Stellar talent raises awareness and funds to combat opioid crisis through ‘Victoria’s Voice Foundation’
Ah, freedom…it feels so wonderful. Gone are the capacity limits, mask requirements and temperature checks. Restaurants are back to serving great meals, clubs are opening and entertainers have taken to the stage. As Las Vegas welcomes back conventions, sporting events and concerts, one of the first fundraisers out of the gate is MUSIC FOR LIFE: An Evening to Save Lives at Westgate Las Vegas.
If you caught my article from a few days ago, you know that June 5th will be an exciting evening with actor Mark Patton (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2) to benefit LGBTQ youth. As luck would have it, the star’s host hotel Westgate will have their own spectacular show on the same evening. On June 5th at 7 pm, a collection of world-renowned names will donate their talented vocals for Victoria’s Voice Foundation.
The story behind Victoria’s Voice is one of tragedy and inspiration. Westgate Resorts patriarch David A. Siegel and wife Jacqueline lost their lovely daughter Victoria to a drug overdose in 2015. Only 18 years old at the time, Victoria left behind a secret diary that her parents found with the help of a friend. The grief-stricken parents decided to publish the diary, along with helpful resources, as a book. Their hope is that Victoria’s first-hand account might change the path of other youth facing the same demons.
In the ensuing six years, Victoria’s Voice Foundation has grown into a a massive initiative of projects, events, videos and resources. They’re aimed at ultimately ending the tragedies that result from drug dependency and abuse, especially in our young population. You can learn more about the services available from Victoria’s Voice Foundation by visiting here.
After the chaos of 2020, the nation needs charities like Victoria’s Voice more than ever. That’s why Westgate Las Vegas is bringing the power of entertainment to their International Theater for a one-night concert like no other:
Music For Life
A tribute to life, this momentous program aims to feature the country’s top talent and recognizable artists to parents and kids alike, such as AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, Chris Kirkpatrick of NSYNC, and Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees, in one of the most exclusive venues in all of Las Vegas, The International Theater of Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.
Known to be the home of music icons Elvis Presley, Dionne Warwick and Barry Manilow, this venue now becomes the site where David and Jacqueline’s friends and partners will come together once again to take the mission to the next level.
An Evening to Save Lives: MUSIC FOR LIFE is a special event to support the critical mission of the Victoria’s Voice Foundation to end the opioid crisis and save our youth. The work of the foundation is even more urgent now as the current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an alarming increase in the number of overdose-related deaths. All of your support and donations from this invitation-only event will help us continue our fight.
Music for Life is being produced by Johnny Wright, one of the most successful music executives in the industry. Wright has played a key role in the careers of multi-platinum acts like Janet Jackson, Menudo, Jonas Brothers, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and NSYNC. The concert line-up definitely reflects his background, with the inclusion of some significant performers from the boy band era.
World’s greatest party rocker DJ Lux will bring the crowd to its feet. Then Chris Blue, one of the brightest new stars on the scene, will take to the stage. Chris is the winner of season 12 of The Voice and is rising up the charts with his new single “Moon”. Watch the video here.
The roster of entertainers should thrill a broad spectrum of attendees. Fans of Detroit-style R & B can groove to the smooth, sultry sounds of Soul of Motown. This five-person act, which sets a new standard for tribute groups, just returned to Westgate Cabaret with their residency show. In addition, members Sean and Brandon Godfrey have risen to new heights with their NPerson duo gigs at Westgate’s International Bar.
Vocalists include Chris Kirkpatrick of NSYNC, AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys, and my personal favorite….Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees. Jeff and I go back a number of years, and this Sin City mega-hunk is always ready to dive into charity events…especially ones that take place in his hometown.
To reserve your seats for this one-of-a-kind evening, follow this link. Tickets start at only $39.95 (plus taxes/fees). If you’d like to learn more about Victoria’s Voice Foundation, head here.
MUSIC FOR LIFE will be held Saturday June 5th at 7pm inside Westgate International Theater. Tickets start at $39.95 (plus taxes/fees).To better accommodate accessible ticket needs, Westgate Las Vegas Resort has requested that all special seating accommodations be solicited only through their representatives. Please contact a Westgate Las Vegas Resort representative for further help with your ticket purchase. Advance ticket purchase may be required. Telephone Number(s):702 732-5755 OR 800 222-5361
Sin City’s Celebrity Cowboy Lassos Some Rip-Roaring Deals For You…
When I was a child, my mom used to say that people who had money were those who knew how to save it. That meant “spending wisely” as much as it did setting aside a nest egg. Lessons like that tend to stay ingrained, which is why so many of my Vegas-related articles offer value-laden information for visitors and locals alike.
