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FINAL Trivia Question:

What was the first major Vegas resort to open after Steve joined the R-J on Sept. 9, 1996?

Know? E-mail us call 702/997-3300 by 9/3

If we pick your correct answer, you pick from: A free subscription to VegasMate for iPhone or iPad, a Celine Dion opening-night program, a Shania thumbdrive, a Cher program, a pair of earrings from the Cosmopolitan's Art-o-Mat machine, booties from Grand Canyon Skywalk, a Viva Elvis scarf, a stack of Le Reve postcards, a keychain from Encore or Wynn, CityCenter notebooks, a Bette Midler mug, a Cosmopolitan notebook, a Cosmo recycled-vinyl folder, a "Wicked" lapel pin or promotional circular, T-shirts from the "Las Vegas Celebrates The Music of Michael Jackson" concert, vintage Sands postcards and envelopes, an autographed copy of Gay Vegas by Steve Friess," a Miles-and-Steve wedding poker chip, CDs from Cheap Trick, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, LeAnn Rimes, Ne-Yo, Jon Secada, or Olivia Newton John, a Wynn Macau washcloth, laundry or plastic bag, matchbook or item of toiletries, a Sands Macau buffet matchbook, DVDs from Anthony Cools, Mixology pioneer Tony Abou-Ganim, John Tesh, and artist Richard McDonald, the books &August of 77" by Jamesel G. Lighten, "Madam: Inside a Nevada Brothel" by Lora Shaner,"Kill Everyone" by Lee Nelson et al, "Quiet Kingmaker" by Jack Sheehan, "Cult Vegas" by Mike Weatherford, "The Modern Mixologist" by Tony Abou-Ganim and "The Art of Richard MacDonald."

Donate $25 and choose any of the above prizes! Any item with an asterisk requires a $40 donation. Give $75 for a Sig&Roy Reunion tiger table centerpiece seen here!

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Top 10 Moments of voted by you

[Click on names to hear brief clip, click on date to hear the whole episode from which the clip comes. Right-click to save the mp3s.]

#10: Wynn details his secret Rembrandt buy. (April 4)

#9 (tie):Rita Rudner joins us live for the 3rd Podcast-a-Palooza. (Nov. 2)

#9 (tie): Cloris Leachman calls Joan Collins the English Open. (Sept. 12)

#8: Miles bashes Amber Unicorn idea. (Oct. 25)

#6 (tie): Miles calls out Steve over how to say Palms'. (Nov. 14)

#6 (tie): Mayor Oscar Goodman claims he drinks a bottle a day. (Dec. 5)

#4: Steve Wynn says his divorce may be the most costly ever. (April 4)

#3: Steve debates Al Mancini over "Eating Las Vegas" (Dec. 5)

#2: Elaine Wynn joins us live at the Wynn.(March 22)

#1: Donny Osmond buys his own stuff on eBay. (June 21)

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Theme Music by Strange Radio

Our new theme is "Las Vegas Remixed" by Strange Radio!


Miles Smith is executive producer for KVBC, the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas and has 20 years of experience in TV journalism and TV production. Miles, whose deep, rich voice gives The Strip its professional sound, is an avid reader of US Weekly, In Touch and other celebrity rags and has a particular fascination with black female performers like Toni Braxton and Gladys Knight, both of whom have been guests on the program. He's also a car nut and an avid foodie.

Steve Friess is a national Las Vegas-based freelance writer whose work appears regularly in AOL News, The Daily Beast, USA Today, Wired, Conde Nast Traveler, Newsweek and dozens of others. The Long Island native moved to Vegas to freelance in 2002 after living and writing in China and quickly established himself as the go-to writer for the worldwide media on all things Vegas. Frequently, Steve airs on The Strip the unedited audio of interviews he conducts for his articles with the key players in America's favorite adult playground. Steve also co-hosts The Petcast podcast.


Us with Jen Tilly
Steve + Miles shots
Steve's Family
Black + Jack
Steve's Travels

Also try Steve's other show, The Petcast





This Week, On The Strip...




Aug. 27: Steve's Valedictory Speech To Lambda
Aug. 26: Steve on LVW Radio Mag Regarding Jockey Club
Aug 25: Steve's final appearance on Nevada Week in Review
Aug. 24: Steve on KNPR on the future of Vegas newspapers
Aug.23: Steve's KNPR Exit Interview
Aug. 22: Steve on KNPR on Eureka, NV

Extra: More bloopers that didn't make it in the main show

As faithful listeners know, this podcast is edited. We appreciate being independent, but we don't believe that independent means we should be careless and sloppy. So Steve goes through every week and cleans it all up so you don’t have to waste your time hearing long pauses and unnecessary or irrelevant banter. Also, there's a whole culture that’s built up around the chat room and we interact with those out there in ways that the podcast listener wouldn’t follow. So, anyhow, each year we have created a Bloopers Episode. Hear us curse, bicker and ponder deep but Vegas-irrelevant thoughts. It's fun. You'll laugh. Mostly.

In Banter, we mulled our encounter with Mrs. Wynn in Sun Valley, talked about the de-Elvising at Aria and the likely implosion of The Harmon, we explained our strategy for packing and moving and much more. Near the end, we also discuss Steve's bingo adventure.

Episode Guide:
Open & Banter: Start to 36ish
Intro/End-Show Bloopers : 36:45-44ish
Wordplay Bloopers: 44:30ish-50ish
Banter/Midshow Bloopers: 50:50-1:07ish
Trivia/Poll/Feedback: 1:07ish-1:20ish
Interview-related Bloopers: 1:20:35-1:31ish
Cursing Bloopers: 1:31:20-1:35ish
Miles' Voices Bloopers: 1:35:30-1:40ish
TSTToTW: 1:40ish-end
Something More: 1:53-end

Links to stuff discussed:

What our ReLo Cubes look like, from Upack.Com
Aria is
De-Elvising and removed the ugly wrap
Links (when available) to the Eureka Flickr Slideshow, The Daily article, the
KNPR segment and the LV Weekly column
The site for
Las Vegas Weekly cover story on the Jockey Club
MGM Resorts wants to implode The Harmon,
according to the WSJ
360Vegas Podcast is worth a try
one, two and three of Steve’s Bingo adventure at Sunset Station

Aug. 7: The Real George Wallace?

George Wallace threw us for a loop back in the fall of 2005 when he claimed to be two different places and then unceremoniously dumped us. And he’s paid for it, at least in these parts, with us mocking him as the symbol of a bad guest and many listeners saying they’d avoid his show because of the shoddy treatment. But Steve can’t really leave well enough alone. As we conclude our run as Vegas podcasters, he wanted another whack at Wallace, and so he was over at the Flamingo today for a face-to-face conversation. It turned out to be very fun discussion in which Wallace spoke possibly vacating his berth at the resort when his contract ends this year and much more. In Banter: Oscar Goodman Steak, Steve Wyrick woes, outdoor (?) summer theater in Vegas, obsessing over fake Spongebobs and more.

Episode Guide:
Open & Banter: Start to 18ish
George Wallace Part I: 24ish--51ish
Trivia/Poll/Letters: 51ish-59ish
George Wallace Part II: 1:00-1:26ish
TSTToTW: 1:26-end

Links to Stuff Discussed:

George Wallace’s website
Our original George Wallace interview episode from 2005
VegasHappensHere.Com on Wolfgang Puck leaving the Springs Preserve
A report on developments related to Oscar Goodman Steak
This blog asks whether Steve Wyrick will ever open
The Strip Sense column in 2010 on the Plaza’s gaybashing theater operator, John Beane
The cutting-edge Riv brings bingo back
The County Commission obsesses over fake Spongebobs
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park’s Super Summer Theatre
Railroad Pass casino is 80
The Sahara’s NASCAR auction
is on
Cee-Lo may have a Vegas residency gig
Lance Rich’s proof there was no water in My Heart Will Go On in …A New Day

July 31: Charlie Palmer, Hall of Famer
EXTRA: Hal Sparks on Vince Neil, QaF and Comedy

The last time we spoke to celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, he used this program to break a WORLD EXCLUSIVE about his plans to build a hotel in Las Vegas. This time around, he joins us as one of the three newest inductees into the American Gaming Association's Hall of Fame. Palmer talks about that, about the aforementioned hotel he still intends to build some day and about a particularly wild birthday meal he had on an island in Fiji. Also, we excerpt our interview with comic Hal Sparks, the former Talk Soup host and Queer As Folk star who appears this weekend at the Las Vegas Hilton. It was Sparks' show, you might recall, that Vince Neil interrupted in order to confront a former girlfriend, Alicia Jacobs.
In Banter: Drrrty pools, Wyrick delays, Vegas Top Cheffers, Bucket Lists and more.

Open & Banter: Start to 18ish
Charlie Palmer: 18-50ish
Trivia/Poll/Letters: 51ish-1:04ish
Hal Sparks Excerpt: 1:04-1:07ish
TSTToTW: 1:08-end

Links To Stuff Discussed:

The sites of Hal Sparks and Charlie Palmer
The Daily’s piece on pee in the pools
Bellagio’s rooms pictorial and report by VegasHappensHere.Com
WSOP betting at sports books are open and popular, says the Sun's Case Keefer
Top Chef Just Desserts contestants from Vegas
Charlie Palmer’s Fiji birthday extravaganza

July 20: Roger Thomas

The design genius behind Mirage, Bellagio and Wynn was supposed to have stepped down from the Wynn Resorts and pursue other long-deferred opportunities. But Roger Thomas ran into some financial troubles brought on by the economy and decided instead to stay put, so instead he’s right back where we left him: In the throes of conjuring up the look and feel of the world’s next most anticipated resort, this time in Macau. Thomas talks to our Steve in this episode about the artistic and hospitality theories behind the resort not due to open until 2015, but he also offers a surprisingly frank assessment of the Bellagio’s new room renovations. Also, what does he use his iPad for? What are they designing at Wynn now? How was Steve and Andrea’s wedding?

In Banter: Feuding over Lanni coverage, Sheldon hearts dollars more than elephants, the WSOP summer finale, some meal deals, Miles' new toy and much more.

July 15: Fluff LaCoque's Jubilee!
EXTRA: Jubilee's most successful alum, Tina Walsh

Thirty years is a blink of the eye in most places, but it’s an |eternity for the every-changing Las Vegas. This summer, the venerable, historic Jubilee! celebrates the start of its fourth decade at Bally’s, so we chatted with the 88-year-old firecracker who has ruled the land of massive headdresses and sequined skivvies with an iron fist for all this time. Fluff LaCoque talks to Steve about bruised thighs, chubby guys, fake boobs and so much more this hour. Also, we’ll hear an excerpt from our conversation with Jubilee’s most successful alumna, Tina Walsh, who was a principle singer for the show in the 1980s and is presently appearing as Madame Giry in Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular. The entire conversation with Walsh will be posted as an extra edition into the feed and on the website.

In Banter: Miles makes HIS big announcement, Steve has a WSOP adventure, several Vegas closures afoot, the Plaza has some odd new things coming, more MGM misfortune and a Titanically bad restaurant idea.

Open & Banter: Start to 41ish
Fluff LaCoque Part I: 41-103ish
Trivia/Poll/Letters: 104ish-1:13
Fluff LaCoque Part II: 1:14-1:33ish
TSTToTW: 1:34ish-end

Links to stuff discussed

Get tickets for Jubilee! and the backstage tour
Tina Walsh’s Phantom bio
Steve’s essay for The Daily about his WSOP adventure
A piece on the “bubble” bursting at the 2011 WSOP
A feature about Michael Stevens, the quadriplegic who lasted to Day 3 of the WSOP
Steve’s piece on The Daily about Paul Pierce’s WSOP playing
A piece on Phil Hellmuth’s Day 2 drama
News on Rosemary’s and Carluccio’s closing
That weird Titanic dinner at Bernard’s
The questionable news outlet known as Las Vegas Entertainment News
Howard Stutz’s latest on the Perini-MGM scrum over The Harmon
The Plaza’s plan for a sexy salon and the Swingers Club
Legionnaire’s Disease drama at Aria
Project Linq is coming, supposedly
Steve and Jamie’s piece for the L.A. Times on the topless shows in Vegas

SPECIAL RE-ISSUE: Terry Lanni in 2008

In honor of the passing of former Caesars World and MGM Mirage chief Terry Lanni, we've reissued our April 2008 conversation with Lanni.


July 9: Annie Duke’s New Deal

Open & Banter: Start to 25ish
Annie Duke: 26-58ish
Trivia/Poll/Letters: 58ish-1:06
Shelley Berkley: 1:07-1:48ish
TSTToTW: 1:48-end

The only poker pro who has any kind of serious name recognition in mainstream popular culture is Annie Duke, and she’d like to change that. Duke, who is history’s most successful female player with more than $4.2 million in live tournament winnings, is the founding commissioner of a new league that aims to use objective criteria to determine who the world’s best players really are. On the eve of the start of the 42nd World Series of Poker Main Event, we hear from Annie about how the league works and why it matters as well as chat her up about her appearances on Celebrity Apprentice and the game show 1 v 100. Later, we check in with U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, the Democrat who represents Las Vegas and has sponsored a bill that would once again legalize online poker wagering in the United States.

In Banter: It’s not Le Cock, Niles Crane on Vegas, Mandalay’s electric therapy, Amber Unicorn books at Cosmo, murder on the Strip and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Annie Duke’s website
Steve’s column about the Epic Poker and its potential
The Review-Journal on the Berkley-Barton bill to legalize web poker
Bagelmania on Yelp
VegasHappensHere.Com on Bellagio wallpaper problem
The Niles Crane Vegas moment on YouTube
Clark County Museum website
VegasTripping speculation that the Venetian-Palazzo folks are detheming Palazzo
VegasInc on Hash House A Go Go Coming to Plaza
Mandalay Place charging electric cars
La Cage Returns… to the Four Queens
Stingrays at Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Murder and mayhem on the Strip lately
YouTube clip of Annie Duke being attacked by Joan Rivers on Celebrity Apprentice


This is audio from that walk-around, which also includes conversations with CEO Tony Santo about the process of buying all the furnishings from the never-to-open Fontainbleau and about why they opted not to call the property the Union Plaza again. Plus, he defines what a high-roller is at a place like the Plaza and explains why they won’t be opening the room balconies for guest use. The renovations will end up costing about $35 million, up from the original $20 million budget. Santo explains why. Finally, you may notice the main voice on this episode belongs to Santo, but the Plaza’s chief marketing officer, Steve Rosen, also chimes in from time to time.


June 29: Phil Satre Is Not Harrahfied

This fall will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of William Harrah, the man whose name is on more casinos in the world than any other. His former company, which recently changed its name to Caesars Entertainment, has very little planned outside of some promotions at the original Harrah’s resort in Reno, but we decided he deserved a little more attention than that. Harrah died 33 years ago tomorrow at the age of 66, so Steve spoke with his successor, Phil Satre, who helmed Harrah’s for 21 years and is responsible for spreading that name around the world. Satre, who left Harrah’s in 2005 and is now the chairman of the board of IGT, talks about the quirks and visions that made the man what he was and then explains several decisions made in the 1980s and 1990s including the choice for the company to never build any new hotel-casinos in Las Vegas. Also, Steve introduces Satre to the term “Harrah-fy” and asks Satre whether he feels he degraded the quality of the resorts he acquired.

In Banter: Octavius, Plaza, Bellagio, Maloof, Hilton and an aquarium-related Vegas-set reality show.

Open & Banter: Start to 25ish
Phil Satre Part I: 26-58ish
Trivia/Poll/Letters: 58ish-1:06
Phil Satre Part II: 1:07-1:48ish
TSTToTW: 1:48-end

Links to stuff discussed:

A news report on the Plaza and the stuff they bought F-Blew
See pix of apparent Bellagio room redesign and hear Chuck and others pan it on the latest Vegas Gang show
VegasHappensHere with Flickr slideshow of Octavius Tower VIP suite and bathroom
Oprah on the toilets at the fancy Caesars Palace suites
Peter Greenberg Radio Show, which Steve is on on July 2
Hilton and Hilton Worldwide in conflict over franchise
Electric Daisy succeeded, says Las Vegas Weekly
Steve’s column on why Las Vegas missed the financial boat on gay marriage
Brian Greenspun’s column on the honorable, now-2% Palms owner George Maloof
The brief on TANKED on Animal Planet
The Sunbelt Car Collection can be seen, according to our TSTTotW from Sept. 25, 2009

June 22: He's Got Celine's Back
EXTRA: Celine's Back-Up (Violinist Philippe Dunnigan)

It was by far the most hyped – and to our minds the best – new show to hit the Vegas Strip this year. Celine Dion has returned to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in a self-titled production that is radically different and vastly better than “…A New Day,” her groundbreaking first run in the vaunted showroom. Legendary TV producer Ken Ehrlich directed “Celine,” so we spoke to him at length about the intriguing decisions he, the singer and her husband made. Why didn’t they include the closing-number special effects when they opened in March? Was it weird to rehearse Celine’s duet with herself? What’s the story behind that French song that makes her cry every night? Why wasn’t the songstress at the United Center when Ehrlich produced two star-studded final-week shows for Oprah Winfrey last month?
In Banter: Anniversaries! Wynn Politics! TV Show Tapings! Maloofs! Monorail Bashing! and more.

Open & Banter: Start to 24ish
Ken Ehrlich Part I: 24-58ish
Trivia/Poll/Letters: 59-59ish
Ken Ehrlich Part II: 1:00-1:25ish
TSTToTW: 1:25-end

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Ken Ehrlich on IMDB
Philippe Dunnigan's
Tickets for Celine Dion’s show at the Colosseum
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Electric Daisy Carnival drama
The Electric Daisy Carnival’s Vegas website
The audio of Steve Wynn’s I-Voted-Obama remark on Fox
The Street on Wynn in Singapore and Howard Stutz on Wynn and Adelson as BFFs
Wall Street Journal on Shania Twain coming to the Colosseum
It’s anniversary fever on the Strip: Jersey Boys, Phantom, Love, Jubilee!
Steve’s column about the Starkey Hearing Foundation event at the Hilton
Robin Leach’s EXCLUSIVE!!!!!! coverage of the Hell’s Kitchen taping and announcement of Gordon Ramsay restaurant at Paris
Garth Brooks is no longer sold out, according to Las Vegas Advisor
Business Week on the Maloof family now only owning 2% of the Palms
VegasInc on The Plaza’s new look is out as they plan to open by Sept. 1
Steve’s column about the Firefly not returning to Plaza
Adrienne Packer’s fun column about the 81-year-old codger who timed the monorail v walking
A picture from VegasTripping.Com about the wrap of St. Regis at the Venetian
Boyd bought stuff in the Gulf Coast
CityCenter Sales office is going to be a new Star Wars museum attraction thing

May 25: Fator vs Fator

Terry Fator makes a lot of money as the master behind a string of colorful, entertaining puppets who croon standards nightly at the Mirage. But was the singing ventriloquist himself nothing more than a dummy, controlled by his ex-wife and so-called “handlers” who hijacked his career following his triumph on “America’s Got Talent”? That’s pretty much what he tells us this week in a stunningly candid interview that paints his former wife of 18 years as a self-aggrandizing, hen-pecking shrew who alienated him from his family and refused to bear him children. Melinda Fator, not surprisingly, has a different version of the story, and she gets her say, too. Also, the performer outs Barry Manilow.

In Banter: Caesars wants to soak tourists for an arena, NV may nix its smoking ban, the FAA is silent about the Ferris Wheel, the hosts baffle over who the &*#@ attends pro soccer and more.

Open & Banter: Start to 18ish
Terry Fator interview: 19-58ish
Trivia/Poll/Letters: 59-1:06ish
Melinda Fator interview: 1:07-1:24ish

TSTToTW: 1:24-end

Links to stuff discussed

Terry Fator’s website
Steve’s LVW column on Fator’s Barry Fabulous character
VegasHappensHere.Com on Fator’s lousy break-up style
Steve’s column in the Weekly based on these interviews
VegasMavens.Com profile of Steve and the podcast
Smoking ban in danger in Nevada
The R-J on the non-groundbreaking for the Ferris Wheel
Elvis is leaving the bathroom
Caesars’ Jan Jones writes an op-ed supporting soaking tourists
The latest from Howard Stutz on Christopher Milam’s arena plans
See pictures of the new Plaza rooms via their Facebook page
Internet Mafia Family Picnic Planned by VegasTripping.Com
Yelp on The Henry at the Cosmopolitan
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me from NPR
The YouTube video of Terry Fator at the Michael Jackson tribute benefit
Robin Leach on Terry Fator dumping his manager, John McEntee
J. Patrick Coolican’s turn-the-Sahara-into-the-state-capital column
Gladys Knight raises her ticket price

May 22: The Spawn of Holly

Oscar Goodman may be working overtime to ensure his wife replaces him as the official face of Vegas, but it's been a heckuva lot easier for the city's unofficial mascot, Holly Madison, to spread her fame among her minions. Her longtime personal assistant, Angel Porrino, is now a star in the new Caesars Palace hit "Absinthe" and her best gay boyfriend, "Peepshow" singing star Josh Strickland, recently landed atop iTunes with his first single. And, to hear them tell it, they owe a huge debt to one particular former Hugh Hefner girlfriend. Porrino met Holly while testing to be a Playboy Playmate and Strickland, who created the role of Tarzan on Broadway and was a contestant on the second season of American Idol, became fast friends with the blonde bombshell when she joined the Planet Hollywood topless production.

In Banter: Bye to Sahara and Jerry Lewis, hi to Rod Stewart, hi and bye to Lotto Express, a maybe-hi to Google’s driverless cars, yay to Absinthe and more.

Open & Banter: Start to 24ish
Angel Porrino interview: 25-53
Trivia/Poll/Letters: 54-1:04ish
Josh Strickland interview: 1:05-1:49ish
TSTToTW: 1:49-end

Links to stuff discussed

Josh Strickland’s website, Twitter and hit single
Peepshow’s website
Absinthe site
Angel Porrino’s Wikipedia page and Twitter
Sahara owner Sam Nazarian’s load of bs to Johnny Kats
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Sahara progressive drawing and the media coverage of the closure
Pollstar.Com on Rod Stewart coming to the Colosseum
The Washington Post on Jerry Lewis’ MDA Telethon retirement
Hear our Jerry Lewis interviews form 2007 and 2010
The site for Total Rewards Marketplace
The R-J on the brief life of Lotto ExpressThe L.A. Times has video of the Google driverless cars idea and Consumerist has the Nevada angle
Yelp’s assessment of Serendipity3
VegasInc on
Venetian-Palazzo profit drop caused, perhaps, by LVS pulling most of its comps
Also, Wynn defends Adelson
Steve’s column for the Weekly about how the recession could help the city
NPR’s The State of the ReUnion episode on Vegas
The NYT Times Talk podcast that Strickland was on with Tim Rice

May 14 SPECIAL: Barry Manilow

This interview was conducted Manilow’s dressing room at the Paris Hotel-Casino. During the interview, we delve into Manilow’s fears about being perceived to be “over” when he decided to headline at the Hilton, memories he has of opening for many major acts in the 1970s and what his digs are like when he does stay overnight here. Manilow also answered questions about lip-synching allegations, why he won’t do a Garth Brooks-like show and much more.

May 11 SPECIAL: LV Mayoral Forum

This episode was recorded on May 11 at the mayoral forum that took place before a luncheon of Las Vegas’ GLBT chamber of commerce and was moderated by me. First you will hear Carolyn Goodman, wife of current mayor Oscar Goodman, give opening remarks, followed by about a 25 minute discussion with me that included some questions of my own as well as those submitted from the audience. After Carolyn’s turn, her opponent, County Commissioner, Chris Giunchigliani gave her opening remarks and sat for a 25-minute q-and-a with me as well. This audio was edited only to remove either dead air or several instances when the microphones squealed.

May 5: A Sweet Show With A Bittersweet Ending

As any dessert lover knows, there’s actually two Bellagio fountains, the one outside that gets all the attention and the one that flows of chocolate at the Jean Phillippe Patisserie around the corner from the hotel’s famed Conservatory. The second one, which owns the Guinness record for the largest chocolate fountain, is the brainchild of our guest this episode, Jean Philippe Maury, the French pastry chef who now has shops in both Bellagio and Aria and is responsible for overseeing the pastry kitchen for all of Aria. We’ve got a delicious dish of a discussion up ahead in which Maury explains why he refuses to make low-calorie desserts, why most chefs are incapable of making a simple pie and why Steve and my wedding cake was so disgusting. Also, has Chef Maury ever used a Betty Crocker cake mix? And, in lieu of the Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week, we have a major announcement regarding our future.

In Banter: Wedding mania in Vegas and elsewhere, transmania at the Cosmo, the Sahara shutdown begins and more.

Links to stuff discussed

Steve Wynn’s bizarre wedding video and wedding portrait
Steve’s AOL News piece on the pop-up casino
Doug Elfman’s piece from the Wynn pre-nuptial media event
Vegas UnCork’d website
Jean Phillippe Maury’s website
Scott Conant’s
Steve’s blog post about his Knight-Wallace Fellowship in Michigan
Marie Osmond got re-married to her first husband
Marie’s doll collection site
Trump’s appearance at the Treasure Island resort by AFP
Steve’s blog post on the debunked Cosmo transgender “incident”
VegasTripping.Com on Sahara ending the roller coaster and the big Sahara jackpot drawing

May 1: 1970s Pinups' Vegas Invasion...
...with David Cassidy & Erik Estrada
EXCERPT: Mayor Monster's Plan To Save Vegas!

Las Vegas used to be a place where past-their-prime entertainers went to die. Now, in the age of Cirque, Celine and Garth, there’s not that much room for them to do even that. So, instead, they just pass through. Two of the biggest heartthrobs of the 1970s, David Cassidy and Erik Estrada, will do just that this coming week, Estrada appearing at the Luxor for a Cinqo de Mayo celebration and Cassidy at the Orleans for two concerts. Both reflected on their heyday in conversations with Steve, and Cassidy – who starred in the MGM Grand spectacle EFX for two years in the 1990s – talks about getting fired by would-be presidential candidate Donald Trump in the first episode of this season’s Celebrity Apprentice. Cassidy also talks in detail about the EFX debacle he encountered, and Estrada discloses what he made from that soap in surprising detail.

