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HEF - THE MAN IN THE SILK PAJAMAS

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HEF - THE MAN IN THE SILK PAJAMAS

By Howard T. Brody

In December 1953, a University of Illinois psychology graduate living in Chicago – who had previously worked in publishing as a promotional copywriter for Esquire magazine, a circulation promotions manager for Children’s Activities magazine and who handled sales and marketing for Publisher’s Development Corporation – launched a publication that would forever change the landscape of American pop culture and help usher in the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s.

Raising $8,000 by selling his furniture and borrowing from 45 investors (mostly family and friends), Hugh M. Hefner introduced the world to Playboy and the world, in turn, was introduced to Hef.

That first issue was not exactly easy to distribute. It was at a time when obscenity laws in the U.S. were still very much stringent across the country and while having a photograph of Marilyn Monroe on the cover was not a big thing, having a nude photo of her inside the magazine was. As a result, there was pushback at every turn, but Hef stuck to his guns and his fortitudinous paid off. That issue, which had no cover date because Hef didn’t know if he could produce a second issue, sold more than 53,000 copies and gave life to a whole new industry.

If not for Hef’s determination, the multitude of magazines that followed Playboy into the marketplace after obscenity laws fell, Penthouse and Hustler among them, simply would not exist. This especially holds true for STRIPLV, as publisher Scott Santos’ creativity was very much influenced by the Playboy style, which of course had Hefner’s DNA ingrained in every aspect of the publication.

But Hef was more than just Playboy’s publisher and editor; he was its iconic figure who lived up to his reputation as an advocate of sexual liberation, freedom of speech and expression, political activism, philanthropy and of course, living the lifestyle of a playboy.

During its heyday, Playboy used to have an ad in every issue that asked: “What sort of a man reads Playboy?” While the answers were always different and sometimes tied to a product or service that was being advertised in that particular issue, they all painted a picture of a certain type of individual. Whether the man in the ad was well-dressed and well-groomed, well-traveled or simply a man of substance who had an eye for style, at the very root of the message Playboy was describing Hef and subconsciously they were telling us that if we followed the magazine’s blueprint, we could be like him. And we believed them.

Within a year of its first issue, Playboy’s circulation was about 200,000. By 1960 they had 1 million subscribers and at its height in 1972, Playboy magazine had a circulation of 7.2 million. Today, in the age of magazine subscription decline, circulation is down to 579,000.

Hef was certainly a trendsetter. A decade after he published his first issue, he moved his office from Playboy’s North Lake Shore Drive corporate address to the original Playboy Mansion – which was a 70-room, 30,000 square foot classical French brick and limestone residence, built in 1899 on North State Parkway in Chicago’s Gold Coast district – and traded in his business suits for silk pajamas.

In what would become his unique iconic style, during his work days Hef wore a color that he called “gunfighter black,” and at night he would wear rich colors like red, green or blue. In the evenings he would add a bathrobe, and when company came over he’d slip on a smoking jacket; after all, he had to accessorize his then ever-present pipe.

While Playboy’s ideal bachelor was an affluent white man, change was afoot. In 1960, Hef began opening a string of clubs around the world where waitresses wore revealing outfits that included bunny ears and fluffy white tails. The clubs influenced and impacted the cultural landscape of the time as they gave early breaks to entertainers such as Rich Little, Mark Russell and George Carlin. And although feminist Gloria Steinem took Hef to task in a story she wrote for Show magazine where she disparaged the clubs and the people who worked there; his Playboy Clubs provided a venue in which racial integration was endorsed as this was a subject he was personally dedicated to. His first job in a personnel department had involved identifying and rejecting “Jews, Negroes, and guys with long, foreign names,” which was an assignment he found repulsive. His clubs provided a setting for black entertainers to cross the color line, often helping them get their start. Among some of the first African-American entertainers to perform there were comedians Bill Cosby, Redd Foxx and Dick Gregory. Even though a new Playboy Club opened up in Las Vegas at the Palm Hotel and Casino, the last of the original clubs closed its doors in 1988, when Hefner considered them “too tame for the times” and “passé.”

