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When we started putting together this issue, I never could have guessed I would be writing my note this month about the Diamond Inn Motel. You probably don’t know where it is, and you will probably never go there, but if you’ve ever driven down Las Vegas Boulevard near the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, then you have definitely seen its proud mascot, the Pink Elephant, standing tall on the Strip since it opened its doors in 1948. To most people, it’s just a rundown motel, but to me, as I drive past it daily, it has become an obsession. I couldn’t care less about the place in the daytime, to be quite honest, but at night, when its pillars illuminate and its pink elephant pops out from the surrounding darkened foliage, it becomes a visual Candyland—and even more, a dream location for a photo shoot. It’s somewhat amazing I haven’t crashed into anything craning my neck trying to take it in from as many angles as possible. Like some people who look for love in all the wrong places, I’ve been known to look for locations in all the worst places … in the pursuit of art, of course. So, a few weeks into production on our December issue, I decided to pursue the Diamond Inn as the backdrop for a portrait. I connected the dots, and there was, in my mind, no better subject than Pasquale Rotella, founder of Electric Daisy Carnival. The elephant, the neon … it all had such a brilliant circus-like quality. The Diamond Inn, however, didn’t quite share my vision and stacked its cards against me. I called there hourly. I went there daily. No dice. I offered them money. I was told not for a million dollars would they let us shoot there. I asked for an explanation. None was given. I even swore on my mother’s life about some stuff … The deadline loomed, and I became more determined and defiant. As a journalist, I was taught not to let “the system” get in my way. All I could think of was Pasquale in front of those pillars—and even worse for everyone around me, it was all I talked about. So on a dark night in November, photographer Jiro Schneider, his assistant Chris and I loaded up a nondescript van, gave Pasquale the address and hoped for the best. I also came armed with $200 in cash just in case I had to buy my way into the place—or out of it. And here’s how it went down: For nearly an hour we pretty much shot at every desirable exterior location of the Diamond Inn (See Page 110). Either nobody noticed we were there, or nobody cared. The lesson learned: I never should’ve asked for permission—and I certainly didn’t seek any forgiveness. It was perfection. In the end, I got everything I wanted from the Diamond Inn. So I ask you, what’s next?
MELINDA ShECkELLS Editor-in-Chief Follow us on Twitter @vegasrated
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Where i’LL Be on New Year’s eve weekend I have a date with Te Killers and the red Hot chili Peppers, both at Te cosmopolitan. See Page 78 800.745.3000; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com
What’s on my PLate anything by mizumi’s devin Hashimoto, who skillfully blends everything I love about Japanese cuisine with all that I adore about fine european culinary techniques. See Page 54 In Wynn Las Vegas, 702.770.7000; wynnlasvegas.com
What i LoVe Tis month, Vegas/Rated has two covers. Which one did you get? Both were shot at Te act, where Simon Hammerstein served as the feature’s creative director. Tis is the first cover project I have worked on with photographer tomo in our nearly five years of co-conspiracies. Why did we wait so long?
Melinda: Ryan Reason; styling: nicole chandleR; haiR: MaRshall VanieRland; Makeup natasha chaMbeRlin; dolce & gabbana dRess, neiMan MaRcus, Fashion show; pasquale Rotella: jiRo schneideR
from the editor
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ConTrIBuTorS “WHAT IS THe BeST PArTY You HAVe eVer Been To In LAS VegAS?” Tomo The Switzerland native’s work as appeared in such magazines as Time, Rolling Stone and Newsweek. Although he resides in California, where he concentrates on celebrity photography, Tomo often travels to Las Vegas. This month, Vegas/Rated called on the recently married photographer (pictured with wife Thi Anh Tran) to shoot a fashion feature with Simon Hammerstein in The Act nightclub (“Simon Hammerstein’s The Act in Three Parts,” Page 32). “The opening of The Act. It was an unbelievable feast to the eyes. The most beautiful boys and girls were all dressed up in tuxedos and fabulous evening wear.”
BronqueS The personality behind the website lastnightsparty.com, Bronques—whose work has been seen in such publications as Rolling Stone, The New York Times and Vogue Italia—is based in new York and is the site’s founder and sole photographer. He travels frequently to miami, Las Vegas, Paris, Los Angeles, Berlin and London (among other destinations) to find and photograph the party scene. He spent three nights doing just that for Vegas/Rated, canvassing the town to capture the city after dark (“This Is What Happened Last night,” Page 20). “The party that has consistently lived up to the ridiculous debauchery that you expect from Sin City is the daytime pool party Rehab at the Hard Rock. Usually the freaks come out at night, but this is the incredible exception.”
SImon HAmmerSTeIn Hammerstein is president of The Box, the popular “theatre of varieties” with venues in new York City’s Lower east Side and London’s Soho, and The Act, a new nightlife-theater hybrid in The Shoppes at The Palazzo. He is a founding partner of Variety Worldwide, an international hospitality and theatrical management group. Vegas/Rated shot this month’s fashion story at The Act, and Hammerstein himself served as the creative director (“Simon Hammerstein’s The Act in Three Parts,” Page 32). “A rock climbing adventure in Black Velvet Canyon at Red Rock.”
JACk CoLTon Founder of the nightlife guide jackcolton.com—and notorious for hosting dozens of annual events that force many a local to endure terrible midweek hangovers—Colton has long been a go-to resource for all things nocturnal. That’s why we tapped into his knowledge to figure out where the locals really hang out (“The Classics,” Page 100). “The best parties are always the openings of new venues. It’s when the staff is the friendliest, the crowd is the best, everything is brand-new, and it’s almost always open bar.”
Jen CHASe Chase is a 15-year, Boston- and Vegas-based lifestyle writer whose skills come from a bachelor’s in theater, a master’s in journalism and a life lived observantly. With a penchant for profiling mindful people and the good work they do, she advocates wine and cocktails getting their own food group and believes great food (and writing) connects everyone. This month, Vegas/Rated sent Chase on a scavenger hunt to find the newest hotspots in nightlife (“The new Standards,” Page 100). “The April 2012 installment of Hyde’s XIV Vegas Sessions—a Sunday-afternoon Candy Carnival. I’d moved here two weeks prior with my husband, and it was our first foray into something other than nighttime clubbing (I’m from Boston—don’t judge!). Girls in candy-sewn costumes and free-flowing champagne—amazing. Too bad my bright purple one-shouldered shift was cute, but a snore. Next time? My turquoise tutu.”
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voluMe 2 | issue 4
in stoRe & on tRend
the culinaRy scene
Best Places to Get away FRoM it all
discoveR 18 the end of the world is near so ... drink up downtown!
v/Rated 30 Grab that credit card and prepare for a shopping spree where money is no object
v/Rated 52 attention carnivores: wagyu beef is back with a vengeance
v/Rated 62 check-in time: several strip resorts are undergoing extreme room makeovers
watch 18 the Botanical Gardens & conservatory at Bellagio gets into the holiday spirit Play 18 the cosmopolitan of las vegas turns its Boulevard Pool into a winter wonderland watch chippendales performers embark on an “amazing” adventure
Play 19 Belly up to the bar and taste an award-winning, gin-based cocktail—then make it yourself in the MoMent 20 Renowned photographer Bronques captures sin city after dark
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the act in thRee PaRts 32 a fashionable peek inside simon hammerstein’s the act
all access 54 the only thing that rivals Mizumi’s fine Japanese fare is its striking dining room
cuRRent 42 Kiehl’s pays tribute to artist Kenny scharf
FiRst cRush 56 a sweet German riesling that’s the spice of life
tiMe laPse watch history unfold at Breguet in via Bellagio
the cellaR 58 Raise a glass to a wine program that’s the envy of many
autoPia 46 Ready to turn your dream car into a super-car? MercedesBenz has you covered
suite sensation 64 live the high life in Penthouse a at Palms Place sPa day 66 designer Roger thomas massages the look and feel of the spa at wynn las vegas
art, culture & charity
Must-see concerts & shoWs
on the list & on the liPs
GooDbye 2012, hello 2013
v/rateD 78 this month’s concerts, from the killers to Pitbull
v/rateD Forthcoming nightlife venues promise to keep the party going well into 2013—and beyond
v/rateD Give to live: tap into your charitable side this holiday season
Meet Poker pro creates his own destiny—one winning hand at a time
calenDar 80 your monthly guide to shows on the strip
calenDar 74 your monthly guide to arts and culture in sin city
Meet 90 eleven DJs who transformed the las vegas music scene in 2012
v/rateD 114 the best of the worst of 2012 in las vegas nightlife the GuiDe Where to stay, eat and playon new year’s eve
on a roll rewards await those who get carded
100 the Playbook the ultimate guide to las vegas nightlife
Meet 110 Pasquale rotella knows how to throw an epic party
Experience Sin City Inside, Outside and Upside Down
Te Best Night of Your Life
re l ax
re l ax
| pl ay
It’s the End of the World
Live Trough, Drink Up!
new year’s eve
new year’s eve
on Laura: vINceNT LIcArI dress; BALATSoS neck piece; KWIAT earrings
Live Trough It, Drink Up!
From the Classics to New Standards Scenes From Before, During and After Last Night’s Party
It’s the End of the World
cover 2: Simon Hammerstein Photographed by ToMo at Te Act in Te Shoppes at Te Palazzo on chelsea: FALGUNI SHANe PeAcocK dress on Simon: ToM ForD shirt; TUrNBULL & ASSer tie; roBerTo cAvALLI jacket; SPeNcer HArT scarf
Scenes From Before, During and After Last Night’s Party
Te Best Night of Your Life
From the Classics to New Standards
cover 1: Laura and chelsea Photographed by ToMo at The Act in The Shoppes at The Palazzo on Laura: KIKI De MoNTPArNASSe bra; vALeNTINo blouse; GIveNcHY skirt; ALeXANDer McQUeeN shrug; eLePHANT HeArT earrings on chelsea: vALeNTINo blouse; ANTHoNY FrANco corset; vIcTorIA GrANT hat
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While chandeliers are nothing new to Las vegas nightclubs, none dominate a room quite like the 12-foot stunner at the center of Bagatelle Supper club at tropicana Las vegas. Jeweled lighting fixtures serve as a hallmark of Bagatelle locations in New York, Los angeles and St. Barthâ€™s, but the Las vegas edition is the largest and most dramatic yet. the $180,000 sparkler created by Seed design Inc. features 7,000 crystals arranged into six tiers and illuminated by 128 color-changing Leds. But before it could set the mood, the massive electrolier had to be assembledâ€”a task that took five days to complete. 702.701.0200; bagatellelasvegas.com
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D I S COV E R / Last Call
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wAt C h / See Toy Soldiers, Snowflakes and More
The Holidays Are in Bloom Tere’s something about the Botanical Gardens & conservatory at Bellagio that feels genuine and timeless. and that feeling amplifies when the winter holidays come around. Tis year’s display is in place through January 5. Te tree, bedecked with oversize red, yellow and green ornaments, measures 45 feet tall and is surrounded by a riot of festive foliage. Floral toy soldiers, polar bears and penguins cavort through a forest of pine trees, poinsettias, garland, cyclamen flowers and giant snowflakes. and not to be outdone by the green-thumb posse, the Bellagio’s pastry chefs have whipped up an oldschool gingerbread village to complete the mood. –Geoff Carter
P L AY / Skate Away
Blades of Glory the cosmopolitan of Las vegas puts its Boulevard Pool to good use during the winter months by transforming it into an icy playground. temporarily renamed the Ice rink, visitors can strap on ice skates or sip hot cocktails such as the campfire delight next to one of the customdesigned fire pits. dedicated theme nights—such as the romantic date Skate on mondays and throwback thursdays where guests glide to retro hits—dot the calendar until the rink melts away January 20. Allday skating passes are $15 for non-residents, $10 for residents, with free admission to the rink. Bring your own skates or rent for $5. 3-11 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday and daily from December 24-January 4. cosmopolitanlasvegas.com –Elizabeth Sewell
The CAMpfire deLighT
CoMMonweALTh: AnThony MAir; ruSTyn Lee: kin Lui; ChippendALeS: eriC iTA
According to the Mayan calendar, come midnight December 20, we’re all goners—apparently. What better way to mark the definitive occasion than an End of the World party with La Fin du Monde, the definitive Belgian-style tripel? That night, Unibroueí’s robust, golden ale is available on draft for the first time ever at Commonwealth, the latest bar to open in Downtown’s Fremont East district. The only official La Fin du Monde party in Nevada (lafindumondeday.com) culminates with a balloon release and a chance to win a year’s worth of the revered spiced brew. That is, assuming we’re all still around the next day. facebook.com/commonwealthlv –Xania Woodman
P L aY / Try This At Home
A Local Gem
Las Vegas musician-turned-barman-turnedmusician Rustyn Vaughn Lee has a way with the gin. For the second consecutive year, Lee took first place in the Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender competition Nevada finals. Sponsored by the United States Bartenders’ Guild and GQ, the Nevada finals drew Las Vegas’ finest mixologists out from behind the stick to present their inspired libations to the judges at The Mirage. Lee’s cocktail, the beguiling and balanced Hampshire Cress, was certainly dressed to impress: pale green garnished with a striking orange edible flower. The premium gin welcomes the freshness of the watercress, grown in abundance in Hampshire County in the U.K., which in 2013 will become the newest home to a Bombay distillery. Lee certainly did his homework—someone buy this man a drink! –Xania Woodman The Hampshire Cress In a mixing glass, muddle three 1-inch-square pieces of honeydew melon with ¾ ounce watercress simple syrup (recipe at vegasseven.com/cocktail-culture) and ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice. add 1½ ounces Bombay Sapphire gin, ½ ounce yellow chartreuse, 3 dashes Bittermens Boston Bitters and ½ ounce egg white. add ice, cover and shake vigorously. Strain into an 8-ounce cocktail coupe. express the oils from one lemon swath over the top of the cocktail and discard. Garnish with an edible flower.
JAymes VAugHAn And JAmes dAVis
Wat c h / Cheer On Our Vegas Chipps
Yin and Yang JAYMES VAUGHAN AND JAMES DAVIS HAVE endured quite the journey as contestants on The Amazing Race this season—from learning a synchronized-swimming routine to transporting blocks of ice—and now the end of the 25,000-mile adventure is in sight. Vaughan and Davis met eight years ago at modeling gigs in Los Angeles. “I wondered who was booking all the same jobs as me,” Davis says. As the two began talking, they discovered they were both from small towns—Vaughan from Chesterfield, Virginia, and Davis from Jefferson, Maine—and they just clicked naturally. Their bond grew stronger when the two moved to Las Vegas (Davis in 2001, Vaughan in 2005) and began performing in Chippendales at the Rio. In 2007, they did the show’s international tour and visited faraway locales such as Latvia and Russia. Five years later, the friends traveled to Indonesia and China with castmates on The Amazing Race. The sexy stage performers share another commonality: musical endeavors. Davis plays guitar for Chippendales and is also singer/songwriter for his progressive-metal band, My Name Engraved. And Vaughan, who emcees and sings in the male revue, has other vocal projects on his résumé, including a single he wrote called “Vampire.” On the television show, the hard-bodied duo meets every challenge with optimism. “What you see on the show, that’s why we’re best friends. We find every opportunity to laugh and just be excited to wake up, especially in places like Bangladesh and Shanghai,” Vaughan says. “Even though they chose to only [broadcast] our goofiest moments, that’s still us.” –Maureen Hank Catch the season finale of The Amazing Race 21 on CBS on December 9. (At press time, we did not have confirmation on the show’s winning team.)
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In the Moment
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT: PART 1 Known for his website that captures nightlife in cities all over the world, Bronques is the ultimate archivist of the party scene. Lastnightsparty.com has become a coveted place for club kids to view the exploits of their counterparts. Heâ€™s been tapped to photograph ad campaigns for everyone from converse to diesel, and has even branched out into directing movies. Tis month, Vegas/Rated enlists Bronques to explore the spotlights and shadows of this night-worshiping city, uncovering just what lurks and lingers after dark in our neon wonderland. to see more debauchery, visit vegasseven.com/bronques. PHotograPHy Bronques
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In the Moment
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In the Moment
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In the Moment
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nconventionally seasonal For those dedicated to Fashion. Fendi canali chloĂŠ michael kors
barneys new york sushisamba tory burch 7 For all mankind christian louboutin cut by wolFgang puck table 10 by emeril lagasse diane von Furstenberg (partial listing)
on the strip in the Palazzo - 2nd Level located adjacent to the venetian 702.414.4500 theshoppesatthepalazzo.com
In STOre & On Trend
andrew Sea JameS
Splurge isn’t a dirty word in this desert oasis, and there’s no better time than now to take the plunge on a coveted creation. Vegas/Rated has assembled the ultimate guide to shopping decadence, including a list of the priciest stores on the Strip, and an inside look at luxury watchmaker Breguet’s Las vegas flagship at via Bellagio. See Page 44
BreGUet QUeeN oF NaPLeS coLLectIoN WatcH
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PEnSKE Wynn FErrarI-MaSEratI
money to burn LEt thESE hIgh-EnD StorES hELP you gEt rID oF that Extra CaSh by ELIzabEth SEWELL
Bellusso Those who covet elegant watches and jewelry feel right at home in this boutique, which offers top names in luxury and features shop-in-shops for Kwiat and IWC, giving patrons access to exclusive pieces. Bellusso is also the only non-corporate retailer certified to sell Cartier fine watches in Las Vegas, and stocks hard-to-find Swiss timepieces from Vacheron Constantin. If it’s not a tourbillon you’re after, jewelry from Spanish designer Carrera y Carrera and Shamballa Jewels offer sparklers for more than the wrist. The Shoppes at The Palazzo, 702.650.2988; bellussojewelers.com
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Vertu Few mobile-phone producers are as luxurious as British-based retailer Vertu (a division of Nokia). The subsidiary handcrafts each device in its English factory, and uses precision Swiss watch screws and 24-karat gold accents. But it’s not just the expensive phone that comes with a Vertu purchase; owners also have access to 24-hour concierge service and entrance to members-only clubs in cities such as New York, Dubai and London. Wynn Las Vegas, 702.650.5700; vertu.com Mikimoto The Japanese pearl purveyor has been producing gems for more than 100 years and cultivates seven types, such as the
white Akoya and the rare Golden South Sea variety. The jeweler crafts them into everything from delicate earrings to a Black South Sea pearl 18-karat white gold lariat necklace, which will set you back $38,000. Reflecting the designer’s ties to the ocean, the Las Vegas outpost has a Deep Blue Sea theme, including a 16-foot glass front mimicking an aquarium and 300 mother-of-pearl chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Crystals at CityCenter, 702.730.4710; mikimotoamerica.com
High-Fashion Hydration With the debut of her Evian collaboration, Diane von Furstenberg can now effectively “go drink a bottle of herself.” Te designer put her stamp on a limited-edition glass container for the French mineral water, joining Issey Miyake and Christian Lacroix. Featuring the DVF heart logo and the quote, “Water is life is love is life is water …” the bottles are 100 percent recyclable and available online at shop.evian.us. Looking for some insta-DVF, visit her boutique in Te Shoppes at Te Palazzo.
