Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Paul Zarzyski headlines second annual Genoa Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival

Tickets for the highly anticipated second year of the Genoa Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival are now available. Following up a highly successful inaugural event in 2010, the Town of Genoa and the Carson Valley Arts Council have been busy securing poets, storytellers, singers and a lot more for the second go around.

The Genoa Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival is a wonderful blend of setting, heritage and western culture and entertainment. Nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada in Northern Nevada’s Carson Valley, historic Genoa, Nevada’s oldest settlement, is the site of the first ranch in Nevada and still has working cattle ranches literally steps from the town. From its 19th-century beginnings, cowboys and ranching have shared work, words and music here.

Headliners committed to appear include award-winning poet Paul Zarzyski and multiple entertainer of the year winner Dave Stamey, along with Belinda Gail, Wylie & the Wild West, David John & the Comstock Cowboys, Doris Daley, Sourdough Slim, and more favorites. Alongside the entertainers, attendees will find a packed schedule of workshops and several galleries of fine western art, a Native American Center, cowboy dinners and dances and opportunities to shop for western clothing, collectibles, jewelry and tack. There’s even a Trail Ride, with its own barbecue dinner and concert on Saturday and a special Mother’s Day Brunch and Concert offering on Sunday.

Just over the hill from Lake Tahoe’s South Shore and only an hour from Reno-Tahoe International Airport, it’s easy to get to Genoa and Carson Valley. You can find all the festival information at and area information at Day Passes and tickets for individual concerts and dinners may be purchased online, at the festival website or by visiting the Town of Genoa or Carson Valley Arts Council offices.

Monday, November 15, 2010, along with Cirque du Soleil, is excited to announce an exclusive backstage experience to “O” and the Beatles LOVE

Two of the most popular Cirque du Soleil shows on the Las Vegas Strip are opening their doors to an ultra-exclusive backstage experience starting October 29th. The Cirque “Insider Access Pass” allows fans a glimpse into the beautiful, yet mystical, and bizarre composition of theatrical genius today. Fans will get to see firsthand why Cirque du Soleil shows are considered the greatest shows on Earth.

Cirque du Soleil, in collaboration with, allows Cirque enthusiasts from all over the world to experience a once-in-a-lifetime backstage adventure to two of the hottest Las Vegas shows around. This behind-the-scenes look into the creative world of Cirque du Soleil gives each guest an intimate tour of the wildly popular “O” or The Beatles LOVE. Each backstage pass explains the history of the show's production while allowing fans to peek behind the scenes to witness the makings of a world-renowned Cirque show. Along with your admission ticket, participants will walk away with a one-of-a-kind Insider Access VIP lanyard and special edition bag filled with Cirque du Soleil merchandise. In true Vegas fashion, the fun doesn't end there! You’ll enjoy one of two Las Vegas shows from the best seats in the house, reserved just for you with your "Insider Access” pass. Your toughest choice of the night will be deciding which entrancing and mind-blowing production to enjoy!

If you want to get lost in a world of aquatic bliss, then engulf yourself in the world of “O”. As Cirque’s only aquatic show, “O” will take you on a journey through the graceful and mystical role that water plays in our life. Enjoy the beautiful voyage that courses through some of the most amazing acts of human strength all while being performed in a 1.5-million-gallon pool, which mystifies the audience as water appears and reappears right before your eyes.

For those experiencing the musical legacy of the Beatles, get ready to be floored! LOVE is a powerful journey through some of the Beatles most beloved songs. You will bask in the vivid colors, intimate atmosphere and powerful energy as LOVE introduces you to characters that are both real and imaginary.

And the fun doesn’t end once the curtain drops. Once you’re finished experiencing the musical sound and aerial performance of LOVE, be prepared for a night out on the town as the “Insider Access” pass provides you with VIP admission to one of Las Vegas’ hottest nightclubs, Jet at the Mirage. Those of you who witnessed “O” can indulge in VIP access at the Bank Nightclub at the Bellagio, one of the newest and hottest nightclubs on the Las Vegas strip.