Additionally, while people of color were largely absent from the magazine’s early issues, Hef’s late-night television programs, Playboy’s Penthouse (1959 – 1961) and Playboy After Dark (1969 – 1970), offered a racially integrated cocktail party atmosphere.  While this often meant that black entertainers like Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald and Sara Vaughn would appear on the show performing for and socializing with predominantly white guests, occasionally couples of color joined the party, mingling in the background. In at least one episode Hugh Heffner stepped up and discussed racial integration. The interracial mixing kept the show from being syndicated in the still-segregated South.

In addition to being at the forefront of racial equality, Hef was a strong proponent of the First Amendment and contended that the magazine contained far more substance than just nude photos and centerfolds. Under Hef’s charge, Playboy serialized Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,″ several James Bond novels by Ian Fleming and published works from such noted authors as Margaret Atwood, Alex Haley, Joseph Heller, Jack Kerouac, Doris Lessing, Norman Mailer, Gabriel García Márquez, Haruki Murakami, Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike and Kurt Vonnegut.

Under Hef’s direction, Playboy also introduced us to the long-form interview. Each month, an in-depth and unabashed Q&A took place with the celebrities and newsmakers of the day. From Fidel Castro and Malcolm X to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and George Lincoln Rockwell, from Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, they all had their turn in the hot seat. Two of the more memorable interviews included one in the November 1976 issue with then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, who revealed that he had “committed adultery” in his heart, and one in the January 1981 issue with John Lennon who gave his interview not long before he was gunned down in December 1980.

As the magazine’s head honcho, Hef had his finger on the pulse of a generation.

While Hef pretty much stayed in Chicago throughout the ‘60s, leaving the city only a handful of times, a major shift took place in 1971 when he bought the mansion in Los Angeles. Hef began flying back-and-forth between L.A. and Chicago on a private DC-9 he nicknamed “The Big Bunny,” which included a giant Playboy bunny decorated on its tail. By 1974, Hef fully transitioned to California, and for decades he was the center of a continuous nonstop party with Playboy models and celebrities. By Hef’s own account, he lived the playboy lifestyle, claiming he had sex with more than 1,000 women, including many of whom appeared in his magazine.

When the Los Angeles Playboy Mansion was put up for sale in 2016 at a whopping $200 million, it included a provision that Hef be allowed to remain in residence for the remainder of his life. In August 2016, Daren Metropoulos, the son of billionaire investor C. Dean Metropoulos and principal at the investment firm Metropoulos & Co., bought the iconic Holmby Hills residence for $100 million, the largest home sale ever recorded in Los Angeles County. The sale allowed Hefner to stay at the mansion until his death in September 2017 as Playboy Enterprises reportedly paid $1 million a year to lease the property back.

Looking back at the life and lifestyle Hugh M. Hefner had, if he were standing in front of us right now we’d have to say “thank you” for never backing down from a First Amendment fight; “thank you” for battling the ignorance of racism; “thank you” for being the trailblazer you were in opening the door for adult publications; and “thank you” for making it cool to work from home in a pair of silk pajamas.

Rest In Peace, Hef; you certainly earned it.

PORN STAR, MAY I? - Miss Lainie manners crash course in treating porn stars.

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PORN STAR, MAY I? - Miss Lainie manners crash course in treating porn stars.

By Lainie Speiser

I got into a big fight with an old pal from the industry on Facebook yesterday in reaction to my posting Rolling Stone Magazine’s profile on Ron Jeremy and the sexual harassment allegations. I knew this Facebook friend from my last year at Montcalm Publishing where I promoted their titles Gallery, Fox and Lollypops. He was a young, graphics web guy and I used to pop in his office to shoot the shit as I generally did to most employees on a daily basis, and we stayed in touch after I was gone. At one point he moved nearby me, living with a fellow NYC publicist and sometimes he’d sneak off to have a joint and a chat with me.

