor of fresh Anjou pears. In 2007, he nailed it. Recently, Bellagio assistant director of beverage and property mixologist Ricardo Murcia sought to create a simple-yet-sophisticated cocktail for the Jasmine Fountains Brunch during last year’s Food & Wine All-Star Weekend. He found success with the elegant Jasmine cocktail ($16). Subtle Grey Goose La Poire could easily be overpowered, but St-Germain elderfower liqueur, lemon juice, cranberry juice and a house-made jasmine-tea-infused simple syrup create a peaceful, foral, fruity accord in the glass. “The pear favor embraces the elegance and favors of fruits and fowers,” Murcia says. The Jasmine returned for holiday menus at the property and makes its permanent home at Jasmine restaurant. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1½ ounces Grey Goose La Poire vodka, ¾ ounce St-Germain elderfower liqueur, 1 ounce cranberry juice, ¾ ounce jasmine-tea infused simple syrup and ½ ounce fresh lemon juice. Add ice, cover, shake and strain into a chilled 10-ounce cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh white rose petal.

FLY TIMELESS The Cosmopolitan cocktail is a modern classic, a product of the 1970s and ’80s, like so many of the women who watched Carrie and friends down them like spa water on Sex and the City. It’s divine in its simplicity—just citrus vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and fresh lime juice—but isn’t so sacred that it can’t be played with. A blood-orange version (made with orange-favored vodka) has been a staple aperitivo at Mario Batali restaurants since its creation at Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca in New York City, and it appears in the Babbo Cookbook (2002). But ask for a Blood Orange Cosmopolitan ($14) at Carnevino, B&B, Otto Pizzeria e Enoteca or B&B Burger & Beer and you’ll get Grey Goose L’Citron vodka with Cointreau, fresh lime and fresh blood-orange juice. “It has indomitable popularity,” says Kirk Peterson, beverage director for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group Las Vegas, “our most popular cocktail year after year.” And like many cocktails at Batali restaurants, it’s a refreshing, Italian reinterpretation of a classic. “Great cocktails are all about clarity of favor, precision and balance,” Peterson says. “There is beauty in simplicity: If you have more than fve ingredients, you should probably start over.”

FLY ORIGINAL

In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 ounces Grey Goose Le Citron vodka, ½ ounce Cointreau, ¼ ounce fresh lime juice, ¼ ounce simple syrup and 1 ounce blood-orange juice. Add ice, cover, shake and strain into a chilled 8-ounce cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Squeeze the seeds and juice from half a fresh passion fruit into a 16-ounce iced bamboo glass and set aside. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1¼ ounces Grey Goose vodka, 1¼ ounces Masumi Okuden “Mirror of Truth” junmai sake, ½ ounce Soho lychee liqueur, 3 ounces house-made lychee juice (try Ceres), ¾ ounce Coco Lopez coconut cream, ½ ounce fresh lime juice and ½ ounce house-made passion fruit syrup (try Monin). Add ice, cover, shake and strain into the glass with the passion fruit. Garnish with a lychee.

FLY FRAGRANT It’s said that maître de chai and Grey Goose distiller François Thibault was inspired by a pâtissier’s tarte aux poires, or pear pastry, when he

Who says you can’t get great cocktails in a club? Plenty of people. True, most nightclub bars just sling beers, shots and vodka highballs. And isn’t bottle service king? But at Hakkasan, the Ling Ling Lounge helps ease you from sumptuous dinner to high-energy nightlife. With that in mind, eight cocktails from the restaurant were selected (eight being a very lucky number in Chinese culture) to be served in this intimate bar. The most popular signature cocktail at Hakkasan, The Hakka ($18) is an exotic, refned, Asian-inspired piña colada, says Ling Ling Lounge bartender Ray Srp, who makes more of these cocktails than any other. But instead of rum, Grey Goose vodka provides a supple, medium-bodied canvas for the addition of junmai sake, lychee, coconut, lime and fresh passion fruit. “The premium-grade wheat used to create Grey Goose Original provides a softer texture and favor, which allows the more subtle favors of the sake to shine,” Srp says, “without overpowering the integrity of the cocktail.”

