Las Vegas Sun

June 15, 2019

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Chef Kerry, owner George, travelin’ Holly all converge on Playboy Playmate fete

Playmate of the Year 2010

Steve Marcus

Hugh Hefner, left, presents Hope Dworaczyk with a framed copy of the June Playboy announcing that she is the magazine’s Playmate of the Year.

2010 Playmate of the Year

Playmate Dancers pose as they arrive for Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Year celebration at the Palms Casino Resort Saturday May 15, 2010. Hope Dworaczyk, 25, is Playboy magazine's 2010 Playmate of the Year. Launch slideshow »
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Playmate of the Year Hope Dworaczyk.

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Reigning Playmate of the Year Hope Dworaczyk, left, with Palms owner George Maloof.

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Chef Kerry Simon, with a BMW logo hovering nearby.

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Holly Madison, captured on the red carpet.

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Hope Dworaczyk, left, and Palms owner George Maloof, responding to a witticism.

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All kinds of beauty and power: Hope Dworaczyk, George Maloof, Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris.

Hope Dworaczyk – or “H-Dwo” as I call her – has been named Playboy Playmate of the Year for 2010, and what can we say about this stunner? She’s stunning, for starters. She is a veritable siren – if I ever see her in my rearview mirror, I’m breaking hard. She’s tall, too. I think she’s 6-11. She can post up LeBron James, she’s so tall.

H-Dwo was announced as the reigning PMOY at a party this evening (or Saturday evening if you are reading this Sunday morning, in which case, it would be this morning) at the Rain nightclub at the Palms. We had a red carpet event tonight. I’m trying to embrace the concept of the red carpet, which is a lot like being in line for a ride at Six Flags, except they deliver the ride to you. The red-carpet mass of hu-media can be somewhat exhilarating, if by “exhilarating” you mean, “like being swept away by a rugby scrum.”

I invariably trudge away from the red carpet with sore ribs, and tonight possibly a perforated spleen, as some photographers who will remain nameless (except for Ethan Miller) can’t seem to keep their NEW NIKON EQUIPMENT from digging into my midsection.

There was a reasonable complement of interesting info gleaned from the event, though. Chef Kerry Simon made his way along the long strip of red fabric leading to the club. Simon operates Simon at Palms Place, of course, and until very recently was the chef at CatHouse at Luxor. But it was announced Friday that CatHouse, originally a nightclub/restaurant, was eschewing croutons in favor of coquettes to seamlessly reinvent itself as a 7,000-square-foot nightclub.

Thus, Simon, one of the city’s top celeb chefs, is no longer part of the venture, money-wise or otherwise. He said he found out of the decision to drop the kitchen “about a week ago, on Monday or so.” The kitchen reportedly closed, in fact, the previous Saturday, May 8.

“We had spoken about it before, and the guys wanted to go into a club scene,” he said. “It was just a difference in opinion. In Vegas the club scene is … very seductive. A lot of people get pulled into it; it’s a different energy. But I think they’ll do well there. A lot of people come through that building (the Luxor).”

Boasting a unique 1800s-bordello theme, CatHouse opened in late-2007 and has been marked by structural problems in its floor and sniping among investors almost from the start.

Simon says he not distraught over the outcome, having learned amply from the experience. For instance, he learned that sometimes you need to take a chance in business. He also learned that even a very good restaurant that draws positive reviews might not work in a nightclub haven on the Strip.

“A lot of energy went into it and I learned a lot, and being in that type of relationship is a very different scene, a restaurant in an ultra-lounge, and there aren’t a lot of chefs willing to take that chance,” he said. “I took a chance, and every day I learn something from what I do. I’m still friends with those guys, there are no hard feelings.”

Majority partners Billy Cross and Mick Doohan operate CatHouse and have been in control of the project since it opened. Both are Australian. Cross created “Thunder from Down Under,” commendably filling the void of Aussie male semi-nude dance revues. Doohan is a former Grand Prix motorcycle champ who has branched out to real-estate investments and entertainment ventures since he parked the Honda. They are in, and the great chef has left the building.

“What am I going to do?” Simon asked, then answered his own question. “I’m going to live another day.”

More from the Rain storm:

• Pamela Anderson was scheduled to be on hand in some sort of ceremonial role, but she was not on hand. Or on the premises, either. Palms PR practitioner Larry Fink said he heard a couple days earlier Anderson would not attend. The reason given? She couldn't make it, which is consistent with her not, in fact, making it. ... Palms owner Geoge Maloof said business is improving at his hotel. “It’s choppy, still, but we’re having a good weekend,” he said. ... The emcee of the stage show at Rain was Fox 5’s Jason Feinberg, but the had him off-stage, which was a shame because he was wearing a quite-smart suit. … Robin Thicke was the star entertainment, and I’ve never seen him and Fox 5 managing editor Jason Latham in the same room together, so they could be the same person. … Making a rare public appearance, Holly Madison said she’s taken a break from writing her book about Las Vegas to take a scenic road trip from L.A. to Las Vegas. She wound through Death Valley, stopping at Amargosa Opera House & Hotel and even staying the night there. That’s quite a concept to wrap your mind around, Holly and her bubbly crew at the rustic old travel lodge. The hotel is said to be haunted, but even if it isn’t – scary place. Artist and dancer Marta Becket did not perform her famous one-woman show, Holly reported, because she (Becket) was not well enough to take the stage. She is 85, Becket is, and according to the Amargosa Opera House & Hotel website, the show in the dank little theater is performed now by one Sandy Sheller. … How did this column, about Playmate of the Year H-Dwo, wind up in Amargosa Valley? … Holly’s friends and deputies Laura Croft and Angel Jones took to the red carpet, and if there’s anyone built for the red carpet, it’s these two. They love the attention. … From the stage at Rain, Hugh Hefner said of the victorious model, “Where there’s life, there’s Hope.” … H-Dwo graduated high school at age 16 in Port Lavaca, Texas, and her “grammy” was principal of that school, which was named Hope, too. … “Keep Hope alive!” to quote the great orator, Jesse Jackson. … Much has been made of the magazine’s 3-D effect for the June issue, which really doesn’t add much to the visual experience of H-Dwo’s centerfold shot. I did learn that one way to precipitate some unrest in the Palms food court is to pull out a Playboy centerfold, push a pair of 3-D glasses on your face and stare at the fold-out page for a couple of minutes. … Also in the June issue, Steve Perry of San Diego defends himself against charges Sarah Silverman made in the April issue that Perry used a racial epithet while talking to Silverman backstage at one of Silverman’s shows. If you’re wondering if this is the same Steve Perry who once fronted Journey, you are correct. … From Playboy’s Party Jokes page: “Children in the dark cause accidents. Accidents in the dark cause children.”

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats.

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