He lives in the south now, and he’s still in the industry working on websites as he always has. We haven’t spoken often, and rarely on Facebook at all until I posted an article that had a story I fed to Rolling Stone about Kendra Sunderland meeting Ron Jeremy. I introduced Kendra to Ron, then he immediately took out her boob and started licking her nipple. Although I have worked with Ron quite a few times in my 25 year history in the industry, this was the first time I was genuinely disgusted by him, and not in a, “Oh isn’t that ole Ron Jeremy gross but we love him just the way he is,” way. The guilt that has stayed with me since it happened at the Exxxotica Expo in Dallas the early Summer of 2015.  When it happened Kendra and I were shocked and didn’t move until I awkwardly said, “Welcome to the adult industry, Ron Jeremy leched on you!” He laughed, and Kendra and I giggled nervously and left. On our way to our rooms, I stopped her and said I was very sorry and I hoped she didn’t think less of me as a result of this crass experience that I should have done something about. I should have shoved him and said, “What the fuck, man? Not only is she a total stranger, but she’s young enough to be your granddaughter, you pig!” But I didn’t. I was stunned and stood there, which is very unlike me who is known for being verbally impulsive and probably too loud most of the time.

So, when Exxxotica banned Ron Jeremy from participating at their expo, I felt guilty all over again and publicly mentioned what happened those years ago. Kendra backed me, which I appreciated, and then she went on to speak with a writer from Rolling Stone Magazine about it, to which I posted on social media. My old comrade in porno arms, let’s call him Pee Wee (he was quite young when we met), reacted with this comment:

“Kendra, the girl arrested for making porn in a public library? Tsk tsk, 19 and didn’t know anything huh? She certainly knew enough to do that and then capitalize on it to get famous,” Pee Wee wrote. “Well anyways, gropage is kind of like a hazard of the job. If you’re going to play football, you might take a dirty hit. And if you’re going to be a porn star someone might well take a dirty hit lol uhh. I mean someone may touch your boob when you are not in full porn mode. As someone who has been in the industry as long as you have been, I would assume that you know that at porn shows porn stars male and female and often fans sometimes get very touchy with each other. It’s kind of what the shows exist for. Not saying it’s right, but let’s not live in a fantasy land. I ask you... do we really want to live in a world where Ron Jeremy can’t pull out a porn stars boob at a PORN show? Akin to my finding it comical strippers complaining about getting groped by guys at the strip clubs. Well if you don’t want to get groped by guys then don’t go to a job where your job is getting groped by guys.”

I couldn’t believe it. Pee Wee, who was a sweet, attractive young man, grew into a bitter misogynist, another woman hater who can’t stand how women in this industry are on top. Perhaps his life is not going very well. He asked me recently for help getting one of my girls to barker for his website at the last Exxxotica Expo in New Jersey, which I was happy to do until I found out he didn’t have a booth! I find that weird and ghetto, quite frankly. Pee Wee didn’t end up coming to the Expo at all. Maybe the success of others has been getting to him. I always try to find answers to people’s negative behavior, much to the annoyance of friends and family who have to listen to me go on and on about it. But who knows? The truth is many civilian men would agree with Pee Wee. Hey, you’re a porn star, and you were at a porn convention wearing a tiny bikini, and the world-famous Ron Jeremy licked your nipple. Big deal. Isn’t that another day in the office for you? You’ve chosen to make a living in the sex industry for god’s sakes!

But no, no, this is not acceptable behavior in the adult industry. You do not sexually touch anybody without consent, even if you’re going to do a hardcore sex scene with them in an hour. The law begins where good manners end, as I learned in a wonderful class I took in college called, “Journalism and Ethics.” Once you cross the line, you’ve committed sexual assault. Period. We in the industry are almost always on our best behavior with each other. We say, please and thank you and may I, and if we accidentally fuck up, we humble ourselves and say, I’m sorry. I’ve always been proud to be in this business because any sexual harassment most of us have ever received was at our jobs before we took the porno plunge. The worst job I ever had was in a fancy-schmancy Manhattan shoe store, “Churches of England Shoes.” I had that job when I was 19 and every single day of my time there I was assaulted with comments like, “Hey Lainie I like your sweater and the way you fill it,” by men who were old enough to be my father, and in one case, my grandfather. We were selling ridiculously expensive footwear with clientele like The Rockefeller’s, but I may as well have been working a street corner nearby the Lincoln Tunnel with a pimp named Chance.

