Suspended Animation

Watching for signs of life as two shuttered nightclubs stir from their slumber

All eyes were on the Hard Rock on New Year’s Eve 2009. And with good reason. After six years of service, Body English took one last bow before passing its crown to Vanity, which stepped up that night as the resort’s new reigning late-night venue. Exemplifying the type of extravagant promotions that kept the venerable club popular for so long, Body English’s vintage $250,000 Baccarat crystal chandelier was awarded to the evening’s highest spender, a software developer who rang in 2010 with a $25,000 tab.

In the nine months hence, Body English has sat quietly, patiently awaiting the next chapter. Although there was subsequent talk about the space reopening in spring—appropriately as Afterlife Afterhours—summer has come and gone and still her doors are shut. One imagines that within, her VIP booths doze tranquilly beneath a delicate veil of dust, her DJ booth woefully empty without talent bringing her sound system to life. She, like Privé, Ice, Smokin’ Hot Aces, Rumjungle and Empire Ballroom, remains frozen in time. At least for now.

But even while she rests, the remainder of the Hard Rock Hotel’s nightlife program has undergone a multitude of changes, including Rehab’s mid-pool-season handover to Angel Management Group in July and the August announcement that the barely 2-year-old Wasted Space would be making way for the Hard Rock’s new sports book. Numerous high-profile shake-ups in nightlife management have occurred, and rumors swirl about which leading Las Vegas nightlife company might possibly be swooping in to take over all of the hotel’s existing and future nightlife venues and perhaps play an even greater role.

For its part, the Hard Rock will neither comment on, confirm nor deny any such major management or ownership changes, but will affirm that “Body English is currently being used to host special events at Hard Rock,” adding only that “No future plans for the venue have been determined at this time.” What is known is that Angel Management Group will reopen the nightclub (wholly Hard Rock-owned) on Oct. 15 for a special performance by progressive house DJ/producer Deadmau5. The Body, it seems, will be resurrected—if but for one night.

Meanwhile on the Strip, the 12,000-square-foot Privé Nightclub/Living Room Lounge complex sits similarly dormant after a tumultuous and short life: opened December 2008, closed July 2009, reopened August 2009 and closed permanently in April. Harrah’s acquired the problematic club and its adjoining lounge via its purchase of Planet Hollywood Resort on Feb. 19. If Harrah’s plays its cards right, this could be an incredible opportunity to start fresh with a conscientious new nightlife partner and to reinvigorate the property’s nightlife menu. As of right now, not one nightclub exists within the casino. For today’s Vegas, this is shocking.

The rumor mill churns with whispers of some recent activity around the Privé space, of nightclub proposals and of clandestine talks. Just as New Year’s Eve 2010 will bring us new issue from Tao Group at the Cosmopolitan—to be joined by Chateau at Paris in “early spring,” an inside source confirms—could 2011 not also bring us a new Planet Hollywood nightclub concept? And indeed, all eyes will be on Privé’s successor.

In a statement almost as tempting as it is vague regarding that question, a Harrah’s press representative says simply, “We have no announcement at this time.” No problem, we say, brushing some dust off one of Privé’s Pucci-fabric-lined VIP booths for whomever might be looking into that prime real estate; time is something we have plenty of.

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Thur. 2 You might be tempted to stay in today because it’s going to be one hell of a weekend. But for those wanting a head start, don’t miss DJ Chris Lake spinning at Vanity. In the Hard Rock. Doors 10 p.m. $40 men, $20 women, local ladies free.