December is one busy month with National Finals Rodeo (NFR), college basketball tournaments at The Orleans, craft bazaars, gingerbread houses on display in hotel buffets and holiday lights -- thousands and thousands of multicolored lights.
Yes, December is the time of year when the city's casinos go out of their way to decorate for the season. I visit many of them to enjoy their beauty while admiring all the detail and hard work that goes into decorating these large expanses. One such place is the Mystic Falls Park Winter Wonderland at Sam's Town, which will remain decorated through Jan. 1. Actually, the park's holiday experience begins in the valet porte-cochere with lighting and decorative snowflakes. Garland streams, wreath-adorned lampposts, white light and snow-covered trees, poinsettias, red garland and ice crystals add to the themed visuals. Go at night and take in the free 15-minute winter laser light spectacular at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. Call 456-7777 for more information.
"Name That Tune Live!"
This is also the time of year when family members come to visit and it becomes your responsibility to find a fun holiday afternoon show for them. My suggestion is "Name That Tune Live!" at the Imperial Palace. This up-to-date version of the iconic daytime game show is hosted by Las Vegas favorites Zowie Bowie -- Chris Phillips and Marley Taylor. They give 50 participants the chance to win thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. There is a live disc jockey with a musical catalog ranging from country to rock 'n' roll to Broadway. Showtime is 4 p.m. Saturday through Thursday (dark Friday). Tickets start at $29.95. For more information, call 731-3311 or visit www.imperialpalace.com.
When night falls, head over to The Venetian, where Blue Man Group is offering Nevada residents one complimentary ticket with the purchase of one regularly priced ticket through Jan. 31, 2012. Blue Man Group, wildly popular around the world, defies description. It's an explosion of color, humor, music and technology that comes to life in the custom-built Blue Man Group theater. To receive the offer, locals can show their Nevada ID and mention the code "LOC241" at any box office location inside the hotel. Tickets start at $59. For more information, call 414-9001 or visit www.blueman.com/vegaslocal.
And what about NFR? Top names in country music can be found around town, with some of the best appearing at the Golden Nugget. Tanya Tucker is on stage Dec. 7, and the godfather himself, Merle Haggard, stars Dec. 8-9. Tickets start at $39. All concerts begin at 10 p.m. Visit www.goldennugget.com.
Winter is ice skating time (I used to do that on the frozen lakes in Minneapolis), and a great place to take a spin is the one-of-a-kind floating ice rink at The Village Lake Las Vegas. Bundle up and skate on the unique 53x76-foot platform that holds up to 75 skaters with the backdrop of Lake Las Vegas. Ice skating will be open through Jan. 29, 2012. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Cost, which includes skate rental and a full-day pass, is $15 per adult and $12 per child. Call 564-4785 for more information.
Auld Lang Syne
"Auld Lang Syne" is a Scottish poem that means "old long ago" or "the good old days." And with that in mind, I mention Studio 54, the city's first mega club at the MGM Grand. It is scheduled to close Jan. 8, 2012. It opened in 1997 and was the same Studio 54 as the highly popular discotheque in New York City that opened in 1977. I was fortunate to be in both of them. And for many of us, just the name Studio 54 conjures memories of those "good old days." There is still time to enjoy one last disco dance and rediscover the iconic venue with its notable memorabilia, including the famous Studio 54 Moon hanging over the dance floor. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 891-7254 for more information.
A man, who just turned 64, went to a new primary care doctor. The doctor told him he was doing well for his age. A little concerned about this comment, the man asked the doctor, "Do you think I'll live to be 80?"
The doctor responded by asking: "Do you smoke tobacco or drink beer or wine?"
"No," replied the man. "I don't do drugs, either."
Then he asked, "Do you eat steaks and barbecued ribs?"
"Not since my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy."
"Do you spend time in the sun like playing golf, sailing, hiking or bicycling?"
The doctor asked, "Do you gamble, go on vacations, or have a lot of romance?"
Again, the man said, "No."
The doctor looked at him and said, "Then why do you even care?"
To you and yours, a joyous holiday season and a happy and healthy new year.
Jack Bulavsky is a 35-year Nevadan and has covered the entertainment, dining and gaming industries for local and national publications. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.