Hot off the wire from Harrah's Entertainment: "The visionary force behind Club Fuego, ND, has opted to close the nightclub in order to pursue future projects in other formats. The closure is effective today [June 15]."
Durr: Friends don't let friends become Europoseurs
This mouthful of fulsome flattery requires a bit of translation. "ND" is the pretentious moniker chosen by Nicole Durr. The German impresario garnered a small but fawning following during her latest Vegas stint. She also was credited with conception, creation, writing, direction, producing, musical conception, co-composition, costume design, co-choreography, co-program design and photography for Raw Talent Live.
The latter was a mercifully short-lived Cirque du Soleil wannabe that ran at the Sahara and looked like what you'd get if you let Franco Dragone run riot with a budget of $17.95. Centering upon "The Laptop of Life" (don't ask), this incomprehensible mishmash -- I believe the operative German word is Scheisse -- featured among its dramatis personae one "Miss Conscience Guilt," who presumably was dropping in from The Land of Babelfish.
Not only did Raw Talent Live have the miniscule distinction of being the single worst Vegas show I have ever seen, it was memorable in another respect: It used prerecorded applause. Either that or the theater was full of invisible people the night I saw Raw Talent, because there were probably fewer spectators than cast members.
In an effort to keep this Esperanto-flavored flub afloat, it was renamed Fuego Raw Talent Live, then just Fuego. But adding or subtracting words from the marquee provided no solution to an addle-pated concept.
That lesson went unlearnt when Ms. Durr set up shop over at The Rio. Posters on the property gaseously proclaimed: "ND's Fuego • The Club • Evolution of Nightlife." Now, if Steve Wynn were to announce that henceforth he was to be addressed and mentioned exclusively as "SW," and marketed his new property as "SW's Encore • The Resort • Evolution of Las Vegas" ... well, we'd all think El Steve had jumped the shark, to put it politely.
Before long, "Fuego" was doused and the Rio room became "ND's The Club." (Judging by its use of "Club Fuego," Harrah's Entertainment was as confused by the name-of-the-week as anyone.) All of which presumes that there's some brand equity in those two initials. Honestly, does anyone not on the Las Vegas Weekly's nightclub beat lie awake nights, tormented by the question, "What, oh what will ND do next?"
Durr earned herself a place in the Vegas history books when she helped spirit 50 Cuban artists to freedom. But of late she's drunk rather too deeply of her own bathwater. The ensuing cult of personality will not be missed.
OK, Durr is "develop[ing] the various elements of the brand." Guy Laliberté is being sent into outer space (meaning he's got 10 weeks to kick his nicotine addiction). So when will Christian Audigier take the hint?
Farewell to a legend. Europeans -- as opposed to transplanted Europoseurs -- remembered and revered saxophonist Sam Butera even after many in Vegas had forgotten him. Amidst the ongoing fuss over the demise of Danny Gans, the departure of Louis Prima's legendary sideman might have gone unnoticed were it not largely for the dedicated reportage of Cult Vegas author Mike Weatherford. Opportunties to hear Butera in Vegas were, in the past decade, few and fleeting ... but I wish I hadn't passed them up. That'll be something I regret.