Ferrari: alex Karvounis
Pal Zileri The key to a bespoke Pal Zileri suit is the brand’s use of canvassing, which is a classic tailoring technique. Lined with a layer of horsehair canvas, each piece molds to your body, creating a unique fit. Launched in 1970, Pal Zileri maintains relationships with many producers of fine wool, so exclusive fabrics are just a phone call away. Las Vegas boasts the only U.S. location for the Italian suit maker, and it features the lavish Sartoriale Collection, which stocks shirts, outerwear and trousers hand-sewn with details such as silk lining and horn buttons. The Forum Shops at Caesars, 702.431.5721; palzilerilasvegas.com
Penske Wynn Ferrari-Maserati Dealership Not only is this is the only authorized Ferrari and Maserati dealership in Las Vegas; Penske Wynn Ferrari is the only place on the Strip where you can get your hands on a new ride. If your pockets aren’t quite so deep, showroom tours are available for $10. And the adjacent Ferrari Store sells souvenirs such as T-shirts, carbon-fiber chess sets and even a blowdryer, all emblazoned with the company’s prancing horse logo. Wynn Las Vegas, 702.770.2000; penskewynnferrari.com
Discover the exceptional taste of Grey Goose Cherry Noir.
G R E YG O O S E . C O M
S I P R E S P O N S I B LY
©2012 GREY GOOSE, THE GREY GOOSE BOTTLE DESIGNS AND THE GEESE DEVICES ARE TRADEMARKS AND/OR REGISTERED TRADEMARKS. IMPORTED BY GREY GOOSE IMPORTING COMPANY, CORAL GABLES, FL. VODKA 40% ALC. BY VOL.: FLAVORED VODKAS EACH 40% ALC. BY VOL. -DISTILLED FROM GRAIN.
Photography Tomo Is it nightlife? Is it theater? The Act in The Shoppes at The Palazzo, the latest venture from the creator of The Box in New York and London, asks the questions: Whoâ€™s the star? Whoâ€™s the spectator? And just who exactly has the upper hand?
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Act 1. Scene 1. The Director Flies Alone A trained aerialist, Simon Hammerstein has been known to climb the walls, literally. Shirt and coat Hammersteinâ€™s own; TOM FORD pants Crystals at CityCenter
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Act 1. Scene 2. All Tied Up
Sometimes the velvet rope has a mind of its own. Left: ELLE MACPHERSON bra Nordstrom in Fashion Show; ANTHONY FRANCO jacket anthonyfrancodesigns.squarespace.com; MARIA LUCIA HOHAN skirt marialuciahohan.com Right: ALEXANDER MCQUEEN top Wynn Las Vegas; HELMUT LANG leggings Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show; VICTORIA GRANT hat victoriagrant.co.uk
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Header Here Act 1. Scene 3. A Chic Game of Cat and Mouse
Left: KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE top and cuffs Crystals at CityCenter; ANTHONY FRANCO pants anthonyfrancodesigns.squarespace.com; VICTORIA GRANT hat The Act in The Shoppes at The Palazzo; KWIAT earrings Bellusso Jewelers in The Shoppes at The Palazzo Right: VINCENT LICARI dress vincentlicari.com; KWIAT bracelet Bellusso Jewelers in The Shoppes at The Palazzo
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Upstairs or downstairs, or somewhere in between, you never know what you will encounter.
Header Here Act 2. Scene 1. The Curtain Draws
Caught in the moment. Left: ALEXANDER MCQUEEN dress Wynn Las Vegas; CESARE PACIOTTI shoes cesare-paciotti.com; VICTORIA GRANT hat The Act in The Shoppes at The Palazzo; SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL bracelet The Forum Shops at Caesars Right: FREDERICKâ€™S OF HOLLYWOOD bodysuit and stockings Fashion Show; GIVENCHY skirt and ILANA WOLF jacket Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show; CESARE PACIOTTI shoes cesare-paciotti.com; BRUMANI necklace brumani.com; ELEPHANT HEART ring elephantheart.com
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Act 2. Scene 2. Mirror, Mirror
A moment of reflection. Left: CATHERINE MALANDRINO dress Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show Center: TOM FORD shirt Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show; ALEXANDER MCQUEEN suit Wynn Las Vegas Right: NIKKI RICH jacket and shorts nikkirichclothing.com
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Act 3. Scene 1. Always Knock Twice
With winding corridors and doors that lead nowhere, there is a surprise at every turn. Left: ALICE + OLIVIA dress Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show Right: DONNA KARAN dress Crystals at CityCenter; JIMMY CHOO shoes Crystals at CityCenter; ALLIA earrings alliajewelry.com
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Act 3. Scene 2. Caught in the Act Backstage, the real action unravels.
Left: MARIA LUCIA HOHAN bodysuit marialuciahohan.com; THE HELLERS skirt wearethehellers.com; JIMMY CHOO shoes Crystals at CityCenter Right: ELLE MACPHERSON bra and PELLE MODA shoes Nordstrom in Fashion Show; FREDERICKâ€™S OF HOLLYWOOD panty, garter and stockings Fashion Show; MARCHESA jacket Saks Fifth Avenue in Fashion Show; BRUMANI earrings brumani.com; KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE gloves Crystals at CityCenter
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Photography TOMO tomo.biz Creative Director SIMON HAMMERSTEIN Styling BRIAN PRIMEAUX 7artistmanagement.com Styling Assistants PAULINA DIMAGUILA, SHAWNA MATSUNAGA, JIMI URIQUIAGA and ALISHA WEXLER Makeup MAILE PACHECO Hair MARSHALL VANIERLAND using Goldwell/KMS Hair Assistant TARA ARTHUR Models CHELSEA Photogenics; LAURA Wilhelmina
Where To Buy ALEXANDER MCQUEEN Wynn Las Vegas 702.369.0510; alexandermcqueen.com BELLUSSO JEWELERS Te Shoppes at Te Palazzo 702.650.2988; bellussojewelers.com DONNA KARAN Crystals at CityCenter 702.207.2420; donnakaran.com FREDERICKâ€™S OF HOLLYWOOD Fashion Show 702.893.9001; fredericks.com JIMMY CHOO Crystals at CityCenter 702.366.0503; jimmychoo.com KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE Crystals at CityCenter 702.736.7883; kikidm.com NEIMAN MARCUS Fashion Show 702.731.3636; neimanmarcus.com NORDSTROM Fashion Show 702.862.2525; nordstrom.com SAKS FIFTH AVENUE Fashion Show 702.733.8300; saksfifthavenue.com SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL Te Forum Shops at Caesars, 702.836.3257; swarovski.com THE ACT Te Shoppes at Te Palazzo 702.607.0222; theactlv.com
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Act 3. Scene 3. the end
Simon and Company take a bow. Opposite Page, Left: FALGUNI SHANE PEACOCK dress falgunishanepeacock.com Opposite Page, Center: TOM FORD shirt Neiman Marcus in Fashion Show; TURNBULL & ASSER tie turnbullandasser.com; ROBERTO CAVALLI suit Saks Fifth Avenue in Fashion Show; SPENCER HART scarf spencerhart.com This Page, Left: VINCENT LICARI dress vincentlicari.com; BALATSOS neck piece; CESARE PACIOTTI shoes cesare-paciotti.com; KWIAT earrings and bracelet Bellusso Jewelers in The Shoppes at The Palazzo
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Who Kiehled Kenny? photography and styling By Benedetta pignatelli Shot on location at Kenny Scharf’s Cosmic Cavern
As the remAining mAster of new York’s prolific art scene from the early 1980s—which included the likes of Andy warhol, Jean-michel Basquiat and Keith haring—Kenny scharf was an organic choice for Kiehl’s fourth annual Limited edition Creme de Corps holiday Collection. According to scharf, his featured work, “globo mundo,” represents “the whole world, inspired by Kiehl’s, and its patrons and their work in communities around the world.” Products include the Creme de Corps Classic formula (8.4 ounces for $29.50 and 1 liter for $75), Creme de Corps soy milk & honey whipped Body Butter ($38) and the Limited edition Kenny scharf exclusive “squirt” Collectible ($50). All net profits from the pop surrealist’s collaboration benefit more than 40 children’s causes around the globe. in the United states, it supports rxArt, a nonprofit organization that fosters artistic expression by engaging young pediatric hospital patients through art. Kiehl’s in The Forum Shops at Caesars, 702.784.0025; kiehls.com
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New World Luxury
To don a Breguet watch is to join a celebrated crowd of clients such as Marie Antoinette, Queen Victoria, Russian first lady Svetlana Medvedeva, Jerry Seinfeld and Dr. Dre. Also, Robert De Niro sports the Breguet Classique Automatic in the movie Limitless.
turn back the hands of time at a one-of-a-kind Via bellagio boutique
by sondra schneider Photography Andrew sea James In 1775, AbrAhAm LouIs-breguet began designing timepieces for the bourgeoisie. It is from these designs that breguet at Via bellagio, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary, draws its interior aesthetics. the “breguet blue” glass walls echo the deep royal-blue pocket watch made for empress Josephine, who was napoleon bonaparte’s wife. the store’s oval rooms emulate the shape of the first wristwatch in history, which breguet designed for the Queen of naples. Perhaps you’ve had a really good night at the tables and wouldn’t mind treating yourself like Vegas royalty. A popular choice at the store is the pocket watchinspired Classique Collection ladies wristwatch. Price tag: $19,100. 702.733.7345; bellagio.com; breguet.com
Vegas Love Via Bellagio is one of only five Breguet boutiques in the country. You can also get your Breguet fix at three other local specialty retailers: Boutique Tourbillon, Crystals at CityCenter, 702.597.0284; tourbillon.com Bellusso Jewelers, Te Shoppes at Te Palazzo, 702.650.2988; bellussojewelers.com Wynn & Co., Wynn Las Vegas, 702.770.3520; wynnlasvegas.com
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Time Lapse Celebrated Breguet Styles Te Marine Ladies Chronograph wristwatch features a sapphire-crystal case back and natural mother-of-pearl dial. $19,500
For those with the most precise taste in horology, the Heritage Moonphase Retrograde comes with an indicator that shows the phases of the moon. $28,700
Breguet’s centuries-old flawless craftsmanship melds with avant-garde styling in the men’s Tradition GMT wrist piece. $39,200
Time Flies To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Queen of Naples wristwatch, Breguet is issuing a limited-edition watch by custom order for $212,224.
Did You Know ... Te first wristwatches were called “wristlets” and worn exclusively by women. It was not until World War I that men wore watches on their wrists, since pocket watches proved too unwieldy for battle.
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OptiOn tO buy mercedeS-benz offerS upgradeS to convert dream carS into Super-carS by Jarret keene photography anthony mair
DiD you know there are aftermarket customization options for luxury vehicles? if you’ve dreamed of transforming an already elite mercedes-Benz into a street-legal super-car, there’s the amG enhancement. one car to watch is the sLs coupe. its 583 horsepower comes courtesy of a hand-built 6.2-liter V-8 engine, while the torque is a constant 497 pound-feet. in other words, the sLs is a responsive monster offering precision and power. the mercedes-enhancing operation—headquartered in affalterbach, Germany—is expanding amG production. But with 20,000 cars sold annually, quality will never be compromised. indeed, the megaperformance engineering of amG reaches a new plateau with the forceful yet focused sLs coupe. the sticker price starts at $189,600.
Gearing Up Te SLS seven-speed gearbox is spot-on calibrated. Te car’s 0-to-60 mph sprint is 3.6 seconds.
Mercedes-Benz of Henderson, 925 Auto Show Drive (in the Valley Auto Mall), 702.485.3000; mbofhenderson.com
Las Vegas and Luxury Cars
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mercedes-benz of henderson stocks the SLS coupe and all other potential amgs. (choose your model, and the car is shipped to germany, overhauled and enhanced into a street-legal race car. turnaround is three months.) Jim chaisson Jr., general manager of the dealership, says that if you live in nevada, mboh is the only place to order an amg. mboh also offers a selection of used cars and trucks by top manufacturers, and you can take advantage of mercedes repair techs on staff as well as a complete inventory of mercedes parts. mercedes-benz of henderson submits orders for amgs at the clip of one per month. vegas remains a luxury market that easily rivals bigger metros, chaisson says. and when someone who can afford, say, a new SLS coupe swings open its gorgeous gullwing doors and sits behind the wheel, it’s over. Te car’s aural textures tingle spines, building from an earthquake tremble into a righteous roar.
Visual Presentation outside youâ€™ll find dark-glass headlights and brake lights, plus red brake calipers. Inside, new extras include red seat belts, plus red stitching on the wheel-dash and a quilted-leather seating option.
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THE CULINARY SCENE
Whether you like it classic or contemporary, Las Vegas offers Asian fare to suit all taste buds. In December, we turn our palates to the Japanesebred influences up and down the Strip. Mizumi in Wynn Las Vegas takes guests on an aesthetically pleasing journey before the culinary one begins. Traditional Noh theater masks, embroidered obi sashes and a golden koi fish designed by Roger Thomas (pictured) juxtapose chef Devin Hashimotoâ€™s inventive presentations (See Page 54). In the mood for a rich protein? Try the 72-hour braised American Wagyu short-rib kakuni, with creamy satsuma potatoes, fava bean and shitake ragout and red-wine miso sauce. If you shutter at the thought of American and Wagyu in the same sentence, fear not, because Japanese Wagyu is back in full force, and weâ€™ve found five restaurants that serve it to perfection. See Page 52
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V/Rated turning Japanese true wagyu is back on the menu all over town
by grace bascos PhotograPhy anthony mair Strip Steak Michael Mina’s steak house continues to serve American Wagyu the way the Japanese beef is meant to be eaten— as shabu-shabu, with thin slices of the raw beef cooked at the table in a mushroom consommé to flavor the broth. But Strip Steak has other plans for the newly arrived A-5 (the highest grade that Wagyu can be awarded for its marbling and lean meat consistency). The kuroge Wagyu, or Japanese black, comes from the Kagoshima prefecture and is offered as a rib eye and rib cap. Such a delicacy never comes cheap, but its melt-in-your-mouth texture is worth every penny. In Mandalay Bay, 702.632.7200; mandalaybay.com T-Bones Chophouse One of the few off-Strip locations with true Wagyu, T-Bones’ A-5 hails from Saga in Kyushu. Guests indulging in six ounces of the Wagyu strip for $125 ($20 for each additional ounce) can request to see the beef’s certificate of authenticity, which verifies this cow is pure, 100 percent Japanese cattle. The certificate also includes its birthdate, state of origin and gender. In Red Rock Resort & Casino, 702.797.7576; redrock.sclv.com Jean Georges Steakhouse Three different cuts of true Wagyu— New York strip, rib eye and filet—are rotated through the menu at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s steak emporium, so the restaurant ensures even usage of all the product available. Currently, the kitchen is also dry-aging some of the New York strips from the Kagoshima territory, which enhances and intensifies the flavor profile of the highly prized beef. In Aria Resort & Casino, 877.230.2742; arialasvegas.com
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Jean georges steakhouse chef robert moore
Restaurant Guy Savoy Leave it to a French restaurant to go against the grain when it comes to this premium cattle. Guy Savoy offers A-5-rated Wagyu from the Kagoshima prefecture, presented as a hearty, wintry dish that’s served with cannellini bean puree and marjoram, along with a fragrant saffron sponge cake. In Caesars Palace, 702.731.7110; caesarspalace.com Cut Wolfgang Puck’s tony steak house was the first in Vegas to announce that it was getting real Japanese beef back in its kitchens. Chef Matthew Hurley, who sourced meat from not only New Zealand and Australia but also Chile, is now importing A-4 grade Wagyu from the Saga region, Kyushu of Japan. In The Palazzo, 702.607.6300; palazzolasvegas.com
striP steak offers a-5
From EAst to modErn Eat light (and very well) before the big night out By melinda sheckells Photography Jeff Green ClAssiC vErsus ContEmPorAry, Fun versus fine, fantasy versus reality: three extremes present themselves during a dining experience at mizumi, the half-year-old Japanese restaurant in Wynn las vegas. indicative of the society to which it pays homage, the menu at mizumi—a popular girls name in Japan—bounces fluidly from mainstays such as sushi and sashimi to revved-up dishes (such as uni and Foie Gras Chawan mushi with egg custard and mitsuba leaves, $28) that infuse French influences and seasonal ingredients. in the bigger picture, mizumi signifies a shift in the restaurant collection at the resort, which has been finetuned toward a clientele that likes to keep it light before a night out. 702.248.3463; wynnlasvegas.com
InsIder Intel / When you are the most important person in the room you sit at the “Floating Pagoda table,” situated over a pond in full view of the waterfall that serves as mizumi’s centerpiece. Te minimum order required is $2,000.
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Book it Now Mizumi offers two seatings on New Year’s Eve. During the 5-5:30 p.m. seating, guests order from the regular a-la-carte menu. Te 10:30 p.m. offers a fourcourse gala menu for $175.