“Money Mike” Foland has a mind that operates in a similar fashion. Foland is a business visionary whom I’ve known for several years. I first became aware of this handsome devil via a television documentary covering the development and launch of Men of the Strip, a saucy male revue he was involved with. The production was co-created by Glenn Douglas Packard and 98 Degrees star Jeff Timmons. Glenn covered the choreography, Jeff uncovered his pecs, and Foland handled the finances.
Mike Foland (rear center), Jeff Timmons, Glenn D Packard and Men of the Strip
What I found interesting about Mike was his wildly-varied background. The macho, mild-mannered gentleman was once a mixed martial artist and a former member of Chippendales. When we met, he was also operating a rehabilitation facility in Florida. So his partnership with Packard and Timmons was definitely unusual….the type of thing that reality shows thrive on.
Somehow the four of us became friends, and we’ve stayed in touch since Men of the Strip debuted at Mandalay Bay in 2014. Along the way, Mike has expanded his Vegas interests with FLO Advertising, which I covered here and here.
Mike, myself, Jeff Timmons and Daniel Kouretas (Lucky’s Lounge)
As a friend, Mike’s encouraged me to become involved in challenges faced by the Nevada NSPCA and has been instrumental in connecting me with influential locals like Jamal Parker (Greenspun Media Group), Jason Egan (SAW Escape Room, Fright Dome), Daniel Kouretas (Lucky’s Lounge) and power journalist Markos Papadatos.
Mike’s passion for animals is evident in his Las Vegas ranch, where he offers riding lessons for skilled enthusiasts and first-timers. Located near Silverton Casino, the Foland Ranch is home to six horses, fifteen chickens, two desert tortoises, dogs, cats, and a rabbit named “Oreo”. And let’s not forget Sanja, his gorgeous lady love.
Now Foland is branching out once more with a new retail enterprise in Las Vegas. Located in Henderson and opening in May, Money Mike’s Liquidations is an innovative outlet concept unlike anything you’ve ever seen:
Welcome to Money Mikes Liquidations! The only place in town where the day of the week determines the price you pay. We’re the first of its kind here in Nevada with our bin-style Liquidation Center. We stock a 15,000 sq. ft. store every Thursday with fresh inventory. Starting Fridays the bins are full of merchandise and open to the public for you to find deals of a lifetime!
As the week goes on the price per item gets cheaper and cheaper. Fridays, all items in the store are ONLY $10 each. That’s right – everything in the store is only $10 on Fridays! But wait, there’s more! As the week goes on our deals get even better! On Saturdays, everything in the store is only $8 per item, Sundays it’s only $6 per item, Mondays it’s only $4 per item, and Tuesdays it’s only $3 per item. On Wednesdays we host a very special CLEARANCE DAY in which everything remaining will be only $1 per item. Every Thursday we’re closed to refill the bins with new merchandise.
At Money Mike’s Liquidations, our inventory comes for Amazon returns, Target returns and overstock items, Walmart liquidations, Home Depot returns, Lowe’s returns, retail store overstock, and so on…. We get semi-truckloads full of product every week so we never know what we’ll get.
Ever the gentleman, Mike doesn’t just view his liquidation store as just a business. He also sees it as a way to help a community shaken to the core by unemployment and the impacts of COVID-19:
“I feel like everyone wants a good deal…especially now. People are trying to save or make a buck any way they can. Due to challenges caused by coronavirus (COVID-19), we’re providing our customers with extra support and resources. We are so excited to bring a one of a kind store where the day of the week determines the price you pay.”
Money Mike’s Liquidations has a humor-filled Facebook page that gives you an inside peek at the trucks, merchandise, shopping floor, and storefront that await eager shoppers. Check it out, hit the “LIKE” button and keep informed on when Money Mike’s Liquidations opens, sometime in May 2021.
Money Mike’s Liquidations will be located at 574 N. Stephanie St., Henderson, NV 89014. Store hours to be announced.