The “Cirque Insider Access” Pass will be available for select performances starting October 29th and is exclusively sold through For Insider Access please visit for the best Las Vegas deals.—Provided by

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Happenings in Sin City

Las Vegas is known nationwide for throwing the most outrageous parties, and Halloween is no exception. As the celebration approaches, here are some upcoming spine-tingling Sin City happenings:

Mandalay Bay
Haunted Reef at Mandalay Bay Thrills and Chills
Shark Reef Aquarium eerily transforms into a Haunted Reef for those who dare to enter the unknown for an all day event on All Hallows Eve from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fearsome predators, including tiger sharks and a rare Komodo dragon with dagger-like teeth, deadly saliva and piercing razor-sharp claws lurk in exhibits, terrorizing spectators. Rattling chains, creaking doors and haunting music replace the normally soothing sounds of the ocean and jungle as visitors walk through Haunted Reef’s dark and spooky tunnels. Costumed children 12 and under receive complimentary access and sugary sweets. Additionally, guests 17 years of age and older donating or pledging to give blood at the United Blood Services booth also receive complimentary entry into Shark Reef Aquarium. Tickets to Shark Reef Aquarium are $16.95 for adults and $10.95 for non-costumed children 5-12 years of age. The booth, set up just for Haunted Reef, opens Saturday, October 30. For more information, call 702-632-4555 or visit

Till Death Do Us Part Wedding Package at Mandalay Bay
For couples who love Halloween and like to have fun with a side of fright, the Till Death Do Us Part package at Mandalay Bay offers the ideal Halloween wedding. Starting at $850, eternally bonded souls can have their ceremony in a themed haunted chapel and afterward enjoy a bone-chilling experience with passes to Fright Dome at Circus Circus. For more information, visit

Free Haunted Tours at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Featured on SciFi’s Ghost Hunters, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition has people questioning if lost passengers have returned to the personal items they once carried on board. Listen closely for chilling details to be shared this Halloween by the costumed Titanic experts who have seen and heard it all. Hear about the “Lady in Black” who is often seen on the Grand Staircase, crying for her famous friend Molly Brown in the First Class Gallery or listening to the disturbing ice warnings. See Frederick Fleet, the Titanic’s look-out, watching over the Promenade Deck as he attempts to make up for his unfortunate late sighting of the iceberg. More than just ghost stories, guests can learn about the longest living Titanic survivor who passed away exactly 80 years to the day the Ship struck the iceberg, as well as other mysterious coincidences connected to that fateful night. For some spooky fun, discover if the ghost stories are true with a free haunted tour with paid admission on October 29, 30 and 31 at 8 p.m. Tickets to Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition are $28 for adults, $26 for seniors and $21 for children 4-12 years of age. Call 702-262-4400 for more information or visit

Circus Circus
Fright Dome at Circus Circus
It’s time to play a game… Fright Dome takes over The Adventuredome at Circus Circus from October 1-31 from 7 p.m. to Midnight. Ranked among the top five scariest haunted attractions in the United States, Fright Dome offers new haunted houses, freak shows, scare zones and much more to those who dare to enter. Spread throughout five acres, this haunted theme park features dark, fog-filled attractions complete with ghoulish and gore-clad professional actors. Not appropriate for children under 12, Fright Dome includes roaming scare actors, high-powered strobes, multi-colored lasers and eerie sound effects. General admission tickets are $34.95 and the VIP Fast Pass is an additional $15. For more information, call 702-794-3939 or visit

Easter Seals Southern Nevada
The 5th Annual Trunk or Treat
Put on your frighteningly fun costumes and come out to Easter Seals Southern Nevada’s 5th Annual Trunk or Treat on Saturday, October 23 from 5-8 p.m. Enjoy the haunted house, if you dare, trick-or-treating from trunk to trunk, candy, food and much more. Place an entry in the scarecrow decorating contest and showcase your festive side. Admission is $3 per child, with additional donations for food and beverage. All ages are welcome. For more information on the event, including rules, entry fee information and the entry form for the scarecrow contest, call 702-870-7050 or visit

Read about other Nevada haunts here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Travel Channel starts "War" over Reno region's famous Awful Awful burger

The Travel Channel wants to know where would you rather eat your Awful Awful burger — at the Little Nugget Diner in Reno or John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks? Travel Channel’s hit series, “Food Wars,” wants the loudest and proudest hamburger fans to tell viewers everywhere which Awful Awful burger is better.

“This is huge for the Little Nugget Diner. People come from all over the world to have the Awful Awful in town, and the burger is finally getting the exposure it deserves,” says George Buddy, General Manager of the Little Nugget Diner. “The Awful Awful is really something special. It’s a fantastic deal and the Little Nugget Diner is one of the few places where you know you’re getting exactly what you ordered.”