A Visual Banquet
In Mizumi’s kitchen you’ll find Hawaii native Devin Hashimoto, who possesses quite the pedigree. He was, for six years, sous-chef at Alex (formerly at Wynn Las Vegas), so he’s versed in sophisticated European cooking as well as the Asian food with which he grew up. Not content to merely stand on the sushi and teppan formula from Okada (the space’s previous incarnation), Hashimoto redid about 40 percent of the menu, adding fusion dishes and his own creations. One highlight is his meltingly tender 72-hour braised American wagyu short rib. Another specialty here is robatayaki (the popular genre consisting of bite-size, charcoal-grilled items, such as the yaki rice ball, delicious chicken or beef skewers, and shishito pepper with ponzu sauce). The chef has also successfully introduced dishes such as ishiyaki tartare bibimbap, a Korean-inspired rice bowl (the chef’s wife, Donna, is Korean-American), spicy king crab roll and taro tacos with a “shell” composed of the starchy root, as well as starters such as yellowtail sashimi and jalapeño gelée. –Max Jacobson
Tere’s something to be said for a big, bold space bursting with red hues and gilded accents. Trow in Japanese design themes and motifs—such as traditional Noh theater masks, embroidered obi sashes and hand-painted fans—and the creative ambience in the main room enraptures diners before their first bite.
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InsIder tIp / Lotus of Siam’s former wine buyer and sommelier Bank atcharawan recently opened his own restaurant, chada thai & Wine. For now, the place is BYoB, which presents an interesting opportunity to road test different styles and producers. But as soon as chada thai’s beer-and-wine license arrives, it will almost certainly be worth the short trip west of the Strip to see what atcharawan’s doing on his own turf. 3400 South Jones Blvd., 702.641.1345
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The sweeT hereafTer tHaI Heat meetS ItS matcH In a StunnInG rIeSLInG From one oF Germany’S toP ProducerS By XanIa Woodman PHotoGraPHy antHony maIr Good Neighbors the winery estate was built in 1924 by dr. Weins and his wife, anna Prüm, over her family’s vaulted, cross-shaped cellar in Wehlen. many of the surrounding mansions along the mosel river belong to other branches of the Prüm family, a number of whom are still involved with winemaking. today, their grandson Bert Selbach is owner and winemaker, producing just 3,000 cases annually.
A Big Deal Lost in Translation German wine labels can be daunting. Here, dr. F Weins-Prüm is the producer name; Sonnenuhr (sundial) is the precariously steep, blue-slate vineyard in Wehlen, a town on the left bank of the mosel river; and kabinett signifies that the grapes were picked ripe, indicating a semisweet wine.
the 2011 dr. F. Weins-Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett is $38 by the bottle at Lotus of Siam (953 E. Sahara Ave., Suite A-5, 702.735.3033, saipinchutima.com), a steal considering it goes for $60-$80 elsewhere. Pick up a bottle for $21 online at thewinecountry.com and $26 locally at valley cheese and Wine (702.341.8191; valleycheeseandwine.com).
Te Grape this 100-percent riesling—also available in the notably sweeter spätlese and auslese styles— offers slate and apple tones on the nose. It’s balanced on the palate, with tangy citrus and sweet, juicy pear on the background of a stony, elegant expression of the mineral terroir.
Can’t Find It? try a Wehlener Sonnenuhr riesling from another famous Prüm, Selbach’s neighbor Joh. Jos. Prüm; the fruit comes from the same vineyard, but like the vineyard itself, the price can be steep.
Beyond Tai the 2011 Wehlener Sonnenuhr has been called a beautifully light “old-school” kabinett. While this is a great wine to enjoy on its own or with mild-to-medium thai food, it also has an appetite for bright salads, poultry dishes and a variety of cheeses.
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Riesling and Thai food aRe a classic pairing for good reason: The residual sweetness and fruitiness of many german rieslings coat the mouth, protecting you from the hellfire that is the Thai chili pepper—the spicier the food, the sweeter you’ll want to go. extinguish the flames and enjoy a time-tested pairing with the 2011 dr. f. Weins-Prüm Wehlener sonnenuhr Kabinett, available at one of las Vegas’ most revered Thai restaurants, lotus of siam.
Holiday CHeers dine
envy steakhouse opens its cellar doors, offering a glimpse at its bold wines and succulent protein pairings By Christopher Calicott Photography elizabeth Buehring
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Best Tip / Wolf is
With the holiday season comes cooler temperatures, festive moods and a craving for a big steak married with a sizable, beautiful wine. enter Ryan Wolf, the general manager and wine program director of envy steakhouse at Renaissance las Vegas hotel (located in the convention center area). a native of mesa, arizona, Wolf’s restaurant industry experience stretched from sedona to seattle before he settled in las Vegas. this month, he shares several of his envy favorites that cross a wide range of styles and would pique the interest of just about any celebratory carnivore.
Tasting Notes sitting in the dining room, Wolf begins by presenting a 2007 stevenson-Barrie Willamette Valley shea Vineyard Pinot noir. he loves this oregon wine for a number of reasons. First, it works as a strong match to envy’s pan-seared sea bass. the nose has an assortment of red fruits such as raspberries, as well as violet-like floral notes. But unlike many new World pinot noirs, which can be too alcoholic or out of balance, this is a solid wine with nuanced flavors that will stand up to a steak. Wolf likes this middle ground for
a group sharing a bottle, because it not only pairs well with a large piece of beef, but it’s flexible enough to work with a hearty fish dish. $16 per glass; $60 per bottle
excited to share a personal favorite on offer at envy, a 2008 smith Wooton napa Valley cabernet Franc. this is a pure example of this typically blended Bordeaux varietal, giving a nose filled with intriguing cedar and pencil-shaving aromas. on the palate, there is a mix of rich fruits and anise, that slowly transforms during a long finish. this wine will bear even the most heavily marbled, intensely flavorful bone-in rib eye. Want something out of the ordinary with your steak? this just might be it. $75 per bottle
Bold and Beautiful Wasting no time moving to a serious big boy of a wine, Wolf pours a glass of 2007 caduceus Primer Paso, a california red blend that uses syrah and malvasia Bianca. this blend adds layers of interesting aromas that Wolf describes as “brightness,” adding a white grape varietal into the lush red syrah, an idea similar to other blends made with this red Rhône Valley varietal. this bold, tasty wine offers black currant and black cherry flavors that express themselves in the fun way that many upper-echelon Zinfandels can, but it retains plenty of acidity—where many rich, ripe red wines fail. this is an impressive wine that is, interestingly, made by a winery owned by tool rocker maynard James Keenan. $88 per bottle Envy the Steakhouse in Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, 3400 Paradise Road, 702.784.5700; renaissancelasvegas.com
INSIDER INTEL / as both sommelier and general manager at envy, Wolf has the latitude to offer wines that might not make the wine list at a Strip restaurant. He is known to source single cases of curious wines on a limited basis.
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THe BeST PLACeS TO geT AWAY frOM IT ALL
Las vegas is all about the newnew this holiday season. Gift yourself with one of five signature treatments from the recently renovated Spa at Wynn Las vegas (shown here). We recommend the 110-minute choco Latte Body Buff for $375 (also available for 50 minutes for $180 and 80 minutes for $280). Breathe in the scents of organic green coffee and cacao from Hawaii as a therapist applies a chocolate sugar scrub from head to toe. Itâ€™s the perfect chocolate fix to celebrate the season. See Page 66
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Nobu Hotel, Caesars PalaCe
STrip HOTElS Up THE ANTE WiTH lAviSH rENOvATiONS
By MAUrEEN HANk STANDARD SINGLE OR DOUBLE FOUR SEASONS LAS VEGAS The Four Seasons brand has always been synonymous with class, so it’s no surprise what guests will find in the hotel’s 424 redesigned rooms: polished ribbon mahogany, cream lacquer finishes, silver leaf accents and paintings by Shannon Felsot, Doug Bouman and Seiko Tachibana that pair nicely with bespoke furniture translations influenced by vintage designers. Now booking. Renovated rooms are guaranteed after December 8. Rates start at $179/night. 702.632.5000; fourseasons.com/lasvegas GRAND KING/QUEEN MGM GRAND The $160 million renovation of more than 4,000 rooms and suites in the main tower has yielded a refined, urban look with floor-to-ceiling headboards, warm earth tones and splashes of tangerine, bronze and fuchsia. The redesign also includes the 42-room Stay Well Collection, meant for the health-savvy guest. These rooms feature such standard amenities as Dawn Simulator alarm clocks, shower water infused with vitamin C, air purification and water filtration systems, and advanced room lighting that assists in regulating melatonin levels. Now booking. Rates start at $75/night, suites $105-$725/night. 800.929.1111; mgmgrand.com
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NOBU KING AT NOBU HOTEL CAESARS PALACE Centrally located within the property, Nobu Hotel will offer 181 rooms and suites during its soft opening in January. Branded by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the boutique hotel will provide such standard perks as in-room tea service, bath amenities by Natura Bisse and luxurious Filo d‘Oro linens. Designed to evoke a garden fountain, the bathrooms feature freestanding concrete bowls set on wood plinths. Chef Nobu curated the artwork and teak accents himself, calling to the Japanese elegance of his Nobu restaurants. Now booking. Rates start at $249/night. 800.727.4923; nobucaesarspalace.com RESORT KING AND RESORT QUEEN BELLAGIO The four-month remodel of 819 rooms and 109 suites in the Spa Tower, which is slated for completion on December 23, will feature such modern touches as Crestron
touch-screen room controls and three color palettes—indigo and silver, green tea and plum, and amber and butterscotch. The crown jewels of the $40 million project are three new 2,500-square-foot executive hospitality suites, each featuring a billiards room and separate home-theater area. Now booking select Spa Tower rooms. Rates start at $159/night. 702.693.7111; bellagio.com NEW DELUXE PALMS CASINO RESORT As part of the first phase of a $50 million resort renovation at the Palms, all 428 rooms and suites in the Ivory Tower have been redesigned for the first time in the property’s 11 years. Spearheaded by Klai Juba Architects, the remodel includes 16foot, wall-to-wall murals above the beds, contemporary stone tile in the bathroom and plush, rearrangeable furniture that allows you to personalize your room. Now booking. Rates start at $79/night. 702.942.7777; palms.com
SWEET ESCAPE / Because the holidays often can be just as stressful as they are joyful, Aquae Sulis Spa at JW Marriott offers three specialty treatments this month to temper the season’s chaos—and all use the FarmHouse Fresh line of natural products. Te Winter Warm-Up begins with a 25-minute honey-scented scrub before a 50-minute Swedish massage with shea butter cream (80 minutes, $130). Ten it’s on to the Mistle-TOES pedicure, which features a warm honey scrub exfoliation and lower-leg massage with whipped butter cream (50 minutes, $49). And to top it off, the Gingerbread MAN-icure pampers the hands with a Steaming Butter brûlée milk soak (an 8-ounce jar is available in the spa’s retail store for $28) and moisturizing shea butter cream massage before nail polish is applied (25 minutes, $29). Aquae Sulis Spa in JW Marriott, 221 N. Rampart Blvd., 702.869.7807; jwlasvegasresort.com
Opening November 30 E x p E r i E n cE a wi ntE r wo n d E r l a n d ov E r lo o k i n g th E l a s v Ega s s tr i p.
cosm o p o litan l a svega s .co m | 87 7. 551 . 7 7 78
A look inside a mega suite, replete with two hot tubs By Melinda Sheckells Ready to throw a raging party and not regret the morning mess? Ever dreamed of staying in a suite so large you can play a rousing game of hide-and-go-seek and never be found? Whereâ€™s the best place to watch a desert lightning storm from the confines of a luxurious sleeping chamber? The answer: Penthouse A on the 58th floor of Palms Place. 866.942.7770; palms.com
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Rack ’Em Up Yabu Pushelberg designed the interiors of this 3,650-square-foot palace. If you grow weary of staring at the panoramic view from the mountains to the Strip through the floor-to-ceiling windows, take a dip in the outdoor cantilevered spa pool or shoot some stick on the living-room billiards table while watching one of the suite’s five 42-inch televisions.
Kim Was Here During one of the opening parties for the resort, Kim Kardashian ate pinches of billowy cotton candy from a bowl on this very dining-room table. Don’t be jealous. You can get your own cotton candy on the sixth floor at Simon Restaurant & Lounge, where chef Kerry Simon’s junk-food platter ($18) is legendary.
Extra Space Seeking an extra crash pad for your massive entourage that can’t all fit in the suite’s two bedrooms? Te Jacuzzi Room does double duty, with a bed and bubble tub for when it’s too cold for outdoor frolicking. And then there’s the Teater Room, which doesn’t go the traditional route with seats but instead offers a couch big enough to make into a bed for two or three people.
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the Spa at wynn las vegas unveils a redesign rich in art By laura J. downey photography Jeff green
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Need a vacatioN from your vacatioN? take time to uNwiNd at the Spa at wynn las vegas. the newly renovated 45,000-square-foot sanctuary is the brainchild of renowned designer roger thomas, the resort’s executive vice president of design. “i like to design spas that are very easy to read and have focal elements that are easy to identify,” thomas says. “that way, you can remember where you came from and where you’re going.” when checking in, it’ll be hard to miss the massive urn made by thomas Boog. “it’s covered with two colors of stone in an italian paving pattern,” thomas says. “that is my favorite piece.” the spa, which was once dark, is now much lighter and infused with neutral and apricot hues. “it’s more elegant,” thomas adds. the eight-week renovation included 45 updated treatment rooms, a revamped spa menu with signature services—such as the 80-minute tropical Journey massage ($280)—and drawings from thomas’ sketchbook, which were handpainted and hand-embroidered on silk, creating large panels for the walls in both the women’s and men’s relaxtion zones. The Spa at Wynn Las Vegas, 702.770.3900; wynnlasvegas.com
Let Tere Be Light In the coed lounge area a skylight provides dramatic atmosphere. “Te color of light that came through into the space never felt right to me before,” he says. “Now it’s got a candlelight tint to it, and we all look healthier and prettier.”
Just for Two Te new couple’s treatment room includes two massage tables, two crème leather-padded wall panels, a fireplace and a blossoming flowerlike plaster ornament.
Seashells, Seashells More than 15,000 veneer Capiz shells are used as wall treatments in the spa court. “My challenge was to design things that make our guests feel elevated,” Tomas says. “I want them to feel more romantic. I want them to feel really beautiful when they’re with us.”
To celebrate the human body, Tomas recruited designer Christopher Guy to create five life-size golden bodies on the walls near the lobby. “Finding largescale, really beautifully crafted figurative works in only one color almost never happens,” Tomas says. “I had him do them in panels so they become mirror images of each other—something that would speak to what we all go to spas for: attention to our bodies.”
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aRt, cultuRe & cHaRity
From december 20-22, contemporary sculptors and painters such as H.r. Giger and Nelson Shanks leave their studios and descend upon Las vegas to exhibit for-sale original masterworks at the World of art Showcase in Wynn Las vegas. Giger, whose piece “Li II” is shown here, won an academy award for his design work on the film Alien. over the three-day celebration of visual arts, collectors can mingle with renowned artists such as daniel e. Greene and Jota Leal, who will have live demonstrations. “[this event aims to] restore art to where it rightfully belongs in society,” says mario Parga, executive director of the showcase. “artists are constantly being pushed to the back of the line; no one is taking it seriously anymore. this show is to be a vehicle to introduce painters to serious collectors.” To purchase tickets, visit worldofartshowcase.com
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the greatest gift GivinG to these local nonprofit orGanizations is Good holiday karma fashion flinG benefittinG lv artreach
by Geoff carter AID FOR AIDS OF NEVADA For as long as the battle against AIDS endures, AFAN will continue its stalwart efforts to raise money for those afflicted with HIV and AIDS—and to foster awareness of the continued need for a cure. 3540 W. Sahara Ave., E6 No. 329, 702.382.2326; afanlv.org
LV ARTREACH Art is a powerful educational tool and a great source of emotional uplift. LV ARTreach uses art to assist the kids of Downtown’s Naked City neighborhood, one of the city’s most desolate and needful areas. 702.885.8650; lvartreach.com
THE CARING PLACE No child should be born into a life tarnished by cancer or sickle-cell anemia, and no family should have to suffer the pain of a sick child. True to its name, The Caring Place strives to help both parties live happier lives. 4425 S. Jones Blvd., Suite 1, 702.871.7333; thecaringplacenv.org
OUTSIDE LAS VEGAS Las Vegas is surrounded by spectacular nature, from Red Rock Canyon to Lake Mead. Outside Las Vegas aims to connect you with that desert beauty through
HELPING HANDS SURGICAL CARE Every year, thousands of uninsured Valley residents require necessary medical procedures. Helping Hands works to provide those surgeries to those in need, at no cost to the patient. 702.242.5393; helpinghandssurgicalcare.com
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THREE SQUARE FOOD BANK Southern Nevada’s hungry can’t simply hit up Trader Joe’s when they need a healthy meal. Three Square feeds them through soup kitchens, senior meals programs, childhood nutrition programs and more. 4190 N. Pecos Road, 702.644.3663; threesquare.org
A Dog’s (and Cat’s Life) i have to admit it: Whenever a natural catastrophe—an earthquake, a hurricane—strikes somewhere, one of my first thoughts is, “Who’s taking care of the animals?” people have a necessary reason to get out of harm’s way (well, usually), but dogs and cats can’t open doors or call 911, and are too often forgotten by those who can. it takes a special kind of caring to look after these furry friends, and thankfully, several local charities offer it. the animal foundation (animalfoundation.com) operates lied animal shelter, which has been offering low-cost spay-and-neuter services since 1978. (Great slogan on their webpage: “it’s not crazy. they’re just nuts.”) heaven can Wait animal society (hcws.org) offers a variety of programs, including a novel dogadoption service called “pups on parole”—dogs trained by women in southern nevada’s correctional facilities—as well as a program to sterilize feral cats. the nevada spca (nevadaspca.org) operates a no-kill animal sanctuary full of adorable critters waiting for you to take them home. and recently, marquee nightclub in the cosmopolitan of las vegas was transformed into barquee—an event supporting noah’s animal house at the shade tree. dogs noshed on treats and owners sipped margaritas while lounging poolside—all in an effort to raise money and help the animal house provide a safe haven for pups.
