The Olympia Weekend 2010 in Las VEGAS
WHO:              World-renowned modeling agency, Wilhelmina Models, along with Shape, Men’s Fitness and The Vitamin Shoppe, will host an open call for The Wilhelmina Hot Body Model Search during The Olympia at the Las Vegas Convention Center
WHAT:            The Wilhelmina Hot Body Model Search open call is looking for one woman and one man to join their group of Olympic athletes, professional trainers, and yoga enthusiasts already signed with Wilhelmina’s Fitness division. Wilhelmina represents A-list talent including Fergie, Cyndi Lauper, Natasha Bedingfield, and Estelle, as well as male supermodels Gabriel Aubry and Mark Vanderloo. The Las Vegas open casting call welcomes applicants that exemplify health and fitness.
The search
·         Ideal contestants are men and women 18+ who live a healthy and fit lifestyle
·         $20 registration fee
·         Each participant will meet with trainers and nutritional consultants
·         Each participant will have the opportunity to be photographed by a professional fashion/fitness photographer
·         A panel of judges consisting of Wilhelmina talent scouts and Shape/Men’s Fitness editors will review all entries
Ten finalists (5 women/5 men) will:
·         Be invited and flown to New York for a finale event where the two winners will be selected live by a panel of judges
·         One female and one male winner will receive a five year Wilhelmina contract, will be featured in editorials for Shape and Men’s Fitness and receive a year’s supply of products provided by The Vitamin Shoppe
WHEN:            Saturday, September 25th
                        10am – 5pm
WHERE:          The Olympia Weekend 2010
Las Vegas Convention Center - South Hall 1
3150 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
Booth #: 1001
WEBSITE:      www.wilhelminamodelsearch.com

casino floor plans

I'm forever wanting to check on the floor plan of one casino or another.  Yes, I know they change quite frequently - new pits in, new machines placed, new poker rooms constructed, old machines out, slots become vp.  Anyway, here's the site I check when I need to see the floor plan. Casino  Property Maps

Links to Las Vegas Convention information

Wonder why hotel rates are high in Vegas in the middle of a no-nothing week?  Check the convention calendar and see what else is in town.

You can check here or at the official convention bureau site's conference planner here.  Information is power, maybe.  With the flexible calendars most of the hotels have showing all the rates per date, you don't really need to know WHY, just when.

Great maps for Las Vegas - golf, Strip, downtown and more

If you are looking for terrific maps of hotels, attractions, etc. you can't do any better than to go to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://www.lvcva.com/vegas-maps.jsp

There are interactive maps, standard maps, and more.  On the interactive maps you can find shopping, food, attractions, etc.  On the North Strip interactive map you can even find the indoor skydiving center.  On the standard maps there are surrounding areas, golf courses, points of interest, etc.

Check it out.

The Promise of Gangster Glamour - new paper up at UNLV

The Promise of Gangster Glamour: Sinatra, Vegas, and Alluring, Ethnicized, Excess
Laura Cook Kenna

Love the mystery and history of Las Vegas?  Check out this white paper:

Las Vegas has been linked with Frank Sinatra since the 1950s. The highly‐publicized
performances of the Rat Pack (consisting of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop, and
Peter Lawford) at the Sands crystallized the image of Las Vegas as a place that mingled economic
mobility with excess. This excess was often associated with ethnicity and frequently linked to
crime. It was, however, the excess that made Las Vegas and Sinatra glamorous to many audiences.
Keywords: Las Vegas, Rat Pack, Gangsters, American Ethnicity - Read more on the original White Paper site.

For the Vegas foodie: a story on Brett Ottolenghi

LETTER FROM LAS VEGAS about Brett Ottolenghi.

Ottolenghi is the proprietor of Artisanal Foods, which supplies top Las Vegas chefs with foie gras, truffles, caviar, saffron, vinegars, cinnamon, oils, salts, and ham. He often says that he is on a first-name basis with three-hundred and seventy chefs in Las Vegas. To the chefs, he is “the truffle kid”—for his first product—or Hamleg, owing to his tendency to walk through casino lobbies carrying the hairy, hoof-on hindquarters of a pig. He specializes in the small run, the vaguely regulated, the hard to come by, and the near-banned.

Read more at the New Yorker

It's a great story about the chefs of Vegas and their demands to top each other, and how one man serves them in a city where everything is on sale for the right price.

