MYSTERY SURROUNDS RENAMING OF ELVIS PRESLEY STREET TWICE IN A WEEK
It’s been a long time coming, but Elvis Presley finally has a prominent Las Vegas street named for him.
In fact, in something of a mystery, the former Riviera Boulevard underwent two Elvis name changes in a week.
I checked it out Monday night after getting an email from Elvis fan Joe Stanhibel, who has been writing me for several years, saying the street renaming honor was long overdue.
So how did Elvis end up with two street names in a week?
I couldn’t reach Clark County officials or Sue Lorenz, president of the Viva Las Vegas Fan Club for an explanation but this much is known:
Around Christmas it was renamed Elvis Presley Way with no fanfare, then the name was switched Thursday or Friday to Elvis Presley Boulevard, also with no fanfare.
The county tweeted a video at 8 a.m. Friday of a worker on a cherry picker installing Elvis Presley Boulevard at Las Vegas Boulevard with the caption: “The King is back in Vegas! We swapped the Riviera Blvd. street signs, which now read Elvis Presley Blvd.! Welcome Back, Elvis! #vegas.”
But a week earlier, an Elvis web site reported the street had been officially renamed and ran a photo of the new street name to prove it.
Back in January, I reported in my Review-Journal Vegas Confidential column that Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani confirmed Westgate owner David Siegel had his staff member meet with her planning staff to start the renaming process.
Siegel, who bought the LVH, formerly the Hilton, in the summer of 2014 and renamed it the Westgate after his Florida-based time share company.
Siegel wanted to capitalize on Elvis’ name to promote the Elvis exhibit that was loaned to him by Graceland.
The Elvis exhibit project blew up in late February 2015, less than a year after it opened, when the Westgate closed it down. Elvis Presley Enterprises responded with a statement saying it was “deeply concerned with the aggressive actions” taken by the hotel. The statement said hundreds of Elvis artifacts were seized “without any legitimate legal basis.”
The Westgate’s chief operating office Mark Waltrip said the 28,000-square foot exhibit was shuttered as a “protective action” because the tenant, an EPE licensee, was threatening to default on the 10-year contract.
I reached out late Monday to Linda Deutsch, longtime Associated special correspondent and the founder of one of the first Elvis fan clubs, for a comment to the street renaming.
“The reaction from fans was immediate and massive with most of them echoing one theme, ‘It’s about time,’ she said via email. The video on the city web site racked up more than 500,000 hits.
“It’s a bittersweet reminder that the king of rock ‘n roll has been gone nearly 40 years and is still a powerful figure on the American music scene. You need only to go to Graceland to see the thousands of fans, old and new, who come to share the magic of Elvis. On Sirius Radio, there’s a 24-hour Elvis station where the great DJs repeat a mantra: “We don’t just remember Elvis. We never forgot.”
“I remember the first time I went to Elvis Week, I spotted a sign on a motel that said, ‘Welcome to Memphis, Elvis’ home away from Las Vegas.’
“The fans are right,” she said. “It’s about time.”
Homegrown baseball hero Kris Bryant is marrying his longtime girlfriend, Jessica Delp, of Las Vegas this weekend.
"I hope (pitcher) Travis Wood shows up with a shirt on,” he told ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. “(First baseman) Anthony Rizzo's actually going to be in the wedding, which is cool. He's one of my really good friends. So it'll be fun," Bryant told Kimmel.
Bryant and Delp got engaged a year around New Year’s.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Cubs fans “have been so taken with the couple that many have bought gifts off their registry for them.”
The Bryants’ home will need a super-sized mantle for all the hardware Kris has won the past year and could add to in the future.
He won National League rookie of the year in 2015 and National Most Valuable Player in 2016 after leading the Cubs to their first world championship in 108 years.
Bryant hit .292 with 39 homer and 99 runs batted in. His post-season numbers: .308, three homers and eight RBIs.
"I hope (pitcher) Travis Wood shows up with a shirt on,” told ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. “(First baseman) Anthony Rizzo's actually going to be in the wedding, which is cool. He's one of my really good friends. So it'll be fun," Bryant told Kimmel.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
The Venetian and The Palazzo are denying a report by a local blogger that changes were coming soon. “BAZ is not closing it's actually going from five to six days a week starting Sunday, January 29,” the hotel said in a release. Also: “Beautiful—The Carole King Musical is not coming to The Venetian and The Palazzo,” according to the statement.
THE PUNCH LINE
“A study has confirmed that eating less increases your lifespan. The study goes on to advise the residents to get their affairs in order.” – Conan O’Brien, TBS talk-show host.