AFAN ANd BARQUEE: gABE zApAtA; LV ARtREACH: tEddy FUjimoto
GIRLS ROCK VEGAS It’s a known fact that girls rock. They rock the house, the casaba and whatever else you’ve got. This nonprofit drives the point home by putting musical instruments in their hands and encouraging them to create. 702.608.4475; girlsrockvegas.org
education and restoration projects. One of their ambitious goals: a trail that loops the entire Valley. 919 E. Bonneville St., 702.997.3350; outsidelasvegas.org
Winning Hand poker pro antonio esfandiari creates his own destiny, one deck at a time By Joe donnelly photography tomo
On July 3, AntOniO “the MAgiciAn” esfAndiAri won the largest cash prize in poker history by beating the other 47 players who had ponied up $1 million each for a seat at the table in guy laliberté’s Big One for One drop tournament at caesars Palace. the cirque du soleil founder and poker aficionado put the event together to benefit the One drop foundation, which brings clean, accessible water to some of world’s most isolated destinations. charity aside, that night in Vegas was loaded with significance for esfandiari, and not just because he took home $18.3 million, catapulting him to the top of professional poker’s career winnings list. “it was like redemption. it felt really good,” esfandiari says from new york, where he had been invited to relieve some Wall street honchos of their pocket change. [the scoop: they requested esfandiari to play poker with them. he won.] “My father was there, and to win that tournament in front of my father and family was fantastic.” the win was all the more fantastic because it came on the day before independence day. esfandiari was born in tehran, iran, and moved with his family to san Jose, california, when he was 9 years old. independence day has special significance to him. “i think about it all the time, where i live and what i’m able to do and able to achieve as the result of being an American. ... i’m very fortunate,” he says. “i could be living in a country right now where a deck of cards is illegal and poker is illegal and ordering a glass of wine is illegal.” despite the freedoms offered by his adopted country, esfandiari still had to overcome some Old World hurdles on his path to poker glory. esfandiari’s culture places a premium on a college education, followed by a traditional, upper-middle-class profession, but he chose a road much less traveled. “in iranian culture, you have to be a lawyer or a dentist or doctor,” esfandiari laughs. “My dad wasn’t too
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thrilled when i told him i’m going to give up school and become a professional magician, and then a year later when i told him i was going to be a professional gambler, his reaction was not too good.” that all changed when esfandiari invited his father to watch him play at the Bay 101 casino in san Jose when he was just starting out. “he looked at me and said, ‘Wow, how do you know all that?’ then he said, ‘i get it; you have my full support.’” esfandiari was able to pay his father’s support back a few years later when, at the age of 25, he won a $1.4 million purse at a tournament at the los Angeles commerce classic. he says the windfall helped his dad to an early retirement. that tournament started a streak of winning, which led to nonstop partying and perhaps not being completely dedicated to his craft. “i had a lot of early success and was really enjoying my 20s and living the Vegas life,” esfandiari admits. lately, though, he’s been enjoying a more mature, focused approach to life. he has a life coach, he trains hard physically, says a family is in his near future, and he’s even become a bit philosophical, admitting that he’s a Burning Man enthusiast and believes in the idealism that exists at the event’s core. “At Burning Man, everybody is giving, everything is free,” he says. “Our entire society is tainted by the idea of monetary value.” esfandiari splits his time between las Vegas and los Angeles, where he’s opened a couple of tanning salons called spray la Vie. When in las Vegas, he spends his time catching up with friends, eating out and training. As for the 34-year-old’s future in high-stakes poker, esfandiari isn’t saying how long he’ll keep playing. “i’m just kind of riding the wave. i was just on howard stern. i was just at Burning Man. i really like to have adventures,” he says. “life is short. it’s really up to you to create your own destiny, and it’s really up to us be happy.”
ante Up for Philanthropy Las vegas has cornered the market on charity poker events. Here are three to put on your 2013 calendar (after all, nothing makes a gamble more fulfilling than when it’s for a good cause): Affiliate Summit Charity Poker Tournament Back on January 4, the avon Foundation Walk for Breast cancer raised about $14,000. Next year’s no-limit, texas Hold ’em style tournament with a $150 buy-in is scheduled for January 12 at caesars Palace. aswcharitypoker.eventbrite.com Opportunity Village eighth annual Celebrity Poker Tournament Te Gazillionaire, Penny Pibbets and Penn Jillette are just a handful of the celebrities who have taken part in this texas Hold ‘em tournament, which benefits opportunity village, a nonprofit organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities. Next year’s event is april 6 at caesars Palace. opportunityvillage.org Little One for One Drop Te 2012 Big one for one drop tournament raked in $10 million for the one drop charity, thanks to its record-setting $1 million buy-in. Since the next Big one won’t be until 2014, poker aficionados will have to settle for the Little one—a gold-bracelet event with a $1,111 buy-in that’s scheduled to coincide with the 2013 World Series of Poker at the rio next summer. onedrop.org –Maureen Hank
Photography by tomo Post Production by dIGItaL SPINacH Wardrobe provided by StItcHed Grooming by maILe PacHeco Shot on location at the aria resort & casino Poker room vrated.com / 73
A digitAL imAge of A wALL on HoLLywood BouLevArd. wHicH BeArS tHe work of BenjAmin ALejAndro And otHer Street ArtiStS.
nutcracker with a twist
highly/rated thiS moNth, VegAS’ ARt SCeNe tAkeS A tuRN toWARD the SuRReAl
By geoFF CARteR GRIMM December 6-21 Blackbird Gallery Blackbird has proven itself again and again as one of the most adventurous galleries in the Arts District; most recently, it turned a show of Su Limbert’s work into a giant storybook. With a year-end group show themed to Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Blackbird takes another step toward the sublime: Gallerist Gina Quaranto promises the show looks like “some kind of enchanted forest.” Believe her. 1551 S. Commerce St. 702.782.0319; blackbirdstudioslv.com
YEAR IN REVIEW December 1-31 Brett Wesley Gallery So much beautiful and thought-provoking art has hung on the walls of Brett Wesley Gallery throughout 2012 that a year-end retrospective could take several equal-size galleries to represent it. For practical reasons, the gallery is making do with one space, packing it with works by Luke Chueh, Sam Morris and Luis Varela-Rico. 1112 S. Casino Center Blvd. 702.433.4433; brettwesleygallery.com
PRISMA: SECOND SIGHT December 6-24 Trifecta Gallery in The Arts Factory The PRISMA Artist Collective includes 30 painters, sculptors and illustrators from all over the world, a proud association of individuals representing some of the most gifted pop surrealists working today. And this month, Trifecta presents works by 14 of them, including Rod Luff, Hsiao-Ron Cheng and Casey Weldon. 107 E. Charleston Blvd., Suite 135 702.366.7001; trifectagallery.com
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Te Nutcracker is performed at 7:30 p.m. December 15; 1 p.m. December 16; 7:30 p.m. December 21; 2 and 7:30 p.m. December 22; and 1 and 5 p.m. December 23; at Te Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $45-$158. 702.749.2000; nevadaballet.org
Street Art: BenjAmin ALejAndro ; nBt: pAtriciA rueL
BENJAMIN ALEJANDRO Through January 18 Amanda Harris Gallery There are fearless street artists, and then there’s Benjamin Alejandro, a.k.a. “Bamp,” who actually wheat-pastes his own Los Angeles Police Department mug shot up and down Hollywood’s streets. Alejandro’s Success show makes a provocative comment on the current nature of celebrity … meaning that his isn’t the only mug shot that is featured in his art. (Seriously, Lindsay Lohan: What gives?) 900 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Suite 150 702.769.6036; amandaharrisgallery.com
Beginning December 15, the holiday classic Te Nutcracker takes on new life at Te Smith Center for the Performing Arts, thanks to a blend of tradition and innovation. Nevada Ballet Teatre artistic director/ choreographer James Canfield offers a fresh, avant-garde interpretation of the whimsical tale by incorporating the talents of props designer Patricia Ruel (Cirque du Soleil) and costume designer Sandra Woodall (Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet). Audiences experience a world of exaggerated perspective—set in a Victorian dollhouse with a telescoping, 30foot Christmas tree—in a production that’s not the same old song and “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” –Maureen Hank
MUST-SEE CONCERTS & SHOWS
WATCH It’s cold on the Strip, but you can still get your face melted off at Te venetian when Rock of Ages, the hit Broadway show, opens december 18. Hard-rocking but lighthearted, its energetic ’80s hair-band anthems will have you wishing it wasn’t a fire hazard to wave a lighter through the air indoors. See Page 80 ‑Una LaMarche
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APOCAlyPSE WOW tHe maYaNS PredIcted tHat 2012 woULd eNd wItH SteLLar SHowS BY tHe KILLerS, PItBULL, tHe BLacK KeYS aNd more BY GeoFF carter THE SHINS December 6 The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Let’s say that The Shins alone aren’t enough for you, despite the fact that the band remains the standard-bearer for sensitive folk-rock. That’s fine, bro—because this show also features Passion Pit, Youngblood Hawke and AWOLNATION. It’s an entire indie rock festival for the price of one emo band. Tickets start at $38 702.693.5000; hardrockhotel.com
LEANN RIMES December 13-15 Las Vegas Hotel & Casino LeAnn Rimes has sold 37 million albums, won two Grammy Awards, written four books … and only this year celebrated her 30th birthday. The country singer-songwriter has racked up several careers’ worth of impressive statistics for reasons that should be immediately apparent when you see her live show. Tickets start at $49 702.732.5755; thelvh.com
IT’S A DATE Start december with a bang—the bang of a starter’s pistol, that is, with Las vegas’ Great Santa run, the annual circle K-sponsored 5K held at town Square that benefits opportunity village (december 1). Later that night, dance to the music of Cheap Trick, who only “Surrender” the stage to the “Sweet emotion” of Bostonian rock gods Aerosmith, who get us all to “dream on” at mGm Grand Garden arena (december 1). Put a hitch in your giddyup and polish your buckle for the annual National Finals rodeo at the Tomas & mack center (december 6-15). also, while you’ve got the family together, the Las vegas Philharmonic presents A Very Vegas Holiday at Te Smith center for the Performing arts, which features Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman and former Mayor Oscar B. Goodman narrating “’twas the Night Before christmas” and the percussionists from Foothill High School performing their own version of “Te Little drummer Boy” with a 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. performance (december 8). to top off the evening, that powerhouse politico from the Philippines, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, is again facing off against mexico’s Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Márquez for Pacquiao vs. márquez Iv—the scheduled 12-round fourth act takes place at the mGm Grand Garden (december 8). communities in Schools of Nevada brings back its annual Santa tea, as chef Kerry Simon makes treats for kids of all ages at Simon restaurant and Lounge in Palms Place (december 15). Grab your pup and head to the popular monthly mutts get-together, Yappy Hour, at rumor Boutique Hotel (december 20). Te testosterone-filled sensation that is the UFc returns with the highly anticipated rematch between Junior Dos Santos (left) and Cain Velasquez (right) at the mGm Grand Garden (december 29). Get your punk on when the Reverend Horton Heat teams with Jello Biafra and Tijuana Panthers at vinyl in the Hard rock Hotel & casino (december 28). Legendary rockers Te Eagles return to their home away from home—the mGm Grand Garden—where they’re sure to “take it easy” (december 30). –Michael Shulman
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pLayEd in vEgas
downloads to get you in the mood
THE KILLERS December 28-29 The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan The Killers! You know them, you love them, you … um, you probably know them, personally, either from one of their early shows at the defunct Café Espresso Roma or from seeing them drive Werner Herzog around town. Now see Las Vegas’ hometown pride perform live. Tickets $107 702.698.7000; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com
leann Rimes: saRa heRtel; ufC: josh hodges
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS December 31 The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan “Give It Away.” “Scar Tissue.” “Fight Like a Brave.” “Under The Bridge.” “By The Way.” This New Year’s Eve show by the Red Hot Chili Peppers promises to be one of those rare happenings: A concert where even casual fans may know every single song the band plays. Tickets start at $183 702.698.7000; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com
SmalhanS Lindstrøm Norwegian space disco … sounds a bit less approachable than it really is. At a mere six tracks, this is a perfect opportunity to try something new without having to dive too far into an experimental abyss. The songs are upbeat, dance friendly and a bit out there, pulsating with roller-skate-and-glitter imagery without getting too funky in those dreamy synth lines. Extended edits are also being released as 12-inch singles—for those who want to go the extra mile. tHE Hits: “Rà-àkõ-st,” “Vōs-sākō-rv,” “Fāār-i-kāāl”
The abbey Road SeSSionS KyLiE minoguE She’s had a real run at it, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Her 25-year career as a global dance superstar/ songstress is revisited and rewritten by stripping down and glamming up a collection of her hit songs, recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios. Instead of sending
you to the dance floor to compete with the up-andcomers, she takes this time to incorporate a full orchestra into the pieces for which she’s best known, creating contemporary retakes and ballads for the songbird to glide over. Definitely less appropriate for corporate holiday parties and better instead for cozy holiday nights in front of the fireplace. tHE Hits: “Come Into My World,” “Slow”
Kapow rusKo Some might consider it controversial; others will say it’s inevitable. In his first release since his departure from Diplo’s Mad Decent label, Rusko decided to take things into his own hands and release his production for free to his fans through his website (ruskoonfire.com) and iTunes. He then followed up with an announcement that he plans to release all original future music for free instead of signing to the same or different label. This EP features four
tracks blending dubstep and rave elements consistent with Rusko’s style, but the logistics of the release—and seeing if he’ll stick to his new epiphany—are what most interest me. tHE Hits: “Booyakasha,” “Like This”
loneRiSm tamE impaLa Australian threesome Tame Impala returns with a sophomore album that inspires relaxing in the grass at the park, or rolling in the sand at the beach as the psychedelic swirling guitars wash over and glaze the outside world. The group is often dubbed “revivalists,” and while there is an obvious influence from the decades of old, this album doesn’t sound like a copy of past recordings but instead approaches the songs with updated inspiration that’s easier for the new generation to swallow than many of their founding fathers. tHE Hits: “Be Above It,” “Elephant,” “Why Won’t They Talk to Me”
PITBULL December 28-29 The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort End your year as it began: Dancing to the club sounds of the artist born Armando Cristian Pérez. Pitbull comes to town to promote a new collection of hot Miami beats—the fittingly titled Global Warming—and one can reasonably expect this show to get yet another yearlong party started. Tickets start at $111 702.942.7777; palms.com/las-vegas-pearl-theater
by tiffany bosman
Calendar highly/rated the essential guide to the strip’s hottest shows ABSINTHE Caesars Palace Staged in a tent, Absinthe is a carnival on acid. A leering ringmaster who calls himself The Gazillionaire banters profanely with his assistant, Penny Pibbets, a kind of potty-mouthed Betty Boop. In between the sex-obsessed shtick, they introduce truly astounding acrobatic acts. Tickets start at $89 Dark: Monday and December 4, 11, 18, 31 800.745.3000; absinthevegas.com
BLUE MAN GROUP Monte Carlo 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. Tickets start at $65 877.459.0268; blueman.com CRISS ANGEL BELIEVE Luxor Magician/illusionist Criss Angel rolls his showy legerdemain into the razzle-dazzle of Cirque du Soleil for a production that covers the magic waterfront, from the classic feats of Harry Houdini to Angel originals. Tickets start at $65 Dark: Sunday-Monday and December 18-22, 25, 30, 877.459.0268; blueman.com
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JUBILEE! Bally’s They’re not gone yet: Those classic showgirls keep the tradition alive at this paean to Old Vegas, a production show brimming with big numbers, classy ladies, lavish costumes, ornate sets and the nightly plunge of the Titanic. Tickets start at $57.50 Dark: Friday 800.237.7469; ballyslasvegas.com KÀ MGM Grand Different from other Cirque shows, KÀ features an ever-changing stage, which depicts landscapes such as a calm beach, a snow-covered mountain and an uneven sea. Tickets start at $69 Dark: Sunday-Monday 702.531.3826; cirquedusoleil.com LE RÊVE Wynn Las Vegas French for “The Dream,” Le Rêve ripples out across an aqua theater-in-the-round, creating a water ballet that incorporates swimming, fire and special effects for a show that could easily invade your nocturnal psyche.
Tickets start at $105 Dark: Wednesday-Thursday and December 1418 (with additional performances December 26) 702.770.9966; wynnlasvegas.com THE BEATLES LOVE The Mirage Blend the 1960s—an era that was already psychedelic—with the breathtaking acrobatics of Cirque du Soleil, and put the music of The Beatles at the center of it, and you have a show that Sgt. Pepper would leave his yellow submarine to see. Tickets start at $79 Dark: Tuesday-Wednesday and December 6-10, 13-17 702.792.7777; mgmresorts.com MYSTÈRE Treasure Island Performing for nearly two decades, Mystère—Cirque du Soleil’s first resident show in Las Vegas—continues to hypnotize audiences with its upbeat music and thrilling acrobatics. Tickets start at $69 Dark: Thursday-Friday (with additional performances December 28) 800.392.1999; cirquedusoleil.com
jubilee!: Denise Truscello
JERSEY BOYS Paris Las Vegas One of the best shows in the jukeboxmusical genre, 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 from the hardscrabble streets of Newark, New Jersey. Tickets start at $52.80 Dark: Monday 702.777.7776; jerseyboysinfo.com
SATURDAY DECEMBER 15
FRIDAY DECEMBER 28 SATURDAY DECEMBER 29
BEN FOLDS FIVE
ANTHONY BOURDAIN & ERIC RIPERT
FRIDAY JANUARY 25
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 9
WILLIAMS GREGG ALLMAN KATT FRIDAY JANUARY 18 SATURDAY JANUARY 12
SATURDAY JANUARY 19
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 15
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 16
// BONNIE RAITT FRIDAY FEBRUARY 22 // MATCHBOX TWENTY FRIDAY MARCH 29 // JOE BONAMASSA SATURDAY APRIL 20 tickets at ticketmaster.com // pearl box ofce // 702.944.3200 // palmspearl.com palms.com ©2012 FP Holdings, L.P. dba Palms Casino Resort. All Rights Reserved.
