Your Daily Guide To Trending Topics

Every day there are some topics that are trending. Since many of them don’t make sense, we provide easy contextualization. Also, this way, you won’t actually have to know anything about anything.

Michael McKean
Talk about a comeback. This morning’s most Googled phrase is Michael McKean, as in the actor from Laverne & Shirley and This Is Spinal Tap. He was hit by a car Tuesday afternoon on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and ended up with a broken leg. The most eye-opening things about this sad turn of events is that it brought us to McKean’s IMDB page, which made us realize dude has been in a ton of movies and we never really noticed him before. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring people together.

Lolo Jones
Also of interest to Google users this morning is gorgeous Olympic track and field hopeful Lori “Lolo” Jones, who recently announced to the world via Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that she’s in fact a 29-year-old virgin. "It’s something, a gift I want to give my husband," she says on the show. "It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Harder than training for the Olympics. Harder than studying for college has been staying a virgin before marriage."

Ray J Hospitalized
Yahoo! readers are very concerned over the hospitalization of Ray J, the supposed rapper and former boyfriend of Kim Kardashian and Whitney Houston. Ray J, who’s the brother of 90s singing phenom Brandy, was put into a hospital "to recuperate from exhaustion and jet lag" after flying from China to Las Vegas for the recent Billboard Music Awards and to hawk his line of hair serums at a local salon. We’re glad you care, Yahoo!, because we’re finding it really difficult.

Bellagio Robbery
A malfunctioning can of pepper spray is what did in 24-year-old Michael Quinn Belton, who was part of a gang that tried to make off with over $100,000 in chips from Las Vegas’ Bellagio casino this weekend. When his spray, intended to disable a blackjack dealer, wouldn’t work, Belton, who had come into the club as part of a wigs- and sunglasses-wearing posse, was captured. He explained he had been recruited for the gig via Craigslist by a mysterious high-roller named Carlos Rodriguez. Now he’s sitting in a local jail with a $60,000 bond on his head—the odds on this one were never in his favor. 

Brain Tapeworms
People at Bing are holding nothing back this morning with their number one search for Brain Tapeworms, a rare but totally gnarly sounding diagnosis that can come from eating undercooked pork.  “Minimally there are 5 million cases of epilepsy from neurocysticercosis,” an expert recently told Discover magazine. So, nothing too serious to worry about but nasty nonetheless.

#100ThingsToDoBeforeIDie
This morning’s Lady Gaga death hoax isn’t all that interesting—the Little Monsters have already reclaimed RIP to mean “Really Inspiring Person”—so the next best thing is this communal bucket list.

100 Things 4

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100 Things 2

100 Things 1

Las Vegas New Year’s Eve: To Eat

The palaces of excess lining the Strip are no slouch when it comes to excellent edibles, and they’re going all out on December 31st. Most of these hotel restaurants have two seatings, but expect to pay more for primetime.

To start the New Year off in true luxury style, the Black Truffle Prestige menu is nine courses of Restaurant Guy Savoy’s truffle-enhanced goodness, including artichoke and black truffle soup, black truffle risotto and brie black truffle. The other dinner option: a seven-course meal with caviar and roasted duck. Visitors to the Cosmopolitan can all enjoy the lobster paella and chicken fritters on the prix-fixe menus at Jaleo, but those truly in the know can book e by Jose Andres, a secret eight-seat restaurant hidden within the restaurant and serving a 25-item tasting menu of insane tapas like Iberico pork with squid and artichoke puree with vanilla.

We’ve always loved the optimism of seafood in the desert, and the options at the Wynn are stellar: a seven-course meal from James Beard Award winner Paul Bartolotta at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare features his amazingly fresh family-style Italian seafood pastas, and the Lakeside Grill highlights include features carpaccio of fluke with Spanish caviar and orange yuzu, sea scallops with black truffle. But if steak is more your speed, there are multiple options: try SW Steakhouse at for roasted squab breast and Mashima beef tenderloin.