“We’re obviously thrilled to have the Travel Channel here at John Ascuaga’s Nugget once again. While the main focus will be our signature burger against another, the larger view allows the country to yet again see our area as a fun, quirky and unique destination,” says Michael Traum, Public Relations Manager of John Ascuaga’s Nugget. “One premise of 'Food Wars' is to invite viewers to come to Reno and decide for themselves which burger they like best, and that’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Below is the filming schedule, open to the public. If you want to be a part of the ultimate face-off, be sure to attend Friday’s shoot.

• Wednesday, June 30th at Rosie’s Café in John Ascuaga’s Nugget from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (1100 Nugget Avenue, Sparks, NV 89431)

• Thursday, July 1st at the Little Nugget Diner from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (233 North Virginia St)

• Friday, July 2nd is the Food Wars Challenge at the Poolside Terrace or Celebrity Showroom (TBD) at John Ascuaga’s Nugget from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Fans of either restaurant interested in being interviewed for the show should contact

Photo by Charlie Johnston (patrons enjoy an Awful Awful at Little Nugget Diner in Reno).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Las Vegas Rocks Cafe

By Shelley Stepanek

The Neonopolis has awakened again. The space formerly known as Jillian’s has a new tenant and a great new theme after a sleek renovation. The Las Vegas Rocks Cafe, co-owned by TV host Tony Sacca and chef Josette Leblond (known for Josette’s Bistro in Las Vegas), have teamed up with a new concept. Opening in December 2009, the pair has partnered with all their experience in food and entertainment to revitalize the Fremont Street Experience area.

The menu consists of themed foods such as The Siegfried and Roy turkey, ham, Swiss cheese sandwich; the Elvis Delight grilled banana and peanut-butter sandwich; The Ratpack Antipasto; and the Charo Chili. For entrees, The Sammy Steak, a big rib-eye; The Topless Dancer, an open-faced turkey breast; the Cirque Du Sole Filet; and topping off the desert menu, The Glitter Gulch Crème Brule and The Sin City Dessert.

The 20,000-square-foot venue, which has hosted such stars as Terry Fator and Louis Prima, this can hold up to 3,000 people in a standing room concert area.

Sacca has been doing his television show, “Entertainment Las Vegas Style,” for 24 years. He wrote the song “Las Vegas Rocks” four years ago and began marketing his musical clock and a line of souvenirs. He has produced, hosted, and researched Las Vegas history for his TV show and has developed a library of photos and catalogs with more than 500 celebrities and entertainers. With videos running in the restaurant on numerous TV screens, you can immerse yourself in fascinating history as you watch the crowd strolling by on Fremont Street.

Leblond has owned bakeries in Las Vegas and Los Angeles for years, and her Josette’s Bistro has been a mainstay on West Flamingo Road. She has had her own cooking show for the last couple of years.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CSI: The Experience

By Shelley Stepanek

Have you sat glued to the set watching CSI for years? Have you wanted to be there with actor Gil Grissom and his team? Have you wanted to take classes in forensics?

Well, now you can do it all. Debuting last year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, CSI: The Experience is there for all who want to see, feel, hear, smell, and solve. Entering a Briefing Theater to orientate the novice, and give you instructions, Grissom steps out from behind his desk. He says, "Keep an open mind," and you start your journey through one of three crime scenes.

In "A House Collided," a car has run into the living-room window. In the driver's seat is a man slumped over. The windshield is shattered, and the door is shut. Inside the room there are muddy shoeprints, drops of blood, and a stain near the sofa.

In "Who Got Served?" a woman has been found dead in an alley behind a Las Vegas motel, in the seedier part of town. By the dumpster, she is wearing a waitress uniform. There is a tire tread across her abdomen.

In "No Bones About It!" a hiker has found a human skull in the middle of the desert. Partially buried by silt and debris, the bones are scattered. There is a visible hole in the scull.

You exit and head into a huge room of crime scene photos and clues. With drawings of your investigation in front of you, you go from checking fibers, blood samples, insects, photos, dental records, and missing-persons reports. Through science and deduction of the clues, you continue, seeing fragments of possible clues.

With DNA samples from the victims, you analyze the cause of death. Natural, homicide, suicide? Can you crack the case? With the newest scientific means to solve your crime, you submit your final analysis to the FBI for positive identification.

The attraction is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with last admission at 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Free Fishing Day Events Statewide

If you have been trying to figure out a way to get the kids off the computer and out of the house, then the Nevada Department of Wildlife has a plan, and here’s the best’s free.

