Friday, July 17, 2009 | 2:33 p.m.
*Check out this story with accompanying photos at VegasDeLuxe.com.*
Following up on our recent report about Michael Jackson’s autopsy report being made public Monday, the L.A. Coroner’s Office has now run into a road block in completing its final examination of doctor prescription records and has pushed back its findings for at least two weeks.
Meantime, I can confirm that Michael’s birth date of Aug. 29 will be celebrated here in Las Vegas with a day- and night-long series of special events and a tribute concert. It’s the same birth date as mine, and I am honored to accept the invitation to emcee one of the highlight surprise segments.
We’ll bring you all the details, venues, guests and participants as we get a little closer, more stars sign on and the timetable gets locked in place. But definitely mark your schedule for Aug. 29.
*Congratulations are in order for Rio magician headliners Penn & Teller and Lance Burton’s juggler Michael Goudeau for their Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming with the “New Age Medicine” episode of their Showtime series Bullsh*t, now in its seventh season as the network’s longest-running series. Penn & Teller have picked up 13 previous nominations, plus one other for technical editing this time around. My British pal Andy Walmsley is competing in Outstanding Art Direction against another friend, David Rockwell. Andy, who lives here, received the nod for his American Idol set and David for the Academy Awards. Andy also designed Terry Fator’s set at The Mirage, and David is responsible for Planet Hollywood’s Peepshow.
*Las Vegas plays host to many beauty pageants and contests, and the latest in town is tonight’s finals of the Mrs. United States Pageant at The Orleans. Yesterday, several of the 2009 contestants visited Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Habitat at The Mirage. Mrs. United States 2008 Grazella Baratta hosted Oklahoma’s Carla Jenkins, Delaware’s Trisha Tarantino, Virginia’s Jo Phelps, Missouri’s Ami Gully, Arizona’s Amanda Houdashell, New York’s Gretchen Freudenvoll, New Jersey’s Margaret Skourlis, Alabama’s Candice McDaniel and Juli Goldstein of Florida.
*More than 50 restaurants on and off the Strip will take part in the third annual Restaurant Week from Aug. 31-Sept. 6. Participating restaurants will offer special menus for $50.09, $30.09 or $20.09, with a portion benefiting Three Square Food Bank. A list of participating restaurants and menus is posted at www.threesquare.org.
Peepshow star Holly Madison treated cast members to a night out on their night off, and she picked another topless show for them to watch. They all turned up at Fantasy in the Luxor, where one cast met the other cast after the show! Hugh Hefner and the Shannon twins will be filming an episode of The Girls Next Door at Holly’s 8 p.m. performance tomorrow. … Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce, who has a condo here, was at Tao in the Venetian dining with friends. They feasted on menu favorites from Chef Mark Andelbradt including lobster won tons, spicy tuna, sweet potato tempura, Kobe rib eye and sea bass. Paul selected Dr. Loosen Riesling as the night’s wine. … At Lavo in the Palazzo for the Custo Barcelona fashion show was another NBA pro, Philadelphia 76er Kareem Rush. The shooting guard enjoyed shots of Patron Silver. Dancing With the Stars pro champion Mark Ballas also was at Lavo.
*Here’s an amazing cost-saving tip going into the weekend. First Food & Bar in the Palazzo is offering unlimited champagne for $7 to go with its $12.90 Sunday brunch (I might just live there!). Brunch selections include the Lucky Strike Omelet, Midwest Killer, Peppers & Eggs “Sam” Wich, Brioche French Toast, McDouggie and Two-Fisted BLTA -- you have to go to find out what these selections are! The free-flowing champagne comes from a fountain of bubbly, and you can add strawberry, peach or orange nectars. There’s a live DJ, and brunch is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Now to add some more sparkle and quench your thirst for a full weekend of activities, we’ve got our own series of firsts that we serve up weekly in what we affectionately call around here the ROYAL ROBIN RUNDOWN:
First the three-day rundown of the NBA Summer Series games, which wrap up Sunday. Games are at Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion.
Friday: Detroit vs. Cleveland at 1 p.m., Sacramento vs. New York at 3, Minnesota vs. Washington at 5, Oklahoma City vs. Chicago at 5:30, Phoenix vs. NBA D-League Select at 7 and Denver vs. Portland at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: Dallas vs. Oklahoma City at 1 p.m., Chicago vs. New York at 3, Minnesota vs. New Orleans at 3:30, Memphis vs. Phoenix at 5, L.A. Clippers vs. Washington at 5:30, Denver vs. NBA D-League Select at 7 and Portland vs. San Antonio at 7:30.
Sunday: Washington vs. New York at 1 p.m., Minnesota vs. Chicago at 3, Memphis vs. San Antonio at 5 and the final 55th game Portland vs. NBA D-League Select at 7.
Now we return to our regularly scheduled programming!
