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Inked… on Skin and Clothes

August, 2011

When two of the largest apparel and fashion conventions join forces for a three-day event, brands and retailers draw in the crowds and celebrity guests, this year a new celebrity launches his own brand into the apparel world. The celebrity tattoo artist, Ami James, known for his show Miami Ink and the most recent, New York Ink, set up shop at The Project inside Mandalay Bay where he’s melding his tattoo background and his artistic history, for the launch of the clothing line; Ami James Ink. Rather than bringing his tattoo creations to the apparel designs, James has decided to create sketches and drawings for his clothing that his audience personally says they are interested in wearing. “The line is definitely not tattoo, it’s just drawn by a tattoo artist, but it’s not a tattoo line or anything of the sort,” said James. James will have his booth set up for apparel fanatics, tattoo enthusiasts, Ink fans and spectators throughout the convention, which runs through Wednesday night. A clothing rack of new apparel isn’t the only thing James will have at his booth during the convention; you’ll recognize his booth as the only one where people will be getting inked on site by the TV star tattoo artist. “I’m a tattoo artist, I’ll always tattoo, I’ll never stop tattooing and I think the whole line is based on what I do. I’m a tattoo artist and I design things and I think people associate it together and I think the best way to have the people come to the booth and understand the concept is for me to do what I do. As long as I’m doing conventions I could sit there and shake hands all day or I could do what I do best and that’s what I do,” said James. While simultaneously tattooing on TV and in his shops, after about four to five years of working on the clothing line, James began working with his partner to put together an apparel line to sell in his boutiques. “We really weren’t planning on launching a line or anything like that, it was really just for my shops and a few other shops that I sold shirts to and before you know it was more and more boutiques and we decided to do this in a bigger way,” said James. “It was a collaboration of paintings and art that I had put together that wasn’t super tattoo style.” After starting the apparel designs a little over a year ago James is building his brand and beginning to sell internationally. “It’s always a rough start you get discouraged in the beginning but as soon as you start doing sales you’re like wow, this might actually work. I’m really happy. I’m blessed,” James said. “I hope that it never gets as big as some of the biggest ones, and just become a trend and leaves. If I could just do this line forever and just keep stepping it up not too fast and not too slow but at a steady pace I’d like to have this line to look back on in 20-30 years and look back on that and say wow I basically started that in my home, then I’d be happy.” With a plethora of apparel including denim, shirts, hats and shoes, Ami James Ink is based on a vintage feel and look and focuses on different design groups including a circus theme and cars. “As a tattoo artist we don’t always just draw tattoo designs, I pride myself on being able to design anything. I’m just an artist and I’m an artist that does requests,” James said. “For the girls, I just sat with some friends of mine who were girls and asked them, what do you want, what do you want to wear and I got feedback from them and drew it for them as if I was drawing it for a client. That’s how it started was from personal relationships and personal views of what I’d want to wear, and definitely stay away from tattoo designs of hearts, daggers, roses and all that.“ James’ line includes apparel for both men and women, but that inclusion was made through progression from what it was originally set out to be. “In the beginning I really wanted to do more of just women’s wear and then I realized all my friends wanted to get some of the shirts and then I decided to go on a small line of shirts for men and then it just evolved to hats and hoodies and ski caps and shoes to flip flops and watches but in a very limited number.” While some designers pride themselves on having a clothing line with a celebrity name or icon artist, James takes a different mentality when it comes to his line of clothing. “I didn’t want to do a line that’s $20 but I also didn’t want to do a line that’s $80 either. I thought it was always absurd when people sell shirts for $120 and I know I make the same shirts. I don’t see why retail should charge more than $40 a shirt because otherwise nobody can afford it,” James said. “I didn’t want a person to just walk in and say I can only afford one shirt, I want them to be able to walk in and want to get two or three shirts. I just really cater toward my people; the people who want a really cool shirt and don’t want to drop $120 on it.” For more information on Ami James Ink check out: http://www.amijamesink.com/

