10. In-Club Innovation Award
Polite in Public
Part Carrot Top, part James Cameron, the Polite in Public photo booth (PoliteInPublic.com) delivers the nightclub photography experience everyone has been dying to have: wearing Hulk hands and flying through space.
These curved, open-air photo booths invite subjects to play with a parcel of props and clothes while the resulting blackmail material is delivered directly to an online gallery. This year alone they’ve done events at Tao, Tao Beach, Haze, XS and Vanity, according to Mark Bragen, sales and marketing director for LV Photo Party, the Vegas outpost of the Los Angeles-based Polite in Public.
“When you look at the booth, it looks completely different than anything anybody has seen. It’s very intriguing. People want to find out what it is and what it does and how quick it can do it. That’s when you create the buzz,” Bragen says of the no-wall construction. “They see the props, they see other people having fun. That’s why we keep the booth open.”
In 2011, Polite in Public will introduce video booths that allow clubgoers to make a 10-second movie. The concept already launched at The Abbey in L.A., and it will be coming to Vegas in the first quarter. They’re also bringing in roaming photogs, who will be wearing a backpack setup allowing partiers to enter their information and have photos sent to them instantly. Those pics, however, will be prop-free—unless you bring your own Hulk hands.
11. Multimedia Giant
Video: Multimedia Giant Neil Kull
Neil Kull, Lighting Director, the Light Group
What this city needs is a good spanking. For its many sins, lighting operator Neil Kull administers a sound Haze-ing Thursday through Saturday to clubgoers at Aria. Kull calls it a tidal-wave approach, starting out steadily as doors open, showcasing one by one the many electrifying toys and tricks of the multimillion-dollar Avalon lighting system designed by John Lyons and Richard Worboys (also responsible for XS, Jet, Tao and Blush). You can’t miss Kull in the Haze booth, hyping the crowd up, as much the center of attention as the DJ, and in some cases—like when the wave crests to a “grand daddy peak” and he throws everything he has into it—even more so. Kull lives in that creative space where the lines between light, sound and movement blur to incredible effect. He hooks his lighting up to MIDI gear such as his trusty keyboard that allows him to “play” the lights like a composer. “It’s a little strange but it helps keep things interesting,” he says on his website (NeilKull.com), where he shows off not only his nightclub lighting work but also his photography, another proficiency that requires a keen understanding of lighting and the patience to wait for the wave to crest.
12. Game-Changing DJ Residency
DJ Steve Aoki, Surrender Nightclub at Encore
He’s in the house, all right. When Surrender opened, it made a bold statement, hiring this DJ/entrepreneur/fashion designer as musical director and resident DJ. Aoki does double-duty, holding down Friday nights, a.k.a. Aoki’s House, while also helping steer the musical ship, so to speak. While not all of his time at the wheel has been smooth sailing—multiple DJs had their sets cut short during Surrender’s first season—Aoki’s role as celebrity DJ and musical director is markedly different from most residencies—and, overall, a success. Not only is Aoki one of the most fashionable DJs on the Strip (he’s designed for KR3W Apparel, Supra and Burton, among others), he also boasts the longest hair and the wackiest headwear (anyone catch that Native American headdress?). Meantime, his signature sounds are a hit, and he’s brought in some big-name talent (Steve Angello) to help establish Surrender as one of the best-sounding and most stylish spots on the Strip.
13. Top Local DJ
Las Vegas has more than its share of big-name DJs to pick from (Paul Oakenfold, Steve Aoki), yet when it comes to selecting the best, DJ Vice is the one who stands out. No, he hasn’t opened for Madonna, launched his own clothing line or starred in a MTV reality show (yet), but he does hold down weekly residencies at not one but two clubs on the Strip (which may soon rise to three, with the opening of Marquee) and enjoy an enthusiastic following. His second sneaker boutique, CRSVR, opened this month at the Cosmopolitan. He still calls Hollywood home, but after earning his stripes at places such as LAX, he can be found at Tao most Saturdays, and Lavo most Sundays. He also plays regularly at the Tao and Lavo’s sister spot, Avenue, in New York, as well as Liv in Miami, Playhouse in Hollywood and Mur Mur in Atlantic City—but we get him two nights a week.
