Elvis Presley is Back in Las Vegas: The Exhibition-The Show-The Experience

Written & Photos by Nikki Artale
Hundreds of unseen artifacts will be on display in the new Elvis Museum at the Westgate Resorts Hotel in Las Vegas. Graceland Holdings LLC managing partner Joel Weinshanker along with CEO David Siegel of Westgate Resorts held a ribbon cutting ceremony by Priscilla and Lisa Presley to officially open the Elvis Presley Museum.

Over 25,000 square feet will include hundreds of rare artifacts in the first ever permanent Graceland exhibit outside of Memphis, that will include his first Gold album, his first outfit he wore on stage for his first concert at the International Hotel in 1969,,   1962 Lincoln Continental, 1971 Stutz Blackhawk, 1957 Harley Davidson, jewelry and various outfits from many of his performances and his high school yearbooks. David Siegel said it was a thrill and a true honor to join forces with Graceland to bring Elvis back home to the place where he performed more than 600 record breaking sold out shows, than anywhere else in the world.

To keep the exhibition new and fresh, some of the memorabilia and artifacts will be rotated on a regular basis and the exhibition will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 pm. For tickets call 1 800-238-2000   The Elvis Theater opened with Martin Fontaine and 24 musicians and eight choir members with a rock and roll gospel production and will run for a five-week engagement. Shows on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday @ 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday @ 8:00 pm.

A special reception and a red carpet was held for the media, family, friends and VIPs in the lounge before the Elvis Experience show started, with crowds of people gathering to see the star studded event.
Mickey Silver   LoAnne Parker
Nikki Artale     Priscilla Presley

Also opening will be the Elvis Presley Graceland Wedding Chapel. Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley will be at the ribbon cutting ceremony and Priscilla Presley will be presiding at the first wedding ceremony as the maid of honor to the first couple being married in the chapel, Kaycee Satava and Cameron Baker. Replicas of Priscilla’s wedding gown, Elvis’s tuxedo and an eight tiered wedding cake are displayed in the lobby and Priscilla Presley was very much involved in the look and creation of the chapel and made it clear that there would be no impersonators in the wedding chapel.  Call Special Events Department at 1 800-238-2010

Welcome home Elvis. We love you and we have missed you.
Elvis's house  he grew up in

Las Vegas Lift-Off International Film Festival Returns to Las Vegas
Written & Photos by Nikki Artale
The Lift-Off Film Festival took place on June 24-27, 2015 at the Palms Hotel Casino in Las Vegas Nevada and was just one of the Lift-Off events being held, with others taking place in London, Tokyo, Amsterdam and Los Angeles. The Film Festivals are dedicated to the discovery of international independent film makers and are treated equally and given lots of support. The motto is to “Look beyond the Gloss. Put talent before technology.” Winners are selected by the audience and this leads to introductions to agents and managers and the international press.

Ben Pohlman and James Bradley co-founders of the Lift-Off-Festival created the film festival in 2011 to support the up and coming film-makers and to make the film festivals free to attend. Ben and James started out as actors and were drama school buddies at The Oxford School of Drama. After moving to London they began to make films for various businesses to make some quick money. They saw the opportunity to create a Film Festival that would give film-makers a place to showcase their independent films.
Ben Pohlman
James Bradley
Ben and James shared that the three most important elements are the films, the film makers and the audience. Most important is what the audience sees from the talent in front of the camera, the telling of the story with powerful words, the direction of the film and most important, the emotional feeling that is felt by the audience. They want to be able to share this all over the globe. Assisting them in Las Vegas as their PR person was Gav Duffy who has many years in the music industry and national PR and worked with publishers, record labels and music producers. These young men were so dedicated to this festival and so delightful and it was a pleasure to be in their presence and I see an outstanding future for the Lift-Off-Film Festival to emerge as one of the best International Film Fests around the Globe. I look forward to next year’s films in Las Vegas.

Gav Duffy
Gav Duffy      Ben Pohlman   James Bradley

There were 35 shorts featured in the Lift-Off-Film Fest this year and were presented with beautiful glass jaded trophies.

Winning full official selections at all proceeding Lift-Off’s in the 2015 Lift-Off Season.

Winner Best Documentary
How to make a Bully from Scratch by Robert Hess
Winning full official selections at all proceeding Lift-Off’s in the 2015 Lift-Off Season.

Winner Best Script/Screenplay
The Turn of Grace by Sasha Fisher
Auto nomination for Season’s Best Script Award.

