Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 | 4:35 p.m.
The meteoric run of the Act nightclub at Palazzo has lasted a year.
The ultra-risqué club on the second level of the Shoppes at the Palazzo retail and entertainment promenade closed abruptly Saturday night. The staff was informed late Saturday, and word spread across social media as the club celebrated a final night of partying before the doors were closed. The initial reports online were posted online Saturday night by Joe Vargas of the King of Nightclubs website. A spokeswoman for the club confirmed this morning that the club had announced its immediate closure.
No official reason has been given for the ceasing of operations at the Act, which opened in October 2012 as a much-hyped outpost of the Box in New York and Box Soho in London, both of which remain open. The Box empire is operated by nightclub overlord Simon Hammerstein, the grandson of legendary lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. The Act was envisioned as a scaled-back (at least in terms of the nature of the live acts showcased at the club) version of the more raunchy Box clubs in New York and London.
Nonetheless, the club ran afoul of Las Vegas Sands, the parent company of Palazzo and the Venetian, for staging acts the hotel argued were in violation of the state’s obscenity laws. In August, the Palazzo took action in Las Vegas District Court to evict the club, which fended off immediate closure by issuing a restraining order against the very hotel in which it operated. Club officials argued that the hotel was well aware of its brand, vision and entertainment sensibilities when partnering with Hammerstein in the first place.
Acts performed at the club were aggressively adult in nature, including simulated sex acts, semi-nude burlesque dance numbers and, in its early stages, a scene in which a man with deformed arms acted out a bloody attack with a butcher knife against an unseen woman in a bathtub. Many of the edgier acts were toned town in the face of the Palazzo legal action, though a nude, gold-painted statue of the icon of the Act and the Box, transgender performer Buck Angel, remained in the club’s entrance.
The Act’s staff was reportedly caught flat-footed when word of closing was issued about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, but the club had been struggling financially and, according to court records, had lost its original $15 million startup operating investment. The club continued to trudge along anyway, hosting popular End of the World Parties and Rebel Bingo late-night events.
As recently as last week, new showcases were being announced for the Act. “Rock of Ages” star Mark Shunock had arranged for his monthly “Mondays Dark” charity variety shows to be staged in the Act beginning Oct. 21. Now he is looking for a new venue for these performances.
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.