Chris Pizzello / AP
Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 | 6 p.m.
The world’s attention will be focused on Hollywood this weekend for Sunday’s 88th Annual Academy Awards. Host Chris Rock is set to cause a ruckus on ABC as he slams Hollywood over the lack of women and minorities onscreen and behind the camera. It should be ruthless, shocking and hysterically funny from the get-go.
How can Las Vegas compete with the red carpet glamor on Tinseltown’s biggest night of the year? Our local children’s charity Variety Club holds its seventh-annual salute to Hollywood with an Oscars red carpet celebrity walk and viewing party at Brenden Theaters at the Palms.
Expect to see everybody from master magician Lance Burton to Jennifer Romas and her “Sexxy” showgirls from Westgate Las Vegas talking with MCs Dayna Roselli and Chet Buchanan. After the broadcast, Alize chef Mark Purdy re-creates Oscar dishes for one night only atop the Palms.
If you’ve had enough of Leonardo DiCaprio’s bear scene from Best Picture frontrunner “The Revenant,” we have other rival events Sunday.
There is the “Scale the Strat” 108-story run from the bottom to the top of the Stratosphere staircase; concerts by Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Phil Lesh; Mrs. Nevada America at Suncoast; and the mega-magnificent 50th birthday bash and St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser for our Las Vegas Sun Editor at Large John Katsilometes at Tuscany Suites. Zowie Bowie’s Chris Phillips has double duty MC’ing the pageant and singing at Kats’ soiree of music from 1966.
Other off-the-grid weekend events include the Color Run downtown, Gown Town benefit, hot-air balloon festival in Pahrump, Divas Day Out events at South Point, and Season 2 regional finals for World of Tanks in WarGaming.Net’s North American League.
Entertainment choices also include Kathy Griffin and Jay Leno bringing the funny to the Mirage.
So let’s hand out our own Royal Robin Rundown statuettes for bravery and courage to those competing against the Oscar hullabaloo:
FRIDAY, FEB. 26
Rascal Flatts continues their “Rhythm & Roots” mini-residency at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel for two nights.
London-born singer-songwriter Lucy Woodward is at Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center for two nights.
Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies and Children of Bodom are at Pearl at the Palms.
Phil Lesh is at Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq Promenade all weekend.
Earl Turner and friends are at South Point all weekend.
“Secret Agent Man” Johnny Rivers is at Golden Nugget Showroom.
Cyanide is at Lounge at the Palms.
Lights & Music “Dance Yourself Clean” Spring 2016 Tour stop at Backstage Bar & Billiards downtown.
Jay Leno, newly inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, is at the Mirage.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Tickets are on sale for Violent Femmes at Brooklyn Bowl on May 5; Hellyeah and Escape the Fate at the Foundry in SLS Las Vegas on June 5; Steely Dan and Steve Winwood at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace on June 19; Brit Floyd at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on July 2; 311 at Mandalay Bay Beach with fireworks both nights July 2 and 3; Chicago at Pearl at the Palms on July 9; and Goo Goo Dolls at Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on Sept. 16.
“The Bridges of Madison County” wraps its weeklong run Sunday at the Smith Center, which just announced its 2016/2017 Broadway Season.
“She Loves Me” is at Summerlin Performing Arts Center.
Jamz Cheer & Dance National Championship is at Orleans Arena through Monday.
The hot-air balloon festival is at Petrack Park in Pahrump all weekend.
WORCS motorcycle racing is at South Point Arena all weekend.
The Rascal Flatts After Party is at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Above & Beyond is at Hakkasan in MGM Grand.
Audien is at XS in Steve Wynn’s Encore.
Hip-hop DJ Jesse Marco is at Omnia in Caesars.
SATURDAY, FEB. 27
David Perrico & Pop Strings Orchestra are at Lounge at the Palms.
Tony Sacca and The Sexy Saccettes are at Casablanca in Mesquite.
The Infamous Stringdusters are at Brooklyn Bowl.
La Arrolladora Banda Limon is at Primm Valley.
Kathy Griffin is at the Mirage.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
The Downtown Grand hosts the WarGaming.net North America League Season 2 Regional Finals for World of Tanks with a $75,000 prize for the winning video game team.
The fifth-annual Tropicolor World Tour 5K Color Run is downtown, with its after-party at Ghostbar Dayclub in the Palms.
Divas Day Out at South Point Exhibit Hall features “Divas Las Vegas” at the Linq Hotel and Thunder From Down Under performers.
98.5 KLUC hosts 2016 Gown Town benefiting Help of Southern Nevada.
Ja Rule celebrates his birthday at Foxtail Nightclub at SLS.
SUNDAY, FEB. 28
Iron Maiden is at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Anti-Flag and Leftover Crack are at Vinyl.
Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band are at Brooklyn Bowl.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
“Scale the Strat 2016” benefits the American Lung Association as runners climb the 1,455 stairs up 108 stories.
Caesars Palace headliner Sir Elton John has partnered with Lalique to create a series of limited-edition crystal sculptures for auction at his annul Oscars viewing party to benefit his Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The 2016 Mrs. Nevada America Pageant is at Suncoast with current title holder Jennifer Snowden set to crown her successor. Former Mrs. Nevada America Angie Phillips and Chris Phillips, no relation, are MCs.
Wynn Las Vegas Director of Race and Sports Operations Johnny Avello hosts his Oscar viewing party at the race and sports book beginning at 4 p.m. with red carpet and prize giveaways.
Dayna Roselli and Chet Buchanan co-host the Variety Club’s Oscar viewing party at Brenden Theaters at the Palms.
Travis Cloer (“Jersey Boys”), Paul Shortino (“Raiding the Rock Vault”), Rob Lyons (“Million Dollar Quartet”) and more are set to turn the songs of 1966 into a salute to our Editor at Large pal John Katsilometes’ 50th birthday to benefit St. Baldrick’s Foundation and young Elann Saula, son of “Ka” at MGM Grand musicians Sami Saula and Leslie Saula.
Check back for our reports and photo galleries, plus we meet up with downtown comedy magician Mike Hammer, who savages his audiences with sarcasm and confuses them with his conjuring.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Palms Casino Resort has come a long way since its "Real World" debut in 2002. The boutique property features three distinct towers and a diverse mix of bars and restaurants across a 95,000-square-foot casino.
Palms, which features more than 1,200 rooms and fantasy suites, is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation that will encompass an Ivory Tower room and suite redesign, new culinary additions, re-imagined gaming spaces and new, distinctive nightlife experiences.
In addition to newly designed rooms, during the first phase of the renovation, Palms will welcome Heraea, a high-energy American restaurant and lounge, and XISHI, a pan-Asian restaurant and lounge.
Fantasy Suites include the Hardwood Suite, the only hotel room in the world with its own basketball court.
Other amenities include the all-new Cantor Gaming® race and sports book, one of the few sports books in Las Vegas to include a poker room; SOCIAL; Scarlet; Chocolat Bistro; tonic bar; ghostbar; Pearl Concert Theater; Moon Nightclub; N9NE Steakhouse; Nove Italiano; Simon Restaurant & Lounge; Palms Pool & Bungalows; Kim Vō Salon; Drift Spa & Hammam; Brenden Theatres, a 14-theatre cineplex and more than 60,000 square-feet of meeting space.