Reviving the ‘80s: Tao’s celebrity look-alike contest
Tue, Mar 15, 2011 (5:30 p.m.)
Photo: Bill Hughes
On Thursday, Tao gave away $15,000 to the best ’80s celebrity look-alikes. When the club asked me to serve as the evening’s celebrity judge—“celebrity” in the absolute loosest sense of the word—I jumped at the chance. First, because I love judging people (in non-moral contexts), and second, because I’d heard that club contests are rigged, and I wanted to find out for myself.
Turns out they’re legit. At least, this one was.
Over 65 look-alikes entered the field dressed as icons like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Rick James and Cher, but none of those celebs, in my mind, truly exemplify the ’80s. Their careers were longer, spilling over into the ’70s and ’90s, too.
Same goes for Indiana Jones, who called Tao beforehand, in character, to ask if he could bring in his whip. When he arrived, Jones filled out his application by Zippo light, which won him some points, but not enough to eclipse his non-resemblance to Harrison Ford. He looked like Harry Anderson from Night Court; should have come as Judge Harold T. Stone.
I was less impressed by the guy who showed up in blackface saying he was Sho’nuff from the 1985 movie Shogun of Harlem. And was Sho’nuff the slightest bit embarrassed when requesting a contest application form from Tao’s Jillian, who’s black? Course he wasn’t.
We let Sho’nuff compete, but we had to draw the line at Austin Powers; his first movie didn’t come out till ’97.
Inside Tao’s Opium Room, Pee-wee Herman had an impromptu dance battle against one of the Rick Jameses, as the Terminator (T-800) watched from afar, unflinching.
Using four criteria (resemblance, ’80s-ness, audience reaction, sexiness), the other judges and I narrowed the field down to six. I fought against Pam Anderson (too ’90s) and Robert De Niro (not ’80s-specific enough), but eventually buckled. I couldn’t deny Pam’s sexiness or De Niro’s striking resemblance and strong audience reaction.
The finalists—Pam, Bobby, Pee-wee, Whitney Houston, Terminator and Rodney Dangerfield—took to the main stage and the audience made its decision clear: De Niro would walk away with the big check. I’d have picked Pee-wee, but I respect the democratic process. Which is just one of the many reasons Tao should invite me back to judge their next girl-on-girl kissing contest ...
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.