Sin City’s resident super-hunk on quarantine, creativity and some very pesky buttons…
Boy bands. Every decade has its share. Some, like The Beatles, create a lasting legacy while others yield punchlines or are forgotten. Resilient members re-invent themselves, branching off in new directions until the inevitable reunion tour. Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees has experienced most of the above. And, like the boy band he founded, Jeff still keeps temperatures rising.
Timmons is a smart businessman as well as a seasoned entertainer. He’s weathered the ups-and-downs of fame and focused on personal growth when boy bands fell out of favor. While he was keeping busy behind the scenes in the music industry, the male revue Chippendales invited him to be a celebrity guest host.
Uncertain of how it would impact his career, the Canton Ohio native was reluctant to accept. His wife Amanda, however, realized that it was a great opportunity and urged him to give it a try. A few weeks turned several successful months, and Jeff was suddenly everywhere in Las Vegas…pool parties, nightclub gigs, and even a protest march down the Strip with dozens of Jubilee showgirls (that’s a whole other story).
While pop singers often quickly fade away, Jeff Timmons’ lasting image is tailor-made for the Sin City scene. He boldly embraces his sex appeal, which isn’t as common for male performers as you might think. With open shirts (sometimes even bare-chested) and sensual body language, the always-shredded hunk knows how to make hearts race and body heat soar.
Timmons is also the rare musician who celebrated his LGBTQ fan base long before it was common to do so. He recognizes everyone as equals and was ahead of the times by performing at gay clubs, participating in Las Vegas Pride, and promoting the NOH8 Campaign for marriage, gender, and human equality.
After the Chippendales stint, Jeff settled here permanently with Amanda and the kids. Then he created his very own male revue called Men of the Strip. The sexy production was daring and cutting-edge, with a focus on live singing and one or two controversial sequences (like this one). MOTS toured the country, had a limited run at Hard Rock Live, and was covered in a documentary event for E! Network.
98 Degrees was headed to the Philippines as part of their latest tour when COVID-19 struck, so now Jeff is hunkered down in Las Vegas with the family. I was able to get ahold of the hard-working stud and talk about his motivations, latest activities and long-term plans. I also tried to get to the bottom of all those unbuttoned shirts.
You’ve dabbled in many facets of entertainment, like reality television, recording studio engineering, and mentoring new acts. What’s left to conquer?
When I think of things I’d like to “conquer” or from an accomplishment standpoint, I feel like I’ve got a LONG way to go.I’m working hard to make a mark in the TV space in a number of different areas. I’ve got a few non-scripted things in the works finally, an entertainment news magazine show, a holiday special, and some other things going. I eventually want to get some scripted things happening as well.I’m launching a podcast very soon, so there is some new news on the horizon.I’ve got a lot of things left to do!
The Vegas entertainment community is crippled right now. Do you have any encouraging words or suggestions?
I think the entertainment business as a whole has really suffered, not just in Vegas. I’m fortunate enough to have a very loyal and dedicated fanbase.98 Degrees has the luxury to reschedule shows, create new music, etc.Not everyone has that luxury. I know I’m very lucky.I like to look at things from a positive perspective.
Although this pandemic has been devastating to everyone, there are some good things that have emerged. There are tons of new and developing technologies that allow artists and entertainers to produce high-quality productions from their homes. The pause has really given me the opportunity to learn more about music and TV production, and get better in the studio. Artists just have to be creative on how to keep fans engaged.
Another plus is that because folks have so much time on their hands, entertainment is being consumed more than ever. You really only need a handful of loyal fans that believe in you and what you’re creating to make a living. You just have to be creative. And, although things can be depressing, find a way to stay positive and use the time to get better at your craft.
There’s a joke going around that men will come out of the pandemic as either a “hunk”, “chunk” or “drunk”. Which one will Jeff Timmons be?
WELL… I started out working out like a fanatic (wannabe hunk), then slipped for a bit (put on some chunk), and now I’m back in obsessive mode (trying to get to hunk again).One thing has been consistent: the DRUNK part, lol…
A lot of artists are saying that the shutdown’s isolation has allowed them to create new and better pieces of work. Have you experienced that?
I definitely have utilized the time to try to get better. After the initial shock of having to postpone 40+ shows, I rolled up my sleeves and have been using this time to learn more about the recording studio, reading a ton of inspirational and motivational material, and pitching a number of ideas to strategic partners that will go into production when things open back up.I’m trying to make lemonade out of lemons.
