Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 | 6 p.m.
The first-ever global celebration of Michael Jackson’s birthday began at 12:01 a.m. today at the international dateline in the first time zone of New Zealand. It will end at midnight in the last time zone of Hawaii and American Samoa. The unique worldwide event marks what would have been the King of Pop’s 55th birthday. He died in June 2009.
There will be a special performance of Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson One at Mandalay Bay. The touring “Michael Jackson — the Immortal World Tour” is wrapping its Asian tour dates and getting ready for its residencies in Australia and New Zealand before moving on to Dubai and South Africa early next year.
Fans are encouraged all day long to send their good wishes, videos and photos to the We Are One worldwide map on display at Birthday.MichaelJackson.com using the Instagram hasthtag #MJWeAreOne.
Whenever Michael and I chatted, we always talked about our Virgo coincidence of being born the same day, and since I’ve been overwhelmed from Sweden, Japan, America, Canada and Britain with e-cards and Twitter birthday greetings today, I must say a very sincere thank you. You’re all great!
FIVE-DAY WEEKEND: It’s only to be expected that Las Vegas nightclubs and party pools would expand the Labor Day Weekend into a five-day holiday. Rain or shine, it kicks off today with the first of the DJ invasion: Steve Aoki at Hakkasan, Ice Cube at Tao, Manufactured Superstars at Tryst, Nero at Surrender and Eric Forbes at 1OAK.
Let’s hope the ugly forecast of rain, dark clouds, lightning and stormy winds proves incorrect so that we don’t have a damper on the final blowout bashes of the summer. We’ll have the full four-day Royal Robin Rundown in our weekly Weekend Celebrity Preview on Friday. It’s a monster!
CLOSE BUT NO CROWN: Beautiful 2013 Mrs. Nevada-America Ruth Gray, now married to Caesars Entertainment VP and Linq General Manager Jon Gray, came closest of all prior Silver State beauty queens to winning the Mrs. America Pageant in Tucson on Wednesday night. She placed second runner-up behind Mrs. Texas and Mrs. Idaho.
Well-deserved congratulations on the achievement; if I was the judge, I’d have given her the crown, sash and title!
ANOTHER ‘RESCUE’: Spike TV star Jon Taffer has done it yet again with his hit TV series “Bar Rescue.” His Sept. 8 edition will feature the makeover of the old Hammer Bar here, which has now become Hammer & Ales. Owners Chris Sarret and Mitch Watson, longtime local friends who opened the bar after years in the Las Vegas restaurant industry, went through several 16-hour days of filming the transformation.
Jon also instituted changes to the branding, menu, staff and ambiance. They’ll host a viewing party Sept. 8 after they open for the start of football season.
WICKED WHISPERS & RACY RUMORS
Has an independent theater on the Strip been shuttered by its landlords? I hear, though, that one of the stars there is in discussions to take it over, rename it and open up again late September, with a grand reopening in October.
CRUISE-IN: One-of-a-kind collector automobiles will be showcased at the 6th annual Cruise-In on Sept. 21 at Gaudin Ford showrooms alongside I-215 in Spring Valley. It’s a fundraising benefit for our beloved charity Keep Memory Alive and to highlight the sixth annual Barrett-Jackson car auction Sept. 26-28 at Mandalay Bay. The first 100 registrants receive two free tickets for the auction.
NBC “Today” host Matt Lauer and head booking producer Matt Zimmerman, here to film the morning show’s exclusive interview with Mike Tyson, dined Wednesday night at Andrea’s in Steve Wynn’s Encore. Executive chef Joe Elevado served them crispy and spicy tuna, smoked Wagyu tataki, cucumber rolls and shrimp tempura with fried burdock roll.
“Pawn Stars” favorite Austin “Chumlee” Russell showed off his new weight-loss look at Green and Proteins in Henderson — and he’s sticking to it. He ordered a Cali grill in a spinach wrap and said hello to members of Elvis Monroe, who wanted a healthy fuel-up in advance of tonight’s concert at Red Rock Resort.
As we reported Wednesday, “X Rocks” at the Rio debuts.
Journey has its second of two concerts at Pearl at the Palms. Our first-night coverage, with surprise guest Carlos Santana, was posted today.
Cheryl Burke and Karina Smirnoff of “Dancing With the Stars” attempt a Guinness Book of World Record for the longest beach ball bounce at Encore Beach Club to launch Pom Wonderful Juices.
Wavves presumably makes some at Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Four days and nights of nonstop insanity are planned for Las Vegas this LDW, and we have the full rundown, from the Legends of Football League to Puddle of Mudd and Earth, Wind & Fire to Whoopi Goldberg, Brad Paisley, Kourtney Kardashian and Wolfgang Puck. Call Las Vegas “Party One” this massive celebrity-filled weekend.
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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