That did not take long. The Electric Daisy Carnival music festival this weekend has been bootlegged and is available now on Pirate Bay via a massive BitTorrent. This is the same site that LULZ Security used to post allegedly hacked information from a variety of corporate and government networks.
Despite being consistently well run, packed with clientele both local and high-end tourist, Palms lost its financial footing in the recession with Palms Place (a badly timed condominium project). So, like Cosmopolitan and M, banks and investment funds are now calling the shots. Initial reports suggested the Maloof family could retain up to 20% ownership in the resort with local Greenspun Corporation also holding on to a small stake. But more recent reports leave out any mention of Greenspun (or math room for even a single percentage point of ownership), and put the Maloof ‘s share down to 2%. As for the remainder: “TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners..will own 49 percent each.” The good news is that George Maloof will remain running the resort for now which will thrill fans of the property. Of course, sometimes these things don’t go as planned. When Robert Earl lost control of Planet Hollywood, much noise was made that he would remain a public face and consultant to the property. But he seems to have instead vanished from Planet Hollywood. So, the trend continues of banks and outside investors increasingly owning the casinos of Vegas. Of course, that is ominous for those who believe Vegas thrives on the sort of creativity and risk and other things bankers and hedge funds are not known for doing.
There was a time when Amy Winehouse was being looked at as a possible Vegas headliner. Her voice was compared to Aretha Franklin while her delivery and sound were contemporary. No, she was not Fiona Apple. But who knows what happened to the recording career of Fiona Apple? Still, Winehouse held a lot of potential. But something has gone horribly wrong. This concert from a few days ago in Belgrade resulted in the remainder of her tour being cancelled. Anyone else notice how often she rubs her nose?
There is a single event that takes best advantage of the unique talents littered around Las Vegas: Wonderground. Fathered by magician Jeff Mcbride, this once a month happening brings together everything and anything that can be placed on a stage or presented to an audience. From spoken word to belly dancers, Wonderground offers not so much an alternative to the Strip’s entertainment distractions, but a community for the people who by day feed the artistic spectacle of Las Vegas to experiment, collaborate and share.
If you are in Vegas tonight, don’t miss it. And, if you see me, come up and say “Hello”:
Doors will open at 7:30pm at The Olive, located at 3850 East Sunset Rd., Las Vegas, NV. There is no cover charge, only a two drink minimum at the door.
Paris Las Vegas is rarely a casino that gets a lot of attention on the Strip. This is where Barry Manilow headlines. But the Chateau Nightclub seems poised to change the casino’s reputation with two upcoming events of Jerry Springer worthy American trash. First on April 30, Charlie Sheen will be making the inevitable Vegas nightclub appearance there. Obviously, for those of you who want to meet porn stars looking to get paid, this is the event to be at. Even more tasteless though comes on May 6 with the birthday “celebration” of the man who the press release generously (and, seriously) calls “America’s favorite Alaskan bad boy” Levi Johnston. Since Las Vegas is a city with no memory for politics, the press release goes on to note his claim to fame: “Best known as the former fiancé and father of Bristol Palin’s child, Johnston first received media attention in 2008 when U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin announced that her daughter was pregnant with Johnston’s baby and that the two were engaged.” That relationship did not work; perhaps, they were too young? But both the teen parents have cashed in nicely on the experience. Now, Las Vegas is willing to celebrate the fame that comes from this national example of teen pregnancy. Proud moment?
In light of the judicial attack on major poker sites the casinos in Vegas were quick to run away from recently embraced partnerships with same companies. But the celebrity poker pros, many of whom receive lucrative sponsorships and allow their names to be used by these sites appear to be more circumspect. Poker legend Doyle Brunson is typical of the careful line walking being done. Asked by one fan via Tweet, if it is safe to play on Brunson’s own site, Brunson responded tersely: “How would I know? I’m not making any hasty decisions.” And, if you have seen few of the major poker pros speaking up about an industry changing swiftly thanks to criminal charges, they are probably all doing the same strategy as Brunson, who responding to a Tweet request for an interview said bluntly: “I’ve got no interest in talking to any radio show or any media right now. Got to get all the facts first.” (Photo by Sarah Gerke of Doyle Brunson with Jack Binion)
Elton John’s return to Vegas was a bigger surprise than Celine Dion. For one thing, Dion’s return wasn’t a surprise. The promoter and casino had been publicly yearning for Dion since the moment she left Vegas. John’s “The Red Piano” was also a success at Caesars Palace Colosseum. But John seemed to tire of the gig by the time he retired the show. And, so, outside of touring, his return to Vegas is a bit of a surprise. “The Red Piano” was lucrative for John and a production show is far easier on the singer than touring: removing a lot of travel and demanding a shorter and less physical performance than John offers at his regular concerts. The return of John for another production, this one dubbed with a wink “The Million Dollar Piano” suggests the financial lack of risk investing in John for either the promoter or the audience. It is also significant that last time out, both Dion and John reached out to create a Vegas style production with a name partner. Dion worked with former a former Cirque director and John with famed photographer David LaChapelle. This time around both productions have realized that the brand (Dion or John) name alone can sell out the show.
Yet, how many Celine Dion and Elton John level performers are there who are willing to sign a long term deal in Vegas? Neither Midler nor Cher managed the buzz of the original duo. And, while Dion and John both have careers that allow them to thrive with or without Vegas, the Collosseum at Caesars is clearly going to be challenged in finding acts to replace them one day. But that day is not today, and, for now, Caesars once again can count on the two original sure-thing headliners.
Here is a clip that claims to be Britney Spears performing at Rain last night. I won’t say sing; as you can see her voice doesn’t seem to be miked until after the song ends. Then she reaches her hand to her side where the amplification is hooked up to use her voice to say farewell to the audience.