Nevada Free Fishing Day is Saturday, June 12. Anglers may fish in any public fishing water in the state without needing a fishing license or trout stamp. All limits and other regulations apply. “Free Fishing Day provides the perfect opportunity for families to spend the day together in an activity they may have never tried before,” says Chris Vasey, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) Regional Outdoor Education Coordinator. He adds that NDOW has stocked fish in many of Nevada’s waters in preparation for Saturday. “Your chances should be pretty good for catching a fish,” he said.

This year NDOW is helping to put on several events around the state from Las Vegas to Ely to Sparks. Many of the events include prizes and free goodies for the kids.

Even if you don’t plan on attending any of the scheduled events, NDOW wants to remind everyone that Free Fishing Day is statewide and for anglers of all ages. “People are allowed to fish in any public fishing water in the state without needing a fishing license or trout stamp,” Vasey says. “We want people to get out there and check out what Nevada has to offer, and maybe if you like what you see, you will think about buying a license for the year or a short term permit.”

An annual fishing license in Nevada costs $29, $13 for a junior (12-15 years of age) or a senior (65 years of age or older) fishing license, and $9 for as short term fishing permit. Fishing licenses are available online at Here is a list of the events being offered around the state:


Las Vegas - This year’s Free Fishing Day event for the Las Vegas Valley will be held at the Boulder City Pond in the Veterans’ Memorial Park, Boulder City. Registration will start at 7:30 a.m. and the event will kick off at 8 a.m. and conclude at 11 a.m. The first 300 kids will receive a goody bag with a tackle box. Prizes will be given out throughout the event for all ages. This event is being sponsored by a partnership between NDOW, Boulder City Parks and Recreation, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Public Lands Institute. There will also be informational booths on fishing activities, such as casting, fish identification, baits and lures, etc. along with booths on desert wildlife, boating safety, fish art, and much more. A limited amount of loaner rods and reels will be available free of charge. For more information contact Ivy Santee at (702) 486-5127, extension 3503.

Pioche - Echo Canyon State Park will be holding a Free Fishing Day Derby from 8 a.m. to noon. Rangers at the park have a reputation for putting on a great event complete with prizes, raffles, food and other options. Echo Canyon is located just east of Pioche in Lincoln County. For more information about this event contact State Park Ranger Ben Johnson at (775) 962-5102.


Elko/Carlin - NDOW will be holding a non-competitive Kids Fishing Derby at the Chinese Garden Nature Study Area Pond in Carlin from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 am. Registration will start at 8 a.m., with the first 50 anglers to register receiving a free T-shirt. The derby is for children 16 and under, but everyone is welcome to come out and fish that day. The event is sponsored by NDOW, the City of Carlin and the Ruby Mountain Chapter of Safari Club International. NDOW will have limited rods and reels available for new anglers to borrow as well as angler education volunteers to help you rig your outfits and give you fishing tips. There will also be a fly tying booth with members of the Ruby Mountain Flycasters showing young anglers how to tie flies and give them a chance to tie their own wooly bugger. There will be a free drawing for prizes for all the children who sign up for the derby between 11:30 a.m. and noon. Prizes include rod and reel combos, fly fishing outfits, and tackle boxes. Children must be 16 or under to be eligible for the prizes.

Ely - NDOW will host the annual Kid’s Free Fishing Day Derby at Cave Lake State Park. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the kids fishing derby runs from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There is no charge for the participants, though parents must be present with their children. Between 11:30 a.m. and noon, there will be a free drawing for prizes for children who sign up for the derby. Prizes include rod and reel combos, fly fishing outfits, and tackle boxes. There will also be free grab bags for all participants. Children must be under 18 to be eligible for the prizes.


Sparks/Reno - Once again The Sparks Rotary Club, NDOW and the City of Sparks Parks and Recreation Department have joined forces to offer a special community event for the area’s children. Kids will enjoy a fun-filled morning of fishing (see photo) along the south shore of the Sparks Marina from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Commemorative t-shirts and fishing poles will be distributed at the registration area until supplies run out. There will be fun games and face painting for all ages, and a free barbecue lunch will begin at 9 a.m. with hot dogs, soda and ice cream for registered children. In addition to the Sparks Rotary Club, NDOW and the City of Sparks Parks and Recreation, many generous sponsors enable this free event to take place. Nevada Bighorns Unlimited, Safari Club International and the Reno Rodeo Foundation are providing generous cash donations. Mark Fore and Strike Sporting Goods and Model Dairy have been sponsors since the event began, and are returning again with in-kind donations. Other generous sponsors, as well as information on the event can be found by clicking “latest news” on the Sparks Rotary Club’s website at Rotary members from Sparks and Reno, and staff from the Nevada Department of Wildlife will be on hand to assist those with little or no fishing experience. Fishing equipment will be available for children to use if they don't have their own. Parents must accompany their children to the event. For those who plan on fishing any of the other urban ponds in Washoe County, NDOW wants to remind everyone that the limit is three fish at all urban ponds in the County.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

