Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 | 6 p.m.
“Cake Boss” star chef Buddy Valastro surprised La Cucina Italian Food and Wine Festival fans over the weekend when he wheeled out a cake replica of the Venetian, where the event was taking place.
Then when I talked with him about it, he surprised one more time. “I’m going to make the world’s largest wedding cake next,” he told me. “I think we can get it 60 feet tall and fill the Palazzo Waterfall area from floor to ceiling.”
Buddy was honored, along with fellow TV chef and restaurateur Mario Batali, Italian singing butcher Dario Cecchini and Italian wine czar Leonardo LoCascio, the leading importer of premium Italian wines, at the event Bella Notte that I hosted as part of Winter in Venice. (Check back soon for our coverage of the four-day, star-chef celebration.)
Nearly 300 fans waited patiently in line for Buddy’s meet-and-greet autograph session for his new book “Family Celebrations” at his new and first restaurant Buddy V’s Ristorante in Palazzo.
“A party just isn’t a party without something wonderful to eat and drink,” he said. “These menus celebrate a delicious year in the life of the Valastro family, starting with New Year’s Day and running right through New Year’s Eve whether you’re cooking for six or 60.”
CONFIRMED! Singer Jon Secada has arrived in Las Vegas for rehearsals at Encore Theater in Wynn Las Vegas for his showcase Dec. 19 — I received an invitation today for the preview of the Kenny Ortega-directed venture in 10 days.
Coca-Cola Racing Family Road Trip
Coca-Cola Racing Family Road Trip
NASCAR WRAP: The high-speed 2013 NASCAR Champion’s Week stars hit the party circuit while in Las Vegas for their black-tie awards to honor six-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
Brian France, CEO and chairman of NASCAR, dined at La Cave Wine and Food Hideaway in the Wynn after the awards; Jimmie and his party of 10, including crew chief Chad Knaus, were at Andrea’s in Steve Wynn’s Encore; and Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha also were there.
Coca-Cola was honored with the 2013 Marketing Achievement Award, the first three-time recipient. This year, Coca-Cola introduced brand spots titled, “Coca-Cola Racing Family Road Trip,” featuring Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
Its at-track program with 10,000 recycling bins at NASCAR race tracks resulted in more than 15 million cans and bottles to date, making NASCAR the largest recycler in sports.
Brennan Rock and Roll Academy concert
ROCKERS CHARITY: There was a superstar turnout for the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy fundraiser at Orleans Arena with Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Vince Neil, Alice Cooper, Dee Snider and others. Thanks to our friend Sally Steele of Vegas Rocks Magazine, who contributed her show photos and also posted her coverage for on YouTube. Her full interviews will be available at VegasRocksTV.com starting Tuesday.
Following “The Fundraiser,” Vince hosted an after-party at his new venue, Vince Neil’s Tatuado Eat, Drink, Party at Circus Circus. Guests included NASCAR star Michael Waltrip, D.J. Ashba (Guns ’n’ Roses), Tom Keifer (Cinderella), Stephen Pearcy (Ratt), Jeff Blando (Slaughter), Vinnie Paul (Pantera), Joey Tempest and John Norum of Europe, Brett Forbes and Patrick Rizzotti of Fortress Features and more.
WORLD POKER TOUR: TV cameras are filming the 12th season of the World Poker Tour at Bellagio with Doyle Brunson’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic — 449 of the best poker players were in the field, including Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari and WPT’s own Mike Sexton. The $10k buy-in event has a prize pool of $4,355,300, with first place of $1,161,000. Play continues daily this week with the final table set for 4 p.m. Thursday. The event airs on Fox Sports next year.
DraftKings.com hosted a 10-year celebration party at Lily ultra lounge for Las Vegas-based Poker Royalty, which has represented pokers’ best players the past decade. Guests include Doyle, Daniel, Phil, Antonio, Poker Royalty CEO and founder Brian Balsbaugh and WPT President Adam Pliska, who went to the after-party at Hyde Bellagio.
UNIQUE MARKETING: Downtown Zappos chief Tony Hsieh has come up with a unique holiday promotion, and the test run at Houston’s international airport over Thanksgiving proved a huge success. One baggage carousel was decked out with images of Zappos merch from jackets to boots, and whatever picture your luggage landed on was what you won. The campaign will be rolled out to other airports next year!.
