Mona Shield Payne
Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 | 3 p.m.
It was the rare event where you could play ring-toss with a line of colorized adult toys. And you could buy a fistful of raffle tickets, all for a great cause.
Saturday night's 27th AFAN Black & White Party at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel drew a walking-around crowd of about 3,500 and pulled in at least $130,000 to be used for AFAN’s services for those suffering from AIDS and HIV in Southern Nevada.
Great work by co-hosts Chris Saldana, Lauren Michaels and the ever-present Chippendales at the Rio song-and-dance tandem of Jaymes Vaughan and James Davis.
As always, those attending were disciplined in keeping with the night’s theme: Every G-string and pasty I noticed was either black or white, or a combination thereof. The evening also marked my first visit to Freezone, across from the Double Down Saloon in the famed “loop” of alternative clubs on Paradise Road, just south of Hard Rock. A certainty: The nightspot was host of the official post-AFAN after-parties, and know this: If you ever wear a zebra-striped shirt to Freezone, you be getting’ some attention.
Other fundraising efforts and events: A pool party was set during the day at HRH, a 20 percent donation was offered by the hotel for bookings from the AFAN website, and a brunch Sunday morning at 35 Steaks + Martinis also helped raise money for AFAN.
The performances at the Joint were particularly strong at this year's Black & White Party. Veronic DiCaire of Bally’s was terrific, summoning her best Celine, Madonna and Lady Gaga "interpretations" and dancing like a madwoman. I expect she won over some fans in her extended set, which also spotlighted her entire dance team from Bally's. DiCaire is a pretty special talent, but many of the attendees had not seen her perform before Saturday. Now they know.
The night’s lineup also included the cast of “Fantasy”; Recycled Percussion; “Divas Las Vegas” Britney Spears impressionist Derrick Barry; the cast of “The D Word” at LVH; Vegas vocalist Maren Wade; the Skating Aratas from “V — The Ultimate Variety Show” at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood; a number of cast members from “Vegas! The Show” (featuring Eric Jordan Young and Savannah Smith); the cast of "Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding"; “multimedia immersive” performance-art troupe Zodiac Dragon; and Jaymes & James were joined by one of our favorites, Lily Arce, on their singles “Light Up the Skies” and “Tonight.”
Longtime AFAN supporters Penn & Teller said hello (well, Penn did), too. It was a great night in black and white.
Arguably one the coolest joints in town, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino houses some of Vegas' best entertainment, restaurants and nightlife.
At Hard Rock, it's all about the music. From the light fixtures made out of drum cymbals and guitar shaped door handles to stage costumes and tools of the trade of legendary musicians displayed on the walls, the hotel screams rock and roll. The Hard Rock's Joint has hosted some the biggest names in music — from The Who to Bob Dylan to hometown heroes, The Killers.Aside from the music venues, the pool at the Hard Rock is one of its biggest attractions. Spread out over 4.7 acres, the pool area features swim-up blackjack, a bar and grill, private cabanas, a bevy of secluded nooks, a waterfall and an extensive live music venue with a dance floor. During the summer, the pool transforms into the Rehab club on Sunday afternoons.
The resident nightclub Body English fuses European elegance with a rock star bachelor pad and it often a hot spot for visiting celebs and popular DJs. Vintage rock memorabilia lines the walls at Wasted Space, Hard Rock's anti-club.
Restaurants at Hard Rock are just as hip as the rest of the casino. Pink Taco serves up Mexican dishes, as well as a Central American and Caribbean menu. Nobu, one of five worldwide Japanese-specialty restaurants from famed Nobu Matsuhisa, satisfies a different taste. For round-the-clock cuisine, Mr. Lucky's 24/7, is sure to ease your appetite even after a Vegas-all-nighter.