In banter: Elton's coming back, Harrah's Reno's coming back, Sahara ain't coming back and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Erik Estrada's Cinco de Mayo event at T&T at Luxor
Harrah’s Reno website
Yelp! on the Harrah’s Steakhouse in Reno
Firkin & Fox in Carson City
Poker’s Black Friday discussion on The Vegas Gang
Sam Nazarian’s LA Times claims and VegasTripping.Com’s reaction
The Las Vegas Sun on Cirque’s Michael Jackson plans
Chris Scott’s fundraiser pix one and two
Erik Estrada’s website
Get tickets to see David Cassidy at the Orleans
David Cassidy’s website
The history of EFX
Alzheimers research charity that Cassidy supports

April 14: Money On The Dance Floor

This week, on the Strip: The nightclub industry in Las Vegas is a mystery to many, including us. It’s clearly not one to Rich Wolf who, along with Jason Strauss and some other partners opened Tao in 200x at Venetian. They’ve been making unthinkable piles of money ever since, even though the idea of a hip nightclub at a Sheldon Adelson business and convention resort seemed nuts when they spent $20 million to build it. Now they own Lavo at Palazzo and the newest hotspot, Marquee and the Cosmopolitan. In this chat, we hear the mind-boggling numbers behind the business, try to get to the bottom of where – especially in this economy – all this money is coming from and what the appeal is of being in a club with a celebrity. Also, did stars really get those rumored six-figure paychecks at the height of the boom and how much are they getting now?

In Banter: Absinthe is a critical hit, Frank Marino’s spending habits exposed, Cosmo could be cooling off, show tickets rise, Marriott dreams big and how seriously do Vegas resorts intend their online responsible gaming efforts to be?


Tao Group’s homepage
The R-J’s Mike Weatherford gives Absinthe an A-
Angel Porrino and Josh Strickland, Holly Madison’s progeny
Tillerman closed, per Steve's LVW column
VegasHappensHere.Com on responsible gaming sites
Cosmopolitan room rates may be cooling off
Marriott talking about building a 3,000-room place near the LVCC
Show ticket survey from Las Vegas Advisor, via Weatherford

April 5: View From The Top Of The Stratosphere

The announcement of the closure of the Sahara means a lot for Vegas historians and enthusiasts, but it also will have some consequences for one of the city’s most notable landmarks, The Stratosphere. As that resort turns 15 years old this month, it finds itself increasingly isolated north of the Strip right when new management has been spending millions to clean it up and modernize it. We’ll hear in this episode from Frank Riolo, the CEO of the Stratosphere’s parent company, American Casino and Entertainment Properties, about what’s in store for the fifth tallest structure in America. Will there ever a casino at the top of the tower? Why did Steve Wynn scream Riolo? And what does Riolo wish he could ask the ghost of Bob Stupak?

In Banter: Getting to the bottom of Oscar Goodman’s drinking, looking at legalizing sports and mobile gambling, Expedia’s new loyalty program and Steve & Amy’s Liberace adventure.

Links for stuff discussed:

Steve's Tablet Mag piece on the Jewishness of the Goodmans
Norm Clarke on Britney’s potential Vegas headlining gig
Reviews of Charlie Sheen in Chicago and Detroit
Steve’s AOL News piece on the efforts to legalize web poker in Nevada and several other states
Liz Benston’s cool first-person piece on the Leroy’s online sports betting thing in the Las Vegas Sun
Budget Travel has details on Expedia's new rewards program
A Twitpic re: Bellagio Furniture in L.A.
The Stratosphere and ACEP's home pages
A Sun piece on the Stratosphere renovations
Steve’s LVW column about Gladys Knight

ELECTION SPECIAL: The Good(man) Wife

The race for Las Vegas mayor is heating up with the April 5 primary, and the frontrunner by all accounts is none other than Carolyn Goodman, the wife of Mayor Oscar Goodman. Steve is working on several stories related to the race, so he sat down for this lengthy, thorough conversation with Mrs. Goodman on March 31. This interview has already become controversial because of how the candidate responded to questions about gay marriage and immigration reform, but here’s your chance to hear for yourself who she is and where she comes from. Carolyn Goodman opens up about her husband’s famed history as a defense attorney for several infamous mob figures, describes her upbringing and family life, responds tartly to attacks from her two main rivals and much more. The interview took place at The Beat Coffeehouse in downtown Las Vegas, which explains the background noise.

Relevant Links:

Steve's AOL News pieces before and after the April 5 election
The Goodmans profile from TabletMag.Com
Columns by Jon Ralston and Steve Sebelius regarding this interview
VegasHappensHere.Com excerpts from this interview and other discussion

March 29: The Donny & Marie Show

As we record this episode of our show, the folks at the Flamingo Las Vegas are busy applying a spankin’ new wrap to the hotel’s Strip side. And while the faces will be the same – Donny and Marie, of course – they’ll look a little less cheesy, a little more rock n roll. As Donny Osmond explains this hour, the original wrap was thrown up in a hurry when the sibling duo opened there in 2008. But now they’ve weathered a withering recession and passed their 500th performance, so it’s time for something more current and durable. How much longer can they dominate Vegas? Donny’s answer: Forever. Sort of. Stick around to hear what the big brother has to say about their future and hear him play some bits of their first album of new music in decades. Also, Marie chimes in a bit as well.In Banter: Celine's return, Terry Fator's gay puppet, Loews LV's William and Kate deal, the ex-Rao chef's new gigs, and much more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Steve’s bathroom-related Tweet
Blog wrap-up, review, Flickr and special edition of The Strip, re: Celine
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column about rude Vegas tweeting
Steve’s Pine Mouth affliction, per ABC News
Terry Fator’s Berry Fabulous
Loews Las Vegas' $249 Royal Wedding Deal
The Alaska Daily News on Alaska’s new Vegas effort to lure tourists to Palin Country
Doug Elfman’s take on MGM Grand’s Scott Sibella on "Undercover Boss"
Former Rao’s chef Carla Pellegrino’s new restaurant and taking over the Trop place
Donny & Marie tickets at the Flamingo
The sites of Donny and Marie
Apple suing others for use of the term App Store


Exclusive video reporting from Celine Dion's return to Caesars Palace on opening night, March 15, 2011. Includes photos, a singing interview with fans and an impromptu review from Robin Leach of VegasDeluxe.Com. In addition, there's some footage from Celine Dion's press conference after the show. Also, check out Steve's A+ review, Flickr slideshow and general thoughts on the opening.

March 15:The Caveman and the Chip Monk

A Caveman and a Chipmonk walk into a bar. Actually, they’ve never even met, but they have one thing in common: They both were interviewed by Steve last month. The Caveman is comedian and actor Kevin Burke, who has clocked more than 1,500 performances in “Defending The Caveman” first at the Golden Nugget, then the Excalibur and now Harrah’s Las Vegas. And the chip monk is the nickname earned by Arthur Nelson, the organist who has cashed in casino chips for Guardian Angel Cathedral on the Strip for decades.

In Banter: Sahara closing, Celine opening, re-reviewing Criss Angel, geocaching shut down, earth-moving extravagance ramps up, Rumor for rent and Gladys on the cheap.

Links To Stuff Discussed:

Get tickets for Defending The Caveman
See the column and pictorial about the Guardian Angel Cathedral and the Chip Monk
The Strip episode with Richard Marx
Jean Bartel podcast and Strip Sense column
VegasHappensHere.Com on Sahara closure
Dr. Dave Schwartz’s comment on the Sahara closure via David McKee’s blog
Gladys Knight is the Trop’s Celine Dion
A photo of the Alabama lady’s betting slip
Sinatra Dance With Me Extended to April
The R-J TV columnist Christopher Lawrence in the Sister Wives moving to Vegas
Spirit Air helps LA-LV flights plummeting
Rent Rumor for $13,000 the whole thing, 180 rooms
Go move earth for $400 for three hours in Vegas
Adrienne Packer’s column on the geocaching shut down along the Extraterrestrial Highway
A bill pending in the Nevada Legislature as an end-run around the federal restrictions on Web poker and gambling

SPECIAL: A Conversation With Richard Marx

Listeners of this show will NOT be surprised to learn that Steve is a big fan of none other than 1980s and 1990s pop balladeer Richard Marx. So when the opportunity presented itself to interview Marx on Thursday, he made it work. Since Marx plays the Orleans Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas this Saturday and Sunday, March 12 and 13, we didn’t want to wait until next week’s show to release it. Marx, of course, is well known for some of the biggest pop ballads of the 1990s including “Hold On To The Nights,” “Now and Forever” and “Right Here Waiting.” Over the past decade, he became a music producer and songwriter for the likes of N Sync, Barbra Steisand and Luther Vandross. He lives with his wife, “Flashdance” and “Dirty Dancing” star Cynthia Rhodes, and their three sons in the Chicago suburbs. In his hey day, Marx sold more than 30 million records and was the first solo artist to see his first seven songs make the top 5 on the Hot 100 singles charts.

In this conversation, Marx explains why he stopped cutting albums of his own, expresses pity and annoyance at Phil Collins of Collins’ recent public diatribe against the music business and sings some of the very well-known advertising jingles his father wrote.

Relevant links:

Richard Marx's website
Get tickets to Marx's Orleans shows
Phil Collins' recent rant as he retires
More on Marx's dad, Dick Marx, aka the Jingle King

March 7: There She Was, Miss America

Less than two months ago, Miss America 1943 Jean Bartel was in Las Vegas for the pageant’s 90th anniversary celebration. She was the oldest living winner of the pageant and she had played the Strip as a singer at Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo back in the day. Steve interviewed her for his Jan. 19 column for the Las Vegas Weekly, and she sounded hale and hearty then. But on March 6, she died at the age of 87, so we remember her by playing Bartel’s final interview. In it, she offers her recollections as a groundbreaking Miss America who led the charge to create the scholarship program that is now its hallmark. Bartel also was the first Miss America to go to college, sold the most bonds in 1943 to support the World War II and even helped the US with some espionage work during the Cold War. During this conversation, she tells of hanging out with Danny Thomas at the Flamingo, reveals that her crown is on display at the Smithsonian and recalls Beth Myerson, Vanessa Williams and many other former beauty queens.

In Banter: A Provo adventure, a word about cousin Paul Stanley, Ruffin doubts on the Cosmo, Caesars takes Fontainbleau’s castoff show and more.

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Steve’s Jean Bartel column and her LA Times obituary
Follow Rod Schiffman on Twitter
Watch Phil Ruffin's 3/7 appearance on Sam Shad's Nevada Newsmakers program.

Caesars Palace is turning a tower over to Nobu
The latest on Charlie Palmer’s hotel in downtown Vegas
Terry Fator’s gay puppet debuts on George Lopez show
VegasHappensHere.Com on the similarities between Fator’s cougar puppet and Lucy the Slut from Avenue Q
Steve’s Vegas pool reviewfor the LA Times
Report from Reuters on suicide at Cosmopolitan
Chuck Monster’s Vegas Tripping rant about his latest Cosmo misery
VegasHappensHere.Com, AOL News and the Las Vegas Weekly about the Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Trop
MGM Resorts’ press release extending health benefits for transgender care
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Vdara Kwik-E-Mart
Absinthe show opening March 21 outside Caesars
Steve’s AFP piece on Teresa Scanlan’s Miss America 2011 triumph

Special: Gennifer Flowers' Vegas Residency

To go along with our 1990s Tabloid Stars of Vegas theme from this week's proper episode of The Strip, we're also posting Steve's chat with Gennifer Flowers, Bill Clinton's original other woman. Flowers now splits her time between Vegas and New Orleans, two cities that she says are particularly welcoming to those, like herself, trying to live decent lives despite their controversial notoriety. Flowers rates the Clinton presidency, opines on Hillary's competence as SoS and as a fashion figure and explains why anyone would want to own jewelry or clothes from the Gennifer Flowers Collection. Flowers also explains how she can claim to have been the "Most Googled Name" of 2008, as her website suggests.


Site for Gennifer Flowers Collection
Gennifer Flowers' website
Norm Clarke’s piece on the Breck Wall memorial

Feb. 21: The 1990s Tabloid Stars of Las Vegas
SPECIAL: Gennifer Flowers

We all know that Las Vegas has long been a haven for washed up show business stars, but in the past decade or so we’ve also become a mecca of sorts for 1990s tabloid fixtures, too. The list of Las Vegans who earned household-name infamy at the end of the previous century includes Heidi Fleiss, Mike Tyson, John Wayne Bobbitt, Gennifer Flowers and, most recently, Mary Jo Buttafuoco. Steve had lengthy, fascinating conversations with Flowers and Buttafuoco for a recent Las Vegas Weekly column, but they’re just too long, even for us, to put both in the same episode. So here’s what we’re going to do: In this episode we’ll hear the conversation with Buttafuoco, whose husband’s teenage girlfriend shot her in the head in 1992, and we’ll put out the interview with Flowers, Bill Clinton’s original other woman, as a special edition of the show.

In Banter: BMG moving, non-sports betting is coming, Wynn loves Chinese government meddling, Celine fans love Steve’s tweets, and more.

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Mary Jo Buttafuoco’s book and website
VegasHappensHere.Com and Mike Weatherford on Blue Man Group moving
Cirque du Soleil’s homepage for local Nevadan deals
The press release about the Jabbawockeez teaching dance at UNLV
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Wynn changes
The weird sh*t Wynn said during the earnings call
The Review-Journal on Macau’s $185 million day
The Las Vegas Sun on the prospect of taking wagers on non-sporting events
The AP report on the drop in weddings in Las Vegas
VegasTripping.Com’s YouTube clip of Watson answering a Wynn question
Some of Steve’s funny Celine-related Tweets are here, here, here and here
VegasHappensHere.Com on the MGM Auction and what Steve bought
Steve’a AOL News piece when they unveiled the Gold ATM at Golden Nugget
The Las Vegas Sun on the plan for a fucking Ferris Wheel on the south Strip
Sheldon Adelson wants to build a Strip in Spain, the R-J reports
KTNV on air traffic to Vegas going up 5% in January
B.B. King’s at Mirage is in bankruptcy
Steve’s AOL News piece on Mary Jo Buttafuoco’s thoughts on Gabby Giffords
Steve’s column on Vegas tabloid star residents

Feb. 10: Hi, Sierra
REISSUE: Sierra Boggess on The Strip in 2006

If you rack your brain hard enough, you’ll still fail to come up with any star of the Vegas stage quite like Sierra Boggess. We’ve had plenty of hugely famous people perform and countless formerly famous people attempt to revive careers here. But Boggess is singular as an actress whose first big break was in a Vegas production, “Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular”, and who has then moved on to star in a major Broadway production followed, now, by opening the Phantom sequel “Love Never Dies” in London’s West End. Now the 28-year-old is about to return to Broadway as one of the most in-demand ingénues of her age. We visited our little Sierra in her dressing room in London last week, and we’ll play that conversation for you today.

In Banter: Our London sojourn, the Twitter Twerps drama, Super Bowl TV ad drama, Cher's odd goodbye.

Links to stuff discussed:

Steve’s Flickr page of London pix
Alex Hull’s Buzz Lightyear drawing
The British Airways menu image
London Club’s Empire Casino in Leicester Square, London
The Twitter Twerps Column
Our first interview with Sierra Boggess from 2007
Broadway.Com on Sierra's Rebecca reading
Sierra Boggess nominated for Olivier Award

Jan. 22: The Top 10 Moments of 2010

We know we’ve been gone too long and we’re sorry. But we’re back to count down the 10 best moments of 2010 as voted on by you. And here’s a hint: there’s a dash of Oscar, a dollop of the Wynns and a whole bowl of me beating up on Steve for being an ill-spoken weirdo.

In Banter: Our staycation with PETS at Cosmo, Alex's closure, our newest dog, Aces, our recording troubles, Aria's wrap woes, losing the Trippies, MGM Resorts' M Life and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

The blog post about our show woes
VegasHappensHere.Com on adopting Aces
The show with Sierra Boggess and Sierra’s bio
Our staycation at Cosmo – and what it was like to bring the pets
Yelp on Scarpetta, Holstein’s, and Jaleo
Eric Gladstone and John Curtas think Wynn is downgrading the culinary scene there
Sinatra Dance With Me extended into April
The R-J on the possible 40,000-seat arena from the Silverton owner and UNLV
The Sun on the $20 million Stratosphere renovation and our Jan.3 Tweet on that
Stories about M Life from MGM Resorts from VegasTripping.Com and the Las Vegas Sun
Possible mayoral candidates in Vegas get ready

SPECIAL VIDEO: Steve on KSNV on New Year's Eve

Dec. 19: Twyla Dances With Vegas

Twyla Tharp has been that unusual New York dance figure who has long dabbled in popular culture, largely a result of being exposed as a kid to lots of movie musicals while working at her parents’ drive-in theater in California. She studied dance with such legends as Martha Graham, then formed her own dance company in the mid-1960s and by 1973 was having the Joffrey Ballet do numbers to Beach Boys music. She choreographed several Hollywood films including the dancing horse scene from “Hair,” and in 2001 her Billy Joel-scored production “Movin’ Out” became a Broadway smash. As you’re about to hear, Tharp, a Tony winner and Kennedy Center Honoree, has long been friends with Steve Wynn and has long been enthralled by Frank Sinatra music, so she’s excited to bring “Sinatra Dance With Me” to the Wynn Las Vegas was easy. It opened last weekend to an A-minus grade from Mike Weatherford and with blogger David McKee both liking it and wondering if it’s too artsy for Vegas audiences.Tharp, however, believes Strip tourists will understand the show better than show-goers in New York.

In Banter: A NYC adventure, a Cosmo adventure, a KNPR adventure, a Vdara adventure and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Get tickets to Sinatra Dance With Me at Wynn
Read Mike Weatherford’s A-minus review of Sinatra Dance With Me
Steve’s column and pieces on Twyla Tharp and Vegas
Strange Radio’s website
Yelp on China MaMa, RM Seafood (Mandalay Bay) and Jean Phillippe (Aria)
VegasHappensHere.Com on Vdara trying to extort Miles’ sister
Amy & Bay’s latest (finally!) episode of their Grits to Glitz podcast
The Marriott East Side where we stayed in Manhattan
Katz’s Deli
Yelp on NYC’s Milos and Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York City
VegasHappensHere.Com on McCarran returning his driver’s license
Hear Steve’s assessment of Cosmopolitan on The Vegas Gang
Hear Steve discuss the Cosmo and the year in Vegas entertainment on KNPR’s State of Nevada
The R-J’s report on the plan for New Year’s Eve Fireworks
VegasHappensHere.Com on lousy post-Cosmo-opening stories ignoring problems
The Newsweek Mapicle that Miles saved us quite a lot of ridicule on
The Strip Sense on Elaine Wynn’s $5 million gift
The latest on the Bellagio robbery of $1.5 million in chips
The Kinsey Confidential Podcast


SPECIAL: Cosmo CEO John Unwin Speaks!

In this conversation, Steve and John discuss everything from whether the city needs another megaresort to Steve Wynn’s criticism that the resort is quote “an extraordinary example of ill-conceived plans.” Also, what’s it like to now be one of Wynn’s peers?

One important note: About halfway into this conversation, Unwin begins laying out his theory as to why the Cosmopolitan is a different resort gunning for a different audience than the rest of the high-end Vegas market. To do so, he draws Steve a grid. You can find that grid either on your iPod or here.

Dec. 5: Foodie Fight Three Ways...
...with Franck Savoy, Al Mancini & Ric Guerrero

By now everybody who listens to this program, reads Steve’s blog or enjoys eating out on the Strip must know about all the controversy kicked up over this little book that recently came out that names the 50 quote-unquote essential restaurants in Las Vegas. Steve had some issues, so on this show he’s invited co-author and food critic Al Mancini into the LVRocks.Com studio to hash it out on the air, live. Before we get to that, though, Steve interviewed Franck Savoy, the 31-year-old son of Guy Savoy who was just named director of restaurants at Caesars Palace. Savoy dishes about growing up in Paris as the son of the famed chef, what’s really happening at rumor-riddled Bradley Ogden and, of course, what his fast-food guilty pleasures are. And, in a special INTERVIEW edition of the Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week, Ric Guerrero of Slidin Thru breaks some news.

In Banter: The mayor's Ferris wheel, Ruffin's Starbucks, Wynn's expo center, Rhumbar's kangaroos, Frank Marino's blood drive and other absurdities.

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Franck Savoy’s ascendancy at Caesars Palace
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column on the book “Eating Las Vegas”
The Slidin Thru website
VegasHappensHere.Com on Slidin’ Thru’s new brick-and-mortar store
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Bradley Ogden drama
Steve Wynn is engaged, per Robin Leach and Norm Clarke
Steve’s LA Times piece on the topless shows in Vegas
Vote for us for the Trippies
The Eating Las Vegas book site
Al Mancini’s blog, The Second Deadly Sin
The Rhumbar, Sea World and the kangaroo
News about Susan Anton in Menopause, Bobby Slayton at Hooters and Boys II Men at Flamingo
Singer Tommy Held’s website
Frank Marino’s blood drive and why Frank can’t give blood

* * *

Nov. 29: An Andy Williams Holiday Special – With Dog Food

You think of Andy Williams, you think Christmas specials, Moon River and Branson, Missouri. You do NOT think of LSD, eating dog food or strident political commentary. Williams, the legendary crooner who’s now 83, appears in December at the Las Vegas Hilton, so Steve chatted with him about some of the revelations in the book, including the time he saw Frank Sinatra flash his brutal side and what it was like to be on the funeral train with Bobby Kennedy’s coffin.

In Banter: A Cosmo preview, a debate over food critic anonymity, gambling as a cure for "homosexual problems," an El Cortez room design contest and a Thanksgiving Day fire.

Links to stuff discussed:

Andy Williams’ site
Get tickets to see Andy Williams at the Las Vegas Hilton on Dec 23-24
We’re nominated for Trippies for blog, Twitterer and podcast
The weird rules of the Nov. 20 Northwestern v Illinois game at Wrigley Field
The Cosmopolitan’s innovative Identity Club, from the Las Vegas Sun
The blog and LVW column regarding the Eating Las Vegas book and controversy
Las Vegas Sun’s interactive package about El Cortez’s room-design contest
The R-J’s piece on the prison jail's casino and “homosexual problems”
Harrah’s becomes Caesars Entertainment
Heidi Fleiss’ fire in Pahrump and the birds

* * *


John Pistole, TSA director, answers questions from journalists about enhanced searches at airports, which have become controversial. Among revelations: Some religious people can do their own headgear patdowns, children under 12 don't get the full patdown, there is intelligence that terrorists have used teens to try to smuggle explosives on board, and the actual complaint rate is fairly low.

* * *

Nov. 22: Wait Wait, Don't Tell Louie

Louie Anderson may spend a lot of time joking about his weight, but he’s also getting serious about doing something about it. The legendary stand-up comedian, whose act is suddenly fresher and funnier now that he’s left the Excalibur for a eponymous showroom at the Palace Station, is focusing on new material, new endeavors and a new emphasis on living healthier. He explains to Steve this hour what incidents and family tragedies have prompted this as well as why he plans to chronicle his battle of the bulge in daily video blogs. Plus, which line of Steve’s questioning really annoyed him and why are the Louie-hosted years of the Family Feud not available for reruns? That’s coming up. Also, the NPR show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” came to the Paris Las Vegas this week and Steve, fan boy that he is, sat down with host Peter Sagal in, of all places, Barry Manilow’s dressing room to find out what questions he decided NOT to ask Wayne Newton.

In Banter: Wait Wait in Vegas, a new dining "guide," the slot business ponders you, Cosmo images leaking, Harrah's cancels its IPO and the Wayner gets approved for his museum and tour plans.

Links to stuff discussed

Get tickets to Louie Anderson’s show at Palace Station

Louie’s site, Twitter and the correct Facebook page
Hear the Vegas edition of Wait Wait
Faith Salie’s site
VegasHappensHere.Com sneak-peak pictures of Cosmopolitan
Wayne Newton wins approval for his planned tours and museum
The Strip episode of audio of Steve’s G2E panel from 2009 on Encore design
Our 2006 interview with Louie Anderson
The Amazon.Com listing for the book “Eating Las Vegas”
Harrah’s is delaying its big plans and canceling its IPO
Yelp! On Hash House A Go Go, Rosemary, Bouchon and China MaMa

* * *

Nov. 14: Mysterawockeez!
...with Brian Dewhurst and Phil Tayag

Just as the seminal Cirque du Soleil production Mystere was celebrating an astounding 8,000 performances at Treasure Island last month, the hiphop dance crew Jabbawockeez began a residency a t the Monte Carlo. The two have more in common than you might suspect, both being starless, wholly original visual spectacles that seemed unlikely to make much of a splash in Las Vegas. Mystere, obviously, has. We’ll have to see how Jabbawockeez does, but we’ll hear from stars of both in this episode. First, Steve talks to Brian Dewhurst, who was artistic coordinator for Mystere when it opened in 1993 and in 2000 began performing as a clown in the show. Then, later, we’ll have Steve’s interview with Phil Tayag, the youngest original member of Jabbawockeez.

In Banter: Chip Lightman moves on from Donny & Marie, Rita moves on from Harrah’s, MGM Resorts wants to move on from the Harmon, Steve Wynn has moved on from meat and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Tickets for Mystere and Jabbawockeez
The Jabbawockeez website
A profile from Via Magazine of Brian Dewhurst from Mystere
VegasHappensHere.Com on Chip Lightman’s settlement with Donny & Marie
Rita Rudner’s news that she’s moving to Venetian in January
Howard Stutz’s scoop confirming MGM Resorts may implode the Harmon
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column urging MGM Resorts not to put a wrap on Aria
The Las Vegas Sun’s piece on renting out the condos at Mandarin, Vdara or Veer
Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me’s site
Tickets to see Wait Wait live on 11/18 at Paris Las Vegas
The gambling win, room rates and visitation numbers were all up this month
British Airways is adding bigger planes with first class from London to Vegas
Steve’s AOL News piece on the World Series of Poker’s grand finale
VegasHappensHere.Com on Wynn Las Vegas jacking up Garth Brooks tickets by $110 a seat
John Katsilometes’ Steve Wynn piece on his veganism in the Las Vegas Weekly
Robin Leach reports about Steve Wynn’s reworked will
VegasHappensHere.Com on all the other various Wynn news, including the Pascal departure and the earnings call
The Indian TV interview in which Wynn discusses the Kevyn Wynn kidnapping in detail at the 24ish minute mark

* * *

Nov. 8: The Agony of Frank Sinatra Jr.

Frank Sinatra Jr. has the voice, the stage presence and the look. So why is he not successful? Or, rather, why does HE say he’s not successful? In this conversation with Steve, the son of the legendary Chairman of the Board is stunningly candid about the disappointments in his life, including the fact that he never really felt close to his father and doesn’t know whether his dad was proud of him. Plus, find out what famous actor’s home he and his friends never visited on Halloween, learn how he felt about playing such off-Strip sites as Boulder Station and the Suncoast, and hear some intimate details about his 1963 kidnapping. Also, how did that unusual appearance on the pilot of the Vegas-set CBS show “The Defenders” come about?