ENGLISH TRIP: Tropicana headliner magician Murray Sawchuck and his wife Chloe Crawford of “Fantasy” at Luxor took a week off to visit her hometown of Portsmouth, England. It also was the first time back for her since they wed 18 months ago – and a mini vacation before a very busy holiday season.
They return from Britain to fly to Vancouver, B.C., Murray’s hometown, for his first show there in 20 years (Luxor headliner Carrot Top will be in Vancouver performing the night before.) Murray has a seven-day-a -eek schedule through Jan. 5 at Tropicana, plus, his Christmas show in Summerlin at Starbright Theater with guests Lydia Ansel, Chris Phillips, Peter Pavone, Mark Bennick, Chris Randall and regular cast members Chloe and Doug “Lefty” Leferovich.
LIBERACE RESTORATION: For the first time, restoration plans for Liberace’s former villa will be unveiled tonight by new owner wealthy British business executive Martyn Ravenhill. Liberace’s mirror-plated Rolls-Royce will be on display for the event, where Martyn also will present a donation to The Liberace Foundation. The author of “The Social Stockmarket,” Martyn’s purchase of the Liberace villa made global headlines.
ALIZMA ALBUM: Alizma, those three gorgeous electric violin-playing triplets, will star all 45 days in concert during Winter in Venice . Fans have persuaded them to record an album, and they hope to raise the $50,000 of recording studio costs by Jan. 5 via Kickstarter. There is a reward for every donation from $1 to $10,000, which range from a free song download to Alizma performing at your birthday party.
Brad Garrett headlines for two nights at his comedy club at MGM Grand with Cowboy Bill Martin and Quinn Dahle, who’s there through Sunday.
“Home Alone” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” will be shown to ice skaters at Cosmopolitan’s outdoor ice rink at Boulevard Pool.
DJ Carnage is at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan.
Cedric Gervais is at XS.
2013 WRANGLER NFR EVENTS
Dwight Yoakam is at Golden Nugget.
Chris Young is at House of Blues.
Cody Johnson is at South Point for three nights.
The Brit Stokes Band is at the Mirage for two nights.
And Neal McCoy is at MGM Grand through Friday.
Britney Spears arrives and starts tech and wardrobe rehearsals at Planet Hollywood, plus, our preview of the 2013 American Country Awards with hosts Trace Adkins and Danica Patrick and Criss Angel’s Season 1 finale of Spike’s “Believe” in which he tries to vanish a ship in Cabo San Lucas.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
The Orleans Arena, a Boyd Gaming facility located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the nation’s leading mid-sized arenas, and was recently ranked No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 internationally among venues of similar size by Venues Today Magazine.
The Arena hosts more than 200 events each year, including concerts by top names like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Van Halen, Brooks & Dunn, Black Eyed Peas, Akon and Rihanna; family favorites like The Harlem Globetrotters and Circus Spectacular; and a wide variety of sporting events, including NCAA basketball tournaments, the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, mixed martial arts with Superior Cage Combat, and major motorsports events.
The arena serves as home to the Las Vegas Wranglers professional ECHL hockey team, the Las Vegas Legends professional indoor soccer team, and the Lingerie Football League’s Las Vegas Sin. Stay connected to the Orleans Arena on Facebook (www.facebook.com/orleansarena) and on Twitter (@orleansarena).
With top accommodations, first-rate entertainment, high-end shopping and a slew of acclaimed chefs, the Palazzo has positioned itself as one of the most luxurious resorts on the Strip.
More than 3,000 all-suite rooms start at 740 square feet and are decorated in a modern, yet classic, Italian style. Each room features a sleeping area, with a king or two queens, and a sunken living room area with floor to ceiling windows.
A cathedral ceiling tops the Palazzo casino, while a second 80-foot dome brings natural light to the property's lobby. The 105,000 square foot casino features more than 2,000 slots and 80 table games but lacks the stale smell of cigarettes, as the property is LEED certified with smoking off limits in most of the Palazzo — including 50 percent of the casino floor.
Dining at the Palazzo is among the best of the Strip, starting with Wolfgang Puck's CUT. Chef Simon To serves up authentic Chinese cuisine at Zine, while Sushisamba combines Brazilian and Peruvian flavors with Japanese techniques. At LAVO, club-goers can dine on Mediterranean dishes before heading upstairs to the bath house-inspired nightclub.