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Strip Scribbles: Zac Efron is ShoWest’s Breakthrough Performer of the Year

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Zac Efron on the cover of the Aug. 23, 2007, edition of Rolling Stone.
Rolling Stone

Young actor Zac Efron, who hit major stardom in the trio of Emmy Award-winning High School Musical TV and big screen films, has become a teen-fan favorite with his incredible talents and handsome looks. Now he’s headed to Las Vegas at the end of next month to receive ShoWest 2009’s Breakthrough Performer of the Year award. It will be presented at the movie convention’s closing night banquet in Bally’s and Paris.

“When Zac Efron made his debut, with the cast of Hairspray at ShoWest 2007, many in attendance took special notice of this young actor,” said Mitch Neuhauser, managing director of the movie meet. “His undeniable onscreen presence and charm have connected with fans around the world, and with the impending release of the comedy 17 Again, Zac is poised to break out as a true Hollywood star.” In that film, which opens April 17, Zac and Matthew Perry star in the same role in 20-year flashbacks.

Bradley Cooper of Wedding Crashers will receive the ShoWest 2009 Comedy Star of the Year Award. Said Mitch: “He has rapidly become one of Hollywood’s leading funny men in the recent Yes Man and the breakout hit He’s Just Not That Into You. He will be seen this summer starring in the comedy The Hangover, opening June 12. It’s the story of three friends who have the blowout bachelor party of all time here in Vegas just two days before their wedding -- but nobody remembers anything the next morning or has any idea why there is a 6-month-old baby and a tiger in their hotel suite! Bradley, who also appears on Nip/Tuck, stars in four more films scheduled for release this year, including All About Steve,” a quirky tale in which he stars with Sandra Bullock; and the anthology film New York, I Love You.

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Rock of Love's Farrah Sinclair, Marciela Mendoza, Beverly Palmer and Samantha Bengston.

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Rock of Love's Farrah Sinclair, Beverly Palmer, Marciela Mendoza and Samantha Bengston.

*Four of the girls aboard the Rock of Love bus for rocker Brett Michaels stepped off long enough to host a party at Jet in The Mirage. Farrah Sinclair, Beverly Palmer, Marciela Mendoza and Samantha Bengston lit up the VIP section as they promoted the titillating show. The lusty ladies sipped on Grey Goose cocktails and turned up the temperature when they hit the dance floor!

*Two ends of the showbiz spectrum nearly collide Sunday. Film icon Tony Curtis will host a special exhibit of his extraordinary art, including a series of back and white photo giclees on stretched canvas, and autograph his autobiography American Prince at the Stirling Club in the Turnberry Towers opposite the Hilton. Meantime, not too far away, pop music fans will get the surprise of their lives when some unexpected visitors drop by. I’m sworn to secrecy, and all I’ll say is that “It’s About Time” they broke through another dimension!

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Cher onstage at The Colosseum.

*Keep up with this: If you’re a local, have never seen Cher and are willing to see her on a Wednesday next month, the execs at Caesars Palace are going to save you money -- as much as $45! Fans who purchase $95 tickets in the second mezzanine level will receive a complimentary upgrade to first mezzanine seating, and those who purchase tickets in the first mezzanine will receive a complimentary upgrade to rear orchestra seating.

*Congratulations to Laura Maniec, director of Wine and Spirits at Dos Camino in the Palazzo and Fiamma Trattoria in MGM Grand, both B.R. Guest properties: She has become the 18th woman in the world to hold the distinction of Master Sommelier -- and at 29, she is the youngest in the world! Laura has been with the hospitality company since 2001, starting out at owner Steve Hanson’s Blue Fin in New York’s Time Square.

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Vdara at CityCenter.

*When MGM opens its new Vdara Hotel on Oct. 1 at CityCenter, the health and beauty center will feature a two-level 16,000-square-foot wellness spa. My good friend and chef Martin Heirling will open a new trans-ethnic restaurant there, Silk Road, and artist Nancy Rubins will unveil a gravity-defying work of art, “Big Pleasure Point,” composed of rowboats, kayaks, canoes and sailboats all in one visually stunning installation.

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Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler at Pure.

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Rob Dyrdek, Javon Walker, Benji Madden and friends at Rain in the Palms.

Star surveillance

Private Practice star Taye Diggs continued his mini vacation in Vegas first at Lavo inside the Palazzo where, in between chilled shots of Grey Goose, he danced to the sounds of DJ Crooked. Watching him was NASCAR driver Brian Vickers, who races for the Red Bull team. No need whatsoever for me to tell you what he was drinking! Then Taye continued on with a very late night stop at the Cathouse in the Luxor. He arrived at 3:45 a.m. with two girlfriends, and the tantalizing trio stayed until 6 a.m. doing Patron shots at the bar and breaking long enough to go on the dance floor! … Dining out at N9NE Steakhouse in the Palms were Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, a vegetarian who stuck to salad and pasta, with estranged actress-model-wife Shanna Moakler, who ordered caviar and Kobe short ribs. Also there were Dwight Freeney of the Indianapolis Colts, skateboarding star Rob Dyrdek of Rob & Big, Benji Madden and rapper E-40. … Actor-comedian Pauly Shore was a midnight arrival at Lavo for its Carnivale-themed party and hung out at a dance floor table alongside DJ Five’s booth. … TV star Alan Thicke has booked a private dining room at Tao in The Venetian for his birthday celebration Tuesday! … NASCAR drivers took over the two-story LAX at Luxor for a night of Sin City fun leading up to this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Driver of the #26 Crown Royal car Jamie McMurray hosted the excitement-filled night and was joined by fellow racers David Stremme (#12), Robbie Gordon (#7), Elliot Sadler (#19), Denny Hamlin (#11), Reed Sorenson (#43) and Brian Vickers (#83). The speedsters celebrated on the main stage sipping on Crown Royal cocktails and rocking to the beats of DJ Hollywood. Also spotted at LAX was country music star Cowboy Troy in a second-floor VIP loft. … Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger partied with friends at Ghostbar inside the Palms and ordered Grey Goose vodka and Patron tequila.

