Elvis Made A Lot of Movies; Watch Them on Encore In May

Elvis Presley fans are a passionate bunch. They will defend the work of their hero, no matter how many people from whose music he appropriated. Sometimes they will perform as him or pay way too much for parking to visit his national-landmark Memphis home. 

And there are plenty of reasons why the work of the King continues to be so beloved. It’s fun, it’s timeless, it hearkens back to a simpler time in American history. And for those who never tire of Elvis nostalgia, or the escapist, goofy fun of his many films, Encore is showing a good-sized chunk of his classic films throughout the month of May, sans commercials. So if you’re part of the oddly specific but probably bigger than we think niche market of Elvis fans with Encore, every night at 8 until the 31st, you can rejoice in Girl Happy, Viva Las Vegas or G.I. Blues.

This upcoming weekend has a pretty solid bill—Blue Hawaii on Friday; Jailhouse Rock on Saturday, King Creole on Sunday. But if you have plans this weekend, there will be plenty of other opportunities to practice your hip-swiveling and perfect that upper-lip sneer thing he used to do.


Elvis: At the Movies DVD  – Blue Hawaii clip by joemecanic

EXCLUSIVE: New Songs By The Virgins

New York’s The Virgins haven’t released an album since their 2008 self-titled debut, but the group is starting to kick around new tracks in advance of a new record rumored to be coming out this year.

On March 5, the group debuted “Flowers,” “Blue Rose Tattoo” and “Slave To You,” three as-yet unrecorded songs, at The Encore! Sessions at Le Baron, the Parisian import nightclub in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Presented by < FORWAR:D > and Absolut, the evening was captured on video and we’re giving you a first look at the new songs.

The band themselves were thrilled to try out new songs before they had the chance to lay them down in the studio. “It’s cool recording a live show especially when you haven’t made a record of the songs—so thanks to Encore Sessions for having us,” the group said to BlackBook in an exclusive statement

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Las Vegas New Year’s Eve: To Dance

Headliners of all stripes and styles are seizing the moment to take stages all around town, and that includes several major hotel performances. Whether they’re opening a hot new nightclub or just partying with old friends, musicians all over the city want to make it a night to remember.

At the Cosmopolitan, the legendary Stevie Wonder is kicking off 2012 at the Chelsea, while a potential heir to the piano crooner throne John Legend will be onstage at The Pearl at the Palms, followed by an afterparty at Moon. Also on piano, Bruno Mars is playing The Bank at the Bellagio, while Chris Brown’s show at Pure at Caesar’s Palace will be set to the backdrop of the Strip’s fireworks show. And throwback alert: Vanessa Williams will be taking the stage at the Riviera, performing her favorite old R&B hits.

The rockers of Guns N’ Roses are finishing off their farewell tour with a two and a half hour set at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel—singer/rapper Drake will kick off 2012 with a performance the following day. If you like your rock a little more alt, Franky Perez is playing a set at Rocks Lounge at the Red Rock Hotel; their other venues are hosting DJ BKNY at Lucky Bar, and Latin dance group Toto Zara at Onyx. Turntables more your speed? Steve Angello (the house DJ and one-third of DJ trio Swedish House Mafia will be spinning all night at XS Nightclub at Encore. And if “Party Rock” is your anthem of the year, LMFAO is coming to Haze at Aria for the midnight show.

In clubland, House of Blues at Mandalay Bay goes punk for the evening, with performances by Old Man Markley and NOFX, while producer and rapper B.o.B. takes over LAX at the Luxor. Poptart Fergie opens up the new outpost of 1OAK at the Mirage, while bandmate Will.i.am is spinning at Surrender at Encore with DJ Ammo. And for one of the biggest tickets of the night, R&B goddess Mary J. Blige opens RPM Nightclub at the Tropicana. Many VIP packages have already sold out, but the hotels are planning on making these concerts a party—even the cheap seats are sure to come along with a good time.

If you haven’t had enough (or, let’s face it, are still up the next day) dance out your hangover at Hyde, the new club opening at the Bellagio at 5pm on Jan. 1 with DJ88 spinning, snacks from Circo, and a special show by DJ Paul Oakenfold.

Jesse Waits on Las Vegas’ Electronic Renaissance

In a city built on excess, Las Vegas’ XS nightclub raised the bar. I once described it as the Godzilla of nightclubs. That was meant as a positive description. Jesse Waits remains firmly in charge of this Wynn hotel mega-masterpiece. He has weathered the competition, the daily grind, and other distractions, which might have dampened the spirits of a lesser man.