When the news just broke about Exxxotica not welcoming Ron Jeremy to their lifestyle convention anymore, I ended up talking about it on the popular SiriusXM show, “The Jim Norton and Sam Roberts Show” and you can check that out on YouTube. Both hosts who have always been respectful of all of my adult industry clients who got it: Just because you work in the adult industry does not give anyone the right to sexually harass you.

I’ve even gotten annoyed with random people on social media who say things like, “Nobody can take a cock in the mouth like Vicki Chase. The way she drools on it makes my cock so hard I explode.” To which I always retort with the oldie but goodie, “Yo Mama,” such as, “I know your mother taught her everything she knows.” That always gets the reply, “What do you mean? I wasn’t saying anything mean, I was complimenting her.” And I continue with, “I was complimenting your mother as well. She really knows how to suck a dick. It’s quite amazing, your mother’s dick sucking skills.”

So how should you compliment a porn star? What’s the right way? You can say, “I really enjoy your work, you’re the best at what you do,” or “I have been following your work for a long time, I’m your biggest fan and I think you’re beautiful and have mad skills.” What I’m saying is we don’t need to hear how you enjoy a performer’s work and what you do to yourself while you enjoy it. We get it, you like porn, you like this porn star, and we assume you’re jerking off while you watch the movies. That goes without saying. Most of the people who make these graphic comments are getting off on saying this, and are probably polishing the pole in between typing. Which is your own business, I’m not the jerk-off police, but I don’t need to hear about it, at least not for free.

My friend and former client Lisa Ann talks about how fans have approached her when she’s with her family or friends in public with disgusting comments like, “Yo Lisa Ann, you’re the black man gang bang queen! I love how you take all of that black dick in your ass!” With absolutely no regard to Lisa or how she feels, or how her civilian friends and family may take that. It’s no secret to anyone that she’s the number one porn star in the world, but can’t you just say, “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’m a big fan of your work, thank you for everything.” And that’s it! It makes her happy, it makes you happy, and she may just offer to pose for a photo with you because you’re such a polite person. Good manners get good rewards.

I went to my first Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas when I was in my twenties which was quite a long time ago, and it was wild. There was a full bar in the convention floor, many of the entertainers were half in the bag, some were nude, some were letting fans lick their nipples for a fee and others even sat on the faces of fans. I remember taking a break to eat a sandwich, and went behind the curtains that at the time was our “backstage.” Two bites in, I turned my head and saw two performers. The male performer was getting head from the female performer, and when the guy noticed me watching he gave me a wink and a smile. And although all of these things were very salacious, not one of these things I witnessed happened without consent. As time went by, the conventions became a lot more conservative. No bar for starters, and they have security checking everyone’s bag in case you thought bringing a bottle of vodka was a good idea. The women are no longer allowed to be nude, pasties on the boobies and g-strings are as bare as you can go. That doesn’t mean people don’t need to learn some manners.

If you’re going to a porn convention like Exxxotica or the Adult Entertainment Expo, do not expect to get your grope on. Do you go to Comic-Con with the idea of grabbing the tush of Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot? Sure, you’d love to, but would you think this was even an option? Unless you’re a moron, no, of course not. Same rules apply to adult stars. When posing for your photos, do not touch your performer, she may put her arm around you, which is great, but please do not rest your hand on her ass and let your fingers do the walking. Also, don’t make ridiculous requests like, “May I have a lock of your hair?” or “If I give you an extra 20 bucks can you take off your top in the photo? The performer next to you is doing it.” Yes, some performers will do certain things with fans for money, and that’s their business, but do not assume what’s cool for one performer is just as cool with another. And most performers have everything listed in their booth for sale, including the kinds of photos you can take with them. Another porn star shouldn’t feel like a disappointment because there are boundaries that she personally doesn’t want to cross.

