Hotel director and philanthropist Elaine Wynn has donated $5 million to establish The Elaine Wynn Studio for Arts Education at the downtown Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Symphony Park. It’s the largest contribution from any individual.
Donald D. Snyder, chairman of the board, said, “The Elaine Wynn Studio will serve as a source of inspiration and exploration for schoolchildren across the Las Vegas community. This contribution exemplifies Mrs. Wynn’s decades-long commitment to enhancing life for all Las Vegans and her specific focus on education, which has been nothing short of extraordinary.”
Her new studio will include classrooms, conference rooms and offices for education program staff, interns and artists-in-residence in the five-story, 70,000 square-foot pavilion. In an interview that we’ll have in full tomorrow, Elaine said: “The arts are not meant to exist for only a select few. Why wouldn’t we want all of our children to experience creativity, either as artists themselves or people who delight in or are stimulated by the works of others?
“With exposure and guidance, children can partake in the passion and joy of individual expression. No matter what one’s circumstance, no negative condition can rob the soul of imagination and longing. This is a lesson we must pass on to our children.”
Elaine told me that it’s a 30-year dream now come full circle since it was first discussed when she was at the Golden Nugget downtown. “Working this way with children is my legacy. I couldn’t be more proud to be able to do this.”
*Hometown rockers Beggars & Thieves, who just returned from the Firefest Four in England, have released an original holiday single titled “Come Christmas Time” on iTunes, with all proceeds going to Keep Memory Alive to support the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at Symphony Park. Frontman Louie Merlino said, “We are proud to be able to help this great cause that is important to the future of Nevada.”
“The music Beggars & Thieves brings helps broaden our reach to younger generations. Many children and grandchildren of patients at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health have become caregivers, and they want to learn more about the memory disorders that afflict their families,” said Larry Ruvo, chairman and founder of Keep Memory Alive. “The holiday season is about giving, and Beggars & Thieves’ donation is a gift that keeps on giving.”
*MGM Resorts International employees and stars joined together again to deliver a ninth truck full of toys for DJ Chet Buchanan’s annual KLUC 98.5 toy drive, which put him far over his goals. Cast members from Ka at MGM Grand, Jabbawockeez from Monte Carlo and The Lion King at Mandalay Bay and Vinny, the face of New York-New York, took part in the delivery. The Jabbawockeez put on an impromptu show, and some of the 1,000 bicycles were donated to HELP of Southern Nevada assisting more than 10,000 struggling families. Chet’s final tally: 2,287 bikes, 14 50-foot semis full of toys and $145,069 in gift cards and cash.
*Executives at Bon Appetit have confirmed that they are returning to Las Vegas on May 5-8 for the fifth annual culinary festival Vegas Uncork’d. Tickets go on sale Jan. 25 for the 30-plus events. Additionally, the January issue features a guide to recommended top spots here. Bon Appetit reports: “Everything is larger than life in Vegas, including the food. From Michelin-starred French chefs to off-The-Strip gems, Sin City is more delicious than ever.”
The picks include Bellagio, Caesars Palace, The Venetian, The Palazzo, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Wynn, Encore, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and dining explorations at Sage in Aria, Mesa Grill in Caesars Palace, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand, P3 Commons at the Cosmopolitan, Noodles at Bellagio, Aburiya Raku at 5030 West Spring Mountain Road, Amber Unicorn at 2101 S. Decatur Blvd. and Encore Spa in Steve Wynn’s Encore. The January issue hits newsstands Tuesday.
*Jersey Shore star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro added to his tattoos while in Las Vegas and was inked by the king of tattoos Mario Barth at his King Ink salon at The Mirage. Photographer Denise Truscello was on the scene for these shots of the tan, muscle-bound man.
*Singer Sisqo kicked off his limited run with Fantasy at the Luxor last night, and zany props comic Carrot Top joined in the opening night photo fun. Sisqo appears through Christmas Day and of course performs his hit “Thong Song.”
The Killers frontman and Las Vegas native Brandon Flowers dined at Todd English P.U.B. this afternoon after touring the Cosmopolitan, where he is headlining the opening tomorrow. Singer Ray J returned to Crown at The Rio for a second consecutive night to party with a room full of appreciative ladies. Professional Bull Riding stars Luke Snyder, Chris Shivers and Brendon Clark stopped by PBR Rock Bar & Grill at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile to meet their rodeo fans and snap photos with the hotspot’s gorgeous PBR Girls.
Legendary R&B stars Boyz II Men open a holiday run with 20 years of their hits at the Flamingo, taking over for Donny & Marie Osmond while they perform on Broadway. Comic Billy D Washington headlines at The Improv at Harrah’s with Scott Kennedy and Kenny Kane through Sunday.
We’ll have coverage of Paris Hilton’s return to The Strip, plus my conversations with singer Susan Anton, as she joins the cast of Menopause the Musical, and Elaine Wynn on her $5 million donation.
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