Tokyo Lift-Off Special Mention
The Apple Tree by Scott Storm
Winning an official selection at Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival – April 2016

Liverpool Lift-Off Special Mention
The Stomach by Dan Dixon
Winning an official selection at Liverpool Lift-Off Film Festival – February/March 2016

London Lift-Off Special Mention
Sty by Arpad Herman
Winning an official selection at London Lift-Off Film Festival Nov/December 2015

Amsterdam Lift-Off Special Mention
The Way of Tea by Marc Fouchard
Winning an official selection at Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival Nov/December 2015

Los Angeles Lift-Off Special Mention
LOW/FI by Alejandro Montoya
Winning an official selection at Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival Nov/December 2015



Suzanne Somers Debuts her Sophisticated Nightclub Act at Westgate Resorts in Las Vegas

Written & Photos by Nikki Artale

Suzanne Somers captures the audience the minute she comes on stage with her sultry songs and beautiful sexy gowns. The stage is her dressing room as she changes costumes while telling her fabulous stories of her many friends she worked with, in the past that included Johnny Carson. She also had a great friendship with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack and Barry Manilow.
Suzanne will be performing with her five piece band in the new cabaret showroom Suzanne’s at the Westgate Resort in Las Vegas for 28 weeks through May 2016. It will be reminiscent of the heyday of old Las Vegas as she sings from the Great American Songbook. It will take audiences back to the time of glamour and elegance as only Suzanne Somers can do.  Showtimes are five days a week at 7:00 pm, dark Sundays and Mondays.

Somers has written 25 books, her newest one being Tox-sick: From Toxic to Not Sick and is #3 on the New York Times best seller list. In addition to her new show at Westgate a Suzanne Somers Spa will be opening this summer, featuring Organic Cosmetics for skin care and hair care products and an Organic Spa Café that will sell food based on recipes from her bestselling cookbooks. This will be located on the third-floor pool deck next to the café.      
Suzanne makes everyone feel at ease and comfortable as she comes out into the audience and sings to a few people and then a lucky someone is called on stage to participate in a love ballet she sings. I love when an entertainer includes someone to come on stage and make it a part of their show. We have someone special to thank for bringing Suzanne Somers to the Westgate Resort Hotel and that is David Siegel, CEO of the resort. David has been a longtime fan of Suzanne and he knew he wanted to hire her even before she came in to talk to him about her sizzle show. So we thank you David Siegel for bringing the beautiful, loveable and outstanding performer to the Westgate Resorts. We love and appreciate you David Siegel.

At the conclusion of her show she went to a nearby ballroom that was holding the second annual Gatsby Gala to benefit the Nevada Children’s Center which is dedicated to helping neglected and behaviorally challenged children. Suzanne spoke from her heart about her own childhood abuse to a room full of open hearts. Just think about it, she sang from her heart in her showroom and then spoke from her heart in the Gala event for the children. Mistress of ceremonies was Paula Francis, KLAS-TV Channel 8 news anchor.

Venice Attracts Thousands of People from all over the World
Written & Photos by Nikki Artale

I just returned from a 12 day cruise to Italy and the Greek Islands on the Celebrity Cruise line and I will be sharing the ports of call I visited and I will start with the city of Venice. The cruise was great but I was exhausted by the time I returned to the states.

Venice is a unique city that is full of art and culture and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. The city boasts some of the greatest monuments and squares in all of Italy. One of the biggest attractions is the Doge’s Palace which overlooks the sea on one side and the Piazza San Marco on the other side and next to St Mark’s Church in St Mark’s Square. It is called a Venetian Gothic fantasy palace.

There are 117 small islands that are linked together by bridges with picturesque canals that run beneath the bridges. This is where the famous gondolas tour the canals and shows the beauty and charms of the lagoons of Venice. During the 17th and 18th century there were eight to ten thousand gondolas and now there are just over 400 in service today. Most are hired by the tourists and is a favorite for the romantic couples.

St. Mark’s square is the most visited attraction in the city and one of the most popular places in Italy. On one end is St Mark’s Church and the Campanile bell tower in the middle, unique cafes on three sides and hundreds of pigeons that make the square their home.
I was fascinated by the beautiful handcrafted Venetian Italian masks and no two masks are ever identical. Their ornate design features bright gold or silver colours and can be full masks or eye masks. They are hand painted and decorated and are perfect to adorn the walls of a home. I bought one and it is hanging in my living room.

I am ending this story with a picture of an old woman who we say laying on the street, her face covered and a cup in her extended hand to collect whatever money people wanted to give her. This tugged at my heart and we all gave her money. She laid there for hours and it was sad to see.