2011 – Tourism Is Back In Vegas! I attended the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority public relations cocktail party. They announced all the upcoming marketing campaigns and tourism statistics for last year. By the numbers, it looks like the economy is slowly turning around here in Las Vegas. 2011 was the second largest year for tourist numbers in Las Vegas history, second only to the year 2007. So, how do the numbers stack up? In 2007 our city saw 39.2 million visitors and in 2011 we saw 38.9 million visitors. By all projections for this year 2012, it looks like it might be the largest year in Las Vegas history with a projected 40 million visitors. With the opening of the new world-class Terminal 3 at the airport for international travelers and new international flights scheduled to start service to Las Vegas this year, we are on track for some exciting new opportunities and international exposure. Which foreign country has our largest amount of visitors? England is #1 with Mexico coming in at #2. What foreign country is the leading one on the LVCVA’s radar to increase tourism to Las Vegas because their population is similar to the USA? That would be Australia. I will give you more tourism updates as the year progresses.

LVH – For those who have not heard, the iconic Las Vegas Hilton Hotel (formerly the International Hotel), has ceased its affiliation as a branded Hilton Hotel property and is now known as LVH. There are entertainment changes happening over there on Paradise Avenue as well. Impressionist Greg London is back in their Shimmer Cabaret at 8:30pm on Saturday – Monday and also Wednesdays. Ticket prices range from $50 to $90 and more information can be found at the property’s new website at www.TheLVH.com.

Globetrotters – The famous Harlem Globetrotters will bring their 2012 World Tour to the Orleans Arena on Wednesday, February 15th at 7pm. Additional information can be found at www.OrleansArena.com.

Geechy Guy – I finally had the opportunity to catch Las Vegas local comedian Geechy Guy’s stand-up comedy show.You might remember him from his Dirty Jokes show that had an extended run at Hooter’s Resort. I recently caught up with Geechy after his show at Big Al’s Comedy Club inside the Orleans Resort. This is one funny guy and a show not to miss! Geechy has kind of an interesting connection to Callback News and yours truly. Famed Las Vegas producer Breck Wall was one of the first show producers to give Geechy his break into the comedy entertainment business. And as you know, I took over writing Breck’s entertainment column here at Callback News. Geechy and I shared some fond memories of Breck! The next time you see Geechy, make sure to ask him about his backstage experience with the US Secret Service Officers who were protecting Senator Harry Reid who flew in from Washington, DC to speak at Breck Wall’s memorial service which I co-produced at South Point Casino – nobody can tell the story as well as he can. Thank you to Amy Pittle and her staff at Big Al’s for their gracious hospitality the night I stopped in.

Martin Nievera – Martin Nievera recently performed at the Suncoast Resort with Society of Seven. I was able to hang out with Martin for a little while after his show. He is a favorite with Las Vegas locals. Not only is his singing talents AMAZING, but he is a great fun person as well. Martin is the number 1 singing sensation in the Philippines and his concerts sell out in stadiums filled with tens of thousands of people not only in the Philippines, but also all across Asia.When here in Las Vegas (his second home), Martin loves the smaller venue of the Suncoast because it gives him a much more personal interaction with his beloved fans in the audience. I know many of us would love to see Martin have a regular show here in Las Vegas! Many thanks to Boyd Gaming’s VP of Entertainment – Terry Jenkins for arranging my media ticket to this sold-out show.

La Cage – Female impersonator show La Cage starring Jimmy Emerson has closed at the Four Queens Resort downtown on Fremont Street. Watch for the show to re-open again in the next week back in its original home of the Riviera Resort.Congratulations to Jimmy and his cast!

Herman’s Hermits – Peter Noone from the 60’s British Invasion group Herman’s Hermits was at the South Point Resort Showroom. The band was formed in Manchester, England in 1963 and made their way across the pond to the USA in 1964. After 52 million records sold and 24 gold hits they still put on the most amazing show. Did you know that in 1965 this group outsold the Beatles? You might remember them from hits such as “I’m Into Something Good”, “Mrs. Brown You Have A Lovely Daughter”, and “Henry The Eighth I Am, I Am”…and many others. Check them out the next time they are in town – you will truly enjoy their journey back into entertainment history. Thank you to Carrie, Pat and Damian at South Point for taking such good care of me!

Cooking With Chef Stu – I recently taped a segment of Chef Stu’s cooking show on Anthem’s Channel 99 TV.Comedian Kathleen Dunbar, Vegas The Show’s lead dancer Tara Palsha, and myself were the guests on Chef Stuart Schweit’s cooking show. We all had a great time in the kitchen and the food was oh so good! Chef cooked Irish Lamb Stew, Irish Soda Bread, and Homemade Hot Fudge for dessert. Thank you to fellow journalist Dianne Davis for arranging this fun afternoon of food and friendship.