Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 | 4:33 p.m.
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No sooner does the 2012 Miss America Pageant at Planet Hollywood leave town than we start preparing for the June arrival of the 2012 Miss USA Pageant contestants, and that excitement begins here in Las Vegas on Jan. 29 at the Palms with the Miss Nevada USA contest. Tickets are on sale now.
Miss USA 1994 Shanna Moakler has taken on the role of creative director with our local pageant and tells me that 30 to 40 ladies will be competing. Shanna has lined up “Dancing With the Stars” pro dancer Tony Dovolani to choreograph the show.
She also has signed up the celebrity panel of judges: 1989 Miss Universe Gretchen Polhemus; former Miss Nevada Helen Marie Salas; Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil; “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood star Josh Strickland; “General Hospital” and “Dirty Soap” star Kelly Monaco; “DWTS” pro dancers (and brothers) Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy; hair guru to the stars Michael Boychuck; celebrity makeup artist and Rain Makeup Academy owner Rain Andreani; Marine drill instructor and TV personality Harvey Walden; Dr. Teri Dubrow of E!’s “Bridalplasty”; celebrity publicist Lizzie Grubman; and USA Today advice columnist and relationship expert Stacey Kaiser.
“They have a tough road ahead judging the Nevada ladies,” Shanna said.
BIRTHDAY GREETINGS: We send champagne wishes for a very Happy Birthday to Celine Dion’s husband and manager Rene Angelil celebrating his 70th birthday today and to boxing legend Muhammad Ali on his 70th tomorrow (check out our Celine benefit show story posted earlier today. Ali will celebrate with stars here Feb. 18. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs has been added to that presenters list, and the three guests chefs for the gourmet dinner under the leadership of Wolfgang Puck for the Ali birthday dinner are Michael Mina, Tom Colicchio and Scott Conant.
NEAR MISS: The Costa cruise ship that sank off the coast of Italy was a weekend tragedy, and Las Vegas magician Murray Sawchuck, who is performing on the sister chip Costa Delizio, missed being onboard. Instead, he was booked for Celebrity Week on the Costa’s first world cruise in 17 years.
After seven years at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace, Boa Steakhouse shutters after dinner service Jan. 27. Boa will be open for business daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. until Jan. 27. Chef Akira Back of Yellowtail at the Bellagio appears on NBC’s “Today” on March 5 preparing his Korean braised short ribs. Congrats to the Venetian and Palazzo being named to the World’s Best 500 Hotels in 2012 in Travel + Leisure’s 10th annual survey. My pal singer comedian Jack Walker has landed a series of monthly shows at Green Valley Ranch and Aliante Station, with the first at Aliante on Jan. 22 with guests David Lucas and Garin Bader. Jack will vary his guests each month.
Comedy’s “Queen of Mean” and “Celebrity Apprentice” contender Lisa Lampanelli dined at “Iron Chef” winner Kerry Simon’s Palms Place restaurant Simon. Grammy Award-winning singer Mya was seen at GhostBar DayClub. Vinnie Paul of Pantera watched Otherwise at Green Valley Ranch along with rockers from In This Moment and Five Finger Death Punch. Singer Joey Fatone jumped onstage with Steel Panther to perform “Community Property.”
Former MLB player Jose Canseco enjoyed dinner at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at MGM Grand. Actor Alfonso Ribeiro (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) celebrated his birthday at Rao’s in Caesars Palace. NBA star turned actorRick Fox had breakfast at Chef Kim Canteenwalla’s Society Cafe in the Encore and returned for lunch with girlfriend Eliza Dushku. While in town, the couple also watched the Beatles’ “Love” by Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage, as did Emmy Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston. DJ Paul Oakenfold watched “Viva Elvis” at Aria.
TruTV’s Seth Gold of “Hardcore Pawn” attended Louie Anderson’s show “Louie LOL” at Palace Station. Rapper Bow Wow was at the Bank in the Bellagio’s Sunday nightclub party, where he asked to be a guest judge of the $10,0-00 Pole-A-Palooza contest. Among the 12 contestants: a friend of rock star Slash’s wife Perla Hudson, who rooted for her friend pole side. DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia celebrated his birthday at Chef Steve Martorano’s Cafe Martorano at the Rio. Luxor “Fantasy” dancers Tracey, Dar and Soolin participated in John Walsh’s Lost and Exploited Children’s Charity event at the Bellagio and met Stephen Baldwin, Jeffrey Donovan (“Burn Notice”) and Secretary of State Ross Miller.
Rapper Wale hosted at Tao in the Venetian after dinner in the restaurant. He performed four songs and then hung out in a VIP skybox with pal Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams. DJ Chuckie also was at Tao. At Marquee, American’s No. 1 DJ Kaskade kicked off his 2012 residency, with Jacoby Ford and Darrius Heward-Bey of the Oakland Raiders checking out the scene. DJ Chuckie started his yearlong residency Friday at Marquee.
Las Vegas Weekly writer Rick Lax unveils his new tome “I Get Paid For This” with a book-signing party at Artisan. STK at the Cosmopolitan celebrates its first anniversary. And the Discover Italy series of exploring the European country’s diverse gastronomic cuisine starts with Piedmont at Onda Ristorante in the Mirage.
Photos and video of burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese as she peels it all off for a champagne bubble bath overlooking the Bellagio Fountains, plus “My Dinner With Oscar,” a fascinating and unique conversation at the ex-mayor’s new steakhouse Oscar’s at the Plaza -- and, yes, he has the beef, booze and broads!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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