Travel Weekly's Las Vegas E-letter: July 6, 2004

THE LAS VEGAS MONORAIL, originally scheduled to debut last January, will begin operating at 8 a.m. July 15. The $650 million, privately funded transportation system will run between the MGM Grand and the Sahara on the east side of the Strip and will connect nine properties and the Las Vegas Convention Center. The four-mile route, which will be expanded in the future to run to the city's downtown and to McCarran Airport, will make stops at the MGM Grand, Bally's/Paris, Flamingo/Caesars Palace, Harrah's/Imperial Palace, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Las Vegas Hilton and the Sahara. For the first 60 days, the monorail will operate daily from 8 a.m. to midnight. After that, trains will run from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. each day. Tickets, which can be purchased at vending machines located inside each station and station properties, will cost $3 each way.

OLIVER NORTH, best-selling author, Fox News Channel war correspondent and television host, will speak about his war-time experiences in Iraq on Aug. 28 in the South Pacific Ballroom at the Tropicana Resort & Casino. North, a former U.S. counter-terrorism coordinator, Freedom Alliance founder and decorated Marine combat hero, recently published his fifth book, "War Stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom." Tickets for the event cost $150 per person and can be purchased at the Tiffany Theatre box office or by phone at (702) 739-2411. The price includes a dinner buffet, drinks and a signed copy of the book. The evening will begin with dinner at 6:30 and will end at 8:30; North will speak for about an hour.

CONSTRUCTION HAS BEGUN on the $20 million Tao Las Vegas entertainment complex, which is expected to open early next year in the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. Owners Marc Packer and Richard Wolf, who opened the original Tao in New York more than three years ago, are negotiating to dismantle a centuries-old Asian temple and rebuild it in the Venetian's Grand Canal Shoppes. Featuring a 20-foot-tall signature Buddha statue, the Las Vegas version of Tao, which will be four times the size of the New York location, will include a 400-seat restaurant whose menu will include fare from China, Japan and Thailand created by chef Sam Hazen; a 3,000-square-foot ultra lounge; a banquet facility that can accommodate up to 2,000 guests; and a 10,000-square-foot nightclub called the Temple at Tao.

TICKETS ARE ON SALE for "We Will Rock You," which makes its North American debut at Paris-Las Vegas on Aug. 16. The lavish rock musical features 20 of Queen's greatest hits and is coproduced by Robert DeNiro and Queen founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor. Show times are 9 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturdays. Tickets are priced at $80.50, $97 and $113.50, including tax and handling, and can be purchased at the Paris box office or by calling (702) 946-4567 or (877) ROCK-SHOW.

MARIACHI PASSION & TRADITION, a Latino-themed show featuring performances by 15 musicians and vocalists, opened at the V Theater inside Desert Passage at the Aladdin Resort and Casino. Show times are 10:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays plus Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Admission for the 10:30 p.m. performances are $55 and $66 while the matinee costs $45 and $55. Tickets can be purchased at the V Theater box office or by phone at (702) 892-7790, (888) MLASVEGAS or (800) MARIACHI.

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