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Get ready for a mass invasion of sports superstars and their Hollywood pals over the next few weeks. First up is the 2012 NHL Awards at the Wynn on Wednesday to be broadcast live on NBC Sports and in Canada on CBC. The two-hour celebration this season’s top performances includes Cheryl Burke (“Dancing With the Stars”), Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”), Ray Liotta, Adam Pally (“Happy Endings”) and Killing Them Softly.
They join award presenters Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”), Colin Hanks (“Dexter”), Cory Monteith (“Glee”), Matthew Perry, Vince Vaughan, Joshua Jackson (“Fringe”) and sports broadcasters and NHL legends including Mark Messier and Ted Lindsay. There also will be appearances by Tracy Morgan, Will Arnett and Kevin Smith. Nickelback, appearing this weekend at MGM Grand, headline the awards with two shows at Encore Theater in the Wynn.
The NHL is returning to Las Vegas as part of a new three-year contract with our Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The previous three awards were at The Pearl in the Palms, and the Wynn now has the annual event through 2014.
NBA Summer League
Then comes the 2012 NBA Summer League with 24 teams competing in a 60-game schedule July 13-22 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion. It will showcase 13 of the Top 14 picks in this year’s NBA Draft. First-day action tips off with the Atlanta Hawks playing the Washington Wizards in the first of four scheduled games. Other teams participating opening day include the Charlotte Bobcats, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors.
NBA TV will televise all 60 games, including 39 live from the Thomas & Mack and Cox. The New Orleans Hornets, who have the top selection, faced the Portland Trail Blazers on July 15. The Kings, owned by our Las Vegas-based Maloof family, have the fifth pick.
Also taking part: Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics. No word yet on what might be planned with the Oklahoma Thunder, heavily tipped in sports books to win the 2012 championship against the Heat.
CONGRATULATIONS x 5
1) Boxing legend and Las Vegas resident Mike Tyson will be in New York on Monday with director Spike Lee and theater owner and producer James Nederlander to officially announce that his one-man show “Undisputed Truth” will open there in July, just as we exclusively reported June 5.
2) Executive chef Christina Olivarez of Diego at MGM Grand makes her national TV debut on The Food Network’s “Chopped” on Tuesday.
3) Las Vegas showgirl Whitney Berry departs Monday from “Crazy Girls” at the Riviera for rehearsals starting Tuesday to join “Spider-Man” on Broadway on Friday. A star is born!
4) Minus 5 Ice Bar honors Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno with his own signature drink at its Monte Carlo outpost; check out Editor-at-Large John Katsilometes’ The Kats Report for his rundown of Frankie’s starry 100th show and contract-renewal celebration Wednesday night.
5) Desert diva Megan Romano, formerly of Aureole at Mandalay Bay, has her dream come true with the gala opening tonight of her bakery and cafe Chocolate & Spice on Sahara.
BLOGGERS DELIGHT: More than 500 of the nations top bloggers arrive Friday for the weekend-long, annual Americans for Prosperity conference, and I’ve been asked to be a guest speaker talking about economic freedom and fiscal responsibility. With membership in all 50 states and 35 state chambers, the group hosts the gathering that last year attracted Herman Cain, Michelle Malkin and the late Andrew Breitbart.
PORN PARADE: XXX actresses Belladonna and Joanna Angel will appear Saturday with Skid Row drummer turned porn star Phil Varone at Deja Vu for Baci Lingerie’s launch of a line of eyelashes. Everybody who attends receives a free eyelash application. At night’s end, the porn prince and his princesses celebrate the new edition of Las Vegas Strip magazine with a party at Vince Neil’s Girls, Girls, Girls.
Impressionist Frank Caliendo was at The Laugh Factory in the Tropicana on Wednesday night to wish his friend, headliner Finesse Mitchell, a Happy 40th birthday. Backstage, the two funnymen dueled with Morgan Freeman impressions. Finesse asked Frank to do a guest set, and Frank wowed the audience with Al Pacino, Dr. Phil and his signature John Madden. Finesse was presented with a birthday cake onstage. Actor Taye Diggs stayed at the new penthouse loft-style suites at the Tropicana. And Lars Ulrich of Metallica dined with 10 friends at N9NE Steakhouse in the Palms on Wednesday night.
Blue-collar comic Rodney Carrington opens a seven-night run at David Copperfield’s Hollywood Theater in MGM Grand. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey present their new circus “Dragons” at The Tomas & Mack through Sunday. On Friday morning, children ages 1 through 3 with developmental delays receive an Easter Seals treat of a hands-on sensory tour in a seminar with the clowns and four-legged stars.
Rome From Sublime performs an acoustic set poolside at Surrender’s Splash Dance at Steve Wynn’s Encore. White Denim is at Boulevard Pool in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Jim Jefferies and Eddie Ifft have a one-night stand at Empire Comedy Club in the Paris. At the L.A. Comedy Club in Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina, Shang headlines for four nights. And Marche Bacchus hosts “The Grape Escape” fundraising dinner presented by chefs Alex Stratta and Dave Middleton to benefit Three Square food bank and the North Las Vegas Chamber Community Foundation.
Nickelback comes to town, along with Weezer and The Wanted, in a Las Vegas music weekend that also features legendary Mitzi Gaynor. And there’s competition from a 16th century Italian genius who laid the foundation of what we know today as the plane, helicopter and car.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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