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Derek Stevens, Downtown Las Vegas Events Center still breaking ground

The open space across from the D Las Vegas is where Boston meets downtown.

This is to be taken literally, as the classic rock band is among the scores of acts to headline Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, kitty corner from the D on Carson and 3rd streets.

DLVEC is celebrating its fifth anniversary this weekend with performances by Young the Giant and Fitz & The Tantrums on Friday night. We remember well when Derek Stevens, co-owner of the D Las Vegas (and under-development Circa resort) who operates that venue, told us many years ago that he had purchased the Clark County Courthouse building and land and to be prepared for something special.

So it is, as DLVEC has hosted more than 500 music shows, nearly 100 viewing party (with another Thursday) and nearly 20 festivals, topped by Las Rageous.

The fifth anniversary gave us an opening to catch up with Stevens, whom we found at his nameplate at the D’s Longbar. Some highlights from the mid-afternoon summit:

Committment to Raiders: The Raiders-Green Bay Packers watch party beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday is a singular event. Fox 5 in Las Vegas bought the rights to all the pre-season games. The NFL owns all rights to regular-season games, but the exhibition games are owned by the individual teams. That means Fox can host watch parties, and picked DLVEC for Thursday’s event.

Otherwise, Stevens says, “We’re fans, we’re big sports fans, and we’re going to have a handful of different things connected to the Raiders. We’re excited about the draft coming up.”

Community-wide event envisioned for the NFL Draft party: Stevens is on the Las Vegas Events committee helping to plan for the event. It’s a far-off event, but Stevens is already getting the vibe.

“The NFL wants to take what they have done last year in Nashville and turn it into something really big. It’s a three-day draft, but it will be almost what Super Bowl week is, with a set of events and parties, and Vegas is perfectly made for this evolution of the draft,” Stevens said. “It’s still early, we still need to have our first meeting, to be honest with you, but what is clear is the NFL wants to make this a weeklong event.

“It’s going to be community-wide involving Henderson, the southern part of Vegas, the northern part of Vegas. It will be spread out all over the community.”

Count DLVEC in those plans.

DLVEC is the entertainment center for all of downtown: “I was sitting in a meeting not that long ago and someone asked what we were going to do for the fifth anniversary. I said, ‘The fifth anniversary of what?’ I can’t believe five years has gone by,” Stevens said. “We started with a barbecue event, and our first concert was (electro pop band) Capital Cities, and it has grown from there with all the bands and DJs, athletic events, it’s amazing. It’s our entertainment venue for the future, for Circa and for downtown.

“One thing I can say, the next 10 weeks we have events every single weekend booked, and in 2020 it will be a record year for number of events. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 100 events on the books for 2020.”

What works in Vegas

Comic Doug Stanhope is headlining Plaza Showroom on New Year’s Eve. He sold 250 tickets within a few hours of announcing. Maybe a second show will be added. But Stanhope-at-Plaza is a sure thing downtown.

Flying blonde

The cast of “Blond Invasion” at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood was informed Aug. 1 it was taking a two-week “dark,” and expected to return Aug. 15. The show was drawing strong audience response, but still trying to catch its audience at the theater complex behind the Miracle Mile aquatic attraction.

Well, that Aug. 15 date has clearly come and gone, and the show is not onstage. Call it “closed” until further notice. The show was a tribute to Lady Gaga (Christina Shaw), Britney Spears (Katie Murdock) and Madonna (Coty Alexander) all have extensive stage experience in Las Vegas — which is why this “hiatus” directive was met with widespread skepticism.

The cast members are left looking for answers and, more important, their next gig.

The red fury

On the topic of hair color … You know who wants to be in a show? Burlesque legend Tempest Storm, who is still zealous about being onstage at age 91. We had lunch at Peppermill last week, where the hostess looked at Storm’s fiery red hair and said, “She is somebody, right?”

Storm is not interested in full-time performance, mind you. As she says, “I have no more hips to break.” But she likes the idea of popping up at a show once in a while, sign some memorabilia, chat up the commoners.

Sadly, Storm’s self-titled documentary has never been formally screened in Las Vegas, even though she lives here and the Burlesque Hall of Fame is located downtown. Storm’s team and the BHOF board have knocked heads over some Facebook posts during the 2016 presidential campaign, but that issue seems to have finally subsided.

Storm did appear at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender Icons & All-Star Showcase in June, and remains the burlesque world’s most-recognizable figure.


Magician Murray Sawchuck of Laugh Factory and side-act artist John Shaw have been added to the cast of “The Downtown Las Vegas Reality Show,” taping an episode in September, likely at Binion’s. Sawchuck also taped an episode of “Pawn Stars” at Gold & Silver Pawn last week. The longtime Vegas headliner is the show’s magic-memorabilia expert. …

Geechy Guy has floated the idea of a stunt-cast spot in “Atomic Saloon Show,” and hey, Geechy is at once funny in any context, and conjures the image of a classic saloon comedian. …

Not to cast too much attention or opinion on other pubs’ “best of” lists, but USA Today has certainly shown range in its nominees for best Las Vegas show in its Readers’ Choice awards. Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee of the Piano Bar at Harrah’s is in there with Lady Gaga, “O”and “Absinthe,” and many others. I love Pete, but for him to win would be an upset as big as his jumpsuit. …

“Potted Potter” is closing in on 100 shows next week at Windows Showroom at Bally’s. Can’t help but laugh through that farcical send-up of the seven Harry Potter books. …

Hyping the ventriloquial arts: I have seen unauthorized video of the Mr. Stuffles figure being created by Flamingo Las Vegas headliner Piff the Magic Dragon. This is the puppet sidekick for Mr. Piffles. In a word, inspired. …

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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