What one Sin City guilty pleasure do you miss having at your fingertips right now?
I’m not much of a sleeper, so I loved how at any time of the night I could find something to do on the strip.I miss that.
Choose one new favorite: A) catching up on sleep B) binge-watching movies/shows C) spending more time with family
I think it’s a toss-up between B and C.We crafted our touring schedule to be home with our families during the week, but the quarantine has really allowed for much more quality time.I’ve also binged-watched about everything there is to watch on all of the streaming services. There isn’t much left but foreign language series, and I’ve fallen in love with a lot of those!
Have you formed any new habits that will remain when things return to normal?
I’ve always been a reader, but I make it a point to dive into at least one new book a week. That habit is going to stick for sure.
Do you foresee yourself staying closer to home now instead of touring? Is there a possible Vegas residency in the works?
I LOVE being at home with my family. That being said, the demand for live concerts is at an all-time high. I think 98 Degrees has at least one or two more big tours in us. We are DEFINITELY exploring opportunities for a Vegas residency. The chance to be in one place and have the fans come to us is a dream come true. It allows us to stay with our families.
You’re known to your fans, friends, colleagues, and locals as a kind, genuine person. What keeps you grounded?
I hope that’s true. I think it’s all about how you’re raised. My parents made sure we always stayed grounded and treated others with the utmost respect. Part of staying focused and keeping things real with yourself is having a constant inner dialogue about what your truth is and taking an inventory daily of what you’re thankful for. Grattude is the attitude!
I often call you the “Sexiest Man Alive”. You embrace your physical appeal in a way that few male artists do. Have you always been that confident?
You’re always so kind when it comes to that.I’m so very flattered. I try to embrace it because it’s part of the business. Unfortunately, talent is always further down the list when it comes to success in the entertainment business. We learned that as a group early on. We know that fans are expecting us to look good. Anyhow, it gives us an excuse to stay healthy and in shape. Hopefully, it makes our wives happy!
Will we see more of ‘Men of the Strip‘, or is that chapter closed for good?
I never want to close the chapter on ‘Men of the Strip.’It was such a success from a touring standpoint and so much fun.It was quite a different experience from anything else I’ve ever done.There is always a demand for that show, so never say ‘never!’
After covering new territory, Jeff and I revisited a series of questions that I first asked him back in 2013. As is the case with ever-changing Vegas, only two reponses remained the same. I’ll leave you to guess which ones they are.
A look back at the first half of a year filled with memorable and some truly bizarre happenings in Sin City…
When this writer relocated here from Oregon a short 14 months ago, I knew that it would be a huge lifestyle change. But even for the folks who’ve lived here the vast majority (or all) of their lives, 2019 brought about some seriously weird and wacky shit.
New Year’s Day started out on a bizarre note with a visit to Rio’s GLOBAL WINTER WONDERLAND. The bitterly cold conditions kept just about everyone away, meaning you could walk through a colorful electric representation of the entire world AND enjoy the amusement park thrill rides of your choice while being nearly alone. As long as you held on tightly to a steaming hot cup of cocoa, it was actually pretty damned fun.
Employees at the Rio assured me that this attraction would not be returning (and they were correct), as it had caused a major disruption to hotel operations and employee/guest parking. While one of the attraction’s team members swore that at least the Midway part of Global Winter Wonderland would remain through Chinese New Year, the entire area was empty soon after….save for a few sad, abandoned pieces that were left on the side of the lot.
Historic attraction Bonnie Springs Ranch announced on January 9th that it was being sold and razed for luxury housing. The beloved ranch had been operating in various forms since the 1950s. Locals began flocking to the charming themed attraction for one last visit, many bringing their children to share the same experience they had when growing up.
The property offered a motel, western town, event barn, horse rides, petting zoo, wax museum, train ride, saloon, restaurant, and a wild west shootout show. Attempts to protect the property by having it declared a historic landmark failed and the ranch closed its barn doors one final time on March 17th.
On a sad personal note, my handsome pal Sunny, who had been undergoing chemotherapy for several months, took a turn for the worse the day before Christmas and passed on January 2nd. It was a rough start to 2019.