XS has won a ton of nightclub awards, but in Vegas, the bottom line is the bottom line. XS is a moneymaker on a scale unforeseen before its entry into the fray. Jesse Waits took Vegas to another level, and is here to talk about improving the perfect storm of accolades, fun, and moneymaking he helped create. The pairing of Vegas-style service with huge international DJs brings a sort of undeniable credibility to Nevada’s wonderland. The residencies of world class DJs at the club add another layer of excitement to a city that seemed to have an excess of it already.

What brought the shift of marketing strategies to focus more on electronic artists? I’ve been a fan of electronic music for some time now, and it’s something I’ve been closely keeping my eye on, from both a personal interest and business perspective. The shift of focus for our marketing efforts came solely based on demand. We experimented with bookings for a while, and once we saw the return, we knew this was where our attention needed to lie, on bringing in the biggest and best talent in the world to XS. What can club-goers expect when they see one of these performers? Electrifying energy. It’s all about the exhilarating atmosphere when we have an electronic headliner performing. I walk on stage and look out on the dance floor, and everyone is absolutely entranced, dancing in synchronization to the beats, exuding pure bliss as they let these DJs take them on a journey throughout the evening. Who is the game changer right now? I think Tiesto and Deadmau5 are the two superstars right now. I love what Afrojack is bringing to the scene, and I see a lot of potential in R3HAB, who is a major talent on the rise. What kind of crowds are you seeing (numbers-wise) when booking these artists? On a busy weekend, XS will pull in about 7,000 people a night. We have focused on bringing in a lot of these artists to our Sunday Night Swim and Monday industry night parties. On what would normally be an off-night, we’re pulling in close to the same numbers as a Friday or Saturday during our busy season. For holiday weekends like Memorial Day, we packed our lineup with A-Trak on Friday, Afrojack on Saturday, Deadmau5 on Sunday, and Feed Me on Monday. The reaction from fans was like nothing we’ve ever seen before and blew every other holiday weekend completely out of the water. Do you think this genre is facing the same push into the mainstream as rock ‘n roll in the ’70s or hip-hop in the ’80s? DJs are the new rock stars. They’re going through the exact push we saw with hip-hop in the ’80s. They are taking it mainstream, collaborating with everyone from Black Eyed Peas to Rihanna. We had Afrojack perform the night after he won a Grammy for his remix of Madonna’s “Revolver” with David Guetta, and it felt like a historic moment to celebrate in the club. What kind of reaction do you see when announcing a new performer? When we have major announcements on new performers, we like to push it through social media first, so our fans and followers feel that they have an insider’s advantage. We announced that Deadmau5 was going to be performing at our two year anniversary in February, and he was trending on Twitter in Las Vegas within an hour and a half. When we broke the news he’d be back for Memorial Day Weekend, it was 45 minutes. Nevada leads the country in Twitter usage, so obviously to have something like that trending, it’s a major topic of discussion. Where do you see this going in the future? The genre is only going to get bigger. We saw the popularity first explode through dance music, but now that there is interest, the fans are really ready to explore further. When Deadmau5 performed over Memorial Day, the crowd went crazy when he transitioned into a dubstep set. The enthusiasts only want to hear more, know more, and experience more at this point. They’re hooked. What does an event like Electric Daisy moving into the city do for the credibility of the scene? When North America’s largest electronic music festival decides Las Vegas is where it needs to be, it gives major credibility to what the nightlife scene has been building over the past year. The Insomniac team saw that the interest was here, and the city was ready, and having a festival in Las Vegas made a lot of sense logistically. But more than anything, it just goes to show that what we’ve been building and working on with these artists was absolutely the right strategy and investment for our venues. Are old spaces being retrofitted for sound proofing and new ones engineered with sound isolation? Wynn and Encore are more recent developments that took into account sound when developing the nightlife venues inside the hotels. How does a casino determine revenues from a club? Are projected incomes from nearby restaurants, rooms, and other services figured into value evaluations of a clubs bottom line? XS and Tryst naturally have a higher-end clientele because they are located inside Five Star, Five Diamond resorts at Wynn and Encore. The revenue from the nightclub is completely separate, and our venues have really excelled in offering immaculate service and innovative marketing to attract these customers. Since opening, XS has been voted the #1 nightclub in the country on Nightclub & Bar’s Top 100 contest consecutively, both years of operation based on revenue. Tryst came in this year in the #9 spot as well.