Overall, though, we’re dying for dinner at the Bellagio, where they’re truly catering to the high-rollers (literally); the traditional six-course menu at Picasso, will have you drowning in Chef Julian Serrano’s six-course menu of oysters, foie gras, and Wagyu beef paired with selections from the 1,500-bottle wine cellar. There’s also a high-style French fete going on at their Le Cirque restaurant and surf-and-turf (read: Grade-A steaks and poached lobster) at Prime. Upscale seafood is done two ways: six courses of upgraded comfort food by Michael Mina including ahi tuna tartare and lobster pot pie, and a seven-course Omakase menu at Yellowtail that might have everything from a tuna-truffle pizza to duck prosciutto, or order dishes and sushi a la carte.           

Up next, the hottest concert tickets in town to rock out as the clock strikes midnight…

Le Cirque Goes Global: Mauro Maccioni on His Brand’s Expansion

Not all big restaurant successes are built to scale up, but in the case of Le Cirque, the Maccioni family’s legendary New York haunt, build up they will. And like many restaurateurs, they’ve found hotels to be a useful partner in their expansion, choosing to align their brand with properties that cater to both their current jet-setting customers. We spoke with Marco Maccioni, one of the sons of founder Sirio Maccioni, to get the scoop on where they’re headed.

Where are your current projects located?
The original Le Cirque is here in New York, established in 1974 by my father, and has had three different addresses, like 65th and Park, which is now Daniel, who took over the space from us. We moved to the Palace until 2005, and we’re now in the Bloomberg tower since 1996. Outside of New York, we opened Le Cirque at the Bellagio, which my brother manages, and as of two years now, when MGM completed City Center, we have our third Las Vegas restaurant, Sirio, named after my father. We opened in the Dominican Republic at Casa de Campo, located in La Romana on the south side. It’s a golfer’s paradise. The resort has a few F&B outlets, but we took over the two main ones—the Beach Club by Le Cirque, which is a daytime restaurant and then more elaborate in the evenings, keeping in mind that were in the Caribbean and not trying to recreate Le Cirque. 

How do you decide where to expand next?
As we progress and my brothers and I get more integral to the decision-making process, we’ve been trying to establish the brand and take it from a mom-and-pop generation to a more organizational brand. Those were the first steps in that expansion. That allowed us to focus our attention on  newer markets, and while we’ve had offers in the Middle East and Russia before, it wasn’t until all my brothers had established ourselves and my father was comfortable that we expanded there.

What does it take to safeguard a brand like Le Cirque when working with international partners?
We work only with friends. If we know the owners and we can count on them, we’re much more comfortable looking into these kinds of projects. The Le Cirque name, we guarantee by overseeing the operation. Our guarantee to our customers is that they’ll have a Maccioni experience whenever they’re in our restaurants. It’s the advantage of working in a family: one of us can disappear and the rest will hold down the fort at home.

My brother went out for a month to our restaurant in the Leela New Delhi in India, I’m due to go after the holidays. If we can’t walk to it, we’ll fly to it, and if we can’t fly to it, we won’t do it. We have a friendship with the Nayyar family, they’re similar to the Forbes family here in the United States. They have wonderful goodwill, a true respect for the business world and the Indian population. They’re frequent guests of ours and they know our restaurants, and we work with Kempinski, so when we had the chance to work together in India, which is a blossoming market. I think of it like Las Vegas, where we were the first big restaurant (aside from Spago)—we were the first to the gold rush.  If my father does it, because he’s so cautious, then lots of people will follow.

How do those Le Cirque signature dishes translate around the world?
Where we’re located in New Delhi, it’s a governmental-political kind of neighborhood, and we get a lot of that clientele. We realized quickly that the French palate wasn’t something the Indian population liked so much, and they preferred Italian, which was not a problem for us, so we focused on the Italian preparations we’ve always offered. The pastas are the most popular by far, and they really love fish preparations. Our chef is an Italian national, born in Italy but of Indian descent, Mickey Bhoti, and he’s just perfectly in line with what we do over there—lobster risotto, not just white-sauce-red-sauce kind of cuisine. They do traditional crudo, with extra-virgin olive oil instead of wasabi, fish carpaccio, things like that.

