Critic: CityCenter 'a Xanadu' on Strip

On the brink of its unveiling, CityCenter, the MGM Mirage megaproject, is being greeted with a cascade of praise.

"Some of the world's top architects and designers have taken a fresh deck of cards and created a Xanadu on the Vegas Strip," wrote USA Today's Kitty Bean Yancey.

"Inside, it resembles a modern art gallery and mind-boggling design showcase more than themed Vegas resorts," she wrote.

The Los Angeles Times on Sunday ran a lengthy feature headlined "A New Vegas."

"My first impression was, 'this is either completely crazy or the greatest project in the world,'" said renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, who designed the exterior of the 500,000-square-foot Crystals retail, dining and entertainment district. "It's a rebranding of the whole idea of Vegas," Libeskind told the Times' Jay Jones, who wonders whether CityCenter has "blown the lid off 'over the top.'"

International interest has helped push media impressions past a whopping 300,000 million-plus, a tally of how widespread a story has been viewed across the board (TV, print media, etc.).

Jim Murren, MGM Mirage chairman and chief executive officer, told the Times he views CityCenter as "a giant life preserver for Southern Nevada."

"I can't think of a better time to launch the most important development in the state's history," Murren said.

First to open the doors will be Vdara, the 57-story nongaming hotel and condominium tower. Vdara's opening on Tuesday includes an invitation-only Vanity Fair party featuring actor Orlando Bloom and explorer/photographer Sebastian Copeland.

Eva Longoria Parker of "Desperate Housewives" is in town for the opening Thursday of Crystals, the home of Beso, her Latin steakhouse collaboration with chef Todd English.

Friday's opening of the Mandarin Oriental is also invitation-only and black tie.

Murren and CityCenter CEO Bobby Baldwin will ring, via remote, the New York Stock Exchange closing bell on Dec. 16, opening day for Aria, the hotel-casino.


Nevada first lady Dawn Gibbons, in her first major interview since Gov. Jim Gibbons filed for divorce and evicted her from the Governor's Mansion, tells the December issue of Reno magazine that she has exchanged e-mails with other betrayed wives of governors, including South Carolina's Jenny Sanford and New York's Silda Wall Spitzer. "I know how they feel, but the difference is they both have money," Gibbons said. "At this point in my life, I had no idea I would feel this trapped." ...

Watch for an on-air announcement this week that KVBC-TV, Channel 3, anchor Kendall Tenney is leaving after more than a decade at the anchor desk. He was notified recently that his contract is not being renewed. On the surface, it sounds like another cost-cutting move, but they did offer the moon to investigative reporter George Knapp of KLAS-TV, Channel 8. ...

Hash House A Go Go is opening a second location, this time on the Strip. The announcement is Tuesday. The podcasting site,, is reporting the new location will be Imperial Palace.


The Yard House at Town Square offers "Monday Night Football" drink discounts and half price off on select appetizers and pizzas, from 3 p.m. to closing.


Former Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz, at Pole Position Raceway on Sunday. ... Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon, at noon Mass at St. Thomas More Church in Henderson on Sunday. ... Comedian David Spade, back at The Country Club (Wynn) on Sunday for the second day in a row.


"Phil Ivey just crashed his car in an attempt to remain poker's Tiger Woods." -- A Twitter posting by actor Andy Milder of the TV show "Weeds"

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or Find additional sightings and more online at