Links to stuff discussed:

See Frank Sinatra Jr. at The Orleans from Nov. 19-21
Frank Sinatra Jr.'s The Defenders cameo
A good piece on the kidnapping of Frank Jr.

* * *

Nov. 2: Dancing With Rita At The ‘Palooza

She’s danced on Broadway, told jokes in Carnegie Hall and, of course, headlined in Vegas for nearly a decade. And now, Rita Rudner is about to reach her career apex, appearing with us at the Go Pool at the Flamingo Las Vegas. That’s right, we’re LIVE at the third annual Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza to chat up the Harrah’s Las Vegas comedienne and her husband about their careers, their politics and much more. Also, when will Rita be at Harrah’s? Answer: Probably sooner than later.

In Banter: Lion King is leaving, Lotus of Siam is exported, Las Vegans are out of their minds, Venetian-Palazzo checks into a new alliance and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Rita Rudner’s website

Get tickets for Rita Rudner at Harrah’s Las Vegas
See Rita’s funny Harry Reid ad, “Crazy Juice”
Video of Rita’s routine for Obama at Caesars Palace
VegasHappensHere.Com interpretation of The Lion King closure
Cirque’s announcement of its Michael Jackson arena show, Immortal
Mike Weatherford’s Criss Angel piece
Lotus of Siam heads to New York City
The Venetian-Palazzo joins the InterContinental Alliance
VegasTripping.Com on “Harmonizing” the St. Regis
The website for the Jabbawockeez at Monte Carlo
The Daily Beast says Vegas is the dumbest city in America
Steve’s pieces on Shelley Berkley for Tablet and the Weekly

* * *

Oct. 25: SUPERSIZED! Wayne's World

Wayne Newton is not broke. Really. Just ask him, and he’ll tell you all about it. We did so, as you’re about to hear, and Mr. Las Vegas is surprisingly forthcoming about all those recent lawsuits and much more. Steve visited Newton this week at his ranch, Casa de Shenandoah, to hear all about the plans to open his home and property to tours along with a nearby museum for Las Vegas entertainer history. Also, how does the Wayner keep his hair so darned black? Why does his left eye shimmer? Has he ever influenced a president? And how will he know when his voice has given out to the point he can't perform anymore?

In Banter: Sinatra dances with Wynn, Harrah's dances with an IPO, the Cosmo dances with pets and TV ads and the Gift of Lights banishes itself to the Speedway.

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Wayne Newton’s home pix on Flickr and on VegasHappensHere.Com
Wayne’s official site
News about Wayne’s tumultuous meeting with neighbors and the “abandoned” plane
Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Dance With Me coming to the Wynn
Robin Leach’s Cirque scoop
Howard Stutz of the R-J on Harrah’s plans to go public
BMX Superstar TJ Lavin’s latest condition
Gift of Lights moving to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway?!?
Comparing The Cosmopolitan’s first TV ad to Aria's
VegasTripping.Com on the Cosmo announcing they will be pet friendly

* * *

Oct. 18: A Very Rickles Friessmas

Rickles. His name is synonymous with the so-called insult comic, a label he alternately embraces and cringes over. He is, he insists, a whole lot more than that. For one thing, his voice is in this year’s top-grossing movie of the year, Toy Story III. Don Rickles is our guest this hour, discussing the late Tony Curtis, the pranks Sinatra and the boys played on him, how he first got to Vegas and how other so-called insult comics like Brad Garrett learned the craft from him. Also, find out where his toughest Vegas gig took place.

In banter: Zipline mania, Hoover Dam bridge mania, Harrah’s mania and more.

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Don Rickles’ website, we think
Zipline on Fremont Street
Steve’s story breaking the zipline at Gadling.Com
Yelp on the Triple George in downtown Vegas
Steve’s AOL News piece on the hula hoop controversy at Fremont Street Experience
VegasHappensHere.Com on the original Excalibur-zipline rumor
A photo of the Slots-a-Fun carpeting in our neighbors’ garage floor
Steve’s coverage of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge and blog pictorial
A photo of the mammoth line outside the Pawn Stars shop
VegasHappensHere.Com on Harrah’s trifecta: the Petstay program, Wait Wait coming to Vegas and the All-Access Pass
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column on the Chip Lightman lawsuit regarding Donny & Marie
Tom Breitling left the Wynn month ago
Vegas native TJ Lavin’s big BMX accident in Vegas
Go here to sign up for a chance to meet Barack Obama
A link to what “eminence grise” means
Howard Schwartz’s podcast, The Gamblers Book Shop show
Get “Foul Play” on DVD on Amazon.Com

* * *

Oct. 9: TOTALLY 80s...with Corey Feldman & Expose

It’s TOTALLY ‘80s Week! Former child star Corey Feldman is coming to Vegas this month to promote another sequel to “Lost Boys” with a screening of the original at House of Blues and an appearance by Feldman’s band. So Steve gets his thoughts on being a Strip headliner for the first time and his memories of his underage clubhopping in Vegas back in the day. Plus, the wildly successful girl and now reunited pop band Expose plays in Henderson this weekend, which seemed like as good a time as any to chat up lead singer Jeanette Jurado, a Las Vegas resident who also opened the short-lived but critically beloved New York-New York show, Madhattan.

In Banter: Our Signature staycation, gaming numbers are up, Toni Braxton's chips are way down, the Plaza buys its furnishings, the Trop has a massive billboard planned and Jersey Boys is going Hollywood.

Links to stuff discussed:

Expose’s website
Corey Feldman’s Lost Boys Ball at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay
Feldman’s site and the site of the Truth Movement
Buy the Lost Boys films on DVD and Blue-Ray
A link to the MGM Signature
Yelp on Craftsteak
The LVCVA’s latest gaming and hotel data and Howard Stutz’s report of same
Resorts in Atlantic City will retheme in a Boardwalk Empire motif
Norm Clarke on Toni Braxton’s economic disaster and its Vegas relevance
VegasHappensHere.Com on the FBI saying we’re No. 3
The New York Times does a front page piece on Vegas’ economic woes
Geoff Schumacher and Doug Elfman cry a river over the NYT’s front page piece on Vegas’ economic woes
The Las Vegas Sun on the Plaza buying all the F-blew castoff inventory
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Tropicana’s ginormous billboard
Bali Hai might close
Corey Feldman’s site and the site of the Truth Movement
New York Comic-Con
Norm Clarke discusses the quandary of Tweeting at Tony Curtis’ funeral

* * *

Oct. 3: A Sweeter, Thorn-Free Rose
SPECIAL REISSUE: Pete Rose's bitter 2007 appearance

Three years ago, Pete Rose was still pretty bitter when he spoke to Steve about his banishment from baseball and the inequity that he’s still not eligible for the Hall of Fame while the villains of baseball’s steroid era are. But these days Rose has mellowed and, as you hear, is humble and contrite about his past misdeeds as well as patient for the day when he might be reinstated. This interview was recorded in early September before Rose was honored for the 25th anniversary of breaking the all-time hit record, and he is clearly excited about that moment. He continues to sign autographs for pay 15 days a month at the Field of Dreams at the Forum Shops.

In Banter: Vdara death ray mania, F-bleau's fire sale, Rod Stewart, Wicked and EXPOSE!!! are coming, Miles hearts CityCenter, RIP the spunky Tony Curtis and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Pete Rose’s site and schedule at Field of Dreams
The initial RJ, AOL, Today and ABC stories on the Vdara Death Ray story
The R-J and Sun’s follow-ups on Vdara Death Ray
The Vdara Death Ray in Bluff The Listener on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”
A picture of the Bellagio’s boring Conservatory for the fall
Stiffs & Georges on whether the death ray will sink Bobby Baldwin at MGM
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column on how much Miles’ family liked CityCenter
Tony Curtis Central, including links to our old shows and Steve's 2008 LVW column
Steve's AOL News obit about Tony Curtis
Hear the spunky part from Tony Curtis once again [NSFW]
Yelp! On Julian Serrano and Todd English PUB
Rod Stewart
is at the Colosseum, years after his Harrah’s lawsuit
Expose is playing the Henderson Pavilion for $10 a person
The R-J’s report on the Wicked preview event, plus a Twitpic that Steve took
The Smith Center For the Performing Arts’ site
VegasTripping.Com on the F’bleau fire sale
Angel Management Group takes over Pure
Soon-to-open Cosmopolitan names its nightclub and is hiring 5,000 people
The VegasQuiz app from the fine folks at RateVegas

* * *

Tony Curtis Revealed PARTS ONE & TWO

In honor of Tony Curtis' death on Sept. 29, we've reissued our stunning interview with Tony Curtis from October 2008. Read Steve's obituary from AOL News, too.

* * *


Stephen Hopcraft, executive chef at Seablue at MGM Grand, gives us a rare inside look at what goes on behind the scenes of the hit show and gossips about the Loser House, Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio, pea puree and much more. You can see a partial transcript on VegasHappensHere.Com and Steve's Las Vegas Weekly column from this interview.

* * *

Sept. 26: Gunning For Vegas

The nattiest man on TV is coming to the naughtiest city in America for the very first time. Tim Gunn, the mentor of TV’s Project Runway, will be here next weekend for an event as part of his role as chief creative director of Liz Claiborne, so Steve spoke to him about the hit fashion show, Vegas style and which celebrities Gunn would like to make over.

In Banter: Oscar's lame Colbert appearance, CBS' lame Defenders show, Palm Springs' lame anti-Vegas campaign, Skoosh.Com's lame biz practces, Hard Rock's lame lawsuit and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Sites for Project Runway and Tim Gunn
Info about the Oct. 2 event with Tim Gunn at Caesars Palace
Buy Cloris Leachman’s “The North Avenue Irregulars” on Amazon.Com
The Simpsons slot machine images, per Google [NSFW!!!]
Steve’s piece on Cloris Leachman for The Daily Beast
The Review-Journal’s piece on the Vdara death ray
VegasHappensHere.Com on Jason Alexander and Elaine Wynn’s billionaire status
Steve’s AOL News piece on Wayne Newton’s new tourist attraction plan
Skoosh.Com – scam or not?
Hard Rock Café International is suing Hard Rock Casino
Norm Clarke covers Wynn’s vegan proselytizing video
Ritz-Carlton is rebranding, according to Howard Stutz of the R-J
The sucky Defenders lawyer drama based in Vegas on CBS
Palm Springs’ big new effort to steal tourists from Vegas
Cher is almost over and Cosmo’s got big New Year’s Eve entertainment plans
Oscar Goodman, so great on HardTalk, was a dud on Stephen Colbert

* * *

Sept. 12: True Cloris, Shining Through

Betty White may be getting all the headlines these days as America’s elder stateswoman of comedy, but has she ever played Vegas? Another randy grandma, Cloris Leachman, hasn’t either, but at 84 she makes her debut on Sept. 18 and 19 at the Suncoast. The Academy Award winner, who has also won more Emmys than any actor ever, spoke to Steve at length in advance of that one-woman show and brace yourself because some of this is almost as sexually explicit as that Tony Curtis chat we gave you a while back. There are many highlights, including Cloris sharing her experiences with Marlon Brando, Jackie Kennedy, Judy Garland, the Reagans and Kathryn Hepburn, although an instant classic is Cloris’ hilarious re-enactment of a call from Joan Collins, who was having an affair with Cloris’ husband George Englund in the 1970s. Leachman also discusses her new Fox sitcom, "Raising Hope."

In Banter: Liberace’s closure raises tough questions, Oscar Goodman faces wacky questions, the NY-NY’s 9/11 Memorial is in questionable shape and more. Also, a special, live Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week furnished by blogger Mike Dobranski.

Links to stuff discussed:

Get tickets to see Cloris Leachman on Sept 18-19 at the Suncoast
Cloris Leachman’s website and book
Cloris’ new TV show on Fox, “Raising Hope”
Get the DVD of “Young Frankenstein”
Sheryl Crow’s cancellation at the Joint
Steve’s column about Ted V. Mikels
The AOLNews.Com piece on the Liberace Museum closure
VegasHappensHere.Com exposes the New York-New York 9/11 Memorial decay
MGM Resorts still spins animal attacks, but this time there’s YouTube of it
Oscar’s brilliant interview on the BBC's HARDTalk
The Las Vegas Sun on the possible Wayne Newton home becoming an attraction
The website for Jabbawockeez and the R-J on how they got the Monte Carlo deal
VegasHappensHere.Com on the July gaming and visitation data
The YouTube clips of Cloris Leachman’s Oscar speech and a classic Young Frankenstein scene
The site for the Kimchi Museum in Seoul

* * *

Sept. 6: The Nutty Prognosticator

Three years ago, at the height of the Vegas boom, Jerry Lewis predicted that the resorts were overbuilding and would eventually smother one another. He just didn’t expect it to happen so fast. Now, with the city in a world of hurt, the tough-talking, foul-mouthed comedy legend both commiserated with the current state of affairs and suggests some solutions. Steve spoke to the 84-year-old in advance of that much-cherished Labor Day tradition, the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the two talked about the mob, Steve Wynn and the current state of his career. Yes, he still has a career, and we’re likely to hear a lot more from him in coming months.

In banter: The R-J lawsuit campaign could hit the Strip, the Great Petcast Roadtrip, the screwy monorail directional signs and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

How to donate to the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon
Send a Salami video from YouTube
The Jerry Lewis CD of standards from 1956 on Amazon.Com
Yelp! on Bagelmania, Firefly and Emeril’s
Steve’s blog and Flickr on the Great Petcast Road Trip
Roadfood.Com, Urbanspoon and Dogfriendly.Com
The Sun and Review-Journal on the R-J lawsuit against Sharron Angle
Steve's coverage of the lawsuits, including the Angle suit on Paris Hilton and the monorail signs
Vinnie Favorito’s “new” contract at the Flamingo, as covered by us in June
Mike Weatherford’s perfect column about how silly the Madonna-Vegas rumor
The Bon Jovi rumor from the Examiner.Com
Zowie Bowie’s website
The VegasHappensHere.Com link regarding NPR’s “Wait Wait” using Steve’s story as a joke

* * *

Aug. 22: Our FIFTH Anniversary Blooperpalooza!
SPECIAL REISSUE: The 2008 Blooper Show

Fights! Celeb Outtakes! Singing! It’s been FIVE years! Five years of brilliant, revealing interviews, witty banter and… oh, who are we kidding? It’s been five years of fuckups, stumbles, confusion, arguments and a whole lot of fucking cursewords. But most of that is behind the scenes except for once a year when Steve edits together the best outtakes and we revel in how badly we do this job. If you’re in the chat room weekly, you’ve heard most of this, but if not, this is your shot. Some of this is new, though, including outtakes with Jon Voight, Steve Wynn, Englebert Humperdinck, Daniel Negreanu and others. We’re blowing out the show this week – no tourist tip, no interviews – so sit back, relax and enjoy the circus.

In banter: Madonna for $1 billion, veganism at Wynn and hula hoops on "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me."


Robin Leach writes of Madonna’s possible $1 billion Caesars deal, and Norm Clarke explains why it doesn't add up
Veganism, it’s what’s for dinner at Wynn Resorts
Al Mancini of CityLife provided a full list of Wynn eatery vegan dishes
Steve’s AOL News piece on the Hula Hoop ban
The full, very funny 6-minute Vegas segment from “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me”
Our last blooper show, in 2008

* * *

Aug. 9: Mafia Wars, Vegas Style
...with Meyer Lansky II & Dennis Barrie

Immediately after Mayor Oscar Goodman was elected, he got into political hot water for suggesting the city open a mob museum. And yet in the next 18 months, Vegas will be getting not one but two of them. The Las Vegas Mob Experience is set to open at the Tropicana in December and the Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas is due sometime in 2011. In this supersized episode of The Strip, we’ll hear from prominent proponents of both. First, Steve speaks to Meyer Lansky II, the grandson and namesake of the legendary mob boss who first sent Bugsy Siegel to Las Vegas. Then, later, we have a conversation with Dennis Barrie, the curator for the downtown entry into the mob-artifacts sweepstakes. Barrie created the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. and was at the center of a major controversy in the late 1980s over the display in a n museum of sexually explicit Robert Mappelthorpe photos.

In Banter: Banning hula hoops, some gay-straight observations about topless shows, the Cosmopolitan gains steam, news on the Garth Brooks scalping front and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

The Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana, opening this year
The Mob Museum that opens downtown in 2011
The R-J on the hottest July ever
VegasHappensHere.Com on Steve’s new car
VegasTripping.Com on Cosmopolitan’s new marquee
Cosmo’s CEO John Unwin is the first chief exec in Vegas to Tweet
VegasHappensHere.Com on the city’s effort to bar hula hoops
Yelp’s entry on Shibuya, a letter-writer’s favorite place
Steve’s New York Times piece on the Mob Museum and possible stimulus money
The Cincinnati Enquirer outlined Dennis Barrie’s court drama with the Robert Mapplethorpe photo show
The Mapplethorpe bullwhip-up-the-butt image referenced in the interview [NSFW]
Barrie’s other museums, the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, the International Spy Museum and the Woodstock Museum
Michael Cornthwaite’s Downtown Cocktail Room and The Beat Café as well

* * *

Aug. 2: Rick Thomas Roars On

Seven years after an on-stage tiger attack ended careers of Siegfried & Roy, there’s still one magician on the Strip using the huge wild cats to stun and fascinate audiences. That’s Rick Thomas, who has bounced in his Vegas career from one resort to another and presently appears at the Sahara. Steve speaks to Thomas this hour about returning to the stage with his tigers after Roy’s injury, about what went wrong for Criss Angel, Hans Klok and Steve Wyrick and about why he hesitated before agreeing to take over the showroom at the Sahara.

In Banter: Gays stop traffic, Nora Ephron hearts SW Steakhouse, Louie Anderson gets a gig, Tony Curtis loses a gig, PA beats NV, Wynn unveils an app and Steve hunts for a car.

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Rick Thomas’s website
Steve’s AOL News piece on the gays stopping Strip traffic
MGM Resorts’ Fabulous Gay Weekend thingie
Norm Clarke on Louie Anderson’s new gig
VegasHappensHere.Com on Tony Curtis’ recovery and lost film role
The AP on PA’s outgrossing NV in gaming taxes
The Las Vegas Sun on Congress’ efforts to undo the online poker ban
VegasTripping has a peek-a-boo at Cosmo and a review of the Wynn iPhone app
VegasHappensHere.Com on Steve’s car-buying drama
Holly Madison’s big no-resort-fee splash at P-Ho
LasVegasDirect.Com offers a list of Vegas hotels with resort fees




What were the top moments in the 6-year run of The Strip Podcast? (Pick 6)

Amazing Johnathan Unleashes Slurs
Amber Unicorn's Top Secret Tourist Tip
Andrew Lloyd Webber Doesn't Know Name of His Vegas Show
Andy Williams Talks About Eating Dog Food
Annual Playing of Steve's Birthday Anthem
Carolyn Goodman Is Stumped
Chatting With The Vegas Imploders
Chefs Asked What Their Favorite Fast Food Is
Chubby Checker Is Very Bitter
Chuck Woolery Whines About Wheel of Fortune
Cirque Chief Daniel Lamarre Wants 50 Cirque shows in Vegas
Cloris Leachman Gets Therapy From Steve
Dennis Miller Abruptly Ends Interview
Elaine Wynn Does A Live Show
Eydie Gorme Makes a Cameo On Steve Lawrence Interview
Frontier Implosion Footage
George & Giles Martin On The Beatles
George Wallace Dumps M&S
Hal Prince Says Phantom Is Not A Downer
Hal Prince Tells Steve He's Dangerous
Jerry Lewis Bashes Vegas
Jim Murren Says He's Never Been In Encore Or Palazzo
Jon Lovitz Tells All About The Andy Dick Fight
Liza Minnelli Is Very Nutty
Miles Does Sedaka
Miles Mocks Steve's TSTTotW
Miles Swoons Over Jennifer Tilly
Miles' Mockery of Steve
Olivia Harrison Talks About The Beatles
Paul Rodriguez Attacks The Trop
Pete Rose Mellows Out
Robert Earl Repents To Steve
Roger Thomas on Chinoiserie
Sheldon Adelson Slams Wynn In Macau
Shelley Berkley Talks Plastic Surgery
Some OTHER Moment
Steve Asks Whoopi If She's Strapped For Cash
Steve Debates Food Criticism With Al Mancini
Steve Outs Johnny Mathis
Steve Wins $100 Off Doyle Brunson
Steve Wynn Bashes Cosmo Valet Design
Steve Wynn Describes the Rembrandt Buy
Steve Wynn Gets Victor Drai On The Line
Steve Wynn Says He Loves Elaine
Steve Wynn Tours Encore
Steve Wynn Tours The Wynn
Steve's Patti LuPone Obsession
The $4 Interview With Jerry Lewis
The Arrogance of Kenny G
The Fators Go Head To Head
The Vegas PodcastaPalooza Appearances
Tim Gunn's Publicist is Rude
Tony Curtis' Spunk Talk
Vince Neil Says He's Sober
WSOP Jamie Gold Admits He Cheated
Wayne Newton Buys His Own Stuff On Ebay
Wynn Calls The Frontier A Toilet
Wynn Lies About Danny Gans Returning
Wynn Slams Sheldon Adelson In Macau

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* * *


Old Poll Results

July 1: Cosmo is socialist!
June 20: Blow up Sahara, Sam!
May 22: Wynn meals sucked
April 4: Ga
mbling nearby!
March 15: Oct in LV rocks!
Feb. 15:
Aria parking sucks!
Jan. 15: Do
nny is the best!
Dec. 15: Boo Rao's & L'Atelier
Nov. 16: Jump in a lake, Wynn!
Nov. 1: Not Wynn's Job
Oct. 16: Seinfeld & Simpsons ka-ching
Sept. 24: Paul McCartney still rocks!
Sept. 4: Bo to Maloof!

Aug. 22: Trop's The Stop!
Aug. 1: Bring it, Lewis Black!
July 2: Come hither, Apprentice!
June 1: Celine's overrated!
May 5: Steve Wynn deserves a star!
April 15: Be gone, crap!
March 30: Luxor Love!
March 1: $5K burgers are nuts!
Feb. 15: Caesars is for sports bettors
Feb. 1: Corp consolidation sux
Jan. 20: Tiger = Douchebag 2009
Jan. 3: Underwater themes soar!
Dec. 20: Viva Elvis sounds good!
Nov. 10: Circus Circus ew!
Oct. 16: Yay @WynnLasVegas!
Sept. 16: No gays, guns, god!
Sept. 1: WTF, Caesars?
Aug. 4: Begone, celeb nightclubbers!
July 15: Cirque du MJ!
July 1: Criss irks!
June 1: Billy Joel rocks!
May 5: Yummy Bobby Flay!
April 16: We miss S&R!
April 2: Mothball Circus Circus
March 20: Implosions rock!
March 1: Stardust, we miss ye!
Feb. 1: Sinatra history is king!
Jan. 15: A view from a plane rocks!
Jan. 1: Encore Tour Rules!
Dec. 15: Leave kids home!
Nov. 17: Write a book, whore!
Oct. 28: Elvis is still king!
Oct. 14: CityCenter condos rock!
Sept. 25: The LV vista thrills!
Aug. 31: Ellis Island is for drunks!
Aug. 16: Carrot Top sucks?
Aug. 1: Mac King reigns!
July 22: IP's pool sinks!
June 30: Mandalay swims!
June 10: Five Hundy OK!
May 22: Grease is the word!
May 6: Costly food sucks!
April 1: Charge @ Fashion Show!
March 25: Prices R too high!
March 8: TAI rocks the blog!
Feb. 14: Elton rocks!
Jan. 21: Bon appetit, Mr. Flay!
Jan. 10: Impatient for Palazzo.
Dec. 21: Wynn rules!
Nov. 13: "O" soars for Cirque!
Oct. 25: The Flamingo is king!
Oct. 11: Cocktail servers rule!
Sept. 25: Stratosphere = value!
Sept. 11:
MGM Mirage rules!
Aug. 14:Universal Soldier sucks!
Aug. 2: Vegas Vacation rocks!
July 17: We love New York!
June 21: Bugsy still intrigues.
June 7: Casino rules!
May 31: Waiting for CityCenter!
May 24: Hotel websites rule!
May 17: Go Five Hundy!
April 24: Blue Eyes rules!
April 12: We play the numbers!
April 5: Boo, NASCAR!
March 29: Bellagio, Yum!
March 15: Butts out, Vegas!
March 8: Buh-bye, Frontier!
March 1: Hey big spenders!
Feb. 23
: Deal us in for blackjack!
Feb. 15: Eat, play and see Celine!
Feb. 8: This site sucks!
Feb. 1: Be gone, Carrot Top!
Jan. 25: O is really forever!
Jan. 18: Producers won't last!
Jan. 11: Circus Circus sucks!
Jan. 4: Bellagio Rules!


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* * *


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* * *

July 19: Johnny Chan's WSOP Complaint
Special: Mama Grinder Explains Mizrachi Mania

The current generation of professional poker players generally have little regard for those who ruled the game prior to the big boom, except when it comes to at least one guy: Johnny Chan. That’s because Chan was the champ who appeared as the idol successfully bluffed by Matt Damon’s character in “Rounders,” the seminal 1998 poker flick frequently credited with inspiring thousands of young people to take up the game. Chan, the last player to win back-to-back World Series of Poker Main Event championships 22 years ago, was back in the news this week when appeared briefly in the top 10 in this year’s tournament before hitting a few bad beats and busting out in 156th place. The outspoken pro spoke to Steve this hour about why he’s unhappy with the current management of the World Series, why he was unimpressed by Phil Laak’s recent 115-hour poker-playing spree and why he’s never played a hand of cards at Aria.

In Banter: Steve’s new boob job, it’s fucking hot, Veer opens, South Point expands and thoughts on the Vegasness of Top Chef and Holly’s World.

Links to stuff discussed:

Johnny Chan’s website
The Johnny Chan-Matt Damon video clip from Rounders
Steve’s piece for AOL News on the 2010 World Series of Poker’s final table
The special edition the Strip with the mother of the Mizrachi brothers
The R-J’s coverage of the opening of Veer
The website for Holly’s World
The Top Chef profile of Stephen Hopcraft of Sea Blue at MGM Grand
The image of the chefs on that Mandalay Place wall and the chalk Justin Bieber worship
The Las Vegas Sun on the expansion at Suncoast
WSJ blog on Steve Wynn buying the Plaza Hotel
Steve’s AOL News coverage of Phil Laak’s 115-hour poker feat

* * *

July 12: (S)Talking Brad Garrett
SPECIAL: Brad Garrett's "Stalker" Speaks

The first line of his obituary will identify him as the put-upon brother in the classic sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but before that role of a lifetime Brad Garrett was an accomplished stand-up comic who opened for Frank Sinatra, Julio Iglesias and many others. That’s why his decision to slap his name on the space at the Tropicana that has traditionally been a venue for comedians is less surprising than it appears at first. Garrett, who performed for the first two weeks at the club and promises to appear at least one weekend a month going forward, chats this hour about how he regards his quote-un-quote role of a lifetime, how awkwardness about his size led to his comedy career and how the liberal actor keeps the peace with his notoriously conservative former co-star, Patricia Heaton. Also, Brad and I dig into the question of whether he is being stalked.

