Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 | 6 p.m.
Britney Spears rehearses
Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all up the Strip
Hardly a star was shining, not even the hip
The fishnets were hung by the dressing-room door with care
In hopes that St. Nick and the tourists would soon be back there
Welcome to the quietest celebrity weekend of the year, with shows shuttered for cast and crew vacations and tourism at its lowest point of the year. So quiet, in fact, I’m going to say the two-hour E! Entertainment documentary on Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood will be the highlight.
But first a look back at past Christmas weekends because this city has sure celebrated some milestones over the decades:
Fifty years ago on Dec. 20, Ray Charles performed onstage at the Flamingo.
Also a half-century ago on Dec. 23, Cary Grant and “Casino de Paris” star Line Renaud watched rehearsals before its opening at the Dunes.
On Dec. 21, 1963, the Los Angeles Dodgers performed onstage with Joey Bishop at the Sands, among them No. 53 pitcher Don Drysdale.
Tis definitely the season for Christmas celebrations, and one of the nicest this weekend is the party our masters of the impossible, Siegfried & Roy, are giving 120 children at the Downtown Boys & Girls Club. The illusionists will gift the kids with a turkey dinner and hand out backpacks filled with goodies. A great gesture!
Don’t forget that Terry Fator’s Christmas show runs at the Mirage through Dec. 26 (Boxing Day in my old country). It’s his third original holiday spectacular, and he’s written three new holiday songs for this year’s Country Christmas edition welcoming a new Hawaiian doll character, Kani.
Some of our local entertainers are joining forces for Christmas carol concerts, but the action really only centers around college basketball matchups — off my beat (but please get all the details from our colleagues in Sports)!
And that is why the big showbiz highlight will be Britney’s “I Am Britney Jean” E! special on Sunday night just five days before her world premiere of “Piece of Me” at Planet Hollywood, which she has produced and co-directed.
The documentary makers promise an intimate look at the global superstar as she juggles being a mom with a hectic schedule of promo interviews, new videos and her new personal album, which she co-wrote. “I’m going to show you the different sides of who I am,” said Britney.
It’s a rare glimpse inside her life as the final five days of fever pitch tick down to next Friday’s Las Vegas residency opening. The E! special promises candid and revealing interviews about her personal and professional life.
So now it’s time for us to hang up our Christmas stockings in hopes of finding a few nuggets to fill them on this penultimate edition of the 2013 Royal Robin Rundown:
FRIDAY, DEC. 20
The Deana Martin Christmas Show at Cabaret Jazz in Smith Center all weekend is a musical sleigh ride of classic yuletide songs honoring her legendary father, Dean Martin.
Ten unique styles combine as one voice with the Las Vegas 10 Tenors at Suncoast for two nights.
A Very Swingin’ Christmas featuring members of the Matt Goss, Human Nature, Rat Pack, “Million Dollar Quartet,” “Vegas! The Show” and The Spazmatics shows at South Point for two nights.
Nashville Unplugged features Bill Luther at Sunset Station with hosts Brian McComas and Aaron Benward.
The Blackjacks are at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Leftover Cuties are at the Cosmopolitan.
Christmas With the Celts is at Aliante.
John Henton, Brian McKim and Traci Skene are at the Improv at Harrah’s all weekend.
Michael “Wheels” Parise and Carla Rea are at the Riviera all weekend.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Nevada Ballet Theater’s “The Nutcracker” at Reynolds Hall in Smith Center is all weekend.
Tickets are on sale for country music legend Moe Bandy at Boulder Station on Feb. 28.
Wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan flexes his Hulkamania muscles with an autograph and meet-and-greet session at Tristar Sports Memorabilia Store in Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood for two days.
The 2013 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl Official Pep Rally is at Fremont Street Experience. Mountain West champions Fresno State University Bulldogs battle the USC Trojans from the Pac-12.
SATURDAY, DEC. 21
Sin City Sinners Christmas in Vegas Holiday Extravaganza is at Vinyl.
Phil Flowers Holiday Splendor is at Aliante.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Celebrity magician Murray Sawchuck joined by his “Fantasy” dancer wife Chloe Crawford present his Magical Holiday Spectacular at Starbright Theater in Summerlin.
Tickets are on sale for Billy Joel at MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 7.
Four Top 25 college basketball games at MGM Grand Garden Arena showcase Marquette vs. New Mexico and Oklahoma State vs. Colorado with games benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer.
It’s the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. USC at Sam Boyd Stadium.
SUNDAY, DEC. 22
Our hometown UNLV Runnin’ Rebels compete in the 2013 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic Basketball Tournament at Orleans Arena for two days.
We’ll be back Monday with the countdown to the openings of Britney Spears and Beacher’s Madhouse with Miley Cyrus, plus, a review of Jon Secada’s sensational showcase and a fond farewell to “Dancing Queen” at Planet Hollywood.
Make sure you finish your Christmas shopping because after the weekend, you’ll have only 48 hours remaining for those treats under the tree!
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.
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.