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Denny Hamlin.

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Devin Haman, Pauly Shore and Jeff Bozz at the Blush toga bash.

*Both Jet at The Mirage and the Bank at the Bellagio have scored nominations in the 7th annual World Club Awards presented by Club World magazine in recognition of nightlife greatness. Steven Lockwood has been nominated for his Vegas BlondeShell Awards promotion at Jet, and the Bank has been recognized for Best Bottle Service. This year’s coveted Disco Ball awards will be handed out in Miami during the Winter Music Conference next month after a 12-person, industry-expert judges panel has determined winners. Click HERE for Las Vegas Weekly colleague Melissa Arseniuk's story.

Now it’s time for our own best of the best awards for everything else that’s going on in Sin City this weekend. We’ve already told you about NASCAR out at Las Vegas Speedway, the M Resort opening and Siegfried & Roy’s magic reunion at the Bellagio. Believe it or not, there’s other nightlife greatness on and off the Strip, and we’ve put it into a prestigious package that around here we affectionately call the ROYAL ROBIN RUNDOWN:

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Jeremy Jackson and Grand Master Flash.

Friday, Feb. 27

*Blue collar comedy is served up by Ron White for two consecutive late nights at The Mirage, and the Grammy-nominated comedian will smoke his cigar and drink his scotch while going on about infidelity!

*Frank Zappa’s oldest son Dweezil shows his guitar skills when Zappa Plays Zappa at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in a tribute to his father’s amazing legacy of more than 60 albums before his death in 1993!

*It’s a step back in time when Emerson Drive gets into gear at the South Point and The Buckinghams remind us of 1960s pop up at the Suncoast -- both for three nights through Sunday. Rounding out the weekend-long musical visitors is singer-guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd at The Orleans.

*Rock legend Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros) does double duty at LAX because he will play a DJ set and give a live mini-concert performance.

*Jenna Fenton, Cameron Adams and Karine Breedwill, the reality show girlfriends from VH1’s Tool Academy, will posture their sexier sides to determine the tools from the titans when they host at Jet.

*The cast of VH1’s Confessions of a Teen Idol is expected to join its star Jeremy Jackson at Prive in Planet Hollywood for his official wrap party.

Saturday, Feb. 28

*Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office for the June 27 Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood concert. Since a final show together back in 1969, they have remained friends and very rarely reunited for charity events. This show continues their first full concert together in 40 years!

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Wayne Newton.

*He’s still the suave and sophisticated Mr. Las Vegas: Entertainer extraordinaire Wayne Newton sings “Danke Schoen” at MGM’s Hollywood Theater for five nights through next Wednesday. His remarkable career of more than 30,000 shows performed here began some 40 years ago as a youngster downtown!

*Since Los Lobos formed back in 1979 as an East Los Angeles rock band, they have mixed blues, jazz, Latin, rockabilly and their combined Mexican and American heritages to produce some conscious-raising songs and thought-provoking lyrics. They bring their signature sound for one night only to the Silverton.

*My old pals from the North of England, Eric Burdon and the Animals, play their classic rock at the Access showroom in Aliante. Eric and his original Animals were inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. When I produced the launch programs for pirate Radio Caroline in England in the mid 1960s to start commercial radio there, they were the featured band for the first broadcast!

*By 1987, Dokken had released four alums starting with their debut Tooth and Nail. They are still hammering away, and original member Don Dokken still handles such hits as “Heaven Sent” and “Burning Like a Flame.” They play the Chrome showroom at the Santa Fe Station. ... You get “All the Love You Need” when Big Head Todd and the Monsters play the House of Blues with Joan Jones from Sun 60. … As part of NASCAR weekend celebrations, Little Big Town plays at Sam’s Town.

*The sun of Mexico will warm the Star of the Desert Arena when Mariachi Sol de Mexico presents the sounds south of the border -- and remember the concert tickets are free at the Primm Valley casino resorts!

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Siegfried & Roy with Hans Klok.

Sunday, March 1

*Siegfried & Roy join with Lance Burton for the 32nd World Magic Seminar. Performers at The Orleans Hotel for the four-day conjurers competition include Jason Latimer, David Kaplan, Johnny Thompson, Antonio Romero and Homage to Dai Vernon. Siegfried & Roy will award their own $5,000 prize to the best new magician.

*It’s a cult film for the ages: Mock-Up on Mu from infamous director Craig Baldwin will play as part of the Area 52 screenings of the CineVegas Film Festival at the Onyx Theater. The movie follows the intertwined lives of the inventor of rocket fuel, a New Age sex leader and science fiction writer turned Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

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Kelly Carlson and David Spade.

Monday’s tease

We’ll have the full photo and video coverage from both the Siegfried & Roy magic reunion for Keep Memory Alive and the opening of the new M Resort. Plus our full NASCAR wrap-up later once we’ve edited the hundreds of exciting photos! Next week is action-packed, so watch for our story on the secret hideaway paradise where all the Vegas stars and hotel honchos go for fun and our interviews with Nip/Tuck star Kelly Carlson; Miss Nevada USA Georgina Vaughn as she readies to compete in the Miss USA Pageant; and Academy Awards designer David Rockwell, who jumped on a plane right after overseeing the Oscars to start work on his new Planet Hollywood theater and Peep Show production starring Scary Spice Mel B and Kelly Monaco.

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