Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 | 6 p.m.
Bryan Chan will be in his element Saturday night. But it won’t be the first time.
He was in his element — LMNT, actually — just before he moved to Las Vegas.
“I was in this boyband, and we had one hit, ‘Hey Juliet,’ ” Chan remembers — fondly, we can assume. “We opened for Britney Spears in 2003, so it’s funny that she is here now, and I’m here now, too.”
Funny, for sure.
Maybe LMNT was a big dang deal for boyband fans, but the troupe is but a memory today for Chan, who spent several years as the frontman for Chippendales at the Rio and Saturday night co-hosts the 28th annual AFAN Black & White Party at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel.
The event begins at 8 p.m. with a VIP reception. The big shindig in the Joint runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., followed by an after-party at Piranha on Paradise Road, just south of the Hard Rock Hotel, in that famous, loopy enclave of alternative clubs.
Entertainment scheduled includes Melody Sweets of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, members of “Jubilee” at Bally’s, Skye Dee Miles of Rose. Rabbit. Lie at the Cosmopolitan, Jabbawockeez at the Luxor, and Chase Brown and Lorena Peril of “Vegas! The Show” at Planet Hollywood. Shangela (aka D.J. Pierce) of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is scheduled to appear, too.
As always, Las Vegas chefs and mixologists will be on hand, including Culinary Dropout, Maggiano’s, Pink Taco, 35 Steaks + Martinis, Jamba Juice, Popcorn Girl and Ferraro’s. Desserts are to be supplied by Aliante and Back Bar USA.
On Friday, an official kickoff party is set for Liaison at Bally’s starting at 10 p.m. On Sunday, guests who pay the $40 ticket price will be admitted free at Encore Beach Club from 2 to 5 p.m. The VIP package is available for $125, with tickets available at AFAN.org.
Money from the event is to benefit Aid for AIDS of Nevada, which was founded in 1984 — making this the organization’s 30th anniversary event — and provides services to those suffering from HIV/AIDS. These programs include medical-case management, housing, food-and-transportation vouchers and education efforts.
Chan is helming the AFAN event for the first time, stepping in for well-liked Channel 8 anchor Chris Saldana, who co-hosted the event for years before moving to Austin this year. His path to the event was not necessarily planned but makes sense if you have seen him host similar events.
Having spent seven years with Chipps, Chan is becoming a coveted MC for charity events in Las Vegas. He smoothly navigated the Human Rights Campaign Gala at Wynn Las Vegas in May.
“I was so honored to do that, and it was a really important event for me, personally,” Chan says. “My whole entry into Las Vegas, years ago, was as an MC. I’ve done a lot of corporate and convention work, but I’ve also hosted Broadway Bares’ and other community events. That’s where my soul is, with being involved in the community.”
Chan laughs as he remembers coming to Las Vegas on a short-term contract (as do many entertainers) and winding up staying for a decade. He still tours with the production and is close to the show, as his partner, Jaymes Vaughan, is now the host and vocalist.
“I was on a three-month contract,” Chan says. “But this whole experience, from the moment I arrived, has been phenomenal. I just offer what I can, and this is going to be a great, great experience for everybody.”
LMNT-ally speaking, he is right.
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.