What about the design signatures? Are they standard from restaurant to restaurant?
A lot of people say oh, we’re going to Le Cirque, so they’re looking for lions and tigers on the ceiling. My father coined the name when he was a waiter at Maxime’s in Paris. All the people pushing out of the doorway in furs and evening gowns, shoving each other to get up to the host, it was a circus in there; that’s where the name comes from. He was talking about that experience of excitement and dynamism, which is what he liked about it. We design in partnership with the venues, but Adam Tihany, who is our architect of choice, has built all our restaurants except the original in 1974, and the locations in the Dominican Republic and India, because in India they already had a design theme that was prevalent throughout the hotel. Our accents and themes were incorporated, though, and he provided drawings of our other restaurants. We try to keep a common theme, but it has to be an elegant restaurant that is flattering to the ladies, and a space that is appropriate for celebration.

How would you characterize the overall feel of the restaurant? What does it add to the hotels and cities you choose?
The energy and quality and traditions are what set us apart. I don’t mean a stodgy waiter with a greased mustache, but the standards and food traditions have stood us well in New York’s tough market, which is a unique experience to diners elsewhere. Not being a chef-driven restaurant, I believe our offering of the total experience is what we bring to the table. There are better chefs than ours, but ours are keyed into the dining experience, and our customers come back because of the atmosphere. They can entertain here, we can offer them everything food-wise, as well as the host—an order off the menu, a special request—we’ll never say no. Over four decades you get a feel for your customers, and you want them to be regulars. You have to make them feel like they’re at home—if we have it in the fridge, we’ll cook it for you. They’re elegant but also comfortable.

Going For Gold on the Conde Nast Traveller 2012 Gold List

Like the BAFTAs and the Oscars, there have long been equally prestigious lists of travel excellence being produced on both sides of the pond: in both cases, there’s often some overlap, but each organization has its own particular sensibility that makes both selections worth paying attention to. While the U.S. edition’s Gold List selections are drawn from their massive readers’ survey, to take advantage of their breadth of knowledge, the U.K. edition depends on their editors depth of experience within the industry to discern what’s truly extraordinary.

The 2012 list is divided into eight categories, depending on your priorities, although of course any hotel on this list will excel in all of these things. Among our favorites within the many excellent hotels selected for each are the newly-reopened St. Pancras Renaissance in London as best for location, the eclectic Crosby Street Hotel in New York as best for rooms, and the classic Alvear Palace in Buenos Aires as best for service. Beyond the basic categories, they also selected for more subjective but equally important concerns, including the Bellagio in Las Vegas for best leisure facilities, the Opposite House in Beijing for best food, and Le Royal Monceau Raffles in Paris for best ambience  & design.

4AM DJ Tour Diary: DJ Phresh Hits Las Vegas

As a manager and partner at 4AM DJs, I’m constantly producing performances, events, and photo shoots around the world. Every day I get reports back from my DJs filled with the kind of wild adventures I rarely get to be a part of as a desk jockey. The people who flock to these stellar international events get to experience the end result of months of prep, but do they really know what a day in the life of a DJ is like? In this column, you’ll hear first-hand accounts of DJ war stories, with photos and videos from the world’s best to show for it. In this 4AM DJ Tour Diary, read about DJ Phresh‘s insane weekend in Vegas. Yours truly, Adam Alpert.

New York, Friday, March 18th, 7:14am: Vegas is a big deal for a lot of American artists and DJs, but at all I could think about was that one extra minute I had planned for on my Blackberry alarm — 7:15am is so much better than 7:14am, especially when it comes down to New York minutes. One of my managers, Arie Deutsch, was calling me in his Diddy-esque “Goin’ Back to Cali” voice to make sure I was up, and my other manager, Adam Alpert, was dually texting and emailing me to make sure I checked out a mention I got in Page Six for the previous night’s insanity. And so the day begins.

