Changes on the Strip for weekend marathon; new gun tragedy benefit; Shania Twain’s ‘Home Street’ game

Changes have been made to this coming weekend’s Geico Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon run through Las Vegas as a result of the Oct. 1 gun massacre at Mandalay Bay, which resulted in over 500 injuries and 58 deaths. The new start line will be at the New York-New York, one mile north of the previous start line. In addition, the Sunday afternoon concert planned by the Goo Goo Dolls will now be held Saturday night.

Instead of near the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the free concert will now be moved to the 40-acre Las Vegas Festival Grounds, opposite the SLS Las Vegas just north of the Circus Circus. Saturday night’s 5K race will start at 6 p.m. just outside the Festival Grounds on Bridge Lane with rockers March Fourth. The Goo Goo Dolls performance will start at 7.30 p.m. and is expected to be over by 9 p.m.

All other race weekend events including the Health & Fitness Expo and Sunday’s 10K race will continue as planned with the marathon, half-marathon and 10K finish line all unchanged in front of The Mirage.

Incredibly, some of my out-of-town friends who escaped the carnage of the Mandalay Bay shooting are returning to Vegas in a show of solidarity and strength to run in the weekend marathon.

Live entertainment will be provided all along the course Sunday afternoon with hundreds of runners dressed in Elvis Presley costumes. Rapper and Vegas resident Snoop Dogg will headline at the Sunday afternoon concert. Runners in love can tie the knot or renew their vows during the Mile 3 Run Thru wedding ceremony location at the Park outside our T-Mobile Arena. Nearly 50,000 runners from 83 countries and 50 of our United States are expected here this coming weekend for the 50th celebration, which will now include a portion of the route inside the Festival Grounds rather than an empty nine-mile section of streets in North Las Vegas.

NEW GUN TRAGEDY BENEFIT: Following on the heels of Sunday’s Vegas Cares showbiz concert now other members of our city’s entertainment community are joining forces to support the victims of the Oct.oiber 1 gun massacre. A Vegas Strong benefit concert is planned for Friday, Dec. 1, at the T-Mobile Arena with Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Boyz II Men, magicians David Copperfield and Penn & Teller plus performers from the various Cirque du Soleil shows. Ronnie Vannucci Jr., Mark Stoemer, Dave Keuning and Brandon Flowers of the Killers said: “For us, Las Vegas is a vital part of who we are as a band and who we are as human beings. We are humbled to be from a place where people rise in the face of tragedy to do what’s right. Please join us as we do what we do best in honor of those who lost their lives and celebrate the heart and humanity that keeps us united.”

SHANIA’S GAME: Former Caesars Palace headliner, country music superstar Shania Twain began appearing in “Home Street” as an in-game character yesterday, allowing fans the chance to live alongside her in their neighborhood, interact and even dress like Shania. The game has already been downloaded more than 4 million times since launch and the community continues to expand at a massive rate.

The five-time Grammy Award winning singer, with over 90 million+ album sales is the first guest character to appear across the Supersolid gaming franchises.

Shania’s presence in the game allows her to engage virtually with fans and players in a way that she has never done before: Shania’s in-game character will lead players through stories, two music videos from her brand new album “Now” will play on a special billboard within the game and players will be able to purchase exclusive Shania outfit items and an interactive guitar for their own characters to use in-game within “Home Street.” For the rest of this month Shania will also participate in a special in-game Q&A where players can submit questions for her to answer.

FINAL SECONDS: A brand new reality show “5 Minutes to Showtime” will premiere this Saturday across the web with cameras trained on that final countdown at various Vegas shows moments before “curtain up.” The first show spotlights Jennifer Romas and her “Sexxy show” at the Westgate. Here’s the official series trailer on YouTube:

It’s a unique backstage look at Vegas shows in the chaotic seconds of exciting nervousness before showtime — a behind the scenes souvenir which has never been shot before.

CLOSING: Two more restaurants close at the Monte Carlo today in advance of the ongoing transformation into the new Park MGM Hotel. The 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria was shut on Sunday and now we say a fond farewell to Sambalatte and Diablo’s Cantina. The Minus 5 IceBar previously closed less than two weeks ago. Guests will be encouraged to visit Sake Rok, Shake Shake, Beerhaus, Bruxie and the California Pizza Kitchen on the outdoor Park destination outside the hotel until the new Eataly , Nomad and Bavette’s open next year.

TRACK THRILLS: It felt like 100 mph in the mini Gran Prix race cars when cameras from the Animal Planet’s hit TV show “Tanked” sped around the track with us. Magician Murray Sawchuck and “Sexxy” star Jennifer Romas beat me handsomely as they raced the circuit but I did pip Pia Zadora on the post finishing line. The episode of ‘Tanked’ at the Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix will air next month with reality stars , brothers in law Brett Raymer and Wayde King.

Their unique Acrylic Tank Manufacturing company here in Las Vegas has filmed over 120 episodes including eight specials. It really was Lifestyles of the Fish and Famous!

COCKTAIL CONCERTS: Finally Vegas is turning the clock back to the old glory days of entertainment with the 5 p.m. Cocktail Cabaret residency at Cleopatras Barge starting Nov. 30. It’s the first of a number of new productions that Caesars Entertainment executives are plotting for the unique location .