Calendar Not eNough topless shows? Meet TempTaTion Shades of Temptation is New York-New York’s new showcase for topless writhing and wriggling. positioning itself as Zumanity’s hot little sister at the Broadway theater, the late-night Temptation is a worthy enough entry in the strip’s sex-show sweepstakes. grainy overhead videos of early-20th-century strippers, sexed up by cathouse jazz, primes us to meet host/singer David hernandez, the 12th-place finisher on american idol’s season 7. After generic Vegas intro patter—Where ya from? Belgium!— Temptation commences the tempting with the typical outlay of generous cheesecake and supporting beefcake: a cast of limber, well-proportioned ladies and a pair of chiseled, shirtless dudes. while this latest riff on the Breast Capades attains no new heights on the t&A-o-meter, it’s visually creative enough to sustain interest beyond merely ogling the goods. Shades of Temptation should send tourists back to their rooms aroused to greater exclamations of ecstasy than they muster on command in the theater. Tuesday-Sunday. Tickets are $49.95. new York-new York Hotel & Casino, 866.606.7111; newyorknewyork.com –Steve Bornfeld
“O” Bellagio From the French word for water, “o” consists of 85 cast members performing sensational acts in and above a 1.5-milliongallon pool. Tickets start at $104 Dark: monday-Tuesday and December 5-16 702.693.8866; cirquedusoleil.com
ROCK OF AGES The Venetian Boy meets girl, ’80s-style, in this tonguedeep-in-cheek musical that both celebrates and lampoons the decade’s glam-metal bands, with a rock-out score that combines styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, pat Benatar and
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SOUL2SOUL STARRING FAITH HILL AND TIM McGRAW The Venetian the superstar country couple kicks off their semi-residency, a 40-show run spread over 10 weekends in five months. promising to be a Vegas-worthy production rather than merely a concert, it will likely include the duo’s hits dating back to 1993, when both first hit the top 10 on Billboard’s country charts. Tickets start at $95.50 December 7-8 and 14-15 888.823.7685; ticketmaster.com TOURNAMENT OF KINGS excalibur Jousting and eating—plus a serving wench. what more could you ask of las Vegas than this Renaissance-style dinner show, watching warriors in the arena as you feed your medieval face? think of it as Camelot at suppertime. here, everyone’s King Artie.
Tickets start at $59 Dark: Tuesday and December 30-31 702.597.7600; excalibur.com ZARKANA aria Resort & Casino Following successful engagements in New York, Russia and spain, this Cirque du soleil show has found a permanent las Vegas home. Follow ringmaster Zark through the abandoned theater that serves as the backdrop for this extraordinary acrobatic circus. Tickets start at $69 Dark: Wednesday-Thursday and December 18 (with additional performances December 26) 855.927.5262; cirquedusoleil.com ZUMANITY, THE SENSUAL SIDE OF CIRQUE DU SOLEIL new York-new York Zumanity’s erotic acts feature contortionists, sex toys and more. the adult-themed show is sure to leave you feeling naughty. Tickets start at $69 Dark: Wednesday-Thursday and December 14-18, 26 702.740.6815; cirquedusoleil.com
shades of TempTaTion: tom DoNoGHUE
PEEPSHOW planet Hollywood who knew Bo peep was such a sex kitten? this month, Coco Austin assumes the role made famous by holly Madison, an innocent sweetie who transforms into a sensual hottie in this burlesque show that turns nursery rhymes naughty. Tickets start at $66 Dark: Wednesday 702.785.5055; lasvegaspeepshow.com
twisted sister. Tickets start at $45 Beginning December 18 Dark: monday 702.414-9000; venetian.com
ÂŠ2012 Bombay Sapphire, the Bombay Sapphire Bottle Design and device are trademarks and/or registered trademarks. Imported by the Bombay Spirits Company U.S.A., Coral Gables, FL. Gin â€“ 47% Alc. by Vol.
Enjoy Bombay Sapphire Responsibly.
ON THE LIST & ON THE LIPS
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In most places, “good night” means so long, farewell, time to turn it off and wind down. But in vegas, it means the fun is just beginning. Welcome to what could be the best 12 hours of your life as you prepare to party nonstop with the best in nightclubs, cocktails and people (dJ or otherwise)—not to mention secret hideaways. You’re ready to own the night in america’s 24hour party town, and we’ve got you covered with the 2012 Playbook. See Page 100
SBE Puts its Stamp on Old Sahara
look what’s coming next by Jen chase Few places announce openings as early as Vegas, and with its competitive marketplace for restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment, it’s understandable. Here’s the best of what’s to come in 2013 (and beyond):
Andrea’s Opening December 28 an eat-where-you-play venue, this upscale supper-to-nightclub will offer an asian-ish menu, while wynn las Vegas resident DJ steve angello serves as the “musical chef” whose freshly prepared playlists promise to satisfy diners’ aural palates. guest DJs spin from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m. Encore Las Vegas, 702.770.7000; wynnlasvegas.com SHe Opening December 31 calling all sophisticates: sHe will offer a classy vibe and figures to thrive off making guests feel like stars in an intimate, 40-table space. Food is steak and small plates driven, with a feminine, fashionable and fun slant. Crystals in CityCenter, 866.754.2489; citycenter.com Te LINQ Opening 2013 caesars entertainment is building this open-air retail and entertainment
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extravaganza to link (get it?) properties such as the Flamingo, Harrah’s and the Quad (the erstwhile imperial palace). Famous names in food, drink, entertainment and shopping will abound, including Yard House, sprinkles cupcakes/ ice cream and Brooklyn Bowl. This is also where you’ll find one of the strip’s two new Ferris (ahem: observation) wheels. The Linq (across from Caesars Palace), caesars.com/thelinq
sbe, the nightlife group that brought you hyde bellagio, is once again applying its successful approach to “up-cycling” old establishments—only this time it’s revamping an entire vintage hotel (opening in 2014), the shuttered sahara on the north end of the strip. rechristened as sLs Las vegas, the old sahara is essentially being turned into a one-stop sbe shop with “a wide range of options for daylife and nightlife,” says to mio danilovic, vice president of operations for sbe’s nightlife. “We’re filling a hotel with our brand, and we’re going to be able to offer something for everyone.” While you can count on a vegas version of shelter—sbe’s popular L.a. club—being part of sLs, the company is staying mum about its other plans. (Tis just in: Popular L.a. boutique Fred segal will wholly operate its retail space.)Tat said, we’d bet our last chip that whatever makes the cut will be on par with what we love about hyde … and then some.
Hakkasan Opening early 2013 prepare for Michelin-rated, mod-cantonese fare from the london transplant that’s taking over the MgM grand space formerly occupied by studio 54. Mysterious and contemporary with late-night tracks to amp things up, zen’s the word at this decidedly chill supper-turned-nightclub. MGM Grand, 702.891.7777; mgmgrand.com
where you might even get to play dress-up. intrigued? stay tuned. Mandalay Bay, 702.632.6132; mandalaybay.com
Light Opening 2013 Here’s what we know: every guest will be a part of the show at this cirque du soleil-inspired club from the light group, which will be in the old Rumjungle space. Think 38,000-square-foot venue filled with theatrics, cutting-edge video mapping, top-name DJs and avant-garde costumes—
Te Delano Opening late 2013 goodbye, THehotel; hello, Delano. The south Beach hotel icon is migrating west, bringing all-suite stays to Mandalay Bay. if the Vegas version mirrors Miami’s, you can expect whimsical, art-deco design. Mandalay Bay, 702.632.6132; mandalaybay.com
spin city It was the year of the DJ. Meet 11 of the most influential to come through Las Vegas in 2012 By Mosi Reeves Photography Tomo
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In September, Schulz topped the DJ Times poll as America’s Best DJ. It was the cherry on top of a year that saw the German-born, Miami-based trance star release his fourth album, Scream; assemble a new mix CD, Best of World Tour 2012; and perform about 150 gigs, including 10 in Las Vegas as a resident at Marquee. “I did EDC [Electric Daisy Carnival] back in June. That, as I’m sure anyone who lives around Vegas knows, was an experience in itself,” Schulz says. “Clubwise, Vegas has always been the bomb.”
Nicky Romero This year, Romero made a strong impression. After being named one of MTV’s EDM Rookies to Watch in January, the 23-year-old Dutchman and David Guetta protégé landed production credits on Rihanna’s and Calvin Harris’ new albums and was named one of the top 20 influential DJs in DJ magazine’s top 100 chart. He also crafted remixes for Madonna and Kelly Clarkson, all while holding down a residency at Marquee and Tao’s summertime pool bacchanal BPM Sundays.
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Afrojack As one of the ascendant kings of the EDM scene, Afrojack was everywhere in 2012, from Europe to South Africa, and from Israel to Las Vegas, where he holds a residency at Encore’s Surrender, XS and Tryst. “In Vegas, there’s a crazy after-party every night, with lots of crazy people, lots of alcohol and lots of naked people running through the room,” says the Dutch producer, who stunningly logged more than 300 dates on his 2012 itinerary, including 25 in Vegas. Amid production credits with Pitbull, Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars, Afrojack continues to work on a solo album he plans to drop in the spring.
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Audrey Napoleon Napoleon is a newcomer to the electronic world, and she’s quickly making an impact. She released her debut EP, Ornamental Egos, which yielded tech-house hits such as “Bitchy Queen,” and Heineken licensed “#mysunrise” for a new advertising campaign, “Sunrise Belongs to Moderate Drinkers.” It all led to a residency at Encore Beach Club this summer. “I have had an incredible year,” she says, adding that she travels so much that she works on music in airplanes, the car, hotel rooms, airports, the shower, while cooking … you name it. “You make time for the things you’re obsessed with.” Makeup & Hair by Briana Nickas
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Redfoo Long before “Sexy and I Know It” superstars LMFAO announced their hiatus in September, Redfoo was a familiar face at Las Vegas’ Marquee, where he hosts Party Rock Mondays. In addition to hanging out with tennis pro Victoria Azarenka—including cheering her on as she faced Serena Williams at the 2012 U.S. Open final—Redfoo produced Carly Rae Jepsen’s single “This Kiss,” collaborated with Flo Rida and Far*East Movement, and assured us that even if LMFAO is over, the party rocking will go on.
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With its sample of Etta James’ “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” Avicii’s “Levels” was the soundtrack of 2012, from its prominent use in Flo Rida’s global hit “Good Feeling” to its appearance in a Buick TV campaign. It was a remarkable ascent for the 23-year-old Grammynominated Swedish producer, who nurtured his record label, L7vels, and released hit followups such as “Silhouettes.” The progressive-house DJ also has made a second home at Marquee in The Cosmopolitan, and is preparing a New Year’s Eve blowout at XS in Encore.
Erick Morillo How many DJs have had a street named after them? Morillo got the honor in his hometown of Union City, New Jersey. “The street I grew up on has been named Erick Morillo Way. Who’d have thought that my time spent there during my turbulent teens would result in this?” says the producer, who virtually pioneered the banging, ear-rattling style of hard house back in the late ’90s. As a resident at Marquee and a frequent guest at Tao, Morillo often decamps to Vegas. “I’ve had some pretty wild nights in this city,” he says. “My advice to anyone coming to Vegas is to keep it short and sweet. Any longer than three days here and you could quite possibly lose your marbles … and a shitload of cash to boot!”
Roger Sanchez play
Sanchez remembers one sweltering afternoon at Palms Casino Resort in July. “It was 106 degrees and everyone was dancing in the pool! I swear the DJ booth was melting!” As a DJ who brought his Release Yourself party to cities around the world—from Vegas (where he played five times, including a night set at Rain) to Barcelona, Dubai and Bueños Aires— Sanchez has collected plenty of stories like that. But the Grammy-winning tribal house star has stayed busy on the boards, too. His major project for 2013: finishing a concept album called Architecture.
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Meet Steve Aoki It was another busy year for Aoki. The Los Angeles influencer corralled friends such as Kid Cudi, Afrojack, Travis Barker, LMFAO, Lil Jon and Rivers Cuomo of Weezer for his debut album, Wonderland, and then set out on the Deadmeat tour across 55 U.S. cities. His influential record label, Dim Mak, dropped more than 50 releases on the market. And through it all the long-haired wild man remained a musical director at Surrender nightclub, spraying the crowd with bottles of champagne on Dim Mak Mondays at XS and stagediving over banging sets of electro-house madness.
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Taboo Count Jaime “Taboo” Gomez as another member of a famous pop group who happily soldiers on by himself. With the Black Eyed Peas on hiatus, Taboo launched “The Taboo Experience,” a DJ performance that incorporates B-boys, flashing LED screens and lots of crowd interaction. He’s taken the show from Vegas clubs such as Rain and Tabu to distant locales such as Greece, Hong Kong and Argentina. Meanwhile, he continues to work on his first solo album.
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Tiësto What more can be said of the Netherlands producer who epitomizes DJ superstardom in the new millennium? In addition to holding down a residency at Encore’s XS and Surrender nightclubs, the overachieving artist unveiled a new line of AKG headphones and his own iPhone app, launched a Club Life channel on SiriusXM, issued Club Life Volume Two: Miami, and remixed tracks for Gotye, David Guetta, Calvin Harris and Florence Welch. “I just really love what I do,” he says. “Making music and playing shows around the world is hugely satisfying for me, and I’m never lacking inspiration.”
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when night falls
Te insiderâ€™s guide to las Vegas after Dark
PHOTOGRAPH BY XX
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One Great Night Out
One Night Only
Best Night Eva
“While I’ve had plenty of great nights, many of them on the Strip, a great time out isn’t confined to the nightclubs. I owe one exceptional time in Downtown Las Vegas to this very issue. Playing host to nightlife photographer Bronques (See Page 20 for his documentation of this particular weekend) turned into an all-nighter I wasn’t expecting. We met on Charleston Boulevard and Main Street, where he had started the night at The Artifice. What followed were cocktails (and miniature photo shoots) at just about every bar in the Fremont East Entertainment District. From exploring the girls’ bathroom at Beauty Bar to taking pictures of two blondes in the backroom stairwell at Insert Coin(s), we managed to hit all the spots and outlast nearly every person on Fremont Street. The night ended in true Downtown fashion, with a final IPA poured at sunrise by the owner of The Griffin.” –Elizabeth Sewell
“April 9, 2009, goes down in the history books as my most memorable escapade in Sin City. And for that, I have DJ Hollywood to thank. At the time, my sorority sister J’Tia was in town from Champaign, Illinois, and it was my responsibility to show her a really good time. I sent Hollywood a text and asked him what was up for the evening. He said he would be at LAX in Luxor and that we should come through. When we arrived, we fought our way through the crowd to get to the DJ booth. As I looked around, partygoers were dancing to old-school ’Pac and Biggie. Once inside the booth, Hollywood and his crew—which included DJs Ikon, Risk One and Danny Boy, and Jimbo from HardNox—greeted us. Shortly thereafter, we started doing shots of vodka while reciting lyrics to various songs. And when I looked into the masses, people were getting their groove on—it was insane. A couple of hours later, my heels were off, J’Tia and Risk One [whom she officially renamed Risko Uno] were dancing, and I couldn’t help but think that I was the coolest person in the entire club. Then, Hollywood signed off for the night, and Ikon and Risk One wanted to keep the tomfoolery going. So we walked over to CatHouse and kicked it till 5:30 a.m. We downed more drinks, took four silly pictures in a photo booth and created priceless memories I will –Laura J. Downey never forget.”
Insider Intel / When ordering a drink at 1 oaK Nightclub, you’ll want to stick to the bar to the left of the entrance as it is often easier to order from and you won’t get ushered out of the way by passing security.
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1PHOTOGRAPH OAk: AnTHOnY BYmAiR; XX sewell: BROnques
It’s easy to have a great night in Las Vegas. Parties abound, drinks flow and there’s never an end in sight—unless, of course, you want one. But what makes a night truly unforgettable isn’t necessarily the setting or the activity; it’s the magical thing that happens when everything seems to fall into place. You run into people you weren’t expecting, everyone you wish was there is, or you end up where you never imagined. Here, Vegas/Rated editors share their best-night-out stories.
THE NEW STANDARDS By Jen chase
Insert Coin(s) dismiss Insert coin(s) because it’s a club with video games? Shame on you. Because it’s downtown? Shame on us for not screaming, “Go off-Strip!” because the place has an addictive house-party feel. Insert coin(s) is where oldschool and white-hot arcade games line the perimeter, leaving ample space for a room-center bar (try the signature drink, the Hennessey Black ops); tufted bottle-service booths with flat screens and Wii and Nintendo consoles; and dance battles to the beats of a strong dJ team. the place is industrial, hip and serviced by a “you’re-like-family” staff—it’s no wonder downtown denizens pray their quintessential club remains a bit of a secret. Insert Coin(s), 512 Fremont St., 477.2525; insertcoinslv.com
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Hyde everyone’s seen the Bellagio fountains from the street or a hotel with a head-on view, but only Hyde puts you as magically close to the Strip’s iconic sprinkler without getting wet. Location is just part of Hyde’s intrigue. early hours on the open-air Fountain terrace deliver liquidnitrogen drinks and a small-bites menu. By night, it’s an exclusive, highoctane party that’s part indoors and out—a refreshing switch from stuffy, four-walled clubs—and stocked with costumed dancers who usually have Leds on them somewhere. Next year, we’ll see Hyde’s ingenuity on steroids (see “Look What’s coming Next,” Page 88), so if the current vibe blows your mind, well, wait till you see what’s in store. Hyde in Bellagio, 702.693.8700; hydebellagio.com Marquee Nightclub With its outrageous technological eye candy, it’s not a stretch to call marquee the Strip’s most visually stunning club. Tink 60-foot ceilings and a 40-foot Led screen behind the dJ booth; blasts of color, light and images matching the musical style of the dJ du jour; and video projections on surfaces designed to be as sexy as marquee’s home, Te cosmopolitan of Las vegas. and, yes, there’s dancing, too—the venue’s 60,000 square feet are connected by a threefloor performance stage. check your “a club is a club is a club” attitude at the door. Put it this way: Tere’s a reason marquee grabbed the top spot on Nightclub & Bar’s list of the top 100
highest-grossing clubs of 2012. Marquee in Te Cosmopolitan, 702.333.9000; marqueelasvegas.com Bagatelle Las Vegas Want food and libation, glam and sensation, all in one place? Welcome to Bagatelle. Te tropicana’s recently opened daylife/nightlife venue offers elegant euro-like fun under one roof, solving the usual problem of trekking all over for a singularly spectacular night. a white, airy dining room serving a mediterranean-esque menu with hints of Southern France just might rival the night you hope to have later. (We said “might.”) Après dinner (the champagne brunch is top-notch, too!), you stay put to enjoy a dance-club experience without ever setting foot outside. No cab. No lines. No drama. Bagatelle Las Vegas in the Tropicana, 702.701.0200; bagatellelasvegas.com 1 OAK Sometimes you want a little r&r out of your club (really!), and you want it with dark walls, dim lighting and enough calm to actually carry on a conversation. and that’s when you head to 1 oaK (“one-of-a-kind,” in case you’re new). But that’s not to say Te mirage’s latest nightlife venue is completely subdued. Killer guest dJs and performers know how to rock the space, where the dance floor sits close to the dJ booth and stage. Whether you want to be in the party or watch it, this could be your new favorite spot.
