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A 16th-century Italian genius and two adorable elephants may upstage all the headline attractions in Las Vegas this weekend. Leonardo da Vinci, who died in 1519, was a painter, architect, sculptor, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor and anatomist who left a treasure trove of creations and breakthroughs still admired and in use today.
Widely known as the man who painted the “Mona Lisa” and her smile, da Vinci is the Italian Renaissance man with the mind that laid the groundwork for modern society’s most impactful inventions, including the helicopter, plane, car, parachute, submarine and bicycle. It all comes to life at The Venetian today in the most comprehensive exhibition of his work with more than 200 pieces, including 75 of his life-sized inventions, plus 3D renderings of his works. In all, 11 themed areas created by Europe’s leading da Vinci experts.
Pour through his notebooks to see if you can discover the hidden clues, intentional mistakes and his mirror-image writing that he used to keep his discoveries top secret. Having visited Florence every summer the past decade, I can tell you that da Vinci was a genius -- a man far ahead of his time -- so don’t miss this exhibit. Plus, check out the nearby summerlong, Italian-inspired Carnevale that commenced Monday with Kimora Lee Simmons.
It’s a music weekend, even though the annual Electric Daisy Carnival has ended for another 12 months, with young Dia Frampton from “The Voice” and veteran legend Mitzi Gaynor performing. In addition to the fabulous females, we have a mixed bag of music and comedy with Nickelback, Weezer, Rodney Carrington, Tyga, George Jones and The Wanted, with Las Vegas’ 15-year-old LexRox as the Brit boyband’s opening act.
The “Dragons” circus is presented all weekend by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey at the Thomas & Mack Center. Two of the elephants this week appeared with showgirls at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign and stole the hearts of fans.
Like elephants, we never forget, so with a roar, we know it’s time to trumpet this weekend’s attractions in our own favorite artistry we title each week the Royal Robin Rundown:
FRIDAY, JUNE 15
Hawaiian rock band Pepper performs at Volcom in Miracle Mile Shops at 5 p.m. in Planet Hollywood and then at Soundwaves poolside in the Hard Rock Hotel. Vocalist and songwriter Lucy Woodward is at Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center for the Performing Arts for two nights. Weezer rides the waves at Mandalay Bay Beach.
“Million Dollar Quartet” continues at Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center. Scissor Sisters are at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay. Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Frankie Perez, an honorary member of super-group Camp Freddy, goes solo with a late-night, free show at The Lounge in the Palms. And Michael Firestone reflects on Michael Jackson with “Moonwalker” at South Point all weekend.
Kathleen Madigan makes her comedy debut at the Mirage. Comedian, actor and writer Rodney Carrington returns to Hollywood Theater at MGM Grand through Wednesday. Rich Vos headlines at Empire Comedy in the Paris. And Greg Wilson and John Bizarre yuk it up at Big Al’s Comedy Club in The Orleans all weekend.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Tickets go on sale for Eric Church with guests Justin Moore and Kip Moore at Mandalay Bay on Nov. 3. “Dragons” is at the Thomas & Mack through Sunday. “Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” continues its run at Tropicana all weekend. MMA fans and fighters say D-Day has arrived at LVH theater. And it’s the official opening of the da Vinci “Genius Exhibition.”
Along comes a spider with DJ Spider and Derrick Anthony at Tryst in the Wynn. DJ Bambi and Tommy Trash do double duty by day poolside and nighttime at Marquee in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Tyga, of Jamaican and Vietnamese descent, performs at 1 OAK in the Mirage. The self-titled Ambassador of Rap Wale does double duty at the Palms by day at Ditch Fridays and then at nearby Rain. And DJ Steve Aoki spins at Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore.
SATURDAY, JUNE 16
Nickelback and guests Bush, Seether and My Darkest Days are at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Boulder Blues features Bill Magee and Dr. Harpo & 2 The Moon at Boulder Station. George Jones is still going strong at 80 at Buffalo Bill’s in Primm. Reggae in the Desert presents the late Bob Marley’s son Kymani Marley, Third World, Tribal Seeds and more for 11 hours at Clark County Amphitheater. The Manhattans are at Suncoast for two nights.
“There’s No Business Like Show Business” entertainer Mitzi Gaynor presents her six decades of “Razzle Dazzle: Life Behind the Sequins” at Sam’s Town. New Edition and Bobby Brown are at the Theater for the Performing Arts at Planet Hollywood. The velvet is still blue with Bobby Vinton at Eastside Cannery. And Jesus and Mary Chain are head on at HOB.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
The Rogue Warrior Cage Fighting Championships are at the Cannery, and punk-rock Burning Angel sex video vixen Joanna Angel is joined by adult actress Belladonna and Skid Row drummer turned porn star Phil Varone at Deja Vu Adult Emporium for a Baci Lingerie fashion show and party, followed by an after-party at Vince Neil’s Girls, Girls, Girls.
Jermaine Dupri performs with Derrick Anthony on the DJ decks at Tryst. Dia Frampton hosts and performs at Pure in Caesars Palace. “True Blood” star Sam Trammell hosts at Gallery Nightclub in Planet Hollywood. Ricardo Laguna hosts at Tao Beach in The Venetian. Hardwell spins by day and Cosmic Gate and Wippenberg by night at Marquee. Cali Love featuring Brandon Kent is at Palms Pool. Hard Rock Sofa is at Surrender. And trance pioneer Darude is at Bazaar: Under The Eiffel Tower at Chateau Nightclub & Gardens in the Paris.
SUNDAY, JUNE 17
98.5 KLUC presents Summer Jam 2012 with The Wanted, Karmin, HardNox, Chris Rene and DJ Hollywood all day poolside at The M Resort, with our teen-pop sensation LexRox opening for The Wanted.
“Celebrity Apprentice” temptress Aubrey O’Day, the pop singer who guest starred in Planet Hollywood’s “Peepshow,” hosts DJ sets by Eric D-Lux and Shift at Rehab in the Hard Rock Hotel, followed Monday by Jack Barakat of All Time Low in the recurring Beachlife series.
Karmin hosts and performs at The Bank in the Bellagio, and DJ Zedd with Tommy Trash spin at Marquee Dayclub.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Tickets go on sale Monday for Sir Elton John’s return to The Colosseum at Caesars Palace for his Oct. 10-28 dates of his acclaimed “The Million Dollar Piano.”
Check back throughout the weekend as we post reports and photo galleries and continue our coverage Monday. Have a great weekend!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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