Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 | 3:28 p.m.
Congratulations to hometown tennis hero Andre Agassi, who will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this July in Newport, R.I. The announcement takes place here at Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy tomorrow.
Andre retired in September 2006 after playing his final U.S. Open in Forest Hills, N.Y. An eight-time Grand Slam champion, Andre joins his wife Stefanie Graf, who was inducted in 2004 after winning 22 Grand Slam championship titles in her illustrious career.
Lil Jon at Encore
Lil Jon at Encore
Meantime, Andre and Steffi made headlines yesterday for a different reason, per Senior Editor John Katsilometes in The Kats Report.
*Tickets go on sale today for the Academy of Country Music Awards hosted by Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3. The next night, CBS is filming a 2-hour special titled Girls Night Out saluting the superstar women of country.
Tomorrow, I’ll have details of fan voting and the story of the first-ever 3-hour ACM Fan Jam that will be hosted by Sugarland at Mandalay Bay during and after the telecast. The academy says it will be country’s biggest party ever.
*For nearly 20 years, Ron Rice’s Hawaiian Tropic Beauty Pageant was a huge success and helped launch the careers of many models and starlets. The contests alternated between Florida and Las Vegas, but after founder Ron sold it, the new owner dropped the promotions.
His staffers rallied together to relaunch their own model search pageants and celebrated with a Hawaiian Tropic reunion here at The Mirage. They also launched a line of backless bikini swimwear -- a miracle in itself! -- that’s a hit with models and fans. Ron tells me he attends the new pageants but isn’t involved in running them. He has invested in a chain of salons and a modeling agency, which he runs. Ron took more than 40 contestants to celebrate at Jet in The Mirage after three days of events.
*Rocker Vince Neil won’t go to jail in his recent DUI and speeding charges until after he’s celebrated his 50th birthday on Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 6. He starts the 2-week sentence and 2 weeks of house arrest Feb. 15, which enables him to also fulfill a promise to TV reporter gal pal Alicia Jacobs to accompany her to the Nevada Ballet Theater’s black-tie salute to Priscilla Presley at Aria on Jan. 29. Priscilla is bringing Lisa Marie and their families to the Woman of the Year dinner.
*Terry Fator takes a night off from his Mirage theater Friday to perform for military members and their families at Fort Hood in his home state of Texas. Terry is performing free for the Fallen Heroes Fund, which he supports on a year-round basis. We’ve learned that he plans to try out new impressions, celebrity voices and puppets, and if they receive a great response, they will be added to his Mirage show.
*Las Vegas-based adult industry icon Sunset Thomas is shooting a TV pilot The Kids in the Candy Store on Friday at the adult cabaret Candy Store in Phoenix. After filming, she’ll also perform onstage. Sultry Sunset, who was a partner in two adult strip clubs, plays a house mom in the reality TV show.
*Las Vegas-based artist Tony Romeo will feature his abstract and impressionist art at the Flair for Care Charity Fashion Show at the Wynn on April 8. Tony, who moved here in 1993, will unveil a new work, Untitled, at the gala. Meantime, you can view prior artwork on the first and second levels of Saks Fifth Avenue at Fashion Show through June.
*More than 30 cancer patients, survivors and family members took part in Nevada Cancer Institute’s continuing Bottles of Hope over the weekend. They transformed chemotherapy bottles into inspirational artworks symbolizing resilience. The glass bottles from NVCI’s treatment center were wrapped with a thin sheet of clay, sculpted, painted and adorned with flowers, leaves and animals, with lace and stamps added to express love and support. It’s a heartwarming, courageous display, and I urge you to support the next Bottles of Hope at NVCI’s Sunflower Cafe on March 19.
Here’s a chance to view the videos of Lil Jon’s birthday cake and red carpet interview at Surrender at Encore when the DJ and rapper celebrated his 39th birthday. Thanks to brothers Bill Cody for the interview and Christopher Rauschnot at 24kMedia on Twitter for the video.
Lil Jon kept his birthday celebrations rolling right along when he turned up to join De La Soul at Marquee at The Cosmopolitan with DJ Eric D-Lux on Monday. The group took over the DJ stage to perform their hits including “Me, Myself and I” and “Saturdays.” Their shout-out to Lil Jon prompted him to hop onstage before birthday cake and Don Julio tequila shots at his VIP table. NASCAR star and hometown hero Kurt Busch, his wife and 20 friends partied at Lavo at the Palazzo last night.
Comic Gilbert Gottfried admits that his voice is irritating and his humor irreverent, and how he’s bringing both to Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton for two weeks. He has an autograph and photo session after tonight’s grand opening. He’s the voice of the AFLAC duck, and I also worked with him for voiceovers on Aladdin. One very funny man! The Bellagio officially unveils its Chinese New Year display celebrating the Year of the Rabbit and all guided by Feng Shui. More than 4,500 plants are in the botanical garden’s display through March 5.
When my late business partner Al Masini took me to lunch at P.J. Clarke’s in New York, it wound up costing him $8 million, and that was how Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous came into being! Now you don’t have to go to Manhattan to make high-roller deals because an authentic version of one of the world’s most famous saloons has just opened at Caesars Palace. The Big Apple original has played home to everybody from Humphrey Bogart to Frank Sinatra and many NYC mayors, including Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg.
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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