Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 | 6 p.m.
Only in Las Vegas would you have the 2013 Soul Train Awards on the same weekend as pop princess Selena Gomez makes a Stars Dance tour stop here and Cirque du Soleil kicks off its seven-day, behind-the-scenes peek at all of its shows on the Strip. Talk about the Entertainment Capital of the World; we’re spilling over with stars and TV cameras.
For those more interested in food, you won’t go hungry. There are two more days of preliminary competition downtown at Fremont Street Experience before Sunday’s Final Table of judges determines the world champion of American comfort foods in the 2013 World Food Championships.
Not only is it the culinary clash of the year, but also dueling telecasts. A&E is recording a special from the WFC to air next year. Plus, the always-controversial curmudgeon chef Anthony Bourdain will be at downtown’s Atomic Liquor for the Season 2 one-hour finale of his series “Parts Unknown” on CNN.
Recording artists in 12 categories will be honored at tonight’s Soul Train Awards at Orleans Arena. Kendrick Lamar leads with six nominations, including for Best New Artist, Album of the Year and Song of the Year. Tied with five nominations apiece are Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake, Miguel, Tamar Braxton (who will be at Pearl at the Palms with John Legend on Nov. 30), Janelle Monae and Chris Brown, who we know won’t be attending due to his three-month Malibu rehab stint for anger management.
There will be two stages inside the arena, one for performers and the other for presenters and DJs. The “We Got Soul” ’90s party-themed show, to air on BET next month, features performances by our hometown darlings Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson, along with Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan, Doug E Fresh, Candice Glover, Ruben Studdard and host Anthony Anderson. Talk-show host Wendy Williams is handling red-carpet arrivals, Vanessa Williams and Vivica A. Fox are among the presenters, and there will be a Vanilla Ice surprise.
Disney darling Selena hits Mandalay Bay with her Stars Dance tour. She’s no twerking Miley Cyrus, as the most moms, dads and kids will see is a bare midriff between white crop tops and harem pants. It’s a family-friendly show as Selena, Justin Bieber’s one-time love before his YouTube debacle this week with a Brazilian hooker, belts through 18 songs. Openers Emblem3 and Christina Grimmie enter and exit through four mysterious doors onstage; I won’t spoil the fun with more than that tidbit. Hopefully she won’t fall offstage as she did earlier in the tour in Virginia.
If you see a blue haze of smoke curling up out of the Mirage all weekend, no need for panic. It’s neither a new papal-naming ceremony nor a potential fire hazard. The Big Smoke is back in town for its 18th annual celebration, and it’s all about the world’s best cigars: Arturo Fuente, Dunhill, H. Upmann Legacy, La Gloria Cubana, Macanudo, La Aroma de Cuba and Partagas.
Now it’s time for me to trim the tip of my favorite Monte by Montecristo, fire up the flame and settle back for puffs of pleasure as we light up with this week’s perfectly wrapped Royal Robin Rundown:
FRIDAY, NOV. 8
Country darlings Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are at the Venetian through Nov. 16, plus, Garth Brooks winds down at the Wynn before his upcoming TV special there and his return with wife Tricia Yearwood to touring next year.
Guitar great Carlos Santana is at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay all weekend.
Las Vegas-based band The Bones are at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Lost Dog Found plays its jump blues swing at Lounge at the Palms for two nights.
Chris Mann of “The Voice” is at Cabaret Jazz in Smith Center for two nights.
Nashville Unplugged features Anthony Smith at Red Rock Resort with hosts Brian McComas and Aaron Benward.
The musical “American Idiot” is at UNLV for two nights.
Peter Pavone salutes “Frank, Dean and Sammy Live” at Sam’s Town.
Lewis Black serves up social and political humor at the Mirage for two nights.
Kat Williams is at the Hard Rock Hotel for two nights.
Rocky Laporte and Ron Morey are at the Improv at Harrah’s all weekend.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
The 2013 Soul Train Awards are at Orleans Arena.
The Big Smoke features three days of cigars and stogies at the Mirage.
Tickets are on sale for Las Vegas’ Imagine Dragons at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Dec. 30.
The Second Annual World Food Championships with 450 competitors in seven food categories takes place at FSE. Saturday includes Ultimate Bacon Experience tastings and a Food Fight challenge between Earl Campbell and Bill Bates.
Macy’s stores across the Las Vegas Valley launch their annual “Believe” campaign to support the charity Make-A Wish. Each time Santa Claus believers of all ages bring a letter for Ol’ St. Nick for delivery to the North Pole through Christmas Eve, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish up to $1 million
Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater performs “Firebird” at Smith Center.
