Weekly Column by Rick Garman

Want to know what's happening in Las Vegas? You've come to the right place.

Each week you can come here to get the latest news, the juiciest gossip, and the best reviews for the most fabulous city in the world, Las Vegas. Hey... it says "fabulous" right on the welcome sign!

The latest weekly column will always be on this page, but you can go back through the archives (all the way back to 1999!) or take a look ahead and what's coming up next for Vegas by using the navigation on the left hand sidebar.

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy!



O'Sheas Closing... And Opening Again

The venerable O'Sheas casino is going out with a bang, or more accurately multiple bangs caused by people slamming their empty shot glasses down on the bar. The Irish themed casino next door to the Flamingo spent its final weekend encouraging people to drink them out of business with free shots, cheap beers, and souvenir cups filled with just about any liquor you can imagine.

But it appears as if O'Sheas has the "Luck of the Irish" because even though it's closing this weekend it will be returning next year within the new Linq entertainment complex.

The Linq is the $550 million project being constructed between Imperial Palace and the Flamingo. It will feature restaurants, bars and nightclubs, shopping, and the High Roller, billed as the world's tallest observation wheel. A smaller version of the O'Sheas casino will be included and it will have a bit of the original O'Sheas in it: guests on the closing weekend were encouraged to sign a wall that will be transferred to the new location. The entire complex is scheduled to debut in the summer of 2013.

The casino only property (there was no hotel) was an adjunct of the Flamingo, built on what had been an overflow parking lot for that hotel. The Irish themed joint quickly became popular for its low-limits gambling, cheap drinks, fast food, and inexpensive shows and attractions (there was a movie and magic museum for a while). It opened in July of 1989, just a few months before The Mirage came along and changed the future of Vegas.


Venetian and Palazzo Celebrate Summer with Carnevale

Want to go to Italy this summer but just can't afford the trip? Head to Vegas instead where The Venetian and The Palazzo are celebrating summer with Carnevale, a three-month festival of food, drink, art, and entertainment.

To mark the occasion, a 75-foot tall masquerade mask is being constructed on the main bridge outside the hotel through which guests will enter. The front of Doge's Palace will be transformed into an Italian-style street piazza with small café tables and waiters offering candied apples, fruit sorbets, and traditional Italian favorites including prosciutto and caprese paninis.

Every night at 8pm, an electric light parade will wind through the resorts including stilt walkers and jugglers and then at 9pm, and hourly thereafter until midnight, the clock tower in front of the hotel will be lit up with a light and laser show.

Each of the summer months will have a different Italian theme. June will celebrate art with 3-D chalk artists, glassblowers, and living art installations; July will focus on music with concerts in The Venetian showroom and outside the hotel near the gondola area; and August will be all about food and drink with wine tastings and cooking classes.


Project Dinner Table Announces 2012 Chefs

Chefs from Caesars Palace, Red Rock Resort, The Palms, Bellagio, Encore, and The Cosmopolitan will be serving up special meals in unusual locations for the 2012 Project Dinner Table season. It's all part of the organization's monthly, community dinners that raise money for various local charities while providing guests with a unique opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry.

Chef Michel Richard of Central at Caesars Palace kicks off the season April 14 with a dinner on top of a Downtown Las Vegas parking garage and is followed by Chef Philipp Norsetter of T-Bones at Red Rock Resort with a dinner outside on the Jackie Gaughan Plaza at El Cortez; Chef Geno Bernardo of Nove Italiano at the The Palms with a dinner outside in an orchard; Chefs Royden Ellamar and Edmund Wong of Bellagio with a dinner outside at that hotel; Chefs Kim Canteenwalla and Mark LoRusso of Society Café and Botero at Encore Las Vegas; and the chefs of various restaurants at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serving up a meal at The Smith Center.

Project Dinner Table brings world class chefs and unusual dining locations together to serve one-of-a-kind meals for charity. The dinners are served at a long, white cloth-clad table, encouraging socialization and conversation amongst the guests.