Te Hakka is one of the most popular signature cocktails at Hakkasan’s Ling Ling Lounge.

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cup oF goodwill

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or Owen Carver, blending business with community betterment has always shaped his entrepreneurial dreams. Te 33-year old founder of web and graphic design frm All In Web Pro, Carver is also a core member of the VegasTech startup community, a group of 700-plus young professionals who orbit the burgeoning downtown Las Vegas entrepreneurial scene. It was his involvement with VegasTech that ultimately resulted in the creation of Vegas GiveCamp, a weekend in which local experts donate their time creating websites and other software solutions for nonproft organizations. Carver’s drive has also given rise to his passion project, Café do Paraíso, an environmentally sustainable specialty cofee roasting company that includes a charitable component. Tey give $1 to education charities for every pound of cofee they sell. “With my Web business, my focus is delivering great service and high quality that ultimately serve the client’s best long-term interests. With my cofee business, I have a vision of creating the most sustainable and transparent cofee company in the world.” A traceable supply chain like the one Carver espouses guarantees consumers more than just a cafeine fx: From crop to cup, they’re supporting sustainable farmmanagement practices along with the occupational health and safety of all workers, a worthy goal in an industry notorious for labor abuses and lax environmental standards. And while Web design and cofee beans may seem galaxies apart, to Carver, both endeavors embody his core values. “Te most rewarding thing in life is helping others. I love helping to empower others with knowledge and skills. Tis applies to sharing knowledge about websites, as well as to every aspect of the cofee industry.” allinwebpro.com; cafedoparaiso.com


THE kEy To THE ciTy

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rew Belcher, 26, considers himself removed from the local entrepreneurial clique. “I don’t live Downtown. I don’t wear hoodies. I don’t write code,” he says. But that hasn’t stopped him and partner Alexandra Lourdes from creating an app that’s built to arm the masses with insider knowledge. UNLOKT was developed as a way to help users discover cool, locals-only area gems. Te “aha” moment followed shortly with the idea to make it exclusive: Businesses are only considered for feature after being nominated by users and personally scouted by a member of the UNLOKT team. Belcher sees the platform’s heavily curated, vetted nature as its standout feature and strength. But will users agree? “My dad always told me, ‘Drew, take risks when you are young. Even if you fail 100 times over, who cares? You start again.’ Tat’s probably the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. Take the risk. Fail. Try again. Eventually you’ll succeed. Hopefully, that’s what we’ve done here. Only time will tell. Just making the decision to launch a product or start a business—that’s the defning moment. Once you get it out there and see how people react to it, that’s when you really know if you have something.” Another key is relishing a life on the edge. “You have to enjoy the sleepless nights; you have to love the risk. Actually, you have to be a just a little bit crazy.” unlokt.com

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Photography by Anthony Mair

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Story by Laurel May Bond

Rated takes a walk with futurist, DJ, producer and fashion icon Diplo


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esley Pentz is a futurist. He’s that rarest sort of infuencer who doesn’t merely predict or catalyze what’s next, he creates it. As the Mad Decent label maestro, he’s a curator of edgy DJs, producers and musical movements. As the DJ known as Diplo, he created a social phenomenon called “Express Yourself”—sort of an inverted frog dance supported by a wall—that serves as the perfect accompaniment to the “twerk” or “trap” music he plays at Las Vegas nightclubs such as XS and Surrender. As a member of the dancehall group Major Lazer (who was recently added to the Wynn nightlife and daylife roster), he’s a performance artist who is one part man, one part laser. And as a fashion trendsetter, he’s the darling of designers such as Alexander Wang—he starred in Wang’s 2012 campaign—curating music for runway shows. The Mississippi-born Pentz’s infuence and cultural impact cannot be overstated—on this planet or any other. ★ ★ ★