The shortest month of the year will always be remembered for the snowfall. Not once, but THREE times within the span of two weeks. The first layer hit shortly after Valentine’s Day, and by the final downfall, my home in Mountain’s Edge was under at least four inches.
While that’s nothing in most parts of the country, in southern Nevada it’s life-altering. From my rooftop deck, I could see the entire valley under a beautiful blanket of white. Pilot Jim Gisclair of Serenity Helicopters captured some stunning views while heading out to the Grand Canyon. Schools shuttered, longtime locals went bananas and those who grew up in chilly climates just enjoyed a pleasant few days of relative quiet.
The Naked Magicians, a pair of Aussie hunks with a penchant for bawdy humor, magic tricks and bare skin launched at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club. Despite their name, the worldwide sensations found Sin City’s liquor laws to be a bit challenging, as this prevented the boys from going full-frontal (ironic, isn’t it?). Even with a bevy of positive reviews and a legion of fans, ticket sales proved to be a challenge. So the handsome duo put on their pants and headed back to OZ to regroup. Perhaps we’ll see more (or all) of them down the road.
The Sahara Hotel was still operating under the SLS banner in February, but changes were already underway with new owners from Reno. The Sayer’s Club premiered Ester Goldberg’s Totally Outrageous Brunch, a fun mixture of singing, acrobatics, dirty humor, Donald Trump, deviled eggs and a host in drag.
A few months into the run, show creator Michael Airington (Ester Goldberg) was fired by the producers, who promised that the show would go on without him/her (it didn’t). Airington is hoping to regain the Goldberg character and has been very vocal on social media about wanting satisfaction:
“Can’t wait to serve up some Karma Whoop Ass in 2020!!! NEVER EVER count this old Jew broad out! Happy Hanukkah Bitches” – Ester Goldberg
Totally Outrageous Brunch premiered on February 23rd, which happened to be my birthday. After enjoying the show, it was off to The Golden Tiki that evening for a celebration with friends. You can’t find a more enjoyable place to commemorate a special event than this magical spot on Spring Mountain Road.
Head honcho Branden Powers, whom I’ve mentioned numerous times in this column, was kind enough to make a little memorial for Sunny, whose plight he had followed. Thanks to you and your staff for making it a very special night, Branden.
In March, Excalibur Hotel Casino tried to shake up its image a little bit with the opening of Fuerza Bruta, an avante garde international production housed inside a tent along the Strip. A true winner in terms of innovation and the “wow factor”, Fuerza Bruta proved to be a hard sell to Sin City ticket buyers and petered out within 6 weeks.
98 Degrees founder (and world’s hottest man) Jeff Timmons used his considerable clout, industry knowledge and fanbase to launch a new boy band called OVERNIGHT. The fledgling group’s one-night performance at Orleans Casino left this writer underwhelmed (and that’s being kind). The official Twitter page has been dormant ever since, suggesting that OVERNIGHT has already said “good night”.
As for Timmons, he did a spectacular rebound with longtime hit-makers 98 Degrees, with whom he continues to tour. The group is scheduled for Ontario next and is heading to Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines soon after. With luck, we’ll see Jeff on a Vegas stage sometime soon, minus OVERNIGHT and of course, without his shirt.
Construction at both Allegiant (Raiders) Stadium and Resorts World (finally) began to shoot skyward. Although both have announced delays (and escalated final costs), their progress through the year has been rapid and remarkable. Blue monolith monster Fontainebleau/The Drew remains a dormant reminder of overreaching ideas, while the Las Vegas Convention Center has spread its reach onto the Strip, rising on the ruins of historic Riviera Hotel.
Venetian welcomed CHICAGO – The Musical to its grandest theater for a short run (April 10th through 14th). The Broadway revival was sold on the star power of supermodel Christie Brinkley, who at 65 years old was way past the point of being believable as femme fatale “Roxie Hart”. While the staging and supporting cast were top-notch, Brinkley’s gravely vocals were a constant reminder that some performers should be seen and not heard. Who thought that this was a good idea?
Thanks to my friends Allison Duck and cast member Derrick Boyce, I was able to meet the legendary Donny and Marie Osmond after a stellar performance. The duo’s long-running show at Flamingo closed in late November and the months leading up to the final performance were packed to the rafters.
Tropicana Hotel hosted the annual NPC Jay Cutler Desert Classic, a bodybuilding competition created by the former Mr. Olympia competitor. Cutler is a beloved resident of Las Vegas, a city filled with athletes, models, acrobats, and dancers.