Another thing that irks me working these conventions is when a performer has movies, magazines and color photos on sale, and a fan will hold up one of these items and say, “Is this you? It doesn’t look like you.” I wonder if these people are just dumb or are trying to hurt the performer’s feelings because they can’t fuck them. But I will tell you this; it does hurt the performer’s feelings. These men and women plan for months on what they are going to wear, they hire hair and make-up artists, and they really want to make you the fan, happy to meet them. Why would you go to a convention to be mean and insulting? There is a fine line between love and hate with fans. These performers are their fantasy girlfriends and lovers, and I wonder if meeting them in person bursts that bubble and anger comes out. For the most part, fans are incredible, but they should keep this in mind: You will never meet any other group of people who work so hard to please their fans in the entertainment world as porn stars do. The performers rely on their fans to keep their brand alive, and they want them to be thrilled to be seen in person.

And lastly, there’s hygiene. I know the convention floor can get hot and sweaty, we don’t blame you for your glisten, but can you wear deodorant? There’s no reason for smelling funky, and more than a handful of you dear fans do. So, use some deodorant before hitting the convention. I mean one that is a deodorant and antiperspirant, I personally like Gillette Clear, it does the job and doesn’t stain your clothes! And speaking of clothes, although you’re not going to a hot date, wouldn’t you want to look your best when meeting your favorite adult entertainer? I’m not saying you should wear a tuxedo, but some of you look like you pulled out clothes from the hamper and slapped them on, and a few of you seem to have forgotten to zip your fly after you use the bathroom. We don’t want to be a stereotype, and we certainly don’t want the fans of porn to be one either. I love it when I meet a well-groomed and well-dressed die-hard fan, you made an effort not only to come and meet your favorite porn star, but you went through the bother of looking nice for him or her. It just makes the whole experience extra nice for both parties. Porn fans ARE awesome, and they should look that way, too.

I remember the last time I worked with Ron Jeremy. He was performing standup comedy for my client Alia Janine’s showcase, “Hardcore Comedy” in Las Vegas during the Adult Entertainment Expo in January of 2016. I was working the door and in charge of payment to some of the comedians. I paid in cash and I accidentally overpaid Ron by 50 bucks, and when he noticed after counting it in a private area, he came back to me, handed it back and said, “You tell everyone Ron Jeremy is an honest man and returned the extra money.” I laughed and promised I would, which I did. I wanted to forgive him for being a sleazy idiot to Kendra. I took into account that back in the day, we all knew each other.  It was a small pond, the porn world, and it wasn’t unusual to have a performer jump you from behind to say hello. Perhaps Ron, like many men who are aging sex icons from all entertainment industries, subconsciously thinks that it’s still 1980 and he’s not a smelly, old man in yoga pants, but a young stud in designer jeans who graced the pages of Playgirl Magazine. But still, Kendra didn’t know him, and he didn’t know her, and it’s hard to explain that away no matter how you slice it. Times have changed; they have to. It’s called progress. And saying, “Oh that’s just Ron,” is no longer an acceptable answer. And now that I have read much more serious allegations against Ron, I felt even worse.  Because I liked the guy, and most of the world likes him. He’s the most mainstream name in adult entertainment. I’ve had dinner with him at posh restaurants where upscale women have jumped on his lap for a photo.

But know this: if Ron Jeremy never makes a penny from being who he is again, there’s no reason to worry or feel bad. He’s socked every penny away like the famous miser he is; he’s never had children, gotten married or taken care of anyone financially to my knowledge. He’s in his 60s; he has enough to last the rest of his life nicely. He will be fine. But his victims, I don’t know. I hope they will be fine and I applaud them for being so brave and coming forward.

DON'T BE ONE OF THE LOST AND CONFUSED

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DON'T BE ONE OF THE LOST AND CONFUSED

By Nick Hawk

It’s really unfortunate that there are extremely lost and confused people out there in the world bringing others down. I do not believe there are bad, or even “crazy,” people, only lost and confused people. We’re all good people, and I’m positive, people with a healthy brain do not want to see other people suffer. Scientists have even recently concluded that basic human nature is compassionate. If we don’t experience or have someone showing us how to be healthy and that compassion and love, opposed to terror, makes us feel good, then how would we ever know?