The Wynn Tower Suite has three bedrooms, a catering kitchen, a billiard room and a massage table. On this particular day, it also holds a rolling rack stuffed with designer menswear, a large assortment of photography gear and a clutch of female Diplo fans. “I’m going to show him this picture of me and my girlfriends attempting a triple wall twerk!” squeals one of them, holding up her iPhone for the others to see. Somehow, without anyone noticing, Pentz has materialized in the suite’s foyer: standing alone, sporting an open expression, a phone in each hand and a wildly embroidered, fuzzy KTZ coat upon his back. “This room is much nicer than my room. Do I get to stay here after the shoot?” he asks, as an assistant leads him to wardrobe. For a man who travels the world, routinely triggering dance-foor melees and compelling nubile young clubgoing females into his trademark handstanding wall humping with but a simple fick of his wrist, Diplo seems, well— surprisingly mellow. The shoot’s stylist asks him what type of clothing he prefers to wear and he answers, “Layered separates. Straight, clean suits. Is that too boring?” The room is cleared while the photographer, art director and ersatz fan-club members wait for the man of the hour to change clothes. Both his phones lay abandoned nearby, ringing incessantly. Emerging an hour later (and with a fresh haircut) in a slim-cut Emporio Armani suit and Tom Ford loafers, he steps in front of the camera and as the shutter clicks, Diplo talks. He speaks to everyone and no one in particular, quietly and earnestly, about such wide-ranging topics as fashion, shopping malls, his young son, the beach, Los Angeles traffc, strip clubs and his upcoming Converse-sponsored collaboration with Frank Ocean and former Clash guitarist Mick Jones. His phones never stop ringing, but he pays them no mind. He’s at ease in front of the lens, but he never peacocks. He’s guileless—straightforward and, well, nice. ★ ★ ★

How would you describe your fashion infuences? Fun. Happy. I like anything that’s fun. That’s a good way to explain it. I like brands that push the envelope—like Jeremy Scott, Alexander McQueen and KTZ. I did some music for their past two runway shows. They’re good friends of mine. Rihanna lives in that stuff. It’s half gothic, half heavy metal.

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If there was a fre in your closet and you could only save one thing, what would it be? The shoebox full of money. How do music and fashion intersect for you, personally? For me they go hand in hand. Alexander Wang is a very good friend of mine. I’ve done music for his runway, music for his commercials—all he cares about is music. He was always about putting interesting artists on. Before him, I think fashion was very safe, very mainstream. It was about movie stars and pop stars. Now it’s all about people who are on the cutting edge in music. Would you ever consider doing a line yourself? Yeah. I would love to do that, but I don’t know how realistic that is. Kanye West has been trying to do that for, like, three years, and that’s been kind of a disaster. Me and my crew in L.A., we do stuff that goes with the music we release. We do jackets and tees and things. The coolest things are these jackets with our label—Starter jackets like you’d wear in the 1980s— last year we did Miami Hurricanes, and before that we did Oakland Raiders … but we only give them to people who release things on our label so they are collector’s editions! I love doing that kind of stuff. Where do you shop in Vegas? Crystals is cool because it has all the high-end stuff. In L.A., when you go to a top design shop, all the good street wear is always sold out immediately. Fruition is also awesome. My girl Valerie does it. She styled the Major Lazer video with all this crazy vintage Versace ’90s shit. She styled it with duffel bags full of clothes and made that video for us. And she gave my son a little Malcolm X hoodie. He can’t ft into it yet, but it is the raddest thing he owns. Do you have any other favorite spots you like to hit up when you roll through Las Vegas? I love Downtown. I think it is so awesome. I think I might even move there. ★ ★ ★

While Diplo the DJ is experiencing international success (he’s just been booked as one of the headliners of this year’s Ultra Music Festival), Diplo the person comes across as friendly and grounded, surprising qualities in a business known for its outsize personalities and for a man The New York Times recently dubbed “... one of the most dynamic forces in an unsettled industry.” As he talks, it becomes clear it’s his love of delivering boundary-pushing sets to music lovers rather than craving the spotlight that drives him. Of his Mad Decent Monday night residency at XS, he says, “To be honest, I prefer to be a locals DJ. I’m able to play more adventurous [music]—that’s the best way to do it. I think I got really lucky when I became the locals-night guy.” The camera clicks, the phones ring, the adoring females look on and Diplo the guy makes polite chitchat until later that night—when Diplo the DJ takes command of the XS booth and it’s time to let the music do the talking. What happens then is another story entirely. Diplo performs at XS in Encore Las Vegas on March 24. For more dates, visit wynnsocial.com.