1 OAK in the Mirage, 702.693.8300; 1oaklasvegas.com Te Act Simon Hammerstein’s ability to invoke people’s inner-raunch helped make his London and New York clubs, Te Box, a huge hit. Now he’s trying to duplicate the act at, well, Te act. Tis newly opened, tri-level, 9,600-square-foot performance-based nightclub has the innards of a sultry opera house. vaudevillian acts make you question if you’re dreaming, and private balconies let you hide how hot it made you (or not; some guests have been known to leave midshow). Absinthe and Zumanity? Tey’re sexy … but more like the Teletubbies by comparison. Te Act in Te Palazzo, 702.607.7777; theactlv.com Stoney’s Rockin’ Country Is it us, or is there a country-music movement afloat on the Strip? If you’re part of said movement—and your roots run deeper than just mainstream artists like Faith, tim or Shania—Stoney’s is your ticket. Granted, you will have to drive offStrip … but only a couple of miles. When you get there, you’ll be rewarded with such perks as free nightly dance lessons (two-step lessons are tuesdays); $15 all-you-candrink drafts on Fridays and Saturdays; and a mechanical bull. Live music rounds out the intrigue, so saddle up. Stoney’s Rockin’ Country in Town Square, Suite 300, 702.435.2855; stoneysrockincountry.com
insert coin(s), 1 oak: anthony mair; stoney’s, pure: kin lui
Vegas is an anytime, anywhere city where a cab ride is all that separates a sleeper scene from a brand-new, vibrant venue. “People are getting a little tired of doing the same thing,” says a seasoned Strip-based club host. So to fend off impending boredom, properties are upping the ante on interactive entertainment, luxe visuals and alternatives to the de rigueur of clubbing that range from relaxed to classy to fantastically forbidden. Here are our recommendations for shaking up your regular Vegas nightlife routine:
StONEY’S rOCkiN’ COuNtrY
THE CLASSICS BY JACk COLtON Vegas thrives on introducing the proverbial next best thing, but there’s something to be said for a night at a tried-and-true venue. Some of these places are known for hard-core reliability, while others surprise us every time (even if just a little). So next time you’re looking to shake up your nightlife routine, consider going retro, as these timeless Las Vegas hits never go out of style. Tao Nightclub a club being open (and profitable) in vegas for seven years is akin to, like, 100 years in other cities. But what keeps this sultry, asian-inspired venue on people’s lists o’ greatest hits is tao’s constant (if not slight) reinvention—little remodels and refreshes that keep loyalists happy and intrigue neophytes walking by the door. don’t be lulled into thinking its elder-statesman Strip status means the lines to get in are shrinking: tao can still pack 3,000 people a night. and with a recurring all-star lineup of celebrity dJs and live performances, it’s obviously still giving folks the happy endings they’re seeking. Te Venetian, 702.388.8588; taolasvegas.com Beauty Bar If you don’t know this downtown venue, the name might throw you off; but it is, in fact, a club, and as one of the original nightlife destinations in the Fremont east district, this vegas
outpost of Beauty Bar (locations are on both coasts, as well as denver and chicago) has long catered to hipsters, music lovers and locals who enjoy getting amped, not gussied up. Known for low-bar prices (can you say “tuesday Nickel Beer Night?”), frequent live performers and even some outdoor patio space on which to enjoy it, these little attentions to detail have kept Beauty Bar a go-to, go-out spot since 2004. 517 E. Fremont St., 702.598.1965; thebeautybar.com/las_vegas Body English oh, if this club’s decadent walls could talk, they’d wax poetic about raucous vegas nightlife back in the day (and maybe blush the panties off a few of today’s more modest revelers). Te nightclub remains as it stood the day it closed three years ago and occasionally opens for special events and private parties. It’s best remembered for the nights when famed dJs am and vice and Jack Lafleur spun sweet music through the air. Poll after poll has tabbed Body english as the No. 1 club people wish would reopen. If you’re one them ... ta-da! Set a reminder for the december 28 reopening, and see for yourself if it lives up to legend. You can thank us later. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 702.693.5000; hardrockhotel.com Te Bank Nightclub If you’ve never been to one of the Strip’s industry nights—the nights
aimed at filling clubs and restaurants with some of the people who actually work in and around them—Te Bank sets a gold standard for what a Sunday-night industry event should be: slightly more chill than a club packed with only tourists, with deals and specials that make it even more worth it to work in this town. Innovative parties for locals and a roster of passionate entertainers pack into Te Bank’s multitiered space. Te upper level offers a great bird’s-eye view, but to really feel like you’re in the middle of it, head to the lower dance floor. Bellagio, 702.693.8300; thebanklasvegas.com Pure of course nightlife existed before Pure. But when this venue opened at caesars in 2004, it truly blazed a trail for club concepts that followed: dress codes became a classier, celebrities arrived in droves, table service was perfected, and the throngs of tourists doing pre-vegas-trip research started. eight years later, Pure’s sparkly-white insides still offer cool comfort in a swanky atmosphere. and when the under-construction Linq across the street makes that corner of the Strip spectacular the way the real caesar turned the roman republic into an empire, Pure’s outdoor tables with the Boulevard view will be even more prime. Way to keep it fresh. caesars Palace, 702.731.7873; angelmg.com/venues/pure
Insider Intel / Tose dining before the club at a restaurant owned by the same management company can often request a line pass stamp, or even complimentary entry.
Book It: Weekends Not to Miss Las Vegas’ yearlong party always hits its crescendo as the last minutes of December 31 tick away. But if the hassle of the Strip being shut down on New Year’s Eve isn’t your thing—yet you’re still craving an over-the-top blowout extravaganza—mark your planner for other popular Sin City holiday weekends.
May 24-27, 2013 Dayclubs, nightclubs and after-hours clubs pop the cork on another long, hot Vegas summer with a four-day bash that’s become known simply as MDW.
Fourth of July
July 4, 2013 Depending on when America’s birthday falls during the week, the red, white and blue festivities can last for up to seven days and span two weekends—now that’s a party.
August 30-September 2, 2013 Te bookend to MDW, LDW marks the last summer soirée and the final chance to show off sun-kissed skin.
October 31, 2013 Sure you can catch groups of friends donning themed costumes 365 days a year in Vegas. But the motherload of over-the-top—and barely wearing a top (or bottom)— costume bashes comes in the form of Hallow-week and six-figure contest prizes. –Deanna Rilling
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Not So LoNeLy at the top Mio and Daniel Danilovic Ages: Mio, 34; Daniel, 24 Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden Years in Vegas: Mio, 11 months; Daniel, 10 months Jobs: Mio: SBE vice president of operations; Daniel: SBE management training program
OH BROTHER By JeN cHaSe PHotograPHy aNtHoNy mair Vegas is filled with young entrepreneurs who work hard, play hard and maybe even change the Strip’s landscape along the way. But did you know that several top nightlife pros are siblings? Whether they work together or just benefit from same-city brotherly/sisterly love, here’s a peek at a few of the town’s most dynamic (and related) duos.
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Ask Mio Danilovic what he does for a living and he freely admits there’s no limit to his responsibility at SBE. His job is simply to “make the company successful.” That’s a pretty tall order for a 34-year-old in a power position at one of the hottest entertainment and hospitality companies. But it’s a role Mio relishes for two reasons. First, he unabashedly believes in SBE—particularly Hyde Bellagio, the property he was brought to Vegas to open. The other reason? His brother. “It’s one of the most amazing things I could wish for,” he says. “It’s a very big relief. It makes you stronger. I always have support … a true friend.” Despite the decade between them, the brothers were close growing up. “He was always there for me,” remembers Daniel. So within days of Mio’s opening Hyde Bellagio in January (both had been working at Hyde in Los Angeles), Mio did the big-brother thing: He helped bring Daniel—a former tennis pro who had cultivated a side passion for DJing—to Hyde Bellagio. “I basically asked my brother for a chance to prove myself,” says Daniel, who grew up influenced by Swedish/Euro house music. Prove himself he did: From January through June, Daniel shared his high-energy DJ style with Hyde Bellagio guests. Daniel made such a positive impression that, in September, he joined an SBE training program that will likely have him working on the company’s SLS Hotel project—right alongside his big brother. “I’m very proud to be one of the people chosen to open [the SLS],” Mio says of the venue that’s slated to open in 2014 at the old Sahara. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team.”
Insider Intel / If you are tempted to pull the lame “you don’t know who I am” line, please slap sense into yourself. even saying that reaffirms the fact that nobody really knows who you are.
SucceSS with a MidweSt Mind-Set Kalika and Kira Moquin Ages: Kalika, 30; Kira, 26 Birthplace: San Diego; Hometown: Missoula, Montana Years in Vegas: Kalika, 9; Kira, 3 Jobs: Kalika: Partner at jackcolton.com; Kira: Cocktail waitress at The Mirage’s Bare Pool Lounge Can you maintain a Midwestern sensibility in Sin City? Kalika and Kira Moquin believe so. “People say Vegas is going to change you—that you’re going to lose your roots—and people just assume you’re a different person,” Kira says. Influenced by life in Montana with two other sisters and supportive parents, Kalika and Kira were encouraged to live where they wanted and try different things. They chose to shine their innate event-planning and people-person skills here, and it’s turned into a move that could secure their financial futures. “If you can seize opportunity to come out here when you’re young, there’s potential to make a lot of money,” Kalika says to all ladies on the brink of a life decision. “The party industry is a multimillion-dollar business.” But at the end of the day, this mindful mover-and-shaker reminds us that it’s “just a job” … one that just happens to put the sisters right in the middle of the hottest nightclubs and parties (and has let Kira and her husband already buy their first home). The best outcome of their Vegas experiment? “Our friends have become our families,” Kalika says. “We’ve been lucky to find some really amazing people.”
the wow of tao Kristin and Alissa Conte Ages: Alissa, 38; Kristin, 36 Birthplace: Queens, New York Years in Vegas: Alissa: 7; Kristin: 2 Jobs: Alissa: Director of restaurant operations for Tao and Lavo; Kristin: marketing director for Tao and Lavo The Tao Group got lucky with the Conte siblings. “Food, cooking and restaurants were always a huge part of our family growing up,” Alissa says. “I went to college for restaurant and hospitality, and it’s an industry that I have a lot of passion for.” Kristin, on the other hand, almost didn’t make it to Vegas. “I went to college with every intention of becoming the next Bob Costas,” she says of the famous sportscaster. Instead, Kristin put her public-relations degree to work as senior manager for marketing in the NBA’s league office … until Tao Group partner Lou Abin mentioned he had an opening for a director of marketing. “The restaurant industry has always been a big part of our lives, so it was an easy transition to make from sports,” she says. Is there bickering between two directors at the same company … who are related? “Being sisters has complemented our positions, and allowed us to collaborate more on projects that benefit the company,” Alissa says. “There is also an inherent trust that you can’t match even with co-workers of many years.”
they’ve Got each other’S Back
Cliff and Joey Orr Ages: Cliff, 29; Joey, 27 Birthplace: Fraser, Michigan Years in Vegas: 3 Jobs: Cliff: VIP host for Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub; Joey: VIP door host at 1 OAK As kids, the Orr brothers wanted to be professional athletes; instead, they became VIP hosts at two of the Strip’s most popular clubs. It’s a switch from the childhood dream they shared (with throngs of other boys) at least they still get to play for a living … just a different game. “As we got older, we found we enjoyed nightlife and entertainment,” Cliff says. Seeking post-college opportunity and adventure, they hit Vegas with no jobs and little money ... and found themselves both working in the same job but different clubs. Is there ever any brotherly competition? “In our industry, it is best to work together,” Joey says. “We share a lot of our clients and it works out because we can send each other business and know our clients are in good hands.” Today, the Orrs are saving mad money and moving ahead while remaining close. “Our jobs allow us to meet people from all around the world. It’s all about ‘who you know,’ but it is great to always have someone you know so well by your side.”
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The Playbook Meet the Most InterestIng Man In Vegas —then ClICk ‘Follow’
By JeN cHaSe PHotograPHy aNtHoNy mair
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“i liked the lifestyle—i liked the nightclubs, i liked the entertainment scene, i liked the restaurants. But mostly i saw opportunity,” says shecter, who admits only to being “a little north of 40.” and because of his existing connections in the music industry—dJs and artists, especially—he became a link between the clubs here and the dJs and artists who performed. in his near quarter-century in the music scene, shecter has gotten to experience two of the industry’s biggest explosions: First, hip-hop; now, the rise of the dJ and electronic dance music (Edm). “Edm is red hot in america, and Las vegas is the center,” he says. “it’s become the most exciting thing about what i’ve been doing these last couple of years.” so how has shecter shuffled his experiences and still managed to Tweet prolifically enough to be named in Billboard magazine’s august issue as one of music’s most influential Tweeters? “There aren’t many people documenting what’s happening here,” he says humbly. more likely his notoriety has come from becoming vegas’ on-the-ground social-media correspondent, reporting on how dJs are performing in clubs. or maybe it’s because he uses Twitter to share the occasional hip-hop stories from inside the industry (memories of Biggie smalls and Tupac shakur earned him 700 and 1,000 followers in two nights, respectively). it could even be because people care about the personal quotes, insights and political opinions he peppers his feed with along the way. “Like we all do, i try to say intelligent things,” says shecter, who as of this writing had Tweeted 12,291 times in three years. “i try to be witty where possible, and i also try to be real and cut through all the noise to bring a little sanity and sense to the chaotic world of Twitter. “it’s like a fireside chat of sorts. you say something and get an immediate response, and that’s what i love.”
EvEry day around midnighT ThErE’s a big group on Twitter waiting for a chirp from a certain someone in the middle of vegas’ music scene. his Tweets reflect the day that was—what he saw, heard, did or thought—or illuminate the night to come. But he always sends them at that blurry hour in vegas nightlife when the industry perks up while everyone else hits the hay. Who is our most interesting mystery Tweeter? Jonathan shecter (a.k.a.: shecky green), director of original programming for Wynn Las vegas nightclubs. Part of his work—which provides fertile fodder for his Tweeting—is helping to mastermind and promote the event calendars of Wynn’s clubs (Xs, surrender, Tryst and Encore Beach Club), as well as the roster of resident and guest dJs he’s built to help fill them. shecter also oversees the new label ultra/Wynn to produce compilations and new releases of music heard at Wynn events. and then there’s his personal project, screenWerks, a crew of video dJs and producers he manages that curates disparate audio/visual content into new pieces of art, a handful of which have gone viral on youTube. shecter’s current work wouldn’t be possible if not for his two decades of media entrepreneurship. While an English undergrad at harvard in 1988, shecter cofounded The Source—america’s longestpublished hip-hop magazine—back when hip-hop was a burgeoning genre. and under his own label, game recordings, he released several hip-hop records in the late ’90s, working with Eminem and 50 Cent, among others. These pivotal points on his résumé dig deep into who shecter is: a profound music lover who strives to find bigger, faster and stronger ways to convert his passion into content that the masses can enjoy. he chose to do his striving in vegas after enough late-’90s visits convinced him to move his business from new york in 2003.
‘It’s a New Midnight America’ (November 10, 2012) Recent Tweets heard ’round Shecky’s feed Jonathan Shecter’s first tweet was march 2, 2009, and as of this writing he was at 9,824 followers. He quietly admits 10,000 would be a happy milestone. So if you’re free around midnight, look up @SheckyGreen. He’ll probably say something worth hearing. 1 Nov / To Make You Think I always remember that Jewish acLU lawyers fought to support KKK marches in the ‘60s. ‘Free speech’ protects hate speech too. 27 Sep / Just Sayin’… Te flipside to #vegasLife that visitors rarely understand: a menu of grand indulgences presents itself, and all you desire is stillness. 23 oct / News President @Barackobama is coming to Las vegas tomorrow, and he’ll be joined by special musical guest @katyperry 8 Nov / Quotes Publication is a self-invasion of privacy. ~marshall mcLuhan 22 oct / Funny I know my number is in your call log, but I’ll still pretend it’s 1992 and leave a voice message just to highlight that you didn’t pick up. 27 oct / Get A Convo Started rappers whose first record was their best record: doug e Fresh, t La rock, Queen Latifah, Schoolly d ... Who else?