In Banter: Lots of restaurant talk, the Harmon is stuck, Sheldon Adelson is defying expectations, the Main Event is still healthy, Dallas’ NFR/boxing gambit and the ATM companies want to help you lose more and faster.

Links to stuff discussed:

Yelp on Johnny Smalls, Julian Serrano, Nu Sanctuary, Ferraro’s and Firefly
Get tickets for Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the Tropicana
Guest host David McKee’s blog, Stiffs & Georges
VegasHappensHere.Com posts on Brad Garrett’s stalker situation
Our special episode with Garrett’s stalker
The Las Vegas Business Press’ Tony Illia on the Harmon stagnation
Steve’s NYT piece when the Harmon was shorn
WSJ piece on the Dallas stadium hoping to compete with Vegas
Stiffs & Georges on the various Sheldon Adelson stories and the Singapore place’s seeming success
Minus 5 is opening at Monte Carlo
Hash House A Go Go opening at M
Rock N Rita opened at Circus Circus
The Main Event of WSOP draws 7,319
Terrance Watanabe’s settlement with Harrah’s
The Jeff German piece about how RICH out-of-control gamblers should be stopped
The Arnold Knightly piece about whether average gamblers should be enabled by the ATM
Quiet Kingmaker, the book about Parry Thomas co-written by Jack Sheehan

* * *

July 5: The George Wallace Debacle Revisited
EXTRA: The Original George Wallace Episode In Full

For years, we’ve heard Steve and Miles joke about it, for very, very few listeners have ever actually heard it: The mythical George Wallace interview of November 2005. Every now and then, when the hosts of this show need a reference to someone who treated them badly, it’s always the late-night comic at the Flamingo. But was it really as bad as they remember? We’ll replay that this hour.

In Banter: Vegas websites and analysts behaving badly, an awkward Brad Garrett experience, dinner with Vajohna & Co., and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

George Wallace’s website
John L Smith’s piece when we changed our show name
Follow Mike_E, Vajohna, JeffThePianist and R_Roberti on Twitter
A Twitter picture of Vajohna’s birthday treat at Alex
The background on the Asian Equation
Yelp!’s listing for the fantastic, cheap Pho Thanh Huong
VegasHappensHere.Com on the problems with the Tropicana and Cosmo sites
VegasTripping.Com’s coverage of the Skyloft site’s problems
The comic-banter show Green Room on Showtime that Amy discussed
The Portfolio.Com piece on Bill Lerner’s weird Cosmo analysis
M&M World expansion is coming, according to the Sun
The Las Vegas Sun’s piece on ads on slot machines
The R-J’s piece on Harrah’s latest stirrings of Project Linq
The Sun’s piece with the oddly lofty views of Vegas’ high-end malls

* * *

June 28: Hot Air In The Kitchen
...with Rick Moonen & Jet Tila

You know what group of Vegas notables rarely, if ever, find themselves at the center of controversy? Chefs. Normally, they just oversee their kitchens, sell their books and show up on daytime TV feeding perky anchors delicious treats. That's why it was so jarring when Rick Moonen of RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay ended up in the middle of a feud with Top Chef Masters judge Jay Rayner this month over why Moonen came in second in the Bravo series. We'll talk to Rick about that and then turn to another outspoken Vegas chef, Jet Tila of Wazuzu at Wynn Las Vegas. Tila talks about his Guinness record attempts, local restaurant picks, and shows he loved and hated. Plus, he discloses the ingredients of Steve Wynn's special California roll, which is not on the menu. Tila says you can ask for it, though.

In Banter: Vegas downscaled with Ross Dress For Less and more, the wacko Jacko auction, the silliness in Vegas! The Show's advertising and a special cameo by a friend playing WSOP events this weekend.

Links to stuff discussed:

Rick Moonen’s website, book and restaurant
Jet Tila’s Las Vegas Weekly blog and Facebook page
Steve’s AOL News piece on the chip collector’s convention
The McKee-Prosser wedding blog post
Rob Walch’s Podcast411 and Today in iPhone podcasts
Steve’s AOL News report on the MJ auction
Kardashian store coming to the Mirage
Riviera act claiming he's 2009 Nevada performer of the year, Greg London
An image of Vegas! The Show’s ridiculous rack card
Hubert Keller’s TV cooking show, which is moving to Vegas
Facebook page for The Strip Podcast
Steve’s LVW column on the Top Chef outcome

* * *

June 21: Donny Osmond's Return

It’s been three long, productive years for Donny Osmond since last he joined us on this program. His first public hint that a Vegas deal was brewing was on that 2007 episode, and now he and sister Marie are major Strip headliners who have both also appeared on Dancing With The Stars. Donny, of course, won the ABC reality show last year, and he talks this hour about that triumph. He also talks about how he knew to buy the domain name way back in the 1980s and he and Steve touch on some current news of the day including the deaths of Marie’s son and Gary Coleman and his concern over Justin Bieber’s Donny Osmond-like popularity. Plus, someone famous once told him in the 1980s to change his name if he wanted to resume a show biz career. Find out who.

In Banter: MGM Mirage is now MGM Whatchamacallit, Louie Anderson traded the Excalibur or Palace Station, Rick Moonen got robbed, Vegas The Mall opens and Resort Fee Cancer spreads to Wynn and the Trop.

Links to stuff discussed:

Donny Osmond’s website, Donny.Com
Tickets for the Donny & Marie show at the Flamingo
Louie Anderson goes to Palace Station
Moonen and Samuelson doing charity dinner
EatingLV.Com on Fleur de Lys becoming a tapas bar
Fox 5 on ESPN Zone closing in Vegas
Las Vegas Sun on the Walgreens coming across the street from CityCenter
The R-J on Wynn laying off 261 people and giving 4,000 others a 40-hr work week
VegasTripping.Com on the resort fees now at Wynn
The AP on MGM Mirage becoming MGM Whatchamacallit
VegasHappensHere.Com on Vegas! The Mall opens on Moscow
Our 2007 episode with Donny Osmond
KNPR’s Paul Rodriguez interview criticized for failing to follow up on his anti-Trop remarks

* * *


Poker star/wacko Phil "Unabomber" Laak played poker at Bellagio for 115 hours from June 2 to 7. Click above or here to see the streak end and hear Jen Tilly's thoughts. Other related stuff to check out:

* My Laak interview at 114 hours
* My GQ.Com Q-and-A
* VegasHappensHere.Com posts and photos
* My AFP wrap-up of the streak
* My Las Vegas Weekly column on the event
* My AOL News piece as Laak began the streak

* * *

June 7: A Vegas Favorito

Insult comic Vinnie Favorito is one of those Vegas headliners who doesn’t get a whole lot of fanfare. But he’s OK with that because his shows are doing such strong business that the Flamingo actually, recession be damned, raised his ticket price. And, as he announces for the first time this hour, Harrah’s just re-signed him this week to remain a Vegas headliner for until 2017. Favorito also talks about what other famous comics were passed over for him to get the Flamingo gig and why he’s owed a lot of money by the producers of the short-lived Real Deal show at the Venetian.

In Banter: Guest co-host Joe Brown explains his departure from Vegas and gives his five favorite Vegas shows, Puck's turn towards pizza, Paul Rodriguez fallout and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Vinnie Favorito’s site
Tickets to Vinnie’s show at the Flamingo
Joe Brown’s magnificent Vegas souvenir shirt, shots one and two and three
Phil Laak’s marathon poker effort as covered by Steve for AOL News
Expert Bedazzler/journalist Abby Goldman’s appearance on the Petcast with her 853-year-old dog
Joe Brown’s pieces, including his hour with Celine Dion, his taking a Cher impersonator to a Cher show, Frank Marino putting him in drag, his recent Le Reve and Wayne Newton review and his one-year checkup of Criss Angel
VegasHappensHere.Com pictorial of the Encore Beach Club
About A Mountain by John D’Agata
Steve’s column from the Weekly about Paul Rodriguez’s discussion of the Trop
VegasHappensHere.Com on Wolfgang Puck’s new pizza joint
Doug Elfman’s piece on “Get Him To The Greek”
The Celine Dion “Through the Eyes of the World” DVD

* * *

May 31: Paul Rodriguez In Not Amused
SPECIAL REISSUE: Dennis Hopper, circa June 2006

When was the last time you heard a newly minted Strip headliner complain that he’s unhappy with his host resort and already flirting with defecting to competing properties? Well, fasten your seat belts because never-shy comic Paul Rodriguez is about to knock your earbuds off. Rodriguez, who started at the Tropicana last week to middling reviews, explains – get this -- what’s wrong with his own show. Rodriguez, one of Comedy Central’s top 100 comics of all time, is also owner of the Laugh Factory in California where Seinfeld star Michael Richards had his racist meltdown which, he said, was incredibly good for the comedy club’s bottom line. He also had some new details about the Gloria Estefan-themed show expected to come to the Trop.

In Banter:

In Banter: Bye to Dennis Hopper, Gary Coleman and Woo Restaurant, hello to Surrender/Encore Beach Club, and eff-you to downtown's Plaza.

Links to stuff discussed:

Paul Rodriguez’s website
Paul Ridriguez’s famous skateboarding son’s site
Tickets for Paul Rodriguez show at the Trop
Rodriguez’s very funny opening act, Shayla Rivera
VegasHappensHere.Com coverage of the opening of Encore Beach Club and Surrender
Norm Clarke’s piece on the Beach Club
The Twitpic of Steve’s chocolate pancakes at Society Encore
The Strip’s interview with Roger Thomas when he revealed the design of EBC/Surrender
Dennis Hopper’s obituary and his 2006 Strip appearance

Nu Sanctuary at Town Square
Changes to dining at Cathouse reported by John Katsilometes
Firefly in downtown Las Vegas
Gary Coleman’s Vegas ties on The Surreal Life
MGM Mirage iPhone apps that we can’t try because of it’s for 3GS devices
Woo Restaurant closing at Palazzo
Steve’s LVW column about how LVS screwed over Woo Restaurant
Las Vegas Advisor’s news ticker
Mike Weatherford’s C+ review of Paul Rodriguez
Rodriguez’s involvement with a water-rights fight, the Latino Water Coalition for Farmers

* * *

May 17: Vince Neil, Inc.

For most of his life, he’s been known as the hard-partying, long-haired front man for the legendary metal band Motley Crue, but in recent years Vince Neil’s emerged as tattoo business mogul with a growing empire that includes tattoo shops, bar-restaurants and even an airline. And, to hear Neil tell it, he owes it all to Las Vegas. Hear all about it this hour in an interview recorded for Steve’s forthcoming Portfolio.Com piece.

In Banter: Two Vegas mob museums, the Trop’s renaissance, Girls Night, Hispanic marketing, LVS lawsuits, Camp Vegas, Perini v MGM, Norm v Robin and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Vince Neil’s site
David McKee’s Stiffs & Georges blog
David McKee’s reviews for Las Vegas CityLife
Desert Companion Magazine
The other Mob Museum going to the Trop, according to McKee
Norm Clarke ’s report in July 2009 on the Antionette Giancana mob collection
The R-J’s Mike Weatherford on Girls The Musical
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column about Rio’s marketing to Hispanic customers
The LVCVA’s idiotic Camp Vegas ad campaign
Bloomberg on Las Vegas Sands’ suing a lawyers group
Las Vegas Sun on Wynn apologizing for overbooking
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Philip Bloom v Wynn debacle
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column about Wynn and China
Joe Brown’s surprisingly upbeat “Le Reve” review in the Weekly
The R-J’s latest on the Perini v MGM Mirage drama
David McKee blogging about the past week’s Stripper Poll results
A Bloomberg review of the Vegas photo exhibit at the Pompidou Center in Paris
Fox 5 News in Vegas on the Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal home for sale

* * *

May 10: A Smothers Brother Hour
SPECIAL: Tom Smothers' 5/18 post-retirement interview

The following is an abbreviated list of the people whose career lineage can be traced back to Tom Smothers: Bill Maher. Jon Stewart. David Letterman. Stephen Colbert. Weird Al Yankovich. Norman Lear. Steve Martin. George Carlin. Lorne Michaels. Penn & Teller. The Dixie Chicks. The Who. Simon & Garfunkel. Yeah, that’s all. All were either launched or deeply inspired by Smothers and his pioneering work as creator and co-star of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour from 1966 to 1969. That landmark show, which was yanked from the air in its third season after constant battles with CBS censors, blazed the trail and set the standard for a mind-boggling list of innovative comedians and social commentators. Smothers and brother Dick Smothers are the subject of the brilliant new biography, “Dangerously Funny,” by author and frequent guest host of NPR’s Fresh Air, David Bianculli. The Smothers Brothers perform at the Orleans on May 15 and 16, so we chatted with Tom Smothers about all the famous people he helped launch – and those, like Bob Dylan and Steve Martin, who he didn’t quite “get.” Plus, of course, Smothers has a few thoughts on Vegas then and now.


Buy tickets for the Smothers Brothers at the Orleans
Buy David Bianculli's book "Dangerously Funny"

* * *

May 2: Gloria's A Vegas Star

Our first interview with Gloria Estefan back in 2006 was also the first time we ever did an episode of this show from outside Vegas. So it’s somewhat fitting that the second time around also is a first – the first time we ever conducted an interview for The Strip while standing, literally, outside on the Strip itself. Steve spoke with Estefan on Friday just steps away from where she had just unveiled her star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. The Latin legend teases about an upcoming Vegas venture -- and then Steve tells us what it's really all about -- but she also gets serious about immigration, Cuba and President Obama.

In Banter: Wynn and Adelson's foreign exploits, MGM Whatchamacallit changing its name, taxi tunnels, cheap buffets get a little less cheap, Chazz Palminteri and Cheap Trick are back and the weird reality show Steve got a call on.

Links to stuff discussed

Gloria Estefan’s website
The AP on Gloria Estefan’s star turn on the Strip
Link to our first Gloria Estefan interview from the 2006 image of us with her
Link to the Encore Audio Tour referenced twice
Diane Taylor, the KNPR lunch-buyer, wrote about us
VegasHappensHere.Com on the taxi tunnels at Wynncore
John L. Smith blasts Steve Wynn over his claim to be moving HQ to China
Sheldon Adelson opens the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
Steve’s Portfolio.Com piece on the MGM Mirage name change
David McKee on Harrah’s $29.99 all-day buffet passport deal becoming $39.99
Get tickets for Chazz Palminteri’s “A Bronx Tale”
Hear our Chazz Palminteri interview
Get tickets for Cheap Trick at Paris, hear our Cheap Trick interview
Nancy Glass’ Wikipedia site

* * *

April 19: Robert Earl's Exit Interview

Back when he was unveiling the former Aladdin as the new Planet Hollywood casino, owner Robert Earl made some pretty lofty claims about what his resort would mean for Vegas. That was then. Earlier this year, Earl turned over control of the property to Harrah’s Entertainment, unable to keep his head above water amid these unprecedented, perilous economic times. Earl, naturally, has no regrets as he explains in this episode what his role will be going forward and why the old one-property entrepreneur model of Strip ownership is, for the most part, dead. Other topics on the agenda: CityCenter, Prive, the Palms and his memorabilia stash.

David McKee of the Las Vegas Advisor fills in for Vegas, bantering about Macau perils, CityCenter data, Goss branding, surprising Strip charges and much more.


David McKee’s blog, Stiffs & Georges
Matt Goss’ website
Caesars Palace’s Cleopatra’s Barge
RateVegas.Com on CityCenter’s damaging data
The NWiR episode with Steve debating Rich Velotta on whether it’s too soon to judge CityCenter
Bobby Baldwin admits to David Schwartz in Vegas Seven that the Aria casino is dark
MGM Mirage’s food seminars at Whole Foods courtesy (via SaveLV.Com)
Steve’s profile of Stephen Siegel and VegasHappensHere.Com post on Rumor
News of Prive’s closing, the big travel convention that’s coming and Philly Inq’s casino

* * *

April 12: Frank Gehry's Vegas Vision

You can love it or hate it, but there is no way to be indifferent to the swoopy, wacky shell over the new brain health center west of Las Vegas. That’s because it was designed by the man famous for controversial and often bizarre buildings the world over, Frank Gehry. This is the first time Gehry, 81, has designed for Vegas, and there are several reasons for that as you’ll hear this hour in a rare in-depth audio interview the architect did with Steve. You’ll hear who Gehry has turned down through the years and why, who he is willing to build for and why he isn’t much of a fan of the gambling business in the first place. Plus, as we discussed recently, he chooses the most unlikely of structures as his favorite on the Strip.

In Banter: Wynn quits Philly, Lance Burton quits Monte Carlo, Steve's new iPad, Lake Las Vegas' belated shuttle, various airline news and more.

* * *

April 4: Wynnterview, The Podcast

It’s become a cliché on this program to say that when our Steve sits down to chat with Steve Wynn, you never quite know what’s going to happen. But it’s a cliché because it’s true, so fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a wild ride as the Steves pick over the Wynn divorce, recent art acquisitions and a spirited political discussion over the economy and health care.

In Banter: Miles – yes, Miles – goes on a Strip bender, the R-J thinks Pink’s is literally BEST, Frank Gehry thinks Excalibur is literally the BEST, Illinois and NJ think Macau is the WORST and much more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Ben Spillman’s work at the R-J and his site, NevadaOutdoorNews.Com
Food scribe Max Jacobson on the Jazz Brunch at the Wynn
The Asian Equation recipe on VegasHappensHere.Com
RateVegas.Com’s Hunter Hillegas is a famous iPad geek now
The VegasHappensHere.Com drama re: Wynn, Philly and a photo
Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Best of Las Vegas results
News of the Social House move from TI to the Crystals from the Sun
Fat Cat Daddies and Buzz Meade, the bands from which Miles chose some new bumper music
David McKee of Stiffs & Georges on the Macau-Vegas drama and the food critics’ big new book
The R-J breaks the story of the prostitude’s retirement to porn
Photos from the visit to Steve Wynn for this week’s interview
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column on the Wynn divorce
Link to a story about another billionaire divorce that seemed good and went south

* * *

March 22: The (March) Madness of Queen Elaine

Las Vegas is awash in March Madness, although for legal reasons nobody around here calls it that. So we’re webcasting live from the March – uh – Lunacy party in a ballroom at the Wynn in honor of the NCAA basketball tournament that even has the President of the United States going a bit bracket-crazy. And because we’re at the Wynn, who better to chat with than the property’s first lady, Elaine Wynn? Wynn, now divorced from Steve Wynn but as intimately involved in the details of the company as ever, joins us later this hour to talk about her obsession with college hoops as well as her views on Aria, Obama and Harry Reid. But first, Wynn sports book director Johnny Avello stops by to talk about how the tournament became one of the biggest events in sports betting and how he became known for creating wacky lines for everything from Dancing With The Stars to the Westminster Dog Show. That’s all coming up.

In Banter: VegasHappensHere.Com wins an award, Jason Alexander's a jerk, pool season's here, Sheldon hearts Florida and a bunch of restaurant closures.

Links to stuff discussed:

Watch the whole unedited 90-minute video of this LIVE show from Wynn Las Vegas’ NCAA Tournament party
See the video episode that includes the Elaine Wynn conversation
Link to the CityLife write-up on VegasHappensHere.Com
CirqueFascination.Com did a summary of our Cirque-related shows
Erich Bergen’s rave reviews at UCLA for “A Funny Thing Happens on the Way To The Forum”
The VegasHappensHere.Com post on the Jason Alexander confrontation
Proof that Jason Alexander does do interviews with blogs
The Caesars Gardens of the Gods pools are open
The Naples Daily News report on the Las Vegas Sands hopes to build in Florida
New Jersey regulators say Stanley Ho’s a mobster and the R-J's publisher links this to (?) Harry Reid
Restaurant Charlie is closing, Company is closing and Rumjungle’s in bankruptcy
Conan is playing the Palms and Carole King and James Taylor will be at MGM
Johnny Avello’s appearance on The Petcast talking about odds for Westminster Dog Show
Unusual Avello odds from the Wynn website
A report on the second-round upset of Kansas, the team that Avello and Elaine Wynn both said were the favorites.
A screen shot of Elaine Wynn’s bracket
Jade Bailey-Assam, the Wynn New Media guru who arranged our live event
Steve’s op-ed defending Vegas gambling for the Philadelphia Inquirer
Communities in Schools, of which Mrs. Wynn is the chairwoman

* * *

March 7: Wynn's Design Alter Ego

After designing several of the most beautiful hotels in Las Vegas if not the world, what does Roger Thomas do for, no pun intended, an encore? Well, for one thing, this weekend the world’s most famous movie stars will lounge in a green room of his design before appearing on stage at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood for the 82nd annual Academy Awards show. Does this star turn mean that Steve Wynn’s gay alter ego is launching a new phase of his career? Maybe, but he’s still got his hands full with projects for Wynn Resorts as varied as an luxury resort in Macau, a new beach club at Encore Las Vegas and a non-hotel casino in Philadelphia. Thomas discusses the Oscars, the Wynns, CityCenter and a whole lot more.

Plus, Liberace's home is in foreclosure, Miles recounts his Carson City trek, Steve chats about the Grand Canyon Skywalk, some good and bad news on CityCenter.

Links for stuff discussed:

Roger Thomas’ website
An image of Roger Thomas’ green room design
Miles' home in Carson City, the Hardman House
The Grand Canyon Skywalk
AOLNews on the Liberace home foreclosure
Liberace Museum is trying to move
Liberace movie news re: Michael Douglas and Matt Damon
The latest TicketNews.Com list
Maloof did react to the Palms-Harrah's debt question
Listen to analysis re: MGM v Atlantic City on the No. 44 of Vegas Gang
Roger Thomas's favorites, Pacific Design Center and
VegasHappensHere.Com on that poll regarding lesbian love for Vegas
The New Yorker piece on Peter Chang
Links for J&J Szechuan Cuisine and China MaMa

* * *

Feb. 23: A Presidential Podcast

What’s it like to host the president in your home? What’s it like to play the piano for the president at his home, that big white mansion in Washington D.C.? We’re about to answer both those questions, Vegas style. Palms owner George Maloof explains how he came to know President Obama and describes the hoopla around hosting him Thursday night for a Democratic fundraiser. Then Bellagio’s pianist David Osbourne talks about performing for six U.S. presidents including the last three at the White House. And while presidents are interesting, Osbourne’s story about the last vice president, Dick Cheney, is particularly bizarre.

In Banter: Harrah's gets P-Ho, Vegas gets Obama love, CityCenter does NOT get Obama love, another Lake Las Vegas closure, Chinese New Year is fun, the Viva Elvis party was not fun and why red ketchup is the new blue tape.

Links to stuff discussed:

Guest host Amy and Bay’s podcast, Grits to Glitz
David Osborne’s website where you can buy his music
YouTube channel for David Osborne work
Planet Hollywood is now part of Harrah's
The R-J’s piece on Robert Earl’s future
A photo of the psychadelic-looking Beijing Noodle No. 9
Articles about Casino Montelago, Hawaiian Tropic, Steve Wyrick and Krave problems
Greenspun v Station Casinos, per the Wall Street Journal
VegasMate, the iPhone app, from RateVegas.Com
Steve’s column about his VegasMate experience
The AP on the proposed McCarran liquor store plan
Steve’s AOLNews.Com and blog post on Chinese New Year
A summary of Viva Elvis reviews and Steve’s review
The classic shot of Gene Simmons pawing Amy’s hair
Steve’s AOLNews.Com piece on Obama’s visit and VegasHappensHere.Com posts on the Bellagio suite and Murren’s hopes

* * *

Feb. 15: The Franco Files

Up until the end of the 1990s, Franco Dragone was Cirque du Soleil. He had created most of their productions and was responsible for the signature look that had defined the French-Canadians troupe. But after Mystere and O, he went his own direction. This hour, for the first time, hear why, what he thinks about Cirque’s massive expansion and get some details on his latest project, the $280 million production for a Macau casino. When it opens later this year, it will be the most expensive live production ever.

Plus, Celine's coming back, Obama's coming back, FAO Schwarz and Ritz-Carlton are going, the Ruffins are with child, Chippendales does it 3000 times, candy is all the rage and the NFL and Vegas are at odds yet again.

ALSO: A special LIVE INTERVIEW edition of the Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week with "Jersey Boys" star Travis Cloer, who appears at the Liberace next month.

Links to stuff referenced:

Franco Dragone’s site
The worst movie critic of the year piece Miles referenced
A Twitter pic from the Chippendales’ 3000th show
Joe Brown’s piece in the Weekly on sweet, sweet Vegas
The Associated Press on Celine’s return plans
Obama’s coming back to Vegas for…a martini summit?
FAO Schwarz and the Ritz Carlton are both closing
Time Magazine’s Viva Elvis blowjob
Steve’s losing Super Bowl bets
The Portfolio.Com piece on the Kia-NFL-Vegas Super Bowl flap
Pink’s love for Friendly’s Reese’s Pieces Sundae
The Petcast interview with Wynn oddsmaker Johnny Avello, re: Westminster odds.
Travis Cloer’s website and upcoming shows at the Liberace

* * *

Feb. 8: Cirque's Big Top Man

The head-scratching and bellyaching began way, way back in 2003 with Zumanity. Then came Ka, Love and Criss Angel Believe. But despite naysayers who think Cirque du Soleil is overextended in Las Vegas, here comes show No. 7, Viva Elvis at Aria, officially opening on Feb. 19. What’s the deal? Steve sat down in Montreal last month with Cirque CEO Daniel Lamarre, who says he wouldn’t mind having 50 shows on the Strip, if only they had the time and available showrooms. But the company is busy elsewhere these days, planning permanent productions at Radio City Music Hall and the Kodak Theatre, not to mention trying to fix the disastrous Criss Angel show at the Luxor.

In Banter: Aria room rates falling some more, Super Bowl weekend is up, Obama steps in Vegas poop again and Bill Clinton is a headliner.