Showered, locked, and loaded, I rushed down the stairs of my apartment, Tumi and Incase bags in hand, right into my car, and proceeded to drive through the pothole run that is the route between Williamsburg and JFK Airport. With 10 minutes left before final bag check time, I pulled in at Terminal 5 only to remember that it is the terminal from hell when it comes to parking. I finally found a spot on the top floor of the structure and had to make what felt like a half-mile dash down the corridor leading to check-in. Gotta love it when they turn off the walkways in the morning! The check-in line was ridiculous, and in true New York nightlife fashion, I caught my breath, put on my best, and approached one of the female attendees, who then escorted me past the line and right up to the counter. “Please help this handsome, sweaty man catch his flight.” she said to her coworker. After the usual bag check and inspection of alien devices, later to be described as my DJ needles and equipment, I met up with Adam and Arie in the terminal and got my customary stash of snacks for the flight. After a couple minutes of safety prayers, I threw my iPad new music playlist on, and then it was heels up, and lights out.

Las Vegas, Friday, March 18th, 1:00 pm. Five animal crackers, a sandwich, a four hour nap, one remix, and twenty levels of Angry Birds later, and hello Las Vegas! There’s just something about Vegas that gets me every time. The minute I land it’s like the entire city is screaming “GO IN!”

The crew and I made our way out toward baggage claim, where our driver was waiting with his “love boat” sign. We got our bags and headed to our first stop on my Vegas Spring Break weekend, The Mirage. Light Group had me set up to spin at The Bank at the Bellagio, Jet nightclub at the Mirage, and The Bare Pool at the Mirage. Light Group is one of the major hospitality development and management companies in the States. I was introduced to them initially through Danny A., who cosigned me for my work at Upstairs.

Once we got to the Mirage, Arie and I decided to go check out the Bare Pool and see what the vibe was down there. It was 70 degrees in Vegas, which totally beats NY’s mid 40’s. When I got to Bare, I bumped into Kalika Moquin, who was running the show. She walked us right in and it was everything I expected. The music was on point, the vibe was right, and the crowd was sexy. It definitely took me a lot longer to blink than usual. After that, we decided to stop by BLT Burger and grab a bite before linking up with my homie, DJ Ikon. Ikon just opened up a sick sneaker store called Feature LV and he wanted me to check out all of the progress they had made since my last visit. Not even 5 minutes into my sneaker hunt, and I already had 3 pairs of kicks on the counter waiting for checkout. Once I wrapped up, I took a trip next door to my other good friends DJ Crooked and DJ Neva’s clothing store, KNYEW, which stands for Keeping New York Everywhere. I picked up a few shirts from some up-and-coming brands, and a couple accessories, and headed back to the Mirage for a pre-game nap. image

Friday, March 18th, 10:00 pm. After waking up and retrieving Arie from the sportsbook, we headed over to the Bellagio and had dinner at Yellowtail, one of my personal favorites. It’s also about 50 feet from The Bank. Once dinner was done, we walked over to the club, which was a total scene. It wasn’t even midnight yet, and it was already packed. We were greeted out front by Colin Comer from The Bank and a linebacker-sized security guard, who then proceeded to make an opening through the crowd toward the DJ booth. DJ Karma was opening and had the crowd nice and ready when we got there. I don’t usually drink — unless it’s with the Light Group crew, apparently. Because Jake Saady from Light Group walked into the booth with Karma in the middle of my set and it automatically became Patron time. At that point, I just went into autopilot and went in with all the hits. Vegas is a hits-only kind of town, and that’s one of the things I love about the crowds. They just want to dance. The Bank is a high-end room, and there’s no room for the too-cool-for-school mentality or wallflowers. As a DJ, it’s the perfect stage to exert your crowd motivation and party rocking skills. I stayed on until after 3am, tapped out, and passed the headphones to Karma.

