December 13th, 2011

Damien Hirst interviewed before his show of ‬300 spot paintings in 11 Gagosian galleries “‘What would be more appealing … to have made the Mona Lisa painting itself or have made the merchandising possibilities — putting a postcard on everyone’s walls all over the world? Both are brilliant, but in a way I would probably prefer the postcards” [AO Newslink]

Read article via LA Times

Viva lass Vegas; ZOE LINKSON discovers what the entertainment capital has for girls.(News)

The Mirror (London, England) May 14, 2011 Byline: ZOE LINKSON ON the flight to Las Vegas I made a strange decision.

I cannot really explain my thought process, but I challenged myself to spend a week there without gambling. lemon drop martini

How hard can it be? I thought. I know little about cards and slots and the roll of the dice, and although I was about to hit the best place in the world to learn I figured there must be a different side to Vegas – one where I wouldn’t have to come home and fear facing the bank manager.

One for girls.

Checking into the Cabana Suites at the El Cortez, I knew I was right. It’s where Sharon Stone’s character died in Casino, but thankfully it has since been refurbished. The decor is retro, sleek and sexy – and the shower is huge!

Away from the hotel, there was no shortage of things to occupy me. My hardest job was deciding how much I could fit in. There are bars, shops, shows galore and cakes – I felt should try as many as possible.

Las Vegas is split into two distinctive experiences: The Strip – big buildings, big casinos, very showy – and there’s Downtown, where Vegas began. Things here are more eclectic.

A Downtown cocktail hotspot is the aptly named Downtown Cocktail Room, which is perfect for a night in an intimate atmosphere. It’s hidden, but it’s a gem.

On the Strip we had dinner at Sinatra’s at the Encore where the waiter suggested the Sinatra Smash, a mix of blackberry and bourbon with a hint of vanilla. I sipped mine beneath a portrait of ‘Ole Blue Eyes pleased that it was bound to count as one of my five a day. But the best cocktail venue had to be at Piero’s where we met Mayor Oscar B Goodman for drinks and a chat about The Mob. After half a Lemon Drop Martini, Mayor Goodman told me I could be a showgirl and I believed him. That’s one powerful cocktail.

We met a showgirl on the backstage tour of Jubilee! at Bally’s. She was at least a foot taller than me and definitely hadn’t spent the last week searching for the best cake in town.

We got a close up look at all the feathers, sparkles and 22lb headdresses that could turn an ordinary girl like myself into a Vegas Showgirl.

Jersey Boys at the Palazzo was a hit with my group. Even with me squealing “I know this, I know this” at the start of every song and spending the rest of the night re-enacting “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like A Man”. go to website lemon drop martini

The must see show I couldn’t stop talking about was Matt Goss at Caesar’s Palace. He manages to bring a little taste of vintage lounge show and a dash of Sinatra’s smooth style back to Vegas.

After seeing two shows a day I’m still surprised that we managed to squeeze in as much food as we did. I thought I would never need to eat again.

We tried a little of everything and the fine dining at Spago at the Forum Shops is perfect if you’re in the mood for dressing up without blowing all your spending money in one go.

We also enjoyed a relaxed meal at Julian Serrano at ARIA where the tapasstyle menu allows for a more casual experience.

To go truly retro head to The Golden Steer nestled between The Strip and Downtown.

They boast the “Best Steaks on Earth”.

They’re the biggest I’ve ever seen. The real draw to the Golden Steer is that at 50 years old it’s a genuine part of old Vegas that’s still going strong.

The waiters still dress in tuxedos and the booths are named after their famous regulars: you can choose to sink into the same leather as Sinatra or Elvis, or you can be Marilyn Monroe making eyes across the room at Joe DiMaggio.

And so to the cakes. I didn’t try them all, but I had a go.

My favourite thing about Vegas was there’s no set time for pudding. You don’t have to wait until you’re drinking tea. There’s no tedious need to eat a meal before pudding.

At Silk Road in the Vdara Hotel we had it with breakfast. Blueberry and ricotta pancakes with orange blossom syrup. I thought the elegant chocolate and vanilla mousse from the Payard Patisseries at Caesars Palace was heaven on earth. That is, until we stayed at the ARIA in City Center where the positioning of Jean Philippe Patisserie next to the lift to my room meant there was always time to get one more cake before bedtime.

The award for goddess of all puddings I’ve ever had (I’ve had a lot) goes to Chart House at the Golden Nugget. Built around an aquarium I couldn’t bring myself to have seafood while eye to eye with the fish and opted for the Chocolate Lava Cake with a liqueur centre.

If you need a reason to leave the Strip, this is it. They do good cocktails too – it’s a definite first port of call for any girl in Vegas.

The final stop on your girlie trip has to be the Pajama Brunch at Palms Place.

Wearing your own jim-jams is optional but the waiters will be in theirs. It’s fun and is the best Sunday morning hangover cure ever.

The buffet means you can try whatever you want – a fry up or sushi. Or just do what I did and fill up at the candy bar. Eating pink candy floss for breakfast, you couldn’t be any more of a girl.

GET THERE BA has daily flights from Heathrow to Las Vegas from pounds 584 return., 0844 493 0787. The Aria Resort and Spa Las Vegas has standard rooms from pounds 45 per person with Premier Holidays., 08444 937 531.

El Cortez Cabana Suites has junior suites from pounds 36pn., 020 7367 0979.

Time zone: GMT -8hrs Currency: US$ pounds 1 = 1.59 Best time to go: 24/7, 365 days a year CAPTION(S):

LIGHT UP Las Vegas’s famous strip comes alive at night COCKTAILS are flowing ICON Zoe’s arrival ON SONG The Jersey Boys