Friday, July 17
*Love the pop opera of Italy’s great singers Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli? Along comes the four, younger handsome men who make up Il Divo, and when they sing at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, the ceiling should lift from the rafters! Il Divo’s first three albums hit No. 1 in 26 countries and sold 22 million copies.
*As the premiere of his new primetime nightly series nears on NBC, comedian Jay Leno still manages to put in two nights of standup at The Mirage while commuting on his plane back and forth from Hollywood.
*The Fray performs at The Pearl in the Palms with special guests Jack’s Mannequin. The Denver-based group is made up of Isaac Slade on vocals and piano, Joe King on guitar and vocals, guitarist Dave Welsh and drummer Ben Wysocki.
*Lonestar will be “Amazed” by you at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm.
*Ottmar Liebert is just as unique as his name as he performs flamenco and percussion with his amazing guitar work with Luna Negra at the Boulder Station.
*Our local singing family, brothers Joey and Frankie and sister Chrissi, and Irish drummer Pete O’Donnell who make up The Scintas play three nights at the Suncoast with songs, music, impressions and comedy all rolled into one.
*No sneezing when Pepper flavors up its recipe of reggae rock and dub to play poolside at the Hard Rock Hotel. The Hawaii band found fame and fortune in Southern California on the Warped Tour.
Grammy Award winner Jermaine Dupri, who just split with Janet Jackson after two years, is back at Prive as guest DJ. … Float in the wave pool at Mandalay Bay and watch a screening of Adam Sandler’s Don’t Mess With the Zohan.
Saturday, July 18
*A double header of country with Keith Urban and Glenn Campbell as his special guest at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The Down Under country superstar knows about Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing from his marriage to Nicole Kidman. Incidentally, tickets go on sale today for the Dec. 12 Larry the Cable Guy comedy concert at Mandalay Bay during the annual National Rodeo Championships.
*Jewel, sidelined by injury from her brief Dancing With the Stars run, is back on her feet and out on the road again performing solo and acoustic at Aliante.
*Incredible double header with Disney Channel star Demi Lovato, who toured with Jonas Brothers last year and saw her debut CD Don’t Forget debut at No. 2, now headlining with American Idol Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta at The Orleans Arena. David’s debut album went gold.
*Step back in time for “Love Shack” when The B-52’s bomb into Pure at Caesars Palace for an early evening concert. At sister nightclub LAX in the Luxor, the cover group The Dan Band, who appeared in The Hangover and Starsky & Hutch, performs.
*To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, the 11-day tribute at Fremont Street Experience is highlighted with a free concert by Jefferson Starship.
*Tears for Fears is “Sowing the Seeds of Love” when they go “Head Over Heals” in concert outdoors in the backyard when it’s cooler and the sun’s gone down at Green Valley Ranch.
*Ratt, who VH1 named on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, is joined by Extreme for a Hard Rock Hotel concert in the cool of the pool. Next door at Carey Hart’s Wasted Space, the Toadies perform with special guest The Willowz.
*While Hugh Hefner is cavorting with the Shannon twins watching former gal pal Holly Madison at the 8 p.m. Peepshow, the comedy duo Laughing Samoans will be at The Pearl, and Bobby Lee will be performing two shows at Playboy Comedy. They’ll all meet up there for the 10:30 p.m. show, and the Shannon Twins also will be there with Bobby tonight.
*How appropriate that on what will be the hottest temperature weekend of the year to date, surf’s up at the Cannery with former Beach Boy Al Jardine and his Endless Summer band and the Rip Chords.
Alluring actress Natalie Martinez will host a 25th birthday celebration at Tabu Ultra Lounge in MGM Grand. The J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez spokesmodel is best known for her roles in Death Race with Jason Statham and as Justin Timberlake’s love interest in the “Senorita” video. … 90210 heartthrob Dustin Milligan celebrates his 24th birthday at Prive. …. Daisy de la Hoya, reality TV starlet and niece of boxer Oscar de la Hoya, will host the night’s festivities at Pure.
Sunday, July 19
*The Young and the Restless stars Christian LeBlanc and Tracey Bregman will serve as the witnesses for the 11 a.m. wedding of Charlene Lee and Willie Williams at The Signature at MGM Grand. The couple won the wedding prize in a contest sponsored by MGM Grand, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and the top-rated CBS soap opera.
*It’s not a new accounting firm, but Clutch, Baroness and Lionize are the triple rock lineup at the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay.
*Comedienne Retta from Comedy Central has the stage to herself when comedienne Shayma Tash presents stand-up comedy at the Harmon Theater in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile.
On Sunday, we’ll have the full report of Hugh Hefner’s visit to Holly Madison’s Peepshow, and on Monday, our interviews with Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sajak and Vanna White as they wrap up filming three weeks of TV shows over a jam-packed weekend filming schedule.
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. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.
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