Saturday, March 19th, 5:00am. In a perfect world, at this time of morning I’d be tucked under some high thread covers, dead-to-the-world-asleep, but not in Vegas. We leave The Bank and and somehow got from the Bellagio over to the a bright and modern hotel, whose name I was too drunk to remember, where we met up with some friends for some late night gambling, and then over to a friend’s two-story suite for the after-after party. The rest of this story has been redacted to protect the not-so-innocent and their fuzzy warbles. Bedtime: 10am.

Saturday, March 19th, 4:00pm. So tonight is Jet Nightclub, and a 10pm reservation at Stack. I was supposed to spin the Bare Pool earlier at 3 but the temperature dropped 15 degrees, so it’s not warm enough outside for the pool to be open. It’s a big let down because it would have been my first pool party in Vegas. But there’s always next time. Kalika and the Light Group crew were cool about it too, and let me know that they’d make up next time. So now it’s time to get productive, which means remixes.

Saturday, March 19th, 10:00 pm. I headed down to Stack Restaurant, where Light Group had us set up with an all-you-can-eat dinner for 6. The food was great. I usually don’t enjoy DJing on a full stomach, but I didn’t feel that weighed down or tired after the meal. After dinner, I ran up to the room to find myself real quick, and then came down and met up with JT and security. They took me over to the club through the secret “bat cave” entrance, which led right up to the red carpet. I had a couple shots taken, and then ran inside and hopped on with DJ Ikon.

Jet was insanely packed, and more hip-hop centered than The Bank. At around midnight, I got on with Ikon’s blessing and started to go to work. A short while later, Adam Alpert showed up with a huge crew to support me. Ikon had the “Patron Time” look in his eyes, so we went down that road again. My encore set was even more fun for me, because I actually got to spin house. New York clubs want to leave on a high-energy note, but every now and then you should smooth them out. Once the club finally closed, we decided to go meet up with my good friend and a great DJ, David Christian.

DC does the DJ booking for Light Group. We met over at this local Asian restaurant on Spring Mountain Road that all of the industry people go to. It was pretty packed for that hour of the night, and the food was remarkable. Good times were had, and I got a chance to meet some more of the local Vegas DJs. The camaraderie amongst DJs in Vegas is unrivaled. After failing miserably at downing the mountain of pad thai I ordered, I decided to call it a night and skipped past the sexting part of the night right for the pillows. Overall, the trip was successful and fun, and that’s the best you can ask for — good times with good people, and a whole lot of left-out details, because what happens in Vegas…well, you know the rest.

‘The Hangover’s’ Todd Phillips: Living in an R-Rated World

When Todd Phillips told me that he had read my piece on his latest film The Hangover, I was surprised that it had found his eyes. “Of course,” he explained. “There is this big machine at Warner Bros., where they send you these media alerts. Even if some fucking fat kid in Tampa writes on his blog, it somehow gets across your desk. It can be very depressing.” But Phillips has no reason to feel down. His raunchy, R-rated comedy is getting the kind of positive press that no Hollywood publicity machine can buy, and rightfully so.

The Hangover is a deliriously naughty trip into the bowels of Vegas bachelor party hedonism, after three friends wake up from a wild night, only to find that they’re missing the groom. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifiankis are already being hailed as breakout stars, before the film has even hit theatres, and Phillips—who directed Old School and Roadtrip, but stumbled with School for Scoundrels—is once again one of Hollywood’s hottest harbingers of comedic swagger.

The movie is being referred to as the sleeper hit of the summer, even before it’s released. Does that put a lot of pressure on you? No, I think it puts a lot of pressure on the studio. They know they have a movie that works, and that’s good—I think that’s probably why you see ads for it every two seconds. But the best ad we have for the movie is the movie. That’s why we keep showing it. We’ve had 300 screenings just showing people, because there’s no better commercial for the movie than the movie itself. When movies work, they work because of word of mouth, because a guy like you will go back to the office and tell everyone they have to watch it. Then they’ll go, because they trust you more than a commercial.