Opening spread: EMPORIO ARMANI blazer, shirt and trousers Saks Fifth Avenue in Fashion Show. TOM FORD shoes Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show. Tis page: DSQUARED2 leather jacket, bomber jacket and shirt Neiman Marcus. vrated.com

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EMPORIO ARMANI shirt Saks Fifth Avenue. ALEXANDER MCQUEEN trousers and shoes Alexander McQueen in Wynn Las Vegas Esplanade.

ThE DETAILs: With music’s top DJs, producers and artists rolling through the clubs at Wynn and Encore regularly, it only makes sense the creation of Te studio at Wynn Las Vegas would come next. having materialized in the summer of 2013 after years of requests for studio access from its resident acts, the likes of skrillex, Dillon Francis and, of course, Diplo are among the artists who’ve already had recording sessions there during its short tenure. Te private facility is a collaboration with Vegas-based studio DMI, and is fttingly located underneath Encore Beach Club.

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ALEXANDER MCQUEEN blazer, shirt, trousers, pocket square Alexander McQueen. vrated.com

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All the Right Notes The Vegas music scene fnds its stride By Robert Spuhler

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Bruno Mars represents a changing tide in booking philosophies at venues such as Te Chelsea in Te Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

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Courtney Love recently played Vinyl inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Smaller venues open up new doors for fans, bands and promoters alike.

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old confetti rained from the rafters, landing atop the band and the sellout crowd as the headliner ripped through one of his most recognizable singles during the encore. Out of context, this sounds like a standard concert in Las Vegas, the type of over-the-top scene that has ended shows here for years. But in this case, the headliner is not a superstar who is a few years past his prime. It’s Bruno Mars, whose Moonshine Jungle tour was one of the topgrossing tours in the U.S. last year, according to industry publication Pollstar. The song? “Locked Out of Heaven,” 2013’s 11th-biggest track, according to Billboard. The crowd is younger than those in showrooms past; they aren’t there for the sake of nostalgia, but rather to create fresh memories, particularly on this night at the end of 2013. And the setting is not a cavernous arena but the city’s newest venue for live music, The Chelsea in The Cosmopolitan. The moment encapsulated the current Las Vegas music scene, one defned by world-class venues, younger tourists and locals ready to fll them, and a roster of modern, relevant artists. “When an agent was mapping out tours back in the day, [stops] would be Salt Lake City or Phoenix or anywhere but Vegas,” says Max McAndrew, the director of entertainment for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. “In the 10 years I’ve been in this market, that’s probably been one of the biggest changes, both in the number of bookings and in the diversity of the acts. You now get the stuff that would have bypassed the market a decade ago. It’s all coming here, and that’s really great.”

bruno mars: courtesy cosmopolitan of las vegas; courtney love: eriK KabiK

“The bands bring their own audience with them wherever they go. … We see people who are coming into town especially for the music.”

