Fall of the Empire … Ballroom

“Everything happens for a reason.” Empire Ballroom exec Gino LoPinto is handling the news relatively well—Empire closed just hours before DJ duo Scooter & Lavelle were scheduled to perform. Memorial Day weekend was already looking to be a dreary, drizzly one when managers received, on Thursday, May 22, an eviction letter from land-owner Metroflag Cable, LLC, which stated that if back rent in the amount of $402,697.02 was not paid in full (or at least $200,000 by 5 p.m. that day, according to promoter Bo Karlen), Empire Ballroom lease-holder Dan Makosky, his partners and his team would be evicted. On Friday, LoPinto found the doors locked.

This is news to much of the management team, who for some time have been receiving notices of delinquency only to be assured, they say, by Makosky that all was well. Despite the fact that current management has made great strides since assuming the helm of the initially foundering Empire Ballroom ship—the property was reportedly $2 million in the hole when LoPinto signed on—an overall debt of close to $1 million remains, “and that’s not even counting taxes.” Go-go dancer invoices, liquor bills and rent continued to pile up, since the lease expired March 31, say additional sources, while Makosky insisted all was well.

At 6:16 p.m. on Friday, May 23, a text blast went out from Karlen’s camp stating simply, “EMPIRE AFTERHOURS MOVED 2NITE 2 ASIA NIGHTCLUB 1 BLK. SOUTH ON HARMAN & LV BLVD NEXT 2 KRAVE.” Empire’s managers were successfully able to hire out Empire Ballroom’s staff to Asia Nightclub for the evening to help absorb the Scooter & Lavelle crowd. Saturday’s afterhours performance by New York’s DJ Danny Tenaglia moved to Privé. Empire’s director of promotions, Jeff Ermilio, is working on a semi-permanent afterhours at Asia, and though as yet nameless, the party will continue this Friday and Saturday with doors at 3 a.m. and Empire residents Joey Mazzola and Jordan Stevens spinning. “One hundred percent, it’s happening,” says Ermilio. Meanwhile, at press time, LoPinto reported having scheduled a meeting with Metroflag to discuss a new deal, sans Makosky and friends.

Makosky has yet to comment or respond to e-mail and phone inquiries, though he did attempt to conceal his identity when the Weekly caught up with him just moments after the fateful text blast. Luckily, Team Hangover trumps even Team J. Edgar Hoover’s prowess at voice recognition.

Get rocked

The Weekly’s Readers’ Choice winner for Best Lounge/Ultralounge continues to push the boundaries of nightlife norms. On June 4, The Beatles Revolution Lounge will launch Rocket Wednesdays to “bring rock to the forefront of the Las Vegas Strip.” Following the success of Tuesday’s Live Revolution (a partnership with LA’s Indie 103.1-FM) and Thursday’s This is NOT Commercial, hump day’s previous format of commercial hip-hop and mash-ups is being swapped in favor of mainstream rock, dance rock and “happy” rock. (That means no brooding on the dance floor when they play “Paradise City,” got it, Slash?)

The Bay Area’s DJ Spair—co-founder of the Oakland Faders—takes on the ones and twos as Rocket’s resident. Expect to hear anything from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen and Aerosmith to Nirvana, Flobots and Sublime. Then mash that together with dance music, plus some back-beats thrown in for good measure. There’s a chance you may go home with a smile on your face 10 miles wide when you hear Spair mix in Dubya’s musings on how human beings and fish can co-exist peacefully. Just make sure you leave the acid-washed jeans at home, ’cause we’re not gonna take it. No, we ain’t gonna take it. We’re not gonna take it … anymore.

It’s Nicky’s Week at Ra Sushi

“Good food and good fun for a great cause.” Through May 31, Ra Sushi will be hosting its fourth annual Nicky’s Week Fundraiser. The benefit was created in memory of Ra Sushi founder Rich Howland’s nephew, 13-year-old Nicholas “Nicky” Mailliard, who lost his battle with brain cancer in February of 2005. Nicky was a longtime patient of the internationally recognized St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In Nicky’s honor, the restaurant and bar every year donates 100 percent of the proceeds from a special Nicky’s Week menu to St. Jude to promote the support and care children receive at no cost to their families while at the children’s hospital. (At St. Jude, no family ever pays for any treatments that are not covered by insurance; families that do not have insurance are never asked to pay.) Guests can dine on Ra Sushi’s signature Tootsy Maki, edamame or pork gyoza. Beverage sponsors include Skyy vodka, Coppola Bianco pinot grigio, Fiji water and Red Bull, among others. Those beverage proceeds also benefit the research hospital. For more information: Nicky's Week


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