G2E 2015 to Incorporate Non-Gaming Avenues

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August, 2015

Back to school supplies are hitting the shelves in stores and Fall is quickly approaching. With Fall approaching, for Las Vegas gaming professionals that means one thing... Global Gaming Expo (G2E), is on its way. This year G2E, the world’s premier event for the casino gaming industry, is expanding its gaming reach and broadening its focus to incorporate the gaming-resort landscape. The 2015 show will introduce an “Integrated Resort Experience,” presenting innovative non-gaming technology, products and services that guests would experience in gaming-resort settings. The purpose of this expansion is to provide attendees a complete solution to help casinos attract more guests, encourage them to stay and play longer, and increase revenue per visitor. “Gaming is one component of a diverse entertainment offering in destinations across the globe, and we’re excited to enhance G2E in a way that reflects the full integrated resort experience,” said Ron Rosenbaum, chief operating officer of the AGA. It is anticipated that the addition of the Integrated Resort Experience to G2E 2015 will draw interest from approximately 3,000 gaming and non-gaming professionals, who understand the power of working together to access the most cutting-edge non-gaming technologies and experiences relevant to the gaming-resort environment. Led by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and Global Gaming Expo, G2E and the all new Integrated Resort Experience will take place September 28 – October 1 in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. This year's unique circular show floor and working center bar will be the hotspot at the show and locale for many events, while gaming and non-gaming experiences merge throughout the event. “The Integrated Resort Experience will be a key feature of the G2E show floor, and the experiences complement one another. The core G2E show floor will present the greatest depth of games, and the Integrated Resort Experience will be the place to see innovative non-gaming technology, products and services as guests would experience them in a gaming-resort setting,” said Chris Moyer, American Gaming Association’s Director of Media Relations. In addition to the standard gaming-focused programs and opportunities found at G2E, the expo will have a multitude of educational seminars available for gaming and non-gaming alike. Moyer says this year G2E will present strengthened educational programming on a variety of topics including tribal gaming, sports betting, illegal gambling, integrated resorts, skill-based slot machines, next-generation games, regionalization, millennial customers and financial compliance, while non-gaming seminars will feature everything from spa certification seminars to exploring new hotel room experiences and other ways casinos can reward their non-gaming customers. “As the world’s premier event for the casino gaming industry, the Global Gaming Expo is a platform for our industry to grow its business. We strive to make the Expo better every year, and in 2015, we’re broadening the scope of G2E to match the changing gaming-resort landscape and position our attendees for the future,” says Moyer. “We’ve seen over time that non-gaming offerings only enhance the casino experience and the property’s bottom line. This will be the first official grand stage for these separate industries to interact and conduct business. It will not change the name or the brand of G2E. The Integrated Resort Experience will only make the convention grow in size, interest and relevance to our attendees.” With a lineup of the most extensive and diverse collection of exhibitors to date, G2E 2015 will feature cutting-edge developments in slots, table games, security, iGaming, casino design, casino management systems, staff resources, casino property marketing solutions and attendee networking areas. The Integrated Resort Experience at G2E will be divided into the following six sections: • DWELL: Sleeping Room Concepts– Dwell will deliver insight on future trends and innovations for sleeping rooms, from design and operations to amenities. Delos®, the pioneer of Wellness Real Estate™, will showcase in-room wellness products and experiences that are in tune with the needs and wants of the modern guest. • INDULGE: Food & Beverage– As one of the most profitable categories within gaming resorts, food & beverage will be a focus and feature dining and drinking with unique restaurant, bar, sports and entertainment concepts. Food Network Star Steak Shapiro will host a bracketed chef tournament throughout the Global Gaming Expo featuring aspiring culinary talents, judged by celebrated chefs Daniel Boulud and Buddy Valastro. Top mixologists, sommeliers and cicerones from Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada will conduct mixology demonstrations and provide an in-depth look at the latest beverage trends that draw customers and drive revenue. • CAPTIVATE: Entertainment– Entertainment is a constantly evolving experience. Captivate will feature next-generation products and technologies for theaters, concert halls, event centers, lounge performances, day and nightclub concepts, and more. • CONNECT: Meetings– Meetings & Conventions have proved to be a substantial benefit to the casino business model. The Integrated Resort Experience will present smart, ergonomic and connected meeting rooms with the latest A/V, furnishings, floors, lighting, walls and services to ensure casino meeting spaces are at the forefront of technology, now and in the future. • ZEN: Stay Well & Spa– Casinos provide a high-volume business for spas, and spas offer an opportunity for casinos to expand clientele. Zen will include educational seminars on the business of spas, a one-day certification process to become licensed spa managers, new fitness offerings, up-and-coming treatments and other wellness innovations. • PLAY: Gaming– The core G2E show floor will present the greatest depth of games, and the Integrated Resort Experience will be the place to see them incorporated into casino settings to drive more and longer play. This area also will feature next-generation casino management systems, which can monitor non-gaming spend in additional to gaming activity. For show information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.globalgamingexpo.com.