PHOTOGRAPH BY XX
30 Sep / We’re Adding this One, Just Because … For reasons both profound and shallow, Saturday at midnight in Las vegas always feels like a moment to acknowledge. So, #Happymidnight
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DJs IKON AND KARMA
Duo on the Decks dJs Ikon and karma turn up the volume By laura mIer photography anthony maIr
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Wrigley may have coined the phrase, “double your pleasure, double your fun,” but the age-old slogan just as readily applies to the hottest dJ duo on the Strip: dJ ikon and dJ Karma—aaron White and robert hunter, respectively. hunter, a born-and-raised las vegan who honed his spinning skills on his own, and White, who picked up the turntable trade during a high school job at a dJ equipment outlet store in lake tahoe, california, met eight years ago at the opening of tangerine, the long-ago-shuttered nightclub in treasure island where both worked as dJs. now, the two have residencies at multiple light group venues, gracing the ones and twos at the likes of haze, 1 oaK and the Bank. But the
real magic happens when they join forces— an endeavor that began two years ago and seemed like a natural progression after hanging out for so many years. a carefully orchestrated dance of song and sound, White and hunter alternate playing songs, switch off while scratching or revving up the crowds on the microphone, and sometimes even simultaneously work the turntables. “it’s almost like people who can finish each other’s sentences—that’s how it is when we spin together,” White says. except the two actually do finish each other’s sentences. When one pauses mid-thought or is at a loss for words, the other chimes in or suggests an answer. it’s an alliance that extends beyond the dJ booth. it should come as no surprise that White and hunter also share a similar taste in music—an eclectic variety that seamlessly shifts from dubstep to dance to classic hiphop. a six-hour set can have as many as 400 songs, so they try to keep their soundtrack fresh by punctuating beats with scratching and turntable tricks, frequently using three turntables and two mixers—something that would be impossible for a one-man act. they even mix in their own self-produced tracks, such as the recently released “Feels like dancing,” an upbeat collaboration with sultry songstress Jaime lynch, former Pussycat doll and current headliner for Planet hollywood’s iCandy Burlesque. So what’s up next for the dynamic duo? traveling, of course. after spinning at Fluxx in San diego for new year’s eve, the two are planning a yearlong vegas invasion tour, exporting a bus full of flashy vegas girls and hundreds of glow sticks to accompany their high-energy mix of music. “We’re trying to take it on the road and bring the vegas club experience to other cities,” hunter says. “all these other cities—San diego, l.a., San Francisco, dallas—they have nice clubs. But it’s just not like vegas.” DJ Ikon and DJ Karma perform together at 1 OAK at The Mirage on Tuesdays and The Bank at Bellagio on Sundays.
(Tere’s a reason so many off-duty chefs converge here after work.) 6 p.m.-3 a.m. Monday-Saturday 702.367.3511; raku-grill.com SATURDAY NIGHT TRUCK STOP Tommy Rockers For the town’s best weekly gathering of food trucks, and for the bimonthly “Back of the House Brawl” cooking competitions. 8 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Saturday 4275 Dean Martin Drive saturdaynighttruckstop.tumblr.com
After Midnight It’S eaSY to work uP aN aPPetIte wHILe PartYING. trY tHeSe BeSt BetS For GraBBING a Late-NIGHt BIte BY Al MANciNi ALLEGRO Wynn Las Vegas For Naples-born chef enzo Febbraro’s authentic, rustic Italian pastas and some of the best meatballs in town after a night at tryst or XS. 5:30 p.m-6 a.m. nightly 702.770.5428; wynnlasvegas.com
BLUE RIBBON SUSHI BAR & GRILL Te Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas For the sushi, of course, but also for the amazing wasabi-encrusted fried chicken. 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Sunday-Tursday 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday 702.698.7000; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com CENTRAL Caesars Palace For what may be the only 24-hour restaurant in america run by a James
Beard award-winning French chef (michel richard), and for his wide variety of “hamburgers.” Open 24 hours 702.731.7110; caesarspalace.com DU-PAR’S Golden Gate Casino & Hotel For this california diner chain’s legendary pancakes and pies—and for the Golden Gate’s world-renowned shrimp cocktail. Open 24 hours; 702.385.1906; goldengatecasino.com FIRST FOOD & BAR Te Palazzo For the cool atmosphere, great music, excellent view and chef Sammy d.’s gourmet junk food (particularly his Philly cheesesteak dumplings). 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily 702.607.7777; palazzo.com
KYARA JAPANESE TAPAS 6555 S. Jones Blvd., Suite 120 For the most diverse selection of Japanese cuisine you’ll find outside of chinatown, including large age (deep-fried), itame (stir-fried) and kushi (skewered) menus. 5 p.m.- 2 a.m. daily 702.434.8856; kyaraizakaya.com PEPPERMILL 2985 Las Vegas Blvd. South For its unrivaled history, the gloriously tacky décor in the adjoining lounge and the colossal ice-cream sundaes. Open 24 hours 702.735.4177; peppermilllasvegas.com RAKU 5030 W. Spring Mountain Road, Suite 2 For the best Japanese food in town, particularly the robata grill specialties.
SECRET PIZZA Te Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas For the closest thing to New York street pizza Las vegas has to offer— and to watch the beautiful people grabbing a bite after partying at marquee. 11 a.m.-5 a.m. Monday, FridaySunday 11 a.m.-4 a.m. Tuesday-Tursday 702.698.7000; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com SUGAR FACTORY Paris Las Vegas For great views of both the Strip and the countless celebrities who gravitate to dine here regularly, enjoying the waffles, sweet crepes and decadent chocolate fondue. Open 24 hours 702.946.7000; parislasvegas.com WOLFGANG PUCK BAR & GRILL MGM Grand For Puck’s signature california cuisine, including his famed pizzas, offered dead-center on the mGm’s casino floor. Open until 6 a.m. daily 702.891.3000; mgmgrand.com
insider intel / one of the best kept secrets of Te Bank Nightclub is the elevator on the northwest corner of the dance floor that will conveniently whisk you to the bathroom level, or to the upstairs bar, without having to fight your way through the crowds.
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The Grand ConduCTor Pasquale rotella channels Positive energy into his signature events
By laura mier PhotograPhy Jiro schneider It’s hard to pInpoInt what constItutes a good vibe, but for pasquale rotella, ceo of Insomniac events, it’s all that really seems to matter. Growing up in southern california, rotella was often put off by the negative energy of the social scene. “people would size each other up when they would meet each other, like a competitive type thing,” he recalls. when he attended his first rave at age 15, however, rotella discovered a much different atmosphere, an underground world of over-the-top theatrics, electronic dance music (edM) and—most importantly—a welcoming culture where people danced like no one was watching. he was in love. one problem: rotella stumbled upon the rave scene at the same time it was dying in the wake of southern california police raids and a declining interest in electronic music. determined to breathe new life into the underground culture—particularly so he had somewhere to party with his friends— rotella orchestrated his own rave in 1993. the first official Insomniac event was a 300-person gathering in a crenshaw Boulevard warehouse, where the cover charge was $5, and the music lineup included the likes of dJ trance and Vitamin d. at the time, rotella couldn’t have imagined that this modest underground party would evolve into the thriving edM festival empire it has become with Insomniac events, drawing 320,000 people each June to its pinnacle event in Las Vegas, electric daisy carnival (known as edc to devotees). But he always hoped that the rave culture would gain momentum and recruit more fans into its welcoming embrace. “when I first started … what I kept on seeing in my head was a big sea of people who were excited about the culture like I was,” rotella says. “I just kept working toward that.” and his fan appreciation is ever evident, as he frequently dubs attendees the most important headliners of all.
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considering thousands of early-bird tickets for edc 2013 sold out within an hour of going on sale, it’s safe to say that rotella has succeeded in his vision. edc acolytes can’t wait to get another taste of his signature masterpiece, a fantasyland of the world’s best edM dJs, illuminated art pieces, fiery pyrotechnics and mesmerizing performers—a world that draws from rotella’s own fascination with theme parks, artwork and storybooks. For edc 2013 at Las Vegas Motor speedway, expect to see more of his creative genius, with new art installations and innovative visual technology such as 3-d mapping. Much like last year’s circuit Grounds stage (a rib cage-like structure that stretched over the crowds) or Kinetic Field’s multilayered, audiovisual stage that seemed to simulate falling down a rabbit hole, rotella intends to bring more interactivity to next year’s stage design, so fans can be fully immersed in the music experience, rather than just staring at a one-dimensional performance. “I want people to look in any direction and see some eye candy and be curious about what that is in the distance,” rotella says. with Vegas as the perfect backdrop for Insomniac’s scintillating events—and as rotella’s part-time home (his L.a. home is shared with former Peepshow headliner and mom-to-be holly Madison)—he also intends to bring a second experience to town in september. although he’s mum about the details, it’s hard to imagine it could surpass the excitement of edc, which he often describes as “dance music’s new Year’s eve.” “I feel like when people come to Vegas during edc weekend, they have stars in their eyes,” rotella says. “You can pay for a dJ to play somewhere, and you can pay for someone to build a prop or wear a costume, but that magic that the people bring—you can’t just buy that.”
Save the date edc returns to Las vegas June 21-23, but the real adventure begins January 9 when tickets go back on sale. General-admission three-day passes provide an option to pay in five installments. If you’re going for rock-star status with vIP access (amenities include a private entrance, viewing decks and separate bathrooms), you’ll also have the option to split it into five payments. For edc Week hotel deals, check out electricdaisycarnival.com. (Please note: Prices were not released by press date).
Head Start can’t wait until June? Neither can Insomniac. With the halfway mark to the festival conveniently close to New Year’s eve, the company is throwing four days of parties. From december 27-30, tao, marquee and Lavo are ground central for festival fanatics eager to start the experience early, with scheduled performers such as Kaskade on december 29 and avicii on december 30.
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ring in the new year the right way
celebrating the end of 2012 in Las vegas? From concerts to nightclubs to prix-fixe menus at some of the countryâ€™s best restaurants, there are dozens of ways to kiss the year goodbye. one of the most soughtafter tickets in town is the Black Keys. Whether you prefer them as a Jon Spencerlike hard blues powerhouse or in their new role as a 1970s-style glam-rock juggernaut, one thing remains consistent: these guys make a hell of a lot of sweet, wonderful noise for a duo. their live show is as subtle as an above-ground nuclear test. The Black Keys perform at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on December 30-31. Tickets start at $95. 702.693.5000; hardrockhotel.com
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Why, Vegas, Why? Sin city nightlife haS much to anSwer for in 2012 by JaSon Scavone Vegas and shame go together like, well, the kardashians and shame—they’re just entirely unrelated concepts. Vegas is more of a “vehement denial” and “willfully repressed memory” kind of town. that said, 2012 will go down as maybe not the most embarrassing year for the nightlife industry and the people who participate in it (after all, lindsay lohan didn’t melt down in any notable way here this year), but it does still have plenty to apologize for. Prince Harry the year’s most memorable kerfuffle was harry’s naked romp through his wynn las Vegas suite after several hours of hitting the dayclubs and hanging out with olympian ryan lochte. while the potential future king doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of— hey, who hasn’t gotten naked and groped someone on a pool table?—his security team should be. that anyone could get in harry’s suite with a cellphone doesn’t speak well for scotland Yard. it does, though, explain how Jack the ripper was never caught.
Paris Hilton do we need to go into detail? at least that’s one spot where dJ culture got it right: when afrojack dumped hilton in may, he went so far as to deny they were ever together. of course, there’s still February’s “drunk text” debacle with manufactured superstars to account for.
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ryan lochte at the azure Pool at the Palazzo hotel and caSino
DJ Culture remember the good ol’ days when half-assed celebrities were paid far too much money to hover near a bottle of vodka for a night? at least those were people who had done something on tV. or were at least occasionally hot. now the entertainment budget of most clubs is spent on the dJ, in a nonstop loop of the same droning house beats from one end of the strip to the other. it took deadmau5 getting a hot girlfriend—kat Von d—to make the whole thing remotely interesting. look what you’ve reduced our poor Jersey Shore stars to: the situation was forced to collect his appearance money opening treasure island’s señor Frog’s in July.
live it up
Le cirque at the beLLagio
SPLurGe BIG oN Your LaSt meaL BeFore tHe Start oF 2013 BY Grace BaScoS Gordon ramsay steak What could be better than welcoming 2013 in the restaurant that is the hardest reservation to get in vegas? only that the five-course meal starts with a Scotch egg and golden osetra caviar. $200
Public House champagne isn’t the only beverage to toast at midnight. Public House, famous for its staggering beer selection, raises a pint instead. In The Venetian, 702.407.5310; publichouselv.com andrea’s Named after Steve Wynn’s wife, andrea’s is the newest spot within the Wynn dining collection to ring in 2013. Part lounge, part restaurant, this massive, 6,194-square-foot space is bound to be bumping with some of vegas’ hottest names and clientele
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noshing on asian-influenced cuisine and sipping on cocktails named after resident dJs. In Encore, 702.770.3463; wynnlasvegas.com
New Year’s at the original rao’s in New York, but the Las vegas location invites you to join them to celebrate family style, with signature rao’s dishes inspired by the traditional Italian Feast of
serendiPity 3 Go big or go home on New Year’s, right? Serendipity 3 invites you to go as big as possible, with specials such as baked brie and a porterhouse steak for two. the grand finale, besides being front and center for the show on the Strip? the New Year’s Fireworks Sundae with all the toppings, including pop-rock candy and sparklers. In Caesars Palace, 702.731.7373; caesarspalace.com
the Seven Fishes on christmas eve and day. on New Year’s eve, the prix-fixe menu is $140. In Caesars Palace, 702.731.7267; caesarspalace.com mix alain ducasse’s mix not only is one of the most visually stunning restaurants, it quite possibly offers the most spectacular view of the entire Las vegas Strip. toast your bubbly at midnight in the dining room that is meant
rao’s In Paris Las Vegas, 702.946.4663; parislasvegas.com It may be impossible to get a reservation even when it’s not
to evoke being in a glass of champagne. Prices vary by seating time and dining room, $95 to $395 In THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, 702.632.7200; mandalaybay.com
Valentino chef Luciano Pellegrini’s overthe-top Italian New Year’s eve menu is always a lavish way to spend the evening. make it a little more magical by adding shavings of white truffle to any course. $109 includes wine pairings, $50 white truffle supplement In The Venetian, 702.414.3000; valentinorestaurantgroup.com le cirque the fireworks at midnight aren’t the only explosions on the Strip that night. the dazzling Fountains of Bellagio are best viewed from an intimate table at Le cirque, which will be offering an extravagant five-course menu that includes a suckling pig tasting as an option. $135, additional $68 for sommelier wine pairings, $88 for premium wine pairings In Bellagio, 702.693.8865; bellagio.com
A WomAn’s Touch
Celebrate 2013 in style Nothing says New Year’s Eve like champagne, and at Wynn Las Vegas, it’s only said with Dom Pérignon. Step into one of the Strip’s most intimate parties hosted, in Wynn’s Lafite Ballroom, and toast with the most exclusive bubbly in the world while dining on bites from Wynn Las Vegas and Encore’s collection of restaurants. And by bites we mean: canapés from executive catering chef James Benson (such as rosemary-crusted baby lamb chops and Medjool bacon-wrapped dates); a raw bar from Lakeside’s David Walzog (think Florida stone crab claws and raw oysters shucked and garnished to order); sliced prime New York
strip steaks and Maryland blue crab cakes from Walzog’s SW Steakhouse; Peking duck steamed buns from Wing Lei; shrimp and grits from Carlos Guia at The Country Club; sushi and black miso cod from Mizumi; and chef Theo Schoenegger’s lobster truffle risotto at Sinatra. The Wynn’s pastry team is crafting opera cake, mini cupcakes and profiteroles, among other fun confections. Welcome 2013 the way you want to live it: as a well-dressed and well-fed VIP. $500 per person, includes open bar and Dom Pérignon champagne; cocktail attire required. In Wynn Las Vegas, 702.770.3463; wynnlasvegas.com
Na zDoRovie! The Light Group has introduced a new vision, but Red Square’s penchant for vodka remains. The new year marches in with a hosted bar, VIP admission for all guests from 9 p.m. to midnight and a soundtrack by DJ Sincere. Want to make sure you’re well fed? The dining room offers a four-course dinner, which includes small plates such as smoked-salmon pizza, goat-cheese salad and prawns a la plancha, and an option to add bottomless champagne. Want to go bigger?
Opt for bottle service with three of your closest friends with a bottle of liquor and champagne, mixers and personal service all night—or hang out in the exclusive vodka vault ice bar. At midnight, you and your New Year’s comrades raise a toast with Russia’s famous spirit. $75 vodka lounge admission, $125 includes fourcourse dinner, $50 bottomless champagne, table service starts at $400. In Mandalay Bay, 702.632.7404; mandalaybay.com Red SquaRe
If there was ever a question whether Las vegas caters to women, it was answered with the announcement of SHe, the newest dining and nightlife destination in crystals at citycenter—one dedicated to, named for and all about the ladies. moving into the Beso restaurant and eve Nightclub spaces, SHe is a partnership between Landry’s tilman Fertitta (owner of morton’s Steakhouse), Jonas Lowrance and actress eva Longoria (who originally brought Beso/ eve to Las vegas). an art-deco décor do-over comes courtesy of award-winning interior designer charles doell (a.k.a. mister Important), and the new look plays against sets and features from Jeff Hall design, a lighting design from Stephen Lieberman and a booming Funktion one sound system. additionally, a fashion show runway and multiple dining levels entertains restaurant guests, as well as a dining menu by executive chef todd mark miller that includes an assortment of “modern boutique steak-house” dishes and small bites appealing to the sexy set. theatrical elements courtesy of Splash producer Jeff Kutash will also play a prominent role when SHe debuts on New Year’s eve. –Deanna Rilling
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behiNd the velvet rope aN aLL-acceSS PaSS to tHe HotteSt NIGHtSPotS LAVO Te Palazzo appointed in rich leathers and painted frescos, Lavo offers the amenities of a megaclub (think bottle service and top-name talent such as dJ vice), but without the massive crowds. 11 p.m.-4 a.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday; 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Friday-Saturday 702.791.1818; lavolv.com New Year’s weekeNd: Singer Brandy ushers in 2013. 1 OAK Te Mirage a transplant from New York city, 1 oaK (which stands for one-of-akind) features original roy Nachum surrealist artwork, parquet floors and two rooms playing top 40 and house music, so you can choose your own nightlife experience. 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Tuesday, Tursday-Saturday 702.693.8300; lightgroup.com New Year’s weekeNd: dJ a-trak performs december 28 and Kim Kardashian mans the countdown.