Charities for this year's dinners include the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, the Candlelighter's Childhood Cancer Foundation, the local gay and lesbian center, Tonopah Community gardens, domestic violence and homeless shelters, and more.

Tickets are $140 per person and includes the multi-course meal and drinks. For more information, or to make reservations, visit


First Goes to the Farm

First Food & Bar and Executive Chef Sam "Sammy D" DeMarco has partnered with the Downtown3rd Farmers Market to allow diners to get fresh with the Chef - offering "Farm to Strip" monthly dining experiences. The menu features the freshest local ingredients found at the market; items will be purchased that Friday and with the team's effort, transformed into a meal, served at the chef's table that will only be available that Friday and Saturday evening.

In preparation of the inaugural "Farm to Strip" dinner, Chef Sammy D will hold a cooking demonstration at Downtown3rd Farmers Market in Downtown Las Vegas on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 12:30 p.m.

The "Farm to Strip" dinner will be held each month with just one seating on Friday and Saturday evening for one lucky group of six to eight people. The menu will be paired with wine for each course. Courses are yet determined since DeMarco won't know what will be available at the market until that day.

The first two offerings are May 11 and 12, 2012. The second will be June 1 and 2, 2012 with dates of the following months to be announced. This special menu includes all meal courses and wine pairings at $42 per person, with six to eight guests per seating.

Farm to Strip" dinners are secured by reservation only. Visit the First Food & Bar page on for contact information.


Vegas4Visitors Weekly Awards

The Oops She Might Do It Again Award of the Week goes to Britney Spears who is rumored to be in talks for a short-term headliner deal at the Hard Rock Hotel. Several sources have denied the validity of the rumors but others have said it's definitely in the works so we'll see what happens. This would be the second time Brit was working on a Vegas headliner gig after a similar deal fell through with The Palms a few years ago.

The Let's Get Physical Award of the Week goes to Olivia Newton-John, who is also rumored to be looking to headline a Vegas showroom. This is only at the rumor stage and the specific hotel has not been mentioned although expect it to be off The Strip.

The What's in a Name Award of the Week goes to the Heart Attack Grill, where, for the second time since it opened, a diner had to be rushed to the hospital after suffering what may have been a heart attack. Ah irony. How we love you.


Lucky 7: Best Off the Beaten Track Attractions

Two weeks ago I started my series of the Best Off The Beaten Track Experiences in Las Vegas with my picks for the Best Hotels, which was followed up last week by the Best Restaurants. This week we turn our attention to attractions:

CityCenter Fine Art Collection

It's easy to get distracted by tall the tall shiny buildings at CityCenter and therefore its easy to miss the collection of fine art scattered around the 66 acre property. There are sculptures from Maya Lin, Henry Moore, and Nancy Rubins among others, each worthy of taking the time to admire. Read the full review here.

Erotic Heritage Museum

This is definitely not for prudes or people who are easily shocked, but for everyone else this examination of how humans view sex and all its various permutations is a fascinating and one-of-a-kind experience. Read the full review here.

First Friday Las Vegas

This multi-location street festival held on the first Friday of every month features music, dancing, lots and lots of food, art, drinks, activities for kids, and much, much more. Although it is geared toward locals, visitors are absolutely welcome. Read the full review here.

National Atomic Testing Museum

This exploration of the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of the atomic age could have been a dry experience but here they keep it endlessly fascinating with lively, interactive exhibits that will entertain while the educate. Read the full review here.

The Mob Museum

Opened in Downtown Las Vegas just a couple of months ago, this fantastic museum examining the history of the mafia has immediately become, in my mind at least, THE must-visit attraction in the city. Read the full review here.

Pinball Museum and Hall of Fame

In most museums they frown upon you playing with their masterpieces. At this one, they actively encourage it by providing change machines so you can get your quarters and start playing classic pinball and arcade games. Read the full review here.

Springs Preserve

In the desert of artificial reality that is Las Vegas, it is practically mind-boggling to find an oasis of real nature like this one. If you need a breather from the Sin City madness, this is where you should come. Read the full review here.