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Buy the CD “Cirque du Soleil Collections” for the music used on this show
The Trippies winners, including our honors
The episode with Doyle Brunson when Steve won a bet
The latest Aria room rate price chart from Robert LaFleur of Susquehannah Financial Group
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Super Bowl impact on Vegas versus Miami
Steve’s AOLNews.Com piece going inside the Vegas sportsbooks
Steve’s AOLNews.Com piece on the Obama-Vegas drama
VegasHappensHere.Com on the booking of Bill Clinton at the Colosseum
Read the Las Vegas Weekly cover on Cirque and VegasHappensHere.Com’s pictorial from the Cirque HQ
Richard Abowitz’s blog, GoldPlatedDoor.Com

* * *

Jan 24: Kenny Kerr's Hard Fall

He was the longest-running solo headliner in Las Vegas history, but just a few years since the end of his last gig, he’s probably largely unknown to most of you. Kenny Kerr was the first female impersonator to go mainstream on the Strip, opening in the late 1970s at the Silver Slipper, paving the way for Frank Marino. But Kerr’s story is that of great success and constant financial problems, and when Steve spoke to him in December he had left a gig at a small Italian restaurant miles from the Strip because the owner hadn’t paid him. This hour, hear Kerr provide some fascinating history about Las Vegas, go into some shocking detail about drag queen life and, of course, some delicious slaps at his archrival.

In Banter: Drama at Casino Montreal, a visit to Cirque's mothership, Aria v Bellagio, news on the Fontainebleau, Matt Goss and Krave and more.

Links to Stuff Discussed:

Steve's Las Vegas Weekly column on Kenny Kerr
The website for the Casino Montreal
A YouTube video of the Royal Ascot Sigma Derby-esque game at Casino Montreal
The website for Martini Time, a live cooking show at the M Resort
The sites for Viva Elvis and Criss Angel Believe
VegasHappensHere.Com on the snake-box thing and gay-travel survey
LVA blogger Dave McKee’s post on the emptiness of CityCenter’s Crystals
The Review-Journal’s Howard Stutz in Fontainebleau’s sale to Carl Icahn

* * *

Jan 6: The Real Mr. Las Vegas

Could there be a better way to kick off a new year than with Mr. Las Vegas himself, Mr. Wayne Newton? The Wayner needs little introduction, so let’s just say that you’re about to hear the answer to all your questions including whether he’s had plastic surgery, what he thinks about his weathered voice and much more. Newton, who is performing at the Tropicana at least through April, also addresses his Norm Clarke plagiarism flap, explains how he recovers memorabilia stolen regularly from his Vegas home and for the first time ever reveals the scene from Vegas Vacation that he had nixed. Plus, is his Trop show profitable? What does he think of others who call themselves Mr. Las Vegas? Why doesnt' he want to see Viva Elvis? What was it like to meet Howard Hughes? And much more.

In Banter: Garth's amazing, NYE on the Strip, the Cupcakery and more.


Get Wayne Newton tickets
Wayne Newton’s website
Steve’s Sphere piece on the NYE Christians in Vegas
A picture of the dead Vdara on New Year’s Eve
VegasHappensHere.Com on New Year’s Eve adventures
Google map for Bonanza High, where Kaan saw the NYE fireworks
VegasHappensHere.Com on the latest, re: Garth scalping issue
The Strip Sense column on why Garth was the best show in Vegas ever
Fox 5 on The Lion King’s big ticket numbers
An image of what the Garth wristband looks like
An image of what the Asian Equation looks like and a link to the recipe on VegasHappensHere
What a $40 box of cupcakes from the Cupcakery at Monte Carlo looks like
Wayne Newton and Norm Clarke in an Anna Quindlen column

* * *

Dec. 29: The Vegas Juniors...
...with Louis Prima Jr and Sandy Hackett

Nowadays if you’re the offspring of an iconic celebrity, you can get work regardless of your talent as the subject of a reality TV show or by providing vacuous interviews on red carpets. But some of those who were born famous actually spend their lives trying to both make their own mark on the world and protect the legacies of their parents. In this episode, we’ll hear from two men who have done just that, Louis Prima Jr and Sandy Hackett. Prima continues to try to rescue the dying Vegas lounge act that his father made so great and Hackett is a comic and musician in his own right whose Rat Pack production at the Sahara bounces off of his own family history with Frank, Dino, Sammy and Joey. Both have struggled with and enjoyed perks from their famous names and both speak openly about that mixed blessing as well as their fascinating Vegas histories.

In Banter: The Aria buffet, Phil Ruffin’s Bellagio play, the Build It Bigger on CityCenter, Forbes on Adelson and Ruffin, the MGM Mirage Xmas Day outage and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Get tickets for Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show at the Sahara
Louis Prima Jr’s website
Sandy Hackett’s website
The site for Casino de Quebec
Wikipedia on Mary Healy and Peter Lind Hayes
HowStuffWorks on Discovery Channel’s Build It Bigger shows on Veer and Aria
Doug Elfman’s baffling Viva Elvis piece claiming there aren’t Elvis impersonators in the show
Forbes Magazine’s pieces on Sheldon Adelson and Phil Ruffin
VegasHappensHere.Com’s coverage of the Christmas Day outage at the main IT center of MGM Mirage
John L Smith’s column about Jim Murren’s baseball lie
Norm Clarke’s reporting on the legal tussle between the Rat Pack shows

* * *


* * *

Dec. 21: More Celebrity, More Puck

He can hardly keep track of how many restaurants bear his name, so he’d be forgiven if he found opening yet another one in Vegas to be run-of-the-mill. And yet Wolfgang Puck, seemed as giddy as ever as he inspected the construction site that will, in one month’s time, open as Puck Brasserie at CityCenter. Amid the hullabaloo surrounding Aria’s opening day, the 60-year-old restaurateur found time to chat with Steve about his childhood food memories, what the most famous celebrity chef in the world means by his “less celebrity, more chef” advertising tagline and why he’ll never open a restaurant in a Steve Wynn resort.

In Banter: A recap of the Aria opening, the latest on the P-Ho/Harrahs transaction, Wynn’s art purchase, Trump and Adelson’s CityCenter hate and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Wolfgang Puck’s home page
See renderings of Puck Brasserie in Crystals
Wynn’s no-comment comment in the New York Times on his art buy
A VegasHappensHere.Com teleplay between the Steves
Listen to guest host Amy’s podcast, GritstoGlitz.Com
Forbes shows how bad Sheldon Adelson believes money is love
Flickr photo collections by Hunter Hillegas and Steve on the CityCenter opening
See special Strip video episodes of the Aria opening and preview of Viva Elvis
Read VegasHappensHere’s full coverage of the opening of Aria
The Strip Sense column about journo Tweeting
The Associated Press on the NFL’s decision to allow Vegas ads
Fox 5 Las Vegas on the recent Las Vegas sign vandalism

* * *


* * *

Dec. 10: Murren's Opening Aria

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a little company opening up a few new attractions out there on Las Vegas Boulevard this month and the guy behind all that is a fellow named Jim Murren. The CEO of MGM Mirage was, for better or worse, the visionary behind CityCenter, the $8.5 billion project that is finally a reality and has already opened the hotel-condo Vdara, the Mandarin Oriental and the mammoth Crystals shopping mall. In the interview you’ll hear in this episode, Steve challenges Murren on several ideas behind CityCenter and Murren offers some surprising boasts – that CityCenter will singlehandedly save the Nevada economy, that he’s never set foot on Encore or Palazzo and much more. Plus, Murren allows that the problems of Fontainbleau and Echelon are good for CityCenter, has tough words about Harrah’s and Station Casinos regarding overleveraging and describes the green elements of CityCenter as “a gift to the United States.” Also, Steve asks, much to Murren's chagrin, if CityCenter is a Vegas version of EPCOT.

In Banter: RateVegas.Com’s Hunter Hillegas is in-studio to discuss being Steve’s date at the Mandarin Oriental gala last night, to tell all about his exclusive Aria tour and to explain how this Harrah's-Planet Ho thing makes sense. Or not.

Links to stuff discussed:

Jim Murren’s corporate profile from Forbes
Steve’s L.A. Weekly piece in which Jim Murren is a prominent figure
The list of the fired from Greenspun Media Group
Hunter Hillegas’ RateVegas.Com
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Vdara opening
Hunter Hillegas’ exhaustive Flickr from his Mandarin-Vdara-Aria swing
Dave McKee’s very strange dissertation about gay travel
The L.A. Weekly architectural review of CityCenter
The USA Today blowjob about CityCenter
The latest on Harrah’s effort to buy Planet Hollywood from GlobeSt.Com
Our listener’s suggestion for Vietnamese, Pho So 1

* * *

Dec. 1: Doyle Brunson Loses A Bet...
...and Norm Clarke answers The Question!

Even if you know or care nothing about professional poker, it is hard to imagine you’ve never come across the name Doyle Brunson. Poker’s elder statesmen was there when Texas Hold ‘Em came into being, was there when the concept of the poker tournament was invented and was there when they added hole-card cameras to poker tables to make it interesting for TV viewers to follow the action. Now, at 76, he’s published a surprisingly frank autobiography appropriately titled “The Godfather of Poker” in which he reveals the violent early days of his gambling life, his strained relationship with his father and much more. When Steve spoke to two-time World Series of Poker Main Event champ this week, he opened up some more about the Binion family, mob enforcer Tony Spilotro, Annie Duke, Joan Rivers and Phil Hellmuth, among others. Plus, Steve did the seemingly impossible – he won a bet off Doyle.

In Banter: USA Today’s CityCenter piece, New Year’s Eve is back on top, Harrah’s is buying P-Ho but with what?, Hash House A Go Go is opening a Strip location and more.


Buy Doyle Brunson’s biography "Godfather of Poker" or the classic "Super/System" on Amazon.Com
Doyle Brunson’s online poker home, DoylesRoom.Com
The LeRoy Neiman painting in Bobby’s Room at Bellagio up close
The travel blog of Kitty Bean Yancey of USA Today
The USAT piece on CityCenter
Rich Velotta’s Las Vegas Sun natural-light-in-Aria casino piece
The piece on the Four Seasons from the NYT that may explain the Mandarin Oriental’s pricing approach, too
The Las Vegas Sun on Harrah’s trying to buy Planet Hollywood
The Review-Journal on the announcement that they’re setting NYE fireworks off on the roof this year
PlanetMoney from NPR, which Miles listens to
The site for Hash House A Go Go, which is looking for a Strip locale
Norm Clarke gives FiveHundy.Com credit for breaking news that HHAGG is opening at the IP
Norm ferrets out the Vegas connection to Tiger Woods
Anna Quindlen’s classic, brilliant Wayne Newton plagiarism column

* * *

Nov. 23: Frankie Goes To Vegas

You may not be all that familiar with the name Frank Caliendo, but it will become hard to miss it the next time you’re on or around the Las Vegas Boulevard. The 35-year-old impressionist known for his work on MADTV and on Fox NFL Sunday just started a 10-year deal to appear nightly at the Monte Carlo, so Steve chatted with him this hour about how that happened, about how he felt about the cancellation of his TBS sketch comedy show and much more. Plus, he explains why he wasn’t at his best the night the media came to review his show and opines on female impressionists, Rush Limbaugh's NFL prospects and the format of Jay Leno's new talk show.

In Banter: More pre-CityCenter thoughts, the future of non-smoking casinos, Lily Tomlin's show and slots, strippermobiles, Mirage's 20th, Golden Nugget's non-price-cutting price-cutting and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Get tickets for Frank Caliendo’s Monte Carlo show
Frank Caliendo’s website
The Las Vegas Advisor’s green Vegas guide
The link to the special edition from the Global Gaming Expo with Roger Thomas and the rest
Las Vegas Sun’s Joe Brown gave a VERY positive review of Lily Tomlin’s show
An image of the Ernestine the Phone Operator slot machine that Lily announced at G2E
An image of lame interviewee Chris Noth checking out the Sex And The City slots
The latest in the Sun about the drama behind the strippermobile
The perplexing Review-Journal piece on the Golden Nugget Rush Tower’s rate cutting
Listener suggestions: Archie’s Thai restaurant and Pho So 1, a Vietnamese restaurant
Tommy Held, whose song “Bound For Las Vegas” we use for bumper music sometimes, is on Twitter
Mike Weatherford’s first-since-scandal interview with David Copperfield
India Palace’s website
Food Not Bombs Las Vegas, which offers a free vegan picnic every Sunday, is also on Twitter

* * *


Audio from a panel discussion moderated by TheStripPodcast.Com host Steve Friess at the Global Gaming Expo that featured Roger Thomas, DeReuyter Butler, Andrew Kreft and Todd Avery Lenahan. Thomas is the mastermind behind several Wynn property designs going back to Mirage, Butler has been drawing up the architecture for Steve Wynn for 20+ years, Kreft oversees all the horticulture and Lenahan designed the Wynn Buffet as well as the Encore rooms and spa. The conversation includes new details of the plans for the Switch Beach Club area, some surprises about Wynn's initial intentions with both the Dunes and Desert Inn properties and some thoughts on Wynn/Encore versus CityCenter.

* * *

Nov.16: Good Ol' Boyd

At 77, William S. Boyd could just sit back, count his money and let his children carry on his family’s casino and philanthropic legacies in Nevada. But for Boyd, retirement from running the company means being active in it in other ways, and he remains very much involved in the important decisions of Boyd Gaming. Mr. Boyd speaks to Steve this hour about halting construction of Echelon, making a play for the properties of bankrupt rival Station Casinos and old versus new Vegas.

In banter: Frank Caliendo opens, Steve bets on Cotto for a friend, WSOP ratings are flat, the Rio is NOT all suites, three popular attractions are now neighbors, crazy Bette fans attack and Jim Murren claims he listens to this show.

Links to stuff discussed:

Steve’s blog post and column on the Main Street Station walkabout
Frank Caliendo’s home page
The VegasHappensHere.Com explanation of how the MJ money was spent
Steve’s Bette Midler failure column and WSOP’s ratings drop
The new locations for the Gambler’s Book Shop and Pinball Hall of Fame
See the weird Aubrey O’Day YouTube rant after the first Peepshow performance
The VegasHappensHere.Com rant against the wrap on The Harmon
The first CityCenter pictorial on the blog
The latest from the R-J’s Howard Stutz on the Boyd-Station tussle
The Dave Berns chat on KNPR with Bob Arum about maybe-gay UFC

* * *

Nov.9: Ungilding Lily

She’s conquered Hollywood and Broadway and won over the hearts everywhere in between so at 70, Lily Tomlin has finally decided it’s time to become a Vegas headliner. For nine nights, from Nov. 10-18, the comedienne brings her cast of famous characters – Ernestine the telephone operator and bratty 5-year-old Edith Ann among them – to the stage. Tomlin explains this hour her illustrious career never before included the Strip and chats with Steve about her roles in Desperate Housewives, West Wing, Damages and the X-Files. Plus, she explains why she walked off the Dick Cavett show in 1972 in a feminist huff and why she and her longtime partner Jane Wagner won’t be getting married.

In Banter: A CityCenter tour, Bette's departure, the WSOP final table, Miles' Oval Office adventures, the disgraceful debasing of The Harmon, a Top Chef viewing party and some we-toldja-so's.

Links to stuff discussed:

Get tickets for Lily Tomlin’s MGM Grand shows Nov 10-18
The Advocate's current piece on Lily Tomlin
Time's 1977 cover on Lily Tomlin
Steve’s blog about the Bartolotta viewing party
The VegasHappensHere.Com post about the marathon WSOP session on Saturday
Steve’s pieces on Phil Ivey, Darvin Moon and the outcome of the WSOP
Links to blog posts about Barry Manilow and Viva Elvis long before both were official
The VegasTripping.Com run-in with Wynncore over Wynncore.Com
VegasTripping.Com's perfect response to Wynncore
The charming letter from Steve Wynn to RateVegas.Com from 2003

* * *

Oct.31: The Top Chef Effect
w/Hubert Keller

Four years ago, a San Francisco chef took a gamble and opened up his San Francisco kitchen to the first challenge of a new Bravo TV show called “Top Chef.” At the time, Hubert Keller came across as tough and grouchy but the show was a hit and his Fleur de Lys in California became a place of intrigue for its fans. Fast forward to this year when warmer, cuddlier Keller appeared first on Top Chef Masters and then in an episode of the current, Las Vegas-set season of the show. Business at Fleur de Lys – long an underperformer at Mandalay Bay – is booming. Keller speaks this hour about that, about what it smelled like to grow up above his family’s bakery in Alsace, France, and about how a Frenchman became one of the biggest things ever in the burger cuisine. Plus, as usual, Steve asked Keller about his food guilty pleasures.

In Banter: Ticket scalping issues, Barry Manilow, the Podcast-a-Palooza, Harrah's dumb iPhone app, DB leaves Wynn, DB opening at Sands in Singapore and who is the Maori Hi Five?

Links to stuff discussed:

Top Chef Vegas
Fleur de Lys in Las Vegas
The Strip Sense column that included Hubert Keller
Our Podcast-a-Palooza episode
Harrah’s lame iPhone app
Steve Wynn’s gotten political
Jan Jones and others defend Obama
Steve’s column about Obama and Elaine Wynn
A YouTube clip of Lady Elaine from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly cover story on the D Gate murals
John Curtas of EatingLV.Com breaks news of Daniel Boulud’s Wynn exit
Las Vegas Walk of Stars

* * *

Oct. 20: Podcast-a-Palooza 2
Take a Chazz On Us

When the idea first came up, nobody -- and by nobody we mean Steve -- thought it could possibly work. Chazz Palminteri was a career character actor with modest name recognition next to the likes of, say, Holly Madison, and his plan was to bring a serious autobiographical one-man play to the Strip? Fuggedaboutit. But Palminteri has faced down doubts about "A Bronx Tale" before, and here he is now in the middle of a two-week run at the Venetian that has been extended by popular demand. Palminteri joined us live at the 2009 Vegas Podcast-A-Palooza to discuss the show, his friendship with Frank Sinatra and the chronological problem in his play that only three people have ever asked him about in 20 years.

In Banter: Rating the Garth deal, revealing some new slot machine ideas coming to G2E.


Chazz Palminteri's website
VegasHappensHere.Com's skepticism about Chazz's show earlier this year
The Vegas Gang podcast
Five Hundy By Midnight
Podcast-a-Palooza emcee Dave Lifton's new show, PopDose
The IMDB site on the stinker flick Chazz discussed, Scar City
Our podcast episode with Palminteri's "Bullets Over Broadway" co-star Jennifer Tilly
Steve's Las Vegas Weekly column about Steve Wynn and Garth Brooks

* * *

Oct. 13: The CSI Interview Experience

It’s the biggest TV show ever set in Las Vegas, but can CSI: Crime Scene Investigation succeed as a permanent Vegas attraction? The folks at MGM Grand decided to find out. On the occasion of the opening of the interactive solve-it-yourself CSI: The Experience, Steve sat down with both Vegas-raised creator Anthony Zuiker and the show’s longtime star, Marg Helgenberger.

In Banter: Debate over the notion of a Top Chef restaurant, A Bronx Tale is excellent, Wynn's new flight deal, post-MJ career notes, weird lights on the Cosmo and more.


CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation homepage
The CSI: The Experience attraction at MGM Grand
VegasHappensHere.Com on the CSI: The Experience attraction's slow start
Steve's Las Vegas Weekly column on Vegas' Top Chef flub
The Las Vegas Sun on the Wynn Las Vegas' new private jet deal offer
Get tickets to "A Bronx Tale"
See Steve's photo of the weird lights on the Cosmopolitan
VegasHappensHere.Com about the Top Chef Sandy Valley switcheroo

* * *

Sept. 17: Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen

In a city of knockoffs and impersonations, how do you go about reinterpreting a great piece of music without being tainted as a copycat? Well, it helps if you’re already a legendary rock band in your own right behind you, too. That’s how Cheap Trick’s doing it anyway, landing at the Las Vegas Hilton for nine performances of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band before a full orchestra and assisted by such other pop stars as Joan Osbourne. Cheap Trick’s guitarist and vocalist Rick Nielsen joins us this hour to talk about the band’s relationship with the Beatles, about growing up in Rockford, Ill., and whether this swing of shows could portend a resident Vegas gig of some form soon.

In banter: Mindy Kaling gets Vegas whiners whining, Terry Fator puts puppets on cabs, Amy gets a Vegas welcome on her European cruise, Top Chef's been good to Hubert Keller and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Get tickets to see Cheap Trick’s Sgt. Pepper Live at the Hilton
Cheap Trick’s website
Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza on Oct. 17 at the Palms
See the redesigned VegasHappensHere.Com
Amy’s revived (for how long?) podcast, Grits to Glitz
Amy’s trip report on her European cruise
Sparky of Las Vegas, our redesigner and hero
Watch the whole Mindy Kaling clip
VegasHappensHere.Com’s rant on the whiners re: Kaling
Luv-It Frozen Custard’s website
Join Steve’s Facebook group “Las Vegas Needs To Grow A Pair”
Fleur de Lys, owned by Hubert Keller
Steve’s TV Guide Magazine piece on CSI: The Experience

* * *

Sept. 10: Hal Prince's Vegas

Legendary Broadway producer-director Hal Prince of Phantom, Evita, Fiddler, Sweeney Todd, Damn Yankees, Cabaret and Pajama Game fame spars with Steve again over whether Phantom is a downer, discusses his 2008 stroke, predicts the Vegas version of "Phantom" will run "indefinitely" and offers up a split-decision on Patti LuPone's on-stage outbursts. Prince's last remark said it all: "You're a good interviewer, but you're dangerous." Prince is the keynoter for the first Phantom Fan Week in Las Vegas, which runs from Sept. 16-20 at -- where else? -- the Venetian.

Links to stuff discussed:

Get tickets for Phantom in Vegas
Hal Prince's Wikipedia page
More on the Phantom Fan Week at the Venetian
The American Theater Wing's fascinating interview with Hal Prince
VegasHappensHere.Com on Patti LuPone's on-stage drama

* * *


Raw footage courtesy of KLAS-TV in Las Vegas of Elijah "Lil Elijah J" Johnson of The Lion King performing "Dancing Machine" at the Pearl in the Palms on Aug. 29, 2009 for the "Las Vegas Celebrates The Music of Michael Jackson" benefit concert. The concert raised more than $100,000 for the Clark County Public Education Foundation earmarked for music education programs in Las Vegas-area schools.

* * *

Sept. 3: The Next Big Li'l Thing

If you were at the Palms on Saturday for the Michael Jackson tribute benefit, you might want to put your ticket stub in a safe place. Years from now, the concert may very well be remembered in the same light as Motown 25, a magical moment when the world witnessed the birth of a major talent. This time, it was Elijah Johnson, the 11-year-old star of the Lion King at Mandala
y Bay, who flew onto the stage in a burst of energy and confidence and sang and danced with an exuberance that now has the Tonight Show calling. Johnson, who leaves the cast of Lion King in October, joins us this hour with his father in the studio to discuss that magical moment last weekend and what it could mean for his future.

In Banter: MJ benefit follow-up, Earl Turner's peeps are jerks, McKee's Carmen Electra infatuation, MGM Mirage's condo issues and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Elijah "LilElijahJ" Johnson’s website
Dave McKee’s blog is Stiffs and Georges blog
Coverage by John Katsilometes and Norm Clarke of the Michael Jackson concert
Cinevegas’ podcast of the Moonwalker Q-and-A
VegasHappensHere.Com breaks the Viva Elvis title for Cirque’s new Aria show
McKee’s Carmen Electra infatuation
VegasHappensHere.Com on Bill Lerner’s Union Gaming Group report on MGM Mirage condo pricing
MGM Mirage CEO Jim Murren’s CNBC interview
VegasHappensHere.Com on all the dirt behind the MJ event
The Myspace site and homepage of "Jersey Boys" star Travis Cloer, whose gorgeous cover of "The Music and Me" closes this episode

* * *

Aug. 27: Joan Rivers

She’s been mocked mercilessly for her voice, her red carpet antics and, of course, her plastic surgery. And yet at 76 years old, Joan Rivers is somehow still relevant, with a new show on TV Land called How’d You Get So Rich and stand-up shows this weekend and next at the Venetian. Rivers returns to our version of The Strip, too, to gab about her recent slam on all poker players on The Celebrity Apprentice, about how she’s more famous today than her late nemesis Johnny Carson and about which stars she thinks have – get this – had bad plastic surgery.

In Banter: A Strip zip but no Dinner in the Sky?, Hotel 32 thoughts, Top Chef Vegas and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Joan Rivers’ website
Get tickets for Joan Rivers’ Venetian shows
Hear Steve and Erich on KNPR this week on the MJ show
The site for Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza II
Norm on Holly Madison on Hef’s ex
YouTube of Joan with Gwar
YouTube of Joan and Annie Duke
VegasHappensHere.Com on the 24/7 ABC stakeout of Conrad Murray’s home
See the video of the Bootleg Canyon Flightlines zipline where Steve gets stuck
Read about the prospect of an Excalibur zipline?
The site for Top Chef Vegas
The R-J’s story about the nixing of a Strip launch for the Dinner in the Sky
Steve’s column on Hotel 32 at Monte Carlo
Joan’s new TVLand show
Is Daniel Negreanu a racist? One blogger thinks so
VegasHappensHere.Com on the $2 lobster machine

* * *

Aug. 20: Daniel The Kid

This is an abbreviated episode because we couldn’t get into the studio this week because of our work schedules. Thus, an interview-only episode featuring Daniel Negreanu, nicknamed Kid Poker. But the kid, presently No. 3 on the list of all-time earnings in poker tournament play at $11.6 million, has a bit of a wicked side, too. His Tweets during this year’s World Series of Poker were rife with snark about other players, Asian drivers and weird encounters with fans on the rail, and in this week’s conversation, Negreanu has some harsh words for fellow star Annie Duke’s representation of the game on the recent season of Celebrity Apprentice. Plus, is it true that most poker players are atheists? Negreanu answers that, too.

Links to stuff discussed:

Negreanu’s blog site
Steve’s column about poker and Twitter
Daniel Negreanu’s Twitter feed
The McClatchy wire feature on Nick Maimone, Catholic poker player
The YouTube clip of Joan Rivers attacking

* * *

Aug. 13: Anthony Cools' Spell
New! Get bookmarked AAC edition

Whether you buy hypnotism or not, there's no denying that Anthony Cools has Las Vegas under his spell. The Paris Las Vegas headliner has become a somehwat unlikely Strip entrepreneur, responsible for four shows besides his own including Bobby Slayton and Penny Lane at the Tropicana and Mental and Freaks at O'Sheas. Cools explains how he became the king of middle-brow and why he thinks some of the more disgusting acts that take place at Freaks are really "quite romantic."

In Banter: Amy and Steve discuss Mental and Freaks, another MJ raid, Laughlin sees an uptick, an accidental ReHab visit, a Maggiano's deal for Amy, and more.