Chippendales cast member Ryan Worley, whom you may remember from this profile piece, realized a longtime goal by stepping back into the competition ring. Happily, he went home with an impressive medal hanging from his perfectly shaped chest. Yours truly was there to cheer on this big-hearted cat dad.
Warmer temperatures saw the welcome return of many outdoor activities…and a dreadful allergy season. As the snow began to melt from the western mountain ridge, hot air balloons became a regular sight on the morning horizon.
Kaos Nightclub opened at the newly-renovated Palms Casino. Millions were poured into the venue and millions more into paychecks for headliners like barely-human trashbag Cardi B. and celebrity deejays Kaskade and Marshmello, who alone was offered a $60 million contract. A fool’s errand from day one. the disastrous project closed right after Halloween.
Progress photos of Raiders stadium taken by me on April 27th…
One month after it opened at Harrah’s, I finally made it over to see Heartbreak Hotel in Concert. This Vegas-style version of the musical play stripped out plotlines and characters in favor of songs and narration by the cast. Despite a talented team, the show was never a big hit and will be closing at the end of this year. I think it’s time for producers to realize that today’s audiences have had their fill of Elvis Presley and his music, nostalgia be damned.
Primm Valley Premium Outlets landed in this writer’s crosshairs after an unfortunate encounter with mall security. While strolling through the struggling mall on Mother’s Day, I decided to snap some photos of the numerous closed businesses. Apparently, this was an indication of terrorist activity, as I was accosted and interrogated by an over-zealous rent-a-cop.
I detailed the encounter in a tongue-in-cheek article that sadly spelled out the true cluelessness of business establishments in the region. In 2019 Las Vegas, it doesn’t matter what your intentions are….you’ll be treated suspiciously while simultaneously being gouged for every spare penny in your wallet. I recently heard that the long-suffering space would be remodeled and rebranded, something it desperately needs.
And of course, there were more progress shots of stadium construction. As the structure began to take shape, so did the jokes.
Summertime in Vegas used to be considered “off-season”. Tourists avoided the city’s scorching heat and hotels commonly closed off entire towers to reduce cooling expenses. Then came the “Day Club” and “Beach Clubs” and all of that changed. Now the mean season brings openings and events galore.
After numerous delays, CELESTIA finally debuted at the newly-rebranded STRAT Hotel Casino. The star-studded media premiere was a splashy event and the casts of many other productions stopped by to lend their support. The show continues to evolve under the guidance of Kim Scott, formerly of Cirque du Soleil.
Ms. Scott just invited me back to experience a new “VIP Star Seating”, in which CELESTIA guests will actually be on stage for the performance. Prior to the show, they’ll be welcomed into the tent through a private entrance and treated to a complimentary cocktail and popcorn. Sounds like a blast!
Downtown’s Cockroach Theater Company outdid many Strip productions with SATANGO, featuring Savannah Smith (Vegas! The Show) and Human Nature‘s Toby Allen. A clever musical based around the “dance of temptation”, SATANGO envisions a one-night ballroom gala where the denizens of Heaven and Hell call a truce to lure members to the opposite side. Simply brilliant!
Finally, June marked my first appearance in front of the cameras, via Vin A.‘s hysterical web talk show “WHAT THE CL#@CK?!”. Vin A. is best known as the musical director and outrageously-energetic member of The Bronx Wanderers. A brilliantly engaging host with a firm grasp on the balls of current events, the talented singer/songwriter/musician welcomed me along with his pal Michael Shapiro of ReCkLeSs in Vegas.
Our conversation covered everything from strippers and strollers to fiery California and flaming Elton John. You can watch the entire episode right here:
After a rip-roaring good time at the studio, I headed home and nearly crashed into oncoming traffic. Some things are just never meant to be seen with the naked eye, especially at 65 mph. And that’s how June came to a crack close.
Coming up in the second half, Sin City encounters the Wrath of God. Rainstorms and grasshoppers and earthquakes! Oh, my!
Steamy pop group’s holiday tour returns for Vegas fans…
UPDATE: 98 Degrees at Christmas will perform at GREEN VALLEY RANCH on November 17th 2018 at 8pm. Tickets available at all STATION CASINOS or by visiting 98Degrees.com.