Vegas on Facebook: the Golden Nugget takes big leap forward

Reading Wired always pays off, but seldom does it fulfill my Vegas fix for the day.  But here's an article about the Golden Nugget's use of Facebook (way far ahead of what the other casinos are doing...and maybe the look of the future?)

If you thought your addiction to FrontierVille was a problem, just wait until you get hooked by the lure of a jackpot.
Golden Nugget Vegas Casino is playable now on Facebook, although the game’s publisher will officially launch it on Tuesday. This new distraction was created by Last Legion Games, the folks behind Watchmen: Justice is Coming, and is the first social game branded to a real-world Las Vegas gambling house.
Seth Gerson, CEO of Last Legion’s parent company AltEgo, said in an email to Wired.com that addiction is part of a winning social game strategy — and that he frequently finds himself sucked into Facebook games.
“I constantly tell my wife that I am just doing research,” Gerson admits. “But when you get past level five or six, you’re clearly crossing the line.”

Golden Nugget Vegas Casino hopes to foster that kind of obsessive play by rewarding players for building and maintaining their own casinos and playing games of chance like Blackjack, Video Poker and Roulette at the parlors their friends trick out.

No hula-hoops on Fremont Street

One of the funniest, and best, Vegas writers, Steve Friess wrote this article for AOL about a possible ban of Hula-Hoops on the five blocks that are the Fremont Street Experience. 

The article covers both the goofy and the serious nature of a bill being considered by the Las Vegas City Council but of course, Friess being the writer that he is, also gives devoted fans a chance to see behind the curtain, so to speak, on his blog, Vegas Happens Here

(BTW, there's a comment from an Amy there - which is not me.  I would have explained that I am that little old lady who would probably have her hip broken by some wild, rampaging hula-hooper...anyway, that's just so y' know that, by gawd, there's another Amy out there who reads all things Vegas)

Friess points out the legal issues with banning the activity in a public area, and says,
While I've not witnessed these Hula Hooping hooligans myself, I'm finding it hard to imagine that you're just standing around minding your own bees wax, perhaps wholesomely watching the Mermaids video chick drooling Twinkee filling, when all of a sudden somebody spontaneously smacks you down with a hoop. Most Hula Hoopers try hard to avoid having the hoop hit anybody or thing because the point of the activity is to get the hoop to continually circle you for as long as possible, not to rob the aged of their mobility. You won't be a very good Hula Hooper if your radius is populated by hip-replacement candidates, right?

Friess gives you everything you want to know including a good laugh and a few points to ponder about whether or not you consider hula hoops to be a menace to Vegas tourism. Check it out.

Rumor Boutique Hotel opens in Vegas

With a barely-there web site, Rumor Hotel, a "boutique chic" hotel across from the Hard Rock Casino has  opened on the site of the former St. Tropez hotel. 

Here's the Las Vegas Sun article about it, which briefly describes the concept and sounds pretty appealing.  There are a lot of folks who long for some sanity and a tranquil spot away from the Strip. 

I had hoped the web site would be more informative, but alas, I think they forgot about the web site until a day before opening and then said, "oh, hey, grab some photos from somewhere and hang out a shingle that says we're open."  The web site links to Anthony Curtis' Las Vegas Advisor as press, but I can't find mention of the hotel on the page they link to.  And the photo of the rooms on the site is just gawd-awful ugly.  All in all, right now the web site makes it seem like a down-scale Motel 8.

Even the special offer advertised on the site is a measly stay a night, get a night free.  Maybe it's still in shake-down mode?  Or, uh, shake-out?  Whatever.   Anyway, good luck.  Hopefully they'll get it together and thrive.  You gotta love a Vegas hotel where the maids use purple Radio Flyer wagons.

45 days of over 100 degrees in Vegas - streak ended today

Having just posted about the personal air conditioner a few days ago,  I was interested in today's article in the Las Vegas Sun informing us that today, Sat August 7, the 45 day streak of three-digit temperature days finally broke. 

Sure, to most of the country, 99 degrees seems like a miserable day  but when it's been over 100, and the "cool" down temperatures haven't been below 80, well, if you haven't already seen my post on the little gadget that you carry with you as air conditioning, take a look. 

Personal air conditioning looks like perfect product for those hot Vegas months


Personal air conditioning looks like perfect product for those hot Vegas months

Here's a pitch that I recently saw from a PR person, which struck me as the perfect product to take to Vegas.  I haven't tried it - but if you have, add your comments. 

