Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 | 3:02 p.m.
SLS Las Vegas grand opening
There were a number of eyebrow-raising moments during the star-studded gala opening of SLS Las Vegas over the weekend:
Where else than only in Las Vegas would you simultaneously see the prime minister of the Bahamas in the same hotel casino as notorious Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis? Joe said that he’d been flown in from the California-Nevada border at Primm by SBE founder, Chairman and CEO Sam Nazarian’s helicopter because of his continuing legal feuds with Steve Wynn.
The Girls Gone Wild brand was put up for sale after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2013 in an attempt to block Steve and his Wynn/Encore properties taking the assets as repayment for Joe’s gaming debts, which over time with interest had surpassed $30 million. This month, a Los Angeles bankruptcy judge called for his arrest and recommended jail time.
I enjoyed caviar and champagne with Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, who told me that SLS will open one of its next hotels in the new Bahamar resort complex (not Bahamas). Gloria Estefan’s husband Emilio Estefan was on the red carpet with Michael Jackson choreographer Jamie King, and they told me that they will be staging the show Gloria will headline for the opening celebrations of Bahamar on the new Bahamas Riviera.
Playboy cover girl and centerfold knockout Pamela Anderson was there after a Hawaii vacation with her on-off-on-again husband, sex-tape videographer and poker player Ric Salomon, so it looks as if Pamela isn’t going through with divorce papers she served him this summer.
Hakkasan at MGM Grand resident DJ Tiesto was spotted in the new restaurant Cleo with Tao Group head honcho Noah Tepperberg. Tao runs three clubs here on the Strip (Tao at the Venetian, Lavo at Palazzo and Marquee at the Cosmopolitan) along with similar nighteries in New York. If walls could talk because poaching Tiesto would be a real feather in their EDM caps.
Tattooed temptress Sabina Kelly and celebrity chef Jose Andres looked right at home with the mega-bucks BMW sports ICar3 that’s parked proudly and drawing gasps from everybody in the porte cochere front entrance.
Here’s contributing videographer Richard Corey’s YouTube video of the opening ceremonies and gala party with Sam Nazarian, designer Phillipe Starck, culinary director Jose and pop star Iggy Azalea.
Iggy told me that she’d filmed a new music video all day in Los Angeles before jetting in for her 8:30 p.m. Friday show at SLS’ Foxtail Pool Club with Rita Ora. Then she returned to L.A. in time for a MTV Video Music Awards benefit performance at The Avalon. There she fell offstage while singing her hit “Fancy.” The 24-year-old Australian rapper said she was blessed and grateful not to have broken her legs. At MTV’s VMAs on Sunday night, her pop-video collaboration of “Problem” won best pop video with Ariana Grande.
Iggy Azalea Problem
Highlights from the opening included Iggy and sultry songstress Rita’s sensational poolside performance at Foxtail Pool Club. The mini-concert featured a medley of Iggy’s biggest hits including “Work,” “Problem” and “Fancy.” Rita graced the stage in a leg-bearing black-and-green dress to join in “Black Widow,” marking the second live performance of the duo’s hit.
Celebrity guests included Aaron Paul, Kellan Lutz, Emile Hirsch, Randall Slavin, Jeremiah Samuel, Rami Malek, Maria Menounos, Wynter Gordon, Dita Von Teese, Michelle Branch, Brittany Snow, DJ Vice, Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, Pamela Anderson, Shane West, Chuck Liddell, Adam Devine, Kelly Monaco, Jermaine Jones, Rick Fox, Holly Madison and Pasquale Rotella, Pia Toscano, Blanda Eggenschwiler, Dr. Julius Erving, Willie Gault, George Maloof, Victor Drai, Claire Sinclair, Sabina Kelly and Jennifer Romas.
At The Sayers Club, Lindsay Lohan’s former gal pal DJ Sam Ronson took to the turntables for a high-energy set as intimate performances were scattered throughout the evening by Jhene Aiko and JoJo. Partygoers also were treated to an impromptu performance by Lenny Kravitz, who designed four of SLS Las Vegas’ suites channeling stars from different pop music eras.
Fears that wind gusts might jeopardize the amazing fireworks display at midnight proved unfounded. The celebration continued through the weekend with Life Nightclub’s official grand opening debuting with a DJ set by Erick Morillo. Sports stars Rick and Chuck took in the scene from separate VIP booths, and to top off the celebration, a four-tiered Life cake was presented to Mio Danilovic, VP of nightlife operations for SBE, for his successful opening of the newest nightclub on the Strip. Mio’s guest column was posted last Thursday.
Later today, we’ll take a look at the SLS restaurants and nightclubs, plus, our interview with star chef Jose, who is director of the resort’s culinary options and his two restaurants there Bazaar Meat and Ku Noodle.
I leave you with the thoughts of French designer Philippe, who has created the SLS designs everybody is buzzing about. He placed re-creations of 100 crocodile heads on mirrors in the restaurants, scratch-and-sniff wallpapers, burlesque video boxes around the casino floor, bedroom vanity cases that become mini-bars and beds that become hangout spots for friends to gather.
“This is a different way of thinking about our life today and our next life,” he told me. “I do things not to down people but to up-rise them. Thinking creatively lets me produce different surprises wherever they turn in here. It’s all done to open their minds. When people ask why, we answer, ‘Why not?’
“My mission is to create a short circuit in the brain to make people more alive. That’s what happens here at SLS, and they’re loving it.”
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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