Michael Jackson‘s comeback plans include a tour of Europe, if his London engagement meets expectations and his health holds up, an insider said late Wednesday.
Jackson has a news conference scheduled today in London, where he is expected to confirm reports that his long-delayed comeback is on, with a 10-show stint at The 02 dome.
Jackson wasn’t keen on a long-term Las Vegas deal because he has reservations about the physical toll of doing a concert every night, the source said.
"The only people who can bring Michael to Vegas is Steve Wynn or Kirk Kerkorian, and Wynn really tried to talk him into it," according to the source.
New partners Andrew Sasson, best known for his Light Group nightclub empire, and Wall Street star Jason Ader are pursuing two separate hotel-casino deals in Las Vegas, it was learned Wednesday.
Sources said the new development indicates Sasson is in the process of moving out of the club business to concentrate on his new interests.
Sasson has spent the past four years developing The Harmon Hotel & Spa at CityCenter. Sasson and his partner Andy Masi were to operate and manage the boutique hotel.
Recent construction setbacks, however, have forced MGM Mirage, the cash-strapped parent company, to top off the planned 49-story building at 28 floors.
The planned residential condo component has been canceled and the opening delayed about a year.
Light Group’s contract with MGM Mirage reportedly expires at the end of this year.
It was Ader who sold Sasson on doing business in Las Vegas during a visit during the late 1990s. Ader was a leading Wall Street gaming and lodging industry analyst for Bear Stearns before becoming a New York City-based hedge fund powerhouse.
Sasson, who had a string of successful clubs in New York, Miami and the Hamptons on Long Island, hit it off with Bellagio honcho Bobby Baldwin and opened Light at Bellagio in January 2001 with other partners. Sasson parlayed his relationship with MGM Mirage into a series of popular nightspots at the gaming giant’s properties.
Neither could be reached for comment.
Ader was ranked fifth on Forbes’ list of top brokerage analysts in 2008.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Three weeks after the stunning closure of "An Evening at La Cage," headliner Frank Marino said he’s optimistic he’ll return to the Riviera as producer of a drag revue. There were overtures from Sushi Samba’s management to take over their club space, he said, but the Riviera is his first choice because of his long association with the property. … Lavo restaurant at the Palazzo has confirmed it is going another direction, away from the small-plates concept to Italian. Chef Ludo Lefebvre‘s last day is Saturday. Chef Ralph Scamardella, a corporate chef for Tao Group and previously executive chef and partner at Carmine’s in New York City, will man the kitchen and oversee the redesign of the menu to feature more classic Italian fare, a spokeswoman said in an e-mail. A two-time five-star honoree by Mobil Travel Guide at L’Orangerie and Bastide in Los Angeles, Lefebvre plans to open LudoBites in L.A. in May.
TRACKING THE STARS
Kelly Monaco, the season one winner of "Dancing with the Stars" and co-star of the upcoming "Peepshow," shooting film footage in a suite in Planet Hollywood Resort on Tuesday. Monaco and Spice Girl Mel B are in town for daily rehearsals with the cast of 25 dancers. Previews begin March 30. The show opens April 18 at the resort. … NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski, with Luxor headliner Carrot Top, at Pure (Caesars Palace) Tuesday night, taking in Vanilla Ice. … Excalibur headliner Louie Anderson, back at Society Cafe (Encore) on Wednesday for the second day in a row. …
Carla Gugino, star of "Race to Witch Mountain" and the upcoming "Watchmen" movie, spotted at Ivan Kane‘s Forty Deuce at Mandalay Bay. … Anthony Kim, who has been labeled the second coming of Tiger Woods, with friends at Dos Caminos restaurant (Palazzo) on Friday. … Actor Alan Thicke, celebrating his 62nd birthday with his wife and friends, including Vegas headliner Clint Holmes on Friday.
THE PUNCH LINE
"Rush Limbaugh has admitted he is rooting for Barack Obama to fail. He was in Washington over the weekend giving his ‘No We Can’t’ speech." — Jimmy Kimmel
Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or email@example.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.