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Stations forges ahead with Aliante

New Casino Opens: Despite the fact that several plans for new megaresorts and expansion at other Strip properties have been put on hold, Station Casinos went boldly ahead and opened its newest resort, the $662-million Aliante Station, in northwest Las Vegas at the corner of Aliante Parkway and the 215 freeway that circles our city.

Although the new property has the same look and feel of Red Rock Resort, the company’s premier property at Charleston and 215, Aliante is on a smaller scale, with only 202 rooms. But the 80,000-square-foot casino has 2,554 slots, 40 table games, a high-limit area and a poker room.

It also boasts six restaurants , which are a blend of an old company favorite, company-owned restaurants and three new offerings. Pips Cucina & Wine Bar, the first restaurant by former Caesars Palace food and beverage director Rino Armeni, features many family recipes handed down through the generations and gathered by Armeni’s mother, who traveled from Rome to see the restaurant.

Pip’s is joined by Mexican restaurant Camacho’s Cantina, Original Pancake House, T.G.I. Friday’s and the company’s own seafood and steakhouse MRKT Sea & Land, and Feast Buffet. Other amenities include a 16-screen movie theater, a food court and a pool. I was there opening night and liked the feel of the place as did the people I talked to who showed up at 10 p.m. when the doors opened to the public.

Put On Your Dancing Shoes: If, like me, you’re a fan of the hit TV series "Dancing with the Stars," you’ll be happy to hear that it will be going on tour this winter and will appear at The Orleans Arena on Monday, Dec. 29.

The show will include celebrities such as Lance Bass, Toni Braxton and Maurice Greene from Season 7, as well as Marlee Matlin from Season 6. Joining the celebrities will be professional dancers Mark Ballas, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Derek Hough, Kym Johnson, Alec Mazo, Lacey Schwimmer, Edyta Sliwinska, Karina Smirnoff and Fabian Sanchez.

Tickets are now on sale and you can order them by going to www.DancingWithTheStarsOnTour.com or www.orleansarena.com.

Another "Only In Las Vegas" Offering: OK, you’ve had a long day, but promised the family you’d take them to a movie when you’d rather stay at home, relax and have a beer. Well, you’re prayers have been answered. The Galaxy Cannery at the Cannery Hotel & Casino in North Las Vegas is now offering its patrons the opportunity to enjoy a beer with their popcorn.

This new twist began Nov. 14 with the opening of the new James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace" — somehow fitting, I think. It is the first movie theatre in Clark County to serve beer, but it will only be served in select theatres inside Galaxy Cannery daily after 6 p.m. You will have to be 21 and older to be permitted inside the theatres serving beer.

Country Star At NFR: In keeping with the spirit of the National Finals Rodeo being held once again in Las Vegas, the Tropicana has lined up country star Travis Tritt to perform Dec. 5 at 10 p.m. and Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. in the Tiffany Theater. Tickets are $60 and up, plus applicable taxes and fees, and are available at the Tropicana Box Office. Or you can go to tropicanalv.com or call 702-739-2411.

Free Concert On Fremont: And speaking of a knee-slappin’ good time, get ready for the 22nd Annual Downtown Hoedown that kicks off at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Fremont Street Experience. Scheduled to perform are top country music talents Lady Antebellum, Heidi Newfield, The Road Hammers and Mark Chesnutt.

All concerts are free and open to the public and parking is available at the Fremont Street Experience parking garage located on the corner of Carson and Fourth Streets. The performance schedule is as follows: 1st Street Stage — Lady Antebellum, 6-8 p.m. and Heidi Newfield, 9-11p.m.; 3rd Street Stage — The Road Hammers, 6-8 p.m. followed by Mark Chesnutt, 9-11 p.m. This should be a real fun time for the whole family and you can’t complain about the price.

Bravo For Ballet: Gotta tell ya, I went to see "A Choreographers Showcase" at Treasure Island this past Sunday and kudos to all these great dancers. The showcase is a joint effort between the Nevada Ballet Theater and Cirque du Soleil and is called "a project designed to stimulate and encourage artistic growth." That it does.

There are no traditional ballets offered here, but instead original, creative dances that bring a whole new meaning and vision of ballet. At $20 a ticket, it was the best bargain of the year and it had to be very rewarding to these fine young men and women to play before a packed house in the Mystere Theater. If this is an indication of the kind of talent that makes up the NTB, then Las Vegas has a ballet theater of which they can be very proud.

On a somewhat sad note, the Nevada Ballet Theatre has announced the retirement of principal dancer Kyudong Kwak who has been with the company for 10 years, Kwak danced his final performance "A Choreographers’ Showcase." Born in Daegu, Korea, Kwak began his ballet training at the Korean National Ballet, the Universal Ballet and the Kirov Academy in Washington D.C. Before joining Nevada Ballet Theatre in 1998, he was a principal dancer with the Universal Ballet and the Seoul Ballet Theatre in South Korea.

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 lennylv@netzero.net. Please include your full name and the city or town where you live.

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