Thursday, June 28, 2012 | 3:25 p.m.
The Aviators with Vince Neil
After two days of filming the new PBS series “The Aviators,” hometown rocker Vince Neil has made his first runway takeoff as a pilot. Cameras are taping him as he earns his pilot license on the two-week, accelerated pilot training program filming until July 11.
Vince studied textbooks on his just-completed European tour while he performed in Moscow, Finland, Paris and Milan. “The Aviators” is filming Vince’s entire flight training experience, from the first flight to the first solo to the end of the season revealing the answer to the burning question, “Can a rock star get his pilot license?” It looks right now as if it will be a resounding “yes.”
Ten million viewers across the country see the weekly “Aviators” on PBS stations across the country and Canada. It also is broadcast overseas on Discovery and available online on iTunes and Hulu via the website TheAviators.tv.
Vince, who owns a private jet charter company, is filming at Henderson Executive Airport, and the show premieres its third season from there this fall. It is a promotion with headphone manufacturer Sennheiser and its “Live Your Dream” program. Producers say Vince is very disciplined.
Says Vince: “This is my new adventure. The first day of flight training was learning how to taxi. My second day was my first runway takeoff. An unreal feeling. “
WICKED WHISPERS & RACY RUMORS
Which young Las Vegas beauty is raising eyebrows with her ever-increasing number of cross-country dates with a much older sports superstar?
Which hotel is well along in talks with a hospitality group taking over two of its underperforming restaurants whose chefs don’t know about the negotiations?
Which sports figure is in TV negotiations to return to his first calling, but in a different role while juggling a big-money reality TV show offer?
‘SURF’S’ UP! “Surf the Musical” began previews Wednesday night at Planet Hollywood after a five-day delay. Director Kristin Hanggi told Vegas DeLuxe: “It was fantastic to see all the hard work we’ve done over the past few weeks in front of an audience, and the feedback has been wonderful. The audience seemed to love the energy, the voices, the dance, and when we looked around, there were a few people getting teary eyed. … I think we are off to a running start!”
Marshal Kennedy Carolan (Tanner) said: “Last night was a blast! Since we have been rehearsing without an audience for the past month, it was nice to hear what areas get a reaction, which areas we can push through. It was a big learning experience.” And Lauren Zakrin (Brooke) summed up: “It was an exciting night for all of us. After all this hard work, it was so great to finally come together as a company and share the fruits of our labor with an audience for a first time.”
NEW PH LIVE THEATER: This summer, Planet Hollywood’s 7,000-seat Theater for the Performing Arts will be rebranded and become PH Live. The new name coincides with the christening of its new era with Nicki Minaj on Aug. 4, Peter Gabriel on Oct. 5 and the eighth-annual LGBT OutMusic Awards from Dec. 14-16 (the awards have been contracted for a three-year run).
Legendary singer Neil Diamond opened the venue in 1976, and its headliner roster includes Justin Timberlake, Prince, Ke$ha, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson and Whitney Houston. The venue also has been home to the Miss America and Miss USA pageants for several years.
TOP 10 U.S. PIZZA: Zagat this week released its first pizza survey, and congratulations to our Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana and owner Brad Otton in Henderson for being recognized as one of the Top 10 pizza palaces in the U.S. Settebello takes its name from the most valuable card in the deck used for the Italian card game Scopa. Our colleagues at Las Vegas Weekly have named Settebello, with its 90-second cooking time, as the best pizza in the valley.
Chef Carmine D’Amato has 12 years of experience and trained at Naples Pizza School before joining Settebello in 2006. Brad, a former USC quarterback and Rose Bowl star, started Settebello here and with its great success has expanded to Salt Lake City and Pasadena. Zagat voters cited Settebello’s “great crust, awesome mozzarella, fresh toppings and imported ingredients that transport diners to Naples.”
HUGE ART PAYOUT: Organizers of the new ARTY 2013 exhibition held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday to celebrate its arrival at the Palazzo. Arty 2013 promises the greatest payout in art history with $1.5 million in prizes, scholarships and grants. The four-day event will be the world’s first global open art competition and art show taking place at the Venetian, Palazzo and Sands Expo Center from April 18-21, 2013. For more information, go to TheArty.com.
Beloved Harlem Globetrotters star Meadowlark Lemon was at SCORE Fan Shop in the Luxor for a meet-and-greet autograph signing. Next up, two former Oakland Raiders -- three-time Super Bowl champion Cliff Branch and Hall of Famer Super Bowl MVP Fred Biletnikoff.
“CSI” star George Eads had lunch with three friends at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and enjoyed mushroom pizza, calamari and tuna sashimi appetizers topped off with lemon custard peach doughnuts and ice cream.
Singer, songwriter, musician and Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno watched “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, where he was hypnotized by its lovely leading ladies Penny Pibbets and Melody Sweets for photographs.
“American Idol” Season 5 winner and new Bally’s headliner Taylor Hicks dined with friends at chef Steve Martorano’s Cafe Martorano in the Rio and enjoyed meatballs, veal scaloppini and rigatoni. Taylor’s run at Bally’s is for eight weeks.
Burlesque queens Tempest Storm and Dixie Evans make special appearances in an early celebration of America’s Independence with shimmy starlets Kitten de Ville, Cabernet Dance, Cha Cha Velour, Mimi Le Meaux, Angie Pontani and fire tassel queen Satan’s Angel at Binion’s.
Terraplane Sun perform with DJ M!ke Attack at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ Boulevard Pool.
Comedian Donnell Rawlings has a three-night run at Empire Comedy Club in the Paris. And Thai Rivera headlines Sammy Hagar’s comedy club in Cabo Wabo Cantina at Planet Hollywood through Sunday.
It’s a girls weekend in Las Vegas with busty XXX actress Mary Carey, Playboy Playmate Sara Underwood, English pop artist and reality TV actress Cheryl Cole and Kelly Bensimon of “The Real Housewives of New York” fame. Our weekly Weekend Celebrity Preview also spotlights Will.I.Am’s double-duty and Nove Italiano chef Geno Bernardo hosting Project Dinner Table.
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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