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Celeb Recap: Fame-ous stars take over the town

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Emeril Lagasse and Danica Patrick at Lagasse’s Stadium in the Palazzo.
IS Photography

Star sightings started early this weekend, as celebrities started flooding into Las Vegas on Thursday.

The cast of "Fame" was at Paris on Thursday: Actors Debbie Allen, Kristy Flores, Walter Perez, Asher Book, Paul McGill, Paul Iacono, Kay Panabaker, and Kherington Payne were all there for the Vegas premiere, along with the film’s director, Kevin Tanchereon.

"Fame" Red Carpet

Meanwhile, another red carpet was going on, over at Tao. Instead of a movie, however, this one was organized to raise funds and awareness for charity.

Attending the Big Hearts Awards Dinner in support of the Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation were Tony Bennett, Rita Rudner, Clint Holmes, former MTV band of the year, Mosaic; Foreigner’s Dominic Allen; former Miss America/actress/new fashion designer, Ali Landry and her husband, director Alejandro Monteverde; one of Monteverde’s Bella actors, Eduardo Verastegui; the inspiration for the film Rudy, Daniel "Rudy” Ruettiger; and longtime Sinatra music director Vinnie Falcone.

Also at Tao on Thursday were Vanessa Minnillo and Warren Sapp, who sat with Tao Group partner Jason Strauss and sampled Kobe ribeye, bass satays, and sashimi before heading to the upper-level nightclub.

Tao and Lavo-loving actor Chazz Palminteri was also spotted at the Asian-themed restaurant on Thursday before he headed next door, to the Palazzo, where he partied at Lavo.

Thursday night also saw two '90s revival-style concerts take place: The Presidents of the United States of America and The Ataris played VooDoo Beach, while Sugar Ray took to the stage at Mandalay Bay, at House of Blues.

What’s more, Cheap Trick performed, too, as part of the grand opening party for the new John Varvatos store at the Hard Rock Hotel.

The celebrity sightings continued on Friday, starting with a "bam" as Emeril Lagasse opened his new eatery at the Palazzo.

Lagasse was at the Palazzo as the former sports book was reborn as “Stadium,” complete with a revamped menu and surrounds.

Guests included Melissa Rycroft and her fiancé, Tye Strickland; race car driver Danica Patrick; Los Angeles Clippers player Craig Smith; and former Dancing With The Stars contestant and NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp.

Retired NBA players Gary Payton and Napolean McCallum; actresses Beth Ostrosky Stern and Elisabeth Röhm; actors Chazz Palminteri and Dan Cortese; Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and How to Look Good Naked personality Carson Kressley were also there.

Members of the Entourage entourage came out for the party, too (Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon and Rex Lee), as was UFC fighter Frank Trigg; MMA fighter Urijah Faber; Olympic swimmer Dara Torres; Olympic gold medalist/Keeping up with the Kardashians patriarch Bruce Jenner; and LA Lakers coach Brian Shaw.

Basketball player-turned-author, LA Laker Derek Fisher, was there in advance of Friday’s grand opening to sign copies of his new book, Character Driven: Life, Lessons, and Basketball, but reappeared later that night for the party.

While Dillon and his friends hung out at Sushi Samba before the grand opening, many of the stars – including Ostrosky, Kressley, Fisher, Sapp, Cortez, Faber, Smith, and the Entourage entourage - made their way upstairs, to Lavo, after things died down at Stadium.

Others, however, followed up elsewhere: Rycroft and Strickland went to First Food and Bar, while Trigg, McCallum, and Maddux ate at Table 10.

Many of the stars stuck close to the Palazzo/Venetian complex for much of the weekend. Faber and Cortese hung out at Azure pool at before heading to the Stadium grand opening.

Patrick and her husband, on the other hand, ventured off-property for dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturdya but relaxed that afternoon at Canyon Ranch Spa and later took in some retail therapy and did some on-site shopping.

Also at the Palazzo on Friday was singer Macy Gray, who had dinner on the terrace at Lavo with her kids.

In other Friday night action, NHL great Luc Robitaille returned to Las Vegas to host a celebrity poker tournament at MGM Grand in advance of Saturday’s L.A. Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche pre-season game.

An invite-only VIP pre-party was held at Studio 54 in advance of the tournament, which benefitted Robitaille’s wife’s non-profit, Echoes of Hope. The tournament saw L.A. Kings players Jarret Stoll, Dustin Brown, and Sean O’Donnell; Colorado Avalanche Kyle Quincey, Scott Hannan, Cody McLeod and Marek Svatos; and NHL retirees Marty McSorley and Jason Smith, take to the tables, among others.

Liza Minnelli was also at MGM Grand Friday evening, where she began a string of shows at the Hollywood Theatre. She will appear nightly at the resort through Oct. 1.

