Whoever would have guessed that after racing around the world with his reindeer that Santa Claus would pick our Las Vegas playground as the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate? That’s the gist of a new video viral marketing campaign that’s been created by our tourism authority. Using paparazzi guerrilla video cameras, the crews captured Santa at LAX nightclub in the Luxor, where he met up with actors Chris Evans and Kyle Howard. Then he visited the tattoo parlor at the Palms and checked out the Ice Room at the Qua Baths & Spa in Caesars Palace before joining me for dinner at celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill restaurant there. Tourism officials, taking a page out of the book of other successful Internet marketing campaigns, have the 3-minute video up on all systems, and you can click HERE to watch it for yourself.
*Fox camera crews were all over The Mirage casino late last night filming footage of Kaptain Robbie Knievel in advance of his live stunt jump through the new volcano on tomorrow night’s New Year’s Eve TV special broadcast. This morning, Robbie was up at the crack of dawn for a live three-hour satellite hookup to Fox stations coast to coast. I’m reliably told he’s in great shape and “raring to go.” Practice runs in the Vegas desert out near Nellis Air Force Base all went smoothly and without problem, and everybody on his mechanical team and the TV production crew are predicting great success. Check here tomorrow for the full Robbie Knievel story of the big death-defying jump!
*Actor Wilmer Valderrama has been in no hurry to leave town after the UFC 92 fight parties he attended over the weekend. First he was spotted at Drai’s After Hours in Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall at center Strip. Then the next night he hit Fix in the Bellagio for sliders and lobster tacos before partying with friends next door at the Bank, where he was mobbed by a legion of luscious ladies. Wilmer sipped on his Grey Goose vodka and Patron tequila shots, telling all the glamour girls to check out his upcoming movie CHiPs based on the hit TV series that starred Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox. For his third night in town, Wilmer was at Lavo in the Palazzo and was treated to a bottle of Cristal champagne by a high roller who spent $90,000 on drinks for everybody at his VIP table. Wilmer also has the starring role in the new Handy Manny series on the new channel Teletoon.
*It’s been 29 years, and now just two nights remain until famed Chef Andre Rochat shuts down his legendary downtown eatery Andre’s. Although the beautiful building will remain open for private parties and corporate banquets, Andre will reopen his newly remodeled restaurant and lounge in the Monte Carlo next month in addition to continuing his Alize at the top of George Maloof’s Palms. Restaurant reviewer R.H. Duke of Vegas! Dining Out commented: “We cannot talk about the history of dining here without including the name of Andre Rochat as a pioneer whose name is embedded in the culinary annals of this city. We’re witnessing the sunset of another icon of old Vegas but looking forward to the sunrise of his new successes. Andre will continue to leave his mark on dining in the new Vegas as he did in the old Vegas. Other culinary artists have arrived and left, but he is still here and has withstood the test of time. He will always be a part of the evolutionary history of dining in Vegas.”
Andre told me: “All I really want to do is be able to go fishing when I want to without being chained to the kitchen. Seriously, though, many young chefs and food professionals here and around the world have passed through and trained here, and we have had an unwavering quest for culinary and service excellence throughout the years.” Andre paid special tribute to the incredible support given his establishment by our Merry Mayor of Mirth Oscar Goodman over the years!
*Former Miss Teen USA Katie Blair is all grown up, and she celebrated her 21st birthday at the stroke of midnight when she was legal to drink in a casino. Friends threw her a party on the VIP second level at Christian Audigier nightclub in Treasure Island -- and the blonde beauty joined them for a Belvedere vodka cocktail toast! On hand for the fun were comedy queen Chelsea Handler and friends Giuliana and Bill Rancic. The sexy servers at the fashionable nightspot presented the birthday girl with a gorgeous cake adorned with purple flowers. While waiting for the midnight legal hour to strike, Katie and her pals dined on yellowtail jalapeno, garlic-oil seared tuna and Kobe beef at the upstairs Social House restaurant. Also tucking into the taste treats there in the restaurant’s “Newspaper Room” were love mates Tito Ortiz and very expectant girlfriend Jenna Jameson and six friends. Jenna, who will deliver twins next month, stuck to Shirley Temples while the guys drank their beer and sake. The group ordered up Kobe beef, barbecue pork “tocino” baby back ribs, sushi and octopus sashimi!