McKeen Motor Car Celebration

Carson City always offers a great selection of family activities, and this past Mother’s Day was no exception. After its decade-long restoration and on the 100-year anniversary of its arrival in Carson City, rides on the historic McKeen Motor Car No. 22 (click on link to see photos of the car) were made public on May 9, 2010. Railroad fanatics of all ages, as well as donors who made the McKeen restoration possible, turned out to celebrate this grand event.

Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum turned out in record numbers dressed in period costumes and brought history to life as they told how the restoration process unfolded over the years. Some folks who rode the McKeen Car when it was in service (1910-45) on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad attended the event.

The restoration of the car was beautifully done, and the conductor on board supplied great info during a discussion with our party. We discussed windows, floorboards, light fixtures, and even the artistic scroll work on the ceiling of the car, a surprise that was found during removal of the panels in the restoration process (see interior photo below).

Not to be forgotten, the museum was a hit with adults and children. A museum store, old locomotives, tools of the trade, and photos provide a wealth of knowledge to anyone interested in learning. A to-scale (1/87th actual size) working model railroad is operated by volunteers on weekends and group-tour days. At all other times a push-button enables visitors to operate a train on demand. In addition, there are toy train tables and an engine car exhibit with knobs and levers for kids to operate. After riding on the train and seeing all the old equipment, this is a perfect way for any child to end the afternoon.

Text & photos by Carrie Roussel

Thursday, February 25, 2010

X Burlesque

To describe X Burlesque at Flamingo Las Vegas as “hot” would be the understatement of a lifetime, something akin to calling Mt. Everest simply “tall” or the universe “big.” Sure, it gets the point across, but fails to convey the white-hot sexiness of X Burlesque.

The intimate 180-seat Bugsy’s Cabaret ensures that every seat is tantalizingly close to the six gorgeous X Girls who make frequent trips into the audience and to the mid-theater vertical dancing apparatus, better known as a stripper pole. Newer pop music is combined with rock and country favorites, each song drawing on the individual talents of each dancer. Two stage-adjacent screens interact with the show and introduce each vignette.

A striptease to Aerosmith’s “Pink” is both seductive and playful, and boots are the last thing on anyone’s mind during the country-western medley set to Jessica Simpson’s cover of “Boots.”

Mid-show comics like Nancy Ryan and James Bean entertain with adult humor and allow the audience to catch their breath before the next heart-pounding experience.

The girls entertain nightly at 10 p.m.

By Charlie Johnston

Cirque du Soleil’s Viva ELVIS

“All Shook Up” would be a good way to describe my coworker, Nevada Magazine Editor Matthew B. Brown, and me as we exited Aria Las Vegas following the world premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s latest production, “Viva ELVIS,” on February 19. The high-energy homage to the King of rock ’n’ roll could get a corpse snapping its fingers and tapping its feet.

That’s obviously something of an overstatement, but you get the idea. “Viva ELVIS” pairs some of Presley’s best-loved songs—about 30 in all—with the out-of-this-world, superhuman acrobatics of Cirque du Soleil in a tribute worthy of the King. The fast-paced, playful performance watches more like a variety show than a traditional Cirque production such as “O” at Bellagio or “” at MGM Grand.

A jailbreak set, built for gymnastic and acrobatic antics, sets the stage for “Jailhouse Rock,” a military-themed jungle gym provides a playground for the troupe during “Heartbreak Hotel,” a massive, seven trampoline set accommodates the high-flying tricks of “Got a Lot of Love,” and “Viva Las Vegas” is accompanied by what else but showgirls and feathers. A handful of songs, such as “Love Me Tender” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” are accompanied by more somber, emotional performances.

While some critics have noted the show’s perhaps too-cheery tone—if “Viva ELVIS” claimed to be a biographical portrayal of Elvis’ life, I would agree, it is, however, a tribute—one thing is certain, “Viva ELVIS” has the strength and energy to please Elvis enthusiasts from the mildly interested to the raving fanatic.