Links for stuff discussed:

Tickets for Anthony Cools at Paris Las Vegas
Anthony Cools’ website
Amy’s Norm bird video on YouTube
Amy in Norm Clarke’s column in the R-J
The site for both Freaks and Mental at O'Sheas
Luke Jermay, the mentalist from Mental
O’Sheas homepage
Steve-O’s website
Steve’s NYT piece on the latest MJ pharmacy raid
Steve’s LVW column on the Stage Door Casino
A link to see the Tropicana’s new logo
See the latest depressing data from the LVCVA for yourself
Las Vegas Advisor’s notice about the hot deal at Maggiano’s Little Italy, Amy’s favorite place ever
Follow “Bound For Las Vegas” singer-songwriter Tommy Held on Twitter
Doug Elfman’s Carmen Electra piece

* * *

Aug. 6: Smokey's Awesome Aussies
New! Get AAC edition

What’s a legend of Motown doing as the chief backer of a Vegas production featuring a white former boy band from Australia? Smokey Robinson explains that, talks about Michael Jackson and sings a few bars of the first song he ever wrote this hour. It’s no “My Girl,” but he was only 6 when he wrote it. That’s coming up, plus Andrew Tierney of that very band, Human Nature, talks about the group's transition from top-of-the-heap Down Under to headliners at, uh, the Imperial Palace.

In Banter: MJ concert details, the attack of the Chitown columnist, Beyonce v Anthony Cools, Prive's woes, Tao's interesting idea and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Tickets for Human Nature at the IP
Smokey Robinson’s website
Amy’s podcast,
Amy’s Norm video
Station Casinos in bankruptcy
Tickets for Anthony Cools at Paris
Beyonce review in the R-J
Prive nightclub's problems
Tao’s Twitterhunt
Neil Steinberg’s outrageous Chicago Sun-Times column on Vegas
VegasHappensHere.Com attacks Neil Steinberg’s column
Steve’s column about the Stage Door Casino

* * *

July 30: Bob Saget

We couldn’t pull off a regular show this week because both of us had to work overtime on Tuesday, so instead we’re posting this interview with comic actor Bob Saget. The Saget interview was recorded back in April and never ran because Saget’s dates at the Pearl Theater at the Palms were canceled, but it’s actually a pretty interesting discussion. Saget became famous as a wholesome TV sitcom dad from 1987 to 1995 on “Full House” but more recently turned his own image inside out by being the filthiest, raunchiest comic to appear in the 2005 documentary “The Aristocrats.” In this conversation, Saget talks about his image, about clubbing with the Olsen twins and his new show, premiering this fall, called Surviving Suburbia.

Relevant Links:

Bob Saget’s website
The New York Observer piece on Saget
Saget’s segment of “The Aristocrats” on YouTube

* * *

July 23: Cuchi Cuchi for Charo

You think she's just a blond, air-headed, surgically enhanced... oh, wait. That's last week's guest. This week, we've got Charo the giggly, jiggly Spanish singer and guitarist, who in the early 1970s was making as much as Sinatra for shows on the Strip, is back in town with a new headliner show at the Riviera. Steve chatted with Charo this week about plastic surgery, her affection for RuPaul and where her signature “cuchi cuchi” line came from.

In banter: A weird WSOP interview story, a weird Panorama Towers ad, a weird Caesars Palace sign, a baffling Monte Carlo strategy and more.

Links To Stuff Discussed:

Steve’s NYT piece on the WSOP Bear Stearns guy
Charo’s website
Tickets to Charo’s show at the Riviera
Hotel32 at Monte Carlo
VegasHappensHere image of RS PALACE
Anthony Cools’ show extended for four years
VegasHappensHere.Com on the weird Panorama Towers job audition

* * *

July 16: The Smartest Little Dumb Blonde in Vegas

Holly Madison admits it: She wants to be famous. And she doesn’t mind being famous just for being famous – in the tradition of Pam Anderson and Marilyn Monroe, she says – but she wants to try her hand at a few things first. To that end, the ex-Playmate who appeared as Hugh Hefner’s No. 1 babe on “The Girls Next Door” and spent a few months as Criss Angel’s girlfriend, now stars as the innocent-turned-naughty Bo Peep in the Planet Hollywood burlesque production, “Peepshow.” In this conversation, Madison discusses her ambitions, the situations in which she is not comfortable being nude and – as odd as it may sound – what she’s reading right now. You’ll be surprised that it’s not in English.

In Banter: The big MJ tribute benefit concert, Peep v Crazy Horse, WSOP and Twitter, Welcome to LV sign vandals, Prive/PHo fined, Harrah's latest Big Idea, MGM's CSI attraction and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Holly Madison’s website
Tickets for Peepshow
Las Vegas Celebrates The Music of Michael Jackson homepage
Sparky in Las Vegas, who worked up the current VegasLovesMJ.Com site
Daniel Negreanu’s sometimes offensive @RealKidPoker Twitter feed
Cirque’s Elvis show website
Howard Stutz’s piece on the Planet Hollywood’s $500,000 fine
VegasHappensHere.Com on Prive’s lawsuit against Michael Politz
Las Vegas Sun on Harrah’s Project Link
MGM Mirage’s press release on CSI: The Experience
The Review-Journal on the Boulder Dam closure
The LVA item on the closure of Lamborghini in at Vegas
VegasHappensHere.Com on Crazy Horse v Peepshow

* * *

July 9: G-Force Winds

On stage and on your stereo, he is laid back and comfortable. But in tonight’s interview, saxophonist Kenny G shows other sides of his persona: arrogant, vain, opinionated and controversial. The musician, who has sold 75 million albums worldwide, also provides a fascinate behind-the-scenes story about his first time on Johnny Carson, discusses Bill Clinton’s influence on the popularity of the sax and has some terse words for audience-scolding showstoppers like Patti LuPone.

Plus, a special INTERVIEW edition of the Trivia Question featuring Las Vegas Advisor publisher Anthony Curtis, aka Curtis Flowers speaking for the first time about his alias.

In Banter: Michael Jackson's memorial, Steve is Hispanic, the WSOP is off and running, The Hangover is mostly Vegasly accurate and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Tickets for Kenny G on July 10-12 at the Orleans
Kenny G’s website
Alan Albert’s restaurant on Yelp
YouTube clips of Paris Jackson, Mariah Carey and Jermaine Jackson at MJ’s memorial
VegasHappensHere.Com on the possible Jackson Fourish show
VegasHappensHere.Com on Steve’s Hispanic excursion
Survey America’s website
Phil Hellmuth’s arrival at the WSOP on YouTube
Doyle Brunson’s Twitter feed
The Review-Journal’s report on the overage at WSOP’s Fourth Day One
Doug Elfman’s column about Carmen Electra in Crazy Horse Paris
Who is new "Peepshow" Aubrey O’Day?
The YouTube clip of the Vegas TV reporter’s Fremont Street tussle
Kenny G’s Guiness Record for holding a note for 45 minutes challenged

* * *

July 2: Rolling With Dice

Hide the kiddies, brace yourself and, if you’re easily offended, you may want to skip at least the second half of this week’s show. Andrew Dice Clay is coming to Vegas in July for another set of shows on the Strip that may portend a headliner residency, so the controversial and foul-mouthed comic is our guest tonight. Is he, as he likes to say, the Elvis of comedy, or is he, as Steve put it in their conversation much to Dice’s annoyance, an overgrown Fonzie? Judge for yourself this hour as they go at it about the 51-year-old’s overactive sex life, about ejecting hecklers and about why he canceled some recent shows in Utah. Plus, hear his version of what happened when Saturday Night Live player Nora Dunn quit the show because he was hosting.

In Banter: The Twin River racino, Michael Jackson’s death, Patti LuPone’s outburst, the Danny Gans 911 call, the tricky Brotastic ad, the survey about Vegas tourist walking habits and Lance Burton looks forward to six more years and (then?) the Monte Carlo’s implosion.

Links to stuff discussed:

Andrew Dice Clay’s website
Steve’s New York Times piece on the bankrupt Rhode Island racino
VegasHappensHere.Com photos of the Twin River casino in RI
Hear the Danny Gans 911 call
Norm Clarke on Lance Burton’s new deal
The billboard for Brotastic/Blue Man Group
Steve’s column on the Patti LuPone text-messaging incident
Hear KNPR on Michael Jackson’s death and his Vegas relevance
Steve’s column on rehabbing MJ’s image
The Las Vegas Sun on Boulder City Hotel’s money woes and the NYT travel on Boulder City
The Las Vegas Sun on the data related to walking tourists and Orbitz hotel bookings
Our episode with Whoopi Goldberg from Nov. 9, 2006
Wikipedia on the difference between a “video lottery terminal” and a slot machine
The L.A. Times’ tasteless blog headline on Billy Mays’ death

* * *

June 18: A Tony Winner and an Oscar

This week, on the Strip: We spoke to her nearly two years ago and she was hinting at a comeback she didn’t want to jinx. And, in fact, Broadway legend – and Steve’s gayest obsession – Patti Lupone did have a trick up her sleeve: A few months later, she returned to the Great White Way in the title role of “Gypsy” and walked off with her first Tony award since her 1981 triumph for “Evita.” Lupone is back in Vegas on June 20 and 21 for shows at the Orleans, so Steve got her back on the line to see how her life has changed. Among other things, Lupone went on a bit of a rant about poor Susan Boyle and the nature of celebrity. That’s coming up. Also, we check in with Mayor Oscar Goodman about Obama’s recent visit and gives an update on plans to resettle the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas.

In Banter: Cinevegas, Sheer Madness, a listeners' Wynn visit, how Steve saved $400 on his Connecticut rental car, All-In: The Poker Movie, Charo, Larry King, MGM Grand Egypt and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Tickets for Patti LuPone’s June 20-21 shows at the Orleans
Patti LuPone’s website
Guest host Amy’s show, GritstoGlitz.Com
All about the odd Summer of ’69 thing at Fremont Street
Sheer Madness at Town Square
The Las Vegas Sun on All-In: The Poker Movie, the Cinevegas documentary champ
VegasHappensHere.Com on Jon Voight’s Roy-tiger tale
More on the Lookin’ To Get Out film is here
The R-J’s Mike Weatherford of the R-J on Charo’s coming to Vegas
The Sun on Cheap Trick’s Beatles show
The latest on Sen. John Ensign’s sex scandal
The R-J on MGM Grand’s Egypt plans
The AP on on Oscar Goodman’s electoral plans
The Sun on Carolyn and Oscar Goodman’s political ambitions

* * *


* * *

June 11: Engelbert Humperdinck

In our quest to cover all the classic old-timers of Vegas lore, one fixture we hadn’t yet caught up with was Englebert Humperdinck, the British chart-topper who was first brought to the Strip in 1968 by none other than Dean Martin. Humperdinck, now 73, talks about everything from Liberace to Lambert, recalls Howard Stern's playing with his hair, explains why James Blunt fits in the canon with Clapton and McCartney and discusses the fact that his rival, Tom Jones, has received a knighthood while he has not. Humperdinck performs in Vegas at the Orleans on June 11-14 playing his hits as well as the contemporary pop songs he covered in his 2007 album, “The Winding Road.”

In Banter: Danny Gans’ cause of death, the Cinevegas passes contest winner, the future of the TI, Steve’s show spree, changes at Peepshow, Robuchon’s odd discount and the Chippendales do Paris.

Links To Stuff Discussed:

Engelbert Humperdinck’s website
Tickets for Engelbert Humperdinck’s shows June 11-14 at the Orleans
The shirtless Engelbert Humperdinck “Release Me” video
VegasHappensHere.Com photos and links regarding the Treasure Island changes
Pictures of the Wynn Sky Casino
Joel Robuchon’s “discount” menus
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Peepshow changes
The YouTube version of the special video edition of The Strip from Bethlehem, Pa.
Hear the Gans death press conference

* * *

June 4 : Jon Voight

Actor Jon Voight's roles in Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance and Coming Home made him one of the most iconic movie stars of the 1970s. He’s also the father of one of the most iconic movie stars of this era, Angelina Jolie. Voight is being honored with the Marquee Award at Cinevegas at a June 14 ceremony where an overhauled version of his 1982 Vegas-set comedy “Lookin’ To Get Out” will be screened. The film also stars Ann-Margret and was Angelina Jolie’s first film role. In this conversation, Steve and Jon Voight discuss his experiences with everything from Midnight Cowboy to Coming Home to Seinfeld. Then Voight explains how he turned from being an anti-Vietnam War activist to a fan of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. He also has some harsh words for President Barack Obama.

* * *

May 28: Carlos Santana

It may be one heckuva a recession, but the Hard Rock Hotel has pulled out all the stops on its new version of The Joint, spending $60 million on the posh new concert venue and signing modern Las Vegas’ first resident rock ‘n roll act in Carlos Santana. The 61-year-old guitar legend granted Steve one of only a few interviews in advance of his first set of shows, which begin Wednesday night. Santana talks to Steve about playing the old Joint on the millennial New Year’s Eve, about his views about Vegas and about which athlete he thinks is more impressive than Tiger Woods. That’s coming up. Also, hear an excerpt of Steve’s explosive chat last week with Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson in which explains his company’s freefall and bats back against Steve Wynn’s criticism of their strategy in Macau.

In Banter: More on Bethlehem and Adelson, Danny Gans memorial and curse, Wolfgang Puck, Obama: The Las Vegas Spectacular, Adam Lambert, Jeff Beacher and Pansy Ho.

Links to stuff discussed:

Carlos Santana’s website
Tickets for Santana at the Joint
Guest host Murphy’s show, Spankwagon
All VegasHappensHere.Com coverage of Bethlehem and Sands
Steve on KNPR discussing "Obama: The Las Vegas Spectacular" at Caesars
The Review-Journal’s Molly Ball on "Obama: The Las Vegas Spectacular"
The Strip Sense column on Adam Lambert’s Vegas potential
Norm Clarke’s reports about the Mirage-Jeff Beacher alliance and the messy Whoopi show
Hot Club of Las Vegas with singer Carol Linnea Johnson
The Utah Shakespearean Festival schedule
The Bootlegger Bistro where Hot Club plays on June 5

* * *

Special Video Ep: May 22 opening of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem

* * *

May 21: It's Cranky Miller Time

Comic and political commentator Dennis Miller has a reputation for being cantankerous and on this week’s show, he lives up to that image to the fullest. More than three years after he came on this show and complimented us as erudite and astute, he’s back in a tense conversation that he ends abruptly because it’s, well, “too deep.”

In Banter: No news on Danny Gans yet, is Lion King a wise Vegas move, British Airways opens daily nonstops, the pasties are gone from and Holly Madison is coming to Peepshow and Menopause finds a new home at the recently hipped-up Luxor.

Due to travel, links for this episode will be listed on VegasHappensHere.Com after the show is posted.

* * *

see full Danny Gans coverage here

May 7: Danny Gans' Muse

Las Vegas is in stunned mourning this week following the shocking death Friday of impressionist Danny Gans. We’ll talk about that at the top of the show, but it’s also fitting that our guest this week is comic Jeff Foxworthy because Gans spent at least 10 minutes in every show doing Foxworthy and his trademark redneck jokes. Foxworthy talks about Gans, about performing for presidents Clinton and Bush and about hosting dimwit adults on the hit TV game show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

In banter: Danny Gans’ death, Jim Murren’s defense, China’s wacky swine flu response, Peepshow’s surprisingly great, Peppermill’s surprisingly classy and Vegas stocks are inexplicably way up.

Links to topics discussed:

Jeff Foxworthy’s website
Tickets to Jeff Foxworthy’s May 16 tickets at The Orleans
LasVegasSun.Com’s piece following Dave Navarro in Vegas via Twitter
VegasHappensHere.Com coverage of the death of Danny Gans
The press release for Beyonce ticket prices at Encore
MGM’s earnings as covered by Howard Stutz of the Review-Journal
VegasHappensHere.Com on swine flu in Macau
The YouTube clip of Carrie Prejean and Pat Robertson
The YouTube clip of Kelly Pickler and Jeff Foxworthy
The Peppermill Coffee Shop’s website
Ex-Milwaukeean chef Paul Bartolotta’s hometown blog on his 2nd James Beard Award
Carol Cling’s “Shooting Stars” column on Top Chef gossip
The Twitter feed for Miles’ station, KVBC
The Reno News & Review on gay-rights legislation pending in Nevada

* * *

April 30: Top Chef's Top Chef

Some chefs are TV stars first, then Vegas restaurateurs. Tom Colicchio did it the other way around. The five-time James Beard Award winner already owned Craftsteak and ‘wichcraft at the MGM Grand when he was tapped to become the chief judge for the hit Bravo reality competition Top Chef. The show began filming its sixth season in Las Vegas this week, although this interview took place a day before that was confirmed. Still, Steve spoke to Colicchio at length about everything from his criticism of the show’s finale format to the late Natasha Richardson’s stint as a guest judge last season. Colicchio also retells how he saved the life of a famous food writer at an Obama inauguration party in January. Plus, as always, we asked him about his fast food preferences, if any.

In Banter: Top Chef a'coming, Angel v. Perez, Fontainebleau's problems, coinful slots, changes to WSOP and more.

Links to stuff discussed:

Craft Restaurants’ website
VegasHappensHere.Com on Top Chef Vegas
The UPI wire service on the Kelly Monaco burglary
TripAdvisor.Com on Golden Gate’s $19.06 special
Elvolution star Trent Carlini’s site
Las Vegas Sun’s Joe Brown raves about Elvolution
Norm Clarke’s call for Criss Angel to be fired
Hear the podcast of the vermin Perez Hilton’s panel to Vegas for a charity event
VegasHappensHere.Com’s post about the Fontainebleau problems
The Associated Press on the trend back toward coin-full slot machines
The New York Times on the possible Nevada lottery
VegasHappensHere.Com on the changes afoot for the 40th World Series of Poker
The site for that wacky plastic surgeons convention
the photo Mark from Chicago sent us on VegasHappensHere.Com

* * *

April 23: Shecky's Complaint

When Steve makes a joke that’s so awful it’s funny, Miles refers to him as Shecky Friess. That’s because long before Steve was hamming it up badly, comic Shecky Greene was one of the legendary comedians who made Las Vegas what it is today. Greene, now 83, is back in town for a three-show gig at the Suncoast next month, so Shecky Friess chatted him up about being tackled by Buddy Hackett in the middle of Paradise Road, about crashing his car in the Caesars Palace fountains and about which of the current crop of comics he loves and which he hates with, as Shecky put it, “a purple passion.” Take a listen and have a great week.

Shecky Greene's site
Tickets for Shecky's show at the Suncoast

* * *

April 16: Hard Rock's Sweetest Star

In retrospect, Dee Snider was born to play Vegas. And finally, thanks to Monster Circus at the Las Vegas Hilton, that time has come for the long-haired, gravel-throated, lingerie-wearing front man for the heavy metal band Twisted Sister. The former choir boy from Long Island speaks this hour to Steve about the show, about just how subversive all that hard-rocking crossdressing was back in the day and about Barry Manilow’s reaction to sharing his showroom with this bunch. Plus, is Gene Simmons of Kiss really is as big a jerk as he seems? Snider has some interesting thoughts on that, too.

In Banter: Le Reve's new ending, the Venetian's umbrella act, Wynn on TV, Hellmuth via chariot, bye-bye whore tax and a great new Vegas pay-per-view idea.

Links to stuff we discuss:

Dee Snider’s website
Monster Circus tickets
Snider’s radio shows Fangoria and House of Hair
A Monster Circus review by Joe Brown of the Las Vegas Sun
Shecky Greene’s website
The Washington Post on NPR’s record ratings in 2008
American Anonymous by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
Vanity Fair piece on Bernie Madoff
The “60 Minutes”, uh, loving portrait with Steve Wynn
Jon Ralston’s interviews with Steve Wynn, Day One and Day Two
Steve’s Las Vegas Weekly column about the death of the whore tax
VegasHappensHere.Com photos of The Joint
The logo of Loves Park, Illinois

* * *

April 9: Marie Osmond, Part II

In Banter: MGM goes up and down, Tony Curtis is weird, CityCenter may seem cluttered and legislators ponder a whore tax.

Last week she talked about genteel topics like Groucho Marx pinching her butt and brother Donny falling off tables. But this week, Marie Osmond gets controversial, particularly when she’s talking about what she knows about the behind-the-scenes world of Dancing With the Stars and American Idol.

Links to stuff we discuss:

Tickets for the Donny and Marie show
GritsToGlitz.Com, guest co-host Amy’s show
Jill Curtis’s horse rescue organization, Shiloh
VegasHappensHere’s photo of the F’bleau towering over the Riv
The Strip’s Tony Curtis episode
The A.P. on the whore tax hearings
RuPaul’s Drag Race TV show

* * *

April 2: Marie Osmond, Part I

She’s a little bit country and a little bit, well, you know the rest. But she’s also now a big bit of a Strip headliner. Marie Osmond, she of the gigantic gleaming smile stretched across the Flamingo, joins us this hour to talk about show business nepotism, performing with everyone from Groucho Marx to Snoop Dogg and the night she and Donny performed their Vegas show in the dark.

In Banter: Freaks at O'Sheas, MGM drama, Follies bye- bye, Vegas impersonator jailed in Suriname.

Links to stuff mentioned:

Tickets for the Donny and Marie show
The 2009 results of the R-J’s Best of Las Vegas survey
The VegasHappensHere.Com post on the mayoral chips for Airmen
The website for SeaWorld’s Military Program
Sites for Minskoff and Mandalay theaters, both of which now house The Lion King
KNPR, the Las Vegas NPR member station
A Las Vegas Sun piece on Freaks, a gross new show at O’Sheas
VegasHappensHere.Com on MGM making their payment
MGM Mirage CEO Jim Murren’s letter to employees
News on Hooters, Riviera and Bally’s closing its sportsbook until September
Mike Weatherford’s coverage of the closure of Folies Bergere at the Tropicana
Gaming Today’s Monti Rock III on Bobby Slayton’s Trop deal
Norm Clarke’s coverage of the Toni Braxton impersonator jailed in Suriname

* * *

March 26: Anthony Marnell III

His father built the Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, Sam’s Town, the Rio, Caesars Forum Shops and countless other iconic structures. But now is 35-year-old Anthony Marnell III’s time, with the surprisingly successful opening of the $1 billion M Resort way, way, WAY south on Las Vegas Boulevard. Marnell the younger talks this hour about the future of his famous M Blimp, about growing up on Vegas construction sites and about why the new resort is in some ways a way for his father to receive the recognition he deserves. Plus, Steve confronts him about whether putting a pharmacy in a casino is, as Steve believes, predatory.

In Banter: MGM Mirage's woes, Phil Ruffin's financing issue, Luxor billboards, hard-to-believe Lion King ticket sales, getting in trouble taking pictures in casinos and thought on Terry Fator.

Links to stuff mentioned:

The M Resort’s site
The Strip Sense column on the Olds’ visit to the M
VegasHappensHere.Com coverage of the Reid-MGM controversy
The Review-Journal’s Howard Stutz reveals that Phil Ruffin can’t seem to finance $175 million
VegasHappensHere.Com on the Luxor billboards
Norm Clarke’s report on the Lion King’s ticket sales
VegasHappensHere.Com breaks news that Celine Dion has inked a Caesars deal
Reviews of Terry Fator from VegasHappensHere.Com, the Las Vegas Sun and the Review-Journal
The R-J’s Ben Spillman’s piece about a blogger who fought with Cannery security about photos
The Poker Grump blog
The Dinner In The Sky in Las Vegas website

* * *

SUPERSIZED EP!! March 10: Race To Trump Mountain

This week, on the Strip: He’s bold, he’s brash, he’s arrogant. And he’s on this show tonight. Donald Trump spoke to Steve last month for a New York Times piece on the Vegas real estate crash that appears in the Friday, March 6, issue. You get to hear that conversation in full this hour, including Mr. Trump’s conclusion that the American economy is in a depression and his mockery of the stalled condo development at the Venetian. Also, we hear from the director of the new Disney adventure “Race To Witch Mountain” as he explains how a Vegas cab can get from Planet Hollywood to Fremont Street in 10 seconds flat.

In banter:
Siegfried & Roy's return, Vegas economic ups and downs, Elaine Wynn's In N Out fetish and M Resort has opened.


Steve’s New York Times piece on the second-home market crash
The Race To Witch Mountain website
Film director Andy Fickman’s IMDB page
The VegasHappensHere.Com posts on the Siegfried & Roy’s return, 20/20 appearance and aborted third trick
Cleveland Clinic Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s site
The VegasHappensHere.Com post touting Hawaiian Air’s additional Vegas service
An Associated Press report on Allegiant Air’s good numbers
A Reuters piece on Terrible’s possible bankruptcy
An Associated Press piece on the Adelson-v- Weidner tussle
A Dow Jones piece on the Boyd-v-Station tussle
The Wikipedia history on the Moulin Rouge
The site for Jersey Boys Las Vegas
All you want to know about Frank Marino’s Vegas exit
The VegasHappensHere.Com post on Elaine Wynn
The site for RuPaul’s Drag Race
A Las Vegas Business Press report on the Trump class action suit

* * *

SPECIAL VIDEO EP: Cirque's Open Dance Auditions

On Feb. 10, I observed Cirque du Soleil's open audition process for dancers. Here's some of the footage of what went on and how it worked. Follow the link to my Las Vegas Weekly column to read more.

* * *

Feb. 25: Dino's Boy

Before there was Shake-Your-Bon-Bon Ricky Martin, there was another singer by the same name, albeit spelled a little differently. Dean Martin's son Ricci joins Steve for a fun walk down memory lane, with some great anecdotes about Sinatra and Old Vegas and some thoughts on the children of celebrities.
This is an interview-only episode while we await the return of the LVRocks studio. And there will be a return! Stay tuned!

* * *

Feb. 15: The Impressionist Era Of Vegas...

with Terry Fator and Gordie Brown

Call it the impressionist period of Las Vegas. This month, three major impersonator acts open – or reopen. Danny Gans relocated to Encore, Terry Fator took Gans’ space at the Mirage and Gordie Brown, late of the Venetian, has returned to his old Golden Nugget haunts. Fator and Brown both join us this hour. Find out what Fator’s new Mirage-appropriate puppet will be and hear all about Brown’s early years as a celebrity stalker. Plus, Steve grills Brown on parts of his act he didn’t like.

In Banter: Behind the scenes at Cirque dance auditions, Oscar v Obama, Curtas v Encore, bye-bye La Cage and Heidi Fleiss, the Excalibur’s new deal.


