Thursday, May 23, 2013 | 5:29 p.m.
It’s more than 24 hours of nonstop activities, and that’s even before the huge attractions open up for Memorial Day Weekend. The insanity began Thursday with a first-look, sneak-peek tour of Light Nightclub at Mandalay Bay in advance of its debut Friday. The three-level club with its three big bars sprawls over 50,000 square feet for 2,000 party people. This partnership with Cirque du Soleil means it’s not just the world’s newest and biggest DJs but also 25 performers, plus, ambiance hunks and beauties roaming around.
Forget state of the art. This is state of disbelief as the entire club is immersed in the dazzling, ever-changing lighting. Want the entire club to think they’re swimming under the ocean or lying beneath palm trees on a golden sandy beach? Easy; press the computer keys. Cirque’s acrobats and aerialists can work on two giant stages just above the DJ stage, but they perform through heat glass so you see their images in a cavalcade of changing colors and silhouettes
Those two “acrowalls” also become the screens for the video mapping, which runs all night long and is beyond belief and description. Cirque and The Light Group have mixed entertainment, music and party for the ultimate nightclub experience. Even all the ceiling tracks that propel poles, chairs and octopus lighting are amazing. The DJ can be flown in on one, and the champagne angels can zoom magnums directly to VIP tables.
Wednesday night, superstar DJ Axwell, who has added a third show to his MDW duties at Light and Daylight Beach Club, opened the new Eclipse concert series at Daylight. That’s a 5,000-person party, and contributing photographer Denise Truscello was on duty with the capacity crowd dancing under the stars past 3 a.m.
SANTANA’S SPARKLE: Next stop was up to House of Blues Foundation Room for a very smooth sip of the new Carlos Santana 2006 vintage sparkling wine. The guitar guru arrived to pop the first bottle and stash one in his locker there. Thanks to contributing photographer Erik Kabik for his coverage. Carlos was eager to point out that proceeds go to his Milagro Foundation charity, and his Mumm Napa wine partner is contributing funds to teens in need.
OSCAR’S LAUNCH: The big day has finally arrived for former Mayor Oscar Goodman as he celebrates the publication of his autobiography “Being Oscar” book with back-to-back parties this evening here now that he’s returned from New York launch events. Oscar greets first at his Beef, Booze and Broads Steakhouse at the Plaza and then moves to The Mob Museum for an even larger blowout. The Las Vegas Sun posted a digest of my lengthy interview with him.
SHORT TRIP: Our gorgeous Miss Nevada USA Chelsea Caswell has the shortest trip of all the 51 contestants in the Miss USA Pageant at Planet Hollywood on June 16. Chelsea packs up this weekend from her duties as a restaurant manager of Andrea’s in Steve Wynn’s Encore and checks into the rival casino next week. If she wins, she has to pack for a year of travels. The Miss USA hopefuls will spend almost three weeks here in interviews, wardrobe fittings, photo sessions and pre-taped TV spots in town for the pageant. We unabashedly adore Chelsea and wish her all the good luck in the world. If she wins, she’ll take a year off from work. If not, she returns right away.
FAST TRIP: A new thrill zip-line ride will open this summer at The Rio with a 33 mph, 70-second run from Voodoo Lounge atop Masquerade Tower to Ipanema Tower. Two riders at a time get a total ride of nearly one-third mile, including the 800 feet backward to the return on the starting line.
ANOTHER STRIP TV CHEF? My culinary pal David Morris is hearing reliable racy rumors that chef Giada de Laurentiis is the front-runner to helm the new, second-floor restaurant at Gansevoort on the Strip that’s taking the place of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, which will also feature Victor Drai’s new mega-pool and nightclub complex on its expanded roofline.
Meantime, after 13 years as Joel Robuchon’s pastry chef, Kamel Guechida is joining Wolfgang Puck’s Las Vegas team to oversee the dessert and bread programs at all 21 restaurants in America, London and Singapore as director of pastry. He makes his debut Wednesday at Spago in Caesars Palace for the Sip & Savor gastronomic dinner celebrating Wolf’s 20 years on the Strip and the reunion for the original Keep Memory Alive founders from 17 years ago.
Behind the Candelabra
TWO SCHOLARSHIPS: For 25 years, pro NFL Hall of Famer Warren Moon has given back to high school students in need by awarding scholarships. On June 6, he’ll be joined by fellow football legends at SCORE! in Luxor to present scholarships to two hometown winners Carlos Martin and Joshua Mayfield and four others from California and Utah. Other Hall of Famers scheduled to attend: Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, Marcus Allen, Bob Griese, Kellen Winslow, Floyd Little, Rod Woodson and Bruce Smith.
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL: Following on the heels of its world premiere at this week’s Cannes Film Festival, the first airing of Steven Soderbergh’s “Behind the Candelabra” is Sunday on HBO. Here’s the behind-the-scenes making of the movie, which stars Oscar winners Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover Scott Thorson.
Also at Cannes today was 87-year-old Las Vegas comedy king Jerry Lewis, and here are contributing photographer Steve Wood’s photos of this morning press conference. Said Jerry: “The wonderful thing about this script is that it is about elderly people who have been thrown away. It is a very different thing to do for a crazy clown that has been doing one thing for 60 years.”
CONGRATS: USA Today has named our Las Vegas Motor Speedway as one of the 10 best NASCAR race locations in America.
The Mandarin Oriental with its signature restaurant Twist restaurant by French chef Pierre Gagnaire has won the Certificate of Excellence in the 2013 Trip Advisor rankings as the No. 1 hotel in Las Vegas.
I’m expecting New York celebrity chef Daniel Boulud to announce his new Venetian restaurant before he opens the big Epicurean Affair at the Palazzo pool showcasing more than 50 restaurants and their cuisines and cocktails.
Happy 22nd Birthday to “Pin Up” starlet Claire Sinclair, who’ll slice up cake for her late-night Stratosphere audience.
Bagatelle Beach Club alongside Tropicana launches its run of dive-in movies with “The Goonies” and food from five food trucks.
Star chef Charlie Palmer unveils new wine angel costumes at his Aureole in Mandalay Bay with a runway show.
Laidback Luke kicks off MDW at Hakkasan Las Vegas.
JJamz is at Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
The International Swingers perform a free concert in The Cafe at The Hard Rock Hotel.
The Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation unspools at Vinyl in The Hard Rock Hotel.
And Jesse & Joy are at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay.
Our review and report from the first night of previews for Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson One” and a monster Royal Robin Rundown for MDW as we make a splash with the opening of Wet & Wild Las Vegas.
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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MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.