*By night Keith Thompson is the pianist and orchestra conductor with Jersey Boys at the Palazzo. This week by day, he will sit alone at Liberace’s glittering Baldwin piano in the performer’s museum cabaret showroom. Today, tomorrow and again on Saturday at 1 p.m. each day, Keith will pay and play homage to the legendary entertainer and also sing, play songs and share stories from his own life and career.
*Hip-hop star Redman made it a 1 a.m. arrival at Prive nightclub in Planet Hollywood, and after his Moet Chandon champagne at 2 a.m., hit the DJ booth -- and sang several of his hits until he closed the club at 4 a.m.
*Star surveillance: David Archuleta, the American Idol runner-up who won 44 percent of the votes from last season, attended the Blue Man Group’s late show at The Venetian. Young David’s first album was released last month. … Lance Bass relaxed playing blackjack at Planet Hollywood before his Dancing With the Stars tour show at The Orleans Arena last night. Lance will be in Salt Lake City tonight, but will fly back to the Planet tomorrow to co-host the Prive New Year’s Eve party with reality TV actress Denise Richards. … Latin music star and multiple Grammy Award winner Luis Miguel was spotted at a VIP table with friends at Victor Drai’s Tryst inside the Wynn. … Legendary three-time Super Bowl champion and NFL star Jerry Rice enjoyed a night out at the Bank in the Bellagio. In between his Cristal champagne, he posed for photos with fans and did Patron tequila shots with them. … Former Baywatch child star Jeremy Jackson is all grown up these days and doesn’t even need an ID to party, and he joined UFC fighter Heath Herrin for the fun at Blush in the Wynn.
American Idol Season 7 winner David Cook will perform for the Fox New Year’s Eve TV special cameras in an exclusive mini-concert at Jet nightclub in The Mirage. His show will be taped to run with Robbie Knievel’s live stunt jump telecast tomorrow night. … Music fans have a real treat as War breaks out at the Tropicana and Ratt runs loose in concert at the House of Blues. … Comedian John Henton established his laugh-a-minute talents with five years on Fox’s Living Single, followed by his guest-starring role on The Hughleys -- and tonight he opens a weeklong run at the Improv in Harrah’s with supporting acts Roger Kabler and Shayla Rivera. … A flurry of bikini-clad beauties will vie to be official ring girls in the next mixed martial arts fight at Planet Hollywood. Five contestants will be chosen by five judges, including two Playboy talent scouts, and then the fans select the top three winners -- all of whom will be featured ring girls for the “Vegas & Islands” MMA fight at the Planet on Jan. 10, with the top girl grabbing a $500 bonus.
It’s our big Kaptain Robbie Knievel story, as America’s greatest motorcycle stunt king counts down the final hours to his chilling 200-foot leap through the 900-degree fireballs and lava cannons across The Mirage volcano. We’ve also discovered how you can “fly” your own dining table up and over the Strip to watch the fireworks with the most unique and unusual “dining” experience to ever hit Vegas. We’ve also got the last word -- and everything you’ll need -- on all the stars, all the parties, all the stunts and all the celebrations for New Year’s Eve in the world’s most exciting platinum playground. From Fergie to Usher, from Pink to Akon, from Pete & Ashlee to all three Kardashian sisters, be it on or off the Strip, the Royal Robin Rundown doesn’t miss any of the excitement. Plus an advance look at the new Miss America reality series starting Friday, and Sunday’s closing of Mamma Mia! as it makes way for The Lion King after five years of ABBA musical delights.