It has been reported that the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas was the deadliest mass shooting in America with at least 58 deaths. What really would drive a man to commit this heinous act? How about a shitty life mixed with antipsychotic drugs. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, was prescribed them, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When I found out about the shooting, I immediately tweeted, “I’m safe in Texas. I’d put money on shitty parents and antidepressants. Wake up world!” The two biggest problems we face as a society are: kids are having kids and the disgusting and crippling pharmaceutical industry. I tried these “magic pills,” and I know many other users, and everyone comes to the same conclusion - they’re worthless, and they destroy you, and now there’s an abundance of research and studies that have proven this as well. This isn’t stopping the trillion dollar global giant with their million dollar marketing campaigns targeting these people. Gross. I’ve now coached many clients off of these bogus pills, and not one has looked back. Most of them send me consistent thank you notes of how the cloud has been lifted and how their life, once again, has meaning.

There’s a formula for being, happy and confident. You must: #1, make the decision that you want to be happy and confident; #2, know that you can change; #3, start reprogramming your brain to change. Every morning, when you wake up, you need to remind yourself to be the person you decided you’re changing into. You must understand you have a choice to be in control. You must catch yourself when you fail and then analyze what happened. You must see the glass half-full. You must find what you’re passionate about, and you must make plans that excite you and to which you can look forward.

Hopefully, we get our shit together sooner than later. Everything in our life is controlled and regulated. You even have to go to your drug dealer, aka doctor, to get these pills that fucking dull you, steal your soul and make you think and do fucked up shit. Having children should definitely be regulated. You do not have any business bringing a person into this world until you can prove you’re capable of handling the world yourself; minimally an age restriction needs to go into effect. Most of us bestow uncertainty and ignorance into our youth that turns into fear. We give people undeserving support and cheap laughs for making fun of someone who is trying something new instead of motivating them to keep going. Confidence is a skill that most people lack because it’s rarely taught and developed.

We cannot allow these horrendous acts to discourage us even more. There are many shitty and lost people in this world. Don’t be one of them. Don’t allow confusion to grow fear, animosity and hate inside of you. Rid yourself of all of the pointless emotions. Don’t lose yourself, even more, to bullshit prescription pills. Figure out how to love yourself, and treat yourself like you do. Children will not fill your void; self-development and understanding will. Stop worrying about unpreventable shit and live your life. It is the lost and confused who are bringing you down— anyone one with any worth will not.

I want to leave you with a kick from my book, Nick Hawk’s 100 Kicks In The Ass: A Guide To Gaining Confidence & Reaching Your Full-Potential:

Kick #14: ACT IN A WARM MANNER & PROMOTE HAPPINESS

“We really need to make an attempt to understand people, instead of dismissing them.” – Nick Hawk

There are zero benefits from being cold to someone. It does not make you feel better. It does absolutely nothing beneficial for the situation, and it eats at you, forever. You will hold the bad energy you created; it will continue to transpire and become a habit. It’s not worth it. You may even do it for it for a selfish reason; nobody will care. Just don’t do it because you’re scared and unsure how to act. Warmness should be your go-to.

If a human was walking down a busy street and lost his or her entire memory, besides the ability to walk and was punched by the next 100 people he or she passed, how do you think this person would treat the 101st person? What if this person was hugged by those 100 people instead? That 101st person would probably get a much different greeting. We are a product of our environment. None of us are born different or special. There are not bad people in this world. There are only lost people, people who were abused and people who didn’t have proper guidance. We cannot properly communicate love until we learn what it is. We’re all good, and we all want to love. Few of us know how to. Criminals are like undeveloped children. Most have been beaten, sexually assaulted and drugged by the pharmaceutical companies. Do you know that almost every famous mass murderer was abused and on some type of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant pill? Wake the fuck up.