Cy and Jesse Waits, Two of a Kind

“It’s the Godzilla of nightclubs.” That was the reaction of our nightlife guru Steve Lewis when I asked him about XS, the mega club at casino maven Steve Wynn’s Encore hotel in Las Vegas. But unlike the fictional Japanese monster who stomped on citizens and cities with uncontrollable glee, XS is a tightly controlled, carefully calculated environment designed to redefine nightlife and provide customers with the ultimate Vegas experience. As Lewis later put it, “This is the machine.”

The operators of this machine (which at $100 million, makes it one of the most expensive nightclubs ever built), are identical twin brothers Cy and Jesse Waits. Growing up in a dusty Southern California town, they had no inkling that by the age of 34, they’d be sitting atop one of the biggest nightlife empires in the country. But that’s exactly where the brothers find themselves, after forging a lasting partnership with legendary club impresario and film producer Victor Drai on a number of amazingly successful endeavors, including XS, Tryst nightclub at the Wynn, Drai’s after hours inside Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon, and Drai’s Hollywood, which recently opened in the W Hollywood. “We grew up in such a small town, I never even thought I’d meet anyone that I saw on TV,” says Cy, who now schmoozes on the regular with stars from the film, music, and sports worlds.

So how did the Waits’ find themselves at the forefront of West Coast nightlife? After all, there isn’t a school that teaches you how to master the inner workings of a mega club. The answer is experience. Growing up, they were the kids in the neighborhood who threw the house parties. “We were always trying to make everyone comfortable, making sure everyone is set up and feeling good about themselves,” says Cy. “We were the social butterflies, walking around and getting everyone’s input.” Jesse was the first one to move to Vegas, leaving the sleepy beaches of Hawaii for the blinding lights and monolithic hotels of the Strip. There, he cut his teeth at some of the city’s best clubs, excelling at everything from bartending to promoting. Soon, he was joined by Cy, who initially planned to work in the industry for a year, before returning to California to pursue other endeavors. But Las Vegas is a revenue beast, with billions of dollars being sucked up by its nightlife and entertainment industries, and Cy quickly realized the boundless opportunity a partnership with his brother could bring. “We started from the bottom up. We did everything in the nightclub business so we get it. We understand the aspect of what it takes to bartend or what the door guy goes through. We get it,” he says.

Eventually, Jesse found himself managing the popular Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay, where they met Victor Drai. “We just kind of befriended each other,” says Jesse. “He was just a nice guy who would buy bottles. We started hanging out as friends and eventually, after three years of knowing him, decided to join him at Drai’s After Hours.”

Their big break came when La Bete, hotelier Steve Wynn’s first nightclub, failed to do the kind of business necessary to succeed in Vegas’ cutthroat landscape. “It was designed poorly for a nightclub,” says Jesse. “Their structure, management, and promotional team was not as well thought out as it should have been. To run a nightclub, it takes more personality than it does a corporate structure.” Drai and the twins stepped in, and after redesigning and rebranding the club, Tryst was born. Around the mid-aughts, Tryst nightclub at the Wynn rose to become Vegas’ premiere nightlife destination. (You might recall the infamous night when a pantless Britney Spears’ partied with Paris Hilton. That happened at Tryst. “It was pretty bizarre, she was asking for the attention” says Jesse.) With a hundred-foot waterfall cascading over the dancefloor, the never-seen-that-before opulence of Tryst was only the beginning.

image The waterfall at Tryst. image XS.

It’s difficult to fully grasp the scope of XS without experiencing it for yourself. Both Jesse and Cy seemed at a loss for words when trying to convey its epicness. They both told me it’s something I need to see to believe. At 40,000 square feet, XS is such a behemoth, it effectively stole its sister club’s clientele. “It’s a black hole, basically,” says Jesse, “not just for our business, but everybody’s business.” Indeed, as far as most are concerned, the extravagance on display at XS will be difficult to match. Lewis, who’s been designing nightclubs for over a decade, went as far as calling it “the best nightclub in the country.” With a capacity of 4,000, XS is designed with a high style and to allow a particular flow so that it never feels crowded. “It was not another building that we renovated to make into a nightclub. It was built for that purpose,” says Jesse.