Hulk Hogan and his son, Nick Hogan, had a private dinner for five at N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms on Friday, reportedly feasting upon stuffed mushrooms, 12 oz filets, lobster mashed potatoes, green beans, and creamed spinach. As if that wasn’t enough, the table ordered crème brulée, a blueberry tart, double chocolate cake, and fresh berries for dessert.

As they made their way out of the eatery, the former WWF star and reality show personality stopped by the kitchen to chat with head chef Barry Dakake and, later, signed autographs for fans before leaving.

The Hulk and his girlfriend, Jennifer McDaniel, also stopped by Huntington Ink on Friday, where they went under the needle for a few tattoos. While McDaniel made things permanent with a tattoo of Hogan’s real name, Terry, on her wrist, her seemingly-serious boyfriend had “I am that, I am” inked into the outside of his right forearm.

Retired NHL player Jeremy Roenick was also at N9NE on Friday, where he had dinner with six friends in the main dining room. The former San Jose Shark had rock shrimp and lobster pot stickers followed by surf and turf for his main course, accompanied by sides of sautéed spinach and potatoes. In lieu of sweets, the table opted for a round of espresso shots for dessert.

Meanwhile, race car drivers Danica Patrick and Mario Andretti were both spotted having dinner, separately, at Simon at Palms Place. Patrick retuned for lunch the following day, along with her husband. Meanwhile Joe Jackson also had lunch at Simon at Palms Place on Saturday.

Also at the Palms the night before was NBA free agent Wally Szczerbiak, who was spotted at one of Moon’s VIP tables sipping Ketel One cocktails.

Later that night, a grown-up version of a Hogwarts sock hop took place at Privé as Harry Potter actor Thomas Felton hosted the Friday night party.

Before hitting the club, the birthday boy had dinner across the Planet Hollywood mezzanine, at Strip House. Dessert, however, awaited in the club, as the staff presented him with a candle-topped birthday cake.

Meanwhile, Van Morrison performed his hits out at The Joint at the Hard Rock, while country music icon Wynonna was at the Orleans Showroom for the first of a three-night stand.

The music continued on Saturday, which proved to be quite the musical day for Las Vegas.

The city hosted Better Than Ezra at Silverton Casino; Pet Shop Boys at The Joint; Lifehouse at Mandalay Bay Beach (as part of Rock 'n Roll Wine's Amplified Festival); Crosby, Stills and Nash at The M Resort; and Outkast’s own Big Boi at LAX.

Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus at the 2009 Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus at the 2009 Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The one and only Britney Spears was at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday, too, for the first of two hyper-choreographed Circus-style shows.

As the former Mickey Mouse Club star took to the stage at Mandalay Bay, reigning tween queen Miley Cyrus was doing her thing over at the Thomas & Mack Center. Unlike Brit-Brit, who also performed on Sunday, however, squeaky-clean Cyrus was in town for one night and one night only.

Britney Spears in concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 25.

Britney Spears in concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 25.

Also on Saturday, the Andre Agassi Foundation’s annual Grand Slam for Children took place at the Wynn. The event, which was presented by Genworth Financial, hosted a handful of celebrities, including host Andre Agassi and his tennis superstar wife, Stefanie Graf; chef Emeril Lagasse; skateboard legend Tony Hawk; previously-mentioned actor Chazz Palminteri; acclaimed producer David Foster; Marie Osmond; and Palms showroom headliner Matt Goss and his producer, Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin.

The night’s entertainment included Dane Cook, Daughtry, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Brian McKnight, Macy Gray, Lionel Richie, comedian and impressionist Frank Caliendo, and singer Charice Pempengco.

Gray had dinner at Tao before the event, while McKnight hung out at Blush afterward.

Also at Tao on Saturday were Melissa Rycroft and Tye Strickland, who shared bass satays, sushi, a wasabi filet and sausage rice; and Derek Fisher, who enjoyed yellow tail jalapeno, swordfish, and wok sirloin.

Fisher was spotted relaxing in one of Azure’s cabanas the earlier that day, as were Rycroft and Strickland, who also checked out Jersey Boys before dinner.

Fisher and his friends headed up to a waiting VIP table after their evening meal, and enjoyed rounds of Moet Nectar and Grey Goose and cranberry cocktails.

Meanwhile, next door at Lavo, Rex Lee had dinner in the restaurant before heading up to the nightclub, and actress Elisabeth Rohm shared plates of caesar and heirloom tomato salad, calamari, sea bass, chicken marsala, and spaghetti and meatballs with a table of friends.

Local bodybuilder Jay Cutler rounded out Saturday night’s entertainment schedule, as he hosted the Mr. Olympia afterparty at Privé.

The following day, Holly Madison, Benji Madden and Adam Levine all had brunch at Simon, while Derek Fisher and his friends brunched at the Palazzo, at First Food and Bar.

And finally, as the weekend came to a close, born-again rock band Creed played The Joint.

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