My book, music and more are available at NickHawkExplicit.com and Amazon.com. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @TheNickHawk.

CHRISTMAS IN VEGAS

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CHRISTMAS IN VEGAS

By Skye Huntington

Las Vegas is a thrilling, unique place to spend time during the Christmas holiday season. There are so many beautiful sights and sounds to excite even the grinchiest of people. The casinos, restaurants, malls and clubs always kick it up a notch over the holidays. The over-the-top displays of glistening Christmas trees covered with sparkling lights, the elaborate use of thousands of poinsettias, the music and sight of pretty girls walking around in their fancy holiday attire are all enjoyed by millions every year, and almost everything will be open for your pleasure. Here are some surefire ways to enjoy the holiday season in Vegas, along with some intriguing gift ideas.         

Las Vegas Springs Preserve Holiday Express

Embrace the holiday magic at the Springs Preserve with train rides to Santa’s magical village and festive activities, including photos with Santa, holiday crafts, cookie decorating, holiday stories, a nutcracker display and more!

This special journey will include all of the quintessential holiday trimmings along the way—from snow to hot cocoa.

Trips to Santa’s village depart 12 times each day at 12 p.m., 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time. The Springs Preserve Holiday Express experience is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. SpringsPreserve.org 333 South Valley View Blvd  (702-822-7700).

Ethel M Chocolate Factory

The 24th Annual Holiday Cactus Garden featuring over 1 million holiday lights.November 7 through January 1. The lights are illuminated nightly from sundown to 10 p.m. This event is open Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve but is closed on Christmas day. Ethel M is also introducing their new skating rink, which is open daily from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. EthelM.com 2 Cactus Garden Drive Henderson  (800-471-0352).

Fountains of Bellagio

The fountains are fabulous anytime during the year, but during the Christmas Season, it’s certain to get you “in the spirit” with the fountains choreographed to the music of the season like: Carol of the Bells, O Holy Night, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Sleigh Ride, Santa Baby and more. During the week, show times are every 30 minutes from 3–8 p.m. and every 15 minutes from 8 p.m.–12 a.m. On weekends and holidays, shows begin at 12 p.m. Bellagio.com/attractions/fountains-of-bellagio.aspx

 

Topgolf Las Vegas Chairman’s Suite Package

For about $8,000, you and 30 of your nearest and dearest can party and play like rock stars in the Chairman’s Suite for three hours with a dedicated bay host, a premium open bar, a customized menu of bites and shareable items from the culinary team and unlimited Topgolf play on the two chromed-out bays. The private Chairman’s Suite also boasts its own bathroom and air conditioning for those lovely Vegas nights. Celebs who have played in the Chairman’s Suite include Justin Timberlake, Drake and Gwen Stefani.

Ever wanted to dance like the stars?

Dance With Me, located in Tivoli Village, is one of the nation’s leading chains of dance studios. Founded by champion and celebrity dancers including “Dancing with the Stars” professionals Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani, Dance With Me offers the ultimate dance experience blending fun, ease, and comfort with quality instruction in the most beautiful space. The first-rate services include private dance lessons for a wide variety of styles, group dance classes, social practice parties, and memorable events guaranteed to intrigue beginners and inspire over-achievers.

Essence Vegas

Now that it’s recreational in both Las Vegas and Henderson, give some green this holiday. Voted one of the Top 25 Cannabis Dispensaries in the United States, Essence Vegas offers a variety of products, including more than 50 strains of cannabis, vape pens, concentrates, topicals and a wide variety of edibles, including brownies, cookies and honey. Order online at www.EssenceVegas.com or visit one of three locations throughout Las Vegas and Henderson.

Pawn Plaza

Next door to the world-famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop is this colorful dining and retail destination with a variety of great gift ideas including certificates to Rick’s Rollin Smoke BBQ & Tavern, Jared’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs & Hamburgers, Exotic Motor Rentals or European Spa, or pick up some nostalgic treats at Chumlee’s Candy on the Boulevard or cool merchandise from So-Cal Speed Shop.

 

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