As popular boy bands of the 90’s segued into nostalgic “pop groups”, most of them have disbanded or faded into obscurity. Not the hotties of 98 Degrees. As part of the primary 90’s 4-pack (along with N’Sync, Backstreet Boys and NKOTB), 98 Degrees built a ravenous and extremely loyal fan base. Of those groups, only 98D continues to record great new albums and fill arenas. They also manage to stay relevant in an ever-changing musical landscape.
While New Kids and Backstreet have shown love to Vegas from time to time, it’s 98 Degrees that shares a special bond with Sin City. For that you can thank group founder Jeff Timmons, who calls Las Vegas home.
A frequent guest at local functions and on Vegas TV talk shows, the ultra-sexy and ridiculously-fit Timmons is also the chesty front man for Men of the Strip. That’s the male revue which took on a vastly-inferior Magic Mike Live and is currently touring the U.S. and Canada.
Timmons delivered Christmas in July with Men of the Strip at Hard Rock…
But before I get more drool on my keyboard, let’s return to the matter at hand….Christmas! Yes, the four-part harmonies and soulful voices of 98 Degrees are back for their second collection of holiday treasures.
Has it really been eighteen years since this album hit the shelves?
The first, This Christmas, was a certified-platinum hit at the peak of their popularity. Brimming with seasonal standards and three new songs, the album was released on the Motown label in 1999. Fans have been clamoring for a follow-up ever since…and for them, Santa came early this year.
Better hair and clothing, same soulful harmonies…
Let It Snow debuted on October 20th and the boys gentlemen have been quite busy supporting their new album. They launched another nationwide tour along with TV appearances and a glorious performance during last week’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Ever trendy, the guys made sure that Let It Snow will be released on the retro-hip vinyl format (yes, actual freaking VINYL!) on December 1st. Click here to order the LP via Amazon.com. It’ll be great addition to my own collection of treasured holiday records gathered through the years. That postman better be on time….I have plans to get mine autographed.
It’s amazing that 98D‘s four members – Timmons, Justin Jeffre and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey – managed to find time to record a new collection this summer. With Jeff’s Men of the Strip launch in July (read my review here), Nick’s successful stint on Dancing With the Stars, the brothers’ super-popular Lachey’s Sports Bar in Cincinnati and Jeffre’s political activities….well, the logistics must have been staggering.
This isn’t the first time that 98D found themselves riding a new wave of popularity. In 2013 they released 2.0, their first studio album since 2000. They followed that with The Package Tour, a multi-group effort with Boyz II Men and NKOTB.
Now they’re back for phase three and closing out 2017 with a final stop in Las Vegas. 98 Degrees at Christmas will sleigh-ride into the area on Saturday December 23. Star of the Desert Arena in Primm Nevada will host the final performance of the tour. This awesome venue is a short drive south of Las Vegas and a world away from the madness.
The 6,500-seat arena is located at Buffalo Bill’s Hotel Casino in Primm. If you’re concerned about leaving the city limits for an evening, don’t be. Primm Valley Casino Resorts has three hotels serving the venue with hundreds of newly-renovated rooms. Rates start at $59 plus taxes/fees for the night of the event.
So why not venture beyond the Strip for a different kind of fun? Turn up the heat and get sweaty on the eve of Christmas Eve with the guys of 98 Degrees. I hope to see you there.
“98 Degrees at Christmas” performs Saturday December 23rd at 8 pm. Tickets start at $20 plus taxes/fees up to a $149 VIP experience with meet/greet. Click here to order.
Photos: Sammasseur, 98 Degrees via Facebook, Jeff Timmons via Facebook, Amazon.com
Fans and media converge for opening of Jeff Timmons revue at Hard Rock Live…
Revisiting the evening that fans and media converged for Jeff Timmons’ male revue at Hard Rock Live…
The ironies couldn’t be any clearer. A fledgling show, years in the making, hosts a gala event just a few doors down from the casino that failed them. The new performance space shares branding with a hotel that’s home to a competing production.
Both shows are spearheaded by heartthrob celebs, but only one bothers to show his face…and lots more. After many false starts and obstacles galore, Men of the Strip has landed on the Strip.
Male revues are just like actual men. They come in all styles, attitudes, levels of sex appeal and price points (just kidding about the last one…sort of). As ticket buyers for an adult-themed show, it’s up to you to decide which one scratches your particular itch.