Get tickets for Terry Fator at the Mirage here
Get tickets to Gordie Brown at the Golden Nugget here
Get tickets for Danny Gans at Wynn Las Vegas here
Terry Fator’s website is here
Gordie Brown’s website is here
Danny Gans’ website is here
Read Steve’s column on Danny Gans’ show here
Find out what happened to the LVRocks studio here
Read Steve’s posts on the Obama v Oscar row here and here
Hear the 2/12 Oscar Goodman press conference here
Read John Curtas’ blog review of Encore here
The Review-Journal’s report on the closure of La Cage is here
The Las Vegas Sun’s story on the rebranding of the Trop is here
If you care, Richard Abowitz discusses Heidi Fleiss’ no-go of a stud farm here
Read about the smoker to fell out of the Circus Circus window here
Our listeners’ new show Seattle Geekly, can be found here
Buy an Edirol that we use to record interviews here
See the list of companies likely to go under, with two Vegas-related entries, here

* * *


* * *

Jan. 29: Poker's Hellian

He owns a record eleven World Series of Poker bracelets and has earned well over $8 million in his poker tournament career, but the reputed bad boy of Texas Hold ‘Em isn’t done yet. Phil Hellmuth, who has a forthcoming documentary and memoir, opens up this hour about his quest for bracelet number 12, about how why he stormed off the set of NBC’s Poker After Dark two years ago and about what the 2008 World Series of Poker final table contestants did wrong.

In Banter: Fishing in Las Vegas, a mea culpa and taxing the brothels.


Phil Hellmuth’s website is here
See Phil Hellmuth storm off the set of NBC's Poker After Dark here
See a list of Hellmuth's biggest blow-ups here
See the odd McCarran billboards that prompted a rant here
Steve’s NYT piece on the potential of a brothel tax is here
A site for the Jasmine Tea House where Steve and Miles had great Chinese in SF is here
The L.A. Times’ Richard Abowitz' brutal piece on Miss America is here

* * *

Jan. 22: A Diamond In The Ruffin

Others may be more creative, more ambitious and more flamboyant, but nobody nobody on the modern scene today is as brillian t – or as fortunate – at making deals as Phil Ruffin. The 72-year-old Kansas billionaire sold the New Frontier land in 2007 for a record $35 million an acre before the real estate crash, and now he’s used a mere $775 million of that profit to pick up the Treasure Island. For the first time this hour, Ruffin discloses some new plans for the property, explains why he’s unlikely to ever buy a Harrah’s property and reveals the reason he’ll never build anything in Vegas. Plus, he dishes about Wynn, Trump, his young wife and the billionaires’ poker game he wins year after year.

In banter: Obama’s Vegas stage moment, Folies, Menopause and Scintas closing, Rita will go on and on, MGM Mirage’s reservation system woes, the F’Bleau will be finished, does anyone care about Joaquin Phoenix’s music career?


Phil Ruffin’s Wikipedia bio is here
See the LV Sun’s post about Rita Rudner extending at Harrah’s here
The R-J’s report that Folies Bergere is closing here
Steve’s blog post about the Obama inauguration at the Hilton is here
The Las Vegas Sun says F-Bleau will finish no matter what here
Steve’s NYT on the mob museum is here and the Daily Show appearance is here
Norm reports Scintas and Menopause here
Doug Elfman wonders if Joaquin Phoenix’s rap career is a hoax here
MGM Mirage’s online reservation outage was only reported here
Miles’ hearts the hateful, vile Ann Coulter and Michael Savage. Find them here and here
The weird George Wallace show that Desiree referred to is here

* * *

Jan. 15: Top 10 Moments of 2008!

Steve, Steve, Steve. Wynn, that is. We’ve tallied up the Top 10 moments of 2008 as voted on by you and, surprise surprise, Mr. Wynn is involved in some way in six of them. But, still, a few others made outrageously memorable remarks on this program during the year that was, and we take our annual look back at all of it tonight. For good measure, though, we’ve got some never-before-heard bits to keep it fresh. Plus, news from Vegas, a new trivia question and a poll. You’re on the Strip, brought to you by Priceline.Com and Hotels.Com, and we’re kicking off a new year with a new theme song!

In Banter: The mob museum, Octavius tower blues, our staycation at Trump and Encore and a very weird phone call.


Norm’s piece on Cheap Trick is here
Steve’s NYT piece and blog post on the mob museum is here
Steve’s coverage of the porn confab for Newsweek in 2003 is here
The AP story on the halt of the newest Caesars tower is here

* * *

Jan. 8: Mamma Mia! Exit Interviews

The skeptics – including Steve -- said it would never work. A two-act, full-length musical scored by decades-old pop songs telling a convoluted story about parenthood and spandex could never, possibly succeed in Las Vegas. But succeed “Mamma Mia!” did, emboldening another half-dozen or so musicals to believe they, too, were Strip-worthy, only to find out that what Mamma Mia did so effortlessly was actually quite a feat. But all good things must come to an end, and on Sunday, Mandalay Bay said goodbye to Donna, Sophie, her three possible dads and the rest of the cast. We, however, aren’t done yet. Tonight we have live in the studio Brad Grey and Tim Tucker, the only two actors who stayed with the show for its entire, record-breaking Las Vegas run.

In Banter: New Year's Eve fireworks sucked, CityCenter's hiring, Stratosphere's laying off, The Harmon's in limbo, Tamara's stalled and Paris' empty showroom is a blessing.


See Tim Tucker's website here
Hear Steve euologize Mamma Mia! on KNPR by clicking here
See more on CityCenter's Harmon stall here
See rants from Fox viewers about the lousy NYE fireworks here
See the last blog post about Tamara at Venetian, now stalled, here
See more about Stratosphere's restaurant woes here

* * *

Jan. 1: ...And A Wynning New Year

We’ve walked through Encore with him and chatted him up about everything from that damaged Picasso to the exact curvature of his resort towers. So what’s left to talk about with Steve Wynn? Well, it’s Steve Wynn, so there’s always more. We finish playing our pre-Encore interview tonight with discussion of Wynn’s athletic prowess, his concerns about the economy and a little Gandhi chit-chat, too.

In Banter: Switch at Encore, the view from Capital Grille, Criss Angel on Larry King, Danny Gans’ Encore poster and free coffee at Silverton.


Find the site for Bagelmania here
Heidi Knapp Rinella’s Top 10 restaurants reviewed in 2008 is here
See the Danny Gans poster at Encore here
Read more about the Silverton’s Starbucks offering and other casino freebies here

* * *

Dec. 25: Wynn's Encore, Part I

This is Steve Wynn’s week, no doubt about it. On what is traditionally one of the slowest nights in Las Vegas and in the middle of the worst recession in generations, he opened the doors to his $2.3 billion expansion, Encore. The results were a flood of curious explorers that led to bumper to bumper traffic on the Strip as far south as the Mandalay Bay and a line all the way into the Wynn casino. In honor of that milestone, over the next two weeks we’re presenting our interview earlier this month with Wynn in which he talks about everything from the shape of the buildings to the original plans for the Encore TV commercial.

In Banter: Encore, snow, Criss Angel, City Center, Elton John.


See Encore here
See pix of the snow in Vegas here
Read CityLife's cover of Criss Angel here
See the breaking news about Elton John here
See the L.A. Times' glowing review of Encore Las Vegas here
See the video for Richard Cheese's"Christmas in Las Vegas" here
See Steve's coverage of the Treasure Island sale here
See the Vdara sign photo here

* * *


* * *

SPECIAL: Tour Encore with Steve Wynn

On Dec. 16, Steve Wynn led Steve Friess on a tour of his newest $2.3 billion resort, Encore. No other journalist received this level of access. A map of Encore can be found here and an annotated written guide for you to follow along is here.

* * *

Dec. 4: Brian Wilson, Cheech Marin

We never know quite what to do when Steve emerges from his office after an interview and says, ‘Well, that sucked.’ Usually, he’s wrong. And tonight, we’re going to find out. This fall, Steve chatted with Cheech Marin and Brian Wilson and, each time, he was initially dissatisfied with the outcome. But in reviewing them later, decided the conversations were Strip-worthy after all, perhaps because of their weirdness. So, this week , we let ‘em rip.

In Banter: Viva McDonalds is a McDonalds, Copperfield's still great, the gingerbread house display is pretty cool, R is for what?!?! and Wynn's doing it Sinatra's way.


See Brian Wilson’s website here
See Cheech Marin’s website here
See pictures of Steve and Miles’ dogs, originally named Cheech and Chong, here
Read about the first new smokefree casino in Nevada here
See the website of the Blue Moon Resort here
See Steve’s column about David Copperfield here
Get tickets to the David Copperfield show here
The MGM’s Mastercard promotion can be found here
The Encore website is here
Norm’s reportage about the Sinatra restaurant is here
Norm’s scoop on Wynn’s effort to buy the Guardian Angel Cathedral is here
See Steve’s picture at Binion’s is here
Doug Elfman’s report on how hard it was to interview Brian Wilson is here

* * *

Nov. 27: The Other Wynn

We know you’re sick of politics this time of year, but we’re serving it up this week with a distinctive female touch. First, a very rare interview with the first lady of Las Vegas, Elaine Wynn, as she explains her journey from lifelong Republican to Obamatic, much to the dismay of her industry and her husband. You might’ve heard of him. Then, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley returns to the program to explain what’s happening with that Internet gambling ban, but what Steve secretly really wanted to know is, has she had any more plastic surgery?


Steve’s column about Elaine Wynn is here
Find Steve on Facebook here
See the recipe that Steve needed duck fat for here
The fraudulent but widely distributed report that Vegas is the T-Day king is here
See what Steve found in Bob Maheu’s trash here
TV Guide’s report about Peepshow at Planet Hollywood is here
See this week’s TicketNews.Com ratings here
The Believe-less piece on Criss Angel’s possible NBC sitcom from Variety is here
Norm’s report on Danny Gans’ last Mirage show is here
See the weird YouTube thing about, uh, Steve Frice here
Read Steve’s review of the Wynn Las Vegas in the Chicago Tribune from 2005 here
A report on Bush’s midnight regs on Internet gaming here

* * *

Nov. 18: Cirque's Top Guy

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, the former street performer who redefined the human circus into a worldwide entertainment phenomenon, just helped open the company’s sixth show on the Las Vegas Strip, Criss Angel Believe. He gave Steve 10 minutes the day of the show’s opening which, of course, meant Steve took 15. In this conversation, Laliberte defends the show and his alliance with the controversial Mindfreak illusionist, discusses the recent purchase of a large chunk of his company by Dubai and tells why there won’t be a Cirque show at Mandalay Bay … YET. Just a note, this interview was conducted outside so Laliberte could smoke, so there is some background noise.

In banter: Terry Lanni goes bye-bye, LVS lays off 11,000, MGM Mirage's CityCenter condo sales suck, Vegas may be shrinking, Wynn joins the S&P 500, Bob Maheu's awesome house and Jubilee! goes, uh, topful.


Cirque du Soleil’s website, where they sell tickets for all their shows, is here
The R-J’s Arnold Knightly’s report about the changing of the guard at MGM Mirage is here
MGM Mirage’s press release on its deal to build in Vietnam is here
The WSJ blog on Sheldon Adelson’s vanishing fortunes is here
A piece on Primm’s woes is here and a piece about Mesquite’s closure is here
The R-J’s coverage of Sheryl Crow and the Aliante opening is here
See a piece on Wynn’s joining the S&P 500 here
Read Steve’s blog commentary about Vegas shrinking here
Norm’s coverage of Jubilee! going topful is here
A piece on Vegas’ brief flirtation with lowering the gambling age to 18 is here
Take a virtual tour of Bob Maheu’s home on Steve’s blog here

* * *

SPECIAL: Wanda Sykes Comes Out @ Vegas Protest

* * *

Nov. 11: Norm Clarke Confidential

Pete Rose bitch slapped him. Criss Angel threatened to blind him. And countless celebrities and notables alternately love and loathe him. Norm Clarke, this city’s premier gossip columnist, joins us in the studio this hour to talk about his adventures in the ever-fascinating world of Las Vegas fame and to discuss his new book, “Sinsational Celebrity Tales.” In the process, we learn more about Norm's famous eye patch, about his infamous DUI arrest and about what kinds of stories he doesn't touch.

Plus: Criss Angel's suckage, poker's big night, Aliante opens, Adelson's fortunes keep sinking and Stomp is being replaced.

Also, thanks to Amy from for filling in while Miles was ailing.


See Norm’s website here
Buy Norm’s new book, Sinsational Celebrity Tales here
Check out guest co-host Amy’s podcast here
Find out more about RateVegas.Com’s new VegasMate iPhone app here
Read Criss Angel reviews from Mike Weatherford and Joe Brown here and here
See Steve’s column on his encounter with Wanda at the Criss Angel show here
Weekly rankings for Vegas s hows can be found from here
See the R-J’s coverage of the opening of Aliante Station here
Steve’s coverage of the poker finale is here and of the poker’s changing fortunes is here
Information about “The Real Deal” show at the Venetian here
See a recent Wall Street Journal piece on the Las Vegas Sands’ troubles here

* * *

Oct. 30: Tony Curtis, Part II

If you thought Tony Curtis’ remarks on last week’s show were something, just wait till you hear the rest of it. The actor, out with a sex-soaked memoir of his career and life, offers some tough words this hour for a long list of Hollywood figures including Jerry Lewis, Angela Lansbury, Danny Kaye, Neil Simon and more. Then, later, he discusses his own mental health issues, his views of old and new Vegas and tries to explain why he’s so disappointed by his film career.

In Banter: Is Criss No. 1, Paris is for shopping and what really ails Las Vegas Sands?


Steve’s piece on Tony Curtis for USA Today is here
Tony Curtis’s Wikipedia entry is here
Is Criss Angel is No. 1? See here
See more about LVS crashing again here
Steve’s column about resort anniversaries is here
Is Paris for shoppers? Read more here

* * *

Oct. 23: Tony Curtis, Part I

Fifty years ago, there were few Hollywood heartthrobs hotter than Tony Curtis. This month, the star of "Some Like It Hot" and "The Defiant Ones" published a memoir of those glory days in which he recounts in great detail his almost compulsive sex life, his troubled childhood, his celebrity feuds and his triumph over a late-career cocaine addiction. As gripping as the book was, the interview about the book was even better, more detailed, more telling.

In banter: Harrah's woes, smoke-free casinos and why didn't the Bellagio have a 10th birthday party.


Steve’s piece on Tony Curtis for USA Today is here
Tony Curtis’s Wikipedia entry is here
Jon Ralston’s take on the Palin’s Nevada appearance here
See pictures from the Palin rally and see the McCain song sheet music here
Read more about the Michelin star decisions here
The Arnold Knightley’s R-J piece on Harrah’s fiscal woes is here

* * *

Oct. 16: Jerry Springer

You know him as the ringmaster of one of the trashiest, low-class and successful syndicated TV shows of our time, but Jerry Springer may have yet another act coming: Vegas headliner. Springer, the host of the NBC reality contest “America’s Got Talent,” gets his first taste of that Friday as the emcee for a concert at the MGM Grand featuring this season’s winner and runners-up. Also, Springer defends the virtue – yes, virtue – of his talk show.

Plus: A Vegas-bashing comment, hi and bye to Point Break Live, some GOOD economic news and a gay hotel-casino.


Buy tickets to see AGT finalists at MGM Grand here
America’s Got Talent site here
Jerry Springer’s site is here
More on the M blimp can be found here
Steve’s column about the gay casino is here
The good news about the Vegas economy can be found here
Read Steve’s USAT piece on Tony Curtis here
Info about Bette Midler’s appearance for Obama at Krave is here
Steve’s NYT piece about the conclusion of the eco-friendly road race is here
Wynn’s restaurant lineup can be found here
An obit for Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal from the R-J’s Benjamin Spillman is here
A Las Vegas Sun report on why Point Break Live opened and closed quickly is here
Steve’s NYT piece on the outcome
of the Plaza v Plaza case is here

* * *


* * *

Oct. 2: Bobby Slayton's Rant

There is a fine line in comedy between being Don Rickles and being Michael Richards. Somehow, comic Bobby Slayton has carefully negotiated that complicated path, spicing his act with stereotypes, insults and foul language while never actually sparking any widespread controversy. Slayton, who appears nightly at the Hooters Hotel-Casino, joins us this hour to explain how he does it and what it may have cost him in career opportunities.

In Banter: The Lion King is coming, Donny & Marie are here, the Believe theater, a poker whippersnapper and the OJ and Plaza v Plaza cases are still in court.


Get tickets for Bobby Slayton here
Slayton’s website is here
Read more about the “Lion King” decision here
See the buggies that Steve saw on the Strip here
Read more about Dave Schwartz’s Plaza testimony here
See pix of Steve and Trevor at Donny and Marie here

* * *

Sept. 25: Dominick Dunne's Last Sit

If O.J. Simpson is on trial, then Dominick Dunne must be in town. The ailing Vanity Fair columnist and CourtTV personality, legendary for chronicling the intersection of celebrity and the criminal justice system, ignored doctor’s orders and his family’s wishes to descend on Las Vegas for the trial of, well, the month. He's had challenges -- he left court ill on Monday but returned Tuesday -- but his reward has been the warm embrace of Las Vegas high society, such as it is, and a loving New York Times profile rendered by none other than your Strip co-host, Steve. Dunne, an accomplished novelist and Hollywood producer in addition to his career observing the high-profile trials, opens up this hour about his health and why this is his final trial, what the difference between Britney Spears and Zsa Zsa Gabor is and whether John McCain is too old to be president. Plus, he tells one of the greatest Steve Wynn anecdotes of all time.

In Banter: Why Aria's great food line up is disappointing, the Venetian funk spreads and the fake OJ crime scene.


Dominick Dunne’s most recent Vanity Fair column, a career retrospective, is here
Dominick Dunne’s Wikipedia entry is here
Read Steve’s profile of Dominick Dunne here
Learn more about Aria’s food lineup here

See the fake OJ crime scene pix here
The site for Mario Batali’s Carnevino at Palazzo is here

* * *

Sept. 18: Mickey's $25m Vegas Gig

The Beatles were reincarnated in Las Vegas as a Cirque show. The Four Seasons and Abba came back as hit musicals. And Donny & Marie are returning as, well, Donny & Marie. But only the Grateful Dead could resurface on the Las Vegas Strip as, well, a volcano. Sort of. Dead drummer Mickey Hart has teamed up with an Indian musical maestro to score the classic street side attraction at the Mirage with a score that Hart says will blow you away. We'll talk to Hart this hour about that and more this hour.

In Banter: Notes from OJville, IGT layoffs, we’re a-Twitter, a too-catchy ditty, Gordie Brown goes back downtown and Andre Agassi’s benefit goes upscale.


Follow us on Twitter here
See a video documentary on the Mirage’s new volcano here
Mickey Hart’s website is here
Dominick Dunne’s Wikipedia page is here
Some of Steve’s coverage of the O.J. can be found here
The Gambler’s Book Shop podcast, with that fun little theme, is here
Norm covers Gordie Brown’s move back to the Golden Nugget here
A press release about the new version of the Andre Agassi benefit is here
The Las Vegas Sun’s piece on more about Criss Angel’s delay here and catch the iTricks Criss Angel podcast here
Dare To Gamble Blog comments about Harrah’s cutting back on Wheel of Fortune slots here
The R-J’s breaking news alert on IGT’s layoffs is here

* * *

Sept. 11: The Earl of Vegas

Making up is fun to do! After a year of conflict, the CEO of Planet Hollywood and Steve have buried the hatchet and, to prove it, Earl granted Steve his first podcast interview. In this wide-ranging discussion, Earl explains why he was upset, offers his view on why the Planet Hollywood brand collapsed and is now resurging, speaks of new expansion plans and acquisitions, and answers the question of whether the infamous “Planet Ho” sign was accidental. Also, find out who gave and loaded Robert Earl’s iPod and offers his own verdict on the short-lived Hans Klok show.

Plus, details on the new Mirage volcano, a shakeup brewing in the nightclub world, Point Break, the Las Vegas Spectacular and O.J., the Las Vegas dud.


The website for Planet Hollywood Resort is here
Richard Abowitz writes about both OJ Simpson and half-bottle service at Rok here
The press information about Point Break Live! is here
Read about the new $25 million Mirage volcano is here
Steve’s blog post about the parking lot at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign here

* * *

Sept. 4: The &*#@! Blooper Anniversary Special!
Extra: Even More Bloopers and Outtakes!

The show you hear may make us sound like well-spoken, polite, erudite podcasters, but like many things in Las Vegas, that’s an illusion. For the past three years, we’ve been recording our show live with a listening audience of, well, tens, on the Internet. And so, as we did last year for our anniversary, we’re pulling the curtains back this week and airing all the behind-the-scenes drama. The curses! The chat people! The arguments! The Neil Sedaka impressions! The Steve abuse! It’s our 3rd birthday and we couldn’t be more thrilled, so sit back, relax … and beware.

In Banter: Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza thoughts, Mark has left LVRocks to reinvent the air conditioning, where the would 40/40 Club work, Yellow Tail Sushi opens at Bellagio, Criss Angel ups the hype with another delay, the M Resort’s blimp is delayed too, Virgin America debuts this week, the Price is Right Live’s fun but odd, Manilow changes his name and direct flights to China could be years away.


See pictures from the Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza here
Read Steve’s 40/40 issues here
The site for the Bellagio’s new sushi spot, Yellow Tail, is here
0AThe I Love Sushi place in Henderson that Miles complimented is here
See Steve’s breaking bulletin on Criss Angel’s delays here
See pix of the M Resort’s “lightship” is here
Read about the launch of the Virgin America’s new JFK-LAS route here
Get tickets to The Price is Right Live here
Read more about Manilow’s name change here

* * *

STRIP EXTRA: Steve on Nevada Newsmakers

Here's audio from Steve's 8/28 appearance on Nevada Newsmakers, a daily half-hour TV show based out of Reno. The discussion centers around how the national media deals with all things Vegas. Find more Nevada Newsmakers shows at

* * *


Here's the audio from the question-and-answer session of Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza on Aug. 16, 2008 at the Palms. The questions were answered by Miles and me as well as Hunter Hillegas of RateVegas.Com and Tim and Michele Dressen from Five Hundy By Midnight.

* * *

STRIP EXTRA: Jennifer Holliday

For the next two weeks, George Wallace will have an unusual co-star for his show at the Flamingo, the original Dreamgirl, Jennifer Holliday. Decades before Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for playing the role of big-voiced girl-band reject Effie White in the 2006 film, Holliday won a Tony for creating the same part on stage. She also landed a Grammy for the signature hit, “And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going.” But Holliday’s life in the interim has been tragic, with bouts of depression, battles with her weight and an inability to replicate her earlier success. She spoke to Steve in advance of her opening for Wallace from Aug. 19 to Aug 30, relating stories of opening for George Burns at Caesars Palace in the 1980s, about a disastrous outing in the same showroom with Rosie O’Donnell in the 1990s and about how she reconciles her religion with her status as a gay icon.

* * *

Aug. 21: Carrot Top @ The Podcast-a-Palooza!


You may love him or you may hate him, but you cannot deny this one truth: Carrot Top is a Vegas star. And he’s the kind of star whose act could only have this kind of longevity on the Strip. Scott Thompson, the comic with the enormous orange plume and the shockingly ripped physique, joins us live today to explain his journey from Butts Road – no, really – to Las Vegas Boulevard. That’s coming up. Plus, news from Vegas, a new poll, the trivia question and, as always, the Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week. This is The Strip, we’re at the Palms and our part of the 2008 Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza starts right now.

PLUS: The Robert Earl rapproachement, Sheldon Adelson's protection and Steve's pre-Palooza nightmare.


See Carrot Top's website here
Get tickets for Carrot Top live at Luxor here
The website for Woo Restaurant, referred to early in the show, is here
See the back story on the Earl-Friess-Hillegas feud here
Find other Podcast-A-Palooza pix and video of The Vegas Gang's part here

* * *

Aug. 14: Nathan Burton

If there’s anyone who can attest to the fact that achieving fame in Las Vegas is never easy, it’s illusionist Nathan Burton. Yes, his goofy grin is now plastered across a tower of the Flamingo Las Vegas now -- and he reveals what that costs! -- but his journey to that triumph required two decades of work, gigs at countless hotels and appearances on not one but two top-rated reality TV competitions. Oh, and sealing himself in a box with seven Vegas showgirls for a week didn’t hurt, either. Burton joined us in the studio, as did Amy Turner of GritsToGlitz.Com subbing for a working Miles.

In Banter: The ladies' night ruling, BestofVegas.Com's screw-up and Steve's theory on that Cirque-Dubai transaction.


Nathan Burton’s website is here
Get tickets for Nathan’s show at the Flamingo here
Read Steve’s coverage of the ladies’ night question here
See the mildly risqué microwave trick Burton did on TV here
Hear Amy’s regular show, Grits To Glitz, here
See Steve’s blog rant and the head-scratching images from BestofVegas.Com here
Read the AP report on Cirque selling a fifth of itself to Dubai here

* * *

Aug. 7: David Spade

On paper, David Spade wouldn’t seem a likely to become a star, let alone a ladies’ man. And yet, more than two decades after he got his start in comedy clubs and was guided by Dennis Miller to a role on Saturday Night Live, Spade is a staple of American TV comedy as star of such hits as Just Shoot Me, 8 Simple Rules and Rules of Engagement. Spade, who usually performs his stand-up twice a month at the Planet Hollywood spoke to Steve about being the surprising object of affection of many a hot babe, about the tragedies that surround him and about the difficulty of mocking Barack Obama.

Plus, Vegas nightlife guru Jack Colton of JackColton.Com explains the noisy club scene, Steve Wynn's hooker tangle and why Alan Thicke will never be on this program.


Get tickets to see David Spade at Planet Hollywood Aug 30-31 here
David Spade's website is here
For all things Vegas nightlife, check out JackColton.Com here
Read why Alan Thicke is a liar here
Steve's column about the would-be 9/11 discount is here
Steve Wynn's hooker adventure can be read about here
See Wynn's puzzling carpet-bombing advertising blitz here
The Michael Jackson "scoop" from Parade Magazine is here
Steve's piece on David Spade from the L.A. Times is here

* * *

July 31: Steve Lawrence

They’ve become known as the casino closers. Four times in the past decade, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme have been called upon to be the final performers at the closing of a resort or a famous showroom. But the act itself keeps on trucking. Well, sort of. Steve Lawrence is performing solo in August at the Orleans while his wife deals with a variety of health problems, as you’ll hear this hour. Lawrence spoke to Steve last week about Frank Sinatra, the original Tonight Show, about fighting with Eydie on stage and about why they haven’t seen a resurgence like Tony Bennett and Frankie Valli. Plus, he talks about their son, David, who composed the scores for the “High School Musical” movies. That’s all coming up.