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ISES Members Have Fun All in the Name of Work

March, 2010

NASCAR racing, Ski racing, a Basketball shoot-out, a Pool game, and a money grab...sounds like nothing less than a entertaining night out at a carnival or theme park, but in reality it was just another monthly meeting for the International Special Event Society. ISES is a networking group of professionals from a variety of special event vocations including caterers, planners, audio-visual technicians, coordinators, educators, journalists, managers and more. Their monthly meeting provides members an opportunity to not only network with other professionals, but to also have some fun and relax while mingling. “ISES is a group of individuals from all professional backgrounds, and is based on education and networking,” said Thom Pass, ISES president. While most professional business meetings are scheduled around agendas, budget issues and upcoming events, ISES takes a creative and unique way of going about their meetings. These ‘meetings’ and more networking get-togethers than anything else and are hosted for ISES members and sponsors every month, and each with a new and unique theme. Jan. 28, was the first meeting of the calendar year which held an Olympic-theme. The meeting was held at Amusement Game Rentals, at 5550 Cameron Drive Suite H, and was a perfect sponsor for the theme. As attendees entered the office they were checked in at a full size Marilyn Monroe decorated Poker Table, complete with chips, cards and ISES member nametags. As members signed in at the front desk, they were each randomly assigned to a country. For the rest of the evening, ‘countries’ competed against each other in a series of sport games, until the final two teams were given the prize of 15 seconds in a money booth to grab as much cash as they could to take home. While AGR rents games and entertainment technology to businesses and corporate events, they also provided, not only the location, but the entertainment for the evening as well. AGR supplied the ISES members with, a full-scale pool table, a NASCAR racing game, a double-shot basketball shoot-out, foosball, a super ski racing simulator, and a vault money booth. “We work with ISES as often as we can. ISES is a tremendous organization, filled with event professionals who demonstrate a higher level of commitment to the industry by both belonging and participating in the association. We are proud to partner with ISES whenever we can,” said AGR president Eric Brashear, who has previously served on the ISES Board of Directors in Las Vegas. AGR was not alone in the endeavor of sponsoring January’s Olympic themed meeting however, additional services were provided by Christie’s Photographic Studios, Pacific Event Productions, and Soirees Event Planners and Caterers. In combination with entertainment and amusement, attendees were also presented with food, drinks and two hours of quality professional networking opportunities. All attendees found themselves mingling with other professionals in order to promote their brands and businesses. “Through networking we can all help each other out,” James Switzer, marketing director for Exotics Racing and attendee of the ISES event. The ISES idea of having themed meetings was decided, in order to create what Pass describes as “a fun, networking event.” The fun-filled theme meetings continue to be a successful occurrence on a monthly basis. “The more sponsors we get, the more fun we make it,” said Pass. While the January meeting was full of excitement and fun competition, Saturday, Feb. 27th holds a chic and somewhat Valentine theme of wine and chocolate, and will be held at Bellagio – Tuscany Kitchen. Regardless of the theme, ISES members can continue to anticipate enthusiastic networking congregations throughout the year. For more information on ISES contact iseslv.com. For more information on AGR contact 702-388-4263 or visit their website at amusementgamerentals.com

