Editor’s note: Jack Colton is the founder of the nightlife guide JackColton.com, which helps tourists plan their Las Vegas experience. Throughout the year Colton honors his fellow nightlife industry members in celebrations and nightclub contests, naming the Most Influential People, the Most Beautiful People, the city’s most successful VIP hosts and the best DJs. Vegas Seven tapped Colton to help us recognize this year’s most valuable power players.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Local- and industry-appreciation parties are a given these days, but this wasn’t always the case. Throughout his career, Surrender and Encore Beach Club marketing director Steven Lockwood has spearheaded the idea of a nightclub spending money on contests, promotions and competitions on nights that attract local industry members. It was a gamble that these events would, in turn, heighten the overall party and entice a big-spending clientele in the long run. The concept proved extremely successful and has allowed Lockwood to mentor many of today’s leading club event planners.
Nightlife’s Unsung Hero
DJs get billboards; hosts, bartenders and waitresses enjoy the genuine (and monetary) thanks of their customers; and the owners and managers get the press and accolades. The promotions team? Often overlooked. Our unsung hero, XS and Tryst promotions manager Michael Gallagher, keeps the club’s promoters exactly where they need to be and is reaching the crowd that needs to be there. Without the efforts of his team, the party would be a lot less of a party.
People choose to move to Las Vegas for a variety of reasons. For Sancho Van Ryan, it was for love and a serious relationship—which ultimately ended up being with Las Vegas nightlife. Van Ryan started out as a Blush Nightclub door host in 2008, and felt at home with the nightlife-industry family. He became a scene staple by enthusiastically attending as many nightclub and pool events as possible. In his latest venture, VivaVegas.tv, the omnipresent Van Ryan and his film crew cover the entire spectrum of Las Vegas entertainment with all the excitement that brought him into it. “I’m passionate about nightlife, because it isn’t seeing the world as it is, but as it could be.”
Woman in Charge
Amber Anderson moved to Las Vegas to pursue a professional dancing career on the Strip, but ended up a choreographer, of sorts, for the team of hosts she oversees and mentors as Marquee’s customer development manager. Anderson acknowledges her rare-commodity status, and believes that many clients prefer to socialize with a female host. Her advice to would-be hosts: “Stay very organized, keep up with your database and follow up with everyone.”
Nightclub marketing directors have many tasks: marketing, talent coordination, emceeing, DJing, executing events, keeping customers happy and being a team player. But 1 Oak’s Pearce Cleaveland has perfected the art of juggling it all. Prior to his current position, Cleaveland served as director of restaurant marketing, handling all six of Light Group’s restaurants. This Montana native used to get in trouble for throwing parties in high school and was kicked out of college for partying. I believe this is called having the last word.
Just 27, Light Group vice president of nightlife Robert Gamch has skyrocketed up the company totem pole since moving to Las Vegas six years ago to play baseball at UNLV. Beginning his career as a flier promoter for Treasure Island’s [now-closed] Mist Lounge, Gamch perfected the art of customer interaction before moving into hosting and eventually becoming everyone’s boss. His secret? Remember that in Las Vegas you never know to whom you are talking.
There’s been so much innovation in the Las Vegas nightlife scene over the past seven years that it’s difficult to imagine a new venue being able to offer anything that much different than what has already been done. However, with his latest creation—The Act Nightclub in the Shoppes at the Palazzo—Simon Hammerstein reminds us that innovation is always possible by pushing the envelope on how provocative a Las Vegas nightclub can be. The centerpiece of The Act—the menu of extremely sensual live-theater performances—subliminally encourages everyone to let loose just that little bit more in an intimate space designed to intrigue and titillate.