By Charlie Johnston

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brinkley defeats Stevens by unanimous decision

I have to admit I was rather skeptical of "big-time boxing" in Reno, especially when one of the boxing capitals of the world is some 450 miles to the south. But the fact that this was my first live boxing event made those doubts somewhat irrelevant.

As it turned out, I couldn't have been more wrong. I could feel the buzz as soon as I entered Grand Sierra Resort, and the main event delivered with drama, energy, and flair—and left the hometown crowd satisfied.

The ESPN2-televised event on January 29, hosted in conjunction with Star Boxing and Let's Get It On Promotions, included six matches. The marquee bout featured super middleweights Curtis "Showtime" Stevens, from Brooklyn, and Jesse Brinkley, from Yerington, about an 80-mile drive southeast of Reno.

Stevens got to Brinkley in the first round with a few big punches—Brinkley's eye was black, it seemed, before the crowd got settled in their seats. But the Nevada native forced Stevens into two 10 counts, one early and one late, and used a persistent jab to wear Stevens down and win by unanimous decision. The judges rewarded Brinkley's impressive 12th round with scores of 117-109, 118-108, and 119-107. Brinkley improved to 35-5, while Stevens fell to 21-3.

There was a group of Stevens supporters close to where I was sitting who tried to motivate their boxer throughout, but the majority of the crowd was for Brinkley. It was a tremendously entertaining fight from beginning to end, but the fact that the hometown guy won added a nice heroic element to the affair.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Brinkley will be the No. 2-ranked fighter in the IBF and is expected to take on champion Lucien Bute in April. Promoter Terry Lane says negotiations are underway for a bout April 17 in Canada (check out the RGJ article, link above, for results from the other matches).

As I watched the fights, I couldn't help but think back to Nevada's storied boxing history, including the famous Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries fight of 1910. There will be a centennial anniversary celebration in Reno on July 2 and a story in Nevada Magazine's May/June 2010 issue. Photos & story by Matthew B. Brown

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Laura Jackson Adds Spunk to the Reno Philarmonic

I had the pleasure of attending Reno Philharmonic's "Latin Temptation" at Reno's Pioneer Center last night. I had seen one prior show—a cowboy poetry and music performance—at Pioneer Center, but this was completely different in almost every aspect.

The Reno Philharmonic, led this season by music director and conductor Laura Jackson, performs regularly at the venue. Jackson spoke before the show to members of the Reno-Tahoe Young Professionals Network and said, "This is where I want to be." Her flamboyancy and energy during the performance backed that statement up. You can tell Jackson enjoys what she does, and her stage presence alone makes it worth seeing one of the Phil's remaining shows.

Although I don't consider myself a classical music buff, I was thoroughly entertained, especially by the opening act, which featured selections from Georges Bizet's Carmen. Click here for a sampling.

Event though the pace was a little slow at times for my taste, accordion extraordinaire Peter Soave put on an amazing show playing to the music of Astor Piazolla. The night ended with a tribute to Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Apparently, Jackson has a sense of humor as well. After intermission, she said to the crowd, "I wonder how many of you have been to a Latin show where two-thirds of the music is French."

Hey, it was an entertaining two hours, and that's all that matters.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eastside Cannery Launches New Concert Venue

LeAnn Rimes to Kick-Off Concert Series at State-of-the-Art Location

LAS VEGAS – January 5, 2010 – Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel announced today the completion of its new state-of-the-art concert venue that will feature nationally renowned artists. The Casablanca Event Center with 1,100 seats has been redesigned with new sound-reinforcement throughout the entire room to provide high quality acoustics and an innovative lighting system to create a dynamic visual backdrop for the performances.

“Our new venue is a great place to see a show and provides an intimate setting for concertgoers while the upgrades to the sound and lighting package presents a wonderful venue for national acts,” said Marty Gross, vice president and general manager of Eastside Cannery.

Every month, Eastside Cannery will host a different show, kicking-off the concert series with headliner LeAnn Rimes (January 29,) The Commodores (February 27,) Eddie Money with John Waite (March 20,) Jenni Riviera (April 10,) and Ronnie Milsap (May 15.)

Tickets are NOW on sale for all shows and available in three levels: Gold, Prime and Reserved. For more information on a specific show and to purchase tickets call (702) 856-5470, visit, or go to Eastside Cannery’s sales counter located at the front desk. Must be 18 or older to attend.