Mel Shields: Tahoe nightspots change looks

Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4TICKET

Nothing changes so fast as the nightclub scene. Open and hot one week, cold and closed the next.

In northern Nevada casinos, nightclubs were largely unheard of during the peak showroom years. It was two shows a night with a star, and then retire to a mere bar. The era of ultra lounges seems to have come and gone, those places where a $1,000 bottle of vodka and a $10 short-rib seemed money well spent. Now, it's full-throttle nightclubs with flashing lights, pulsing music and occasional "stars" who do little outside of being paid to show up.

But two hotels on Lake Tahoe's South Shore hotels have upped the nightclub ante. Harrah's has taken Vex and transformed it into Peek, and the MontBleu has taken its Blu Nightclub and converted it on Saturdays into Boogie Nights.

Peek has its grand opening this weekend, commencing tonight with "Jersey Shore" personality Jenni "JWoww" Farley. San Francisco DJ E Rock also is to appear.

Saturday finds Paris Hilton hosting, along with BeatClan, and Sacramento's DJ SN1 spinning. Record producer and rapper Jermaine Dupri will be the celebrity DJ on Sunday.

Peek has more than $1 million in upgrades and remodels from Vex. It occupies the same space as the South Shore Room which, on show nights, is converted from theater to nightclub in a matter of hours. It now boasts more than 6,700 square feet of club space, including 40 intimate VIP sections. (Here comes the bottle price!)

Aerial shows several stories above the dance floor also are part of the fun. Peek will normally be open Friday and Saturday nights, with cover charges to be determined. (Make booth reservations at

Meanwhile, Blu goes retro with what is billed as "the ultimate '70s and '80s dance party, "Boogie Nights," a theme party created by Dave Pena and featuring bell bottoms, miniskirts, polyester, Afros and enough crushed velvet to smother John Travolta. Disco balls, of course, funky furniture, shag carpeting and a new 400-foot $30,000 light-up dance floor are featured, along with VIP areas with themes – "Love Shack" with a neon pulsating heart or "Swingers Lounge" with celebrity impersonators. Mr. Boogie, Hula-Hoop Girl and Roller Girl are regular performers (one presumes that no one is expected to reflect on Roller Girl beating up someone with her skates in the movie "Boogie Nights"). (Saturdays; 8 p.m.; 21 and over; $10, free when attired befitting the theme;

The MontBleu also keeps up with traditional entertainment, both modern and classic, this weekend. Iration plays tonight (9 p.m.; $25) and George Benson on Sunday (8 p.m. $45, $55).

More celebrations: The arrival of the Chinese Year of the Snake finds Lion Dances at the Silver Legacy (Saturday at 1, 4, 7 and 10 p.m.; Sunday at 12, 3, 6 and 8; and Monday at noon); the White Crane Lion Dancers at the Eldorado (Saturday at 5, 8 and 11 p.m.; Sunday at 4, 7, and 10; and Monday at 1); special buffets in multiple properties; and two parties at Cache Creek in Brooks on Saturday at 8 and 10:30 p.m., following a Lion Dance at 6 p.m. (free for card holders, tickets available at 6 p.m. at guest services, first-come first-served).

Better late than never: Mardi Gras becomes Parti Gras at John Ascuaga's Nugget today through Sunday, kicking off with Grammy winner Dr. John today at 9 p.m. ($40;, followed by free concerts with Mumbo Gumbo on Saturday at 9 p.m. and Andrew Thierry & Zydeco Magic at 9 p.m. Sunday.

Out and about: Goth alert – Marilyn Manson is playing the Grand Sierra this Sunday (8:30 p.m.; $42.50;

James and Jaymes, the blond Chippendale dancers who came in second in the most recent edition of "The Amazing Race," helped to humanize all bow-tied guys who tear their clothes off; one company of them performs tonight at the Silver Legacy (8 p.m.; $55.50). Jackson Browne plays the same room Saturday (8 p.m.; $49.50, $59.50, $69.50;

A belated Valentine's Jam is tonight at Thunder Valley in Lincoln, with the Bar-Kays, Zapp and Club Nouveau (8:30; $49.50, $59.50; thundervalley; and Boyz II Men return to Cache Creek Saturday (8 p.m.; $49, $59, $79;


Boomtown, Reno – Events Center: Al Stewart, Feb. 23. (800) 648-3790.

Cal Neva Resort – Frank Sinatra Showroom: Andre Nickatina, Smoov-E, Saturday. (800) 233-5551.

Carson Valley Inn – Valley Ballroom: Michael Martin Murphey – A Valentine's Cowboy Sweetheart Serenade, today. Cabaret Lounge: Stew Stewart, today-Saturday; Paul Covarelli, Sunday-Wednesday; Escalade, Thursday-Feb. 23. (775) 782-9711.

Eldorado, Reno – Showroom: "Magique," Tuesdays-Sundays, through April 14. (800) 648-5966.

Harrah's Lake Tahoe – South Shore Room: G. Love and Special Sauce, March 2. Peek Nightclub grand opening celebration with JWoww, Paris Hilton and Jermaine Dupri, today-Sunday. (800) 427-7247.

Harrah's Reno – Sammy's Showroom: The Magic of Eli Kerr, Fridays-Saturdays, through Feb. 23. The Stage @ the Zone: Erin McKinney Band, today-Saturday; Cover Me Badd, next Friday-Feb. 23. (800) 427-7247.

Harveys, Lake Tahoe – Improv: Bob Zany, Zan Aufderheide, today-Sunday; Scott Henry, Daryl Lenox, Wednesday-Feb. 24. (800) 427-8397.

Horizon, Lake Tahoe – Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Thursdays-Tuesdays. (775) 588-6211.

MontBleu Resort, Lake Tahoe – MontBleu Theatre: Iration, Passafire, the Green, Pacific Dub, today; George Benson, Sunday. (888) 829-7630.

Silver Legacy, Reno – Grand Exposition Hall: Jackson Browne, Sunday. Mezzanine level: Lion Dance, Sunday- Monday. (800) 687-8733.

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