New Year, New Venues At The Linq, Caesars Entertainment’s open-air retail, dining and entertainment district, major construction is fnished. Some of the tenants, such as Chayo Mexican Kitchen and KOTO, have opened, and legendary den of gaming and drink-aided debauchery O’Sheas has returned. But as the lights come on throughout the development, much of the focus is on Brooklyn Bowl, a 2,000-capacity concert space. “We want The Linq to be the center of what’s going on in Las Vegas, so it was hugely important that we had a great music venue,” says Jon Gray, vice president and general manager of The Linq. “I think we’ve found the perfect partner in Brooklyn Bowl because it flls a void in the marketplace.” The East Coast import should make a seamless transition to Sin City, thanks in part to its diversity of experiences under one roof, where food, drink, bowling and music share billing. In the original location, in Brooklyn’s hipster haven Williamsburg, acts range from dubstep maven Skrillex to “Bowl Train,” a night of old-school hip-hop and R&B curated by Questlove of The Roots. Brooklyn Bowl is the latest in a series of venues to open in the city over the last few years. The Cosmopolitan, with its resort-wide focus on music, opened in 2010 with four different performance spaces. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino jumped back into smaller-stage bookings in 2012 with Vinyl, the 700-capacity room that has hosted acts such as Courtney Love and indie rockers The 1975. Meanwhile, The Chelsea opened in December to a crowd of more than 3,000 for the frst of 10 Bruno Mars shows. As modern a performer as Mars may be, The Chelsea is a throwback to a more elegant era of theater, with its massive, art deco-style chandelier in the lobby and grand staircase. But its attention to detail—from the ironwork to the ingeniously hidden speakers in the walls and on the foors—makes The Chelsea a venue very much of its time. “I’m in love with it. I’d sleep there if they’d let me,” says Lisa Marchese, The Cosmopolitan’s chief marketing offcer. “It captures all of the elements of the Boulevard Pool, where you can hang out on the cabana level and watch the show.” While Mars is a major headliner, the venue will mostly showcase national acts that perform in midsize clubs and have had to largely bypass Las Vegas in the past, such as indie popsters Capital Cities and Fitz and The Tantrums, who will play the room as part of a double bill on February 18. But the space will really light up in April, when the scheduling at a nearby festival drops a variety of acts on the city’s doorstep.

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The Road to and From Coachella

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large-font billing but are gathering steam in the festival circuit. “With our capacity, we’re positioned to work with a lot of different bands,” McAndrew says. “We could work with someone on a smaller level or we could do a big show in a small venue. … I think everyone looking to pick up extra dates around that time frame should be busy, especially us.”

Have Music, Will Travel As bands travel, so do fans. In recent years, music tourism has become a draw for cities, especially those that have a festival. A study by visitbritain.com determined that music tourism drew $3.5 billion to the United Kingdom in 2012, and supported more than 24,000 jobs. The percentage of visitors coming to Las Vegas primarily to gamble dipped from 13 to 8 percent between 2008 and 2012, even as gaming revenue slightly increased. As tourists get younger, celebritychef-helmed restaurants, expanded shopping options and mega-nightclubs have become ever more important. Meanwhile, events such as Electric

Daisy Carnival, the electronic dance music festival held yearly at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, are major cash injections for the city. According to EDC promoter Insomniac, the three-day festival brought $278 million to Clark County, with 95 percent of the attendees coming from out of state. That type of money is hard to ignore, which might be why 2013 saw the launch of Life Is Beautiful, a cross-genre, two-day festival in Downtown Las Vegas, and also why The Linq has a 19-acre lot that can hold up to 60,000 people directly behind its High Roller observation wheel, a space already scheduled to host a country-music festival in April. While guitars may have a long way to go to replace slot machines, the people charged with determining what future visitors to Las Vegas will want are throwing their weight behind the live-music scene. They are starting to see visitors whose top priority is taking in a concert or two. “Whenever we go on sale, the frst ticket buyers are the band’s fans,” Marchese says. “The bands bring their own audience with them wherever they go. … We see people who are coming into town especially for the music.”

LIfe Is BeautIfuL, NeW order: erIk kaBIk; BrookLyN BoWL: adam macchIa; edc: courtesy

When the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held every April since 2001, moved to two consecutive weekends with identical lineups in 2012, it created a dilemma for acts playing the Indio, California, event: With a full week of downtime in between performances, and shows in Los Angeles rarely allowed by the festival because of a non-compete clause in the contract, what does a band do to support itself? In 2013, more than 30 Coachella acts traveled to Las Vegas either directly before, after or during the two weekends, with 14 ending up at The Cosmopolitan. The resort billed this good fortune the Spring Concert Series, and it featured acts such as Tegan and Sara, The Postal Service and New Order at the original Chelsea and the Boulevard Pool. “The great thing about Coachella is that it brings such a massive awareness about up-andcoming bands, and it’s always great to be a part of that excitement and enthusiasm,” Marchese says. While big-name Coachella acts can fnd homes at places such as The Chelsea, The Joint in Hard Rock, Pearl in Palms or House of Blues, it’s smaller venues such as Vinyl that might beneft most from the festival. Vinyl’s capacity is a perfect ft for Coachella performers who may not have this year’s

Big and small venues alike are paving the way for a richer vegas music scene. Brooklyn Bowl hopes to replicate its Williamsburg fortunes in Las vegas (shown, N.e.r.d.) (top left), while the cosmopolitan of Las vegas is enjoying wild success with acts such as New order (above). meanwhile, multi-day, outdoor music festivals electric daisy carnival (bottom left) and Life Is Beautiful (opposite page) are drawing large crowds.


