Lunar New Year celebrations are underway at resort hotels on the Strip. The largest display honoring The Year of the Rooster was unveiled at Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens and will be open to visitors 24/7 through March 4.
Created by event designer Ed Libby with the Bellagio horticulture team and Feng Shui Master George Yau, the gardens are brought to life with more than 20,000 flowers, silk lantern chandeliers and a preview of the highly anticipated Bellagio by MGM Shanghai resort.
Visitors walk through a 16-foot Moon Gate serving as an inviting entrance into the gardens. Four ding pots burn incense to protect against bad fortune, and four 17-foot standing red roses made from lentils line the corners of the East Bed from a shallow pond. Light from a 19-foot crystal chandelier adds a glow, complementing golden hues found throughout the East Bed.
Celebrating Bellagio’s expansion into China, the North Bed showcases an 8-foot-tall replica of Bellagio by MGM Shanghai, a luxury resort opening this summer. In all, 22,000 flowers are on display, and the 19-foot hanging Chinese lantern chandeliers have 390 feathers and 250 jewels.
The rooster, at 10 feet tall, is made from 10,000 feathers. The koi pond with its 35 stunning fish has 21,000 gallons of water. The sunflowers stand 14 feet tall, and the Asian children in the gardens were made from 1,500 flower. It’s a spectacular sight not to be missed!
Meantime, a giant dragon has been set up at Caesars Palace where The Forum Shops meet the casino. The 950-pound steel-framed creature stands 12 feet high and 22 feet long and is covered with 30,000 red-and-yellow LED lights. The 21st annual Meadows School parade features the dragon parade with 120 students Jan. 30 led by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR
There are several connections between gorgeous actress-singer Vanessa Williams, in the first photo, and Las Vegas when she’s honored as Woman of the Year at Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Black and White gala Jan. 28. Vanessa will be introduced by Las Vegas director Randy Slovacek. They were musical theater majors together in upstate New York.
This weekend, Randy is directing Nicki Scalera’s Shirley Bassey tribute shows at Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Debbie Allen will serve as honorary chairwoman for the gala, with David Weinreb of our Howard Hughes Corp. in Summerlin as dinner chairman.
David sang with Vanessa when they were in their eighth-grade and high school band in Chappaqua outside Manhattan. David Perrico’s band will provide the music for the gala, with Chet Buchanan as auctioneer. A VIP reception for Vanessa is at Fendi in Crystals at CityCenter.
Cirque du Soleil’s “The Beatles Love” at The Mirage has reached its 5,000th performance, and that’s a milestone to celebrate for its international cast of 85 performers. The show began in 2006 after discussions that began in 2000 between George Harrison and Cirque founder Guy Laliberte.
“Love” was reimagined last year with The Beatles widows Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison and surviving The Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, who attended the 10th anniversary Las Vegas new-look celebrations in July.
The music engineered by my friend Giles Martin, son of the late Sir George Martin who recorded all The Beatles albums, is piped to the audience through 6,351 speakers in the 2,013-seat theater. Cirque senior exec Jerry Nadal, in the second and third photos, celebrated the milestone with the cast.
When original The Monkees member Micky Dolenz performs his solo show Jan. 20 at The Golden Nugget, Las Vegas resident and singer Debbie Gibson will be cheering him on. Debbie, who opened for The Monkees in a late 1980s tour, co-starred with Micky in the 2011 SyFy movie “Mega Python vs Gatoroid.”
MONTHLY KIDS SHOWS
Flamingo comedy juggler headliner Jeff Civillico will lead off a series of monthly entertainment shows at St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City on Jan. 21. Other Strip entertainers have volunteered for the Saturday afternoon monthly shows for hospital patients and traumatized children who have been abused, neglected or left homeless.
Las Vegas singer Brian Evans performed his final Maui Celebrity Series concerts with William Shatner, who launched the shows with him three years ago. Brian is returning home to finish a book and make guest-singing appearances. Here’s a YouTube video of the final show.