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New pizzeria offers a slice of
New York

June, 2011

Radio City Pizzeria has opened up shop in the new Tivoli Village mall, offering diners what its chefs call the closest thing Las Vegas has to real New York-style pizza. “It’s not just a pizza place but something a little bit more special than that,” said founder Elias Ghanem Jr. What sets the pizzeria apart, he said, is the unique layout, tranquil location and distinctive recipes. Nestled in the European village-styled setting, shoppers can turn down one of the mall’s stone sidewalks and stroll into the shop where smells of fresh oven-fired pizza fill the air and photos of New York City entertainers cover the walls. “My mom was a Rockette in Radio City in New York, so that’s kind of where the concept originated,” Ghanem said. “My family has been in the business for years back there.” The restaurant offers passersby a look through the windows at pies being flipped. And an open counter allows diners to see their food being prepared and to interact with the cooks. The pizzeria prides itself on a custom-designed layout with a beer and wine bar, cozy outdoor patio seating and an open kitchen that looks out onto a 2,000-square-foot dining room. “I love the way the place was set up. It’s kind of fun when you’re sitting here eating and you’re able to see what’s going on in the kitchen,” said Chef Vincent Chiyuto. “We wanted to have a little bit more of a casual atmosphere.” Besides pizza, the menu features sandwiches, salads, sides and deserts. All varieties of pizzas are available by the slice or as a whole pie. “Everything is homemade and people taste that. We try to do everything here. We don’t order (dough) from anywhere,” Ghanem said. Chiyuto said customer feedback has been positive. “I wanted to make sure the pizza was perfect,” Chiyuto said. “The beautiful thing about pizza is it’s kind of like a canvas. You can do whatever you want to it.” In addition to standards like cheese and pepperoni, Radio City offers specialty items, including a breakfast pizza that has all the components of a traditional omelet baked on a fresh pizza crust and topped with sour cream. The restaurant also offers a gluten-free pizza. “I don’t want people to come here, I want people to come back. That’s kind of been my motto,” Ghanem said. Radio City Pizzeria is open from 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. through 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit radiocitypizza.com.

Making a Splash in Vegas

April, 2013

Making its return after an eight-year absence, the Wet ‘n’ Wild brand will be gracing desert dwellers with its presence once again. With a whole new staff and management company than the previous Wet ‘n’ Wild, Las Vegas’ new water park will fill the aquatic theme park void that the city has been feeling. Without the tourist location directly on the Strip, the new water park will have a primary focus of catering to the locals. The plot of land located on the West side of the valley, was initially zoned for a park intended to be called Splash Mountain Water Park. Management group, and owner of the Wet ‘n’ Wild brand, Village Roadshow Theme Parks was reached out to by investors and asked to join the Las Vegas project. Coming on board as the majority investor, Village Roadshow Theme Parks expanded the initial park size and replaced the name with the Wet ‘n’ Wild brand and its accompanying attractions. “The location is actually one of the reasons we did come in and take over the Splash Canyon Water Park plans,” says Trevor Wilson, marketing and sales director for Village Roadshow Theme Parks. “It’s a great location for the expansion of Las Vegas. It’s close to the 215, which is easy and accessible, and because our focus is families, this area is prime for that.” Incorporating new technology and ride advancements Wet ‘n’ Wild will provide guests with new thrills and ride experiences. The park will feature new attractions including North America's first Rattler slide, a multi-person slide that winds through rattler pools and winding slides, and the ride Constrictor, Travel Channels, 2012 number four ranked most extreme water slide. New advances in technology are not limited to ride creation however, utilizing new advancements in filtration systems and water storage, the park is factoring in desert water concerns and will limit the amount of evaporation and overall water waste. Although the use of the estimated nine to ten million gallons of water per year may sound excessive, according to US Water News, it is significantly less than the average estimated 25 million gallons of water per year used by a golf course on the same size plot of land. “We really took into consideration the conservation of water into the building of the property. One thing we have that people will notice is all the slides come out into a run out instead of a pool. All that water gets pushed under and stored in underground tanks and is then recycled back into the ride,” says Wilson. “There is no standing water, so we eliminate the amount of evaporation, and at the end of the season the water is returned to Lake Mead for water credit.” Other aspects taken into consideration in the park development are toward the guest experience and participation. With the goal of being a local, family attraction, the park is using community involvement and feedback to provide locals with exactly what they want in their theme park. Community outreach efforts in the development of the water park, thus far, have included a naming contest of the wave pool, with the winning name being Red Rock Bay, and online voting for guests’ preferred retail brands, Quicksilver and Roxy. Park offered meals and snacks will also feature guest recommendations such as the favorite ice cream brand, Dippin Dots, and an assortment of healthy food options such as fresh fruit, hummus and sandwiches in addition to the classic theme park cuisine choices. “We like to tie ourselves to community involvement and also getting local organizations and charities involved in the park as well, so we can give back to the community,” Wilson says. The park will be located on S. Fort Apache Road, just off I-215 between Sunset Road and Warm Springs Road, and will host its grand opening on Memorial Day weekend. Day passes will range in price via age group, with a general adult admission costing $39.99 and various season, family and VIP passes ranging in price from $69.99 to $94.99. In addition to local military installations, providing discount single admission tickets to members of the military, additional discounts and promotions will be offered throughout the season. For more information on the park or to purchase season passes, visit wetnwildlasvegas.com.

