Get your bets down. Something happens every year. Who’s going to be the Las Vegas celebrity newsmaker of this New Year’s weekend?
With the world’s ultimate party stretching into Monday, that just means more time for someone to be a diva, do something tasteless or end up behind bars.
This is my 14th consecutive year covering the lure of Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve, and here are some of the most memorable:
■ 1999: Barbra Streisand wanted to feel at home in her MGM Grand suite, so she had it remodeled and equipped with furniture and art shipped in from her California residence. She also had security instruct passers-by not to look at her.
■ 2000: The bizarre behavior of singer James Brown got our attention not once but twice. Before his New Year’s Eve performance at the Blue Note jazz club at the Aladdin, he strolled onstage in a bathrobe, berated patrons, threw a chair into the crowd and claimed he was communicating with the pope. The next day he was spotted in his underwear, walking in traffic.
■ 2001: Elizabeth Taylor showed up on New Year’s Eve to watch pals Siegfried & Roy at The Mirage. She showed me her 33-carat Krupp diamond and said Elvis called her up once, asking for a date, but the timing wasn’t right. Watching the show with her was her dog, Sugar, a white Maltese .
■ 2007: Kid Rock and some bodyguards showed up outside a VIP suite at the Hard Rock about 6 a.m. on Jan. 1 and attempted to kick in the door. They thought Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee was inside. He wasn’t. Pro poker player “Hollywood” Dave Stann called security. Still seething from his brief marriage to Pamela Anderson, Lee’s ex, Rock had to wait nine months to slap Lee at the MTV Awards at the Palms.
■ 2007: Britney Spears rang in the year with a $350,000 appearance fee at Pure nightclub at Caesars Palace. Easiest money she ever made. She collapsed after the midnight countdown .
■ 2012: The safest bet? There’s always Paris.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Andrea’s, the new Encore restaurant named after Steve Wynn’s wife, opens tonight with a fire-tested chef in Joseph Elevado. He made his name with his Asian takes at Nobu at the Hard Rock Hotel and Social House at Treasure Island. A replacement for Switch, Andrea’s will be integrated into Encore’s Surrender nightclub. A grand opening party is set for Jan. 16.
Rain nightclub, the early epicenter of the Palms, temporarily roars back to life Saturday and Monday to grab a share of New Year’s action. Rain closed Oct. 28, part of a renovation at the resort that once reigned as celebrity central. Kelly Rowland performs at Rain on Saturday, with Travis Barker and Yelawolf booked for Monday.
Jerry Seinfeld, with friends at Joe’s Stone Crab (Forum Shops at Caesars) on Tuesday night. … Motown legend Smokey Robinson, dining at La Cave (Wynn) on Wednesday. Confirmed for New Year’s Eve at The Act (Palazzo): Carmen Electra (who has been dating Simon Cowell) and “Dancing With the Stars” favorites Cheryl Burke, Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, Kelly Monaco and Mark Salling.
THE PUNCH LINE
“Here’s what happened in Washington today. The Republicans and the Democrats got together. They rolled up their sleeves, and then they took a break.” – David Letterman
Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. His weekly segment, “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs during the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13, every Thursday.