In Banter: Trump IS having layoffs, Jerry Lewis is packing heat, Ping Pang Pong is wonderful, Miles is hung up over a gross Secret commercial and the prospect of the Las Vegas TV show as a movie.


Buy tickets to see Steve Lawrence at the Orleans Aug 15-17 here
See that Steve and Eydie is on What’s My Line here
See a spoof of the Secret Flawless ad Miles is so irked by here
Others hate that Secret ad, too, and they chatter about it here
Find the Global Gaming Business podcast with Vegas biz exec interviews here
Read all about Jerry Lewis packing heat at McCarran here
Find out more about the terrific Ping Pang Pong at the Gold Coast here
See the KVBC report on the Trump layoffs and Trump’s denial of same here
See the drive-thru article about the Fiesta Rancho sportsbook here
The Burger King drive-thru ad Miles whines about is here
Chris Lawrence’s blog post about the potential “Las Vegas” film here
Weatherford breaks news about a new poker show at the Venetian here

* * *

July 24: Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard has many claims to fame. He’s a well-regarded comedian, a terrific actor in such programs as FX’s “The Riches” and, of course, he’s probably the world’s most famous out-of-the-closet heterosexual transvestite. Oh, and he’ll be playing Vegas on July 25-26 at the Palms, so Steve chatted with Izzard about all of those things—and Izzard makes Steve a "Rich" promise that will delight many.

In Banter: Wynn takes on the blogosphere, Steve has tampons, is this woman pregnant, why won't Dave Schwartz change his hours, put that snake away and all hail that great philosopher Laura Bush!


Get tickets to see Eddie Izzard at the Palms on July 25-26 here
Eddie Izzard's awesome website is here
Wynn takes on bloggers in this R-J story found here
Read about Wynn's weird press release declaring unemployment records here
Hear whether the Kinsey folks think THAT WOMAN is pregnant here
The Gambler's Book Shop podcast can be found here
Learn more about the 9/11 Memorial, which memorialized the great Laura Bush, is here
The report on the Phoenix airport slot idea is here
Diablo's Cantina's site is here
Noir Bar at Luxor is here
An online discussion of the Atlanta "skill games" Miles mentioned is here

* * *

July 17: Wanda Sykes

She told Jane Fonda to f--- off in "Monster-in-Law," had her portrait snapped by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair magazine and, this fall, is expected to marry Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the sitcom “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” Those are some of the highlights of Wanda Sykes’ illustrious career. The comic-actress, who performs stand-up twice in July and twice in August, speaks to Steve this hour about all that and some of the less thrilling moments – can someone say Pootie Tang?

In Banter: The Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza is coming up, a WSOP marathon night, BLT Burger rocks, Rub less so, MGMGrand.Com has troubles and more.


Get seats for Wanda Sykes' P-Ho shows in 7/18-19 and 8/8-8/9 here
Wanda Sykes' website is here
Steve's AFP piece on the WSOP finals is here
Find out more about the Vegas Podcastapalooza here
Read about WSOP finalist Craig Marquis' father here
The kerfluffle over the MGMGrand.Com is all over the blog here
The site for BLT Burger at the Mirage is here
Read Steve's LVW column on the Trump here (after 7/17)
Hear the full version of Wanda's porn-related phone prank and others here

* * *

July 3: Leno and Wayans

Jay Leno has always been comfortably inside the lines of mainstream American comedy while Damon Wayans has built a family business out of going out on a limb. So what do these two comics have in common? For one, both are performing in Las Vegas this month. For another, they’re both on the show this week. Leno reacts to questions as about why he’s not more respected by the entertainment media while Wayans tries to explain the method to his mad career.

In Banter: Steve Wynn's cocktail, Steve Friess' drinking binge, Harrah's environmentalism, Penn v Angel and a George Carlin tribute.


Get tickets to Damon Wayans' Orleans show here
Get tickets to Jay Leno's Mirage performances here
Learn how to make Steve Wynn's favorite cocktail here
Check out the Downtown Cocktail Lounge here
Read Penn Jillette's diss Criss Angel here
Learn more about Noir Bar at the Luxor here
The site for Miles' would-be obsession, Clean House, is here
Steve's scoops on the blue tape and the Criss Angel delay is here and here
Read how the AIDS Rides turned out to be a scam here
Read Harrah's press release on their WSOP carbon-credit buy here
That 7/1 WSJ piece on Vegas casino debt is here
See the George Carlin clip we played on the show here
Watch the whole Wayans three-titties routine excerpted on the show here

* * *

June 26: "Love," Exciting and Two

Two years ago this week, the world experienced the Beatles music in a new way, the Cirque du Soleil way. The show “Love” arrived in the theater formerly occupied by Siegfried & Roy to rave reviews and its soundtrack of tracks remixed from the original tapes by the original producer, went on to win a Grammy. To honor the show, we’ll talk live in the studio tonight to Kyle Stokely, a 12-year-old actor who has been in the production from the beginning about what it’s like being a child actor on the Strip and about all the famous people he’s met on the job.

In Banter: The New Yorker's Adelson opus, Cosmo v Cosmo, Trump in the dumps, Cirque gossip and a "locals" Sahara?


See Love's Kyle Stokely in a YouTube juggling video here
Get tickets to see Love here
That 12,000-word New Yorker piece on Sheldon Adelson is here
Steve's take on that New Yorker piece is here
Information about Wizard, the show about Harold Arlen, is here
Read about Cosmo's lawsuit against the Cosmo here
Trump's woes and denials of same can be read about here
Read more about Sahara's odd locals efforts her

* * *

Reissuing the June 8, 2006 episode featuring George and Giles Martin, the father-and-son duo who created the Love soundtrack from the tracks at Abbey Road Studios. This interview was conducted for a USA Today piece in advance of the show's opening at the Mirage.

* * *

June 19: James Caan

As casino security chief Big Ed Deline on the now-defunct NBC soap “Las Vegas,” James Caan played the center of gravity at the fictional Montecito with a certain old-school Sin City panache. That and a few film roles related to the Strip were enough to earn him the first-ever Vegas Icon Award at the 10th annual CineVegas Film Festival that’s on at the Palms this week. But what did Caan really think of those roles and that TV show? And, more importantly, what does he think led to its cancellation a year after he left the part? The colorful 68-year-old Oscar nominee lets loose on a variety of hot topics including drug use, bad films and the Mob.

In Banter: New tech at Rio and Fontainebleau, NY travels, room taxes, the Hank Greenspun movie and getting gas from hookers.


Download the Deutsche Bank look at Vegas building progress here
James Caan's Wikipedia page is here
Watch him make Kathy Bates "eat it!" on YouTube here
Find out all you want to know about CineVegas here
See the site for Xanadu The Musical here
Find our chat with Mel Brooks here
Read the R-J piece on their room tax poll here
Hear the disastrous George Wallace show here
Read about whores giving people gas here
The LV Weekly's take on the Hank Greenspun flick is here
See our coverage of the I-Bar's Microsoft Surface tech here
Read Steve's USA Today piece about Fontainebleau's Apple plans here

* * *

SPECIAL VIDEO: Sneak Peek of iBar @ Rio

This week, Microsoft rolls out its new Surface technology in the form of six $10,000 bar-lounge tabletops at the I Bar inside the casino at the Rio upon which, via some sophisticated touch-screen tech, customers can play games (video bowling, pinball), view YouTube videos, see who's sitting at other tables and send messages, take photos of themselves to send to friends and, oh yes, order drinks.

And here's some video I took -- think of it as The Strip Podcast Goes Pop-Up Video for all the comments I stuck in there. I used the thing to find my childhood home in Syosset, N.Y.

* * *

June 5: WSOP Champ Jerry Yang

A year ago, Jerry Yang was a just a 39-year-old social worker from Temecula, California, with six kids, a hefty mortgage and a wife who worked nights to make ends meet. Today, he’s living proof of why the annual World Series of Poker is the one championship that anyone can win. Yang spent $225 to enter a local satellite tournament that led him to a seat at the 2007 Main Event where he walked away $8.25 million richer. Next month, he begins a defense of that crown but this week, he’s live in our studio to talk about the year that was, what he’s done with all that money and how he feels about the changes being made to this year’s W.S.O.P.

In Banter: CityCenter's brief strike, more details on Fontainbleau, a tour operator thinks straight men are neglected in Vegas and K-Fed is Father of the Year?!?

* * *

May 29: Rita Rudner

Rita Rudner is having another important career moment. The comic has a new book out that’s both funny and surprisingly emotional and she’s recently become the first Vegas comedian to star in a PBS special to air in June. Rudner, whose girly voice and wry battle-of-the-sexes observations continue to pack ‘em in nightly at the Harrah’s Las Vegas resort, joins us live this hour to catch us up on all of her activities.

In Banter: The s*it flies at Panorama, revisiting Manilow, notes from Tussaud's and SATC is coming to Vegas, sort of.


Get tix for Rita Rudner’s show at Harrah’s here
See Rita Rudner’s website here
See the info about Rita’s PBS special here
See Steve’s Madame Tussaud’s pictorial here
The site for Ethel M’s chocolate tour is here
Listen to Steve’s inspiration, Terry Gross, here
Miles’ starter kit for new Erykah Badu enthusiasts is here

* * *

May 22: LeAnn Rimes, Erykah Badu

We’re getting a little bit country, a little bit soul this week with interviews with two very different artists. First, former teen prodigy LeAnn Rimes is all grown up and writing her own music these days, some of it offering a window into what it was like to transition from teen phenom to married lady. Then, Erykah Badu, the R&B star often likened to Billie Holliday, is back after a five-year break with three – yes, three – new albums this year. She’ll explain how Apple’s Garageband kicked off that spate. Also, the winner of our Jersey Boys tickets giveaway is revealed!

In Banter: Playing the Criss Angel Red Carpet audio, a weird country song, Aria is named, Jubilee is old and a peek at Fontainbleau.


Leann Rimes’ site is here
Erykah Badu’s site is here
Get tickets to Rimes’ concert at the MGM Grand here
Get tickets to Badu’s 6/13 concert at the House of Blues here
Hollyscoop is here
Read about Criss Angel’s threat to Norm Clarke here
Sharmian, who wrote that weird country song, is here
The YouTube video of the notable Taylor Swift can be seen here
Steve’s blog posts about the naming of Aria is here
Get tickets to Jubilee! here
The website for the Fontainebleau is here
An image of the Vegas Fontainebleau is here
The Jersey Boys Podcast can be found here

* * *

May 15: Frankie Valli

A priceless falsetto took an Italian pipsqueak from New Jersey all the way to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. But it’s only now, with the huge success of the Tony-winning Broadway show based on his life, that Frankie Valli is feeling truly appreciated by the entertainment world. That show, “Jersey Boys,” opened last month to rave reviews at the Palazzo, returning the sound of Valli and the Four Seasons to the Strip in grand fashion.

In banter: Terry Fator takes over, Cher needs work, the WSOP undergoes big changes, shrimp cocktails are more expensive and Vegas.Com rules the world.


Get Jersey Boys tickets for Vegas here
News of Terry Fator's takeover at the Mirage is here
Steve's blog post about Cher's show problems is here
A piece on the changes coming for the World Series of Poker is here
That website to find wireless hotspots in Vegas is here
A story about the increased prices for shrimp cocktails at Golden Gate is here
That weird Trek-crazy site's report on the possible closure of Star Trek Experience is here
Old blog posts about the feud, now over, with Robert Earl, can be found here

* * *

(FIXED) May 8: Bob Gaudio, Erich Bergen
Comment on the show here

Bob Gaudio is the legendary songwriter responsible for such hits as “Sherry,” “What A Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” Gaudio’s first hit was “Short Shorts,” a novelty song he wrote when he was 15. More recently, Gaudio he wrote a musical based on the film “Peggy Sue Got Married” and he tells Steve that it may yet come to Broadway sometime soon. Gaudio is joined in this conversation by Erich Bergen, a 22-year-old actor from New York City for whom the Jersey Boys role is his first major part. Bergen is also a former podcaster whose show, Green Room Radio, was a Broadway version of “The Strip” in which he would interview celebrities of the Great White Way.

* * *

(See more pix and blogging on the event here)

* * *

May 1: Kerry Simon, Charlie Trotter

Steve Wynn – again! No, sorry. Gotcha! A podcaster cannot dine on Wynn alone. But speaking of dining, how about we serve you up a generous helping of two hot Vegas chefs, Kerry Simon and Charlie Trotter? Both have new restaurants in town, Simon at the Luxor and the Palms and Trotter at Palazzo. So we ask them about the dining scene, about their foie gras aversions and, of course, about what kind of fast food they eat.

Plus, in banter: Perez Hilton sucks, the Donnie and Marie idea sucks, a Hustler hotel-casino would suck and the broken Encore sign sucks.


Kerry Simon’s website is here
Simon’s Cathouse is here and Simon at Palms Place is here
Charlie Trotter’s Las Vegas site is here
A CBS piece about the Chicago foie gras law is here
Steve’s USA Today piece on the Oprah-Tina-Cher event is here
Kerry Simon’s local favorite place, Go Raw, is here
VegasTripping.Com’s amusing take on Donnie and Marie is here
Steve’s post about the Perez Hilton rip-off is here
Richard Abowitz’s item about the Hustler idea is here
The Las Vegas Sun’s piece on Vegoose’s cancellation is here
Steve’s LVW column on Tamara is here

* * *

April 24: Steve Wynn
4/23 VIDEO SPECIAL: New Vegas Ads

Twice in one month! Wow! Steve Wynn is back to discuss the recession, reveal some intriguing new plans for the future of his golf course and declare Spamalot, closing this summer, a success. Oh, and he explains how it is he did NOT lie to Steve a few weeks ago about those Danny Gans rumors. Sorta.

In Banter: Powerful people are listening, Harrah's IS punishing the R-J, Criss Angel has not repented, the "What Happens in Vegas" trailer is good, Andrew Lloyd Webber is writing a batty "Phantom" sequel and more.


The Al Phlipp and the Woo Team band that gave us our special music can be found here
"Las Vegas" Executive Producer Matt Pyken's IMDB profile is here
Pyken's new show, "Knight Rider," can be found here
That god-awful third-ever episode of this program, then called Vegas S&M, is here
Steve's Harrah’s ad-halt blog entry is here
The trailer for "What Happens in Vegas" is here
See the tasteless headline for Richard Abowitz' Criss Angel-Norm blog item here
Read the bizarre plans for Phantom II here
The R-J's piece on the Westin giving the money back is here
The R-J's coverage of Las Vegas Sands on trial is here
The site for Town Square is here

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4/21 SPECIAL: Steve on KNPR, re: the R-J v Harrahs issue

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April 17: Terry Lanni

You know a recession is pretty bad when it’s felt even in Las Vegas. Terry Lanni, the CEO of MGM Mirage, spoke to Steve earlier this month about these challenging economic times, about which of the young moguls of Vegas he admires and about the struggle to name the CityCenter Hotel.

In Banter: MGM layoffs, Harrah's dumps the R-J, mobile billboards under the microscope, Steve Scores and the Criss Angel nightmare for Cirque.


The R-J on the MGM Mirage employment cuts is here
Steve’s NYT piece and blog post on the Harrah’s-RJ issue is here
RateVegas.Com’s challenge to me and Christina Binkley is here
Read about the Las Vegas Monorail’s good news is here
Read about the Harrah’s name change is here
The Sun’s piece on the mobile-billboard issue is here
Steve’s Newsweek piece on salt-water pools is here
See Kool-Aid on Family Guy on YouTube here

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April 10: Raising the Barr

The last time we heard from Roseanne Barr was before she signed to do a run at the New York-New York. That gig came and went and now Barr is playing through May at the Sahara. She spoke to Steve about the differences between working at opposite ends of the Strip, about giving Judd Apatow and Joss Whedon their writing starts on her legendary sitcom and about when she started calling herself the Domestic Goddess.

In Banter: More on the Binkley book, rival podcasters take their shots, strip clubs add fancy food, show ticket prices are rising and the Plaza's on ice again.


Roseanne Barr's website is here
Get tickets to Roseanne's Sahara show here
The Las Vegas Advisor's show-tix survey is here
Howard Stutz' column about Trump's delays is here
Steve's blog item on the Plaza is here
The Vegas Tourist podcast is here
Norm's item about Amazing Johnathan's hidden-cam claims is here
Read about the Binkley book controversy here
The YouTube clip of Roseanne's first Carson appearance is here
The image of a raunchy Roseanne on the cover of Vanity Fair is here

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April 3: Steve Wynn

Guess who! It's Wynn on the young lions of Vegas, Encore, Christina Binkley's book "Winner Takes All," Eliot Spitzer, public art and Sheldon Adelson's delusions.

In Banter: Chewing on the best part of "Winner Takes All" by Christina Binkley, wondering who would swim in a salt-water pool, laughing about the Westin charging conventioneers, baffling over a McCain remark in Vegas and admitting being punk'd on April Fool's Day.


Kathleen Hennessey's brilliant piece on the Westin charging conventioneers is here
The gushing press release for what the MGM Grand is calling the first "ultra pool" is here
Planet Hollywood's good news is here
Steve's pictorial on the Forbuss Elementary student project is here
See Steve's USA Today review of Christina Binkley's book "Winner Takes All" is here
Buy a copy of Binkley's book here
Buy a copy of Tom Breitling's book, "Double Or Nothing," here

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March 27: Attack of the Reality TV Champs
...with Terry Fator and Stefanie Schaeffer

Is Terry Fator ("America's Got Talent") worth $100,000 a show at the Hilton? Will Stefanie Schaeffer ("The Apprentice") stick up for Donald Trump and stick around after the opening of the Trump Las Vegas? Find out that and more as these recent reality-show champs talk about their Vegas work and their futures.

In Banter: Our Swiss recap, the Blue (wo)Man Group and the Plaza's on-again, off-again thing. Also, we take apart the Las Vegas Review-Journal's 27th annual Best of Las Vegas poll in the Tourist Tip Section this week.


Terry Fator's site is here
Get tickets to Terry's Hilton show here
Stefanie Schaeffer's site is here
The site for Trump's Vegas property is here
See all of Steve's blog posts on the Swiss trip here
See the YouTube clip of the weird thing in the Zurich airport tube here
See Terry Fator's winning "America's Got Talent" moment here
See Fator on Oprah here
See Stefanie Schaeffer's "You're Hired" moment on "The Apprentice" here

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SPECIAL: Maria Bartiromo

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March 13: Maya Lin

There are a lot of artists you’d expect to find on the Las Vegas Strip. Performing artists, that is. But it’s a pretty sure bet that you never expected to find an artist like Maya Lin there. Neither did she. And yet the Vietnam Veterans Memorial sculptress is about to become a Vegas headliner, one of the major attractions in an ambitious $40 million public arts collection being assembled by MGM Mirage for its $8 billion CityCenter project. Tonight we’ll hear all about what sort of piece she’s getting $3 million to create for Las Vegas, about her first impressions of our fair town and, for the first time, about how she’s re-envisioning her most famous works.

In Banter: Encore's opening soon, Steve loses 95 cents at Mandalay, Blue Man Group is looking for men and women (?), Bill Maher gets it wrong and Billy Crystal's odd "classics."

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March 6: Emeril Lagasse and Tina Walsh

Bam! Emeril Lagasse, the Food Network’s most famous alum, has opened his third Vegas restaurant, Table 10, at the Palazzo. Steve caught up with the chef a few weeks ago for a chat about the Vegas food scene, his culinary empire and, yes, his fast-food preferences. That’s coming up. Also, Steve chats with Vegas stage veteran Tina Walsh, who has made a tremendous comeback by landing a major role in The Venetian’s “Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular.”

In Banter: Bye, Hooters, a NYT writer hates Vegas, andhepatitis and ricin scares.


Emeril's website is here
Buy the Vegas Phantom tix here
Steve goes after a fellow local journalist here
Steve goes after a fellow NYT writer here
See pieces about the Hep-C and ricin here and here
Norm reports on Paul Stanley's Phantom turn here

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Feb. 28: Alanis Morissette

A decade ago, it was impossible to avoid Alanis Morissette on the radio. Her “Jagged Little Pill” album remains the biggest debut record of all time, selling 30 million copies worldwide and winning her seven Grammys. Yet Morissette has always been a bit of an enigma. On the outside, she seems rather girl-nxt-doorish, but her music and her lifestyle have often reflected someone working through quite a bit of torment. Morissette now believes she’s past a lot of that, telling Steve about her "recovery" and sharing her sympathetic thoughts on the trials and tribulations of Britney Spears other troubled young stars. The Canadian singer is just now returning to the music business after a two-year break during which she broke off an engagement with actor Ryan Reynolds, a topic that she addresses bluntly on her upcoming album, Flavors of Entanglement. She also explains the story behind her video spoof of the Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps,” which is one of the most watched clips in YouTube history. Morissette is concluding her current tour in Las Vegas on March 18.

In Banter: More Bette Midler updates, is Elton John bored, Pure is raided and more on the coins-in-the-fountain question from MGM Mirage.


Alanis Morissette's website is here
Get tickets to Alanis' 3/18 Palms show (with Matchbox 20) here
The R-J piece on the Sahara remodel is here
Alanis' YouTube of "My Humps" is here
Richard Abowitz writes about the Pure raid here
Steve's blog post with new MGM response to the fountain coins question is here
Joe Brown's brutal Bette commentary is here

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Feb. 21: Bettemania! With Toni Basil

Bette, Bette, Bette. These days, that’s all you hear about in Vegas entertainment circles. So here’s some more. This week, we bring you Steve’s first-hand preview peek at the show, a review from a loyal listener who also saw it this weekend, a new poll with a Bette-tinged theme and even a related Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week. Plus, Steve spoke with Toni Basil, Bette’s long-time choreographer and the singer behind that one-hit wonder “Mickey.” Basil explains how she used G.I. Joe figurines to plan the production, what sort of work she does for films like “Charlie Wilson’s War” and why she’s OK with being known as a one-hit wonder.

In Banter: A listener’s review of Bette’s show, new details on CityCenter, a new show for Palazzo, Wayne Brady renewed and a run-in with the Houseseatslv.Com tonidude.


Toni Basil’s website is here
Get tickets to see Bette at the Colosseum here
The site for is here
Mike Weatherford’s Cher v Bette column is here

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Feb. 14: Lance Burton

Three weeks ago, when the Monte Carlo erupted in flames, magician Lance Burton was forced to cancel shows for only the second time in his 12-year run there. This Friday, though, it’s back to work for Burton as the beleaguered resort reopens to the public -- along with the best illusionist spectacle in Vegas. Steve spoke to Lance earlier today about the fire, his future and a surprising phone call he got from Roy Horn.

In Banter: Broadway West's death knell, Spamalot changes lyrics, Menopause is tops?!?, Bass Pro Shop is the No. 1 apparel shop?!?, a Robert Earl reconciliation?!? and more.


Tickets to Lance Burton’s show is here
Steve’s current column about Broadway West is here
An AP piece on the changes of the Spamalot lyrics is here
Norm’s coverage of Tina Walsh’s new role at Phantom is here
Steve’s NYT piece quoting a listener about a flight school gone bust is here
The Silverton’s Bass Pro Shop’s website is here
Steve’s appearance on KNPR about Vegas paparazzi can be heard here
The blog post about coins in the Vegas fountains is here
Mike Weatherford’s column about Lance Burton as Monte Carlo’s face is here

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SPECIAL: Steve on KNPR's State of Nevada on 2/11

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Feb. 7: Wolfgang Puck and Frankie Avalon

Before Robuchon, before Palmer, before Lagasse and before Flay, there was Puck. Wolfgang Puck, of course. His Spago back in the early 1990s set off the star-chef boom here, and this month the most prolific restaurateur in Las Vegas is about to opens his sixth Strip restaurant, Cut, at the Palazzo. So Steve asked him about his proliferation and gets him to name his favorite fast food joint. Also, sticking with the theme of originals, Steve chats with Frankie Avalon, one of the original American teen heartthrob and a Vegas veteran.


Wolfgang Puck's site is here
Frankie Avalon's Wikipedia site is here
Jeff Simpson's columns regarding the Trop are here and here
Steve's piece on the Monte Carlo fire from New York is here
Robin Leach's coverage of the Cher announcement is here
Steve's blog post about the Sahara's upscale rooms is here

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Jan. 24: Mr. Sands Man

The first new Las Vegas Strip resort in nearly three years held its grand opening in grand style last weekend. The Palazzo is the taller, blonder, slightly more elegant 3,000-room addition to its sister property, the Venetian, and it served as an excellent time to sit down for an interview with Las Vegas Sands C.E.O. Sheldon Adelson. Sit back, relax, and get ready to hear some provocative comments from the Anti-Wynn.

In Banter: An incompetent Cathouse barrista, Menopause hits 1,000, Elaine Wynn at the casino caucus, and Oscar Goodman's queer query.


The Palazzo's website is here
Steve's USA Today Money-section cover story on Sheldon Adelson is here
Steve's AFP piece on the election, including Elaine Wynn's comments, is here
The Las Vegas Sun's brilliant new site is here
Norm's piece on Diana Ross' possible lip-synching is here

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Jan. 17: Mayor Oscar Goodman

It’s been eventful nine years since the ultimate non-politician, a mob lawyer, became mayor of Las Vegas. Since then, Oscar Goodman has stirred up plenty of controversy, but he’s also proven to be a tireless promoter and defender of the city and a creative thinker when it comes to how to reverse the sagging fortunes of the beloved but blighted downtown area. All that work is starting to show some results, with downtown casino owners investing large sums to fix up their places and the city overseeing the development of land just to the east that will create a whole new downtown complete with a medical facility and a $150 million performing arts center. He even offers his prediction for the fate of the crappy part of town where we record this program.

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Jan. 10: Bette Midler, Part II

Two weeks ago, Bette Midler talked about her new show, her movies and her music. So what’s left? Stick around and hear all about her early days playing in gay bathhouses and much more. Plus, an eight-hour casino, the life of the Vegas paparazzo and the astonishing Trippies results.


The 2007 Trippies results are here
Bette Midler's website is here
Get tix for Bette's Vegas show here
Steve's piece on Trailer Station from the New York Times is here and blog post/pix is here
The link to the Z100 phone tap regarding Vegas is here
The link to the Grits to Glitz episode discussing the Puck restaurant is here

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Jan. 3: Our Top Moments of 2007

Another crazy year in Las Vegas has come and gone, and nowhere was it crazier than right here on this podcast. Fourteen times in the past 12 months, scoops you heard here first made it into Norm Clarke’s Review-Journal gossip column, but on this year-in-review roundup, we’re only revisiting the best moments -- as voted upon by YOU. So sit back, relax and enjoy the countdown. And, if you missed some of these shows, here’s your chance to hear them without having to wade through all those hours.


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