Downtown’s Big Blast: If you haven’t made plans for New Year’s Eve, but you still want to get out and have some fun without spending a fortune, look no further than the Fremont Street Experience downtown that is offering "TributePalooza" and the world premiere of its newest Viva Vision extravaganza, "KISS Rocks Vegas." Tickets are free to locals with valid Nevada ID (21 and over) and if you’re just visiting, tickets are only $20. You can get them by calling 877-834-2748.
Get ready to hear eight live tribute bands and watch the Riders of the Thunderdome perform their Globe of Death motorcycle show. Top that off with the giant Viva Vision featuring a light and sound extravaganza 90 feet above the street and you’ve got the biggest private party in Las Vegas. The tribute bands will perform classic favorites from Aerosmith, Billy Joel, David Bowie, Eagles, KISS, Queen, the Rolling Stones and U2. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
All In At Binion’s: I forgot to mention that Binion’s downtown, former home of the World Series of Poker, has opened a new poker room featuring 10 tables. Historic photos are spaced around the room with a number of 42 and 50-inch plasma televisions. The Binion’s Gallery of Champions and Poker Hall of Fame are located in the upscale concierge area, where available games are presented on electronic boards. The new room is flanked by two full-service bars featuring cocktails and video poker. The room is open 24/7 and players will receive $2 comps per hour of live poker play, table-side food service and special room rates. Worth checking out.
Ladies Night Out: The Stratosphere is hosting a regular Smooth Jazz Ladies Night at Romance Lounge on Wednesdays through March 11. You lucky ladies will have a great view of Las Vegas, mouth-watering drink specials, live jazz by the William Moran Jazz Trio and the chance to win a designer purse. No mention of any men thrown into the mix, so you’re on your own there.
Martinis are half-price for ladies and the first 75 gals will receive a free glass of Moet & Chandon champagne. You can register in advance to win a designer purse on The Oasis website at www.1057theOasis.com and can also register in person at Romance Lounge, during Smooth Jazz Ladies Night, to receive an additional drawing ticket. Other giveaways include a $100 gift certificate to Top of the World restaurant, a $50 gift certificate for Romance Lounge, $25 in free slot play, tickets for two to "American Superstars" and tickets for two to "Bite." Both are fun shows if you haven’t already seen them. Hours for Ladies Night are 7 to 11 p.m. but will not take place Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Romance Lounge is located on Level 107 of the Stratosphere Tower.
Say It Ain’t So: Bad enough that "Mamma Mia!" will end its run at Mandalay Bay early in the new year, but now word has it that Elton John’s great "Red Piano" show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace will pack it in sometime next spring. No date has been announced. He has some 25 more shows during February and April. Tickets are on sale for his February run, but not, as yet, for his April gig. Don’t be surprised if Celine Dion returns to once again take the stage at the Colosseum.
New Owner for TI: Big and somewhat surprising news in our town is the purchase of TI (Treasure Island) by Phil Ruffin, former owner of the New Frontier. He bought the joint for $775 million, not exactly a steal, but a good price considering that MGM Mirage had recently sunk in several million dollars to upgrade and change the image of the resort, including a new pirate battle that is one of our town’s biggest attractions.
Ruffin, who had bought the New Frontier in 1998 for $167 million, sold it to an Israeli group in May 2007 for $1.24 billion (how‘s that for a profit?). The hotel-casino was imploded and was to be replaced by a replica of the famous Plaza Hotel in New York. The plans have been shelved for the time being because of the collapsed credit markets. TI has 2,885 rooms, including 220 suites, and a 90,000-square-foot casino.
Big Boost for Student Athletes: The Epicurean Charitable Foundation Las Vegas has renewed its partnership with the UNLV Athletic Department in support of the university’s men’s basketball program. The Foundation will sponsor UNLV Athletics with a contribution of $100,000, up from last year’s $24,000. The funds will go toward providing the student-athlete of each of the 31 home games with scholarship dollars as well as other programs designated by the UNLV Athletic Department.
Trashing the Tree: Christmas is a wonderful day but there’s always the question of how to get rid of your Christmas tree. Not to worry. Springs Preserve once again is offering its Christmas Tree Recycling Program. By dropping off your Christmas tree at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd. the tree will be turned into mulch.
Last year, locals recycled more than 18,000 trees, resulting in 200 tons of nutrient-rich mulch that was used at public gardens and parks across the valley. With the goal of exceeding last year’s total, the program has 21 locations citywide and is reaching out to all of you to take part. It should go without saying that before you drop off your tree, all non-organic material such as lights and decorations must be removed.
If you can’t drop off your tree, call 1-800-GOT-JUNK to have it picked up. The service is offered during the program from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and includes removal of the tree and vacuuming of all pine needles in the home for a $20 fee. That’s a good deal. Collection begins Friday, December 26, at 10 a.m.
Good luck and I’ll see you on the Strip. And don’t forget to check out eNeon each Thursday by subscribing (free of charge) to the Review-Journal’s weekly newsletter. If you have a question or a Las Vegas experience you would like to share with my readers, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name and the city or town where you live.