In the case of Magic Mike Live at Hard Rock Hotel, some fans of hunky productions are feeling cheated. My own review called it “delusional”, “fun-sucking” and “an overblown bomb”. Your very expensive ticket will get you inane blather from a shrill harpy “comedienne”, striptease dancers who neglect to actually strip, a so-called story line involving a waiter and a mystical unicorn (WTF?).
The real kick in the pants comes from an absentee star – actor Channing Tatum – whose only “appearance” in a show bearing his name is via an audio recording.
At Hard Rock Cafe’s live-music Strip venue (next to MGM Grand Hotel), things are quite the opposite. All the pretense, social lectures and broken promises of Magic Mike Live have been thrown out the window. In their place are seven talented singers/dancers/actors who sound good, look great and actually take their clothes off.
Fun-filled production numbers involve plenty of audience interaction, selfie ops (the show is camera-friendly) and tipping with cash (something forbidden in casino showrooms). Most of all, the celebrity attached to Men of the Strip is in the house…and a big part of the show.
Jeff Timmons, the ageless and ab-tastic founder of vocal group 98 Degrees, has been intent on launching the next generation of male revues ever since his stint at legendary Chippendales. Jeff and I sat down to chat several times in the months leading up to this weekend. It’s clear that his passion for the project is boundless. Fortunately, that enthusiasm comes through onstage and energizes the cast.
MOTS’s tightly-knit production rarely slows down to let you breathe. The troupe makes its first appearance from the rear, hidden under sleek black helmets and leather gear.
Walking in formation, they gather for a hard-edged sequence created by famed choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard (Michael Jackson, Pink, Whitney Houston). Packard, pictured below, is hands-on throughout the performance and also serves as emcee.
Next up, singer Colin Cahill briefly goes mellow with an acoustic version of Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You” that segues into a sultry chair number. Various takes on masculine fantasies follow, delivered with a lighthearted playfulness that MML doesn’t even strive to achieve.
Timmons was a crowd-pleaser at the show’s premiere on Friday. Not only did he debut a new song written especially for MOTS, but he got raw and sexy with an audience member in his own set-piece. Shredded to the max and tanned to perfection, Timmons tore off his shirt and flaunted a body that even Channing Tatum would envy.
Packed with die-hard 98 Degrees fans, the crowd went wild when band mate Justin Jeffre joined Timmons for their hit “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)”. Other surprise guests are sure to follow, as the singer has promised to feature his celebrity friends when they’re in town.
“Come Play With Us” is Men of the Strip’s marketing slogan. Splashed on billboards around the city, the ads promise a night filled with music, muscle, sweat and laughs. MOTS delivers on those promises throughout the show and well into the evening. The guys hop up on the bar after the performance and guests are encouraged to party, pose for photos and indulge in drink specials.
The third-floor showroom offers amazing views of the Strip and boasts an outdoor balcony. Parking is available in the Showcase Mall garage behind the cafe for easy in/out access.
If a party atmosphere is what you’re looking for in a male revue, steer clear of Magic Mike Live. Make your way to Hard Rock Live for Men of the Strip…on the Strip.
Update – Since the original publication of this article last July, Men of the Strip has gone on to tour the country. The show also achieved my highest ranking of guy-friendly male revues, tying with Aussie Heat at Planet Hollywood. The video clip below will give you some indication of just how gay-friendly the run at Hard Rock Live actually was.
Cast member Tyler Froehlich, whom I featured in the piece Hot Guys of Vegas – Dad and sons, is now a part of the legendary troupe at Chippendales. He’s already become a fast favorite with audiences both in Las Vegas and when touring around the world.
Tyler Froehlich, real-life soldier turned dancer…
Jeff Timmons has since toured with a reunited 98 Degrees for a series of concerts to promote their Christmas album. They’ll be returning to Green Valley Ranch this coming November 17th (click here for tickets). I attended a performance on December 23rd and the show was astounding. Don’t miss it this year.
Myself with Timmons, Mike Foland and Daniel Kouretas at 98 Degrees Xmas…
MOTS’s frontman Mike Foland has assured me that the groundbreaking production is planning another return, mostly like to be launched with a reality TV series tie-in. I’ll be the first to keep you up to date on any developments that cross my desk.