XS’ unabashed extravagance is best bottled up (pun intended) in the Ono Cocktail, which, if ordered, is the equivalent of drinking liquid gold. Invented by Cy, the drink is more a muscle flex than a thirst quencher. When someone orders one, the XS staff makes sure the whole club knows it. At $10,000, it’s composed of Charles Heidsieck champagne and Louis XIII de Remy Martin Black Pearl cognac, and each glass comes with gold XS cufflinks for the men, and a black pearl. “I would say we have sold at least 12 or 15 of them in a year. I mean that’s pretty good for a cocktail that’s $10,000,” says Cy.

The twins admit the look of the place is mostly thanks to Victor Drai’s distinct vision. He’s the mastermind, they say. “He doesn’t think about how it’s going to work, all he focuses on is the look and flow,” says Cy. All of Drai’s spots are created to look like lush, dense paradises that avoid any tawdriness. Drai’s After Hours in Vegas is dotted with red velvet couches, leopard print carpeting, and Tamara de Lempicka prints. It all stems from his trailblazing sense of style. “He was popping his collar long before anybody else was doing it,” says Cy. “He’s got his boots and his swagger. He’s amazing. You have a conversation with him and you’d be surprised he’s 65. It feels like he’s 22.”

But after 12 years in the nightclub industry, the Waits brothers have also developed a sixth sense for what makes a club work. Once Drai has exercised his particular brand of showmanship on the place, Cy and Jesse will work on the club’s personality. They’re after the little things, the details customers don’t notice, but nevertheless that enhance their experience. Says Cy, “We’ll sit down in booths and make sure everything is comfortable. Everything needs to have a feeling to it. Where are the table sides? How big is the booth? How far are your knees from the ground? How many stripper poles should there be?”

Once the club is open, it’s the twins’ job to make sure it has legs. And, like any cohesive partnership, they’ve adapted and split their duties to play to their particular strengths. As Jesse tells it, he’s on the “marketing” side of things. He’s at the door every night greeting clients, whether it’s the governor of Nevada or someone looking to spend their roulette winnings on a bottle of Goose. At a club with thousands of people, personal attention from its top personnel can make nights. That’s what Jesse, and to some degree his brother, provide. He sees himself as the club’s diplomat, on the front lines with the clientele. Cy, on the other hand, thinks of himself as the problem solver, the fix-it guy. He handles the staff and ensures all the cogs of the machine are running in unison. Neither brother is ever without his BlackBerry, except while practicing martial arts.

Cy and Jesse are constantly traveling between their permanent homes in Vegas (they live in mansions on a golf course, Cy on the 8th hole, Jesse on the 2nd) and their temporary ones L.A. (they have neighboring penthouses at the W). Cy had eighty thousand tons of sand installed in his yard, a personal beach in the middle of the desert. Both brothers have multiple motorcycles, the product of a riding, hippie father of the Easy Rider ilk. They’ve made several Most Eligible Bachelor lists, although Jesse is now in a long term relationship with former Playmate of the Year, Jayde Nicole. They rarely, if ever, drink. Their sobriety is part dedication to a healthy lifestyle, but also, it’s impossible to control a nightlife empire after you’ve had seven gin and tonics.

Most siblings have a competitive edge, but for identical twins, that edge is sharpened. “When we were kids, it used to be who can throw the biggest rock through the window,” says Cy. That they work so closely together is an achievement, even if they admit to butting heads occasionally. “It’s war sometimes,” Cy says. “A couple of years ago, there were times when we almost got into fist fights over the most ridiculous things. We’ve gotten past that. When we first started working together again, we were in each other’s face. If Jesse’s really emotional about something, or I’m really emotional about something, one of us will just back off and we’ll just not talk for a few days until we cool down, and then it’s like nothing ever happened.”

Adds his brother, “The best thing about working with my brother is that out of anybody I know, I can trust him because he has my best interest at heart. If anything went down, I know that he would protect me and back me one hundred percent. And in a work environment where people are constantly trying to move up, that’s hard to find.”

Industry Insiders: Elizabeth Blau, Restaurant Queen

Elizabeth Blau, founder and CEO of Las Vegas restaurant consulting firm Elizabeth Blau & Associates, was recruited by Steve Wynn early in her career and has helped shape the Vegas restaurant landscape. She caught up with BlackBook about having the occasional truffle, getting hooked on Wii, and where the Vegas connoisseurs dwell.

What establishments do you like in Vegas? I love Blush. I love Tryst for more of the big night club, and I love The Bank at the Bellagio. I love Bartolotta at the Wynn, I love Nobu and Cut as well.