Are you expecting the movie to open big? We don’t expect this movie to open big, honestly. It still doesn’t have Jack Black on the movie poster, or Tom Hanks, or whatever. But we just think we can stick around this summer a little bit. We feel like we are pretty clear up until Bruno. We can really play for a while.

You left Borat because of creative differences with its star. Do you think if things had gone better on the set of Borat, you might have been the director of Bruno right now? Maybe, although I don’t think I would have ever done another one. The thing with Borat is, it’s not a very director-driven film, and I really am a filmmaker, and I think part of our tensions on that movie were very much—and again I’ll take the blame for it—but you want to put your voice on something, but this is something that this genius has already created and inhabited. It’s a very difficult thing to do so, had even I done that I couldn’t imagine I would go do another one.

Is there a part of you that hopes you guys beat Bruno? No, honestly part of me hopes we beat every movie. I hope we beat Land of the Lost, because they open against us. To be honest with you, Bruno doing well just helps me in the long run. It helps everyone who’s directing comedies. Those movies doing well just helps the business. The more movies without those huge stars that can get made and cut through, the better it is for the business.

And then it’s movies like this that make the huge stars. It’s true, it’s like this cannibalizing thing, because then they become big stars, and then you need to get three new guys.

I called Zach Galifiankis “Jack Black with demons.” Does he have the potential to become that kind of marquee name, or is he too much on the fringe? No, because if you remember, Jack was on the fringe. I mean, I saw Tenacious D at the Viper Room a few years ago. You couldn’t be more on the fringe than Jack. Now he’s doing family movies like Kung Fu Panda, so no, I don’t think you’re ever too much on the fringe for Hollywood to take you and water you down into submission.

Have you seen Zach’s Between Two Ferns with Bradley Cooper? Of course, I was there because they were shooting in Vegas. I mean, Zach is one of the most unique comic voices, I think I’ve ever met. By the way, he reminds me of Sacha. They are very different in what they do, but it’s like, “Whoa, this is a true comic voice I am meeting now.” And Zach just continues to blow my mind.

How do you write a character for someone like that? Did he come in and make it his own? We wrote it with Zach in mind. I just thought, okay what is Zach? He’s left- footed, he doesn’t belong, he is an outsider, so let’s make this character a left footed outsider that he can inhabit. That’s why he crushes it so badly. This role is hand-crafted for him from the Franklin Mint.

What about Bradley and Ed? How would you describe their styles of comedy? I think Bradley, for the first time in a movie, really looks like a man. And I also always felt like he’s like a boy in other movies, because he’s kind of playing the spineless, put-upon asshole in the movie. Here he really takes the stage, and he runs shit, and he’s really alpha male. His comedy comes from an alpha male who keeps fucking up. And Ed, his comedy comes from being this henpecked, stuffed-into-a-box kind of guy.

You don’t hold back in this movie. There are holocaust and 9/11 jokes. Were there ever times when you said “Okay, this is too far”? Honestly, you can talk to any of these guys, I think I’m darker than any of them. So there are times when I am like, “Okay, we’re going to jerk off this baby now.” And Zach goes, “We can’t do that. I don’t even know if that’s legal.” By the way, it was Zach’s idea, he did it with a doll as a joke, and I was like, “Oh my god, we have to put that in the movie!” I do a lot of movies that involve a lot of mayhem, and when you’re doing a movie which embraces mayhem, you have to embrace mayhem while making the movie. You can’t be reigning anything in. You come to the set of my movie and you’ll think this is a very disorganized mess, and everybody seems high, and what’s going on? There is a baby over there and he’s not even in a baby seat. But it’s all organized chaos.

A friend of mine saw the movie, and he called it repulsively misogynistic and cited the two female characters as a “ball-cutting bitch and a hooker.” How would you respond to him? The Hangover is The Hangover.