Chef Angelo Sosa celebrates the grand opening of his ultra lounge the Den at Poppy Den in Tivoli Village.
Sammy’s Restaurant, Raising Cane’s, PBR Rock Bar and more participate in the “Coach Dave Rice Restaurant Rally” by donating a portion of proceeds to his foundation marking the first day of Runnin’ Rebels basketball season.
Sam’s Town celebrates members of The Rat Pack with entertainment, food specials, contests, movies and gaming promotions all weekend in the “Kings of Cool” celebration.
Duel in the Desert is at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for two days.
Adult film actress and SEMA convention auto-model Charmane Star is at Crazy Horse III Gentlemen’s Club.
Our colleagues at Vegas Magazine celebrate their November issue at Hyde Bellagio.
Dada Life is at Hakkasan in MGM Grand.
Sultan and Ned Shepard are at XS in Steve Wynn’s Encore.
SATURDAY, NOV. 9
Selena brings her Stars Dance tour to Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Smokey goes right from the Soul Train Awards to Eastside Cannery.
Paul Williams is at South Point for two nights.
The blues-rock Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band is at Orleans Showroom for two nights.
“Sway: A Tribute to Michael Buble” is at Grand Events Center at Green Valley Ranch.
William Control, Davey Suicide and Fearless Vampire Killer are at Vinyl.
Suite 160’s 12th Anniversary with Casey Veggies & Smoke DZA is at Hard Rock Live! on The Strip.
“Satchmo: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong” is at Suncoast Showroom for two nights with trumpeter Dean Simms and his seven-piece band.
Winter Jam West Tour at the Thomas & Mack Center features Newsboys, Crowder, Tenth Avenue North, Plumb, Building 429, Newsong, Everfound and Dara MacLean.
BOLV (Battle of Las Vegas), a Rage Against the Machine cover band, competes in a battle of the bands at Legends. BOLV also performs next Friday at Time Out Sports Bar and Grill.
Tim Allen is at Venetian Showroom for the first of two back-to-back weekend shows.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Cirque Week runs through next Saturday. Today, go behind-the-scenes of “Zumanity” at New York-New York, and on Sunday cast and crew reveal secrets of “O” at Bellagio.
Tattoos and tequila are on the menu at the official grand opening of Vince Neil’s Tatuado, Eat, Drink, Party playground at Circus Circus. Check out the bar made from his original tour bus.
“Veterans Day Honored” with the Las Vegas Brass Band is at Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station.
Sesame Street Live’s “Elmo Makes Music” is at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion for two nights with Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Bert & Ernie and Oscar the Grouch.
The public is invited to cycle with injured veterans in the Honor Ride sponsored by United Healthcare and Ride2Recovery with BMX rider Ricardo Laguna at the Festival Grounds across from Luxor.
Steve Aoki is at Hakkasan.
Will.I.Am is at XS.
SUNDAY, NOV. 10
Legendary folk singer Judy Collins is at Cabaret Jazz.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
The WFC filmed for A&E concludes with the World Chef Challenge Finals and the WFC Final Table with yours truly as one of the judges.
Anthony Bourdain’s live CNN broadcast is at Atomic Liquor.
The Season 4 finale of Project Dinner Table kicks off at 2 p.m. at Gold Spike before linner (lunch and dinner) at El Cortez Walkway.
R3hab and Quintino are at Hakkasan.
DJ Ace, aka Trey Smith, celebrates his 21st birthday at Lavo in Palazzo.
Have fabulous fun with the stars, chefs, music, laughter and parties, and be safe. Check back as we post reports and photos. On Monday, we’ll have a report, photos and video of the WFC champion and an interview with V Theater hypnotist Marc Savard, who turns his audiences into strippers and snake-fearing victims.
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.
True to its namesake, The Orleans gives visitors a year-round Mardi Gras feeling with a New Orleans French Quarter environment.
Located just a short way from the center of gambling on the Strip, The Orleans offers a collection of attractions that helps to draw in a mix of locals and visitors.
In addition to the 1,885 hotel rooms and 134,000-square foot casino, the property has a 70-lane bowling center, an 18-screen movie theater, an 850-seat showroom and a 9,500-seat arena, home to the Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team.
The hotel also has 14 dining options, including Canal Street, The Prime Rib Loft, Koji Sushi Bar & China Bistro and Big Al’s Oyster Bar.