Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: May 1, 2007

SERIOUS FOODIES can gain rare access to celebrity chefs, food writers, vintners and sommeliers during the Bon Appetit Culinary & Wine Focus, which runs May 17 through 20 at various locations throughout Las Vegas. Top chefs expected to make appearances during the four-day event include Paul Bartolotta, Daniel Boulud, Joseph Keller, Bradley Ogden, Guy Savoy, Alex Stratta and pastry chef Jean-Phillippe Maury. Weekend highlights include an exclusive wine auction and dinner at Wynn Las Vegas with Bon Appetit Editor in Chief Barbara Fairchild and Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn; a Grand Tasting poolside at Caesars Palace featuring Las Vegas chefs; and a Stars on the Lake performance by singer John Legend at Lake Las Vegas Resort.  Attendees enjoy up close and personal access with master chefs at daily workshops covering chocolate; spices, rubs, and pastes; tartares; artisanal salts; Asian fusion; tapas; cocktails; and more.  For more information, call (888) 34-FOCUS or visit www.bonappetitfocus.com.

MEMORABILIA FROM POPULAR MOVIES, top name restaurants, a shopping venue and movie-themed guest rooms are planned for the $1 billion Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino slated to open in September on the site of the famed Aladdin casino in Las Vegas. The official rebranding of the Aladdin is slated to take place Sept. 28. Plans call for the Arabian-themed Aladdin to undergo a "head-to-toe" renovation that will transform it into a state of the art, luxury resort. New restaurants, lounges, and a "cutting edge" casino will be added. The property will also feature 2,600 rooms and suites, each featuring a movie theme to "immerse" guests into the "world of celebrity and Hollywood culture." New entertainment productions are also in the works, including "The Beauty of Magic" featuring magician Hans Klok and entertainer Carmen Electra, and "Stomp Out Loud," a show from the creators of "Stomp." The Planet Hollywood resort also will encompass the Planet Hollywood Towers by Westgate. The 50-story glass tower, featuring 1,200 vacation villas, 28 penthouse suites, a fitness facility, meetings space and restaurants, is slated to open in 2009.

THE BELLAGIO GALLERY OF FINE ART presents "In the Master's Hands: Picasso's Ceramics, Treasures from the Estate of Pablo Picasso." The exhibit, which opens May 25 and runs through Jan. 14, was five years in the making, and it features more than 30 ceramic works of art by the famous artist. Works on display include ceramic figurines of an owl, a fish, a bird, and a bull and portraits and scenes painted on tiles, plates and plaques, including a portrait of the artist's son and a scene from a bullfight. The Picasso exhibit replaces the current exhibition, "Ansel Adams: America," which closes on May 11. For more information, call (702) 693-7871 or visit www.bgfa.biz.

ICE SKATING in the desert? Only during the new production "ICE: Direct from Russia," at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. The first new production to open at the Riviera in more than 20 years, "ICE: Direct from Russia" combines ice skating and aerial acrobatics with an eclectic soundtrack for a "magical journey from the bitter cold of Moscow to the warmth and vibrant colors of the Las Vegas desert." The show is based on the works of Sergey Ryshkoff, founder of the Moscow Ice Circus, and features 42 world-class ice performers direct from Russia. "ICE: Direct from Russia" was adapted and directed by Debra Brown, who is known for her choreography work on popular Las Vegas productions "Mystere," "O" and "Zumanity." For more information, call (702) 794-9433 or visit www.rivierahotel.com.

GAY-FRIENDLY hotels and businesses in Las Vegas are presenting Gay Days & Nights Las Vegas, a series of promotions and events aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender visitors that starts in July and runs through the remainder of the year. The program kicks off July 4 through 8 with a long weekend of hosted events, including a reception at the Liberace Museum, an afternoon dance party at Blue Moon Resort, an evening dance party at Krave, discount shopping and desert excursions. Presenting sponsor Cirque du Soleil offers five nights of special programs, including artist meet-and-greets, performer Q&A sessions and cocktail parties. For more information, call (415) 437-3800 or visit www.gaydaysandnights.com.

Las Vegas Editor: Dean Blaine

Phone: (650) 348-1752

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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