I’m going to tell him this, by the way. He’s probably smarter than me. But what do you mean, repulsively misogynistic? That’s the character! Are you saying that there aren’t characters like that in the world, that there aren’t women like that? That’s who we chose to make the movie about. Does every movie have to have every representation represented? It does not pretend to be a movie about wonderful women and wonderful men. It’s a movie about fucked up shit. Talk about being a ball-cutter, have your friend get some fucking balls. It’s so hard to defend because there is no defense. That’s the movie.

What about Ken Jeong, who plays a villain? Ken is a mad man. He’s one of those guys who’s just fearless. And all you can ask for in a comedy is to work with fearless actors. Your last directorial effort School For Scoundrels was a box office disappointment. Did the old Hollywood adage that ‘you’re only as good as your last film’ trouble you? I certainly hoped it would do better. You’re right, it was a box office disappointment. I don’t think that if you work in Hollywood, that that’s particularly true. Maybe in certain peoples mind you’re only as good, but your career doesn’t end over a movie, and I knew that going in. I learned a lot from that film, like trying to make an edgy comedy PG-13 just doesn’t work. I was born to be a balls-out R-rated person.

There are only a few other directors out there who are doing mainstream R-rated comedies, like Judd Apatow and Adam McKay. Do you feel a kindred spirit with them? Yeah, we’re all friends, we all see each other in movies, and we screen them for each other sometimes.

Why did you choose Caesar’s Palace as the main location for your film? It’s a great hotel, it’s real old school, which is what I like about it for the movie. We wanted the guys to have a real gentleman vibe going to Vegas, not a bunch of twenty year olds going to Planet Hollywood or something.

Where else did you guys shoot in Vegas? We shot all over Vegas. What I love about the movie is that so much of it takes place in the daytime. You don’t really see Vegas a lot during the daytime, because it’s not really that attractive. We went to Pure, and shot there, The Bank at the Bellagio, Spearmint Rhino, all those kinds of establishments.

Could this movie have happened in any other city? No, I think Vegas has something about it. It’s about making bad decisions. You get off the plane and you immediately start making bad decisions. This movie could have been called Bad Decisions. It’s not about a bachelor party. It’s about reconciling the bad decisions you made.

Earth Hour 2009

imageThis Saturday, cities all around the world are participating in a little thing called “Earth Hour“. From 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, the lights are going out. Restaurants are serving by candlelight, hotels are creating entire packages around the event, and monuments like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Eiffel Tower will go dim for the 60-minute tribute to promoting awareness about climate change.

In New York, the Empire State Building, the Coca-Cola Billboard in Times Square, and NYU are just a few of the businesses participating. In Los Angeles, Border Grill, O-Bar, and Ciudad will be participating in an hour of darkness. Las Vegas is stepping it up and turning off the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, and dozens of hotels, including the Wynn, Four Seasons, Golden Nugget, Paris, and Bellagio are hitting the off switch as well. So if you find yourself sitting in darkness this Saturday, don’t panic; just make sure to pack a flashlight.

Vegas Financial Fallout = Cheap Hotel Rates

imageThere’s rumblings of the “B” word in Las Vegas. MGM Mirage, of the Bellagio, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, and MGM Grand, is in danger of defaulting on their debts of $13.5 billion and filing Chapter 11. Other hotels are in similar predicaments, so this is the time to book hotel rooms in Vegas, as rates are dropping to unheard-of numbers at primo properties — like $149 a night at the Four Seasons.

The best way to get these crazy deals is to sign up for the hotels’ newsletters, as they publish their best rates to their biggest fans first. Just as an example: Those on the Mandalay Bay email list were offered an exclusive Four Seasons deal called the “Vegas Escape.” It included rooms for $149 plus a $25 spa credit, with a two-night minimum March 10-May 14, based on availability. If you want to get really ridiculous about it, there are rates as low as $6.25 for rooms outside of town — but who wants to stay on the fringes when the deals in town are so good?