Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 | 2:24 p.m.
Proud executive chef Barry Dakake of N9NE Steakhouse in the Palms posed with his newest souvenir being added to his extraordinary collection of memorabilia from celebrity customers. President Obama signed the special N9NE insignia plate at the fundraising dinner held in George Maloof’s home in Spanish Trail that Barry catered.
Barry also provided menu items for former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore on Monday. “This plate signed by President Obama becomes my most treasured yet,” Barry told me. Contributing photographer Erik Kabik shot two terrific photo galleries for VDLX while Obama was in town last Thursday and Friday.
*Paris Hilton’s hair care master Michael Boychuck is popping the champagne at his Color salon in Caesars Palace. Newly crowned Colorist of the Decade Michael’s salon has just been named one of the six most beautiful salons in the country and is featured in a book showcasing salons all over the world: Estetica Design’s highly respected Whitebook. Color was the only Las Vegas salon selected in the six chosen in the United States. Michael also runs AMP at the Palms and Primp in Palms Place.
Paris, a client for more than 15 years, recently said, “Michael is the best colorist in the world! I love how he makes my hair look.” His clients have included Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Eva Longoria Parker, Lindsay Lohan, Kirsten Dunst, Fergie, Jennie Garth, Willa Ford, Shannon Doherty, Donna D’Errico, Josie Bissett, Kathy Hilton and Susan Anton.
*NASCAR race week gets underway tomorrow through Sunday with the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300 and Shelby American races, and MGM Mirage properties have the head start. The Monte Carlo will be the host hotel for the JTG Daugherty Racing, Diamond-Waltrip Racing and MacDonald Racing teams. Driver Martin Truex Jr. will host his charitable poker tournament tomorrow inside the Monte Carlo Poker Room. Autograph sessions take place in The Pub on Friday from 7 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Today and tomorrow, Mandalay Bay will host a Crown Royal display show car and promotional models for photo opps. A team expert is scheduled to be on hand from 5 to 11 p.m. to answer fan questions. Roush Fenway Racing driver Matt Kenseth will host an autograph session for the first 175 fans in attendance. The Crown Royal car moves to MGM Grand’s Studio Walk on Friday, and in conjunction with Coca-Cola Racing, Dale Jarrett will be in the lobby on Friday night to sigh autographs.
*Russell Peters’ March 27 show at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel has been rescheduled to May 30 because he has landed a role in the sci-fi film Source Code directed by Duncan Jones and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga and Michelle Monaghan. Tickets for March 27 will be honored on May 30, and refunds are available at the point of purchase.
*The fundraising online auction for Nevada Public Radio has added packages that include my food fanatic friends Max Jacobson and John Curtas, lunches with our political guru Jon Ralston and TV entertainment anchor Alicia Jacobs and tickets to Cher, Donny & Marie Osmond, Bon Jovi and Jubilee!. The official Web site is wsproa.org, and bidding ends Saturday.
*A few advance dates for your calendar: Holly Madison will host the 3rd Annual Smokin’ Hot Bachelorette Auction for the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth on April 2 at Ghostbar in the Palms. Her best gal pal Laura Croft, July 2008 Playboy Playmate and Holly’s World co-star, is among the bachelorettes. … Every Thursday through Monday starting tomorrow, country rock band Wolf Creek performs in Back Alley Bar at the Stratosphere. … Once again, Las Vegas will be able to celebrate Oscar night live on March 7 thanks to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences granting our Variety Children’s Charity a live link to Hollywood for a giant screening party to be held at The M Resort. Strip headliners Lance Burton and Mac King are signed up as hosts.
Actress Gabrielle Union enjoyed breakfast at Society Cafe in the Encore. Her table of nine included Las Vegas City Councilman Ricky Barlow. Gabrielle also spent an evening at Victor Drai’s XS and posed for photos with hip-hop star Wale, who gave a surprise performance. About to embark on tour, he took the microphone at his VIP dance floor table and sang several songs, including his hit “Chillin” featuring Lady Gaga. 2010 Miss Nevada USA and new Las Vegas resident Julianna Erdesz also posed for photos with friends and fans at XS. … A little south on the Strip at Drai’s After Hours in Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall, rapper Nelly relaxed with friends, including actor Taye Diggs, in the VIP room.
My friend the talented close-up conjuror Steve Dacri begins his run of in-your-face magic at the Las Vegas Hilton’s Shimmer Showroom in the Hilton. Steve was awarded magic’s highest honor, the Merlin Award, as the best close-up magician in 2008 and last year, and his illusions take place right under your nose -- he doesn’t hesitate to leave the stage and make a bowling ball appear from nowhere right before your eyes! … Next door in the theater, my pal Jerry Greenberg presents his tribute to the music of Pink Floyd. … At Harrah’s Improv, Greg Travis takes the stage through Sunday with Graham Elwood and Vanessa Graddick. … Drummer DJ duo Fifty One/50 is at Carey Hart’s Wasted Space in the Hard Rock Hotel.
It’s our salute to NASCAR, its drivers and its fans. We take a photo gallery look back at last year’s Las Vegas Motor Speedway excitement and a look at what to expect this weekend. As usual, I will be out on the starting line to emcee the pre-race festivities, including the driver introductions, so pardon the pun, but we’ve got the full inside track of which star drivers are where and which celebrities are in town to entertain fans. Plus, Jason Alexander returns to his The Donny Clay Experience at Planet Hollywood, and Frank Marino holds his VIP premiere event for Divas of Las Vegas.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.