Hsieh has big hopes for downtown fest


With the most ambitious downtown festival a week away, Tony Hsieh sees it as more than a cross-promotional concept among 200 on his Downtown Projects’ $350 million checklist.

The two-day Life is Beautiful festival, a four-festivals-in-one extravaganza, combines a big-name music and culinary lineup with arts and learning components.

Together, he said, they “fit in perfectly with the mission and purpose of the Downtown Project.”

“We think its’ a great opportunity to help showcase what’s possible for downtown,” said Hsieh.

In a wide-ranging interview, Hsieh addresses the recent breakfast sighting with supermodel Tyra Banks and why he’s cooled on Twitter, and his mother’s longstanding dream for her son.

Hsieh, a bachelor, said he owes his friendship to Banks to his 2010 book, “Delivering Happiness,” about his entrepreneurial endeavors.

She tweeted about it, gave him a call to set up a meeting and “we’ve stayed friends.”

Once a big fan of Twitter, Hsieh explains why he rarely joins the chatter on the social media network.

“When Twitter first launched, it was like being a regular at a great neighborhood bar that the rest of the world didn’t know about. Now it feels more like a giant nightclub which is great for certain things but much less personal and intimate.”

Read the full Q&A at normclarke.com.

MEDIA UPDATE

Bruce Spotleson, longtime executive with Greenspun Media Group, has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Most recently, he was general manager of KTUD-TV, which went off the air Oct. 11. He was with GMG since 1998 as newspaper and magazine publisher. …

“The Agenda,” a daily weekday political talk show co-hosted by Elizabeth Crum and Hugh Jackson on KSNV-TV, Channel 3, was canceled last week after a year and nine months. A station spokesman confirmed the move, saying Kim and Dana Wagner, hosts of “Waking Up with the Wagners” are expanding their noon news slot to a full hour. …

Richard Hudock, public relations manager at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts for just over a year, is moving to Wynn and Encore Las Vegas as their entertainment public relations manager. Prior to that he was at The Venetian and The Palazzo on their PR team for three years. …

Ted Pretty has been promoted to chief meteorologist at KVVU-TV, Channel 5. He replaces Stacey Donaldson, whose contract was not renewed. Pretty, who joined Fox 5 in 1999, moved up from the morning show. Cassandra Jones is the new morning weather anchor. …

Morning meteorologist Mike Tsolinas has left KTNV-TV, Channel 13 after seven years.

SIGHTINGS

Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno, catching lunch at the Grape Street Cafe Wine Bar &Cellar on Thursday. …

Josh Groban, dining with friends at SHe by Morton’s (The Shops at Crystals at CityCenter) on Monday.

THE PUNCH LINE

“In a new interview, the Dalai Lama endorsed medical marijuana. So now we know why the Dalai Lama sits around in a robe all day.” — Conan O’Brien

Norm’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more at normclarke.com. Follow @Norm_Clarke on Twitter. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.