Hot new pop-rock sensation Katy Perry officially opened the new Rok nightclub with her sultry and controversial single "I Kissed a Girl" -- and it won her a kiss on her lips from her No. 1 fan: Grandma! Katy’s 87-year-old grandmother, Ann Hudson, lives here in Vegas and turned up as one of the first-night guests at the New York New York resort casino to congratulate her grand-daughter. Katy leads the Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart at No. 1 for the seventh consecutive week with "I Kissed a Girl."
A crowd of celebrities turned up for the mega-holiday weekend bash of the sexy new mesmerizing club. They included Katy’s new main squeeze, rocker Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes; gossip gangstar Perez Hilton; Kevin Federline’s ex, Shar Jackson; Prom Night co-stars Brittany Snow and Jessica Stroup; Haylie Duff and Nick Zano, Jenna Dewan and beaufriend Channing Tatum; Josh Henderson from Desperate Housewives; MTV Real World star Jamie Chung and John Wilkes of Red Jumpsuit.
Rok’s opening brought two “firsts” to the Strip’s nightlife scene. I was blown away by the first-ever 360-degree video screen in a Vegas nightclub, and it measures 16 feet high by 252 feet in circumference. It’s a seamless continuous strip but can divide into 14 giant separate screens and is the only one of its kind in America. From every angle, guests were surrounded by concert footage, live club feeds, lasers and animation all chosen by an intuitive video jockey. Even the rock mash-up music is choreographed in time with the remarkable video imagery displayed above and around the dance floor.
Rok also introduced half-bottle service to the VIP experience. In addition to full-bottle service, guests have the option of selecting from several premium brands in a half-bottle size. This will allow guests to have more choices available at their table without paying for the full-bottle premium price. Rok’s VIP tables feature handcrafted red banquettes with their own dance risers; built-in storage for personal belongings and custom tables that house ice, bottles and accoutrements.
Famed interior designer Francois Frossard, who created the top Miami hotspots Mansion and SET, designed the new Vegas Rok club. It is intimate and smaller than the rival mega-clubs to let dancing guests feel like they are inside a surround-around concert at front row! “Vegas' nightlife scene is constantly evolving,” said Cynthia Kiser Murphey, New York New York's president. “With the introduction of Rok, we continue to position it as an industry leader by offering our guests a one-of-a-kind nightclub experience.” The rock vibe party club was a full transformation of comedienne Rita Rudner’s former ballroom theater there.
Famed production designer Vello Edmund Virkhaus, who has worked with such groups as Coldplay, Bon Jovi and artist 50 Cent, has masterminded the video imagery and intricate settings. The oval-shaped giant wraparound screen also enables phenomenal 3-D images of various rock stars. “The video will never ever repeat! Rok is completely different from anything in Las Vegas,” said Jonas Lawrence, partner of Rok. “We’ve thought of every detail, down to the most advanced video system in the world. Our guests will be treated to a nightclub experience that will leave a lasting impression.”
A separate Strip-front patio alongside the replica of the Brooklyn Bridge offers club-goers even more experiences, with a separate DJ and bar creating a second party under the stars. Inside, it's purely rock ‘n’ roll but outside it will be Top 40 and hip-hop.
Before her opening concert I learned Katy is a fan of mine, fortunately -- even describing me as “opulent”. So she happily chatted with Luxe Life about Vegas, her grandmother, her unique one of a kind dress -- and the risk she runs of being a one-hit wonder with "I Kissed A Girl."
“I like to make an event out of everything I do” she said. “Yesterday I was on The Today Show dressed as a watermelon and now today I am Miss Vegas. I am wearing a fabulous dress that I dreamed up with my stylist! The fabric looks as if we took it right off a poker table complete with cards and chips and the sequined flush of cards across my breast! I’ve even got sparkly green Mary Janes on to go with the bracelet and necklace made up from dice. It’s the full effect and now I am Miss Vegas!
“I love Vegas and my grandmother lives here so I’m here quite often. It's only a four-hour drive or a one-hour plane ride so it's super easy. This new club, Rok, is looking fantastic. I love the spas here and playing blackjack -- and if I drink it always feels like I’m winning! Grandma Ann is 87 and she wasn’t at all upset by the lyrics of the hit. She even kissed me on my lips to tell me she loved it.
“I knew what I was getting into with the song. I put the song out because I knew the territory. I knew it would be big because it was a catchy tune and the lyrics of the subject matter were an eye-opener. I knew I could win on both counts -- but we had a great follow-up with the CD so it wouldn’t just be a one-off and disappear. I took five years to make the album and wrote 65 songs for it. I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it. So we chose the best 12. There’s not one we could take off because they are the best. It was very carefully crafted -- there is no filler material, not one song is a buffer. So I am excited now to follow "I Kissed A Girl" with "Hot & Cold," which is already No. 6 on the iTunes listing downloads. I am excited to show all my different shades coming up.”
Katy laughed that her massive hit has already been parodied by DJs across the country in connection with Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain selecting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. They changed the lyrics to make it sound as "I Picked A Girl." "That’s awesome," the new superstar giggled. That also pretty much sums up everybody’s reaction to her performance at Rok’s grand opening.
Incidentally she kicked off the new shoes halfway during her show. Not worrying what grandma would say about that, she said the "motherf*****s" were slowing down her energetic stage movements -- and performed the remainder of the show in her stockinged feet! Maybe that will inspire another hot song since Grandma Annie didn’t even blush over that either!