South Point Perks for Mothers, Couples and Everyone Else

February, 2013

Salons, massage parlors and spas are in abundance in Las Vegas. While these luxurious retreats continue to be in high demand among locals and tourists within the city, occasionally you come across one that sets it apart from the rest. At the South Point Casino there’s more attractions than an equestrian and event center, the Costa del Sur Spa and Salon offers 40,000 square feet of spa amenities where everyone can get a little pampering and mothers-to-be and couples alike can enjoy exclusive amenities and treatments specific to their needs. “It’s like Vegas’ hidden gem. It is so beautiful and spacious and affordable. People just don’t picture the South Point to have that luxury aspect when they visit the hotel,” says Deirdre Strunk, director of spa and salon operations. Designed with the sole purpose to alleviate the pressures and aches of pregnancy, Costa del Sur’s Mother’s Massage brings pre and postnatal massages, wraps and scrubs together with the licensed care of one of fifteen certified pregnancy therapists. “There are a lot of therapists out there that do pregnancy massage but ours are actually certified in pregnancy massage and they have to go through certain courses to become certified,” Strunk says. “There are pressure points you’d want to avoid during pregnancy that can be really dangerous and our therapists are certified to know those points so they aren’t just massaging your feet and ankles and hitting the points that can make you have contractions. It’s an important detail and we only allow our certified therapists to do that type of massage.” While the South Point Casino Spa offers a therapeutic treat for mothers-to-be, the luxury spa isn’t solely designed to pamper oneself during pregnancy, in addition to individual and group spa massage and treatment options they also specialize in creating the ideal treatment and experience for couples. Complete with private Jacuzzi, relaxation lounge, steam and sauna, these amenities are exclusive for couples to enjoy together from start to finish. “It’s a nice way that couples can spend time together before and after their treatments and then they can have side by side massages and do their treatments in the same room. We have two different rooms, one with a swish shower and steam room and one with a Jacuzzi tub, they can choose which they prefer to have,” Strunk says. Open to the public and hotel guests seven days a week, this is one hidden luxury on the outskirts of Las Vegas Boulevard traffic that has something for everyone to enjoy. From simple massages and manicures to specialized treatments and menu favorite, Goddess of the Sun Ritual body treatment, once guests schedule their treatment, regardless of what it is, the amenities of the spa and salon are theirs to access for the entire day. In addition to the freedom to come and go as they please for the day, guests can also expect a personalized staff of 50 therapists, almost all of whom have worked for the spa since the start. “I think that makes for a really good experience for the guest because they can come in and get a good massage and they can call back and get that same therapist. That’s really nice I think,” Strunk says.