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Summer Splash

The Vegas Galaxy Expands

Next up in Sin City: 'Star Trek: The Experience' at the Hilton, Ozzfest '97 and shops galore.


The only constant in Las Vegas these days seems to be the construction cranes. Buildings are going up, down and out faster than you can say, "Let it ride."

In an effort to attract more people--and their expendable incomes--Las Vegas hotel-casinos are putting their money on a slew of new shops and attractions.

Perhaps the most-hyped summer opening is Las Vegas Hilton's "Star Trek: The Experience," coming in August. The $70-million attraction includes a motion-simulated voyage, computer games, retail shops and a themed restaurant-lounge, all created in conjunction with Paramount Parks.

In other corners of the Vegas galaxy, retail malls--with trendy shops, fine food and festive attitudes--are the hottest thing since the Mirage volcano. Included in the recent expansion of the 2,563-suite Rio hotel-casino is Masquerade Village, a shopping area with two levels of upscale stores, including Nicole Miller and Guess Footwear, and restaurants all within reach of a casino slot machine. Above it is the "Masquerade Show in the Sky," a free spectacular held six times daily (closed Wednesdays), featuring five 6-ton floats. The Rio's 51-story tower, one of the tallest in Las Vegas, is topped off with the new Voodoo Cafe and jazz club opening this weekend, with Cajun food and decor, outdoor seating and a terrific view of the Strip.

Caesars Palace is set to open its expanded Forum Shops on Labor Day weekend, doubling the size with more shops, restaurants and entertainment (including a new hourly attraction, "Atlantis," with robotic statues, and a 50,000-gallon aquarium stocked with tropical fish in the new piazza).

The Luxor is scheduled to open something new each month this summer: a retail mall called the Giza Galleria will open in June, the Luxor Steakhouse will open its doors in July, followed by a new food court on the attractions level in August.

For entertainment outside the hotel-casinos, music festivals have found a niche in the sea of Vegas attractions. Ozzfest '97 returns for its second year, at Sam Boyd Stadium, on June 28. Ozzy Osborne reunites with Black Sabbath to headline the metal rock show; Marilyn Manson, Cantera, Type O Negative, Fear Factory and Machine Head are among the 14 bands set to play on two stages. The festival atmosphere includes rides, games and booths. (702) 895-3900.

KKLZ-FM's annual Junefest returns to Sam Boyd's Silver Bowl Park on June 7, with Santana, Bruce Hornsby, Eddie Money, War, Cosmo's Factory (featuring members of Creedence Clearwater Revival) and others. The daylong festival includes food and vendor booths. (702) 895-3900.

Relive the '70s Weekend at the Rio in September with music made famous by bands such as Peter Frampton, K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Donna Summer, plus a fashion show, muscle-car display and other things retro spread throughout the complex, from poolside to Club Rio.

Other events around Las Vegas include: The Frank Sinatra Las Vegas Celebrity Classic golf tournament, May 30-June 1, at the Las Vegas Hilton course. (704) 541-6600 for information.

On June 7 the NASCAR Winston West Series 150 comes to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (702) 644-4444.

Las Vegas Helldorado Days Rodeo, a Las Vegas tradition for more than 50 years, comes to the Thomas & Mack Center June 18-21. (702) 895-3900.

On June 28, the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival takes place at the Sammy Davis Festival Plaza. (702) 229-6704.

On the Fourth of July, sparks will fly at the Thomas & Mack with the Campbell Soup's Tour of World Figure Skating Champions. (702) 895-3900.

July 11-12, the NPC-USA Bodybuilding Championships come to Artemus Ham Concert Hall. (702) 895-3801.

July 11-13, USA International World Karate Championships kick off at Cashman Field Center. (702) 222-9557.

July 24-27, the Zelzah Shrine Temple Shrine Circus comes to town, appearing at Cashman Field Center. (702) 382-5554.


May 15-28: Righteous Bros.; MGM Grand.

May 24-25: Gipsy Kings; Hard Rock.

May 28: Dogstar; Hard Rock.

May 29: Descendents; Hard Rock.

May 29-June 1: Ray Charles; Caesars Palace.

May 29-June 3: Paul Anka; Bally's.

May 29-June 11: Wayne Newton; MGM Grand.

May 30-31: Nana Mouskouri; Desert Inn.

May 31: Tommy James, the Turtles, Flo & Eddie and others; Aladdin.

June 1: Bush; Thomas & Mack Center.

* Bush; Aladdin.

June 4-5: The Offspring; Hard Rock.

June 4-18: Louie Anderson; Bally's.

June 5-8: Johnny Mathis, Gary Mule Deer; Caesars Palace.

June 11: The Band, Hot Tuna; Aladdin.

June 11-15: Neil Sedaka; Desert Inn.

June 12-15: Howie Mandell; Caesars Palace.

June 12-25: Tom Jones; MGM Grand.

June 14: K.C. & the Sunshine Band; Hard Rock.

June 19-22: Legends of Motown (Temptations, Marvelettes, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas); Caesars Palace.

June 19-25: Engelbert Humperdinck; Bally's.

June 21: Gordon Lightfoot; Hard Rock.

June 26-July 2: Rodney Dangerfield; MGM Grand.

June 27: Grand Funk Railroad; Hard Rock.

* Tejano Music Awards; Bally's.

June 27-28: Chris Rock; Bally's.

June 27-29: The Stylistics, Dramatics and Chi-Lites; Desert Inn.

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