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Te newly redesigned Lavo Nightclub now speaks to the lounge crowd.

TAO Of nighTlife

A new look, a stunning new space and a dramatic change in sound

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differences refect not just an aesthetic redesign, but also an intentional repurposing of the space. With these changes, Lavo is able to offer an experience “besides a booming dance foor,” Tao Group managing partner Jason Strauss says. He describes the space as “scene-driven,” artfully decorated and dedicated to socializing rather than just dancing. He hopes it will be a sophisticated spot where guests can come in for cocktails, order small plates and carry a conversation without having to compete with loud music. Additional features at Lavo will also offer a more fexible use of the room. A drape will soon be installed along the back wall that, as Strauss explains, can create a more intimate experience for private functions. The collage work by local artist Cass Fuller that’s been added to the walls can be layered over and refreshed to create new looks over time. And award-winning mixologist Rodger Gillespie, formerly of Vesper in The Cosmopolitan, has been added to the roster. In the two weeks before New Year’s Eve, Tao Nightclub also received a makeover, though without having to close its doors. The ceiling was stripped and raised to install a new system from Martin

Lighting. As part of the upgrade, the DJ booth has been relocated to become the center of a new technological throne: An LED screen above displays fashing graphics that continue onto the ceiling beams and project out across the dance foor. When performers visit the club, they’ll now be visible to partygoers from any vantage point thanks to a builtin stage above the booth. Not to be left out, Marquee Nightclub in The Cosmopolitan was transformed as well. Late last year, the pool deck was covered so that the outdoor space could be used throughout the winter. In addition to its functional purpose, the Dayclub Dome refects light from video pillars and newly installed strobe lasers (twice the strength of those used indoors), creating a wash of color between its white walls and transparent ceiling, at least until the dome is removed for pool season. Still ahead, Strauss confrms that renovations to Tao Restaurant and Tao Beach will occur in the coming months. Lavo in The Palazzo, 702.791.1800; lavolv.com. Tao in The Venetian, 702.388.8338; taolasvegas.com. Marquee in The Cosmopolitan, 702.333.9000; marqueelasvegas.com –CAMILLE CANNoN

Lavo aNd rUSSeLL tHe BarteNder: aNtHoNY maIr

hange is in the air. Recently, Tao Group updated the appearance of several of its Las Vegas venues. A Strip-side staple since the debut of Tao Restaurant and Nightclub at The Venetian in 2005, the group is moving into 2014 loaded with modern design and technology. At The Palazzo, Lavo Nightclub underwent renovations during which the club was transformed into a modern-day speakeasy lounge. Downstairs, Lavo Restaurant was also expanded into its adjacent former lounge space. The restaurant can now accommodate additional patrons even when the patio is closed in the winter months. Guests in the new Lavo Lounge can also partake in small plates (or the full menu, by request) till 10 p.m. Reincarnated by designer Hayley Hunter, the upstairs space shows few signs of its past life as a nightclub. The DJ booth that once dominated the dance foor has been scaled down and tucked into a corner, while the banquette-style seating that lined the perimeter of the foor has been replaced with sleek couches. The mirror ball is also gone, and in its place is an elegant crimson chandelier. These


IN THE MOMENT Up all night in Sin City

Photography by Toby Acuna, Amit Dadlaney, Teddy Fujimoto, Bobby Jameidar, Danny Mahoney, Powers Imagery, Joe Torrance and Tony Tran

MARQUEE IN THE CoSMoPolITAN. PURE IN CAESARS PAlACE.

HAKKASAN IN MGM GRAND.

XS IN WYNN. TRYST IN ENCoRE.

HYDE IN BEllAGIo.

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Vegas Rated Magazine | February 2014  
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