What’s your job description? I am a restaurateur. I have four restaurant operations with my business partner, Kerry Simon — one of which is Simon at Palms Place, and another restaurant with my chef husband, Kim Canteenwalla. I’m also a restaurant consultant.

And a judge on Iron Chef, right? Yes and a judge.

How would you describe what you do among all of those pictures? I am very lucky because I have the most amazing job in the world, and I get to travel all over the world and eat. I work with amazing people, and I run concept restaurants, make restaurant partnerships, and do everything involved in restaurant deals.

Who are two industry icons or people that you admire in hospitality? There’s a gentlemen named Shep Gordon, and he is just this amazing guy. He represented lots of musician and he represented the Shaft. He’s the one that got Wolfgang and Emeril involved in the Academy Awards. I also have to say Wolfgang Puck. I just think he’s extraordinary.

What are some positive trends you’ve seen recently in your field? I think we got to an unattainable level of success, and this current economic crisis is bringing all of that back around. We started to have restaurants with $60, $70, $80 entrees, and now it’s coming back to the experience of an evening of dining and entertainment. The hoopla over a $1,000 bottle of wine has waned a bit, and now it’s more about the experience: great service, being treated extraordinarily well, and cooking great food. Food may be simpler and more approachable now — however, I don’t mind indulging in a truffle every now and again.

What’s something that people might not know about you? People may not know that I’m a mom. I have the most adorable four-year-old little boy, and he likes to get into boy things. So we are constantly out hiking and trekking around for animals at the zoo and things like that.

Does he have a love of fine dining? Has he taken that from you? He does. He likes to cook, and he has his own kitchen. He’s traveled so much that there was a time where instead of going to a hotel we rented a condo at a resort, and he said, “Mom, I don’t know if I like this place, there’s no room service.” And I thought, “Surely we’ve been traveling too much.”

What’s on your radar right now? I’m obsessed with the Wii. My parents got the Wii and the Wii Fit for the holidays. It’s exercising mixed with video game competition. Everyone in our house goes on. You’ll find yourself a champion on the Wii, and then you’ll get dethroned. It’s a good way to get some exercise and competition — plus, it’s fun.

What’s on the horizon for 2009? We are working on a new restaurant that opened at the Encore at the Wynn called Society. We just started working with the Kor Group, and they’ve got hotels opening up all over the world.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I love junk food candy, like Jujubes. Only the really bad stuff — not the expensive chocolates.

Industry Insiders: Seth Schorr, Vegas Showgun

Vegas native and owner of the newly opened Lucky Club Hotel & Casino Seth Schorr on the future of Vegas nightclubs, early memories of Steve Wynn, and what’s keeping him at home most nights.

Where do you hang out? My wife and I are homebodies these days. Growing up in Las Vegas, I spent my teenage years and early 20s frequenting every club and bar in town. But when we do get the urge to watch other people get intoxicated and listen to loud music, we visit Tryst or Blush at Wynn Las Vegas.

What openings should we know about? I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of XS at Encore, and it will once again raise the bar for nightlife in Las Vegas. It is quite possibly the most sophisticated club in the world. The club has both an indoor and outdoor experience as the walls around the dance floor open, giving access to the pool. There are outdoor lounges and even a gambling area that is incorporated into the club. Minimalism is an adjective that would not be used to describe anything at Encore, which in my humble opinion, makes this property and its retail outlets stand out amongst its neighboring properties. The bold use of colors and the variety of fabrics used throughout the resort is testament to an army of designers lead by Steve Wynn and his lead designer Roger Thomas. Encore is a “category killer” that will also raise the bar of the Las Vegas resort.

Where do you eat? We are partial to dinners at Wynn Las Vegas and eat with my folks at Stratta or local favorites like Lotus of Siam. Also, the restaurant Tokyo in the underrated and antiquated Commercial Center Plaza. We also recently discovered a new Japanese restaurant that’s off the beaten path called Raku. This 25-seat restaurant has the most authentic Japanese food in town for half the price of food on the Strip. Although they do not serve sushi, one can enjoy grilled robotayaki or tsukune.

Who do you admire in Vegas hospitality? My admiration for Steve Wynn is quite obvious. The fact that this man after 40 years and billions of dollars in earnings still works 6.5 days per week is one of his most admirable qualities. But he is also a no-bullshit type of guy. He demands the most out of his employees. He is short on false sincerity and constant encouragement. However, if you can hold your own, you will have the opportunity to work with the best team in the business.