BOdy EngLish Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Back by popular demand, the two-story nightspot reopens december 28 after closing three years ago. Te dance floor is where all the action happens at this locals favorite, but escaping into the private Parlor—where you can see out but they can’t see in—is a can’tmiss experience. 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Tursday-Sunday 702.693.5555; hardrockhotel.com hAZE Aria Resort & Casino a 70-foot wall of lights dominates the room at this technologically advanced venue catering to live performances from dJs (including Laidback Luke) and musicians (such as adam Levine from maroon 5). Tis dual-level club means guests can hit the dance floor or observe from above on the balcony. 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Tursday-Saturday 702.693.8300; lightgroup.com New Year’s weekeNd: Te first Haze music Festival kicks off
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hydE BELLAgiO Bellagio Te first Las vegas nightlife venture by Los angeles-based nightlife company SBe boasts a seamless indoor/outdoor space, floor-to-ceiling windows and an expansive terrace that showcases the Fountains of Bellagio. Open daily at 5 p.m. for cocktails and small plates from Circo. Nightclub open 5 p.m.-4 a.m. Tuesday, Friday-Saturday 702.693.7111; bellagio.com; sbe.com New Year’s weekeNd: a blacktie affair celebrating the new year and Hyde’s first anniversary commences december 31. LAX Luxor Las Vegas red leather walls and shimmering chandeliers greet guests at the two-story LaX nightclub. descend the grand staircase to the dance floor to watch performers such as Ginuwine, B.o.B. and Far east movement while hosts such as diddy greet the crowd on weekends. 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Wednesday-Sunday 702.262.4529; laxthenightclub.com New Year’s weekeNd: “e!” stars Ice-t and coco welcome 2013 with an open bar from 9 p.m.-midnight.
MARQUEE Te Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas marquee has a space for everyone thanks to its cozy Library room, intimate BoomBox room and main floor, all of which regularly host a weekend lineup of notable dJs such as Kaskade and markus Schulz. 10 p.m.-close Monday; 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Tursday; 9:30 p.m.-close Friday; 9 p.m.-close Saturday 702.333.9000; marqueelasvegas.com New Year’s weekeNd: atB starts the weekend december 28 and Kaskade performs december 29, avicii hits the stage december 30 and Benny Benassi rings in the New Year. RAin, MOOn And ghOsTBAR Palms Casino Resort Whether you’re a little bit hip-hop or a little bit house, the Palms’ party venues have you covered. moon offers spectacular views from its patio on the top floor of the Palms Fantasy tower, and Ghostbar provides an intimate lounge experience overlooking the Strip. reopening solely to welcome 2013, rain is a multisensory experience featuring pyrotechnics and integrated video screens backing up the dJ. Moon: 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Tuesday, Tursday-Saturday; ghostbar: 8 p.m.-close daily 702.942.6832; palms.com New Year’s weekeNd: Kelly rowland reopens rain with a performance december 29, while
HAZE: FrAncEs scott
Good, Clean Fun Stolichnaya’s latest contribution to the high-end vodka scene—elit Pristine Waters Series: Himalayan edition—combines naturally purified water collected from Nepal’s Himalayan mountains with impurity-free russian winter wheat. turn to this 80-proof premium spirit when the ball drops, and celebrate in the cleanest way possible. after all, the Himalayan edition has traveled a long way to ring in the new year with you. $450 per cocktail at Lily Bar & Lounge in Bellagio, 702.693.8300; bellagio.com. $12,500 per bottle at Te Act Nightclub in Te Shoppes at Te Palazzo, 702.607.0222; theactlv.com –Maureen Hank
with a dJ set by Laidback Luke on december 29, John Legend performs december 30 and the band Fun rings in the new year.
Questlove and dJ Jazzy Jeff team up at moon the same night. drummer travis Barker and rapper Yelawolf celebrate december 31 at rain.
TrysT: Barry johnson; hyde: Michael Tran; courvoisier Gold: Zackery WilliaMs
BAR & LOUNGE Bellagio If a tranquil and intimate space better suits your nightlife needs, head to Lily Bar & Lounge and order a drink off the seasonal cocktail menu. Snag a plush ottoman and enjoy american culinary classics from sister restaurant Fix, served from 5-10 p.m. daily on the imported Spanish stone tabletops with views of the surrounding casino floor. Noon-4 a.m. Monday-Sunday 702.693.8300; bellagio.com New Year’s weekeNd: dJ Shaun o’Neale spins and leads a champagne toast at midnight. PURE Caesars Palace at Pure, the lounge, dance floor and terrace come together to provide a pulsating experience. Te club, once voted best nightclub in the world by e!, is a hotspot to see a-list celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and rihanna. 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Tuesday, Tursday-Sunday 702.731.7873; purethenightclub.com SURRENDER Encore Tis is two experiences in one. Walk inside and be greeted by a 120-foot silver snake behind the bar, and a dJ booth with an Led wall and lighting system to complement talent such as tiësto and Skrillex. Since it’s outfitted for winter with a heated dome and climate controlled
panels, you can stroll the expansive outdoor space in comfort. 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Wednesday, Friday-Saturday 702.770.7300; surrendernightclub.com New Year’s weekeNd: Swedish dJ eric Prydz performs december 31. TAO Te Grand Canal Shoppes at Te Venetian Beauties bathing in tubs filled with rose petals greet guests at this asian-inspired nightlife temple. With a capacity of 3,000, tao packs its dance floor with partygoers seeking high-profile dJs such as erick morillo and celebrity hosts such as LeBron James. Te club has multiple spots to book a table, including the main room, the moat and the more discreet opium room. 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Tursday-Saturday 702.388.8588; taolasvegas.com New Year’s weekeNd: crooner J. cole hosts december 31. ThE AcT Te Palazzo Simon Hammerstein, the creator of Te Box in New York city and London, has brought Te act to Las vegas. a fresh nightlife concept in a city that has seen it all, Te act features outrageous acts. Open 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 702.607.0222; theactlv.com ThE BANK Bellagio enter on the second floor of Te Bank and find a bird’s-eye view of the first-level dance floor surrounded by vIP tables. explore the cavernous club, and you’ll come
into contact with the cristal room, which features 500 bottles of bubbly on the walls. 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m. Tursday–Sunday 702.693.8300; lightgroup.com New Year’s weekeNd: Ludacris starts the weekend december 29, and Foster Te People performs december 31. TRYST Wynn Las Vegas a 90-foot-tall waterfall is the centerpiece of this posh nightlife venue, which pioneered the indoor/ outdoor experience. Stay with the luxurious theme and order the $3,000 ménage á trois cocktail, crafted with cristal rose and Hennessy ellipse and topped with 23-karat gold flakes; this drink is sipped through a souvenir golden straw studded with diamonds. 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Tursday-Saturday
702.770.3375; trystlasvegas.com New Year’s weekeNd: See Jermaine dupri on december 28 and afrojack on december 29. Say “Yeah!” to 2013 with a performance by Lil Jon on december 31. XS Encore awash in gold tones with glittering bodices lining the walls, XS is 40,000 square feet dedicated to opulent nightlife. an 800-pound rotating gilded chandelier hangs over a circular dance floor that opens up to a poolside patio. 10 p.m.–4 a.m. Friday-Monday 702.770.0097; xslasvegas.com New Year’s weekeNd: tiësto and deniz Koyu kick off the weekend december 28, Steve angello and Tird Party perform december 29, deadmau5 mans the decks december 30 and avicii closes out 2012 on december 31.
Pass the Courvoisier … Gold the new 36-proof courvoisier Gold is light and flirty and delights with a blend of moscato (sourced from the South of France) and the brand’s signature cognac. Low in alcohol volume and subtle on the taste buds, it’s perfect for you and your crew to sip before the night’s celebration. Best served chilled, the infused liqueur—with notes of honey, peach and pear— will have you toasting to the “gold” life and a bright New Year. $25 Lee’s Liquor, 702.733.9700; beamglobal.com –MH
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bring the noise BY craIG aSHer NYmaN
When Marquee nightclub opened in the cosMopolitan in 2010, it gave superstar dJs such as the legendary benny benassi a place to call home, thanks to the electronic dance music explosion in las Vegas. the acclaimed producer was already a household name in the music industry, and in 2011, he dropped two of the biggest hits, “beautiful people” with chris brown and “cinema” featuring gary go (the latter earned a grammy award earlier this year for skrillex’s remix of the track). as a result, benassi has remained a fixture at the no. 1 nightclub in the country (according to Nightclub & Bar magazine). on new Year’s eve, he leads revelers into the last party of 2012 … and the first party of 2013. Gone Global released in 2002, “satisfaction” put benassi on the radar and turned him from a relatively unknown dJ into an international superstar overnight. the song charted around the world, including one month at no. 1 in France and no. 2 in germany, and was named DJ Mag’s “tune of the Year” in the u.K. Recording Superstar What do david bowie, Madonna, Kelis, t-pain, iggy pop and public enemy all have in common? benassi produced dance tracks for each of them. he even won a grammy in 2008 for best remixed recording of public enemy’s “bring the noise.” It’s a Family Affair benassi records and produces all of his tracks with his cousin alle benassi, with whom he’s also released two albums, Pumphonia and Phobia. Best Tip / on New Year’s eve, you’ll save a lot of money (like more than $1,000) by partying outdoors at marquee versus being in the main room. You’ll also be living the high life, as Benassi’s beats are pumped through the outdoor sound system. Projected on the massive Led screen, the pandemonium onstage will be accented by a spectacular midnight fireworks show. Marquee Nightclub in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 702.333.9000; marquelasvegas.com
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lUXURY SUITE aT THE palazzo
ToWER SUITE aT HaRd Rock HoTEl & caSIno
hoTEL hoT ShEET dIScover meGaSuIteS, WorLd-reNoWNed reStauraNtS aNd SPa SaNctuarIeS amoNG tHe cItY’S reSort oFFerINGS
RED ROCK RESORT Near pristine golf courses and just minutes from the brilliantly hued red rock canyon, this dynamic resort proves there’s a lot to see away from the Strip. revel in the 25,000-square-foot spa, chill out at the laid-back lounges and bars or refuel at any of the quality restaurants. INSIDER INTEL: Go au naturel to get rid of your New Year’s eve toxins at Te Spa at red rock. Te detoxifying 80-minute seaweed wrap includes self-heating seaweed mud to purify your body. 866.767.7773; redrock.sclv.com PALMS CASINO RESORT make your dreams come true at the Palms, where you can dance under the stars at moon Nightclub and throw a vegas-style party in one of the Fantasy Suites, such as the Kingpin Suite or erotic Suite. INSIDER INTEL: as a little girl, did you dream about living in Barbie’s malibu dreamhouse? Well, now you can do just that, if only for a few nights. Te hot-pink Barbie Suite is decked out with Barbie dolls and signature patterns by Jonathan adler. 866.942.7770; palms.com
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MANDARIN ORIENTAL Tis nonsmoking, nongaming hotel in citycenter is the ultimate sanctuary from the chaos of the Strip, all while being in the center of the action. rejuvenate your mind and body at Te Spa at mandarin oriental, which earned an esteemed Forbes five-star award. INSIDER INTEL: Trough december 30, mandarin oriental wants to celebrate its Forbes stars with guests by offering a package that includes two passes to the tian Quan Termal experiences (multiple water facilities) and a three-course tasting menu at the legendary twist by Pierre Gagnaire. 702.590.8888; mandarinoriental.com/lasvegas THE PALAZZO Like its sister property, Te venetian, Te Palazzo boasts all-suite accommodations with remote-control roman shades, a sunken living room and marbled bathrooms. Te canyon ranch Spaclub packages include a $250 spa credit per suite for necessary New Year’s recovery. INSIDER INTEL: Guests staying through January 6 also receive the Passaporto di Winter in venice, the property-wide celebration with
offers for ice skating, retail, dining, entertainment and spa specials valued at more than $1,000. 866.263.3001; palazzo.com BELLAGIO Te archetype of classic elegance, this aaa five-diamond awardwinning resort is home to luxurious accommodations, decadent fine dining with James Beard awardwinning chefs, designer boutiques and cirque du Soleil’s “o.” INSIDER INTEL: You can re-create the Bellagio experience at home by purchasing the Bellagio by Serta mattress, bedding, signature bath products and sumptuous bathrobe, all available at bellagioathome.com. If only it came with room service. 888.987.6667; bellagio.com WYNN LAS VEGAS Tis vibrant resort from casino mogul Steve Wynn seamlessly combines opulence and excitement with an impressive assortment of lounges, bars and restaurants. For a one-of-a-kind late-night experience with friends, reserve a coveted vIP table next to tryst Nightclub’s spectacular 90-foot waterfall. INSIDER INTEL: Brush up on your wine knowledge at La
cave. Te restaurant and wine bar has a sommelier available until 11 p.m. during the week and until midnight on the weekends. enjoy tasting Hour from 4-5 p.m. every Wednesday, when you can ask questions, taste wine and mingle with fellow oenophiles. 702.770.7000; wynnlasvegas.com MANDALAY BAY From the sandy shores of mandalay Bay Beach to the underwater experience at Shark reef aquarium, mandalay Bay feels like a world away. complete your getaway with tickets to see carlos Santana at the House of Blues. INSIDER INTEL: certified scuba divers with deep pockets—it’s $650 per plunge—are welcome to explore the 1.3-million-gallon aquarium at mandalay Bay’s Shark reef aquarium, complete with a shipwreck exhibit and live sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and tropical fish. 877.632.7800; mandalaybay.com THE COSMOPOLITAN Te pinnacle of contemporary luxury, Te cosmopolitan of Las vegas has you covered from top to bottom. Party at marquee Nightclub, relax at Sahra Spa &
terrace view at the cosmopolitan
Hammam, dine in one of 13 cuttingedge restaurants and sip cocktails at an array of stunning bars. If you can’t find something to do at Te cosmo, check your pulse. INSIDER INTEL: redefine your idea of a power suit when you shop at Stitched, an upscale men’s boutique offering personalized garments, impeccably tailored suits, jewelry and accessories. 877.551.7778; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com VDARA HOTEL & SPA visitors looking for a unique (read: quiet) vegas experience can find one at this all-suite hotel and spa, a nongaming, nonsmoking, eco-friendly resort with an 18,000-square-foot, two-level spa, salon and fitness facility. Since vdara is at citycenter in the heart of the Strip, guests looking to live it up have easy access to nearby nightlife, dining and gaming venues. INSIDER INTEL: Go wild with an exotic snakeskin pedicure at vdara Spa & Salon. Te treatment uses real snakeskin and a special Bio Sculpture Gel, which lasts up to eight weeks. 866.745.7767; vdara.com ARIA RESORT & CASINO Tis hotel in citycenter features high-tech rooms with floor-toceiling windows, exciting nightlife venues (including Haze Nightclub and Gold Boutique Nightclub and Lounge) and popular dining
destinations such as Javier’s. INSIDER INTEL: treat yourself like a vIP and book a Sky Suite, which comes with panoramic views of the Las vegas valley, plus perks such as limousine airport service, iPad or laptop use and personalized concierge services. 866.359.7757; arialasvegas.com THE VENETIAN Tis all-suite resort transports guests to romantic Italy with its cobblestone walkways, intricate murals, cathedral-like ceilings and gondola rides through canals. Start the night with dinner at tao asian Bistro, and then follow the sexy crowds upstairs to tao Nightclub. INSIDER INTEL: Get up close and personal with celebrities and dignitaries of yesterday and today at madame tussauds wax museum. 866.659.9643; venetian.com HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO Legendary pool parties, unforgettable concerts, tattoocovered rockers—it’s all in a day’s play at the Hard rock. Stay in the luxurious all-suite HrH tower, which comes with its own valet, spa and check-in desk. INSIDER INTEL: deck your halls in the most relaxing of ways with reliquary Spa’s holiday-inspired treatments, from the full-body exfoliating Ginger Bread Joy to the invigorating candy cane crush body polish. 702.693.5000; hardrockhotel.com
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on a roll COMP TIME by matt jacob The word “comp” is as synonymous wiTh Las Vegas as blackjack tables, all-you-can-eat buffets, the rat pack and 110-degree July heat. The only problem was, for the longest time, freebies were reserved solely for the very group of casino customers (i.e., high-rollers and celebrities) who didn’t really need them. (what’s a free steak dinner and a show to someone who’s in the same tax bracket as the guy who owns the building?) over the past couple of decades, though, comps have finally trickled down to the hoi polloi, thanks to the advent of loyalty/players cards. sure, you’ve got to spend money on-property to accrue rewards, and the quickest way to acquire big rewards is to gamble in the casino. But it’s not like you came to Vegas with an empty wallet, right? (speaking of wallets, we understand the last thing you want is to stuff another loyalty card into that thing, but trust us on this ...) Get Carded if it takes you longer than 90 seconds to walk from one end of your hotel-casino to another, then it has some form of playerscard program. and no matter what marketing slogan is slapped on the front of the card—station casinos provides a “Boarding pass”; mGm resorts international properties offer the “m life”; hard rock hotel gives you a “Backstage pass”— they all have one thing in common: They’re free. Just look for the rewards center (usually in the casino) and sign up. Come Out and Play on the casino floor, you earn rewards points based on the amount of money you wager and—in the case of table games—the length of time you play. however, many resorts now also give points for non-gaming expenditures. so whether you’re shelling out cash for hotel rooms, dining, spa services, nightlife or shows, remember to flash your card.
Insider Intel / Want to really live the high life? reach the top tier of most casino loyalty programs and you’ll receive your very own casino host. (you’ll never look at vegas the same way again!)
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Cash In so you’ve accumulated thousands of points … now what? redeem them for pretty much anything—dinners, concert tickets, show tickets, access to pool parties, spa treatments, future hotel stays and free casino play. (see, aren’t you glad you made room for another loyalty card?)
Photo illustration: Jesse sutherland
Status Quo america has always been about separating people by class, and Vegas’ hotel-casino operators certainly subscribe to that philosophy. which is why all loyalty-card programs are multitiered—the more you gamble (or spend), the higher up on the food chain you go and the better (and more frequent) the comps. For example, at the cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, “identity” members start at the silver level and from there can rise to gold and then platinum.
Published on Dec 1, 2012
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