Tao Beach club gets back on top

Bikini tops are back in vogue at Tao Beach, after a brief experiment as a topless pool venue at The Venetian. The 18,000-square-foot European-style beach club opened May 4, joining a half dozen other tops-optional venues.

The owners pulled the plug quickly. Operations ceased in June "due to management’s decision to create a different experience," a Tao insider said.

"It was more of a brand decision," according to a source close to the New York-based company. "They decided to pull back and focus on a more sophisticated crowd."

Located on the roof, away from the main pool, Tao Beach was an extension of Tao Asian Bistro and Tao nightclub. It was a topless venue from 10 a.m. to sunset, then turned into a nightclub.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Penn & Teller received two 2007 Emmy nominations on Thursday, and The Comedy Festival nabbed one. Both of Penn & Teller’s were for their Showtime series, "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" They were nominated for Outstanding Reality Program and for Outstanding Writing. The Caesars Palace-based Comedy Festival received its nomination for the "Comedian Award" program honoring Jerry Seinfeld. Festival CEO Bob Crestani was the executive producer. The festival returns to Caesars Palace Nov. 14-17. …

Sixty down, 90 to go. Pounds, that is. Jeff Beacher‘s no-pizza diet is working. The creator and host of "Beacher’s Madhouse" has been pounding the treadmill at the Hard Rock Hotel’s spa, hoping to make good on his vow to reach 200 pounds for the Las Vegas Marathon in December. He’s running five days a week for 45 minutes and working out twice a week. Being weaned from pizza "really stinks," said Beacher, who grew up on New York City’s famous pies. His favorite drink, vodka and Playboy energy drink, is a no-no. "I used to drink 10 a night. Now it’s water."

MAY I RECOMMEND …

Weather anchor Al Roker of NBC’s "Today" show will try to avoid being trampled during Tuesday’s live broadcast of "The Running of the Brides," in support of the "Today Throws a Martha Stewart Wedding" series kicking off at The Venetian. The segment will run from 4 to 7 a.m. Tuesday, with the first 50 eligible brides receiving a complimentary wedding gown. All couples engaged by July 2 of this year are invited to apply. Lines begin forming at midnight Monday in front of The Venetian on the bridge leading to Doge’s Palace. For more information check www.todayshow.com.

SIGHTINGS

Elaine Wynn, the subject of a photo shoot Thursday at Wynn Las Vegas by Swiss photojournalist Tomas Muscionico for L.A. Confidential magazine. Muscionico became internationally prominent in the 1990s for photographing the rise of world leaders Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton. … Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, snacking on frozen grapes Thursday at Bare pool lounge, the topless venue at The Mirage. … Sara Jean Underwood, Playboy’s 2007 Playmate of the Year, at Social House (Treasure Island) before hosting her event at Tangerine nightclub. Also at Tangerine, former NFL star Warren Moon and New Jersey Nets player Antoine Wright.

THE PUNCH LINE

"Last night in D.C. they had that all-night Senate session. It was the D.C. madam’s slowest night ever." — David Letterman

Norm Clarke can be reached at 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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