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October 20, 2017

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Strip Scribbles: Cosmopolitan to open theater and avant-garde show on NYE? Plus, ‘Owner’s Manual’ and ‘Bar Rescue’


Leila Navidi

The Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 10, 2010.

'Absinthe': March 28, 2012

Melody Sweets performs during the Wednesday, March 28, 2012, performance of Launch slideshow »

Insiders indicate that the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will open its new Chelsea Theater in time for New Year’s Eve, and rumors suggest that negotiations are underway for the first regular show residency. The Chelsea, not to be confused with the ballroom, also will host corporate and convention meetings, headliner fights and concerts for a 3,000-strong crowd.

Hotel execs say the new venue is inspired by some of the world’s most iconic theaters such as Paris’ Olympia, London’s Apollo and Prague’s Estates. The new Strip performance space will feature cast-glass chandeliers, a vintage lobby bar, private VIP opera boxes, a decorative grand staircase with brick tiling and a collection of stage-production props.

The latest in stage technology will power the third-level, 50,000-square-foot theater, which will be accessible from the resort’s West End Tower. Construction began in March, and Chelsea Ballroom will be renamed shortly.

However, it’s Wicked Whispers & Racy Rumors about that possible first show that has started a buzz. I’m told that the hotel has had discussions with two of the producers from “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace and the Spiegelworld tent production’s original director. Don’t label this “Absinthe 2,” though. It is not the reworked version that was tested at Caesars for a week last year before moving to New York’s Broadway and now on a world tour.

I’m told this would be an all-new show with oddball magic and “amazing fun” elements, and its only similarity would be the avant-garde and wild approach to modern theater. The theater opening is definite, but the show development is only rumored at this stage.

Click to enlarge photo

AMC's new series "Owner's Manual" starring Ed Sanders filmed in various locations, including the Nevada desert. The Nevada episode airs Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013.

NEW REALITY TV SHOWS: When reality TV cameras are here, they normally focus on scantily clad showgirls, nightclubs and the neon lights of the Strip — rarely the barren desert. But one of the most unique reality TV concepts — Owner’s Manual — did just that and filmed the high-speed dune buggies with hosts Ed Sanders (“Extreme Makeover”) and Marcus Hunt (“Hammer Heads”).

The series tests their skills with the wildest of weekly challenges with only one getting the owners manual and the other relying on instincts. Their challenges range from a 142-ton locomotive to a stunt plane to dynamiting rock quarries.

The show debuted on AMC last week with two back-to-back episodes, and Thursday night’s show features the Nevada challenge.

Ed said in a press release: “These dune buggies can eat up the Nevada desert quicker than my mate Marcus can clear his plate at a casino buffet — and believe me, he can. I’ve seen him! You’ll see the dune-buggy racing with the amazing team from Zero One Odyssey Racing. I thought that this was one challenge Marcus could handle without having to read a manual. But no! He honestly wants to take a manual in the car with him.

“These guys at Zero One have some of the most powerful vehicles that I’ve ever seen. These buggies are built to literally eat up whatever you can throw at them — absolutely awesome speed across bumps and uneven terrain at speeds of more than 70 mph. The faster you go, the better these cars handle.”

'Bar Rescue' Transforms Gipsy

An after shot of Gipsy on Paradise Road, now SBLV (South Beach Las Vegas), after a makeover courtesy of Spike TV's Launch slideshow »

“Bar Rescue” star and nightlife expert Jon Taffer, who regularly films his hit show here, is teaming up with celebrity chef and author John Besh and “Top Chef All-Stars” star Tiffany Derry to seek out and help “diamond in the rough” failing restaurants meet their potential in the new Spike TV series “Hungry Investors.”

The one-hour series starts production this fall for a spring premiere, and I’m reliably told that at least one of the 10 episodes will be filmed here. Each week, team puts two restaurants to the test to prove that they deserve a second chance. The enterprise that shows the most promise of turning things around earns an investment.

The Expendables 3

‘THE EXPENDABLES 3’: Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl is one of the executive producers of Sylvester Stallone’s sequel “The Expendables 3,” which began principal photography in Bulgaria this week. No confirmation yet that Las Vegas resident Nicolas Cage, rumored to be on the action team, is inked officially.

But Las Vegas regulars Jason Statham, co-executive producer Avi Lerner, UFC hero Randy Couture and “Twilight” hunk Kellan Lutz, here this week for the MAGIC fashion convention, are all involved.

My pal James Bond villain Robert Davi, who opens for Don Rickles at the Orleans next month, also is on board, and Harrison Ford takes over the Bruce Willis role after Sly on Aug. 6 nixed his $4 million paycheck demand for four days of work. The movie is set for release Aug. 15, 2014, and I’m reliably told that with all the Las Vegas connections, it’s safe to say that there will be a screening and premiere at Planet Hollywood.

GARTH GOES ON TOUR: Hotel mogul Steve Wynn has said that his hoped for five-year deal with Garth Brooks ended amicably, and, as per contract language, after just the three-year run at his Encore Theater in the Wynn. Garth decided after the success of the Las Vegas concerts that he would end his semi-retirement to start a new world tour, his first in 16 years.

It gets underway in fall 2014 after fulfilling his promises of raising his family and to see his youngest daughter’s high school graduation next summer. Expect wife singer Trisha Yearwood, who regularly appeared in Garth’s stage shows, to join him on the road.

HELP ABANDONED ANIMALS: A nonprofit organization operating Nevada’s largest open-admission animal shelter could win $25,000 from ASPCA $100K Challenge Community Engagement Award.

To ensure that the Animal Foundation of Nevada is among the Top Three finalists, voters with Facebook must log in and cast a daily vote for the Animal Foundation through Aug. 31. It takes $100 to provide one week of care for a pet; imagine what $25,000 would do for the animals of Nevada!


NBA stars Andre Iguodala, Jerry Stackhouse, Roger Mason and Willie Green are among a group from the National Basketball Players Association taking a break from their meetings here for a party open to the public at Azure Luxury Pool at Palazzo.

Luxor headliners Jabbawockeez host at nearby LAX with Bangerz and DJ Franzen.

Anchormen hosts and performs at Chateau in the Paris.

Grand Opening of 'Pin Up' at Stratosphere

The grand opening and red carpet of Launch slideshow »


I’ll be filming with 2011 Playmate of the Year and “Pin Up” star Claire Sinclair at Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, Calif., for her new reality TV show “Stable Wars: Del Mar,” so with that in mind, we’ll take a look at the horses at South Point. Plus, Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel celebrates its first anniversary with the always-unpredictable Courtney Love, and Las Vegas Restaurant Week gets ready to wine and dine through Aug. 31 to benefit Three Square.

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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