I admire my father, Marc Schorr. My father has worked for Steve Wynn for 30 years and is responsible for making many of his visions a reality. At the end of the day, someone has to focus on the nuances of the operation and make sure these multi-billion dollar machines run effectively, and every detail is scrutinized.

And Bruce Deifik is a one-in-a-million type of guy, who is not only one of the sharpest and best negotiators around, but more importantly is one of the most honest and likable guys you’ll ever meet.

What’s something you like seeing in Vegas hospitality these days? A lot of people have their hands in the hospitality game in Las Vegas. There is more unknown and mystery today than ever before. There are currently three multi-billion-dollar projects in mid-construction, while another half-dozen more are on the drawing boards. Sure, some will stand above the rest, but there is anticipation and excitement about what good qualities each will have of their own. The consumer will also benefit from the economic conditions we currently live under, as they will be able to enjoy these resorts built for the rich and elite at a value. So come one, come all to Las Vegas, where you can stay in the world’s nicest hotel rooms for a buck fifty nine.

Anything you see that you dislike? I do not understand the concept of the condo-hotel. Personally, I think if one spends millions on a condo, they will ultimately not want others to stay in it. Either buy a condo or stay in a hotel. Don’t try and do both.

What was it like growing up in Vegas? Does it mess a lot of kids up? I think kids who grew up in New York City turn out much more messed up. The best part was the late night munchies that any teenager could afford. The negative was that it was too hot to play outside many months out of the year.

Any early Vegas memories? The path that lead me to owning a casino is a long one, starting in 1984, when I first moved to Las Vegas and moved into the Golden Nugget. I was 7 years old and shared room #1027 for about a year with my little sister. The school bus picked me up under the porte cochere, and nightly dinners were held at the buffet. I had the opportunity of meeting celebrities like Paul Anka and clearly remember taking a schvitz with Alan King at the spa.

I watched my father and Steve Wynn schmooze customers and always talk about design and development of the next project. I have a vivid memory of flying on the Golden Nugget DC-10 to New York around 1986. I loved that there was a large glass bowl filled with peanut M&M’s. Steve Wynn showed us a drawing on a napkin of what soon would be known to the world as the Mirage. The idea of a three-pronged building that shared one elevator shaft was novel, and of course having a “live volcano” in front seemed like an incredible fantasy.

What is something that people might not know about you? I am an amateur photographer and videographer. I edit movies using Final Cut Express. I do all of my own in-house promos for the Lucky Club.

You have a background in art history. Who are your favorite artists? My favorite artists are Modigliani and Vermeer.

Any dreams for the future? Kids! I can’t wait. It’s also a great excuse to have sex on a daily basis.

What are you doing tonight? Working on making those dreams come true. We just got back from the opening of Encore. It never ceases to amaze me to see the masses come in droves to check out a new property for the first time. I saw a lot of jaws drop tonight.

Hotel Opening: Encore, Las Vegas

image A little ahead of schedule, Steve Wynn’s latest project, Encore, is opening its doors to guests tonight! As we mentioned, XS, the dance club inside will follow suit just in time to ring in 2009. The all-suite hotel couldn’t have picked a worse time to open, as hotel prices and occupancy rates are plummeting all over Vegas. Steve Wynn’s plan is to drop room rates to encourage a high occupancy rate so that he can avoid laying off any of his staff. This is why you can find rack rates like $199 a night, or if you’re already a Wynn Red Card member, rates are as low as $129 a night. Like, whoa.

Las Vegas! New Year’s Eve!

imageSin City is expecting over 300,000 partiers this New Year’s Eve. The Strip gets shut down, and a giant block-party ensues. Along with neon drinks and dancing in the streets, here are five ways you can ring in the New Year, Vegas style:

1. Party at XS (Encore): Be the first! Steve Wynn’s latest hotspot hotel, Encore opens its doors for the first time at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve.

2. Party with Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz at Pure (Caesars Palace): The $200 admission fee includes a midnight Champagne toast.

3. Gorge yourself on an eight-course meal at Joel Robuchon (MGM Grand): The prix-fixe, special holiday meal — featuring black truffles — is $600 a person.

4. Go see the Akon show at the House of Blues (Mandalay Bay) and dance your way through midnight. The show starts at 11 p.m.

5. Have a private party at Palms Place. If you’ve got 10 friends and $25,000, the Palms Palace will throw you a party in the penthouse. The price includes accommodations and brunch the next day.