14. One to Watch—Top Up-and-Coming DJ
DJ M!ke Attack
You know the name, you’ve heard the music, and you’ve seen the ’fro. This local DJ has been a leader in the Las Vegas hipster scene for the past seven years and has plugged into the Vegas circuit everywhere from Beauty Bar to Ghostbar. Known for his contagious smile, welcoming attitude and eclectic variety of music (from hip-hop to dub-step), M!ke Attack maintains a massive local following. As one of the first DJs to spin indie-electro in this desert, he continues to cater to both the underground and mainstream crowds at his Friday night soiree Shake ’N’ Pop in the Artisan and his recent residency at Ghostbar’s Snitch Wednesdays. A recent official signing to the Palms confirms that M!ke Attack’s star is on the rise as he continues to bring the party to the party.
15. Most Thrilling One-Off DJ Performance
Swedish House Mafia, Halloween 2010 at the Joint
With Vegas increasingly becoming a mecca for electronic music and its devotees, there is a fist-pump-full of exhilarating one-off guest DJ performances from which to choose. However it was Swedish House Mafia’s Masquerade Motel that shined the brightest. Steve Angello, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, the superstar Swedes who make up the Mafia, appeared masked and prepared to make their mark on Vegas for their second performance here. Pumping out hits such as “Until One,” as well as classic remixes, the trio transformed the Joint at the Hard Rock into a rave-like dream-sequence, complete with laser and light shows, and accompanied by foghorns and smoke. From Gaga to Yoshi, every imaginable costume added to the wild and sexy crowd, which indulged in light shows and danced till dawn. As if that wasn’t enough, the party continued at Vanity for an after-hours that saw Swedish House Mafia, Tiësto and Dirty South taking turns on the tables, leaving guests mesmerized and amazed.
16. Marketing Campaign of the Year
“Wet Republic declares war on nightlife”
2010 was a heavenly year for Angel Management Group, and more than a splash of that was thanks to Wet Republic’s summer marketing campaign. The “declaration” was shot by Los Angeles photographer Dave Hill, known for his creative and surreal-looking work for Nove’s High Society brunch at the Palms and a long list of Vegas celebs. The notion of using Wet Republic’s own group of gorgeous models—ahem, cocktail waitresses—decked out in full camouflage gear to hose down a typical nightclub door staff was not only admirably creative (surely prompting many a forehead-smack) but also it gave everyone a good laugh. At the end of pool season, the dayclub released its follow-up ad announcing, “Mission Accomplished.” The camo babes proudly stood in victory atop helpless hosts, tangled in their own velvet ropes. Bombarded by advertising every second in Vegas, it today takes more than a hot bod or celebrity to catch our attention, and Wet Republic gave us something fresh and memorable.
17. Best Production Designer
Jennevive McPherson, The Beverly Project
As marketing coordinator for the Light Group’s Mirage venues, McPherson executed high-profile events such as The Cat’s Meow with Felix da Housecat, the Rolling Stone Hot List party and the Cosmopolitan magazine Bikini Bash after-party. But it is the creative side of her job description that gets the lifelong dancer’s blood moving. Through her company The Beverly Project, she’s now helping Michael Fuller’s resurrected Moving Sun Studios brand development company, designing costumes and turning other peoples’ ideas and concepts into live events, music videos and commercials. The Project has become a design label, too, since Snookie’s Pickle Princess and Audrina Patridge’s Betelgeuse Babe costumes hit the red carpet. And the woman who used 1,000 hand-sewn fabric pieces to cover Snookie’s cookies deserves all praise.
18. Hottest Go-Go Outfits
Haze Nightclub at Aria
From geisha girls to burlesque pin-ups to belly-dancing beauties, the go-go’s at Haze are an ever-shifting landscape of flash and flesh. The costumes are custom-made, and the productions inspired by those found in Ibiza, Spain. The end result: carefully matched eye-candy in both the glass booth at the club’s entrance and the booty-shakers on the dance floor stage. It’s the high art of raw sexuality.