Temperatures are soaring; and although you want to be as active as possible and enjoy the outdoors, it’s hard to exert energy for very long in this heat!  Now there’s no need to go into hiding after 10am to avoid the hottest parts of the day...here’s a great solution:

HANDY COOLER™ is honestly a masterpiece of personal fan engineering.  It’s the first ever handheld evaporative air cooler that literally cools the air around you and gives hours of relief from heat. It’s designed to be used on-the-go, so it’s very portable and lightweight.  It can fit into a bag easily and used anywhere to cool you down significantly and instantly. 

Simply add water to the cooling filter (included) before you leave the house and turn the power on when you need it; Handy Cooler™ will emit a comfortable refreshing breeze and cool you down.

Website is: www.myhandycooler.com

M Resort launches "Win buffet for life"

M Resort Spa Casino, one of the newest resort casinos in Las Vegas, is turning heads with its newest promotion – buffets for life. Beginning Monday, August 2, the 390 room boutique resort is giving more than 150 guests the opportunity to win buffets for life, one year or six months as part of its "Biggest Winner Club" promotion, resort officials announced today.

Guests can earn one entry with the purchase of any meal at the resort's Studio B Buffet. The buffet was recently awarded the coveted title of "Best Buffet in Las Vegas" from the city's daily newspaper. The buffet features more than 200 items daily and guests can enjoy beer and wine selections at no additional cost. The state-of-the-art buffet includes more than 117 television screens, a live cooking show inside its custom-designed cooking studio and unsurpassed views of the famous Las Vegas Strip.
The "Biggest Winner Club" prize includes:
  • One VIP Studio B Buffet pass (for life, one year or six months) entitling the winner to enjoy a complimentary buffet for two daily.
  • Priority Line Pass and seating in Studio B for up to four (4) guests.
  • Custom-designed Studio B VIP t-shirt, hat and M apron.
  • Two tickets to any Martini Time show, based on availability.

Drawings for the winners will be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7 pm at Studio B Buffet. Winners will have 24 hours to claim their "Biggest Winner Club" prize. More than 150 guests will be awarded entry to the "Biggest Winner Club" wining buffets for life, one year or six months.

Great map of Vegas strip and casinos

Looking for a great map of the Vegas strip - check out these two:


(the one below even shows  where Walgreens/CVS are located)


Video of Aria publicity pictures

Here's what it takes to take those glorious publicity pictures we see of Vegas hotels and casinos - and for that matter, the pics we see of cruise ships, hotels, spas and other exciting destinations. Watch carefully - it's quick time-lapse photos of the set up and then a look at the final photograph for each set up.

Vegas Baby! from TNC NYC on Vimeo.

Thanks to one of my fave blogs, Vegas Tripping, for finding this gem.

2009 Trippies - best and worst of Vegas - are in

Vegas Tripping has posted this year's Trippies, which for those who don't know, is the Oscar of all things Las Vegas.

Every year hoards of Vegas residents, fans, fanatics etc vote on the best and worst in several categories - downtown hotel, strip hotel, casino, slots, buffet, etc etc. In addition to the reader votes, the site has an editor-recommended vote for best/worst in each category.

If you pride yourself on keeping up with what's working well in Vegas, and which once-hot-place is now so-yesterday, this is it.


Gaming Guide - an overview of craps, poker, let it ride and more

Thanks to Vegas Tripping I came across the gaming guide on the CityCenter (Aria) web site. This is a handy reference including pictures of the table layouts for many games.

It's not completely intuitive - but when you get to the front page of the guide there is a pull down menu on the bottom left. Just select the game you want to find, and when it comes up on the screen, double click to enlarge the image. Poker, BlackJack, Craps, Let it Ride etc are all explained, and it's enough information to get you acquainted.

By way of critique, I can't image why they printed the copy in a hard-to-read light blue, but I've long-since learned that web designers without serious UI experience are prone to sell clients on silly design errors, and no one says,"You're an idiot."

Vegas casinos in general don't pay serious attention to the usability of their web sites, and frequently stint on information or include design tactics that no respectable dot com would ever do. For that matter, most casinos suffer from design problems in all their materials. Caesars Palace once sent out a magazine that was so unreadable throughout that I wrote the general manager (and to his credit, it did improve in future editions.

Well, all that is another story, for another time. For now, bookmark the Aria gaming guide and the next time someone says, "I'd like to play craps but it looks so intimidating..." you know where to go.