Its the brainchild of Jersey Boys music director Keith Thompson who’s partnered with critically acclaimed pianist Philip Fortenberry who played Liberace’s hand double in the HBO biopic “Behind the Candelabra.”

Their new live vintage Vegas Broadway cabaret-styled live revue will star singers Maren Wade, Niki Scalera, Daniel Emmet and Eric Jordan Young who will race nightly as the show ends to his new gig as resident director of the “Baz” musical mashup at the Palazzo. He has just 45 minutes from curtain down at Caesars to curtain up at the Baz Luhrman celebration of Star Crossed Love with Romeo & Juliet, The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge. We’ll have my interview with Keith about his new show here Wednesday.

RESIDENCY: “America’s Got Talent” season five winner Michael Grimm has signed on for a weekly residency every Tuesday night — starting this evening — at the Tuscany. His soulful country music hits won him the Review-Journal’s “Entertainer of the Year”award in 2012.

MEETING ‘THE DONALD’: “Bold and Beautiful” soap star Jeff Tracta has miraculously transformed himself into the Singing Trump – and the uncanny look-and-sound alike welcomed me backstage at the showcase he presented at the Hard Rock Hotel this week.

The amazing Presidential impersonator had a string of standing ovations for his incredible production and Bruno Mars tunes. He told me that it takes him three-hours to go through hair and makeup for the transformation to POTUS. Jeff who has a full calendar of corporate appearances on tour throughout the country is hoping for a Vegas residency to cut down on all his travels. Its remarkable to say the least!


— Former First Lady Michelle Obama joied The Venetian celebration of Valerie Jarrett, her husband’s senior adviser. President Barack Obama’s wife even went upstairs after the meal to dance the night away continuing the celebration in the TAO nightclub. And just what does a First Lady order for dinner? Lobster wontons, potstickers, satay of Chilean sea bass and braised short ribs, plus a extravagant birthday dessert presentation.

— Congratulations to TVS Design/Design Las Vegas who will oversee the design services of the new proposed $860 million expansion project of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Four Las Vegas firms (TSK Architects, Simpson Coultor, Carpenter Sellers and KME Architects) were given six weeks of preparation for their one-hour presentation that beat out RV Architecture and Populopus of Kansas City. The winning TVS Design firm already knows Vegas, having been part of our T-Mobile Arena, Terminal 3 at McCarran and the UNLV Lied Library. They’ve promised it will be open in time for opening day of the giant CES conventon in 2021

— More than 6,000 people — the most successful Las Vegas K9 Trials in 27 years — turned out for Siegfried and Roy’s Police Dog awards show with ourpolice department competing at the Orleans Arena. Battling against police dog units from across America our Vegas canines won “Top Dog” and “Top Agency” awards.

— Photographer, chef, scientist and author Nathan Myhrvold who opened the dramatic “Modernist Cuisine Gallery” of extraordinary food photographs in the Forum Shops at Caesars earlier this year has been hailed as such a genius that now comes a second gallery — this time in New Orleans on the famed Royal Street next Monday.

— The School of Rock Las Vegas West celebrates its six year anniversary with this week’s release of the “Mother Mercury” EP by local music educators who form the Teddi and the Northern Lights group. Teddi Tarnoff is the female director of the school and moved to Vegas five years ago as the original student of theunique rock school program ‘s first location in Philadelphia. Erik Carlsson, drummer Jeremy Strawn and bass player Will McLean make up Teddi’s group. They celebrate with an album release party on Friday night (Nov 10) at downtown’s Backstage Bar & Billiards.

— An extraordinary bike trek began the first phase of a cross country trek for rider William Owens Jr. yesterday. He’ll cross the western U.S. along its Southern Route at the rate of 50-75 miles a day until reaching Phoenix 300-miles later on Nov. 12. The “Shift to Greatness” bike trek has as its core message theme to move beyond the pain of the past to tomorrow’s greatness. His rides will increase to 50-100 miles a day in phases as he reaches the East Coast. The massive personal journey is to stir the conscience of Americans back to greatness, he says.


— Superstar DJ’s Tiesto. Steve Aoki, Lil John and Kaskade join a host of other turntable twisters for Hakkasan’s benefit concert honoring victims and first responders of the Oct. 1 Mandalay Bay gun massacre tragedy being held at Omnia in Caesars Palace.

— Blues Traveler with front man John Popper celebrates 30-years with a stop at the House of Blues. Los Colognes is the opening act.

— The 24th annual holiday cactus lighting with 1-million lights illuminating the botanical garden at Ethel M Chocolates features Penn & Teller, the Sin City Opera, the Sound Collage and Nevada Ballet Theater in Henderson. Santa Claus has promised to appear at the winter wonderland’s ice-skating rink.

— Vegas author Megan Edwards celebrates the release of her new novel “Full Service Blonde,” the prequel to her successful debut “Getting Off On Frank Sinatra” book at the Writers Block at Fremont and 10th downtown. She’s serving up a six-course menu to go with the story of the aspiring investigative journalist who meets a sex worker at a legal Nevada brothel before the prostitute is murdered. It’s a further dive into the dark side of Sin City.

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