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A new Axis at MGM Grand Detroit

Axis, a swank new lounge inside MGM Grand Detroit, debuted in impressive style last Friday with a private VIP cocktail party for a couple hundred specially invited guests. Hosted by the MGM Grand Detroit team of honchos — including president Steve Zanella, senior vice president Juliette Okotie-Eboh and vice president Marc Guastella — the party featured live entertainment and a nonstop parade of colorful (and tasty) craft cocktails: Raspberry Crush, Blueberry Pie and Michigan Snap among the favorites. Smack dab in the middle of the casino floor, the $3 million Axis Lounge is a 315-seat venue that will feature live music — from Motown to jazz to modern pop — seven nights a week. Other guests at the grand opening included NAACP Executive Director Donnell White, Roostertail’s Tom and Diane Schoenith and MGM Grand Detroit investors Roy and Maureen Roberts and dermatologist Dr. Lorna Thomas.

Let’s hear it for the guys

Joe Vicari of Andiamo Restaurant Group and Tom Celani of Celani Family Vineyards gathered about a hundred pals Wednesday night for their annual Stag Holiday Party. They enjoyed a seemingly endless supply of Celani wines and an amazing Italian feast fit for a king, or in this case, several kings. And although the festivities took place at Vicari’s Andiamo Bloomfield restaurant, at least three other restaurateurs from other local Italian restaurants were spotted in the crowd: Nino Cutraro from Bella Piatti, Luciano Del Signore from Bacco Ristorante and Patrick Rugiero from Roman Village. Celani, who co-owns Freedom Hill Amphitheatre with Vicari, also was celebrating the recent completion of his Hunger Free in the D campaign, which raised approximately $300,000 to provide about 1 million meals to feed Detroiters in need.

Mothership visits United Sound

Just as you’d expect, P-Funk master George Clinton has some wild stories in his new memoir, “Brothers Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?” — out now on the Atria Books imprint. Clinton worked as a hair`dresser in Trenton, New Jersey, before moving to Detroit (where he led the Parliaments and later, Funkadelic and then Parliament-Funkadelic). While he was cooling his heels in-between music gigs, he bought about $1.2 million in counterfeit money (in $20 bills) from a few kids for $2,000. Clinton used the money to renovate his hair salon, pay musicians and for time in the recording studio. (Uh, what is the statute of limitations on ...?)

Clinton will be making an appearance from 7-10 p.m. Dec. 20, to sell and sign books at what was his home studio for years, United Sound Systems, 5840 Second. For $40, guests receive admission to the event, a copy of the book, light refreshments, and the opportunity to meet the Atomic Dog himself and get the book signed. Call the studio at (313) 833-1833.

swhitall@detroitnews.comchuckbennett@hotmail.com

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